Welcome to another exciting installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! This is the fourth entry in a multi-part anthology series where each entry follows a different character in the Spacemon universe. You can get caught up on our previous adventures here!
“Governor Yong, I advise you reconsider. There is a danger—”
“Nonsense! Between our defensive forces and your fleet, the traitors will not stand a chance!”
Admiral Alexandra Graves’ eyes narrowed as she glared at the image of the Romanov governor displaying on hologram projector on her desk.
“Need I remind you that the Supremacy has captured Mir Zimoy? With the capital gone, it is only a matter of time before they set their sights on your world; our intelligence suggests Troyva is their next major target.”
“If there is attack, we will drive them back. I will not hide like scared Lillipup from these rebels!”
The admiral gave Yong one last stern look. “Very well.”
Graves let out a short breath of frustration once the call ended. Boris Yong was a prideful fool. As the governor of Troyva, the capital world of Romanov Union Sector 16, he was one of the last major political figures of the Union still in power. The Supremacy had been capturing Romanov worlds at an increasing rate — most recently, the Romanov capital, Mir Zimoy — and yet Governor Yong refused to even consider a contingency evacuation plan in the event that Troyva fell.
The admiral stepped away from her desk and turned her gaze to the viewport. Her fleet was in the process of forming a defensive blockade around Troyva. With the Union’s navy now nearly non-existent, its bulk either destroyed or defected to the Supremacy, the Federation had been ramping up its forces in the region. Despite the escalation, the Supremacy continued to win battle after battle and was growing in strength with each victory, forcing the Federation onto the defensive. Grand Admiral White had ordered the fleets to rally around key planets like Troyva in an attempt to keep them from falling into enemy hands. Graves watched as her ships slowly moved into position. As long as she was still standing, she would do everything in her power to ensure that Troyva remained under Federation control.
Once the blockade was fully formed, Graves crossed her office and stepped out onto the bridge. It was time to address the fleet. “Ensign Mattherson,” she said as she settled down into the command chair.
“Yes, um, what is it, Ma’am?” the chief communications officer responded in his typical nervous tone.
“Open a channel with the fleet.”
“Uh, right away, Ma’am!”
A few moments later, the main display lit up, signifying that the comm channel had been opened.
“Attention, all ships,” the admiral spoke over the comms, broadcasting across the entire fleet. “You know why we’re here. With the fall of Mir Zimoy, we are part of the last line of defense. We must not let Troyva fall into the hands of the Supremacy. We must do everything in our power to achieve that end.” Graves paused for a moment, choosing her next words carefully. She glanced over at Commander Maksimov, her Romanov second-in-command. “For the Romanovs among you, I understand that Governor Yong is widely unpopular, I understand that some of you may even sympathize with your countrymen who have joined the Supremacy, but we have a job to do. We must do our duty.”
With that, Graves ended the transmission. She once more gazed out upon the fleet. It was an impressive force, but the admiral knew that, even with their smaller numbers, the Romanov Supremacy was not to be trifled with. She could not afford to take her numbers advantage for granted.
Suddenly, the Halberd’s warning siren sounded. “Multiple incoming warp signatures detected,” the ship’s tactical intelligence announced. Graves hit a button on her chair arm, bringing the information up on screen. The tactical readout displayed a large destroyer dropping out of warp space, flanked by several cruisers and smaller gunships, as well as the unmistakable profiles of six Broadsword class heavy cruisers.
The Supremacy had arrived.
Warning lights flashed on the main display as the Halberd was struck with another salvo of fire from the destroyer leading the Supremacy’s assault force; the dreadnought’s shields had ruptured in several locations.
“Defensive formation!” Admiral Graves barked over the comms. “Destroyers, move up and keep the command ship suppressed! I want a squadron of cruisers covering each destroyer! Frigates, keep those Broadswords occupied!”
The admiral watched as her ships began moving into position to counter the Supremacy’s force. The destroyers moved forward, putting a wall between the Halberd and the enemy line of fire. The cruisers laid down suppressive fire on the Romanov gunships to keep them away from the destroyers. Meanwhile, the Federation frigates swarmed the Broadswords, keeping the Supremacy’s signature heavy cruisers away from the larger ships. The Supremacy used Broadswords to ram into ships and take them out of commission, so it was important to keep them at bay with smaller vessels capable of outmaneuvering them.
In response to Graves’ tactic, the Romanov force began shifting formation as well. The heavy cruisers that had once been a part of the Union navy moved up and began pulling on the Federation destroyers with newly mounted tractor beams, a favorite tool of the Supremacy, Graves had noticed. Tractor beams were mostly used for mining and capturing smaller ships, but the Supremacy used them as weapons in combat. While they weren’t capable of dragging the larger ships on their own, working together allowed them to force the destroyers to rotate out of firing position.
“We can’t do anything with these tractor beams interfering with our line of sight!” one of the captains reported in.
“Cruisers, reprioritize targets!” Graves ordered. “Take out those heavy cruisers!”
