The TSAB – Acturus War

I'll say the same thing that I said when I posted it on TFF and Spacebattles. I decided to write a Nanoha fic in my prefered genre: military hard science fiction. I'm aiming for a good story. I mean, its fairly obvious who the victor will be, but its how they'll win. I'm going to portray the war from the loser's side. Some constructive criticism is more than welcome.

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Five years following the Scaglietti Incident, the TSAB was faced with another threat. This threat being the Democratic Republic of Acturus. This "Republic" was a minor non-administrated world until fifty-years ago when they discovered magic. They quickly built a fleet of spaceships and conquered three worlds over a twelve year period. That was when they first showed up on the TSAB's radar. In the past decade, they conquered another two worlds. That was their first strike; invasion is a rather large no-no. It was then discovered that they were using TSAB-illegal projectile weapons, another strike. Now, they had begun hostile actions against a TSAB administrated world, their third strike. It was time to take them out. After all, nations do not survive by being examples for others but my making examples of others.

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Lt. Col. Hayate Yagami looked over the pile of paperwork on her desk. It was late and she wanted to get some sleep. She rubbed her eyes. These Acturans were crazy and the TSAB wanted her to fight the crazies. They were simply crazy, resorting to lethal weaponry when they had magic, being run by an authoritarian one-party system and calling themselves "Democratic," and conquering others under the guise of liberation. Social critiques weren't really her job, though. It was their military that concerned her and the TSAB.

"Hayate, you should really go to bed now," came Reinforce Zwei's concerned voice.

"Yeah, I'll do that. I need a clear mind for this."

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The airbase was rather large. A good six concrete hangars stood on the tarmac. AA guns and missiles pointed skyward to ward off aerial intruders with extreme prejudice. A few dozen meters from the tarmac were a few rows of cheap prefab barracks. The squat concrete of the air traffic control building and the radar installation sat off to the right of the barracks. Behind the barracks were the mess hall, an open assembly area, a small field hospital, and a gun range.

Currently, the personnel were assembled in the commons. They were all wearing the khaki button down shirts and trousers of the utility uniforms. The tropical heat beat down on the sweating men and women. Clad in a more formal khaki service "Charlie" uniform adorned with a multitude of service ribbons, the base commander, Col. Beau Skorfenson walked out with a megaphone in hand.

"Atten-hut!"

Nearly five hundred boots shook the ground as one.

"Ladies and gentleman, it is my duty to inform you of the incoming war with the Time-Space Administration Bureau. You know your duty and you will do it. I understand that our enemy relies on mages. Let's show them their folly. Ladies and gentleman, go out and kick their asses. Dis-missed."

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The 63rd Task Fleet warped into the orbit. The fleet contained the battleships Mid-Childa, Victoria, and Steel Angel; the heavy cruisers Iron Savior and Broadsword; the light cruisers Sonata and Icewind; the destroyers Deva, Ricardo, Clarice, Soaring Hawk, Zerstoren, and Braveheart; the frigates Ace of Spades, Falcon, Aether Voyager, Dragoon, Sorrow's River, Eight-Ball, Nomad, and Steel Rain; and the transports Stormrider, Fair Weather, Red Sun, and Prometheus.

Mid-Childa and Victoria were both smooth, rounded wedges outfitted with two curving, hooked nacelles attached to the port and starboard sides. Two dorsal and two ventral turrets contained four Arc-en-Ciel cannons, the most powerful weapons available to the TSAB. Mounted on the pointed bow of the battleships were eight heavy mana torpedo launchers; each launched a large bolts of mana programmed to guide itself to its designated target. Only another mana based weapon could disrupt the torpedo, making it perfect against the ships of the Republican Space Force. Eighty blisters dotted the surface of each ship, eight on each nacelle and sixty-four scattered evenly across the central section. Every blister could fire heavy busters. The Steel Angel was an entirely different beast of a battleship. Its hull was a long cone. It mounted nine Arc-en-Ciel cannons in casemates and another forty-two heavy buster blisters.

The Iron Savior and Broadsword were ships of the same class. They had smoothly curving double hulls. They each had twin Arc-en-Ciel cannons on a spinal mount on each hull portion. They also mounted a pair of double heavy buster turrets on each hull section. Sixteen blisters rounded out the weaponry. The Sonata and Icewind were single hull designs. The hull itself was shaped like a flattened cone with a rounded tip. They mounted six mana torpedo launchers. They also mounted two single heavy buster casemates and twelve standard buster blisters.

