Flight of the Pegasus

The NAC rescue a covert operative from LLAR space, and now are attempting to make good their escape. However, there is a problem...

# of players: 2-4

Forces - NAC:

Forces - LLAR:

Special
Before either side sets up the NAC player must choose what role his fighters are prepared for. At least one group must be configured as interceptors. The rest may choose from multi-role, attack, or torpedo. No more than one squadron may be a torpedo squadron, and no more than two squadrons may be attack fighters. Standard NAC doctrine for a CVL is 1 squadron of interceptors, 1 squadron as attack, and the remaining two squadrons as multi-role.

The covert operative is on one of the NAC ships. The NAC player must determine this before the game begins. If the ship the covert operative is on is destroyed, there is a 66% (1-4 in 6) chance that the covert operative will also be killed. At which point the NAC have lost the scenario (but their loss can be minimized, depending on the Victory Conditions, as the scenario does not end until the NAC ships can escape). If a 5 or 6 is rolled, the covert operative has somehow found her way to a lifepod and escaped just before the ship she was on was destroyed/gutted. If there is a friendly vessel within 6 mu of the covert operative at this point, the lifepod is assumed to have been recovered, and the covert operative is now on the new ship. However, if no friendly ship is within 6 mu of the covert operative's lifepod, she is now 'floating in space'. Put a marker within 2 mu of the destroyed ship's location to note the spot of the lifepod, and see the next paragraph.

If the covert operative ends up floating in space, the recover procedure is like this: a vessel (any side, any type, but not a fighter) must move to within 2 mu of the covert operative's lifepod and remain STATIONARY for 1 full turn. The next turn the ship is free to move normally, and is assumed to have picked up the lifepod.

The NAC carrier has a slight problem with the FTL drive. Upon entering the system it blew out in a bad way. Engineers have been working on it overtime, attempting to get it operational again. So far during this operation they have failed, but as the scenario begins they are making progress. To reflect this, on every even numbered turn roll 1d6 and subtract 1. Add the rolls together throughout the game. When you reach 15 or more, the jump engines are back online (for long enough to get the Pegasus out of here!). You can initial FTL procedures next turn.

Note: the FTL drive on the NAC carrier can still be damaged by threshold checks - this damage is in addition to the current problem with the FTL drive. Should the FTL drive suffer a threshold check, that damage needs to be repaired as normal.

The LLAR forces have managed to maneuver the NAC squadron into a minefield (yes, it's a silly concept, a minefield in space, but it makes for a tactically interesting game!). Before the NAC and LLAR place their ships on the board, the LLAR player may place up to 30 markers on the table, with no marker being closer than 8mu from each other. 10 of these markers are live mines; the rest are bogus sensor readings, false mines, etc. The LLAR player must note which of the markers are live mines. The markers may be placed anywhere on the playing field as the LLAR player sees fit, but may not be within 24 mu of the NAC side of the field/board. The mines are like one-shot Salvo Missiles, without the 'sprint boosters' (so their range is 6mu). If they go off, 5 'salvo missiles' will track in on their target. These are able to be stopped using standard anti-missile rules. Fighters can intercept the mine-fired SMs as per standard Escort Duty rules. But fighters may not go out and attack mines first.

Mine will do 1d6 damage for each 'salvo missile' that gets through the defenses.

The mines may go off either when a NAC vessel gets within 6 mu of one (it will, of course, go for the nearest target - and THE MINES MAY FIRE DURING MOVEMENT!), or the LLAR battlecruiser may command the mine(s) to go off or not (AND designate the target, so it doesn't have to be the closest vessel) - unless the BC has suffered 2 or more Threshold Checks, then the command control circuits aboard the ship are assumed to be fried and the mines can only fire autonomously.

Note: if the LLAR battlecruiser retains command control of the mines, mine detonation is SOLEY at the discretion of the LLAR player. Otherwise, the mines will detonate automatically.

Mines are fairly indiscriminate as to what they decide to target. To them, a ship is a ship is a ship. In other words, LLAR ships are just as susceptible to mines as the NAC ships are. The only exception is that if the LLAR battlecruiser retains command control on the mines, the battlecruiser can instruct mines to ignore ships and not detonate on a given turn (this should be noted as automatic - until the battlecruiser loses it's command-control capability!). The mines will ignore anything that is less than 10 Mass (but since none of the ships - except for fighters - are less than 10 Mass, this is a moot point).

No ship can may initiate FTL transition while within 9 mu of a mine (why? because...).