The order was followed by a barrage of fire, and one of the heavy cruisers’ shields popped.
“Ma’am, the main guns are ready to fire again!” the weapons officer reported.
“Excellent. Fire on that heavy cruiser while its shields are down!”
“You heard her! Light ‘em up!”
The Halberd unleashed a massive salvo, completely annihilating the vulnerable cruiser. The Federation destroyer it had been pushing with its beam began to right itself, but not fast enough. A Broadsword plowed straight through the destroyed heavy cruiser, using its carcass as cover, and into the destroyer, cutting a large gouge through its hull with its plasma ram.
“We’re dead in the water, Ma’am!” the captain reported. It was the last thing he ever said, for seconds later, the ship exploded under a barrage from the Romanov command ship.
Graves let out an audible curse.
As the admiral reassessed the situation, the Supremacy destroyer swooped in close. Graves watched as several of her ships were pushed into each other. The Romanov ship was sweeping her fleet with its tractor beam as it passed. She could only guess that it was trying to force the Federation ships to effectively trip over each other.
“Fire on the command ship!” Graves ordered.
The cruisers near the Romanov destroyer opened fire upon it, but its commander responded quickly, using its tractor beam to pull the wreckage of a Broadsword that the Halberd had taken out earlier in the battle into the line of fire, shielding the ship from damage. Whoever was leading this strike was quite clever, Admiral Graves had to admit.
“Main guns ready again, Ma’am!”
“Target the command ship!”
“Warp signatures detected,” the tactical intelligence reported.
“They are preparing jump,” Commander Maksimov announced. “Short-range, judging from power level.”
“They’re running away?” Ensign Mattherson asked as the Supremacy ships jumped away.
“No,” Graves said sternly. “They will be back. I suspect the commander is planning to use a hit-and-run approach. It’s what I would do with a smaller attacking force.”
“What is plan, Ma’am?” Maksimov asked.
“We regroup. Set up a defensive formation to best counter them when they return.”
Graves looked out over the fleet. The fight ahead would be a rough one.
Through the main viewport, Admiral Graves observed her fleet moving into their new formation. She had seen enough battles with the Supremacy to know that they would try to eliminate the defensive fleet before making a move on the planet, so she had ordered her ships to assume a defensive formation around the Halberd. Her command ship would be their major target; if they could take it out, the fleet would be in disarray.
Graves had arranged her remaining destroyers in a tight formation around the Halberd to serve as a shield for the dreadnought. There was enough space between her ship and that defensive ring of destroyers for the enemy to jump into, and the admiral had a feeling the Romanov commander was crazy enough to try it, so she had filled that space with her light cruisers and frigates to make such a strategy impossible. That just left the heavy cruisers, which she had positioned to cover the Supremacist force’s likely attack vectors. Graves had enough ships to spare to ensure that when the Romanov ships returned, they would be met with significant firepower, no matter which angle they approached from.
“Uh … Ma’am?” Mattherson suddenly spoke up.
“Yes, what is it, Ensign?” the admiral asked curtly. “Out with it.” She was in no mood for his hesitance.
“Incoming transmission, Ma’am. Callsign RSS Envy.”
So, the enemy commander was calling.
“Put it through.”
The image of a dark-haired Romanov naval officer with a thin goatee, wearing the Supremacy’s black and red dress uniform and standing before a black and red banner with a Honedge emblazoned on it, appeared on the main screen.
“This is Admiral Alexandra Graves of the FNS Halberd,” Graves introduced herself, staring the enemy commander down.
“Ah, yes, the hero of Solace Prime … A pleasure. I am Captain Lee Heilovic of the Romanov Supremacy, commander of the RSS Envy.”
Graves hadn’t met the man in person, but she certainly recognized the name. He had been a decorated officer in the Union navy, and his name had gained more significance among the Federation once he had defected to the Supremacy.
“What, exactly, is it that you want, Captain?” Graves asked coldly. “This world is under the protection of the Galactic Federation. I advise you turn back at once.”
“Oh, I am afraid that is not going to happen, Admiral. What I want is the full, unconditional surrender of all Federation forces protecting Troyva, and for you to turn Governor Boris Yong over to me.”
Graves’ eyes narrowed. “You must be joking.”
“Do I look like I am joking, Admiral?”
He did not.
“You are in no position to be demanding my surrender, Captain. If you want Troyva, you’re going to have to take it.”
“Very well … Admiral.”
The feed cut off.
“Multiple warp signatures detected,” the tactical intelligence announced.
Graves reached for the comms. “All ships, prepare for battle!” she broadcasted across the fleet. “Be ready to open fire as soon as they drop out of warp space!”
The only problem was that the Romanov ships didn’t drop in where they were supposed to. The defensive ring of destroyers surrounding the Halberd was lit up with enemy fire from the Romanov ships that had arrived safely out of the line of fire of the heavy cruisers.
“Ma’am, we can’t get a shot from here!” one of the heavy cruiser captains reported.
“They’re in our blind spot!” another spoke up.
