a/n: THIS IS THE GUN THAT WILL PEIRCE THE HEAVENS! Maybe I've been watching too much Gurran Lagann? Nah.
Gemma: Yes. however I can't say yet, as it'd spoil the next chapter. remember, this is Very heavily AU. things will not mesh with the cannon. (and their actually not that far off, the cannon only got to mark 33, and Georgia is a mark FIFTY-SIX. sooo... bit of a gap there.
everybody: thank you for your kind words and favoriting. I'm glad you're enjoying my little romp with the super-heavy, super-smart,and super-awesomeness that are bolos. (don't tell anyone, but I actually cried as the end of Miles to Go)
Shanxi, 0900 hours:
"... and you are certain you did nothing provocative?"
"Yes sir. The attack was, as far as I or Captain Anderson were able to determine, unprovoked. We took no action to provoke an attack."
"Damn. The Navy's not gonna like this. Good thing Shanxi has a full manufactury, we can have some nasty surprises waiting for 'em when they get here."
"so we are at condition alpha then, governor?"
"Yes. The Dinochrome Brigade will be here in two hours, but other than a couple of cruisers and their escorts, we won't be seeing any additional navel assets for two weeks, the whole damn navy's all the way on the other side of the Concordant."
"The situation is worse than that Commander. We know virtually nothing about the Enemy. If they should divert sufficient navel assets to this side of Concordant space, the Deng may see an opportunity to invade, forcing us to fight on two fronts. In that event, I estimate only a 46.348% chance that the Concordant would survive. We must stop the Enemy, here and now. The combat data provided by Unit 1062 demonstrates several important advantages we have over the Enemy.
Firstly, their equivalent of the Battle Screen only stops kinetic weaponry, leaving a puzzling hole in their defense, given the obvious use of Directed Energy Weapons on their corvette classes. Further, their Battle Screens are significantly weaker than our own.
Second, their Corvettes, if these are examples of the Enemy's typical design, mount large batteries of laser weapons consistent with a Type-Eleven Naval Point-defense Laser, rendering them essentially useless against any frontline equipment.
Thirdly, their reaction times and general co-ordination level indicates that the Enemy has limited or negligible computer support, and certainly nothing approaching Psycotronics.
However, their Destroyers mount a type of kinetic weapon we have not encountered before. It appears to be a mass accelerator of some kind, firing variable-sized slugs very rapidly. These weapons were capable of causing localized failures of 1062's Battle Screen, even when bolstered to maximum density. While we have no combat or observational data on their larger units, I would suspect that they have larger versions of these weapons in addition to whatever other armaments they may posses.
Hellbores, Hellrails, directed-energy weapons and particle accelerators such as Ion-bolt repeaters appear most effective against the Enemy. I would advise focusing your manufacturing output on such."
"Thank you Georgia. Now then, commodore?"
"We're going to support the Bolos fire and skirmish with the enemy. If things go south before the Fleet gets here, we'll regroup at Santa Cruz until additional Fleet elements arrive, then take back the planet. Hopefully we'll have a few days to dig in, but if they've got their shit in order over there, we could be in the suck as early as tomorrow. We'll keep you posted."
"Thank you, commodore. Well people, let's not waste any more time. Wake up the rest of the Bolos and start evacuating the cities. Until further notice, Shanxi is a war zone."
The recordings of the battle where a single scout frigate had decimated an entire patrol group had brought a huge fleet to the Relay. A pair of Ascension-class dreadnoughts and their cohorts had arrived four hours ago. An hour later, the entire Turian third fleet had arrived, its proud Dreadnoughts and angular Cruisers adding their firepower to the growing fleet. Mercenaries had been streaming in in twos, threes, and the occasional flotilla. There were even reports that a large pirate force was assembling in support.
Ashana stood on the bridge of the flagship, the Victory Ascension, and wondered if it would be enough. The deadline for the fleet's launch was fast approaching, and it would not be long before they took to battle. She hoped that few surprises waited for them.
Her hopes would soon be dashed against the Iron wall of the Dinochrome Brigade, for Bolos do not surrender, they do not retreat, and they never, ever, quit.
I see the Enemy as they exit the Relay, forming into a battle-group and cautiously advancing towards the world I have been tasked with protecting. I note that there appear to be several different construction philosophy to this fleet, but it matters little. As long as they threaten this world they are the Enemy, and I and my brothers and sisters were made to destroy the Enemy. I am Unit 6184-GEO of the Line, and I will not falter.
"Sir, the alien fleet is almost in 6184's range. She want us to move in after her third shot. According to her, she's going to focus on those battlecruisers, while the others will target the cruisers and destroyers. Our job is to smash the corvette and gunboat escorts, and mop up anything the bolos miss. They also inform us that we are not to fire on the disabled Battlecruiser, as that's what she and the other bolos have determined is their flag. Apparently the brass want prisoners to interrogate. We're lucky, this looks like a probing fleet. A big one, but between the Bolos and the Lexington we should be able to handle it."
