Full Thrust Scenario 5: Finders keepers...

NAC and NSL squadrons negotiate over rights to salvage a peculiar alien spacecraft.

# of players: 2-4

Forces - NAC:

Forces - NSL:

Set Up:
The playing area is a 4'x6' table. The map should float. The alien vessel is positioned in the middle of the table; the NAC and NSL fleets at opposite ends of the table, lengthwise. Speeds of the NAC and NSL ships may be set up to 4x the lowest thrust rated ship in a given fleet.

Special: In the center of the playing area is an alien vessel, weirdly drifting aimlessly about space (each turn roll 1d12 for course heading, 1d6 for speed).

The alien vessel has an proximity auto-defense mechanism still active onboard. It will fire at the closest ship to it on that turn 1 Class-2 beam weapon (facing of the alien ship is irrelevant as the weapon is 6-arc and can fire even while the vessel has used thrust - this is alien technology, after all!). If two ships are equally close to the alien vessel, it will chose the one which is coming more directly at it over the other (first checking course heading, then current speed). If the two (or more) ships which are equally close and are equally closing on the alien vessel, randomly roll a die to decide which one gets shot at.

The alien beam weapon may be disabled by causing 3 pts damage to the alien ship. But as the ship auto-repairs (see below), once it has 3 undamaged boxes, it will begin firing its weapon again. Be careful that rerolls will affect the alien ship as they do yours. The alien weapon system may also be deactivated by boarding parties, but as that action would likely occur after the fleets above have dueled it out, it is outside the scope of this scenario and is presumed to work (on a roll of 1-2 on a d6; any other result indicates that the alien ship is destroyed post-scenario) for the winner of the engagement.

Destroying the alien ship to prevent the other side from getting it is legal, but your goverment will be very unhappy with you. You will win a Phyrric Victory, but lose your command and be dishonorably discharged. It only takes 5 pts of damage to destroy the alien ship. The ship can auto-repair 1 pt of damage per turn but may not have repaired more than 5 boxes in any given turn.

Victory Conditions
Whenever a ship suffers more than 50% of its hull in damage, it must roll to see if the captain has decided to withdraw from the battle or not. On a roll of 1-3 the captain has decided to stick it out, but a 4-5 means the ship must make it's way out of the field of battle as fast as possible. A roll of 6 means that it all but surrenders, by rendering itself a 'non-combatant'. It does not give up, but it may no longer fire weapons (except for PDS in defense mode). Other ships may fire on a ship which has become 'non-combatant'...but that's not very honorable. This isn't like the ESU and NAC are tangling here!

Once a ship has taken damage to it's last damage row it must roll again. This time the captain opts to stick around on a 1-2, and leave immediately on a 3-4. A 5-6 means leave immediately as a non-combatant.

The winner is the side which destroys or chases off the other fleet. Think in macro-terms, your respective fleets don't have unlimited ships. Don't waste them for no reason or to just do it. Once one side or the other has retreated or been destroyed, the other side will have time to deal with the alien ship.

Background
In the year 2180 a UN small survey ship encountered an unusual find: an alien vessel, totally of unknown origin (then again, the number of alien artifacts encountered to date have been few, and none have been ships found floating around in space!). As the survey ship closed to investigate further, the alien vessel 'came to life' and blasted the UN vessel. The UN ship suffered catastrophic systems failures, and had enough time to send out a wide-beam signal that gave the location of the alien ship to the UN, and the Code Omega sign, indicating the survey ship was dead.

Unfortunately for the UN, they never got the message. However, a NAC patrol picked up the information and passed this information on to it's patrol base. At the same time, an escort in an NSL convoy also picked up the signal (being in the same region of space as the NAC patrol craft), and quickly passed the message on to the NSL fleet command. Unbeknownst to both sides, each had decided to send out a small task force of ships to further investigate this alien artifact, and 'protect' it from incursions of other governments until the salvage teams could arrive.

Historical Outcome
The NAC and NSL squadrons met at approximately the same time in the vicinity of the alien craft. Each claimed jurisdiction over the area and the alien spaceship, and neither was willing to concede to the other. After much breast-beating and bolstering and blowing of hot air someone opened fire. It was never clearly determined who exactly fired first, as things rapidly deteriorated at that point. And as the fighting drifted towards the alien spaceship, it occassionally took potshots at whomever ranged too close to itself.

After a short and rather vicious little skirmish, the NSL managed to force the NAC to withdraw, though the NSL fleet itself wasn't in great shape. The only ships that were lost in the battle were the NAC CL Space Knight the NSL destroyer Lindau, and the NSL frigate Volkswagon (the Volkswagon was actually lost due to drifting too close to the alien and taking a hard blast from the alien vessel). Most all ships were moderately to heavily damaged when it was all said and done, though the NSL almost lost their battlecruiser Lorelei. The captain of the NAC battleship Perseus opted to leave the field of battle early, as a non-combatant, after taking heavy damage to his ship. He was later dressed down and demoted two grades for 'fleeing in the face of an adversary' for leaving the field when his ship was still more than a match for most of the NSL vessels left out there.

The NSL managed to capture the alien vessel, but it repaired itself and fired at the Kaiser Fritz Gepard, heavily damaging her. The NSL attempted to re-disable her in order to get a boarding party on board, but the gunner on the Rommel was a little over-enthusiastic and hit a vital spot, which blew the alien ship to smithereens. All the NSL were able to retrieve were small pieces-parts of the alien vessel.

The final political outcome of all this was that it was an unfortunate misunderstanding between the NAC and NSL. The Admiralities on both sides tended to publically (and privately) ignore this incident between the two governments, knowing they needed each other during this Third Solar War.