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Game #4 - The Warp Factor

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So remember when I told you the next Commenters Command would be a modernish game ?

Well, I lied I changed my plans.

Congratulation on your promotion to Captain ! You will command one of our finest ships.

Why ship you ask ? Well, you get to choose !

 

  • The USS Enterprise An Alliance Dreadnought

  • A Klingon Klargon Dreadnought

 

  • The Millenium Falcon A Freemen Freighter

  • An Imperial wait it is still Imperial Raider

 

- A not sure where they stole that one from Reman Raider

 

 

I need 3-4 admirals, for this relatively interactive Let's Play (= Computer Ambush).

All ships must belong to one faction, so whoever has the most convincing in-character blurb gets to choose the faction AND drive the flagship, the other ones get the "second class" ships.

 

Dayyalu, Brutus Trump and whowh have reacted to this post.
DayyaluBrutus Trumpwhowh

Pinging the crew :

@andnjord @baud @dayyalu @strange-fellow @alxeu @kalarion @helly @brutus-trump @claudio-von-panjim @egosphere @whowh

 

 

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Brutus Trump

Chimere (one of @admin6572many aliases) waits at the cantina. A band plays in the background as Chimere keeps waiting. Finally, after a few hours, the doors of the cantina swing open. Brutus Trump had arrived. With a gun in his hand, he shoots down a bottle from a patron's hand. He orders  demands 6 beers from the bartender. 5 for him, 1 for Chewemere. It might've been Chemere, he didn't know. Finally, he sat down across from Chimere, ready to discuss the ship. "I want that Millenium Falcon." It was no use for Chimere to explain that it was the Freeman Fighter, a rip-off version of the Millenium Falcon. Brutus Trump was one stubborn man. "I want to shoot down some Americans     Klargons. Brutus Trump had used to be a Japanese Fighter Pilot. After being captured by the Americans, he broke free and went crazy in some desert near the cantina. Chimere, after a while, finally gave Brutus Trump the ship. This was not because Brutus Trump deserved the ship. This was because Brutus Trump had a gun and was crazy.) Finally, the ship took off. Brutus Trump was ready to take down some Klargons.

The Wargaming Scribe has reacted to this post.
The Wargaming Scribe

After my timely intervention at Orion, they called me a hero.

I guess I've been called worse. Not by many people who lived to tell about it, but then the Federation isn't exactly the kind of organization a bit part mercenary like myself goes raising his fists at. Not if he expects to keep them. Of course, the details surrounding my involvement in that particular conflict never reached the public ear, somehow. Of course not. The Board would sooner rub out their own mothers than let the cracks show.

It's not the fame I mind. Not the pointless platitudes, the thousand handshakes from people who only know me by whatever propaganda they feed the little guys on Federation worlds. After all, those only make my job easier. No, the problem is the look on the face of the poor schmuck working the trading post out the Uranus-end of nowhere, when he realizes that I'm not there to save him from the inbound pirate flotilla -- I'm there to beat them to the prize. It's a look that used to be reserved for common prospector prostitutes, and call me sentimental, but the glare of it puts me off the whole business. Hatred is fine, hatred I'm used to. Say what you will about me, but I was always honest. I never asked for this.

Or maybe I did.

The comms on the War Eagle are flaring up like a Christmas tree in heat. There aren't many out there with the know-how to pierce my Do Not Disturb program, and fewer who'd try it. I don't need to check who's calling. Whatever they want this time, they'd better be paying overtime, and then some...

 

The Wargaming Scribe, Dayyalu and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
The Wargaming ScribeDayyalubaudBrutus Trump

Commander Baud swaggered in the command center like he owned the place and with his recent promotion, it was the case it was bloody better be the case! Yes, it was a field promotion following the death in action of the previous squadron commander, the regretted Commodore Derulin, and yes, a careful examination of Derulin's wreck might reveal it was friendly fire that brought down her Imperial Raider, but, considering his status as Imperial ace and how his forces were hot in pursuit of the Alliance ships present in the sector, High Command might let it slide. Sipping in his recaff mug, the Commander surveyed the situation shown on the various screens: his squadron was at nominal strength and preliminary scouting sweep had detected ionic trails, particularity of Alliance drives, leading toward the outer planets of the Marais systems. The free port in orbit of the 3rd gas giant of the system might had been their destination and if it wasn't the case, it might be a good place to find information and maybe pick up some restricted merchandises to resell back on the capital world...

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DayyaluStrange FellowBrutus Trump

Hmm, so Strange Fellow wins with Baud close second BUT as I trained a bit I realized that Reman are unbalanced boring for the purpose of the AAR by virtue of having, for the second class-ship, only one weapon : a very powerful torpedo... that fires every 3 turns, so the gameplay is basically Cloak, cloak, shoot, cloak, cloak, shoot. Boring.

 

All the other factions are fine,so we will go with Baud's story, but Strange as the squadron leader. So welcome to the Empire. Well, its remains.

@Baud, given your story can go two directions, I let you choose whether you are going against the ALLIANCE, or maybe raid some FReemen for restricted merchandises. In the first case, it will be your many small ships against 1, max 2 if we have more players big ships. In the second case, it will be a small ship combat where you try to intercept the Falcon Mil... I mean, a freighter with an escort.

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DayyaluBrutus Trump

I'd say go against the Alliance.

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Brutus Trump

I. Chance interception

"Well, here we are" thought Commodore Fellow "Ionic trails maybe, but there is nothing else now"

Still, ionic trails tell no lies. Probably it was still out there, whatever IT was. Maybe the alliance ship was a non-combatant. Maybe it was some clever trick by proactive residents of the local mining world. Or maybe the alliance ship was part of the group destroyed by the late Commodore Derulin a few days ago- how long do these trails linger around anyway ?

But if there was indeed one alliance battleship remaining in this sector, it would be a really, really bad idea to stumble upon it as they would come back from raiding the local starport, and as they would still be in the gravity well of the gas giant.

"Not that I can do anything with those 3 light fighters against an alliance battleship anyway. And that's even before I take into account "Commander" Baud's lousy aim."

Commodore Fellow's line of thoughts dstopped. Something was jumping in. Alliance. Class-2. Heavy-cruiser.

Here it was. Right in front of them.

 

So what do we have :

Commodore Fellow is onboard The Strange Fellow, an Imperial Raider :

 

It goes fast (23 distance unit by turn, at max energy allocation, up to almost 40 if draining the batteries), it turns well, thought its armament is sub-par :

  • Light Phasers have a range of 40 and they are, well, not very efficient
  • Disruptor Bolt are fairly short range weapon (range : 25), but they can be overcharged (at the cost of energy, see below) - in which case they have a much small range (maybe 10-15) but is quite powerful

Everything is front-facing

 

Commandant Baud (onboard the Baud's Pulse) and Lieutenant Brutus (onboard the Trump Card) have imperial fighters.

 

It is extremely nimble, and very fast (up to 35 at max energy). Armament is even more subpar than the Raider, BUT it has one surprise : drones.

Drones are basically homing missiles that can shoot at anything at 360 degrees :

  • Type 1 drone have a speed of 15, and persist for 2 turns before they exhaust. They have a medium warhead. They are made to combat fighters.
  • Type 2 drone have a speed of 10, but persist for 4 turns and they pack a lot of punch.

The problem with drones is that unlike every other weapon, once you shot them they are gone forever, so use them wisely.

 

As for the Alliance ship :

  • Heavy phasers also have a range of 40, and they pack some punch. A shield of 3 may stop 1 hit, but the second-class imperial fighter have a shield of 3 only on front and back.
  • Photon Torpedoes have a range of 20 and must be charged 2 turns before shooting them. I don't think any of your ship can survive a direct hit - maybe Fellow's raider, but even then the ship will be unfit for further combat.

All weapons are front-facing, though only 2 phasers can shoot on each side, and there is a blind spot of 90 degrees behind it.

  • Sluggish turn rate, but it can reach a speed of 34... if it allocates all its energy to that for several turns, so unlikely to happen.

 

The way the game works is that you allocate every turn your energy to your engine (for speed, acceleration and deceleration is progressive), your shield (the start full, you can overcharge them for one turn), your weapons :

  • phasers start charged, you can use a turn to charge them but not shoot them,
  • disruptor bolts needs to be shot the turn they are charged), drones don't consume energy but you can only send one per turn,
  • batteries (allowing you to have more energy a following turn, you start will the batteries filled)

There is also ECM (to avoid the enemy locking its torpedo on you) and anti-ECM (if you sent your missiles, and you feel confident to invest up to 6 energy in that) but I will propose you to use them when it makes sense.

Good luck, pilots.

 

 

 

Dayyalu, baud and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
DayyalubaudStrange FellowBrutus Trump

Goshdammit.

Why I am always late at the best stuff. Well, guys, kick those Not!Federation bastards.

 

Brutus Trump has reacted to this post.
Brutus Trump

How much energy do we start with?