"Alright. Prepare to go hot as soon as we get confirmation from NAVCAP. The Commodore has no fondness for cowboys."
"Commodore, the Enemy is almost in range. We estimate a 97.88% chance we will be able to execute your plan."
"good. I was in OCS with Anderson, and I'd like a damn explanation for all this from the whoever's in charge over there myself. Engage as planned."
Excerpt (The Modern Bolo and its history, Citadel briefing material, Concordant Navy press, 2850 ): the Mark LVI Bolo "Invincibus"
at the time of the Shanxi conflict, the mark LVI was halfway through its service lifetime. One of the first Bolos to receive the classification 'system siege unit,' it would remain the largest Bolo produced by the Concordant until the Cold War with the Melconian Empire, and was, for all intents and purposes, an entire planetary defense fleet compressed into a single unit. Primary armament consisted of four 200CM Hellrails and eight 185cm Hellbores, spread across four turrets, with a single Hellrail and two Hellbores to a turret. Secondary armament consisted of sixteen lateral 40cm Hellbores in individual turrets, 60 VLS cells, 20 50' breach-loading howitzers, and Infinite Repeaters. The Concordant only built 300 of these singularly huge Bolos before the introduction of Mass Effect technology in the Mark LVII after the Treaty of Shanxi. nevertheless, the LVI is considered one of the most important marks in Bolo history, as the presence of Unit 6184-GEO ("Georgia") was likely the determining factor in ending the Shanxi conflict quickly.
The Citadel fleet was almost an hour from their range on the planet when they entered Georgia's killbox. At that range, only her Hellrails could hit the Enemy, so she waited. A half-hour later, four Hellrails and forty Hellbores vomited fire at the Enemy.
The decompression alarms screamed as the Dreadnought was lashed with fire. Ashana watched in growing horror as dozens of beams speared Dreadnoughts and Destroyers. The Conquest Ascension, the other Ascension-class that had joined the fleet, was speared by four blasts of pure fury, slicing it into four jagged-edged pieces. As if on some signal, what mercenaries remained turned and fled in the face of such power.
"Goddess..." the word was hushed, filled with fear, and came from the last place Ashana had expected.
Behind her, eyes wide with fear and awe, stood Shalia.
"What hit them?"
The sensor officer spoke, voice shaking, "it.. The first part of the more numerous weapons was a powerful laser. The second was... well... the only way I could describe it is as a fusion bomb condensed into a beam. The weapons that killed the Conquest where much the same, only accelerated to near the speed of light."
"Are you saying that they are shooting as us with Controlled nuclear explosions?"
"Ye.. Yes ma'am."
"we're dead. Everyone in this fleet is dead. We can only pray it will be-" the Specter was interrupted when the entire dreadnought lurched to port.
"We've been hit again. Our engines and weapons are disabled. We're dead in space."
"Incoming units! Goddess, look at that monster!"
the 'Monster' was the CNV Lexington, a Concordant Nike-class Dreadnought. She measured twelve Kilometers from her broad prow to her huge engines, and her Captain was filled with the cold rage of a seasoned warrior. Commodore Alexei Garder wanted answers, and he wanted prisoners, and above all, he wanted to end this as quickly as possible. To that end, he had his ship give the Aliens a display of might. The six turrets on his ship each targeted groups of the remaining Citadel fleet. Twenty-four 350cm Hellrails spoke as one.
Thirty seconds later, the only thing remaining of the Citadel fleet was a disabled Asari Dreadnought and burning, irradiated wreckage.
What remained of the crew was in shock. In less than a minute, the finest ships the Citadel could muster had been reduced to slag and scrap metal, without having even fired a shot. Now they could only wait wondering why they had been spared. Their question was answered, yet produced more questions, as streamlined craft launched form the vast ship that had unleashed a hellstorm of destructive power on the fleet minutes earlier. Boarding craft?
Whooo nelly! Talk about 'shock and awe!'
if you're wondering where the other Hellbores are from, there's four other (earlier-mark) Bolos on Shanxi that were scrambled by the Dinochrome Brigade.
