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The Second Kerbal War


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Chapter One - Minmus

The news from the stations on Minmus were all bad. Anti-Spacecraft defense had shot down most of the Federation landers, but some had landed, and now the Minmusian stations were surrounded by Federation Tanks. Commander Ludfry sighed and zoomed in on the Holomap. A small Federation force was landing on Starlight Plateau.

"That's Munbin's zone." Said one of the Tactical staff as Ludfry panned the camera to look at the Republic defense force. Twelve Rapier ion fighters hovered over the airless, turquoise surface. Nearly a hundred Ion-propelled Skimmer tanks floated behind them, some drivers tensely powering up their sunbeams. A kilometer beyond that, Minmus Monitoring Station Three towered over the landscape.

The sound of Ion drives spinning up stunned Billy-Bobdin. He quickly fired his own drive, floating carefully

behind Captain Munbin's command Skimmer. Billy-Bobdin's sunbeam spun 180 degrees, looking for Federation tanks.

A small blip on the radar alerted Billy-Bobdin and he spun his turret around. Floating directly above a ridge to the right of the Republik tank column, a small Federation tank was trying to get a count on the Republic mediums. Alerted by Billy-Bobdin's sudden rotation, it tried to scurry behind the ridge. Billy-Bobdin's face twisted into an indifferent mask. He fired a sustained shot and nailed the Federation tank directly where the light tank's Xenon gas was stored. Silently, the pressurized gas jetted out of the ruptured container, propelling the light tank high above the Minmusian surface to the sound of whoops and cheers over the intertank comm system.

"Great shot, MDF-32." Said a calm voice over the comm system. Munbin spoke again. "I only wish that all Federation tankers were that stupid."

There was a flash of light, and one of the voices on the intercom shut up abruptly. A Republic tank silently exploded, fragments of metal spinning off in all directions. The main body of the ruined vehicle slowly pitched downwards, ramming into the Minmusian landscape.

"Ambush! We are attacked!" Yelled a nameless voice on the comm as another tank was shattered, doing backflips as it's oxygen tanks decompressed, the shards of metal falling slowly in the low gravity.

Billy-Bobdin heard fired his sunbeam in two long bursts, Annihilating one Federation tank and destroying another's ion drive. The damaged tank sank to the Minmusian ground but kept firing at the Republic column. Seconds later a Republic anti-tank rocket blew it to bits. Far above the battlefield, the Republic Rapier fighters were doing battle with Federation Hellhound Fighters. A Hellhound ripped a rapier in half with a sunbeam shot.

Lemtin's Rapier spun around, turned inside of a Hellhound, and bisected it with a sunbeam. Locking on to another Hellhound on the tail of a Rapier, he launched a rocket and gutted the Hellhound, sending it flipping into orbit. Seeing the disheveled state of his squadron, he called on the comm for a status report. 3 fighters killed and 2 damaged.

"You get back to MMS-3. Goybart, Ranton, stay with me. I want those Fed tanks dead. The rest of you, recharge and rearm." Lemtin was so engrossed in his tactical map, he didn't see the Hellhound. One sunbeam burst ripped his weapon pods off, and another destroyed his ion drive, with no way to control his fighter, Lemtin died cursing the Federation pilot.

Billy-Bobdin saw the fighter falling like an artillery shell. The Rapier's hulk smashed into a Federation tank, flattening it and spraying debris. Another enemy tank shattered, then another. Another Rapier dove towards the ground, firing sunbeam blasts into the lightly-armored roofs of tanks and emptying it's rocket pods. The fighter pulled out with centimeters to spare, nearly brushing the turquoise surface.

With one last push, the Republic armor burst through the Federation lines, ripping tanks and buggies apart and transforming landers into debris clouds. Finally reaching the Edge of Starlight Plateau, the Republic tanks wearily retreated in silence.

Edited by Poryy
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Chapter 2 - Kerbin

There were cheers in the Republic Command Rover. Tactical staff uncorked KerbalKola and other spirits. Ludfry was too tired to party with them, and as he wiped sweat off of his thin brow, he could only think of securing Minmusian space. There was a more pressing problem, however. The Federation controlled nearly 2/3 of Kerbin's surface. The great desert and the Northern Icecap, the two most prestigious research locations on Kerbin, both flew the White and Grey of the Federation.

One of the Tactical Staff entered Ludfry's chamber and shut the door.

"Yes?" Ludfry said coolly. "Sir, I think you should see this" the staff officer told him. Ludfry put on his reading glasses and turned to look at the grainy photograph that the Staff Officer had placed on his desk. Ludfry was shocked by the image. It was a photo of a Federation shipyard, orbiting a nondescript moon. "It's their shipyard at Tylo," the staff officer told him. "But if you look to the right..." Ludfry saw it. An Antiatus class interplanetary battlecruiser. But instead of the distinctive 4-nuclear engine cluster, Ludfry saw a large ring, connected to the ship's main body by a few dark lines.

