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The Canthin native to system SGC311
Strike force
Meean checked his instruments again. This was going to be a rough one he knew, and it wasn’t a drill. This time it was for real. He personally was doing the work of the great one, The One True Lord Crana. Well, he and his fellow flight pilots. This was it, time to slay the heretics, those who believed in the Reeal pantheon of false gods. They would be punished for daring to say that OTL Crana was but one of many. They would die screaming and be sent to hell like the priests want. And they deserve it. They will fall and their pantheon will be shown to be false when their false gods do not save them. They will be shown and punished for their heresy.

Meean checked his instruments again, noted his position and started his fusion powered propellers in preparation for atmospheric insertion into the hydrogen and helium atmosphere of the heretic’s planet Lord Kra Kra. His flight commander gave the order and the flame jets shut down so as not to ignite the atmosphere of their target planet, that was not their objective. Their objective was to cleanse the planet of heretics for inhabitation of loyal believers. They hit the outer regions of the exosphere and entered the planets atmosphere.

Meean’s OTL Crana’s sword fighter bucked beneath him as he ploughed through the atmosphere. The sword fighter was currently outfitted for gas giant fighting, which meant no guns or missiles, but magnetic cannon and solid bombs, which did not explode. This meant that they would not run the risk of setting the atmosphere alight. Behind him was the Children Temple Navy ship, the CTN OTL Crana’s Glory, which was a carrier as big as the battleships that both sides had recently been building.

Meean’s flight headed to the point they had been told the sky city of Rral would be. Meean knew that if they spotted the sky city it would be too slow to stop them, relying on the slow anti gravity drives that all sky cities used to stop themselves from falling deep into the core of the gas giants. Sword fighters used propellers which were faster than the anti-grav drives of the sky cities. All it would take is a single hit by a solid bomb to knock out the anti-grav, although if that did not work, they could always riddle it with bullets from the magnetic gun, which fired those using electromagnets.

Through the wisps of cloud Meean saw his target. A great city spread over a rectangle, half a kilometer wide and a kilometer long. At the four corners the huge cubes of the anti-grav drives that kept the city from falling into the core. The city had seen them and was trying to desperately evade them. So slowly it began to turn, to try and desperately aim more of the guns at the small fighters darting at them. A squad of enemy dagger fighters had launched from the city, in a futile effort to stop the sword fighters from destroying the city. But already the lead fighters had dropped their solid bombs on one corner of the city. And one of the anti-grav drives had been hit, its flimsy casing smashed in as the solid weight of metal had hit it, destroying the delicate electronics beneath.

Then Meean flew into a rain of bullets shot from the air defense magnetic guns upon the city. Meean lined up on an enemy dagger fighter and thumbed down his own magnetic gun. The fighter was hit several times, and both its propellers gave out. It fell. Down towards the depths, where it would be crushed be the intense pressure. Meean then headed over the city itself and dropped his solid bombs, all 3 of them. Pulling back up and banking Meean saw 1 was a complete miss, falling harmlessly to the depths, the other two had hit parts of the city, but none so important as the anti-grav drives.

Meean gritted his fangs; if they did not hit at least one other anti-grav drive then the mission would be a complete waste, as the sky city could survive with three drives. Meean then relaxed, one of his fellow pilots had just hit the one opposite the one already destroyed. As he watched the entire front half of the city swung down. The anti-grav drives kept it there, they could work any way up, they just ignored gravity it did not matter which way it was pulling. A loud groaning sound erupted across the sky, and the massive beams holding the city to each anti-grav drive began to bend, as the weight of the city was too much for them and they had never been designed for this. Then, at the same moment they snapped, leaving the two anti-grav drives hanging there in the sky, as the city plunged to the depths below, where it would be crushed.

Meean smiled. He turned back towards his carrier. The war had begun. The Reeal would fall and those of The One True Lord Crana would seize control of Great Refuge, where their ancestors had deposited after the great flight.

The 1st Canthin War
High priest Meeowan leaned back in his chair, satisfied that the Reeal were getting on with their duty to the great temple. He picked up a report on the taxes paid by the sky cities of the planet Lord Meeak. Lord Meeak, God of the Air and leader of the Gods. Suitable for a gas giant.

Meeowan picked up a reporting to the fleets readiness when Reeaky burst in. Meeowan’s ears twitched in annoyance.
“What do you want” he growled to his assistant.
“My lord forgive me” Reeaky’s ears flattened against his skull. “But it’s the Children. They’ve attacked us, 25 sky cities dead. Gone. Shot out of the sky around Lord Kra Kra.”
Meeowan stared at him for a moment, and then his ears flattened against his head, he bared his fangs and he hissed “if it’s a war they want it’s a war they’ll get. Summon the fleet.”
Reeaky nodded, and withdrew, looking more confident. The fleet. Yes, the fist of the temple. They will show them. Reeaky grinned, his sharp fangs visible to all.
* * *
Orders past along, and eventually reached the second fleet, under the command of Admiral Creee Crevin. He gave orders for the fleet to head towards the outer system.

