Log 12

 

Marsh spoke with Montag and the Neo-Browncoat leader crowed on about how the movement’s numbers had grown to the point that they were now capable of offensive operations. In fact, the Neo-Browncoats had massed to attack targets all throughout the Georgia Quadrant as the Alliance was scouring the Mao and Burnham Quadrants in vain.

 

On 24 November 2518, the Neo-Browncoat force was approaching Regina and used the planet to shield their approach for their attack on a large Alliance convoy bound for the mining planet and owned by the huge Corone Mining Consortium. The “Ghost was the support ship an the attack wing consisting of four ASRRs and two Corsair PT Boats. In addition to her primary medical support role, the ‘Ghost carried twenty soldiers for boarding actions and was armed with medium ranged missiles launched from the loading ramp manually by a team of Neo-Browncoats in vacuum suits.

 

The convoy was very large with eight ASREVs and two Patrol Boats guarding ten Leviathan-Class bulk freighters and eight Eagle-Class heavy mid-bulk freighters. One small event in the Crew’s favor was that Willis and Xavier had successfully talked to Montag and had joined Marsh as probationary Neo-Browncoats. However, this good fortune was somewhat mitigated by the fact that Todd Lian, the fellow the Crew rescued from the OddEasy was aboard the ‘Ghost. He’d been captured on one of the other freighters taken in the convoy out of Hera. The ‘converts’ learned it would be best if they assisted treating the wounded as litter bearers.

 

As the strike force neared Regina, Li Ming joined the other probationary Neo-Browncoats leaving only Chan and William confined in one cabin, as Willis, Marsh, Li Ming, and Xavier shared two more and the wild card Todd Lian was in the fourth cabin. As the Neo-Browncoat force on the ‘Ghost consisted of five flight crew, eight missile handlers, two medics to assist Cindy, and the twenty soldiers, the Crew outside of confinement were hopelessly outnumbered as well as being unarmed. All they could do was bide their time and try to gain the trust of their new allies.

 

The attack started with the rebel force waiting until the Alliance force was down to medium range before one PT Boat and the two ASRRs fired on the two Alliance Patrol Boats. Caught completely be surprise, both Alliance ships were destroyed with all hands before they even knew they were under attack. The six Neo-Browncoat attackers rushed forward to short range launching more missiles as the closed. The ASREVs bravely met the rebels losing one destroyed and one crippled, but managing to cripple one ASRR. As the warships fought for survival, the ‘Ghost singled out one of the Leviathans, the freighter refused to surrender despite a missile hit and even managed to break free of the attack by dodging behind some of the fighting.

 

The escorts lost one more ASREV crippled and gave the convoy the order to scatter before the escorts all hit Hard Burn. The Neo-Browncoats were surprised by the Alliance’s cowardice and this allowed the five remaining ASREVs to escape. The freighter the ‘Ghost was chasing proved to be oblivious to threat or damage and had to be shot to ribbons before being forced to halt. Montag was furious and ordered a pair of missiles launched that blew the freighter apart. The delay caused by chasing the one freighter allowed three of the Eagles to escape.

The raid was more successful than the rebels had expected and with fourteen ships captured, they didn’t have enough guards to ensure none of crews revolted. This forced Montag to send all but three soldiers plus crew from the warships to take control of the freighters. One of the Leviathans fought back savagely killing one soldier and wounding five more before the crew was subdued. Counting two casualties on the ASR that was crippled, this only left enough soldiers to guard eight of the freighters. Montag settled on five Eagles and three Leviathans, letting the other six Leviathans escape.

 

The ‘Ghost took on the wounded and the entire group departed with the slower Leviathans using Hard Burn to maintain fleet speed. The freed Crew acted as litter bearers for the wounded and at various points Marsh, Willis, and Li Ming got a few seconds alone with Cindy to try and break through to her. She ws confused by the ‘need’ to win the U-War, but each had to leave when casualties arrived before being able to bring her back to reality. Due to the lack of manpower, Montag was forced to reduce the watch to one soldier in the engine room, one on the prisoners, with two deck crew guarding the bridge and each probationary crew being shadowed by one of the deck crew.

 

Cindy operated for eight grueling hours, but managed to save all four of the most seriously wounded Neo-Browncoats. Six of the freighter crew that fought back were also brought aboard, but Cindy was too exhausted tp go on. Marsh, Willis, Li Ming, and Xavier tended the two men and two women of that crew that were most wounded through the night, but by the time Cindy could function again, the two women had died. The other two less wounded, a man and a woman, also survived the night. In the morning, Cindy wanted to work on the more seriously wounded civilians, but Montag over rode her decision and ordered her to tend to the soldiers first. Cindy nodded in agreement, but all four of the freed Crew spotted the fire in her eyes, Cindy was back!

 

Unknown to the Crew, the Neo-Browncoat attacks had savaged shipping in the quadrant and had scored a decisive thrashing on the Alliance escorts. However, only over the planet Whittier did the Neo-Browncoat engage Alliance fleet units. There, the rebels brought out their trump card, two Crane-Class frigates and five modified Hammer-Class corvettes, listed as lost during the Unification War, but actually captured and hidden for the chance to strike back. The Hammers, normally not battle line ships, had been modified with heavy missile batteries. The Alliance Light Group sent to Whittier approached with minimum ASREV support as they expected an easy victory.

 

The Neo-Browncoats sprung a deadly surprise and crossed the ‘T’ of the Alliance, the rebel initial salvo crippled three of the Alliance ships (one Ocean, two Cranes) causing total chaos among the remaining ships. The second Ocean was crippled covering the retreat allowing the moderately damaged Victoria and light damaged Hammer to escape. The Neo-Browncoats gave the Alliance time to abandon ship, then proceeded to destroy all four crippled ships at the total cost of moderate damage to one Hammer. This defeat forced the Alliance to reroute a Heavy Group from Regina to support Whittier and to hunt for the rebel battle fleet.

 

The Neo-Browncoats over Regina headed for cover on the planet as the Crew prepared to take back their ship and escape. Cindy worked on the wounded soldiers as Willis, Li Ming, Marsh, and Xavier struggled to keep the two badly wounded civilians alive. However, despite their best efforts, one of the men died. At this point, Marsh confronted Montag about the casualties. Montag admitted their loss was regrettable, but a small price to pay to break the shackles of the Alliance. Marsh then pushed his famous luck too far by asking why no Alliance casualties had been brought aboard. Montag flew into a rage and had Marsh stripped of his probationary status and placed in solitary confinement.  

 

Willis, Li Ming, and Xavier all growled that the pilot had it coming for being so ungrateful and disloyal to the Cause.  Montag was so moved, he granted the three full privileges as true Neo-Browncoats. The three were still smiling as an alarm sounded. Montag received a report then explained that something had gone wrong. The rebel battle line was supposed to have arrived from Whittier to intercept the Light Group heading for Regina, but the rebel fleet had been intercepted by the Heavy Group diverted from Regina. Swarmed by a cloud of fighters and ASREVs, the slow moving Hammers of the Neo-Browncoat fleet had been decimated. Beset by the Victoria and an Alliance Hammer long enough for the rest of the Heavy Group to arrive, all seven of the priceless and irreplaceable ships had been destroyed. With nothing to intercept them, the Light Group assigned to Regina had arrived unscathed. This left only light units on Regina which meant they would have to flee.