On space combat:
in my interpretation of things, the range-limit on the Citadel weapons is their sensors. Because the Concordant does not use Mass Effect tech, the Citadel fleets have to rely on shorter-ranged visual scanners that are little better than optical telescopes and medium-ranged power-source scanners, thus severely liming their range. The Bolos, on the other hand, have links to the fleet and long-range orbital satellite scanners. Essentially, if the Bolos had been powered by ME cores instead of fusion bottles, the fleet could have pounded them into submission from outside their range. Essentially, they couldn't shoot anything because they could not see it to shoot it. The Lexington, on the other hand, closed to knife-fight range to board the flagship. and at that range, you'd have to deaf, blind, and stupid to miss Twelve Kilometers of Dreadnought. The Concordant builds big. Essentially, the Citadel requires an 8-1 advantage in weight of metal just to hold their own against the Concordant Navy, because their shields do basicly diddly against the primary armament of the Concordant, namely, Hellbores and Hellrails. There's a reason why history calls it the Shanxi conflict, not the Shanxi war, or the Shanxi campaign, or the Citadel-Concordant war. There wasn't a war, there was Bolos having target practice.
also, the Concordant expected ships on-par with its own. remember, what the Citadel calls frigates are mere corvettes to the Concordant.
expect some fun and exotic weapons once we get to the ME plot. while the general tone of this fic is semi-serious, I'm mostly writing ideas that I think are cool of amusing (Asari Psychopath, anyone?) so things will be not cannon and certainly not scientifically feasible. If' you're looking for that, go read Issac Asimov. If you're looking for the pretty explosions and Hot fuzz-level kick-down-the-door awesomeness, you're in the right place.
even If they don't know it, most bolos adhere to the Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries, namely, There is no 'overkill.' there is only 'open fire' and 'I need to reload.' in fact, that's pretty much the entire Concordant design philosophy. there is no kill like overkill.
Next chapter: the Interrogation and an Ultimatum! The Treaty of Shanxi!
the next chapter isn't quite done yet (I'm still writing the boarding sequence,) so I'm putting this here.
zero0x3000: Que? I run type these in Openoffice, proofread them, and (usually) have a friend who I use as an idea sounding board look them over. admittedly, I missed a typo ('ant' instead of 'and') and a couple of sentence-starts, but certainly nothing that horribly breaks the flow. or are you referring to the Bolo's use of Official Capital Letters? because that something that they do in the books too, ya'know. Battle Screen, the Enemy (particularly 'the Enemy') and such are always capitalized by bolos in text. I assume it is just a quirk of their programming.
Sithking: yeah, I spent about four hours trying to think up a plausible way to show at once that the Citadel fleet was massively outclassed without it being a total curb-stomp, but in the end, I decided to just go with the part of me that bought Gratuitous Space Battles. when you think about it, you really can't justify ME ships holding their own against the Concordant navy without making the Reapers need to be a Tier-zero race (in order to maintain their supremacy), so we get this outcome. if Commodore Garder hadn't wanted prisoners to interrogate (as an excuse for me to get the Concordant the location of the Citadel and a copy of the codex and language files) I probably would've just had Georgia take apart one of the Ascension-class dreads and some of the supporting ships before the fleet runs away. Ashania's reaction, it was less despair and more a 'we are so screwed.' moment. and my suggestion for how to make the Citadel-Concordant stuff take longer, the mass drivers in use by Citadel races outranges the plasma-based weaponry used by the Concordant (since plasma weapons like Hellbores/rails will eventually disperse enough that kinetic barriers would be able to shrug them off) so the Citadel's tactics would need to focus on long-range bombardments followed by moving the fleet, to avoid counterstrikes. with good enough math and a little luck, a Citadel frigate could kill a Concordant Superdreadnought. Battle Screens are tough, but aren't designed to handle the kind of rapid-fire weapons the Citadel uses as a matter of course. remember, the largest-caliber weapon the concordant uses with that damage-type and fire-rate is a minigun that you can barely stick your thumb into, since laser and hell-type weapons have made slug-throwers essentially obsolete. the Concordant isn't used to a cannon big enough to hurl bolos with the fire-rate of a Tommygun. in short, my analysis is that the Citadel, in order to be effective against the Concordant, must have ether vastly superior numbers (not enough guns to kill everything before they kill you right back) ie swarm tactics, which is difficult to justify for ME, or use sniper tactics, taking 'potshots' at Concordant vessels and speeding away with FTL. if the Concordant can range on Citadel ships, they should be able to pretty much slaughter them.
there's also the size disparately to account for. the ME dreads max at one KM. the Twelve-KM Lexington barely qualifies as a dread by the Concordant's standards. the Concordant has bigger ships, better shields, better armor, vastly superior mid- and short-range weapons, faster FTL, and a greater history of conflict with foreign powers with equivalent or superior weaponry and combat abilities (the Deng and the Quarn (and the Melconians, eventually,) and itself on occasion.) further, they directly control and area of space at least as big as the entirety of space known to the Citadel, and have (at least by ME standards) a ludicriosly huge fleet for that area, so it is very difficult to conceivably create a ME universe that follows cannon close enough to be recognizable with the ability to match the Concordant.
chapter five is about one-quarter done at the time of this writing. it's going a bit slower than the first four chapters, partially due to having a lot of ground to cover without seeming rushed and without being forty pages long, partially because I've been working on Here we go Again, and partially because Real Life has been nosing into my free time more often of late.