There was a problem with this, as the Great Refuge system was a binary system, and the two stars orbited each other. Inside these orbits three of the four rock planets in system resided, including NeoCanthinis, the new home world of the Canthin race. It was the problem that most of the areas around the stars were subject to immense gravitational pressures, called grav lines, leaving only two relatively small lanes that would not suck a ship into the stars. If these were not aligned to the destination, which was most of the time, then it could add hours or even days onto a journey. Worse, as the stars orbited each other the lanes moved as well, meaning a ship had to “chase” after the stars to stay in the lane. This led to more delays. A solution had been developed, the use of anti-gravity barges. These barges would let the ship ignore the gravity of the stars and thus allow a larger lane for ships to leave the true inner system. But there was a catch; the anti-grav barges slowed ships down. It increased the safety factor a lot though, and also increased the speed slightly. There was a maximum size to these barges, which meant bigger ships still had to use the lane.

All this was why the ships smaller than a battlecruiser were taking the barges across the grav lines on barges commandeered for that purpose. The 10 battleships and 20 battlecruisers of the Reeal Temple Navy’s second fleet were taking the lanes, along with 5 carriers the same size as the battleships. What they were not expecting happened next.
* * *
Admiral Meeak Greeow smiled as he watched the capital ships of the heretics 2nd fleet proceed through the lane between the stars. He turned and surveyed his flag bridge, of the battleship CTN OTL Crana’s Greatness. He smiled and chucked at the irony, for his ship was the flagship of his own Children’s Temple Navy’s 2nd fleet. And he had his whole fleet with him, not just the capital ships. He turned and gave the order.

The 2nd Fleet of the Children’s Temple Navy turned, broadsides pointing down the lane, straight at the oncoming fleet of capital ships, ships that could not turn and bring their own broadsides to bear upon their soon to be attackers. Admiral Meeak bared his fangs and gave the order. All ships went to continuous fire.

Each ship was pumping over a hundred missiles out in a single broadside, and most many more than that. Although the some classes could not pump that many in a single broadside, they were augmented by the vastly superior firepower of the larger ships. There were 310 ships in the fleet, of all the five ship classes, from destroyer through heavy and light cruisers onto battleships, which meant the fleet was pumping out over 31000 missiles in a single wave out toward the oncoming capital ships.

The capital ships saw them coming, and went to maximum fire on their chasers, mounted on the front of the ship. They only had 5 chasers to the battleships and carriers, and 4 to the battlecruisers, so they only put about 155 in a single wave, but they had gone to maximum fire, which to outer fleet had not done for fear of running out of missiles, and so were putting out more waves. The carriers on both sides then began to launch fighters. The fighters quickly took off after the missiles.

The first wave of missiles hit the capital ships. Decoys called missiles to their side, where they exploded harmlessly away from the ship. Anti-tracking devices told missiles to go in completely the wrong direction, away from the ships. Point defense missiles slammed into their bigger cousins, destroying them harmlessly. And for those that were not enticed away or destroyed at range, point defense lasers burned them out of the sky.

All that was not enough in the face of the hurricane of firepower racing toward them, as always, some got through; in this case “some” was too much. As they exploded the missiles sent lasers out in all directions and many missed completely or were bent away by shields, but some hit. The first wave destroyed 3 battleships, 9 battlecruisers and all of the carriers. Admiral Creee Crevin’s own flagship died when its fusion bottles failed and it vanished in a glare of a sun. The second wave smashed into them and wrecked the survivors, only a few ships lived to see the third.

But the 2nd fleet did not escape unscathed, for a few ships were destroyed and others were damaged. And when the enemy katana fighters broke through the sword fighters and fire the fighter equivalent of a ship killer, more died. Relatively few in terms of tonnage, for no capital ships were destroyed in 2nd fleet, but several did have damage. Including CTN OTL Crana’s Greatness, whose flag bridge had taken a direct hit from a laser, killing Admiral Meeak Greeow, mastermind of this attack and of the attack upon Lord Kra Kra. The best admiral in the Children’s Navy.
* * *
High priest Meeowan stared at the figures, the losses had been catastrophic, a massive portion of the capital ships that they controlled had been destroyed, in the 2nd battle of Lord Kra Kra and in the battle of the grav lines.
“My lord?” Reeaky ventured.
“It’s the Atheists, they are arranging for a summit on the possibility of peace. What will be our reply?”
“Are the Children likely to go?”
“Yes lord, they did not loose as many capital ships but they took horrific losses in the other classes” was the reply Reeaky gave.
“Very well. We will destroy them the next time. Yes we will attend. Order the fleet to stand down but stay on alert.” Meeowan turned toward the window in his office and looked out over the planet NeoCanthinis, a beautiful garden world beneath the dome. This was not over, it was far from over, and he bared his teeth.
* * *
Reeal Times-available now throughout Reeal controlled space.
Peace! Summit a success
Reeal agrees to give up Lord Kra Kra!

