Monday, September 14, 2009

Hunt for Ragnarok

For much of mid 009M42 the Imperium had been monitoring the movements of Admiral Thok’s vast renegade fleet. No major incursion had been experienced for some time, but Imperial intelligence had linked the loss of several merchant vessels to Thok’s raiding forces. To counter this, on 0707.009M42 the Imperial navy began the convoy system once again into the Zadoc subsector via the Terra spacelane.

Then on 0208.009M42 the convoy TZC09.17 was completely lost, along with three Imperial escorts and a dauntless class cruiser from the neighbouring sector fleet. Suddenly the raids took on a far higher priority. Intelligence, gleaned from psi-ships and spies, seemed to suggest that more than a few raiding escorts were being employed.

Later in the month more evidence came to light after another convoy was attacked. Witnesses from the surviving merchantmen described a large, powerful yet extremely fast predatory battleship. Jellicoe suspected the fast battleship Ragnarok was once again on the loose in the upper Perseus Deeps, and terrorizing the convoy lanes.

In early 09.009M42 Jellicoe set a trap for the Ragnarok. A decoy convoy was sent from Tarsis to the neighbouring system via the Terra spacelane, escorted by three sword class vessels. Lying in wait nearby were two Imperial cruisers, Conquerer and Repulse, while the battleship Vanguard and the carrier Redoubtable would provide the killing blow once the chaos battleship had taken the bait.

After nearly a week in the warp, the convoy arrived at waystation 459 in interstellar space. While the navigators rested for the next warp jump, augurs on the convoy ships’ escorts suddenly picked up a fearful signal, and the monstrous shape of Ragnarok, escorted by three smaller vessels, suddenly appeared infront of them.

The convoy immediately turned hard to starboard while the swords valiantly defended them. It was to no avail and within minutes the escorts had been crippled or hulked. Jellicoe then sprung the trap.
The two cruisers Conquerer and Repulse were closest and immediately engaged, with the nova cannon of Repulse showing itself up as appallingly inaccurate. Accepting the challenge the Ragnarok changed course and headed for the Imperial cruisers, unaware that behind them, the mighty Vanguard was straining her engines to close up on her prey.

The battle now became a duel between the two Imperial cruisers and the fast Chaos battleship. As the two Imperial vessels closed a direct hit from the nova cannon scored some damage, but the Ragnarok shrugged off a torpedo salvo from Conquerer then gave the Imperial cruiser a full broadside as she passed.

Heavy damage was inflicted on the Conquerer, and she lurched away from Repulse, who by now had dealt with two of the three chaos escort vessels. The final chaos raider however slipped past Repulse and added further damage to the crippled Conquerer.

Then, as Conquerer burned and Repulse fired broadsides at the chaos vessel, the Vanguard and her escorts arrived. Now the commander of the Ragnarok must have realised he had fallen into a trap, and Jellicoe, on the Imperial battleship, gleefully gave the order to fire. Macro weapon fire raked the chaos monster, ripping her from bow to stern and causing horrendous damage. Still though, she fought on.

Turning hard to port the Ragnarok, venting atmosphere and clearly finished, poured her port weaponry into the stricken Conquerer. The Imperial cruiser shuddered and began to spin, her back broken. Seeing the loss of one of his capital ships in this “ambush”, Jellicoe now knew he needed to finish the Chaos vessel.
Vanguard turned slowly to starboard, firing again and again, while the Repulse closed to deliver more fire into the burning, out of control wreck of the Ragnarok. Bombers from Redoubtable were sent in to finish her off while the Imperial fleet converged onthe wreck of Conquerer, taking the hulk in tow.

The Ragnarok had been vanquished, but the bombers sent to finish her off lost track of her in the gas clouds which had provided a haven for the transport vessels, one of which had succumbed to the firepower of the chaos vessel. Jellicoe was deprived of his prize, and the loss of a Lunar class vessel was a high price to pay for the presumed destruction of the dangerous chaos foe.

No comments: