A Firestorm of Chaos: Threats, Treason, and the Capture of a Praelor CommanderOn the afternoon of March 18, 2367, much of allied space was invaded by the Praelor Ontanka. Following overtly hostile actions in the previous few weeks, this was a marked assault on the forces of the alliances and High Guard. Among the sectors initially invaded were the capitol sectors of 9, 13, and 30, as well as 15, 32, and 35. Atmospheric hostiles were released over both Rolukssica and Zander. A number of battlecruisers and two valkyries were deployed to deal with this substantial threat.
Appearing to concentrate on Sectors 0 and 12, the Praelor massed in droves but were held back by the High Guard and Civilian pilots. A colony sector was also under attack by the Ontanka forces, putting many civilian lives in danger. As sector 0 was being cleared of interdicting Ontanka and particularly aggressive ships, High Guard Admiral Jed Barnstable called for reinforcements in sector 12 due to an oncoming Ontanka fleet of indeterminate size. Reports emerged of the Admiral's battlecruiser firing upon alliance starships, resulting in a delay of mobilization of forces to the sector's defense. When backup was able to enter sector 12, the Ontanka threat was neutralized so that the colony world could then be rescued.
Suspicions were growing towards the Admiral by this point due to his insistence on all available forces entering sector 12 and his reportedly combative tone towards Alliance pilots over the General Communication channel. Relying on the Admiral's tactical knowledge for leverage, a plan was formed to lure him to the Colony sector in order to ascertain the status of his loyalties. One team of pilots made their way to the appointed sector with Admiral Barnstable, whilst Fleet Captain Amara Hendrix garnered approval to search Admiral Barnstable's quarters with another crew. Barnstable was unable to leave the colony sector due to the numerous interdicting Praelor ships and had instructed High Guard Strikers to enter the sector. Shortly after the Strikers entered, a civilian crew arrived with Captain Amara Hendrix, who had purportedly been stunned and captured. The false capture allowed the crew to enter the Admiral's ship to hand the Captain over. However, it transpired that this was a ruse.
The Captain had gained undeniable proof that the Admiral had been working in league with a terrorist organization allied with the Praelor Ontanka since June of 2366. The Admiral was promptly detained and arrested. Alliance forces cleared the colony sector and other sectors still invaded by Praelor forces. During this prolonged assault, the Praelor severely damaged the Decker Trisolar Catapult Array in sector 32, rendering it functionally inoperable.
The next day, on March 19, 2367, High Guard General Norman Winstead met with many of the Alliance pilots in the Briefing Room at Alliance High Guard Command. There, the previous day's events were discussed in detail, including Barnstable's betrayal and intelligence regarding the Ontanka forces. A ship which had been terrorizing alliance pilots, previously known as Praelor Ortamu 335, and later found to be Praelor Urmunati 335, was revealed to be a type of commander of many Ontanka starships within the closest quadrant of Praelor-controlled space to Allied sectors. Though significantly weakened, this particular Urmunati still posed a threat to local space, and it appeared likely that the Urmunati would strike again. Fleet Captain Amara Hendrix was instructed to travel to the Krenelia outpost to retrieve a Krenelia officer and gather further intelligence. Repair plans for the catapult were put into action. One team would construct solar panels by mining an Asteroid, one team would be on board an Ameliorator to install the panels, and the rest would act as defense.
As the teams in charge of repairing the Catapult gathered resources and constructed the mine, many of the sectors were invaded by the Praelor Ontanka including sector 0 and sector 12. The hostile forces managed to steal a gunship, which joined a variety of starships stolen by Urmunati 335 in the prior months. Attempts were also made to board alliance ships and kidnap a Civilian pilot. The catapult was slowly being repaired, aided by a Hale technician who was able to transport solar panels to the mining site. Part way through these activities, a hurried and frantic message by Fleet Captain Amara Hendrix was transmitted over the General Communication channel. Another Urmunati, Urmunati 414, had been detected. Her Valkyrie, Grace Under Pressure, had been extremely damaged after encountering numerous Praelor forces. Her message was cut short abruptly. The General and other High Guard officers were unable to locate the Captain and so the work continued to repair the catapult and to defend Allied space.
IN the evening, those guarding sector 32 were greeted by Grace Under Pressure jumping in, flown by First Lieutenant Jonathan Baise. They reported that the Captain and Krenelia officer accompanying her had been forcibly taken aboard Urmunati 414. The Captain's communicator had been smashed and the Valkyrie managed to escape back to allied space. This caused a significant amount of panic but the defense of sectors was paramount. The decision was made to continue to do this and to repair the Catapult throughout the night.
On the morning of March 20, the Catapult having been mostly repaired, plans were put in place by General Norman Winstead to rescue Fleet Captain Amara Hendrix. This involved travelling to the last known coordinates of Urmunati 414, given by the crew aboard Grace Under Pressure. Many Alliance pilots joined the General in this endeavor aboard the Leviathan Tyranny's End. Crew was also stationed in battlecruisers docked inside the larger ship. When the crew reached the specified coordinates, they were met with over 100 Praelor Ontanka ships, among them Urmunati 414. The latter was alternately flipping between Ontanka and Krenelia possession as forces aboard fought for control. Once Krenelia control had been established, a ground team entered the vessel and retrieved Captain Amara Hendrix. As she was significantly weakened by her ordeal, emphasis was put upon restoring her to full physical health while the other Ontanka ships were destroyed. The Urmunati was left in Krenelia hands while the pilots and High Guard crew returned to Alliance space. The Captain informed the pilots of the circumstances of her capture, most notably the Krenelia mobilizing forces against the Ontanka. She was then told to rest and recuperate whilst the infiltration of Urmunati 335 was discussed.
As with the procedure for tackling 414, pilots were stationed aboard the Leviathan, a Valkyrie (Upheaval), and several Battlecruisers docked inside the leviathan. They encountered a similar number of hostile forces upon entering the sector where 335 was located, all of which were successfully destroyed. The Urmunati was neutralized and upwards of 25 pilots were sent to secure it. They faced great danger, many of them captured and badly burned by the organic threats within the body of 335. Pilots reported that the layout of the structure was confusing and disorientating. When groups became forcefully separated, it took a considerable length of time and ingenuity to locate one another again. When the Bridge was thought to be located, Technical Sergeant David Hume was called in. He illustrated innovative technology able to burn through the biological defenses. By use of Praelor lethal grenades, the guarding forces were killed so that the bridge could be secured by alliance pilots. The Technical Sergeant used a chemical alkaline weapon to eradicate any Praelor remaining alive on the ship, and all of the humans left on board exited the craft.
Upon the ground force's escape from the ship towards the Leviathan, a freighter stolen some weeks ago along with the recently stolen gunship were retrieved from inside 335. Unfortunately, the Praelor had installed a bomb deep within the freighter's superstructure so that when it was docked into the General's Leviathan, an intense fireball was released. Tyranny's End exploded, expelling its docked ships in the process. All ships in the immediate area sustained damage. The occupants of the Leviathan were launched into an escape pod which arrived upon the flattened landing area of Rolukssica. The Valkyrie crew returned to Rolukssica with Urmunati 335 safely under Krenelia control so that two powerful Ontanka ships were firmly in the possession of our allies.
It was a bloody, traumatic weekend. Many of the pilots involved suffered grievous injuries, both physical and psychological. The war with the Praelor Ontanka may not be over, but due to the work of the High Guard and civilian pilots, their forces have been dented and pushed back. For now, we have the upper hand.
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