Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fleets clash in Caitlen outer reaches

At the end of 08.008M42 the Imperial fleet once again met the forces of Lord Traegan’s renegade warfleet, now receiving its orders from Admiral Thok and Lord Raziel of the Night Lords. The strategy was the same, probe the Imperial defences, catch ships and isolate them, thus wearing down the Imperial strength in the subsector. Once again it could not have gone more wrong for the Chaos forces.

The renegades were first detected by the Gothic class Aboukir as a Styx class cuiser emerged from the cover of a small planetesimal in the outer rim region of the Caitlen system. Clearly outclassed, the Aboukir fled, thankful that the Edematous Maximus did not immediately launch her bomber waves. Instead the gothic cruiser was allowed to escape and she immediately called for reinforcements.

Chaos ships, with their higher speed, arrived first, and at one point the Aboukir was tempted to disengage, but Admiral Jellicoe looked at his charts and urged her to continue her flight, she was leading the Chaos forces into a well prepared trap.

The Aboukir led the Chaos force, now joined by the carnage class vessels Retaliation and Pestilent Miasma onward for nearly an hour, before to her captain’s great relief, the signatures of the grand cruiser Canopus and her consort Repulse appeared ahead of her. The game was now afoot.

Even before the Chaos ships got into range they suffered their first disaster as the Edematous Maximus was crippled by a single lucky shot from Repulse’s nova cannon. Almost immediately the styx class vessel was forced to turn hard to starboard and flee the battle. This left the two carnage class vessels to face the three Imperial cruisers, and they paid heavily. Pestilent Miasma was the first to feel the Imperial wrath, and she took several hits from Canopus, supported well by Aboukir, now attacking abeam with her primary lance weaponry.

The carnage class shook under the impacts, then detonated in spectacular fashion. Retaliation soon followed, her magazines exploding in a pyrotechnic display which took out at least one Imperial escort! By now the battle was becoming a total rout and only the late arrival of Wanton Ruination, a murder class cruiser, made any amends.

The murder class approached abeam of the Imperial fleet, but her concentrated firepower was enough to cripple the Repulse, which had found herself in an unfavourable position in order to get her main broadside to fire against Pestilent Miasma. This brief high point for the Chaos fleet did not last long however, as the arrival of the carrier Intrepid from the stern of the Wanton Ruination made it clear that the longer the Chaos crusier stayed around, the shorter would be her lifespan.

The final Chaos cruiser was driven off by bombers from Intrepid and the heavy guns of Canopus, but she escaped serious damage. Cutting her engines and drifting into a nearby asteroid belt, the Chaos cruiser escaped the carnage inflicted that day. In the encounter the Chaos fleet lost two more cruisers, as well as having their second battlecruiser crippled. The ratio of seven to one losses in favour of the Imperium could not be sustained, the Chaos tactics would have to change, as their numerical advantage was being eroded at a tremendous rate.

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