Quote from Brutus Trump on 30 June 2021, 21h27

How much energy do we start with?

It's engine, so 8/turn + a battery of 2 for you, 10/turn with a battery of 5 for Strange

But don't bother yourself too much with the exact number. I will manage that. Give me the general instruction.

Quote from Dayyalu on 30 June 2021, 20h29

Goshdammit.

Why I am always late at the best stuff. Well, guys, kick those Not!Federation bastards.

Commodore Fellow sends a message on the intercom "We found another of those bastard,s can anyone can come to support us"

 

I will try to find a way to introduce you. No guarantee... yet

Brutus Trump has reacted to this post.
Brutus Trump

As the instruments aboard the Fellow shrieked and flashed, I cursed myself for having taken the job. Of course, as the Empire reps had wisely pointed out, it had been an offer I couldn't refuse.

I thought I'd taken every precaution. The meeting spot had been their suggestion, but it was just my kind of place. It was the type of bar that will only admit you if you don't look like you'll be missed, hidden away in the bad part of a backwater spaceport whose customs officers will look at you funny if your visa isn't forged. I had sat down facing the door, as always, but like I know all too well, a place like that always has more than one exit. I hadn't even risen from my chair before I felt the muzzle of a heavy-ordinance blaster squeezing into my jugular. All I could do was watch as the other patrons sidled away from my table with a determined ease which said that if anyone were to ask, they'd seen nothing and heard less. Then I made two observations.

One: I was no longer dealing with the Federation. They're more subtle than this.

Two: I was in deep shit.

The ensuing conversation was short and to the point. The Imperial spies had done their homework: they knew that I had intimate knowledge of Alliance vessels and attack patterns, and that whatever I knew would be theirs for the right price. Unfortunately for me, the only currencies minted in the Empire are steel and fire. Whatever happened, I would not be getting out of the proceedings a rich man, except maybe in those two quantities. But, as the Imperial envoy cheerfully informed me, my chin lifted by his grunt's gun like a jacket on a hatstand, they figured I'd sooner get out a poor man than in the form of a billion particles of charred freeze-dried organics. They figured correctly.

***

A tiny green blip on the dashboard tore me away from my thoughts. It was the radar. We had company. I barked some orders into the intercom and saw my two companions fan out on either side of me. I had no idea what the Empire was thinking, sending them. Maybe their logic was that the secrecy of the mission would be more easily preserved not by bullying good pilots, but by sending two along who wouldn't be able to work a light-speed transmitter with point-by-point instructions. Or maybe they'd heard I prefer to work alone, and had decided to let me. In any case, I wasn't optimistic about our chances. I'd identified the Heavy Cruiser straight away, and I knew that in a straight up brawl we didn't stand a chance. Somehow I'd need to get within range of the Fellow's disruptor bolts without getting blown to pieces, and the only way to do that would be to outmaneuver it. The only ace up my sleeve was the fact that my companions were too dim to realize their role in this: bait. If I could somehow get the cruiser to focus on one of them, I could charge in at an angle and let loose. Quick in, quick out. It sounded like a plan, anyway.

But you know what they say about plans and first contact...

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Brutus Trump

Lieutenant Brutus Trump sat at the cockpit of The Trump Card.    The Trump Card was a fine ship. It was a TIE Fighter  Second Class Imperial Fighter model. A nimble ship with the newest drone technology, he was satisfied with it. It wasn't the Millennium Falcon, First Class Freemen Fighter, but the boss picked a good ship for him. The boss. Known throughout space as The Rat. Probably because he looks like one. An absolute idiot, the boss was. Brutus Trump worked best alone. The Rat, completely ignoring this, put our brave lieutenant into a squadron of 4.  It didn't help that the squadron members were absolute idiots. Brutus thought that everyone was an idiot, as you can see. Commandant Baud was a thick headed, over-confident bozo. He wouldn't last 5 minutes in an actual fight. Commodore Fellow was an ineffective leader. He made the squadron follow a rabbit trail of Ionic something. They hadn't found a single ship yet. Finally, there was Cadet Dayyalu. Always showed up late for important missions. Might not even be on this one.

Now, a new mission had begun. The squad had to raid a star-port. That mission had gone well. However, there were rumours of an Alliance Battleship in the area. As long as they didn't run into the path of an Alliance Battleship, they'd be fine. Brutus put his ship on auto-pilot and fell asleep. 5 minutes later, his intercom began crackling. There was a Class Two Alliance Heavy Cruiser ahead of the squadron. Commodore Fellow was barking out orders to Baud and Brutus, who promptly turned his intercom off. He had piloted a Class Two Heavy Cruiser before, and he knew how to take them down. The incapable Fellow wouldn't help him much.

