The Revelation Intercepts The High Shale Military Conflict in The Sealed Kingdoms | World Anvil

The Revelation Intercepts The High Shale

As it left the Evermorn System, the ESCI Revelation became aware that the Aniki Labs star carrier ALV High Shale was approaching the Evermorn System from the direction of the Armoa System - putting the enemy vessel on a potential intercept course with the Revelation. When the two ships crossed paths towards the end of the Revelation's first year of flight, what ensued was a high-stakes space battle with where the weaker colony vessel won a surprise victory against a superior military vessel. The consequences of this battle were not contained to the moment, however, as something of the fallen Aniki force managed to stow away on the Revelation to cause heartbreak much later in the mission.

The Conflict

Prelude

Several weeks before the High Shale became discernable to the Revelation's sensor systems, the Evermorn Strategic Colony Initiative recieved word from Cobalt Knights forces in Armoa that a significant force of Aniki raiding craft were heading towards the Cobalt Protectorate core in the Evermorn System. It was believed at the time that this was an act of desperation, as Cobalt Knights forces were on the cusp of successfully starving Aniki Labs in Armoa to the negotiating table. This information was relayed to the Revelation via tight-beam laser, but the message only arrived in time for Revelation's own sensors to detect the High Shale breaking off from the main fleet on a direct intercept course.

Deployment

by BCGR_Wurth (background by Beat Schuler via Unsplash)
In the days leading up to the skirmish, Director Mokara Lain ordered all non-essential personnel secured in quarters and sedated to conserve resources. The ship's equatorial river was capped and partially drained, with the water stowed in tanks for potential use as reaction mass and coolant for emergency open-cycle cooling. All non-essential systems were shut down or put into a reduced power state, and the habitation section was cooled to winter-like conditions to provide an even greater buffer against overheating; these measures were undertaken to provide the ship's laser batteries with as much power and thermal capacity as possible once the High Shale entered Revelation's engagement envelope. All combat drones were fuelled, armed, and placed in drop-launch cradles for deployment as soon as practically possible. Knight-Airman Enzo Salt and other Command Information Center staff were called into duty and given combat stimulants. The Revelation was not a combat ship, Lain knew, but, with hundreds of people's lives on the line, she was determined to be ready to face down the Aniki threat.  
by Hero Forge
For their part, the crew of the High Shale prepared for combat by prepping their own combat drones and cruisers for launch against the fast-approaching Revelation. Electronic warefare suites - including hostile viral artificial intelligence - were booted up and loaded with what the latest Aniki intelligence estimates indicated would be the most effective systems intrusion tools against such a hardened Protectorate target. Clouds of chaff cooled to the temperature of the interstellar medium were launched into the probable path of the Revelation; with their speed relative to one another being about two-thirds of the speed of light, these would hit the Revelation with the force of atomic weapons if not detected and swept aside. Otherwise, as the High Shale was a combat vessel and had been on ready alert since its detatchment from the main fleet, all that remained was to await the advent of the enemy.

The Engagement

The Revelation's forward LIDAR batteries, being designed specifically to detect and blast away interstellar debris, quickly ascertained the presence of the High Shale's chaff clouds. Some of the clouds were thus blasted away, while engineering injected water into the ship's fusion drive stream to give the Revelation just enough of a thrust boost so that it would arrive in the threatened volume of space before the cloud could. Thus, despite a few near-misses, the Revelation was unharmed by this phase of the attack. On Lain's orders, Salt and his department launched drones, which in turn launched masses of fusion torpedoes tipped with nuclear-excited laser emitters. The High Shale responded in kind, and the battle was on.   One of the gunnery techs aboard Revelation fired point defense lasers early despite Lain's orders to hold fire until they were closer, inadvertently showing the enemy how far away Revelation could hit incoming projectiles with these weapons. This resulted in the enemy torpedoes detonating early, causing little in the way of explosive damage but raking Revelation's hull with high-energy laser blasts. Damage control drones were deployed to the hot spots on the hull while the rest of the combat drones quickly overwhelmed the more missile-centric Aniki cruiser complement.  
by BCGR_Wurth (background by Beat Schuler via Unsplash)
Before the drones could turn their attention to the carrier itself, the High Shale managed to find a weakness in the Revelation's firewalls and exploit it, forcing Knight-Specialist Astenos Fox to reset the control computer systems to prevent a full takeover. While Salt and his fellow pilots were blinded, the drones fought on, expending their torpedo complements and suffering heavy attrition without guidance from their home vessel. By the time Revelation's systems were back online - a matter of only a minute or so - most of the drones were either thrown far off-course, destroyed, or empty of any useful ordinance.   In a last-ditch effort to kill the Aniki attackers, Salt directed his own complement of drones to move into a direct intercept course with the star carrier. While this would be a hard maneuver to pull off in the time remaining before the carrier whizzed past - and would leave Revelation down some drones it couldn't yet replace - it also ensured the carrier would be mission-killed before reaching Evermorn. Only one drone got into the path of the carrier in time, but it was enough to do the job. The car-sized drone crashed into the carrier at relativistic speed, turning the asteroid-turned-spacecraft into a smear of hot dust. The High Shale shot past the Revelation as a noticeably red-shifted streak in the colony vessel's caudal multispectral scopes.

Aftermath

With their carrier long gone and with many of them having suffered catastrophic damage, the Aniki Labs cruisers were largely unable to reach the Evermorn System in a combat-ready state. Furthermore, with such extreme velocities imparted upon them by their now-lost carrier, they were all flung into highly elliptical orbits around the system which meant a long period of cryosleep to survive until a rescue could be attempted. At least one vessel was not even this lucky, being sent flying free of Evermorn's gravity well altogether and disappearing into interstellar space for centuries hence.   While the crew of the Revelation celebrated their victory, with rates of citations for intoxication rising in the short-term and birth rates rising about nine months later, it had gone undiscovered at this time that the High Shale had only failed in deploying their most obvious cyber warfare payload during the skirmish.
by Hero Forge
Another, more dangerous payload would later deploy itself into an antagonistic artificial intelligence. Years later, this intelligence wouldy hijack the platforms of the Revelation's HLAI crew, forcing them to helplessly look on as their bodies launched a violent mutiny against the living crew. Sara and many others were killed, killed themselves when the hostile intelligence's influence was somehow jammed, or sacrificed themselves in the defense of their friends in the course of this mutiny. It would be another decade before HLAI would be entrusted with humanlike or combat-capable platforms on the Revelation again.

Historical Significance

Legacy

Tales of the encounter with the High Shale and the trauma of the subsequent mutiny were formative for the Ibrenian Protectorate culture that followed from the colonists' arrival on Ibren in the Falconer's Eye System.

by BCGR_Wurth
Conflict Type
Skirmish


Cover image: by Beat Schuler (edited by BCGR_Wurth)

Comments

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Aug 24, 2022 11:07 by Tara Fae Belle

Nice! I enjoyed the responses at different times (from the interception, to the various drone engagements, to the stow aways).

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