Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tarsis Evacuated

The Imperial position in the Aleph Sector was becoming precarious. The crusade against chaos in the Perseus Deeps, according to Lord General Roover and his aides, had to be given full priority and, and it was stumbling, immediate and final orders to evacuate Tarsis Major were given.

The Imperium had already evacuated the outer rim and mining facilities, and on the ground general Cunningham had managed to destroy much of the infrastructure in the remaining Imperium held territories, although the efforts had cost much of the Imperial armies' remaining equipment and thousands of men killed or captured. Now Admiral Dreyer led a powerful battlegroup of Imperial cruisers into the Tarsis system to salvage what they could of the Imperial forces on the planet.

Dreyer arrived aboard the Emperor class Iron Duke, flanked on either side by the mars class Glorious, the gothic class Aboukir and Cressy and the new dominator class vessels Irresistible and Implacable. Upon arrival the surveyers indicated no Tau presence, but Dreyer knew his enemy would be waiting somewhere in ambush. In order to flush out the Tau Dreyer split his fleet up while the troop transports rushed to Tarsis Major itself.

Before long contact was made with the Tau fleet as the two dominator class vessels encountered three protector class vessels hiding in an asteroid field. The two squadrons closed and fired furious salvoes at one another, but neither side was able to inflict any major damage, such was the surprise on both sides.

Shortly after this action the Iron Duke herself detected three cruisers dead ahead and moved full speed to intercept them. Dreyer had lucked out, coming across three merchant class vessels attempting to shelter from the main battle. Despite a suicidal charge, two of the three merchant vessels were blown to pieces in short order and admiral Swiftstar found himself facing defeat. meanwhile the bulk of the Tau fleet had managed to form up, and the gothic class Aboukir had a lucky escape, disengaging rapidly when she found herself surrounded by Tau vessels.

Gradually the fleets formed up into a recognisable battle line, but the manta bombers from the Tau flagship Ores'Au were inexperienced and Implacable managed to escape damage again and again. The Imperial fleet also performed well below expectations, and damage on both sides was relatively light, despite the losses inflicted by the Iron Duke.

With the Ores'Au crippled by fire from the bulk of the Imperial fleet, admiral Swiftstar reluctabtly disengaged after two hours of battle, leaving the Imperial fleet, with three crippled cruisers, to complete the evacuation of Tarsis. The Tau admiral saw no point in continuing the battle for such little gain. Tarsis had been evacuated and the long campaign for the system finally brought to an end.

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