The year is 2182, the middle of the Third Solar War. The NAC needed to quietly deliver a VIP to the NSL. However, with the way the war was going, almost all of their courier boats were destroyed or on other missions. Besides, due to the nature of the mission, the NAC didn't want to send a loan courier boat to deliver the VIP, yet sending an entire task force was out of the question (for one, the ships were needed elsewhere, and for another, a whole task force moving around would be fairly conspicuous). In an unprecedented decision a compromise was reached by sending a single light carrier into NSL space. By itself the light carrier should not draw too much attention (so it was hoped by the Admirality), and it was believed the mission would be 'safe' enough from ESU hostilities that the lone carrier could go unescorted (for sending escorts would just increase the likelihood of detection). The carrier was assigned two wings of heavy fighters which would double as escorts should any encounters with hostile enemy craft occur. The other two wings were configured into anti-ship (attack) mode, in order to deal quickly with any enemy vessels that may be chanced upon along the way.
The FSE caught wind of the Inflexible's mission and advised their allies in the ESU. Quickly a small combined task force was thrown together and sent to Gamma Leporis in the hopes of eliminating one of the hated NAC carriers (even if it was 'only' a light carrier). The FSE were able to commit the BC Halle along with two Trieste heavy destroyers to the attack, while the ESU sent two of their new Voroshilev heavy cruisers (Yeltsin and Doblestny) with an escorting Novgorod frigate. Woefully ill-equipped to handle fighters enmass, the FSE/ESU captains figured they would only be facing at most 3 squadrons of fighters (given the NAC's doctrine of keeping one squadron of fighters on a carrier configured as interceptors, and thus worthless in a ship-to-ship combat stance). And while they undoubtedly would get hurt (3 squadrons of fighters could certainly wreck the day of a ship or two), the NAC light carrier had squat in anti-ship fighting (it had the equivalent firepower output of a frigate, after all!). How much trouble would one light carrier be, even with it's fighters, against a combined FSE/ESU task force?
After the Inflexible delivered her cargo and readied to leave, the local NSL commandant decided to send a couple of ships along with her as escort until she returned to NAC space. The only two ships in system and available were the battlecruiser Maximillian Von Schtrumm and the heavy cruiser Markeicher Autobahn Berliner. As the three ships were approaching the jump point they detected 6 bogeys inbound - bogeys which IFF indicated as ESU and FSE!
The NSL and NAC set up on side side of the area of play, speeds between 8 and 12, facing the FSE/ESU. Fighters may be launched or not, at the option of the NAC controller (all fighters may launch in one turn). The NAC/NSL ships must set up within 6 mu of each other.
The FSE and ESU set up on the opposite side of the area of play, speeds between 10 and 14, and no ship can be further away from another ship than 6 mu. The distance between the two sides (NAC/NSL and FSE/ESU) should be approximately 60-65 mu, and the FSE/ESU ships must be facing the NAC/NSL.
At the end of the scenario, if:
The NAC/NSL have it relatively easy: keep the Inflexible alive, and destroy any/all opposition that comes within range with the fighters and the heavy punch power of the NSL ships. Keep your speeds up to avoid Salvo Missiles. One thought would be to keep one squadron of fighters with each ship as escorts against any salvo missiles that may make it in, but be aware this will tie up a significant fraction of your firepower, and force them to burn endurance they might otherwise use attacking the FSE/ESU ships. You can use the CVL to draw off fire from the NSL ships if the NSL are getting pounded too hard (the Inflexible does have 2 levels of screens, after all).
The FSE and ESU have it somewhat harder. They don't have the fighter defenses needed to really keep the Inflexible fighters at bay, and are going to get mauled. Use the FSE's superior maneuverability (remember: none of the NAC/NSL ships have thrust greater than '4') to get 'behind' the NAC/NSL as best as possible, if at all possible. Use the ESU to soak off fighters and/or to try hitting the Inflexible as hard as possible. You only have limited numbers of SMs, so use them wisely. You can also achieve a minor victory by crushing the NSL ships (think strategic here), if taking down the CVL would prove to be too difficult. Also, keep your speeds up and try to be unpredictable; if you can force the NAC fighters to burn an endurance point or two, that is that many turns less they have to attack your ships
The two sides approached each other at nominal speeds. Fighters flew ahead of the NAC/NSL formation, while the NAC carrier hung back a bit, allowing the two NSL ships to close a little with the FSE/ESU force. The ESU took point in order to soak off any fire on the somewhat more fragile FSE, so the FSE could deliver their special packages. Early on in the engagement the ESU frigate was destroyed by the combined firepower of the NSL ships. The fighters dove in on the second ESU cruiser, causing heavy damage to her (and shorting out 90% of her internal systems).
As the sides closed, the NSL ships split up in an attempt to avoid FSE salvo missiles, while the carrier turned into the fray, trying to dive through the middle of the FSE/ESU forces. The FSE planted 3 salvo missile loads right onto the NSL BC. The BC's defenses went into overdrive, attempting to knock down as many missiles as possible, but in the end, they were overwhelmed and nigh 10 missiles slammed into her sides, damaging her severely. The NSL CA was nowhere near the battle, and offered little in retaliation. The NAC carrier did what little damage she could to one of the FSE super destroyers. The fighters mauled on the first ESU cruiser.
The fleets passed by each other, most weapons on the NAC/NSL side were out of arc. The fighters continued to harass the ESU cruisers, while the Inflexible continued plinking fire on the one FSE destroyer. Finally the FSE got turned around again and planted two more salvos of missiles into the NSL BC, which, despite point defense fire, blew her to pieces. The NSL CA finally got turned around enough to start engaging the FSE but it was too late to save the BC. The NAC carrier was in the rear quarter of the FSE and harassed from behind. The NAC fighters continued to lay waste to the ESU cruisers (but defensive fire from the ESU ships had whittled down the NAC fighter squadrons by 46%). In the end the FSE destroyer that was being harassed by the Inflexible was drifting powerless, and an ESU cruiser was left gutted but still intact. The other ESU cruiser was destroyed, and the remaining two FSE ships effected an FTL escape.
The ESU had lost all ships (1 hull captured, but scrap metal). 25% of the crew from the frigate, 40% from the destroyed cruiser, and 62% from the gutted cruiser survived the encounter, were picked up, and taken prisoner. The FSE destroyer that was left drifting was captured with 73% of her crew still surviving. The NSL lost almost all hands on the Maximillian Von Schtrumm when she exploded (5% somehow survived). Of the NAC fighters, 11 fighters (3 heavy fighters from the Grey Devils squadron, 8 attack fighters (all 6 Blue Angels, and 2 StarTigers)) were destroyed or returned to the carrier too damaged to continue fighting. All pilots were recovered except for 2 of the Blue Angels, who were killed when their fighters were destroyed. The Inflexible had only suffered 66% damage to her armor, and a single hit on her structure. She would be speedily repaired and returned to service in a few weeks. The Markeicher Autobahn Berliner also suffered only light damage.