Survey Vessel 'Florentine' has gone missing. It was taking part in an initial system survey around the fourth planet in the Dm-2769-3x ('Hobilar') system. At approx 4.57pm (Sol time) forward base 'Shoshone' lost contact with the vessel. There was no distress signal and no signs of life rafts. Contact was lost abruptly and completely.
The 'Hobilar' system is at the frontiers of known human space. A map of the system is attached.
Commander, you are to take a fleet and make your way to FB 'Shoshone'. You are to use this as your command point. You are ordered to investigate the disappearance of the 'Florentine' and proceed accordingly.
At such a long distance it will be impossible to send replacements for any vessels lost. Likewise, FB 'Shoshone' will have some repair facilities but you are well advised to be careful in your deployment and commitment of forces.
The government has made 750 TMF worth of ships available to you. Up to half the TMF may be Capital ships (Battlecruiser or larger.)
Q : Confirm that Florentine was lost near Curror ?
A : Yes. The Florentine left FB Shoshone at 1.28am (Sol Time) to survey the Curror system. This would have involved a sweep of both the planet and its moons. It was thought that the Florentine was orbiting Curror 2 at the time of disappearance. This cannot be confirmed.
Q : What were the statistics of the Florentine ?
A : There are no statistics as such. The Florentine is a civilian survey vessel taking part in a government contract. It was lightly armed and armoured. It was equipped with a Level 1 Beam weapon and two submunition dispensers. Its hull was the same size as a cruiser, but the armour was weak since most of the hull space was given over to advanced cartographical, life-detecting, magnetic, chemical-analysis etc sensors and surveying equipment. It also carried a small lander. No SOS buoys have yet been detected.
Q : Location of forward base Shoshone in relation to the Hobilar System,
is it based in the Hobilar system or elsewhere ?
A : FB Shoshone is in the AA38-926TV (Vogelspike) system. This is on the very edge of known human space and is 4.1 light-years from Hobilar. FB Shoshone was there to provide logistical and analytical support to the Florentine.
Q : If elsewhere what is FTL transit time and communication delay
between Shoshone and Hobilar ?
A : It takes just over 12 hours to jump between systems (assuming 3hr/ly). Since communications travel at the speed of the fastest vessel, this is also communication time. By comparison, it takes 2 months to travel between Sol and Vogelspike.
Q : Are there any limitations on the size of ships Shoshone can
accommodate at its repair facilities ?
A : Larger vessels (battlecruisers+) will have to use smaller vessels to transport materials to and fro. Here's how it will work: A docked vessel can repair 1D6 damage points each campaign turn(Shoshone is not a large military installation). However, if it does so, it will not be able to take part in the next mission. Likewise, docked ships can repair ship's systems using normal damage parties. If they do not do it the first time, they will have to spend another turn in docks. Effectively ANY number of ships can be in 'dock' - since their own crews will be repairing the vessels. Again, a ship in dock CANNOT take part in a mission - it will miss a turn.
Q : Does Shoshone have stocks of expendable ordnance, i.e. fighters,
missiles, salvo missiles etc ? If so what stocks are held ?
A : No. None whatsoever.
Remember Commander, YOU will be the sole authority in place. It will be up to YOU to decide how to persecute the investigation into the disappearance of the Florentine. Hobilar is in uncharted space (that was what the Florentine was there for). If we are lucky it could have been a mechanical failure and the crew may have got to escape capsules in time (again, NO SOS buoys have yet been detected). However, it is possible that pirates may be using the system. Or worse. You are to investigate what happened to the Florentine, NO ONE will be able to tell you when your mission is over and what you can or can not do. It is left to you. I must tell you, however, that the government expects a FULL report and a resolution to this unexpected disappearance and any issues that arise from it.
Investigate disappearance of civilian survey ship Florentine in the vicinity of Curror, the fourth planet in the Hobilar System.
Forces Deployed under command of Andy, staff officers Alan and Dave.
Balti, Bhuna, Tandoor, Kurzi
Samosa, Chat, Dall, Mhakhni, Pakora, Reshmi
Bahji, Chana, Panir
Due to the remoteness of the theatre of operations I decided not to use any vessels with disposable ordnance. The three Bahji class scouts had standing orders that one was to disengage at the first sign of hostile or unidentified vessels, to ensure that if overwhelming hostile force were to be encountered word would still reach Shoshone, and hence Flotilla Headquarters.
The flotilla deployed en masse to the last known location of the Florentine, the second moon of the planet Curror. On approaching the moon under normal space drive three unidentified vessels of approximately Destroyer mass were detected. All three were of the same design, hereafter designated as Bogey Alpha, see hostile force assessment section. Attempts were made to hail these vessels; however they quickly engaged FTL drives without replying to the hail. No hostile action was observed, however a number of objects left in orbit around the moon were identified as some sort of anti shipping mine. A debris field was also found in the vicinity of the moon, the limited spectral analytical equipment carried by Madras and Samber showed this debris to be consistent with the violent destruction of a ship of similar mass to the Florentine. No survivors were found.