The destroyers were conical, single hull designs with three engine nacelles. They mounted a dorsal and ventral single heavy buster turret. They each had four mana torpedo tubes and nine buster blisters. The frigates were of a similar design, albeit with smaller with two nacelles. They mounted a single frontal heavy buster ball turret, four mana torpedo tubes, and four buster blisters. The transports were large cylindrical vessels with rounded ends and six spherical engine pods on the rear.

The orbiting Republican Space Forces fleet was composed of forty warships of the 9th Fleet. These were the dreadnoughts Blood Brother, Retribution, Death in Fire, Shade,King Acturan VIII, and Halycon; the cruisers Razgriz, Inferno, Dante, Vergil, Eternal Silence, Rolling Thunder, Tyranny of Steel,and Deadly Sleep; the destroyers Warhammer, Sixpounder, Phalanx, Griffon, Dragon, Thunderchief, Wyvern, Phantom, Mirage, Typhoon, Tornado, and Za Warudo; and the frigates Lightning Strike, Master of Puppets, Fire in the Sky, Hands of Doom, Nemesis, Wicker Man, Angel, Deadly Sleep, Eye of the Tiger, Mustang, Hellcat, Heart on Fire, Crimson Thunder, and Fallen Angel.

The battleships were big, blocky vessels. The Republican ships were almost a complete contrast to the smooth lines of the ships of the TSAB. They all were extremely similar in appearance having four angled plasma engines, two in the front and two in the rear, a cylindrical central section. The main differences were in size and armament. The battleships were four-hundred meters long each. They mounted two-hundred and forty missile tubes, one-hundred and twenty to a broadside, forty-eight lasers, and twenty-four dorsal and ventral double coilgun turrets. The cruisers were three-hundred meters long and mounted one-hundred and eighty missile tubes, ninety to a broadside, thirty-six lasers, and eighteen double coilgun turrets. The destroyers were two-hundred meters long and mounted one-hundred and twenty missile tubes, sixty to a broadside, twenty-four lasers, and twelve double coilgun turrets. The frigates mounted sixty missile tubes, thirty to a broadside, twelve lasers, and six double coilgun turrets.

"Admiral, twenty-one TSAB ships have into system. Sensor reading would indicate they have three dreadnoughts, four cruisers, six destroyers, eight frigates, and four other ships," called the young rating to the commander of the fleet, Admiral Charles D. Calhoon.

The old man, with white hair and dark skin, let go of the handrail as the thought for a moment. He floated around in the microgravity of the corridor.

"Alright. Follow me to the bridge, Ensign," stated the old man in a gravelly voice that spoke of quite a few years of smoking. He then deftly flipped himself up to begin walking on what was formerly the ceiling. The ensign followed him from the new "ceiling." The old man pulled a cigar from the inside of his uniform jacket and stuck it in his mouth. He did not light it, shipboard regulations prohibited that and a good leader must set the example. Within a scant few minute, he reach the bridge, a heavily armored compartment deep within the bowels of the ship.

The old man took a speaker and broadcast his order to the entire fleet, "Gentleman, prepare to perform a wall of battle. Space it out gentlemen, we know how powerful some of their weapons are. I want sixty kilometers between each ship at all times. Four columns in the wall, gentleman. Alpha Column will consist of the dreadnoughts, Bravo Column will consist of the cruisers, Charlie Column will consist of the destroyers, and Delta Column will consist of the frigates. Is this understood, gentleman?"

From across the BattleNet, he received a chorus of "Aye, sir!" from the captains of the ships.

It took half an hour of maneuvering to get into formation. By this time, the TSAB task force was flying in to get into the effective range of their weapons. Their bearing allowed put them right in the "T" of the guns of the 8th Fleet.

"Fire a full broadside. This is a golden opportunity. What sort of incompetent puts his forces in such a close formation. It was then that a volley of fire soundlessly erupted from the wall of battle. Nearly twenty-five hundred missiles were ejected from the ships. Powerful rockets ignited, sending the missiles out to the TSAB ships. It was a tranquil fury. Electricity crackled as nearly one thousand coilguns discharged nine-hundred and ninety-six twenty kilo semi-guided slugs at fifteen-thousand meters per second. Almost five-hundred lasers flashed, sending out coherent beams.

The lasers impacted first, moving at the speed of light. Magical shields sprung into existence to stop the attacks, but there was still some bleed off of thermal energy. Sections of hull boiled and caved in, venting some atmosphere into the void of space. Deep within the bowels of the Victoria Rear Admiral Nimitz examined the battles from the holographic display. He too was an old man. He was pale from many years inside a spaceship and had a short, neatly trimmed beard.

