Grand Admirals' Gathering

Sigma

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Mar 17, 2011
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#1
Dec. 1, YE 36

It was a rare thing for Grand Admirals to meet in person. It was an even rarer occasion when all of them gathered at a single location. Part of the reason behind it was political. The Core Worlds were the stomping grounds of the older and larger 1st and 2nd Fleets while the Colonial Expanse was home turf for the newer, smaller 3rd and 4th Fleets. Who would go to visit whom? It was an awkward questions, especially when one of the Grand Admirals was less than a year into her job and working to impress everyone around her.

Another reason was obviously security. Terrorist groups funded by Gartagen corporations had tried to assassinate Grand Admiral Valken so as to destabilize the Imperium. They would be dealt with shortly by the IPG. Nonetheless, wherever they met would have to be secure. Not just to the Navy's standards but to the IPG's standards.

Weeks of communications between the Grand Admirals and the IPG Commandant resulted in a compromise. Abjection was the most secure place in the Imperium but it was extremely far from the Core Worlds. The middle ground was Veritas. It was heavily trafficked by merchant and passenger ships transiting to and from each half of Nepleslia. It was also a strategic naval base, meaning that the presence of warships would not alarm anyone to something going on.

That was why the a capital ship squadron from every fleet had been detached for "Joint Exercises" at Veritas. Detaching the flagships would signal something was afoot. Detaching random warships would be far less innocuous. The Navy wasn't even obliged to inform anyone about it. The flagships remained the flagships, the Grand Admirals were merely passengers, not commanders, aboard the ships they traveled in. That slight technicality meant that the information was known only to a few of the ship's captains.

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NSB Rodger Dodger, Veritas

Grand Admiral Valken strode confidently, twirling his custom-made cane as he threw his calculating gaze upon the others, entirely at ease at this gathering. Grand Admiral Vanderhuge boomed loudly at the entrance of the latest arrival, all joyful, boyish raucousness. Grand Admiral Corcyra stood and shook Valken's hand firmly as they exchanged predatory greetings. Of all the Admirals, the two were most alike in personality, if not in tactical and strategic doctrine.

Grand Admiral Motoyoshi realized that her only response was to smile nervously at the arrival of the man who had recommended her to this exalted position. And she had never met the man before, let alone spoken to him!

All of them were gathered around a table, with their chiefs of staff behind them.

"Getting old, Dom? You really need a cane? Vlad's older than you and he doesn't need one!" Vanderhuge laughed at the sight of Valken's walking cane. "Trick I learned from the IPG. Deception is everything. Single shot at the tip of the cane, hidden blade sheathed within the durandium body and hardened durandium pommel in case I need to beat sense into someone. Three weapons in one package. And no one would ever suspect it thanks to the zanarium lining the IPG added." Valken deftly twirled his cane in the air as he walked up to the rest of his colleagues to show them his true physical condition.

Vanderhuge guffawed and Corcyra grinned widely at the explanation. "You're a tricky one, Dom. Baiting the enemy like that," Corcyra said.

"So, unless Vlad brought his daughter along, I presume you are Motoyoshi Saito?" the 4th Fleet's Admiral turned his gaze to her. Saito's silence had been loud enough for him to hear.

"My daughter is prettier," Corcyra shot back.

Saito stood and extended her hand to shake Valken's. "You presume correctly, Valken-san."

"It's just Dom. We have no need to stand on ceremony amongst equals," he replied, taking her firmly, their gaze locked on each other.

Vanderhuge thumped the table in agreement while Corcyra nodded.

"Then I am Saito," she smiled, some of the nervousness easing. These men were legends in their own right. The architect of the Tange Evacuation, the leader of the Rok'Veru Offensive, and the Bulwark of Nepleslia. Each of them had accolades which she did not have and yet she was supposed to stand beside them as an equal? The ease with which they spoke said much about the trust they had in each other.

They sat. "To business."

"The first thing is more of a clarification. Charlie wants each of us to be sure of how all of us intend to use our fleets tactically," Vanderhuge told them.

Saito's ears perked up. Of course they were on first names with the Premier! He had been one of them. Part of this special old boys' club.

"1st Fleet is, as you know, the largest," Vanderhuge called up a three-dimensional representation of his fleet.

"Barely big enough to hold your ego," Corcyra muttered, causing Valken to smirk and Saito to laugh nervously.