"They call it the Stardrive." The staff officer said. "Our intel agents say it can propel a ship at the speed of light."

Ludfry was shocked. With an engine like that, a fleet of starships could reach even the furthest enemy outposts. His features contorted in fear. "Tell Sambo to double the fleet strength over Verviedi and to produce double, no TRIPLE the amount of tanks he is now. Tell Andan to scan space near Abaddon constantly. I fear that this war is coming to Verviedi."

The staff officer rushed out of the room, running as fast as his short legs could take him. He heard panicked yelling outside, and the sound of a staffer yelling into the Interplanetary Communications System.

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Chapter 3 - Phobius

Andan woke to the sound of a received transmission. He stretched and walked to the Interplanetary Communications dish. When he picked up the receiver, he heard a strange noise, then was immediately paralyzed as the memetic kill agent replaced all of his brain functions with copies of itself. Green blood spewed from his nose and ears as he collapsed atop of the receiver, completely brain dead.

The Federation fleet flew through interstellar space at the speed of light. Commander Joebart grinned ferally. "By now the Federation agents in the Interplanetary Communications facility should have done their jobs." He thought as he passed into Abaddon's SOI. The 3 battlecruisers and destroyer flotilla came out of Lightspeed near Diamas. Not even a single missile sailed forth from the moon's famed weapon batteries. Alarms were blaring on Phobius, but all of the cries fell on dead ears.

Only a minute later, the Federation fleet reached Verviedi, jewel of Abaddon.

A single Rapier fighter was in orbit, performing sensor duties. Captain Sonbo couldn't believe his eyes. On his radar screen, 3 large blips and too many smaller blips to count appeared. He radioed these findings back to the Republic defense force, and moved in to investigate.

As soon as the signal reached the VDF, chaos began. Ships engaged their engines, sunbeams powered up, and the fat carriers pumped out fighters like some ocean-dwelling leviathan laying eggs. Captains radioed in ready messages, and as one, the VDF moved to defend their planet.

The fighters met each other first. Nearly 600 Republic Rapiers and Shrike interceptors smashed into the 300-strong Federation Hellhound swarm. Sonbo burned towards a Hellhound, turned, and ripped it apart with a guided missile.

He flipped and killed another one, and was rewarded with a sunbeam shot that flew within centimeters of his cockpit. Seconds later, the responsible Hellhound was smashed by a Shrike's floating hulk. One Rapierr, then another exploded behind him, and he pulled a 180 degree turn and saw a Federation fighter shoot by at incredible speeds.

VDF cruisers and Federation destroyers dueled with each other indiscriminately, beams disintegrating any fighter caught in their path. Sonbo nearly missed crashing into a Federation battlecruiser and fired a torpedo at a heavy sunbeam firing at a VSF cruiser. He didn't have time to see if it hit, as a Hellhound fired a rocket into his stabilizers, ripping a hole in his cockpit. Air and blood flowing out of his suit, he pulled a radical turn and accelerated towards the battlecruiser's bridge, firing every single munition he had at the blast-glass windows of the leviathan. He impacted, crashed through the thick metal plate, and gutted the battlecruiser, exploding munitions bays,and gravity generators. The ruin of his fighter emerged from the outer hull of the Federation battlecruiser, sticking out like a dart.

One VDF cruiser exploded violently as Joebart's ship gutted it with a heavy sunbeam. Another exploded as it's ruined engines overheated. Nearly destroyed, the VDF fleet accelerated away, leaving the Frderation in control if Verviedi.

Edited by Poryy
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Chapter 4 - Verviedi

Sambo's forces were on edge. He had already retreated from Verviedi Prime Smelting, and the invasion force was on his heels. Sambo himself was tired, and hadn't slept for 2 days. Not for the last time, he wished for the in-your-face job of flying a Rapier. At least then he didn't have to worry about mistakes.

"Commander." Sambo turned around and saw a nameless soldier in beige Republic uniform. The soldier wearily dropped his gun on the floor of the command tank. "When is this going to be over? Why isn't the rest of the VDF helping us?" Sambo shook his head miserably. "They think we are lost. The entire planet is under blockade. We are out of supplies. We are just a sacrificial lamb, and I am not going to waste 75,000 tanks on a suicide mission."

"But sir..." The soldier protested. "But nothing. Tell comma. We are turning around and facing the foe."

The soldier scurried off and Sambo returned to the sheets of paper that detailed losses and desertions.

Seangas listened in disbelief as the comm system ordered him to turn around. With a sound of an Ion drive powering on, he rotated the tank 180° and awaited his next instructions. The comm system crackled and spat out his orders. "Army Group! FORWARD... MARCH!"

