Empire Reborn: Chapter Four (Y4-5 OS)

Back to Chapter Three

Author’s Note: In Chapter Two, I wrote that Dr. Suzan Klug had made a breakthrough on new engines. Looking back on my notes, what she actually researched in February 04 was Improved Pebble Bed Reactors. New engines are still some years away so that’s why they are not used by the ships in this chapter.

The threat of an alien invasion cast a harsh light on the Omega Sector’s lack of militarization. Without the support of the greater Empire, Moff Wolfe’s primary concern had been setting up a self-sufficient economy to sustain the nearly one billion people who now lived on New Coruscant and Vandor. Since a large portion of that economy was military-industrial resources had been flowing in that direction but earmarked for research and expansion rather than production of new equipment. The New Coruscant facilities of Kuat Drive Yards and Sienar Fleet Systems hadn’t built a ship in years but they hadn’t been idle either. Both companies were growing their slipways to accommodate Admiral Wildemuth’s “future navy.” The largest could now accommodate two ships the size of Arquitens light cruisers (325 meters, 24000 tons), which would have been immensely helpful if designs for such ships existed and retooling to fabricate their components wouldn’t take years.

Fresh off his meeting with the sector’s military heads, Fabian called up the senior executive of Kuat Drive Yards and ordered them to halt work on Admiral Wildemuth’s cruisers. All design efforts should be redirected towards something they could start building right away, even if that meant dusting off old equipment and adapting it to new construction. The most critical technological advance in recent years was the new composite hull plating and that could be applied to the existing designs with minimal changes.

A few days later KDY engineers presented the Admiralty with a proposal for an updated Raider corvette. The design sacrificed one of its heavy laser cannons for an extra layer of the new armor and four more external rack launchers. They reasoned that the long range of the missiles would be more useful against the fast ships of the Udibi aliens. The Navy agreed and ordered a full squadron of four ships to be built at one of the smaller Kuat yards.

Armored Raider class Corvette      5,999 tons       162 Crew       693 BP       TCS 120    TH 480    EM 0
4000 km/s      Armour 3-29       Shields 0-0       HTK 41      Sensors 6/0/0/0      DCR 14      PPV 18
Maint Life 3.16 Years     MSP 288    AFR 72%    IFR 1.0%    1YR 43    5YR 652    Max Repair 120 MSP
Magazine 40    
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required    

Kuat Drive Yards NPE-240 High Performance Drive (2)    Power 480    Fuel Use 79.81%    Signature 240    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 725,000 Litres    Range 27.3 billion km (78 days at full power)

Taim & Bak's XL-2 Heavy Laser Cannon (3)    Range 80,000km     TS: 4,000 km/s     Power 4-2     RM 20,000 km    ROF 10       
LeGrange R192-TS4050 Laser Fire Control (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 4,050 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
Kuat Drive Yards Pebble Bed Reactor R8 (1)     Total Power Output 8.1    Exp 5%

Arakyd Industries ST4 External Rack Launching System (10)     Missile Size: 4    Hangar Reload 100 minutes    MF Reload 16 hours
Arakyd Industries FC31-R100 Missile Fire Control (1)     Range 31.4m km    Resolution 100
Arakyd Industries ST4 Improved Concussion Missile (10)    Speed: 15,000 km/s    End: 34.5m     Range: 31m km    WH: 4    Size: 4    TH: 75/45/22

LeGrange AS47-R120 Active Sensor (1)     GPS 5760     Range 47.2m km    Resolution 120
LeGrange TH1-6 Thermal Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

The company’s executives were less thrilled with the idea of building more Tartan cruisers. The Tartan was an old design from the earliest days of the Empire and had been built by Damorian Manufacturing of Esseles. It was hardly up to the standards of a modern Imperial warship and, anyway, KDY didn’t possess a license for their construction.

The Navy’s counter argument was that the Tartan had armament designed to engage fast moving small craft and, more importantly under current circumstances, missiles. Kuat Drive Yards had a very similar ship in their own Lancer class frigate and argued that it would be better to adapt that design for use in the Omega Sector. Fabian ended the discussion by telling them all he didn’t give a Kowakian monkey lizard’s backside what they wanted to call the new ships as long as they started building two of them tomorrow.

In the end the name Tartan stuck because there just wasn’t time under that deadline to redesign the outer hull. The largest KDY shipyard began constructing them with Moff Wolfe’s personal assurance of indemnity. Damorian Manufacturing Corporation of Esseles was welcome to sue Emperor Palpatine if they had a problem with his decision.