No ship may exceed speed of 24 for the first 10 turns of the game. The PSB reason is because there is a widely dispersed but locally dense dust 'cloud' in this region of space. Going faster than speed 24 means ships will begin to take damage. It is entirely feasible that a ship may want to briefly exceed this speed limit cap and risk taking some damage, but to avoid abuse of that, no provisions are provided to determine damage to ships which go faster than 24. Commanders in both fleets have stipulated that their ships will not exceed the velocity of 24 mu during the time they are in this part of the medium. Once turn 10 is reached the speed limit cap goes up to 36 (the movement of the ships - in whichever direction they endd up going - has taken them to a less dense area of the local intersystem dust-medium). After turn 16 the speed limit cap is lifted (the ships have left the relatively dense area of the intersystem dust cloud).

On turn 10 the LLAR get 4 ESU destroyers as reinforcements. These destroyers may be placed anywhere the LLAR wishes, facing at the option of the LLAR player, speed 36. They cannot be closer to any NAC vessel at the start of turn 10 than 40 mu. (hey NAC player, time to leave...).

On turn 16 the LLAR get an additional FSE CA, NSL CL, and 3 FSE DDs as reinforcement (the NAC player should have left by now, but if not...). They appear where ever the LLAR desires. They enter the game 40 units away the nearest NAC player's main body of ships (those which are left) and are moving at a speed 10 greater than the fastest NAC ship remaining, facing at the option of the LLAR player.

The LLAR may replace their standard range SMs aboard their FSE-bought ships with extended range SMs, at an exchange rate of 3 for 2.

The LLAR's ESU-bought CAs do not have SMRs mounted. They had been used in earlier action, and not replaced by the time of this NAC incident.

The NAC fighters only have 4 endurance points remaining (they used up the other two points in a very recent engagement chasing off a batch of LLAR tiny ships).

Set Up:
Use a floating map. However, the map may not 'float' for the NAC until they are through the minefield (you see, this is a 'less dense area of the minefield they've been herded into). The LLAR can go where ever they want (ie, they can go off the map and make it 'float' for them in the minefield, but this option shouldn't be exercised for the sake of playability unless absolutely necessary).

The playing field (initially) is an approximate 4'x6' area, with the NAC at one end of the table (length-wise), coming in at speed 8, and are placed within 8 mu of their end of the table. The LLAR are positioned on the opposite side of the table, within 12 mu of the edge of the playing area, and their speeds are 10. Fighters may be launched. The NAC ships can set up as close or as far apart as they desire. The LLAR cannot have any two ships closer than 3 mu at the start.

Note the set up of the minefield, above.

Victory Conditions
At the end of the scenario, if:

If the covert operative is killed, the NAC automatically lose the scenario. But above conditions regarding the Pegasus still apply.

If the Pegasus leaves her fighter wings behind, drop the victory condition results by one level in favor of the LLAR.

Tactical Notes:
NAC: You are out-gunned and out-massed. Unless you are lucky, you're not going to win this in a straight up fight. There are reinforcements coming, and your FTL drive is down on the Pegasus. Cruiser-Destroyer Squadron 9 is expendable - unless you decided to tuck the covert operative onto one of those ships! Then you have to somehow ensure that ship's survival, too. Use your fighters to keep the LLAR ships away, and/or protect your ships from the mines. Remember: the mines can go off during the movement phase, so you can't just willy-nilly fly through them and end up between mine sensor zones during the 'fire' phase. If you go slow enough you can maneuver through the minefield unscathed (by the mines, at any rate). However, you do have a time crunch. Wait too long, and the next force of LLAR ships will arrive...

LLAR: Monitor carefully the number of SMs you are carrying. Remember that your ESU heavy cruisers do not have their external salvo missiles! And if you change out 3 standard salvo missiles for 2 extended range ones on any of your other ships, you'll have 1 less turn of SM firing to do (you already only have 2 ships capable of firing off salvo missiles as it is). Use the minefield to force the NAC into maneuvering where you want them. They are restricted from jumping while within the minefield, so must get through it before they can engage their FTL drives. The Pegasus will be sticking around for at least 6 turns - you might be able to do something to her in that time period. Of course the NAC will be doing it right back to you, too, but hey, them's the breaks. Remember, in 12 turns you get some reinforcements.

Historical Outcome
The NAC were able to collect the covert operative and make good their escape, pursued only by a few high-speed patrol craft. The fighters were able to discourage them from further pursuit, but other heavier LLAR elements were closing in. The NAC ships were herded towards a minefield that was seeded in an area of the system that contained a locally dense dust cloud, which would reduce the speeds of ships enough that dodging pursuit wasn't an option (but FTLing was). Unfortunately, the Pegasus FTL drive was still out, and there was no telling when it would be back online. The NAC opted to transfer the operative to the light cruiser Tahoe, as they figured any LLAR ships that got within range would be gunning for the carrier. And if the carrier couldn't get her FTL drive back online...

