October 2nd 2013
The Tevarin War had raged into its second year. Although the United Planets of Earth had managed to claim some decisive victories, the Tevarin were unrelenting, gaining ground in Centauri System and pushing UPE forces as far back as Ferron System.
By late August 2544 SET, High General Trevor Borland had grown impatient. In a strategy meeting with his advisers, he expressed a fear that by letting the battle lines equalize, he could see both sides becoming complacent and settling into a war of attrition. He wanted “to unbalance the Tevarin; to challenge their expectations of how we had been engaging them in warfare.” Over the next week, Borland, High Command and his advisers sketched out the skeletal framework of what would become Operation Nemesis.
Military Intelligence had identified a Tevarin shipyard on the surface of Idris IV that served as the main repair facility and launching point for a majority of the Tevarin fighters in the system, as well as the operational hub for several unknown Tevarin structures that they were building around the globe. Nemesis intended to seize and occupy this territory to act as a forward operating position to gain a foothold back into Idris.
The UPE Military’s Research & Development Department had accelerated production on their new R27HE “Hull-Shredder” torpedoes, and by September 17 had them combat-ready for the mission. Naval forces assembled by the Ferron jump point while Army and Marine ground units trained relentlessly using (then untested) planetary invasion techniques.
Operation Nemesis was a daring and divisive plan. Upon entry into Idris, the initial invasion wave of carriers, destroyers, corvettes and transports were to ignore all Tevarin cap-ships and push into the system, attempting to drag the Tevarin into a fight above Idris IV. Specified ships would break off along the way to form a defensive line between the target and the Ferron jump point. Army and Marine ships would invade the planet surface, seize military control points and hold until a steady stream of reinforcements could enter the system to back up the defensive line and reconnect to the initial wave who were in orbit besieging the planet.
The Operation officially launched at 2544-09-30_13:45 SET. Enemy contact occurred immediately after entering Idris. Customized missile ships entered the jump point first, launching a full spread of rockets before the rest of the fleet arrived. The initial wave commenced its push towards Idris IV. The Tevarin capital ships tried to intercept and engage the UPE Navy but the fleet maintained course and speed toward Idris IV.
Finally, once the Army and Marines deployed to the planet, the Navy turned to fight. The battle above Idris IV began in earnest as fighters swarmed up from the surface. Three transports were lost during descent before the fighting spilled over onto the ground.
The 112th Infantry Battalion (Army) under Colonel Tio Koshi assaulted the shipyard (designated ‘the Hill’) along with Alpha, Bravo and Charlie Mechanized Companies on loan from the 3rd Expeditionary Unit as support. After six hours of combat, the 112th and the Marines took the Hill. For the moment, it seemed like the operation was going to be a resounding success.
Then the moment passed.
The Tevarin unleashed a devastating strike against the fleet in orbit above Idris IV. The structures that the Tevarin were building turned out to be a prototype planetary defense system. Two carriers were annihilated in seconds. The remaining UPE ships scattered to avoid the fire from the planet. Even worse, the new Hull-shredder torpedoes began to fail, either exploding in their tubes or failing to arm when fired.
On the surface, the Tevarin forces that had abandoned the Hill returned with renewed vigor.
Hearing reports from the ships, the 112th realized that they were going to be on their own very soon. Their mechanized escort was already down fifty percent of their original numbers. The soldiers were nowhere near as familiar with the Tevarin installation as their enemies and were having difficulty securing it.
The next planetary rotation would last a lifetime. The Naval vessels battled wave after wave of Tevarin fighters above Idris IV, refusing to give an inch, knowing that any space lost would certainly consign the troops below to a death sentence. The 112th suffered a devastating loss when a Tevarin fighter strafed the compound, dropping an anti-matter bomb that destroyed Colonel Koshi and his command staff. The ground forces became scattered, demoralized and the Tevarin seemed to pick up on it.
The last remnants of 3rd EU Bravo Company died in the push. The remaining Marines and the 112th fell back to their inner defensive position. Major Michael Colorry of the 112th Bat. Charlie Company was trying to orchestrate an extraction plan when an unseen sniper’s bullet took his life. His second-in-command, a young, ambitious officer Captain Ivar Messer, then assumed command of the company.
Messer began calling danger-close bombing runs from the fleet’s Retaliator bombers while he organized ambush points with the surviving soldiers. For hours, the bombers dumped payload after payload of high-explosive ordnance on the converging Tevarin forces. Messer didn’t stop there, also organizing a small recon force to destroy the planetary defense system that was still devastating the fleet above. The group commandeered a downed Tevarin skiff and slipped past the lines.
The infiltration team, led by Sergeant Adam Corr, managed to not only discover the nexus of the planetary defense system but overtake and assume control of it. They turned the devastating weapon against the massing Tevarin fleet, long enough for UPE Naval reinforcements to enter the system.
The Battle of Idris IV had taken another turn. Over the next few hours, the Tevarin forces began to fall back. Unfortunately, Corr and his team had to abandon and detonate the defense system before reinforcements arrived.
As the smoke cleared on Idris IV, over a hundred capital ships, thousands of fighters, and seventy-thousand lives had been lost on both sides. Messer and his forces still held the Hill. His actions had decisively turned the tide of the battle. The victory at Idris IV would galvanize the populace in the UPE, drive recruitment rates up, and build on the momentum to push further into the Tevarin systems.
At the center of all of this, the young ambitious Captain Ivar Messer, whose taste of power would begin to push him on a path that would change the course of Human history in a very different way.