“They have avoided every vector we prepared for,” Maksimov observed. “It is like they knew where our ships were ahead of jump.”
“How is that possible?” Graves asked. “No time to worry about that now.” She reached for the comms again. “Heavy cruisers, reposition! Protect the destroyers! Destroyers, try to blast as many of those Romanov ships as possible!”
By the time the heavy cruisers had repositioned to target the Supremacist ships, Graves had lost almost half of her destroyers. Heilovic’s remaining Broadswords pushed through the openings and began closing in on the Halberd, plowing through any frigates and light cruisers in their way with their plasma rams.
“Frigates and light cruisers, focus on those Broadswords!” Graves barked over the comms. “Keep them off the Halberd!” The volume of ships within the remnant of the destroyer ring opened fire on the charging heavy cruisers, managing to slow most of then down. A well placed shot from one of the light cruisers detonated one of the Broadswords’ engines, and a second caused the whole thing to explode. Unfortunately, one of the Broadswords broke through, and grazed the Halberd with its ram, tearing a hole in its hull.
“We’re losing atmosphere in section 12!” the chief engineering officer reported.
“Manage it the best you can, then prepare the warp drive for short-range jump!” the admiral ordered. “Main guns, prepare to fire, target the Envy!”
The Halberd unloaded, but only managed to land a glancing blow on Heilovic’s command ship.
“What is it now Mattherson?!” Graves shouted.
“Um, Governor Yong is requesting a personal evacuation immediately—”
“I’m rather busy at the moment.”
The damned fool. Graves had warned the governor several times, but he had blown her off.
“They are closing in!” Maksimov shouted as more Romanov cruisers moved in.
“I can see that, Commander,” Graves responded. She reached for the comms. “Make a short-range jump!” she ordered the chief engineering officer. “Get us clear of those Romanov ships!”
“You got it, Ma’am!”
The Halberd slipped into warp space, giving the admiral a moment to think, finally. How had this happened? She had done everything right. The defensive formation was set up to target all likely vectors, yet Heilovic had avoided every single one. Commander Maksimov was right; they had to have known the positions of her ships ahead of time, but how?
Suddenly it clicked. It was the tractor beams. There was no other explanation. When the Envy swept its tractor beam across her fleet, Heilovic hadn’t been trying to force her ships to collide, he was embedding some kind of homing signal! It seemed far-fetched, but it was the only thing that made sense, and Admiral Graves wouldn’t put it past the Supremacy to have that sort of technology.
Graves put her thoughts aside when the chief engineering officer announced they would be dropping back into real space. She watched through the main viewport as the Halberd re-emerged. The sight that greeted her was not good. In the short time that the Halberd had been in warp space, the Supremacy had made a huge dent in the fleet.
“We are losing too many ships!” Maksimov cried.
Graves made a quick tactical assessment. The commander was right. Heilovic had evened the odds too much. She was now waging a losing battle. To keep fighting now would only result in unnecessary loss of life.
“What do we do, Admiral?” Maksimov asked.
“We have no other choice, we must retreat,” Graves replied. She reached for the comms. “All ships,” the admiral broadcasted to her remaining ships. “Prepare to jump. Fall back to Federation forward command.”
The Halberd’s warp drive fired up once more and the ship jumped away. Troyva was lost.
Author’s Notes: I am glad this one is finally done. For a good while I had no idea what I wanted to do for Graves’ profile, but I knew she needed to have one. Talking with DragonStorm in the early stages of planning Profiles, we agreed it ought to be a battle, specifically against Heilovic to give him some more “screen time” to remind the readers that he’s still a threat since this piece is inserted in the middle of Volume 2 in the reading order. Plus he’s such a fantastic antagonist. It actually wasn’t until quite recently, once DragonStorm and I had put significant thought into worldbuilding for unrelated reasons, that he came to me with an idea of what the battle actually should look like. It took a while for me to get myself to start working on this because it was originally DragonStorm’s vision, but once I got myself to begin, I managed to see my own vision of how it should be written, and it all came together.
Overall, I think this Profile is pretty straightforward, but it has some great storytelling. It shows off both Federation and Supremacy military tactics, shows off the commanding and strategic strengths of both Graves and Heilovic, and is hands down one of my favorite space combat scenes I’ve written. It’s a whole different ballgame to write it from the perspective of the commander of such a large fleet, even from the fleet scenes I wrote for Seeing Red. I think it perfectly captures how great Graves is under pressure. Even though she lost the battle, this piece really shows just how strong she is.
There are also some fun cameos and references in here if you can spot them.
That does it for this chapter. As always the Spacemon gang and I will be monitoring the comments to foster discussion and answer any questions. Feel free to give feedback and critiques of the writing so I can improve it for the future, or just leave a comment with what you think about what went down in this chapter or what you think might happen next! You can also revisit past chapters, check out the Spacemon Appendix which is a repository of information on all the lore and characters of Spacemon, or like our Facebook page to stay updated on all things Spacemon! Click here for the next exciting installment of Spacemon!