Daily Children
FTL drives!

In a recent trade with the Mananins at a recent conference the Canthin has finally got FTL capabilities!
Planet traded in exchange for FTL9

In other news:
Atheist terrorist group ARG destroys government infrastructure of both nations!
Atheist Revenge Group is after revenge for the trading of the Atheists planet against their will!
Attacks on Atheists reach a new time high as mobs roam the streets hunting for them!

Terror war
Growlles maneuvered in space, around the hull of the vast new ship. It was being constructed in space, in a freeyard. The freeyards principle was simple, a frame around the ship while it was being built, which was then dismantled upon completion. Until then the frame just floated in space, thrusters occasionally altering the direction the frame was traveling in. the frame was mostly a net around the ship to stop components from floating away. They were also able to be constructed in greater numbers than a fixed orbital shipyard, they did have the downside of taking slightly longer to complete a ship. This meant they were often used to construct non-capital ships.

But in this case it was a capital ship Growlles was working on. And not just any capital ship, but a dreadnought, the latest type. It was being constructed in a freeyard because there was not any shipyard slip big enough to fit it in, and so they were being built in freeyards until new shipyards could be built or old ones expanded.

Growlles headed to one of the quarter blocks, which provided barracks and recreational facilities for the workers constructing the ship. It was here he lived while he was building the ship. But he would not be living here for much longer. Soon he would put the plan into action. And he had been chosen to do it.

Growlles landed on a ledge next to the airlocks. It would be good to get out of this suit, even if it was better than the bulky ones of the early space era, it still limited his movement. He went through the airlock and removed his helmet. He took a deep breath of the fresher air. He then proceeded to his room, where he changed out of his ship suit. He then proceeded to the temple to attend the service.

All through it he could barely contain his hatred, his disgust, at the priests of the Reeal Pantheon. Them, who had not only ignored the suffering and persecution of his people but had actively encouraged it. All he had to do was survive through this last service. Then it would be all over. His purpose, his revenge, served. Growlles managed to survive through the service without alerting anyone to his hated. He was experienced at this. If he wasn’t he would not have gotten his current position.

Growlles checked his equipment before going to bed. It was all ready and perfect. His fellow bunk mates suspected nothing. He did not care for them. They were people who believed in imaginary gods. Gods were just advanced races, not any kind of supernatural being. Growlles was an atheist at heart, and believed most surely in being one. He hated how his people had been slaughtered at the hands of the Reeal. But tomorrow, tomorrow was when he would get his revenge. He went to sleep.

Next morning as he went out to his shift. Under his suit he strapped a special device to himself. It had been supplied by others who felt like him, from supporters in the Republic. He proceeded at doing his job. At around midday he headed into the hull, towards one of the main parts of the ship, a major structural beam. Once there he shouted out.
“For the Atheists, for what you have done to my people. In the name of ARG I get my revenge” he then slapped his chest, where, under his suit a button was concealed. The containment field around the single, small particle of antimatter ceased to exist, and this particle spun into a particle of matter. The resulting explosion destroyed much of the ship and killed many of the workers, including Growlles, agent 142 of Atheist Revenge Group. The ship, the DN-0011, with no name and only a hull number, was considered a write off. The inquisition increased its efforts to find heretics and none believers, and many innocents were caught in their grasp, and promptly executed.

Insanity and politics
High priest Meeowan signed the order for war. He then moved onto the next and wrote how he wanted the planet of Ale-Tura bombarded out of existence.

Reeaky took these from Meeowan’s desk. He looked at them dismayed, his ears drooping. “Sir, are you sure you want these orders fulfilled…”
“Get on with it” Meeowan growled. Reeaky dismayed walked out of the room. It was getting worse. Behind him Meeowan began giggling again, and an insane laugh rang out across the entire building. Reeaky cringed within. This was the problem. For over a year Meeowan had been getting worse, the orders getting more and more crazy. This was the High Priest and leader of the Reeal. And he was mad.

For that year the orders of Meeowan had been given to Reeaky and other assistants, who quietly filed the more extreme ones in the recycling unit, and edited the less extreme ones into the bin. And through all this a power war had grown up. Everyone knew that Meeowan would not last much longer, and so was getting themselves into position to seize power from him when he fell. Or rather, grab as much power as they could. Reeaky was one of the few seen about the capital that did not participate in the power plays. He did not want power, why would he need power.

He turned the corner into his office and dumped the orders into the recycler. He then put a call into who he believed were the chief ones currently trying to sieze power, and recounted what messages and orders needed to be written. He had survived this long because he was completely neutral and kept them all informed. He them tidied up his desk and left the government building, heading home.

