Above: The USS Kittyhawk taking on supplies at an independent asteroid base
Strike Carriers often operate alone behind enemy lines for weeks at a time, gathering and acting on intelligence. The ‘Hawk had been laying low the shadow of a gas giant when its patrol fighters detected movement. Several Wun’Tux transport ships with a light escort appeared to have been pulled out of FTL travel at the edge of the system’s gravity well – a not uncommon occurrence when jump courses are plotted without due care and attention. They presented such a tempting target that it gave the US commander pause for thought.
The loss of the USS Ranger had happened only three months previously and was still fresh on people’s minds and the Kittyhawk’s commander was an enthusiastic proponent of the new tactics and ideas trained at Highpoint. She drew back her fighter patrols and initiated a wide-band jamming, disrupting human and Wun’Tux communication for hundreds of kilometres around. Nothing happened immediately, but within fifteen minutes a much larger fleet of Wun’Tux Clanships arrived – in attack formation. The Kittyhawk had forced them to show themselves, however, and the shoe was on the other foot.
The Wun’Tux ships positioned themselves to leave; to all intents and purposes appearing to believe their trap had failed. This left a hole in their formation; one the Kittyhawk gladly took advantage of. She left the shadow of the gas giant at full burn, fighters deployed and armed for bear. Scimitars from the ‘Checkmates‘ sliced through Wun’Tux Twinfangs whilst the Kittyhawk engaged targets of opportunity; scoring hits against the vulnerable hind quarters of warships and transport alike. She sewed chaos amongst the would-be ambush force and had escaped the gravity well with her fighter wings before they could react.
The incident was a great embarrassment to the would-be ambushers, BroodClan Soulfront. They had worked hard to gain the respect of the larger and more established BroodClans with novel tactics and strategy; to have an ambush fail so specatularly dealth their growing reputation a significant blow.
The USEF were left with questions of their own; how had the Wun’Tux known where the ship would be and how to plan such an ambush. Superstitious crewmen told stories of reptilian mind control but the more reasonable explanation was perhaps more worrying; Wun’Tux collaborators within the military itself.