He ordered, "Return fire with torpedoes and busters. Charge all Arc-en-Ciel cannons. I want twenty-one kills when they fire. Spread out the ships, but protect the transports at all costs. All the innocents under Acturan occupation depend on us. Fire!"

Seven dozen bright blue bolts of mana leaped from the TSAB ships and began charging toward the Republican ships. The bolts of blue fire paled in comparison to the thousands of missiles launched. Machine and magic intertwined for a moment as the torpedoes wove through the missiles.

"Sir! The scans detect the torpedoes are nukes!"

"Fire busters at them. Send out the mages to intercept and destroy them before they hit. All ships, hold present course and reinforce bow shields. We'll win if we can break into their wall of battle. There, our individual superiority will crush the. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!"

Having had no experience with physical weapons like the missiles for many years, they had underestimated a key feature of the missiles: penetration aids. Each missile did not carry a single warhead, but rather five. Furthermore, each warhead had a cooled sheath of a magic and radar absorbing material which made detecting the individual warheads difficult. Intermixed with the warheads were another ten irradiated and heated decoys. Upon reaching a certain distance from their targets, a bursting charge fragmented the shell, providing instant chaff and dispersing the warheads and decoys.

2nd Lieutenant Mari Shikinami lead her flight of mages out to intercept the missiles. They flew in the diagonal line of an echelon formation. Around them, hundreds of other mages flew out into the black voice, protected only by their barrier jackets.

"Ready your most powerful attacks. These are nuclear weapons. Our ships can take them, but not in this volume. Go! Go! Go!"

The buster cannons volleyed, sending out lances of light and magic. It would still take them nearly a minute to hit the missiles. After another few minutes of cooling down, another volley lanced ahead. The mages were the last line of defense. There were still approximately thirty precious minutes until the missiles would impact. There was silence. Unlike atmospheric mage combat, there was no rush of wind, no sound of busters and shooters going off. In space, no one could hear you scream. It was then that the coilgun slugs impacted.

Three-quarters of the way to maximum weapons range, a coilgun slug slammed into her leg. It punched through her barrier jacket, forcefully deactivating it. Cut off from her magic, she experienced the effects of hard vacuum. At first, she took an instinctive gasp for nonexistant air, but then plugged her mouth and nose. She would die out there and knew it. Her barrier jacket was nonexistant. She was losing blood and was far away from any rescue. Her body could float around for all eternity. Droplets of blood crystallized as they floated away from her body. The sun came around, and her skin began to blister and bubble from the ultraviolet radiation. Her vision turned grey and blurry as less and less oxygen pumped to her brain. She puked from the dizzying effect of being spun around. Her eyes stung as the water in them was frozen over. The water on her tongue boiled. She tried to scream, but no there was nothing to conduct the sound waves. Seconds after this, her vision began to tunnel. She fought to stay conscious, in pain the entire time. Oblivion had never felt like such a good option before this. Her vision faded to black. Mari Shikinami died in agony after one-minute and forty five seconds of exposure to hard vacuum. She was conscious for but forty seconds.

The slugs impacted. A hundred slugs would not trouble the task force, but there were nearly five-hundred slugs aiming for them. One-hundred and ninety-eight slugs missed the ships. Three-hundred and twenty were deflected or halted by shields. The rest broke through. The slugs slammed into the ships. Much like a rifle bullet, the slugs penetrated the ships and began to tumble through. Atmosphere was vented out along with bodies and scrap metal. The Icewind was catastrophically destroyed, holed lengthwise by a good two dozen hits. A lucky hit destroyed the Deva's reactor. The ship drifted along its course, utterly powerless. The frigate Steel Rain was pushed on a backwards course by the railgun hits. The Braveheart and Zerstoren were also destroyed, perforated by coilgun hits. All of the other warships were damaged to a greater or lesser extent. The small ships suffered the most, lacking the size to take multiple hits of that caliber. The Iron Savior lost a heavy turret. The Mid-Childa lost eighteen blisters, one turret and a few decks. Most of the slugs were aimed at the large ships. The Victoria had sections A1-A13, D3-D11, and F1-F19 destroyed. The Steel Angel lost two of its Arc-en-Ciel cannons and had a good deal of surface damage.

Missiles were exploding left and right as the buster shots slammed into them. Hundreds of missiles fell, but there were thousands more. As the mages approached, the bursting charges activated and thousands of warheads, decoys, and bits of chaff filled the space. Collectively eyes widened.

"Oh shit!"

"They've got multiple nukes in each one! Holy crap!"

"Is that a cloud of shrapnel?"

"Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!"