Brutus began formulating a plan. The back of the Heavy Cruiser was very undefended. If him and another ship could swing around to the back while the 3rd ship distracted the Heavy Cruiser, the drones might be able to break through the enemy shield. A light phaser would finish the job. Due to the Heavy Cruiser's low speed, and the Imperial Fighter's nimbleness, circling around the enemy until he reached the back of the ship could work. After taking all this into consideration, he came up with his final plan.

1.  Circle around the cruiser until he reached the back part of it.

2.  Send a Level 1 drone towards the back while the cruiser's back was towards him.

3. Rinse and repeat.

 

Hopefully Baud would see Brutus's tactics and do likewise. It was their only chance to beat the cruiser.

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Strange Fellow

Commander Baud was still cursing that jumped up moisture farmer of Fellow that had taken his rightful place as squadron leader when his intercom crackled, with the scoundrel ordering him to get into combat formation. From a quick look at his radar, he confirmed that they had encountered an Alliance second class cruiser. It seems the ionic trails were indeed leading to something, but Baud had expected some easier target. This was a fearsome opponent, best dealt with other ships of its class and not a squadron of fighters led by a mercenary. But Baud had already faced them in battle and had come on top, barely and with casualties, but still on top. The trick would be to rush as quickly as possible in its blind spot behind and then use the drones to blast it. Preparing his move, Baud realized that lazy arse Brutus had woken from his mid mission nap and was planning the same thing; in which case it would be advantageous to stay in formation with him, presenting  multiple targets to heavy phasers on one side of the cruiser.

In short: move with Brutus.

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Strange FellowBrutus Trump

II. A poorly prepared mission...

... (and a poorly prepared interactive AAR)

"Wait... something else is jumping in"....

...

 

"Hello folks, sorry for being late. I was checking the update content for our not-Tie fighters !"

"No time to talk ! Break ! Break Break ! We are in range !"

 

"I got hit ! One of my shield is gone !

Relax, we are out of range !

... Brutus ! Were you hit ? Your camera is gone ?

The camera ? Ah yes, no, no, no worries. I put a cover because you see, err... you know. A cover.

Anyway - what updates were you talking about Dayallu ?

They did not tell you before take-off ? Our ships got updated to 1.1.

 

So what cool new feature do we have ?

There some stuff I don't understand about RDOS and "chaining" technology, but apparently they replaced the anti-capital ship drone we had and that we really need right now with another anti-fighter drone.

What ?! Why would they do th.. ?

Also, for legal reason they replaced the shape of alliance ships when displayed on our information terminal (though not on the tactical screen for some reason). Now it looks like s...

Guys ! They're still shooting at me. It looks like heavy phasers CAN shoot beyond 40 klicks, though it is super weak and inaccurate !

 

 

 

 

So actually some 4 turns passed, as I wanted to take some distance. Baud has been hit an extra time, for 4% more damage, which is OK. Brutus took a stray hit in the rear shield, but it was absorbed (Baud's shield#3 is gone and won't come back).

I tried to respect the s pirit of your instruction as much as possible, except @Dayyalu for which I had none 🙂

 

No change for Fellow's ship. The "tie-fighter" is quite literally the only ship who got its armament changed between 1.0 and 1.1 (and of course I am playing on 1.1 while only using documentation for 1.0 initially - now I updated my doc too).

 

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baudBrutus Trump

If the explosion catches you, you’re lucky. A short, sharp shock, and then you’re on the expressway to meet whatever maker you like to believe in. Most don’t have it so easy. Most get caught in what happens next. The integrity failures. The depressurizing. The freezing cold. I’ve seen my fair share of vacuum stiffs, and I’d take a fiery end any day of the week.

Just a few moments ago, I had been lounging in my cockpit with only a cup of synthetic coffee to distract me from the pale specks of light outside. Staring into space for too long is dangerous. It gives you vertigo. No way of gauging distance, I suppose that’s where it comes from. Any one of the thousand dots could be the receding memory of a long-dead star untold light-years away. Any other, an attack cruiser hurtling toward me at a million miles per second, weapons poised to administer the fatal pinprick on my carbon polymer chitin and let the vacuum do the rest.

