2947-09-29 – Editor's Loudspeaker: Berkant Action Report 

We are all alive, and we have little but the heavy armor-hull of Saint-Lô to thank for that. The Incarnation force must have rigged the system’s HyperCast Relay with explosives; as soon as we’d committed to the fight, it exploded spectacularly, cutting us off from Fifth Fleet headquarters and causing quite a stir there. Saint-Lô’s logistics train fortunately included a relay constructor ship, and after the battle, it hurried forward to restore our connection (and that of the rest of the system) to the HyperCast network. 

Nojus and I spoke with Captain Liao shortly after the Incarnation force retreated toward the jump limit. I’ll admit I was still quite shaken by what occurred, and Nojus took the lead in this conference, at which the ship’s Naval Intelligence representative was also present. The pair of Navy officers were clear – they wanted us to make sure that we had a message for our audience ready the moment we were reconnected to the rest of the Reach, and they wanted to make sure that message was direct and did not try to conceal the outcome. 

The Battle of Berkant – Overview 

Note: I am not a military writer. Nojus sat with two volunteers from the junior command staff on Saint-Lô to draft this account; I merely edited it to meet Cosmic Background’s editorial standards. 

As Captain Liao suspected (see Tales from the Service: The Siege of Berkant), the Incarnation ships in the system had set up a trap for the superior Saint-Lô squadron. One of their Tyrant cruisers sat in the open at the planet’s Lagrange 3 with its drive idling, while the other four stealthily moved to get between us and that ship, invisible to our SDD instruments and too far from the solar primary to reflect much light. Several strike wings deployed on our probable approach vectors, though the analysts are still not quite sure why; they played no part in the action. 

As the squadron accelerated toward the bait ship, it maneuvered to flee, encouraging the fast destroyers and light cruisers in the Navy van to race ahead of the main formation. The distance between them and Saint-Lô had become so wide by the time these ships passed the ambushers that when the other four Tyrants opened fire on the passing van at close range, the battleship’s big guns were too far away to be much help. By the time Liao’s first shots thundered past the four ships, two destroyers (Elioud Jackson and Roswitha Van Barle) and the light cruiser Notaro Sentinel were already lost. 

As the remaining light ships scattered to escape the close-range fire of the Tyrants, Saint-Lô formed up in close order with the heavy cruisers Razorwing and Ellistown Kite. One battleship and two heavy cruisers still outgunning the four heavy cruisers in the enemy force, Captain Liao maneuvered to bring the Tyrants into ideal heavy-gunnery and missile salvo range. 

The Incarnation ships formed up, too. The four ships adopted a close-order tetrahedral formation and moved toward us, shrugging off several accurate salvos from the kinetic batteries of the Navy heavies to make a close-range, high delta-V pass. Previous encounters with this type of warship have (as mentioned in his space) revealed comparatively ineffective screening systems, but in this case their screening fields shrugged off heavy weapons with ease, allowing them to approach the Navy core formation without suffering any major damage. 

The Tyrants’ relatively light long-range fire did little to the Navy’s big warships, but their numerous short-range energy weapons quickly overwhelmed the screening fields on Ellistown Kite when they came into range. The cruiser faltered and fell out of the action, bleeding atmosphere from a hundred hull breaches, and the Incarnation ships switched their fire to Saint-Lô as they came within two thousand kilometers of the battlewagon. Though the remaining Navy ships managed to punch their concentrated fire trough the lead Tyrant’s screens and land shred its armored hull with point-blank gunnery, Saint-Lô endured a full minute under murderous beam and plasma fire from the other three. Screens overwhelmed, the battleship lost most of its sensor clusters, fire control instruments, and comms antenna spines, making it all but impossible to fire accurately at the departing Incarnation cruisers.  

The three undamaged ships and the bait ship made for the jump limit at full speed, leaving their one damaged compatriot to fend for itself. The crippled Tyrant focused its fire on the crippled Ellistown Kite, carving the helpless ship to pieces even as Razorwing and the surviving lighter ships did the same to it. 


The battle in this system was an unmitigated disaster. For the loss of one heavy-cruiser analogue, a relatively modest Incarnation force that came to Berkant destroyed a heavy cruiser, a light cruiser and two destroyers, in addition to causing severe but not fatal damage to Saint-Lô and another destroyer. Two fire support frigates and the heavy cruiser Razorwing suffered light damage. All told, Confederated Navy fatalities exceed 450, with nearly a thousand non-fatal injuries.

The behavior of the screening fields of the Incarnation ships is still being analyzed, but Captain Liao thinks this is the tactic for which their parabolic, outward-facing screening projectors were designed; the tight equidistant formation essentially allowed each of the four Tyrants to be screened heavily by the other three ships. Operating in groups, Tyrant-type cruisers have demonstrated the ability to close with Confederated Navy battlewagons and engage these much bigger ships effectively. 