"Get a hold of yourself! We've got a job to do."

A wall of shielding spells was presented as they rushed into the shrapnel cloud of chaff. Sadly, the protection did not save all of them, and they suffered the same fate as they're barrier jackets forcefully shut down. They screamed before the barrier jackets shut down. Then there was but silence from them as they found themselves sucking vacuum.

"All mages, sensors indicate that twenty-seven thousand six-hundred and ninety warheads. Take them out. We'll assist with guns, but we're going to need a few minute to reprogram them to make them ignore friendlies," came the message from the Victoria.

Within minutes, hundreds of decoys were destroyed. It was then that they began to see the real warheads, dark and cool against the background of space. It took longer but a few hundred of the real warheads were destroyed.

"Withdraw all mages. Ready Arc-en-Ciel cannons."

The mages turned to flee, putting as much space between them and the warheads. There were minutes of silence as the mages evacuated the area. The blindingly bright beams of the cannons blasted out; most of the warheads were destroyed, but fifty-eight managed to get through. This when the warheads activated and the TSAB experience the power of nuclear shaped charges. Each warhead was a standard nuclear warhead but with a twist; a momentary magic field concentrated the full power of a nuclear blast into a few dozen square centimeters. A half dozen small craft exploded, some craft destroyed by the same blast.

"Sir, we've lost the Eigthball, Aether Voyager, Ricardo, Iron Savior, Ace of Spades, and Clarice!" shouted one of the bridge staff on the Victoria.

"Save your tears for after our victory, we're about to slam into their wall of battle. Ladies and gentleman, you've fought hard and I'm proud to be your commander. This is the final push. Win," stated the Rear Admiral with a proud grin.

It was as promised, the sleek ships of the TSAB fleet vectored into the path of the Republican wall of battle. They were slammed with volley after volley of railguns. However, at close range, the fearsome power of the volley of hundreds of slugs was mitigated. Instead, the ships had to deal with mere dozens of slugs, something the shields could easily deal with. Dozens of mages flew over the ships. Some exploded into a pink mist when the lasers, now in point defense mode hit them. Unless you were many millions of kilometers away, there was no dodging a laser. The mages flew close to the ships and exploited chinks in armor and turret speed for massive damage. From airlocks, squads of marines in armored spacesuits marched. Magic seeking missiles flew from man portable launchers as a last ditch defense. It was moderately effective along with the spraying of assault rifle fire according to the targeting computers in their helmet HUD. It was marginally effective, and more than a few overconfident mages drifted off into space perforated by rifle rounds or shrapnel from missiles. With great tenacity, the black suited marines stood their ground on the hulls of the ships. By far they were the squishiest things in the battle. Busters vaporized them. Still, they fought on. A group of mages dived to skim the surface of the Thunderchief. A group of marines unhitched their tether lines for better mobility, relying purely on skill and knowing full well that they could drift off into space never to be found again. They knelt down and began laying down suppressive fire as a missile team set up. A Belkan style mage ran across the hull to smash his weapon, a large axe into the marines. Rounds flew through the void, missing or being harmlessly diverted by the barrier jacket. The missile team managed to fire before getting cut down. They were sent flying, spewing blood and guts from their suits. The self sealing suits began to close up the wound and hold it in, giving them a chance of survival. They were being administered painkillers from their suits. The gunner managed to grab hold of a piece of a laser turret mount. The loaders was nowhere near as lucky and began to float off into space. His last action was to grab the mage in a bear hug as he flew off. The marine then detonated his oxygen supply. The remains flew off. There was no more mage and no more marine, merely chunks of flesh.

Bit by bit, the Republican ships were being pounded into submission, sometimes being cracked in two. This was where the durability of the Republican ships began to show. Each ship was compartmentalized with many supplementary generators. Only a few compartments would be lost. The Halycon was cracked in twain. The two ends began to fly off. The parts fire maneuvering thrusters to bring them into a stable position and began to hammer away with their still functional weapons. This was the marvel of Acturan spaceship engineering. Their ships could take a massive hole right through them and go "Is that all?" Then they would return fire. The Acturan ships, although not as powerful as the TSAB counterparts, had an unmatched durability and tenacity, much like their designers. Even this was not enough as they were battered into submission. Eventually, only the King Acturan, Death in Fire, Razgriz, Za Warudo, and Crimson Thunder were left. They stopped firing, halted their motion, and extended their radiators, a sign of surrender similar to a dog baring its neck. Now there were no orbital forces to contest the invasion. A message was sent and more TSAB ships began to arrive. For the defenders on the ground, there was no escape.