System H-289 CIC of Admiral Moci's Flagship
Sashiame was going over the recent reports.
The human counterattack is bothersome. But I agree with strategic analysis that this might point to a smaller human force at least in this region. Still she wasn't surprised that the other three major fleets were called back to secure positions. Her operation was far enough from the counter attack and important enough that it would continue. So far everything worked the humans seem to have taken the bait and believe that her fleet has to do its own recognisance. All smaller frigate groups she was sending into the system quickly needed assistance which her cruisers would give. The normal game the humans played of slowing the citadel down and harassing them. But soon the special delivery team would sneak on the enemy listening post when the human forces in this system would be occupied once again.
"Time to lure the humans into action. Give orders to the cruiser task force for the attack on the mining base."
It worked the small group was a target the humans didn't want to refuse but in doing so they left their listening post open. A group of fast transports used the systems asteroid field for cover and then managed to find an entrance point. As soon as the transports started their attempt the main group of Admiral Mocis fleet moved into the system and made direct way for the outpost. The small bait cruiser group instantly withdrawed at the first sign of trouble.
Human listening post, Citadel Commando entrance point.
Commander Maiza leader of the citadel assault team was one of the first to enter the human station. She took cover behind barriers created by those gone in before her and used singularities and lift on the approaching enemy fighting machines. She began to shout orders:
"Team 1 and 2 expand the perimeter. All others move in and unload the heavy material. Ok remember we move in Teams and each Team that loses either its Biotic or heavy weapon abilities has to retreat to the defences we are going to set up here." The assault teams guarded the area until the rear guard had installed their equipment.
As expected the enemy pushed heavily with their walking tanks but they had choosen their team wisely. Most of them were Asari Commandos with natural biotic abilities and the Turians and Salarians on the team were mostly biotics too. For the first few waves it worked very well the enemy tanks got sucked into singularities or lifted and hovered helpless when their troops picked them up with heavy weaponry. Some technicians used the opportunity to shut three examples of the tanks down and load them into prepared secure cargo boxes in one of the transports.
As expected the humans began to get creative, first artificial gravity and all life support was switched of then the human tanks used magnets and grapples to move and thus make biotic abilities much less effective. The Commandos switched to heavily usage of warp and the drones and skills of their technicians and sentinels. After little time the humans took a more defensive approach relying more strongly on station security. It was clear that the small compartment of the station had lost the resources to fight back.
"Team 2 repots they reached the main power and are now ready to shut the station down."
"Coordinate all units. I want them to advance the minute we take their power down."
With their support from station security suddenly vanished the humans crumbled to the commando unit's ambush. Thirty minutes later the station was taken. Reinforcements and engineers from the fleet that had taken a defensive position around the post were inbound to take the place a part.
"Well done everyone. Secure the perimeter until reinforcements are here."
Admiral Xuan's command centre virtual space
Xuan was watching the reports from the Capella system (the Citadel calls it H-289).
Five dreadnoughts and their escorts now without direct option of reinforcements. A tempting target, even if they instantly withdraw we know the only discharge point the Citadel would still consider safe in range. So we could jump and take it before this fleet gets there and force them into a second battle. As additional incentive this would be an opportunity to make sure Citadel will not take whatever they looted from their listening post. He gave a quick order to his analysts to simulate the needed force for an attempt. He got the results shortly later and made his decision.
"Call of all operations for reclaiming systems due to the current fall back of the Citadel forces. I need all Basestars in this sector to rally in two groups. One in space close to the Capella system and one close to the remaining Citadel discharge point in that area."
System H-289, Patrol Group 2
En'saga was sensor operator of one of the many frigate securing the perimeter around the captured listening post. Suddenly her console was reporting proximity alarms thousands of them. The humans had come she hit a button to send a ship wide alarm throughout the ship and instantly was connected to her ship's Captain and an operator in the Flagships CIC. The valuable seconds it took to notice Admiral Moci were enough for the humans to fire their first salve. She heard the Admirals order through the speakers of the CIC.
"Call back all other patrols into a close defensive formation. All GARDIAN systems on instant automation we need them to catch those missiles fast. Faster than we could with organic operators slowing them down!"
Most missiles passed their patrol going for the first cruiser line instead but something was wrong about those missiles. En'saga started to perform more detailed scans on the missiles. She was just analysing the results when a new group of enemies appeared much closer in and fired another salve of missiles.
