Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Thok sends out raiders – 08.011M42

For many long months Jellicoe's fleet had successfully blockaded the chaos fleet bases of Kendrenec, Calliden and Mordecai. Tragean's large fleet rarely set out from its base as it was usually needed as a threat to the many warring tribes within the chaos held system. Shaidar Haran hadn't been seen for years, and many Imperial Navy officers felt it likely the force had either disappeared or been mothballed. The Catechism rarely ventured further than the Rim Worlds, Moonface's domain, but that still left Lorek and Thok.

Lorek's disasterous defeat at the hands of Jellicoe on 2201.011M42 during the invasion of Ares had seemingly deterred him from launching further fleet actions, but Thok's fleet had recently been enjoying relative success against the Imperial fleet, and it was only a matter of time before the mad admiral ventured forth from Mordecai once again. Jellicoe's biggest fear however was for the various fleets of chaos to join up and assault their jailer, the blockading Imperial fleets.

Jellicoe had adopted a policy of distant blockade. This was made easier with the Imperial-Tau "swap" of Minos for Aganthus, and with major fleets based at Farport, Corticant and Caitlen Station, Jellicoe could react in sufficient time to protect the vital Imperial worlds and waystations in the Perseus Deeps, without risking his capital ships in long deep space sweeps. To perform this role commanders Tyrwhitt and Harwood were given large squadrons of escorts to patrol the warps lanes for raiders. If the chaos forces made any major move from port, Beattie would react first, with support from Dreyer's powerful Farport fleet. If the chaos move was large, Jellicoe would lead his main fleet from Caitlen Station for a decisive victory.

On 3008.011M42 reports came in that several cruisers had left orbit around Calliden and had slipped into the Perseus Reach and were heading for the Farport lane. From here they would be able to threaten General Veers supplies which were vital for the cleaning up operation to keep Bastien and Parthenope under Imperial control. Jellicoe had to react, and sent four cruisers from Beattie's force to intercept, while the remainder of the Vice-Admiral's battlegroup remained near Corticant, in case the fast battleship Ragnarok should re-appear.

Glorious, Centurion, Intrepid and Agincourt successfully tracked the chaos ships down to a small red dwarf system midway between Calliden and the Imperial base at Corticant, while the chaos fleet were preparing to make their next warp jump. Both fleets were well scattered, and a confused action developed as both sides tried to form into a fleet formation. During the action the Glorious and Intrepid were heavily damaged, and Centurion, outnumbered and caught without support, exploded. On the chaos side, Midgard was destroyed, while the cruisers Brunhilde and Heimdall were crippled.

Overall the confused action was a draw, with both sides losing one capital vessel and having two others badly damaged, but once again Jellicoe's fleet was unable to deliver a victory with equal forces against a foe the admiral was used to beating. Now he feared Thok would be emboldened by this fact and launch ever larger raids into the hard won north-west Perseus Deeps. Jellicoe was sure however, that he had the resources available to meet the mad chaos admiral if he came out in force.

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