He never made it. His aircar collided with another part way home. The fault was the other drivers, to all appearances. Dreeeo grinned as he saw the explosion. The chip in the other aircar had worked perfectly. And it had driven into Reeaky’s aircar exactly according to plan.

He turned back towards the government building, and returned to his offices within the inquisitions department. With the last of the neutrals out of the way they could get on with things.

An hour later Freeowa returned to the building, angry that her time had been wasted. When she learned of the crash she was even angrier. Her job had been to do just that; kill Reeaky. She turned towards the offices of the navy.

The head of the police force was also surprised about this. He hurriedly canceled the airtruck that was to crash into Reeaky’s house in the coming night. He was exhausted when he was finished.

Meeowan happily received fake reports and sent out orders that were ignored, while about him the police, the inquisition, and the navy began to wage war against one another. The other players were all minor, and were taken out quite quickly for the most part. Some, however, banded into alliances that were harder to take down…

Beauty firestorm
Rear Admiral Marwen Parsep stared at the orders the Atheists Republics president had just handed him.
“You want to what!?” he said to the assembled politicians before him.
“It is relatively simple, in order to get the maximum efficiency from your forces we are going to spread them across our own forces, so they are in positions to support our own forces” was the reply president Breeown Grordos gave him.
“But this is not the best way to do…” said Narrsan Ferer, ambassador to the Atheists Republic from the Ale-Turan Salespersons Alliance, who had lent the 56th grand fleet that was being discussed.
“Nonsense, our military commanders have reviewed these proposals and agree with them fully” Hreeos Creeowam, 1st Naval minister said.
Both Marwen Parsep and Narrsan Ferer had to bite off the retort that that was because they were idiot civilians, who had used their money to get them into their current positions in the navy. They had no business commanding naval forces in their eyes. But this was not their navy, but an ally’s who they were here to help out.
“Very well, but please let it be noted that this is your plan. I will wait aboard the Profit Warrior for my task force to leave” replied Marwen Parsep getting up to leave.
“Ah yes about that. Due to the vital importance of that task forces mission we will be putting it under Flag Admiral Breeows Creeowam’s direct control. He will be using the Profit Warrior as his flagship” was the reply Hreeos Creeowam gave to Marwen as he got up to leave.
Marwen whirled about and stared at the 1st Naval minister. First they had saddled him with stupid orders and now they were putting his ship, an Olimpus Cruiser, one of the biggest ships in the entire Ale-Turan navy, under the direct command of an idiot. And he would be on his ship, where he would have to listen to his stupid orders in person.
Marwen ground his teeth and left the room. He would do his job, he would make sure of it.
* * *
Breeows Creeowam lounged in the command chair of the Profit Warrior has it hurtled towards OTL Cranas Beauty (RHE061) at FTL 9. He was on the flag bridge of the ship, and the chair was not exactly comfortable. This was because it had been built for a totally different race, but he was not going to let such a small thing as that let him stop exercising his superiority over the crew. The crew did not really like him, he was obnoxious and had a big ego, and felt he had to exercise his superiority all over the ship. They had found out from his staff that he had bought his commission rather than earned it, and the only reason he was here was because his father was 1st Naval Lord.
Marwen really hated him. He could not stand the imbecile’s idiot orders nthat he kept giving out. Anmd his complete lack of any skill in tactics made it even worse. He had been forced to give up his room, and then the b****** had the gall to complain it was too small. It was a warship for f***s sake! Space was at a premium. You had to put as many magazines and weapons in as small a space as possible so you did not present a big target to the enemy. It was not a commercial liner, with as much space to put big suites and swimming pools in.

He sighed. And turned his thoughts to the coming battle. They were going to hit and destroy orbital industry in OTL Crana’s Beauty, which he had been assured was the main industrial system of the Children. The system was defended by the CTN’s 6th and 7th fleets. The total number of ships he could be facing then was 2540 regular ships, with an unknown number of carriers and fighters. What he really needed to worry about was those damn pods that had been used in the fight between his own navies Pride of Ale-Tura, and the CTN’s superdreadnought the Glory. That had caused some damage to the Pride, but the Pride had still bested the Glory in a one on one fight, and the olimpus, which his Profit Warrior is, was bigger than the Pride, which had been Elesium Heavy Super Cruiser Mark II. He knew his ships could best anything the Children could throw at then on a one to one basis. But the problem was that the Ale-turan ships he was taking in to battle did not even number a half of the ships he was predicted to face. He had with him;1 Olimpus heavy super cruiser, 2 Elesiums mk2’s, including the Pride, 25 regular cruisers, 12 battle carriers, each with 12 fighters, 12 travel carriers with 24 fighters each, and 200 battle ships. He also had the 2nd and 7th fleets of the Republican Grand Navy. These fleets had only 4 superdreadnoughts between them, and only 1260 other ships. This left him with precisely 1264 ships from the republic and 252 ships from his own navy, a total of 1516 against 2540 ships. The theory the Republic had given was that it would not need many ships as the superior technology of the Alliance ships would decimate the Childrens own, with at least 2 to 1 odds in their favor. Marwen disagreed personally. Those pods were a vicious weapon that the Children had come up with. And intelligence said it was not the only thing that had come out of true superiority project, or even Project X, that system where all top secret work and testing was done. He was afraid of what he would find in Crana’s beauty, and what horrors that lay beneath that beauty.
* * *
Task Force 1 dropped out of FTL just days after the declaration of war had been delivered. Marwen looked on nervously. His scanners were only picking up one fleet, which was out between the planets Meeak Greeow and OTL Cranas Worship, the two big gas giants in the system. The fleet had only 1260 ships, but intelligence said that they did not have enough building slips that were big enough for superdreadnoughts yet to produce them for every fleet. But still, there ought to be at least one and where was the other fleet?
“Set a course directly for that fleet” commanded Breeows Creeowam.
Marwen whirled and stared at the rich idiot. “Sir, respectfully we do not have the other fleet on our scanners and the numbers of that fleet seem suspicious. It would be unwise to rush and attack the fleet when we could do a simple pass of Meeak Greeow and wipe out the orbital industry there” was what he said to Breeows.
“They are probably of on a mission somewhere. As for the orbitals, we can do it at our leisure once we have wiped out that fleet” dismissed Breeows.
Marwen turned away. For all they knew the second fleet might right now be decimating Atheists Haven, but they did not know for sure. And if they were not in system then why were the other fleet so far away from the planet?
* * *
Flag Admiral Greeowa Greeow, sister to Queeowran Greeow and daughter to the great admiral Meeak Greeow, who the planet within this system was named after, stood on her flag bridge aboard the CTNS Avenger. It was a wonderful name, especially after she had spotted the Pride of Ale-Tura, the killer of her brother and his ship, within the fleet that had begun to chase after the 6th fleet. They were doing exactly as she had hoped they would. She knew she would have to be patient to get her revenge, but it would not be much longer.
“All ships begin to close, maintain full stealth” she said to her fleet staff, “inform admiral Creean that he will launch when the fleet is within range of both of us”
She turned back to her scanners with a vicious grin. It was almost time for her revenge.
* * *
Marwen heard Breeows curse as he watched the fleet they were chasing continue to run from them. They could have caught it easily if the Ale-Turan ships had gone full speed, but that would mean leaving the Republican ships behind. This would have left him with only 252 ships instead of the superior 1516 ships he would have if he had left them behind. At least he’d managed to convinced Breeows of the advantage of keeping the ships together, instead of rushing off; they would be better able to handle an ambush or attack and take less damage.
* * *
Greeowa looked as those ships heading directly into her trap. They were staying together, which was better than she had hoped. At most, she had hoped for the Ale-Turan ships that were her target would fall into her trap. At least, her whole plan would have been a waste and she would have to chase after them. This was better than she had let herself hope would happen.
“When they reach point 1, admiral Creeow will fire, 5 seconds later we will fire. Admiral Freeow will fire at will from that point, as shall we after we have fired our original volley.” She said to her communications officer. The orders flew out on small, undetectable, whisker lasers that could only be intercepted if there was a ship passing through it. She had aimed it directly at the planet, at a polar orbital that she knew did not move.
* * *
Admiral Creeow looked at the orders that the Flag Admiral had given him. This meant that the planning they had done was about to be put to use.
“Send orders to all orbital weapons platforms to make ready. We will fire as one” he commanded to his communication techs. He turned around to survey his bridge. It was bigger than one you would find on a starship. It did, after all, command every orbital weapon that the planet Meeak Greeow had. He grinned at the hell that was about to rush out to decimate the enemy. He grinned and his ears perked up, it was time to show those fools who was boss.
“They have reached point 1, fire!”
* * *
The weapons platforms that were in orbit were arranged so that there was always half aiming in one direction. There were over 8000 of them, with a few crew members on each, and each one controlled over 50 pods. 4000 were facing in the direction of task force 1, and they all fired as one, launching their 200,000 pods towards the enemy. The pods had 6 missiles each and that meant that 1,200,000 missiles fired away.
* * *
Marwen jerked back as the missiles blossomed onto his tactical screen. There was no way!
“Enemy fleet bearing 270 degrees! Launching!” came the cry from a scanner tech. And Marwen whirled to stare at the screen, where his task force was pinned between the titanic missiles charging towards him.
“Unknown ship sizes present within fleet 2, sir! At least one of them matches the Olimpus in size!” Marwen stared. He had brought the entire task force into a trap. Breeows was staring at the screen, openmouthed. He fainted. It was the last thing he ever did.
* * *
Greeowa was commanding 7th fleet, which also had the superdreadnoughts from the 6th. She also had under her control 5 brand new monitors and 1 supermonitor, both of which had come in from Project X. These were the pride of the entire Children Temple Navy, at least until the devastators were completed. 7th fleet was at full strength, meaning it had 1270 ships. It also had 40 carriers, both 6th and 7th fleet’s complements, with it.