Hasty commands sounded through the ship and com chatter of the fleet.
The new missiles were different that was when En'saga realized it. The first wase was meant to overwhelm the GARDIAN system and the material they left behind when destroyed was hindering their GARDIANs lock up system. She just wanted to inform someone when her ship got hit. She blacked out
"Attention all personnel. Evacuate ship! Proceed to the next emergency transportation device."
Someone was helping her to the rescue capsule. Another frigate picked them up just before they hit FTL and retreated. The sickbay was overcrowded so as one of the more lightly wounded she would have been send to one of the bunks. But as this was a Salarian ship it wouldn't do her a lot of good. So she was now lying in one of the ships floors on a makeshift bed. Her thoughts were raceing but she couldn't get the attention of anyone passing her and drifted of to sleep.
Citdatel fallback position two days later
En'saga woke up again on the sickbay of an Asari cruiser. She heard that the fleet got ambushed a second time. Of Admiral Moci's brave last stand to ensure those under her command could safely discharge and move on. They lost 80% of their cruiser which were high on the enmy target list. But apart from the Admiral's dreadnought no further were lost. Although the 3 of the four surviving ones were severely damaged and had to limp back to Citadel space.
Still the battle didn't count as a total defeat. They took down or at least severly damaged at least 6 of the enemy capital ships. And most of the stuff looted from the enemy space station made it through. The Admiral instantly realized that the enemy was concentrating on the cruisers and dreadnoughts and ordered the evacuation transports from the post to each seek out a frigate instead of a bigger ship.
She finally could make a detailed report about what she had found out about the human missile tactics. The first wave only locked like a nuclear missile attack but was meant to get the GARDIAN system busy enough that the second can hit. For that they had a nuclear signature but a considerably smaller one were harder to cut through with lasers and were loaded with sensor disturbing dust-like material that would disperse the moment the missile was destroyed.
Her interviewers thanked her for her input and promised that they will look into improving the automatic targeting protocols to react accordingly.
Citadel News Network: We are stuck.
"The new wave of human counter attacks peaked in their attack on Admiral Moci's fleet while it was performing a campaign to secure yet another enemy system. Only 40% of the fleet ships made it back to secure lines and many of those ships were severely damaged. With one more dreadnought destroyed and three more in need of prolonged repairs the advance of our forces has stopped. In fact it seems many positions considered secured were given up when the fleet fell back to positions relatively close to Crossroads so that they can give each other aid in a reasonable timeframe. With us are Rear Admiral Mursis and Brigadier General Alua. How could this happen?"
Mursis looked into the camera and formed his reply.
"Our forces were thinned out by the large area we had to cover. Thanks to their artificial nature the humans can get something and hold literally any system with ease. They just need energy which the stars and some generators easily provide. They don't need a complicated infrastructure granting them something to breathe, eat or even something as simple as quarters to sleep in. It was obviously a mistake to assume that we can advance so far before our new ship production delivers us the necessary force to secure what we have gained."
The presenter went for the Salarian General.
"Apart from the initial battle our ground forces seem to be out of a job so far. Why the general mobilisation? You are risking riots within the Asari Republics with the proposal for drafting Asari into what is called the great army."
Alua watched the Asari presenter. Likley she was one of those who were against the motion. The Asari high value for individuality above the need for the collective was hard to understand in such dire time.
Well I just should be happy that I'm a Salarian. The Turians can't understand it at all. For them Asari groups dareing to vote against this motion are similar to traitors. I don't want to think about how Turians think about those who declared they will boycott drafting even if the motion should pass.
"We need ground forces to secure position. We need to install infrastructure so that we can hold positions better. We need to install defences that can assist patrol and other ships on defensive duty so that we can allocate more ships to actually fighting at the frontlines. The resent counter attack wave also shows an alarming number of boarding attempts which are extremely dangerous given the humans knack for electronic warfare. Biotics have proven to be the most effective forces against the human walking tanks and the Asari population have the most potential for mobilizing great numbers of soldiers with biotic abilities."