The NAC ships clustered together, with the heavy cruiser Wright-Patterson out in front, escorted by fighters for mine protection. Suddenly they picked up on their sensors an LLAR heavy cruiser squadron, directly in front of them. Unfortunately, they were committed to their current course, and continued on.

The NAC commander opted to have his force go to maximum acceleration, in order to attempt to blow through the mine field as fast as possible, and push the edge of the velocity-limiting conditions imposed by the local intersystem medium. The LLAR ships maintained a moderate pace, closing with the NAC squadron. The NAC ships reached the minefield, but the first mine they passed ignored all ships - except the Tahoe. Comand-controlled, the mine's lethal package of missiles raced out for their target. Caught by surprise (the NAC expected the mines to go off on the first ship to reach them, hence the escorted protection of the fighters on the heavy cruiser), the Tahoe attempted to shoot down the inbounds. 2 were taken out; 3 hit with devastating results. The Tahoe was left a cripple, having almost no systems left intact and functioning on her save her high-powered engines and one point defense system. This was bad. The operative survived (somehow), but the ship was near death. If the LLAR looked at her cross-eyed...

Weapons fire between the two forces was ineffectual at this range. The NAC continue to accelerate, rapidly decreasing the range between them and the LLAR. However, the LLAR miscalculate what the NAC were going to do, and end up spread out, with half of their ships out of position, unable to fire. In addition to that, they managed to plant 2 salvo missile packs right into their own ships - nowhere near the NAC vessels! Fortunately the LLAR point defense teams are able to deal with the friendly fire, though the heavy cruiser Guerrico suffers light damage from a salvo missile. Weapons fire at this stage of the game becomes more telling on the LLAR ships, as the NAC ships concentrate on the heavy cruiser Aguirre, who suffers moderate damage and loses half her thrust, and the NAC fighters take on the light cruiser Almirante Guilhem, destroying her. The Pegasus streams a little atmosphere as LLAR fire penetrates a section of her armoured hull.

Out of position, the LLAR ships attempt to slow and come about in order to catch the NAC in the rear. The NAC, on the other hand, continued to accelerate, blasting away as fast as they could, splitting up a little, too, in order to draw off any flanking ships. The NAC vessels barrel over two more mines, which trigger, sending a wave of salvo missiles against the Pegasus. Her interceptors stop one wave, while her point defense effectively knocks out the other wave. She suffers no damage.

The NAC fighters now dive on the light cruiser Intrepido, crippling her. NAC ship-based weapons fire finishes her off, and moderately damages the Guerrico. The LLAR respond by removing the last of the Pegasus's armour.

The NAC continue to outdistance the LLAR ships as the latter attempt to ramp up their speeds (from a virtual stop, some of them). The destroyer Capitan Arahna is beset by 3 squadrons of NAC fighters, and manages to claw quite a few from the sky before she takes moderate damage. She veers off in order to avoid further fighter intercepts.

The Guerrico manages to score a long-range shot on the destroyer Nottingham, moderately damaging it, but not slowing it down any. At this point the NAC have out-distanced the LLAR ships by so much that the LLAR have no hope of catching them. Reinforcements are on the way, but a short while later the cripped Tahoe FTLs out, followed by the moderately damaged Nottingham. The rest of the NAC ships stay with the Pegasus, while the fighters harassed the pursuing LLAR ships.

Unbeknownst to the LLAR, the operative they were trying to prevent escape just left. With the NAC ships so far ahead of the LLAR main body, the 4 destroyers which showed up as reinforcements proved to be no match for the NAC force, and were swept aside. The Cumbria and Wright-Patterson suffered light damage from that encounter. At this point the NAC were able to accelerate even more, putting still more distance between them and their LLAR pursuers.

A short while later a second set of LLAR ships showed up - this time the heavy cruiser La Viva Brazil and her escorts. They would prove to be more of a match for the fleeing NAC ships, who veered off to avoid contact. A few minutes later the Pegasus got her FTL drive back online and the NAC force departed from the system. only the NAC interceptor squadron Bear Aces left with them, having landed after clearing the minefield. The other three NAC fighter squadrons were left behind and negotiated their surrender as prisoners of war. The pilots would suffer for a couple months under the hands of the LLAR before the UN would be able to arrange a prisoner exchange between the LLAR and the NAC. The LLAR kept the fighters for themselves (but the NAC pilots had managed to mostly sabotage them prior to capture, so the LLAR decided to use them for spare parts).