An instant later, I had no need to chase phantoms anymore. I hesitate to call the appearance of the Heavy Cruiser a relief, because if you start going around calling thousand ton slabs of cutting-edge destruction trained on your balls a "relief", you're liable to earn a few nicknames yourself. "Moron", if you're lucky. "A fine soldier, taken too soon" if you aren't. But it was a known entity, something I knew how to deal with. However much that Cruiser dwarfed my own vessel, I knew that if I could prick it, it'd bleed.

The straggler and I hadn't exchanged a word since he arrived, and we didn't then either. We'd both spotted it: the opening. Upon arriving, the beast had immediately made a great yaw in the direction of my two unfortunate companions, and its backside lay exposed. Without allowing myself time to think, I set the bolts on overcharge, and barrelled towards my target...

Brutus Trump has reacted to this post.
Brutus Trump

I ll solve the turn tonight.

 

Edit : Well, I ran the turn, but a bit late to actually write the outcome as it lasted longer than expected. No point sending orders anymore though 🙂

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Brutus Trump

II. Close quarters

As the Alliance Cruiser is in pursuit of Brutus and Baud, Dayyalu and Fellow move in its back. There, there, the vulnerable spot :

Unfortunately, the Alliance admiral is not incompetent, and she turns his ship to face the new threat. This was a risk that had been expected, and both Brutuh and Baud had already turned they own ships :

 

Dayyalu had sent a first missile drone.

 

In order to avoid the missile, the alliance cruiser moved away from the missile :

The move had not been quite expected by the Imperial pilots, and their own movement exposed them to some of the side phasers of the Heavy Cruisers. Dayyalu lost a couple shields - but he was still flying.

 

The good news was that the cruiser had exposed his back again : all pilots could move in its vulnerable spot, except Dayyalu :

 

Drones outbound from everyone who could  ! Brutush even added some insult, by shooting with his light phasers :

 

And then, the giant ship shot its photo torpedoes at Fellow... At this range, no evasive maneuvers were possible :

 

 

With drones heading toward the Heavy Cruiser, the Imperials still had a chance :

Alas ! The Cruiser turned to "distribute" the damage caused by the drones on several shields, all while focusing on Baud :

With no more drones, half of their wingmen killed and an heavy cruiser still shielded, the remaining pilots tried to break the engagement :

 

... but Dayyalu did not make it !

 

Brutus could live to tell the tale. Once again, the Empire had been defeated :

 

 

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Strange FellowBrutus Trump

Well, I did not realize it, but from the moment you picked the Empire against the Alliance, the battle was bound to be short, and except if showed a level of skill way above my capacities, a disaster. It was not helped by the fact that the "drone 2" were actually absent from your ships, which I did not expect. Drone 1 just does not cut it. With a few more players maybe the Heavy Cruiser could have been destroyed though ?

 

My strategy was to keep Fellow out of harm by making sure it was never the "closest" to the enemy ship, but the disruptor torpedo run has to be done at very short range, and I (unwisely) thought if I only passed very close to the cruiser in the middle of a turn then move away it would not target Fellow's ship. It did. And that disruptor weapon was pretty much the only chance of the team.

 

Apologies if you were disappointed about how short and ultimaly not-that-interactive this one. Thank you for partaking into this little experiment. I feel like you put a lot of effort for, well, a very "aborted" experience.

 

I ll stay to traditional tactical with tanks & rifles in the future.

 

Oh well, at least it was fun - for me.

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Brutus Trump

Ultimately, you take the good with the bad and you move on.

In this case, the good was that as far as the Empire and the Alliance were concerned, I was dead. Admittedly, on this occasion that got a little too close to being true for my liking, but there's nothing like a good performance -- even though I hadn't needed one. In fact, it had been almost too easy. With the piece of junk ship the Empire had seen fit to provide me with, command didn't even ask me to repeat myself when I relayed over the intercom that one of the Fellow's escape pods had malfunctioned on arrival. As it happens, rigging one of those for analog deployment is a piece of cake, but I guess they're not aware. I'm sure the Empire thinks that their schoolyard bully act deters such shenanigans, but the truth is, it's a brave new world out here, and they're working with caveman's tools.

Speaking of caveman's tools. The soft turquoise pulse from my outmoded manual transmitter had started lighting up the inside of the capsule about ten minutes ago, the only source of light inside the cramped cabin besides a small panel on the left wall displaying oxygen and battery reserves. I had plenty of both, but if my getaway driver failed to pick up my signal, or worse, if he'd decided to leave me for dead, it wouldn't matter if I had a hundred times as much.

In the end, all I could do was wait...

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The Wargaming Scribe
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