The Turian Admiral took over
"We face a massive increase of piracy and slave raids at our borders with Terminus and with the new loses our target to reinforce our diminished patrol forces there have to be pushed back. One possible way to improve our situation there is to massively increase our regiments there and build more bases capable of thwarting of smaller groups of ships. So that area is where a great amount of the newly formed Turian regiments are heading. The Asari should remember what they are preaching to the rest of us all the time. Together we are strong! All we are asked from the Asari is to do their part. That this resulted in a draft motion rather than in a massive wave of volunteers is a matter of internal Asari politics that by tradition of the Council and Citadel others will not interfere with. "
And so tension ran high throughout Citadel space. Tevos managed to cave the associated governments to agree on upscaling their patrols and ship production so that the three Council governments wouldn't have to call ships back in order to react to the recent increased pressure from Terminus. It came at a cost of course. The most annoying one was given on pressure from the Batarians guaranteeing every associated species that they can keep any dreadnought build in this time of need in service for at least 100 years on top of the dreadnoughts they will be allowed to own when the treaty of Farixen will be active once more.
This will lead to instability when the war is over. We can't even just up our number of dreadnoughts to deal with it since that would automatically increase the number of allowed dreadnoughts for anyone. Of course the Turians could just build so many that the smaller races couldn't possibly compete but even they wouldn't be able to do so instantly coming out of a costly war.
Tevos signed there was nothing she could do about it anymore. It was agreed and the only solution to keep Terminus at bay and the option for a new offensive in reasonable time. She linked into the Asari political network.
Time to convince the hot headed idealistic maidens and matrons to agree to the draft.
She thought bevor starting working again.
A.N. (including Q&A):
(1) Just finished SOMA. Now I want to write a story about that humanity hitting ME. Such a great game I can only recommend it. Sadly not enough time to do so anytime soon. If anyone reading this is considering writing such a story and wants my input PM me. I won't give my thoughts here in order not to spoiler SOMA for those who still want to play it.
(2) Yes I see that some of you continue to go on about the nuke issue. But I won't go into it anymore. I made my points why the way I present it is at least reasonable. Either go with it or don't.
(3) Your opinions on the effectiveness of Citadel Tech are noted but I don't agree. Canon codex explicitly states space battles can go on for quite some time. That doesn't work with only 10 shots then overheat or GARDIAN quitting to work for a cooldown after 5 seconds. Yes the equipment can and will overheat but it takes time. Problem for the humans without barriers they won't survive an encounter so long against a side that has barrier. So for the time being they'll stick to hit & run. You may have a different opinion on that but then I would counter that the Citadel races would have switched to more reliable tech in that case (i.e. nukes if there were that effective and GARDIAN that easy to overwhelm).
(4) Another one I will answer for the last time here is the question why the humans did not use their tech in way X since it would work so great against the Citadel.
Even for the many instances where the point you made is a good one the humans in this story are not prophets or precons or something similar. Development and deployment takes time. Especially if you have to add a phase first where the humans learn of a possible weak point they could exploit.
(5) Ground combat. Well we had a small one here but this time the Citadel forces heavily relayed on the biggest advantage they (currently) have: Biotics. We'll see more later on but first one side need an incentive to actually use troops again. Once it is a war of extermination between two sides with the capabilities they have just levelling opposition with massive destructive power from orbit is hard to beat. The saying goes: "Those who control the sea control the world." Just apply this to space and you get what is currently happening.
(6) Yes if the humans actually could mimic the radiation of a star up close it would get Citadel ships into more trouble. But even the strongest nuclear weapon we think of doesn't even come close. In fact that scenario just proves my point. Since a ship can operate so close to a star (and it is not a top of the line Citadel military one) they have to have top notch radiation and heat isolation. And since it was linked to malfunction to the barriers the barriers seem to shield heat and radiation of to at least some degree.
(7) Btw. Since most people seem not to think of it: Isolation works both ways. So for the heat build-up inside the ship (from weapon, generators, etc.) to become a problem the isolation has to be very good (and it should to not freeze to death in open space) but corraly that means that heat will have a VERY though job to come in from the outside as well. Especially since any heat source exploding near a ship has vast space of less resistant in an usually at least 180 degree ankle.
(8) We now reached the point where the war truly begins. Both sides are now aware what the other can do and both sides are well into both R&D and war time production. With both initial forces weakened the war now takes a phase that is quiete common for a war of attrition: Boredoom. Both sides are stockpiling and doing recon trying to decide when and were they can go into offencesive again (or trying to predict where and when the enemy will). Don't worry I'll use timeskips for most of it ;).