Friday, November 18, 2016

Thok defeats Craddock at Mordecai Tersius

Thok received the "order" from Warsmith Stahl and was about to treat it with justifiable contempt. Although Thok regularly utilised the naval docks at Mordecai he had little interest in the petty imperial invasion of Mordecai Tersius. Stahl had his own fleet, he could come to the aid of his ground forces if he deemed necessary, why should Thok risk his vessels on a fruitless errand. However, Stahl's communication also included information about the imperial invasion which suggested the battleships Resolution was in orbit blockading the third inhabited planet in the Mordecai system. Perhaps, thought Thok, Jellicoe himself would be on board? Thok resolved to launch a surprise attack on the imperial fleet at Mordecai. Not for Stahl, but for revenge. He personally took command on the bridge of the now fully operational Gotterdammerung and set course for the Mordecai system.

Thok arrived without detection, and using the asteroid fields that surrounded Mordecai Tersius, was able to get within weapons range before the imperial lackeys even realised they were under threat. Fooloshly, the imperials had believed the asteroids would provide a defensive obstacle, and had arranged their escort patrols and minefields accordingly. Thok was now in range and directly behind the imperial battleship. Only a cluster of asteroids stood between him and total victory.

The chaos admiral ordered the fleet forward, and was somewhat dismayed as the Acheron class Beowulf slammed into a large floating rock. His mood only worsened as the Beowulf reported herself too heavily damaged to continue, and became positively enraged as the pilot of the Gotterdammerung herself slammed the mighty vessel into another piece of floating debris, causing minor damage. After removing the pilot from his sight with a bolt shot to the head, the mad admiral ordered Beowulf to disengage and pressed on with the attack.

Meanwhile the sudden explosive flaring of shields in the asteroid field had alerted the Imperium to the presence of hostile forces. Admiral Craddock aboard Resolution ordered his ship and her consort Albion to power all weapons, and the escort patrols to fend off the chaos fleet for as long as possible, but it was to no avail. The Gotterdammerung's weapons batteries opened up on the hapless patrolling swords, and the rest of the chaos fleet did the rest. Already one of the two escort patrols deployed by Craddock had been vapourised and his fleet was still in no position to fight the oncoming chaos fleet.

Craddock attempted to wheel his capital ships around the planet of Mordecai Tersius itself, but after a few near misses from the traitor battleship's devastating main cannon, a direct hit crippled the Resolution. Albion, a imperial grand cruiser, had already been heavily damaged by the chaos fleet as their long ranged weaponry found the orbiting capital ship an easy target. Reluctantly Craddock ordered his remaining vessels to abandon station and slip into the black depths of space.

In the short engagement the chaos fleet had achieved total victory. At the cost of one crippled cruiser the Imperium had lost several escort vessels and suffered heavy damage to four capital ships including the Resolution herself. Only the light cruiser Daring managed to escape with no damage, and the blockade of Mordecai Tersius had been lifted. Thok however was not jubilant. He looked at the defensive precautions taken by the imperial fleet and their conduct in the battle and judged that no, Jellicoe had not been present. He had inflicted a defeat on one of his underlings certainly, but Thok wanted one thing above all else. Jellicoe.

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