Armored Tartan class Patrol Cruiser      12,000 tons       329 Crew       1,461.1 BP       TCS 240    TH 720    EM 0
3000 km/s      Armour 4-46       Shields 0-0       HTK 70      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 16      PPV 65.28
Maint Life 2.55 Years     MSP 494    AFR 177%    IFR 2.5%    1YR 106    5YR 1,597    Max Repair 120 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 24 months    Morale Check Required    

Kuat Drive Yards NPE-240 High Performance Drive (3)    Power 720    Fuel Use 79.81%    Signature 240    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 1,258,000 Litres    Range 23.6 billion km (91 days at full power)

Taim & Bak's Twin XS-2 Laser Turret (8x2)    Range 60,000km     TS: 12000 km/s     Power 6-6     RM 20,000 km    ROF 5       
LeGrange Turret Fire Control R192-TS12000 (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 12,000 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
Kuat Drive Yards Pebble Bed Reactor R24 (2)     Total Power Output 48.4    Exp 5%

LeGrange AS47-R120 Active Sensor (1)     GPS 5760     Range 47.2m km    Resolution 120
LeGrange AS4-R1 Missile Warning System (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1

Admiral Wildemuth requested a variation with one laser turret removed to make space for a flag bridge and an extensive suite of offices, ostensibly for himself and his staff. So that they could go along when the fleet went to engage the alien forces. The changes were all internal and not extensive enough to require major retooling so Fabian agreed that one ship of the Tartan Command variant should be included in the squadron even though he wasn’t as sure he wanted Admiral Wildemuth personally in command of that mission.

The next problem facing the sector would be crewing their new construction. Without a steady flow of personnel from outside, military manpower was already at a premium. The standard term of enlistment was ten years and the sector had been isolated long enough now to see some turnover in the ranks. Most people were choosing to reenlist because they didn’t see anywhere else to go under the circumstances, but not everyone. The Academy of New Coruscant produced a trickle of recruits from the local population that helped to keep existing units functional but nowhere near enough for the rapid military buildup being undertaken. The administration needed to make expansion of the Academy and its class sizes a top priority.

Moff Wolfe called each of his military advisors to his New Coruscant office in turn to discuss their staffing projections. Admiral Wildemuth already had a list of potential officers to pull into instructor roles which Fabian vowed to vet thoroughly before choosing someone to lead the new Imperial Navy Training Command. General Vanluven, all gruff business as usual, assured him that training new Army regiments only required warm bodies which they had in plenty. Conscription would do if the recruiters couldn’t drum up enough volunteers. Fabian thanked him for the suggestion but declined to implement it until they had time to evaluate what the public announcement of hostile alien intelligence did for recruiting.

He saved the meeting with Tawana Rieken for last. He had very specific instructions for her that he knew she wasn’t going to like. Her reaction when she opened the small box containing a rank insignia plaque with the six blue squares of a Stormtrooper Colonel was every bit of the righteous indignation that he dreaded.

A Moff was a military governor who ranked above the Admirals and Generals that led their sector’s armed forces. The fact that it was a political appointment often granted to civilians didn’t change the strict Imperial command hierarchy. That meant Fabian had the authority to promote whomever he saw fit. If he wanted to grab an ensign out of the Academy to replace Admiral Wildemuth the only appeal would be to the Emperor himself. And the Emperor wasn’t taking their calls at the moment.

None of that mattered to the Stormtrooper Corps. They were traditionally a law unto themselves. The original Stormtroopers were veterans of the Galactic Republic’s Clone Army, created for the sole purpose of combat, who spent their entire lives training and fighting for the Empire. Even after they had started to allow non-clones into the ranks, they had maintained an organization separate from the Army, with its own customs, traditions and a fierce esprit de corps that spat in the face of the kingmaking that plagued the Navy. Stormtroopers chose their own officers. Most came up from the ranks on their own merit. Politically motivated commissions in the Corps came with an alarming fatality rate when compared to the Army. The Empire chalked this up to the sort of first-in combat missions the Stormtroopers took and didn’t bother to investigate it too closely. Smart Moffs had learned better than to meddle.

Fabian knew all of that but he also knew, as he pointed out to Tawana after she stopped shouting at him, that she was already doing the job, as senior officer of the sector’s two battalions. Furthermore, there was about to be a war on and he needed more Stormtroopers even more than he needed additional Army regiments. They would suffer the brunt of any fighting and, if the worst should happen, their traditions might even be permanently erased. That thought sobered her and she listened quietly while he laid out the details of her mission. She was to bring the very best officers and sergeants she had to New Coruscant, take their pick from the choice recruits General Vanluven was gathering and start training a full regiment of new Stormtroopers immediately.

The 1st Omega Stormtrooper Regiment

After that it was mostly waiting. Arakyd Industries came through with their Mamba probe droid and the 17th Raiders set off on their missions to Udibi and Exeter in early November. It would be months before they returned.

That was the thing that irritated Fabian Wolfe the most about the Omega Sector. He had grown up taking for granted the twin miracles of the Holonet and the hyperdrive, which allowed near instantaneous communications and travel anywhere in the galaxy. Ducking out for lunch with his friends on Corellia wasn’t much more trouble than hiring an aircab to visit a neighboring tower on Coruscant. Even a cruise to the Outer Rim was measured in days. A three month journey to anywhere felt absurd.

He couldn’t even check in with the commanders. All he could do was wait and fret. Would they come back? Or had the aliens detected and engaged them? Was an armada even now crossing Kotzebue to glass New Coruscant and destroy everything he had worked for? There was no way to know.

Those questions led to sleepless nights and it wasn’t long before Fabian found himself slipping back into old habits: late evenings at exclusive clubs, sabbac games played for the sector’s dwindling stash of decent liquor and the search for more intimate companionship. All to distract himself from the growing dread as the weeks dragged endlessly on. It was on one of these excursions that he met Leland Koda, an engineer at Kuat Drive Yards, who was both a truly awful sabbac player and a collector of fine corellian whiskeys. The two developed a close friendship and were often seen together at New Coruscant’s hottest night spots sparking a frenzy of speculation among the sector’s paparazzi.

Some of Fabian’s fears came true when Prospector 002 came sailing into New Coruscant alone. Admiral Tomey requested his presence at a personal meeting with Commander Bouchey, who claimed to have information that he couldn’t entrust to the nascent Holonet. The sensor recordings of Captain Bethune’s ill fated charge were images straight out of Fabian’s recent nightmares. He couldn’t stop watching the corvettes being swatted like gnats.

Fortunately, the 2nd Division of the 17th Raiders met with less misfortune. Their probe droids confirmed the presence of three alien ships in Udibi, large corvettes or small frigates displacing about 8000 tons, designated Arrow, Assegai and Arquebus by Naval Intelligence. They had also detected what were believed to be two space stations of 16000 tons. One was identical to the Arbalest in Exeter, which confirmed that the same aliens inhabited both systems. The other was designated Ballista. That alien station had engaged the probe with small missiles but not before it had collected plenty of useful data.

Tentative plans for the colonization of Semichi continued with the construction of a fifth Worldshaper platform. It remained in orbit New Coruscant for now, its systems dormant. Colossus completed the stabilization of the Coruscant-Charis node in late March and started its slow journey across the system to the Charis-Semichi node. A few days later the 42nd Raiders arrived to picket the system and intercept any traffic out of Kotzebue that might be trying to reach either New Coruscant or Exeter.

Map of the Omega Sector at the end of Year 5

As months passed with no sign of an attack, the mood on New Coruscant began to lighten. The temperature of Vandor had risen enough to melt the planet’s ice sheets, forming a small ocean in the low lying areas and attracting a few more settlers. The Xenoarchaeology expedition had confirmed the ruins were not related to the Sith Empire at all and instead belonged to a local species they were calling the Torva Minoris. Several teams of AT-CD construction droids were busy restoring the ancient mines and infrastructure from their settlement for Imperial use.

Taim & Bak’s rendered the new warships even more obsolete by announcing a line of near ultraviolet boronide lasers with extended range. KDY engineers were also reporting progress on both the deflector shield generator and improved engine projects. They promised both would be available for the next generation of warships.

In November, Titanic completed her builder’s trials and departed for Charis to begin stabilizing the Charis-Elidere-Manticore chain of jump nodes in preparation for future expansion into that area.

With stabilization of the Charis-Semichi node well underway and no sign of hostile activity in either of those systems, the administration began assembling the Semichi Colonization Flotilla. It would be the largest undertaking of the sector government to date consisting of twelve Baleen freighters, four Baleen-C colony ships, the Galleon transport Épée, one TK-10M fuel tanker and the two surviving corvettes of the 17th Raiders for escort. All together the flotilla carried one-hundred and sixty units of infrastructure, a modular Refueling Station, eight hundred thousand colonists, both veteran Stormtrooper battalions and ten million litres of fuel. The much slower tug ship Fortitude would follow along behind with Worldshaper 005.