"You're just jealous, Vlad. Anyway, all of our fleets have trained extensively for all sorts of operations so we can skip those. What makes my fleet different is that we are able to hit any fleet hard, fast and with overwhelming numbers. Those numbers also make us a threat which the enemy must honor as we represent nearly a third of the Navy's fighting strength."

He manipulated the fleet to show how it could be broken down into smaller forces for independent operations or concentrated to deliver a single, massive strike. It was the difference in strategy based upon geography. Nepleslia, as a nation, was concentrated. It did not have the same commitments all over the sector that the vast Empire had.

"If we aren't contained, then we continue to launch attacks either concentrated or as separate columns. All of my Battle Group and Division commanders are able to conduct such independent operations without my supervision. And if my force is contained by a great concentration of hostile forces, that will leave an opening somewhere for the rest of you to exploit. I either get to be the hero or the bait for a trap."


"My 2nd Assault Fleet does better. We can do everything well. We are the central reserve. Defend a front, exploit an opening, hold the line. We do it all. We're not in this for glory, we're in this for results and all of my commanders accept this. Our role is to be the weapon that Nepleslia needs us to be at its hour of need. To that end, we must be able to support the tactics and plans for all of the other fleets," Corcyra spoke then.
There was nothing left to say. He didn't even bring up any information on his fleet. If the Grand Admirals didn't have such basic information committed to memory, then they were ill-suited to the job.

Saito didn't know if she was supposed to go next and hesitated.

"4th AASP," Valken started saying when he was interrupted. "Yes, special lettering for the special boys," Corcyra teased.

Valken continued unperturbed. "4th AASP is our mobile defense and counter-assault fleet. We are small enough to quickly respond to a threat and either hold the enemy until reinforcements arrive or assault the enemy where they are. Like all fleets, we boast a large complement of starfighters. While our fleets are close to numerical parity with Yamatai in terms of hulls, our total starfighter force outnumbers them without question. Part of this is thanks to the use of drone starfighters supporting our manned starfighters. While not as good as a manned starfighter, they have proven effective at swarm tactics and overpowering any enemy that way. At current, 4th, alongside 3rd, guards the Expanse doing mostly anti-piracy work now that peace has broken out.

"This rapid deployment is limited to within the Imperium. We will require a fleet train for long term offensive operations outside the Imperium, unless we are able to use Lorath bases. Yamataian bases are a poor choice for any sort of resupply mainly because our forces have never worked together. And they prefer energy weapons while we have a mix of energy and kinetic rounds."

At that, Valken stopped and all three of the men turned to Saito. She glanced behind her to see her executive officer and chief of staff, Raymond Lao, standing quietly. All of the Grand Admirals' chiefs of staff were present but this was a meeting for the Admirals, not their chiefs.

Lao could have rattled this all off. He had spent years in 3rd Fleet under Charlie Coast. He had commanded it in the time between Coast's election and her appointment.

"I would say," she began, conscious that the others were probably comparing her to the now-Premier Coast. "I would say that I see no reason to change 3rd Assault Fleet's existing structure or tactical doctrine. It is called the Wolf Pack for a reason. We do not rely on heavy capital ships like dreadnoughts. Speed and rapid, simultaneous strikes in vulnerable locations is our specialty. We have a large fighter force and for warships, we use battlecruisers and cruisers to deliver hard strikes. Our destroyers work in squadrons to hunt down vulnerable prey already damaged by the swarms of fighters or the heavier cruisers. Ambush and offensive operations are the best kind of work for 3rd Fleet as we have trained hard to be swift and deadly through teamwork. 1st Fleet may be likened to a bear, large, fierce and nigh unstoppable," Vanderhuge nodded with a grin, "2nd Fleet a panther, sleek, adaptable, and cunning," Corcyra was thoughtful at that comparison, "4th Fleet a rhino, tough, strong and with a sudden, powerful attack," Valken merely cocked his head. "3rd Fleet? We are Nepleslia's wolves. Fast, vicious, and ruthless when we strike."

Saito didn't realize she was smiling when she finished her overview. There was a moment of silence. Then it was broken by a loud thump on the table from Vanderhuge, followed by a hearty laugh. Corcyra and Valken were slowly clapping their approval.

"She's good, Dom. I can see why you nominated her. She's definitely got the spunk to fill Charlie's boots!" Flint Vanderhuge laughed jovially.

"Welcome to the Old Boys Club, Saito. We are going to get along fabulously so long as you don't pick up Dom's bad habit of not smoking," Corcyra added.

"I prefer to use gas warfare on the enemy, not myself, Vlad. Don't listen to them. Their answer to everything is charge in, shoot everything and figure out the results," Valken shot back. "Very true," Vanderhuge agreed, "It's simple and no room for captains to misinterpret their objectives."

"Now that's settled. Here's what Charlie wants us to look at."


Vanderhuge manipulated the projection again into a map of the galaxy.

"With the Cats now part of DATASS, we are not to concern ourselves overly much with them. Keep an eye on them, yes, but actively consider ways to invade them, no. Charlie and I spoke and we agree on this list. First and foremost, there's the Mishhu trapped on Ukk. It's a small fleet but its still the Mishhu. So far, they are content to sit and wait but our scouts have noticed that they are able to produce light warships. No capital ship increase but a definite increase in the number of escorts. So they may start raiding the Southern Colonies if they think we're vulnerable. Suggestions?" Flint glanced around the table.

"Easy. I can transfer a couple divisions south. A cruiser and a destroyer division should be enough to bolster the garrison forces present. If need be, I can rush more units south. We should also look to adding more Rooks and Bulwarks down there. The squids were right to fortify SC-4," Vlad replied lazily.

Dom and Saito nodded their agreement.

"Done. Next threat we need to consider. The Gartagens. Dom, I know the IPG are spooked by them. And I know you want to hit them with Commandos for what they did to you. Neither Charlie nor I will stop you from it but make sure it's not traceable to Nepleslia. But in any case, we've all seen how they suddenly exploded onto the scene and gobbled up worlds. And we don't get along with them," Flint continued.

"Why not?" Saito asked. She hadn't kept abreast of politics much.

"They harbor the traitor, Heram J. Wazu. Responsible for bringing in the Nekovalkyrja who deactivated the planet Nepleslia's defenses ahead of a Mishhu invasion. The Cats hold that Neko now. But Wazu fled to the Garts and they won't hand him over. Any attempt on him will obviously be our doing since we're the only ones who want him. Despite our demands that they turn him over for court-martial, they prefer to hold onto him. So, we have taken the policy of ignoring them. At this time, their navy is weaker than ours by large margins but their ground forces are much larger, though mostly still PBI." This time Dom took up the explanation.

"PBI?" Saito asked.

"Poor bloody infantry. Non-power armored troops," Corcyra told her.

"4th Fleet can contain them. We can do that sort of holding action easily. Our starfighter superiority in numbers will make any incursion they make difficult. Worst case, we call in 3rd for reinforcement which will allow Saito to play to her fleet's strengths as well. Rapid, sudden assault," Dom spoke again, this time in reply to Flint.

"Yes, that's definitely feasible. If they make a move, I won't leave you holding the bag!" Saito said enthusiastically.

"Good. 4th will hold the northern colonies from a Gart incursion. But while 3rd waits for them to get a call, we need some warships to tackle the final problem. Pirates have become increasingly common in the Expanse and the Free Spacer holdings of Port Hope and Null & Void. We need naval patrols to aid them, even if they are committed to creating a defense force for themselves."

"3rd Fleet will do that then. But I would suggest using 4th Marines to do the boarding work. They are the ones most in need of operational experience," Saito volunteered. Dom nodded his agreement with that analysis, "Yes, use 4th Marines. They need something to do."

"Then that's settled! Break out the drinks!"

"About damn time!"
 

Sigma

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Mar 17, 2011
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#2
"I just remembered something," Saito said, taking a sip from her glass of vodka. She did not much enjoy beer but the Nepleslian hard stuff was definitely something to praise.

When the other Admirals and their chiefs of staff looked for her to continue, she smiled. They may like the idea or they may not.

"In the UOC, there was talk of fleet reviews to assure the public of their security. I was thinking of something similar. A grand naval review with all of the fleets, minus the ships necessary for patrols, somewhere for the public to see. And with those ships gathered, the rest of the galaxy will take what they will of it. Hopefully our allies are impressed, our rivals and enemies given pause at the sight of such a gathering."

"The viewing would have to be from starships and the warships would have to be pretty close to one another rather than normal distances. But it would be a grand sight..." Corcyra seemed to be in a daydream, picturing an endless space of warships with running lights and battle colors in full glory.

"It would be a nightmare to organize," Valken noted sourly.

"We'll need a better reason than just we want to have a pretty gathering of ships. Hold the thought until we can get Charlie's thoughts. If he, as Premier, has a better way of justifying this review, we can discuss it more then."