She had fired from all ships, and they all had pods on their tractor beams. Even destroyers had them. They had fired at the same time from all ships. The basic 7th fleet fired its 24,700 pods at the enemy, the 6th fleet superdreadnoughts fired their 350 pods at the enemy, and the massive titans of the monitors and supermonitor fired their 490 pods at the opposition. This made a total of 25,540 pods firing at task force 1. The pods each fired 6 missiles, which meant that 153,240 missiles sped from 7th fleets pods.
That was the pods alone; all the ships also fired their broadsides. This added another 103,390 missiles to the volley, making a grand total of 256,630 missiles sped from the 7th fleet.
* * *
No Canthin fleet had ever faced such numbers at once. No battle had lasted long enough for such numbers to be used, but to fire them all in one volley was thought to be impossible before the introduction of the pod. Worse for task force 1 was that they had been fired to arrive at the same time. Meaning instead of two massively large waves that the task force could deal with separately, it was facing one immense wave that was coming in from opposite directions. This meant they were facing 1,456,630 missiles at the same time. Even worse, as no one had expected to face that many missiles at once, they hadn’t built their tactical computers to either. Even the Ale-Turans had not expected their computers and defenses to face this many in one go. And so they failed. This left point defense weapons on manual, and heroic crews tried futilely to shoot down the incoming missiles. Most missed without their computers to help them, or several shot at the same missile. In meant absolute chaos to the defenders. Some point defense stations did not fire at all; their crews just did not know how to fire without computers. Others hit other ships in their effort to stop the incoming swarm. They had just seconds to hit before they exploded.

Only 2580 normal missiles and 1050 capital ship missiles were destroyed. The missiles then exploded, sending their lasers across the vastness of space to hit the enemy fleet. 75,200 of the incoming missiles were normal missiles, with only 3 lasers each. Without the ones that were destroyed they fired 217,860 across the space where task force one was. The missiles fired from the pods were capital missiles mk2, as were the ones being fired from the capital ships. These missiles fired 8 lasers each. With the 1,380,380 capital missiles that survived through the defenses the total number of lasers they through at the enemy was 11,043,040, making a grand total of 11,260,900 lasers poured into the vicinity of task force 1.

A large portion of these missed completely, but the vast majority did hit something. The Canthin ships stood no chance against the storm, but they were lucky; they only absorbed a small portion of the missiles, as most of them were aimed at the Ale-Turan ships.

3 destroyers and 1 light cruiser of the RGN were destroyed when the dreadnought RGNS Charger’s antimatter power rooms exploded due to damage caused by lasers, sending a glare of antimatter across the battlefield.

The Republican carriers were destroyed before they could even get off their ready fighters. Their hulls were much weaker than the battleships which they were a similar size to, as the fighter bays that studded their sides took away a lot of the armour.

The 24 Ale-Turan carriers were among the first Ale-Turan ships to be destroyed. A few of them did manage to get off their fighters in time. But they were pathetically few, and several ran straight into the lasers that had turned the area around their mother ships into hell itself.

The Pride of Ale-Tura had had a leadership change since its battle with the Glory. Commodore Marta Brooke had been transferred, and had been replaced by Commodore Harwen Freedan, whose rich family had negotiated for the Ale-Turan Military Council to get some discounts if their relative got to go around in an important ship as a commodore. They had placed him in command of the Pride as it was a prestigious command and it didn’t have a commodore at the time. The suddenness of the war had meant that they had not had time to transfer him off the ship. He had panicked when he had seen the storm rushing towards his ship and ordered an immediate jump to FTL. Despite initial shock his crew obeyed and the Pride jumped to FTL. The jump caused damage to 4 nearby cruisers, which were destroyed moments later by the lasers. The Pride itself suffered damage due to its jump too close to objects that were not jumping, and the FTL drive overloaded, limiting them to FTL 2 for the rest of the journey. When he got to the nearest base he was arrested and imprisoned for cowardice in the face of the enemy.

The Profit Warrior lasted longer than many of the other ships, but the majority of the missiles were aimed at it. Its 5 layers of shields held for a while, before giving up and the lasers bored home into the hull. It still took a large number of lasers but the Profit Warrior still exploded. Its destruction left the remainder of the fleet leaderless and the command structure in disarray, preventing the order to retreat being given on a large basis, leaving massive numbers of the remaining ships to die in follow up attacks.
* * *
The attack destroyed much of the fleet but there were still over a hundred ships on the Republics side. Most of them were Ale-Turan battleships, with a sprinkling of Republic capital ships. They were hit by the missiles fired from the 6th fleet, which had reversed course. Few of the ships officer’s thoughts were on the fact that they were firing them from far outside a conventional drives range. Even fewer noticed that a second drive was kicking in halfway, giving them twice the conventional range.