The Bahji was despatched to Shoshone with an account of the first Contact. The remainder of the flotilla deployed to Curror itself, with the cruisers Kurzi and Tandoor, the corvettes Mhakhni and Chat and the scout Chana, under Dave's command using a tangential approach vector to the planet.
A flotilla of unidentified ships was detected in the vicinity comprising one of battlecruiser size (Bogey Bravo), one of heavy cruiser size (Bogey Charlie), two of light cruiser size (Bogey Delta) and three Alphas. Whether the three Alphas were the same three as encountered near Curror 2 is debateable. In addition more mines were encountered. Attempts were made to hail the unidentified ships, with no response. The first elements of the flotilla to engage were Dave's force, which, outnumbered and out massed, suffered severe damage. The Cruiser Kurzi and the Corvette Mhakhni were both lost, the cruiser Tandoor and corvette Chat suffered approximately 50% damage. This force was ordered to disengage, and the main force then took on the fight, resulting in the destruction of the entire hostile flotilla. The two hostile light cruisers were destroyed while entering FTL drive, as the two ships had not maintained safe separation this was probably due to a catastrophic FTL entry malfunction on one, or both, of the ships. Damage among the remaining units of the flotilla amounted to 33% damage on the Bhuna, moderate damage to the Tandoor and Chat, and minor damage to the Madras and Balti.
Preliminary surveys of Curror and its first satellite showed that neither would support human life and that no sign of civilisation could be found.
Following defeat of the hostile flotilla I decided to split my forces. Two scouting groups were formed, the first (Samosa, Reshmi and Chana) was despatched to Curror 3 and the second (Dhal, Pakora and Bahji) was despatched to Curror 4. Both groups were ordered to approach with extreme caution, and were not to engage any hostile forces found. Neither group reported any contact or signs of habitation.
Tandoor, Bhuna and Chat were ordered to return to Shoshone for repairs.
The remainder of the flotilla (Madras, Samber, Balti, Bombay, Hasina, and Panir) remained at Curror itself.
The force deployed to Shoshone managed to repair some of the damage sustained, but before fully repaired a hostile force comprising three Alphas attacked the station. Unfortunately the closest ship to the hostile was the Chat, and before the Tandoor or Bhuna could intervene she was destroyed. The cruisers then destroyed the hostile ships before they could attack Shoshone.
At Curror the main flotilla was attacked by fresh hostile forces, comprising one Charlie, two Deltas and three Alphas. The Scout Panir was immediately ordered to withdraw and enter FTL to carry news of the attack to Shoshone. In a drawn out fight the hostiles were destroyed, however the Battleship Samber drew most of the hostile fire and suffered 77% hull damage, with all defensive, and 67% offensive systems knocked out.
Estimated mass 25, destroyer equivalent. Principle weaponry beams. No shields. May have some armour. Moderate thrust. Number encountered 9 -12, of which 3 may have escaped.
Estimated mass 100, Battlecruiser equivalent. Principle weaponry beams and pulse torpedo type weapons. Both shields and armour. Low thrust. Number encountered 1, destroyed.
Estimated mass 80, Heavy cruiser equivalent. Principle weaponry beams. No shields, but significant armour. Low thrust. Number encountered 2, both destroyed.
Estimated mass 65, Light cruiser equivalent. Principle weaponry beams and pulse torpedo type weapons. Shields, no armour. Moderate thrust. Number encountered 4, all destroyed.
All technologies exhibited by the hostiles were comparable to known human systems. No organic remains were recovered, so at this stage I do not believe we can categorically state that the hostiles were non human. The possibility remains that these were some group of highly organised pirates or clandestine forces of another human power.
Madras : Minimal Damage
Samber : Severe Damage, recommend return to flotilla HQ for repairs.
Balti : Negligible Damage
Bhuna : Minor Damage
Tandoor : Moderate Damage
Kurzi : Lost in Action
Bombay : Moderate Damage
Hasina : Moderate Damage
Samosa : No Damage
Chat : Lost in Action
Dall : No Damage
Mhakhni : Lost in Action
Pakora : No Damage
Reshmi : No Damage
Bahji : No Damage
Chana : No Damage
Panir : No Damage
1. Establish defensive forces and military logistics base at Shoshone
2. Continue exploration of Hobilar System.
3. Flotilla Marine forces required to perform surface evaluation of Curror and satellites. Hostile Environment Suits required.
4. Forces operating in this theatre will need mine-hunter support.
I remain your obedient servant,
Commander, Task Force Hobilar.
Models from the collection of Andy King, photographed by Tony Francis
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