Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Massacre at Zeta Epsilon- an ACTA: Starfleet Batrep

From an interview with Dr. Helen Hodges, Starfleet Science Command following repatriation at the end of hostilities.  Part of the War College's Study of The General War series.

Transript begins:

Examiner: Tell me Dr. Hodges in what capacity were you posted to Zeta Epsilon?

Hodges: That's classified.

Examiner: Dr. Hodges, I assure you I have the proper clearances.

Hodges: Very well.  My team was assigned to the "Wargod" project under the auspices of Starfleet Bureau of Ship Development.  We were assigned the task to study the feasibility of ships larger than the Federation Class.  It was becoming apparent as the war went on that light combatants while desirable for the day to day activities had an extremely short life expectancy in a fleet engagement.  A broad increase in tonnage was sought across all classes.  This can be seen in the move from frigates to destroyers and from the use of cruisers to war cruisers and BCHs by all the powers.  Project "Wargod" was the development of a true Battleship class for the Federation.

Examiner: What was the culmination of your project, Doctor?

Hodges:  We were successful.  USS Ares launched from the facility at ***redacted*** in February of that year.  We moved the ship and the staff from ***redacted*** to Zeta Ep for fitting out.  We were also supposed to upgrade two of the new War Drone DDs to the new DWA model, but we ran out of time. 

Examiner: The Klingons attacked?

Hodges: Yes,

*the subject pauses to collect herself for several seconds of silence*

Hodges(continuing): We were not made aware of the break in the line when they blew out BATS 24.  I found out later that they were using Zeta Ep, which they knew as a civilian resupply point, for a convenient rendezvous point.  They never expected what they found.

Ares, Shield and Buckler were in orbit with the station when they arrived.  The Klingons were in three groups, and Ares sensors saw them coming.  We made her to be a command ship after all.  The groups were balanced and coming in from three compass points.  Two groups were led by those new C7 class BCs and the final one by a C8.  Each capital ship was accompanied by pair of cruisers, D7 and D5 I think, and one of those F class heavy frigates
**sensor records show that the ships involved were 1 C8, 2 C7, 3D7, 3D5, and 3 F5 **

We called for reinforcements.  We got responses from a frigate squadron under captain Marko on the Ramius.  He had Jellico and Perry with him.  We also got a response from Captain Vladinov on the USS Prometheus.  He arrived with three of the old Saladin class DDs in tow.  
Marko's squadron managed to use a gap in the local asteroid clusters to make a quick entry into the battle.  I can't fault the bravery of those crews.  Those outdated FFGs were deathtraps in a fleet engagement.  It's a miracle they accomplished what they did.
 Vladinov's squadron got hung up with an asteroid field between them and the Klingons.  Perhaps they were hoping to use it as cover, or perhaps hoping to use it to split the Klingon forces.



 ***Tactical Situation at the 3 minute mark of the engagement -- from the war college study ***

Things weren't desperate immediately.  We began the prep to evacuate my team and the data from Zeta station.  Ares and the DWDs would provide security until the reinforcements could arrive.  Marko and Vladinov would try to draw as much of the Klingon fleet away as they could.
 The Klingon commander was too canny for that.  With those damnable shields they carry up front, they knew that our force would need to stay in discrete groups to flank them.  Their admiral concentrated his forces.  As they entered max range everything they had opened up on Buckler.

She crumpled into a debris pile in orbit.  I think some of her shuttles made planet fall.

**no reports of survivors on the planet have been filed following its return**

We could only watch helplessly from the station since we didn't dare lower shields to beam in survivors.

We received a surprise moments later as a squadron of fast cruisers arrived to assist.  They tried to time their move from high warp down to tactical warp to put them in amongst one of the Klingon squadrons, able to flank them.  Their navigation was off a bit though, and they landed a bit short being at long engagement range.

The Klingons began to hammer the Ares.  We were receiving telemetry from her engineering section when one of the Klingon D5s put a full disruptor volley into her engineering spaces.

Marko's Frigates, and the fast cruisers tried to draw the Klingon's attention while Vladinov's squadron covered them against the large salvos of drones that were coming from the Klingon C-hulls.

Our ships began taking heavy damage.  The Ares Crippled a D7 with a full photon volley, and a couple of the Klingon F-hulls took crippling hits that would later cause their destruction.  It wasn't enough though.  The Perry went down.  Admiral Donovon, in the Ares, ordered the fleet to take the best shots the Klingons gave them while still concentrating fire.  The two primary targets became the C7s.  The damage was getting through and their shields went down on flanking shots.

I was maintaining contact with Ares.  Commander Grace Reynolds, her engineer, was seeing a runaway warp reaction building in her engines.  We were trying desperately to contain the breach.  It must have been an engineering flaw in her oversized engines, or perhaps a stabilization issue with four warp fields.  We'll never know for sure.  Grace tried to shunt more power to the onboard containment fields to hold it together.  She was in midsentence when Ares exploded.

With the loss of Ares, and of Admiral Donovan, there was confusion.  Any hope of holding on was gone.  The damage to our ships was mounting, and in succession, Pegasus, Manta Ray, and another of the frigates were either destroyed or crippled.  Ultimately, the two C7s were destroyed by the combined phaser fire of the fast cruisers, and the final close intervention of the DDGs of Vladinov's squadron.

CaptainVladinov made one last attempt to close with the station to retrieve us and the data from the Ares.


The attempt failed, and Vladinov died in the process along with the Prometheus.

In the end, only the USS Steady, one of the DDGs managed to escape.
Examiner:  And your team, Doctor Hodges?
Hodges:  We were taken when the Klingons took the station.  We managed to scram most of the data, but they gathered enough to further their own Battleship project.  I am afraid in the intervening years they may have used some data they got from myself or my team to finfish the B10 project while project Wargod was never pursued.  I feel I've let the Federation down.
Examiner:  We went a different direction, Doctor.  The CVA and CVS classes paid off in the end, an even the work you ended up aiding in for the Klingons may help us all in the end.  It seems our version of a Battleship was fatally flawed as well, and susceptible to critical damage.  We may yet have need of the Klingon's battleships.  Have you seen the files on he Andromedans?
***End of transcript***


  1. that's an impressive battle report! The special effects are like those in the movies!

  2. Awesome, Dan! Very cool :)

  3. Great stuff Dan. Mike tells me there is an Empire game this weekend but he's away. Any chance of a a blog on this game please?

  4. Thanks, Gregory. Sadly the Empire game got pushed back to October 20. The person that requested we play it was unavailable this weekend, and the guys are only good for one Empire game every couple of months. I WILL be blogging about it though, so stay tuned. :)

  5. One of the best space gaming battle reports I have ever read! Love that star mat too--any chance your friend could make me one of those?

    Hope to see more AAR's from you.