There was the deafening whining noise of seventy-five thousand ion drives powering up, and Sambo's massive tank column began advancing. Seangas powered up his sunbeam laser cannon and floored the accelerator pedal. After an hour of restless advancement, they reached the Verviedi Proving Grounds. It was then when they encountered the Federation main force.

Seventy-five thousand Ion-propelled Skimmer tanks charged across the Proving Grounds, losing tank after tank to well-directed fire from Federation artillery hidden in Verviedi Prime Smeltery. The Republic tanks entered accurate range, and unleashed hell.

The air briefly turned to ozone as over a million shots were fired in the span of a minute. Almost 10,00 Federation tanks exploded, turrets doing flips into the thin oxygenated atmosphere.

"Army of Verviedi! Charge them! Remove the Feds from our beloved land! Let none survive!"

His last command.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 weeks later...
I'm loving the story so far! Damn Federation...

I need to write more, but I'm buried in crap I need to do first.



- - - Updated - - -

Chapter Five- Phobius

The stars were blocked out by the Federation fleet. More and more vessels were coming in-system by the day, and the bloated leviathans clung to the captured stardocks of Phobius like suckling piglets to their mother's mammaries.

The circular room Kirfrey was trapped in was the former tertiary janitor's closet of Interplanetary Communications. He could see through the single tiny window. He observed the hundreds of tanks and infantry milling around on the vast landing fields the invasion force had erected all over Phobius. A few dozen kilometers away, slightly below the horizon, the top communications arrays and bridge of a Federation destroyer poked up from behind a ridge.

Kirfrey beat his hand weakly against the hard metal door desperately, cursing himself for accidentally locking himself inside. He had never been a proper soldier. He had been discharged for not meeting the physical requirements for the Republic Army, and the Star Force had turned him down due to "Unfortunate Circumstances."

He looked around at the vast spectacle around him and muttered to himself. "Unfortunate circumstances my mother's saggy left-"

The door opened.

Two Federation soldiers, their weapons at rest, opened the door while talking to each other in their strange language. Kirfrey moved faster than he ever moved before, grabbing a mop and hitting one soldier in the temple as hard as he could. The startled soldier fell on his face, and was knocked cold. The other soldier calmly raised his weapon, and was hit extremely hard in the groin by a bottle of Clear Clean. He slid to the ground groaning, and Kirfrey knocked him out with the mop.

Kirfrey dropped the mop like a hot potato. His hands were shaking and cold sweat dripped from his brow. He took a seat, shaking, and looked around. No running feet, no alarms, nothing. He may have actually got away with something for once in his life.

He dragged the soldier he had Clear Cleaned into the closet first, removed his uniform, and switched clothing. He then dragged the second soldier in, tied them up with a giant towel rope, and locked the door tightly. He heard grunting from inside, but ignored it and hefted his newly acquired gun to his shoulder.

He realised that this was a terrible idea, and instead moved it to his arms, and took aim. He pretended to fire a short beam, and moved the weapon back into resting postition.

He eyed the corridor that lead to the main communications array, and smiled.

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Chapter Six - Part One - Minmus

Starlight Plateau shone with landing lights. The base at the edge of the plateau was in full activity, carrying new fighters, tanks, crew, munitions, and supplies to the vast shape that took up most of the plateau.

The Republic Super-Dreadnought Archangel rested on the ground of Minmus. Even it's massive landing gear was barely able to keep it stable, and the inside of the ship groaned as it felt the weak gravity of Minmus.

Archangel was the most decorated ship in the Republic fleet. Above Pol, it had fought three Federation battleships at the same time, destroyed them, and obliterated their escorts as an afterthought. At the Battle of Laythe, it had singlehandedly destroyed a Federation anti-starship battery that had ripped apart the lamented cruiser Magellan and deterred an entire Republic fleet. And it was going to strike against the Federation at Verviedi. It's six main sunbeams glittered at the prow, and it's collosal engines began to glow red as it took off. With a roar that shook the minty regolith, the Archangel flew.

Chapter Six - Part Two - Phobius

Kirfrey tiptoed down the long corridor towards the main communications array. He felt reasonably assured that nobody would stop a Kerbal in an official uniform, carrying a powerful Sunbeam laser.

After about 100 meters of travel, his hopes were dashed by a Federation sentry standing by the sealed door to the control room.

"HALT! Present credentials!" The sentry barked to Kirfrey. Of course, being a communications officer, Kirfrey had taken courses in Federal, but fear made him forget his training.

Kirfrey blurted out "Hargedla, I mean, here's my papers." in accented Republican. The sentry raised his weapon. Kirfrey was faster, and sentry collapsed, his torso a cloud of vapor. Shaking and in shock, Kirfrey opened the door to the main control room.