10 Ale-Turan battleships launched to FTL 9, heading back to the alliance base at Ettin. Following them were 2 battleships and 3 battlecruisers from the RGN, who headed back to Atheists Haven, the only republic ships to escape the devastation.

2000 mk5 sword fighters, 50 each from the 40 carriers, screamed in towards the remaining ships. The few enemy fighters who had launched desperately tried to defend against the incoming swarm. They all died, but with them they took their number. The fighters then turned to pick off the remaining enemy ships.

20 Ale-Turan battleships charged 7th fleet under the covering fire laid down by the RGNS Leeow and RGNS Fire-Master, the only surviving Republican Dreadnoughts. The majority of the battleships were shot down before they got anywhere near the Children’s ships, but one got through. It was the Industry King, and, having no other weapon, it rammed the monitor CTNS Warhammer. The monitor was not destroyed outright; the damage to it meant that it would never fight again; it was cheaper to build a new ship than repair the Warhammer. The dreadnoughts were destroyed during the attack, but did inflict some damage to 7th fleet. This was the only damage done to the Children’s ships during the entire battle.

The battleship RGNS Sword held off fighters from 12 Ale-Turan battleships while they charged their FTL drives and maneuvered into position. All 12 of them managed to get away with only the damage sustained during the initial volley. The Sword did not follow them; it was destroyed by fighters after taking out over 100 of the small things. It caused the biggest casualties to the fighters of all the ships.
* * *
Greeowa stared out towards the dispersing wreckage from her cabin aboard the CTNS Avenger. The massive supermonitor was resting in orbit around the planet named after her father. She knew she would suffer the deaths of all those people on her shoulders for the rest of her lifetime. She also cursed herself for revealing the MDMs when she did not really need to. She had not expected that many ships to fall into her trap, nor had she expected that so many of them would be destroyed in the first volley. She had expected many more to survive and have to fight. The loss of the Warhammer was a bit of a blow; most of the crew had not survived. But the losses were much, much lower than they would have been if the fight had been a traditional battle. She turned to look over the disappearing evidence that there had been a battle here. Soon all that would remain would be a few pieces caught in orbit and the records. She sighed and her ears drooped. The history books would call this one of the best victories the Children ever had. But she still mourned the loss of life.
* * *
Narrsan Ferer entered the military planning room and once again surveyed the idiots who ran this Republic. The president Breeown Grordos greeted him as he entered. Behind him stood a grim looking Hreeos Creeowam.
“Welcome, and now we shall get down to business. And terrible in light of the news that has reached us. It is our conclusion that the idiot that your navy sent to command the 56th grand fleet caused this disaster. It is ok, we do not blame your navy for not realizing this, and we ourselves have had problems with naval officers that look good on paper but are terrible in battle. But we do think that the alliance should have spotted him before he got in such a position to kill so many people” said Breeown.
Narrsan stared. Those idiots had insisted on the b****** they had put in charge and they were now blaming it on the Ale-Turan admiral. He clenched his fists under the table, and it was all he could do to stop himself from smashing in the face of the president. But he restrained himself on the grounds that it wouldn’t help relations with his country and they would probably shoot or arrest him on the spot. He leaned back in his chair and hoped that the Mananins or Zionites or someone would declare war upon the Ale-Turan salespersons alliance just so he would get recalled and put in charge of a fleet. The meeting passed by without another incident.

And all hel broke loose
Meeowan climbed into bed, his work for the day finished. The clerks tidied up his paperwork. They then took it outside. Meeowan began to quietly giggle to himself. The door closed to. Outside it Meeowan heard voices. They were doing it again. Saying he was mad. And they were going to get rid of his paperwork. That was a shame. The Lords had told him those sums. He heard them in his dreams. And he felt them all around. Most of it was hard to work out and it was nonsense most of the time. Meeowan slipped soundlessly into sleep.

“Hey Treeow, look at these weird sums. What do you reckon these are for? Eh?”
“Just shove them in the recycler” there came a sound of paper shredding as the sums required for an interdimensional shunt were chewed up. Then came more sound as the plans for a black hole drive were munched as well. Neither of the 3 three clerks knew they were tearing up plans for devices millennia ahead of their current technology.

Several races had discovered the fact that the mad seemed more in tune with the universe. The only problem was that you needed another madman to understand the plans they made. One of the most powerful to have discovered this was the people from beyond. But this was now irrelevant. As the man who would trigger one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the Canthin had a heart attack.