Incarnation Coronach strike-craft played little part in the battle, but the Navy's Magpies were almost equally irrelevant; some enemy strike ships were used as pickets and a few small strike engagements took place as Fifth Fleet gunships tried to break through to the Tyrants as they closed with Saint-Lô, but the Incarnation force largely won a battle against a superior force using only eighty percent of its heavy ships and none of its highly capable - indeed, probably far superior - strike assets. Captian Liao is convinced this is because the enemy commander was toying with him, but the other analysts I’ve asked suggest that the enemy commander had more practical reasons for this decision. 

To be sure, the Confederated Worlds retains control of the Berkant system, but the Incarnation didn’t bring support forces to hold the system. They attacked Berkant – a system barely twelve ly from Maribel - to draw Fifth Fleet ships into a battle. They got the battle they were looking for on their own terms, and the result should be sobering to anyone on the Coreward Frontier. 

2947-09-16 – Editor's Loudspeaker: The Situation Develops 

Saint-Lô and its dozen-odd supporting frigates, destroyers, and light cruisers left Maribel space last night. I dispatched this news feed item several hours before departure from planetary orbit, setting it to go public after we’d reached the jump limit. Our destination is still secret, but I have heard rumors about a big raid under way in the Frontier. The Incarnation’s one to three ship raiding attacks on the Coreward Frontier have stretched the more mobile elements of the fleet, but such strikes can’t really do more than damage orbital infrastructure; most of the population and economic activity of the Frontier takes place on planetary surfaces. 

The Incarnation’s problem is simple: they seem to lack the heavy fleet units to field against the Fifth Fleet’s battlewagons, but they can’t stay long enough in any Confederated system to occupy or raze a colony without having heavy elements to at least delay the fleet. If they have committed a larger squadron to a single system, it’s likely that Saint-Lô appearing in-system with its supporting elements will be enough to scare them off. 

Still, I’ll admit I am not ready to experience this war from the tip of the spear. If you are of any of the faiths, keep this squadron in your prayers over the next few days. I have a feeling that we’ll need more than a few prayers before this mess works itself out. 

2947-06-26 - Editor's Loudspeaker: Well, Then.

Today's announcement surprised even me.

I never even put in a request to participate in the embed coverage. I sent a message back to Centauri to check if there was a mistake, and they assured me there wasn't. They also told me that Nojus Brand will arrive here at Håkøya by the end of the week, and we'll proceed together to Maribel to report to the Fifth Fleet's headquarters.

I would say something about it, but I'm still in shock. Of all the people the studio could pick to send out with the fleet, they picked me? To go to war?

I'm not a member of the faith myself, but any of you who are, start praying for Nojus, myself, and the rest of the team. Even nestled in the heart of the fleet, even though the Fifth Fleet will probably be overwhelming firepower against these Sagittarian raiders, we won't be entirely out of danger.

I can only say I'm a bit terrified, but I'll do my best. I hope that's enough.



(NOTE: I know Nojus will do his best too, but I doubt he's scared of any of this. Compared to his average week, this little Naval dust-up is probably more like a vacation.)

2947-05-25 - Editor’s Loudspeaker: Datacast Blackouts in Håkøya 

You may have noticed that our last Tales from the Inbox feed item was delayed by almost twenty-four hours. This was not because of human error or a technological fault. Naval Intelligence has asserted control over the HyperCast relay station in the system and several others, and it reserves the right to impose total or partial datacast blackouts for reasons of “military security.”

Such a blackout was ordered during the time when Tales from the Inbox was meant to be ingested, leading to the delay. The reasons for this blackout were never explained to civilians here in-system, but it probably has something to do with a security alert on all orbital stations that began shortly before the blackout.

I can’t verify this information, but it has been hinted to me that one of the so-called KR-ships (crewed by Ladeonist insurgents as with other examples of the type) was spotted stealthily approaching one of the cruisers of the Fifth Fleet’s van. This unverified story bears the ring of truth, because Navy gunship patrols and local defense force activity have both stepped up since.

All of this leads me to conclude that rumors of Captain Bosch’s force tangling with Sagittarians and suffering badly may not be as outlandish as first thought. Bosch has yet to reply to personal messages on the subject, but the Navy’s datasphere dispatch system continues to accept them, suggesting that, in their records at least, he is still alive.

I have discussed this situation with Ashton and the other members of Cosmic Background’s Centauri staff, and have come up with a few measures to prevent the loss of feed items in the future. In addition to preparing several stopgap Tales from the Inbox episodes in case of another blackout, I will begin duplicating all my feed activity across to Centauri thirty-six hours or more before the scheduled time of publication. Hopefully this will prevent more such mishaps in the future.

Again, this is not a military news feed. If that is what you wish to find, you will find several good ones recommended by other fans in the social-link datahub for this feed. I only bring up the situation because it is affecting my ability to deliver content for your entertainment on schedule.