It was midday before the leaders knew about; the first 5 sets of 3 clerks had shot each other dead to stop the other factions from discovering it. A maid who was apolitical came into the bedroom. Her scream raised the alarm.

No one ever knew this, because everyone that did was killed when the tactical nuke hit the government building 5 minutes later. All the different sides knew was the war they had been preparing for decades was upon them.

And then it was the end of the Reeal.

End of the blind eyes at Randel
The SSF ships jumped into the system of Randel Station. They received no hail. They quickly headed in system. Admiral Hanloon was immediately suspicious. They headed towards the planet where Randel station was situated.

“Sir, I’m picking up evidence of fighting upon my scanners. Wait, I’ve got the CPN station upon my scanners now sir. Looks like someone fired on it” called the sensor tech.
“Any ship signals sensors?” asked the admiral.
“No, only maydays I’m afraid. And half of them are calling no life alive”

One of the escort corvettes docked with the CPN station. The SSF didn’t like the Children Privateer Navy, even if they were all supposed to be reformed.
“Admiral, this is the Swishblade. We have found survivors on board. One of the ones claims to be in charge and wants to speak to you”
“Bring him over” came the reply.

“Thank you for seeing me. My name is Kreeow Hrin, and I am from the Children intelligence services” said the stranger.
“Intelligence? What is an intelligence officer doing here? Shouldn’t you be out there spying on other governments?” said the admiral.
“Surely you must have heard us claiming that Randel station was a legitimate government? Well, that was sort of true. You see, the Children have a sort of policy; to become one of the most powerful nations in the galaxiki. That policy has inspired our governments to do things that in hindsight… may not be advised. One of these policies was removing the Reeal as a threat. Creeowa started to poison the High Priest, leading to disruption in the Reeal state, and we found out about it. We offered to assist her with money to continue and to stop preying upon Children shipping. The same policy went into the founding of the Privateers. We didn’t really care what the Privateers did as long as they didn’t prey upon our shipping and stopped others from doing so. We agreed we would ignore her and Randel station, and then acknowledge her as a legal government. However, something has gone wrong. She has vanished, and before she did she killed anyone who did not have allegiance to her, or tried to anyway. Your SSF guy was her lover, and willing to turn a blind eye to her allowing pirates here, but we don’t think he ever knew the extent of what she did” the Canthin looked unhappy just now. “The SSF ships were taken over one by one, replaced with new crews loyal to Creeowa. The remaining were killed before she left, by her personally.”
The admiral stared at the guy. “You mean she has brand new ships under her command?” he asked.
“Oh she has more than that. She has an entire fleet. And what’s worse, I don’t know her plans.”
* * *
Creeowa gritted her teeth as another ship blew up. Her ears were shaking with rage. These little upstarts were attacking her?!? She would show them. She definitely would. Her fleet was bigger than anything the Reeal had left. Even if they could co-operate properly. But those damned superdreadnoughts were the problem. They were the biggest ships the Reeal had ever built, and then there were the dreadnoughts. Creeowa, meanwhile, had nothing bigger than a battleship. And that was the only one she had. She glared again as it vanished off the plot, destroyed.

“Sir, I don’t think we can win…” said one of her admiralty staff. Creeowa screamed and leapt up, drawing her Katana like sword. She sliced his head off. She knew she didn’t have to, of course, one cut and this thing killed, but only if it’s wieldier wanted. That was now guaranteed thanks to the amulate. She turned to her shocked crew.
“I will win,” she turned to her plot “eventually. All ships, jump to point alpha now” she called out.

Creeowa’s fleet jumped. She knew she would win. She would, and she was determined.
* * *
The surviving Reeal met up in a station afterwards, with guards.
“How could she have almost succeeded?” asked one of them.
“Because we were divided and fighting each other. That is why” said another.
“Why are we fighting anyway?” asked another.
“For control of our country” said another.
“What country? We’ve destroyed most of it. We hardly have the infrastructure to survive as an advanced nation. Without help my scientists have calculated that we will be back to Heeerin pulled ploughs within a century if we keep this up for much longer. And we will still need outside help to stop it” said the third.
The others stared at him. They suddenly began calling up their own scientist to begin calculations and simulations.
“Could we ask the other Canthin nations to help?” asked one finally.
“Ha, the only help we could get from either of them would be invasion. Would you want to be under either of them’s rule?” said the third.
“Then it’s over is it?” asked the first.
“Unless we can get some outside help then yes, I’m afraid” said the third.
The staff around the table looked unhappy.
“Perhaps we could have some sort of alliance?” one of them asked.
“Possible, we could start investigating possibilities out there. Although I’m not too sure how much help we’ll get” said the third thoughtfully.
The people in the room all agreed to have an alliance. They all knew how uneasy it was though.

They also didn’t have much hope. Then they began to talk to the Zionites and Mananins. And things began to start looking up.

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