Chapter Six - Part Three - Interplanetary Space

The ancient probe orbited silently, it's weak AI fondly remembering the old days, when Kerbin was united. It turned it's sensors upon Duna, the only planet left unspoiled by war. Almost every planet had been affected somehow.

Moho had acquired rings. The vast solar arrays around it were the largest energy producers in the Kerbol system, and they powered the Republic bases on the surface and warships in space.

Eve glowed like a cinder, the billions of Federation drones on it's surface endlessly mining it's rich ores and fuel reserves to fuel the war effort.

Dres was gone. Six weeks of sustained bombardment from a Republic fleet had reduced the Federation-comtrolled dwarf planet to a massive debris field where drones and fighters stalked each other. The ancient probe remembered picking up the transmissions from that battle. The failed negotiations, the Federation commander swearing death before surrender, and the quote that launched an apocalyptic conflict. "Than death it shall be."

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Chapter Seven - Part One - Archangel/Minmus Space

The tension aboard Archangel was thick. Every crew member waited for the order to engage the Federation blockade at Jool. Every Kerbal aboard the colossal vessel knew that this was not an ordinary mission.

In the thousand-kilometer zone around Minmus, a motley fleet gathered. Republic vessels of all shapes and sizes floated in space, basking in Kerbol's sunlight. The Admiral had no illusions. This was not an almighty avenging fleet. This was the desperate gasp of a dying giant.

Hundreds of fighters swarmed around the floating leviathans. Standard-issue Rapiers and Avengers, and the stranger, non-standard fighters of various territory defense fleets. The high-tech, gleaming interceptors of the Technocracy of Vall* mixed with the ancient, slow liquid fuel powered fighters of the Territory of Eeloo.

The giants those ragtag vessels swarmed around were no less varied. The Republic fleet's hard core of modern Minmus and Kerbin- produced vessels shared an orbit with dulled, utilitarian Verviedian cruisers and the esoteric battlespheres built over Eve before it's fall.

Archangel outshone them all. It's black-and blue hull was larger than any ship in the fleet, and it had more firepower than any known Federation vessel.

As the last drone fuel tanker broke away and made for the surface of Minmus and the fighters flooded inside their carriers, the noise inside Archangel began to change pitch. All across the great armada, engines lit and weapons systems primed. The first vessel to leave orbit was a Technocracy destroyer, the Blade of Vall. It was followed by other small craft, then cruisers, and finally the largest ships. They burned for Jool, passing through the Great Debris Field where Dres once was.

*The formal name of the Republic colony on Vall. Known for developing esoteric technologies from the Vall Monument and having the best scientists in the Republic. Currently 1/2 of Vall is under Federation control.

Chapter Seven - Part Two - Phobius

Kirfrey opened the door and saw white. A dozen uniformed Federation technicians sat in the chairs around the room, coordinating the invasion fleet around Verviedi and it's moons. Many things happened at once. A single tech noticed him, and opened his mouth to speak. Kirfrey screamed "DOWN!", and a tech lunged for a panic button. He never made it, being cut down by Kirfrey a centimeter from the lever.

The techs in the room, as one, fled. Kirfrey let them. When the last one was out of the room, he locked both doors and welded them shut with an abandoned arc welder left under a desk.

He sat down at the main control station and furiously typed a message not intended to be read by any Kerbal. It was an order for a computer. As he finished it, the door was kicked in by a soldier in light grey. Kirfrey's last act as a living Kerbal was to press the send button. His last sight was an automated message. It said "Firing Solution Accepted."

Chapter Seven - Part Three - Diamas

Jorgball was the last Kerbal alive on Diamas. The rest were surely gone, cooked alive by the fire of a rocket engine while inspecting the dead moon's famous missile silos. All he could see were sunbeam batteries charging and the flares of missiles rocketing towards Verviedi and Phobius.

He wept and clutched his Medal of Great Valor. He could do nothing to help his beloved Federation now.

Edited by Poryy
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In which we visit the Technocracy of Vall.

Chapter Eight - Part One - Vall - Desperation

Note: The reports of the long retreat of the Technocracy of Vall's forces across the moon were full of inconsistencies. This portion of our tale is the most detailed report possible of the end of that event, but may be partially inaccurate.

Halt, fight, retreat. That was the mantra the Technocracy forces had been following since the first day. The Federation forces that attacked Vall was almost as large as the entire population of the icy moon, and, even after conscripting every single eligible Kerbal, the Technocracy was still outnumbered 700,000 to 100,000. Even the esoteric weapons and technologies moved from the deepest labs to the front lines was not enough to halt the Federation's military juggernaut.

D1009 could see the structures of Vall City on the horizon. The final Technocracy line had formed on one of the ridges surrounding Vall's many "seas", and waiting silently for the Federation invasion force among their emplacements. Anti-Space weapons scanned the void above the great emplacement, and every single remaining soldier, vehicle, and esoteric death-machine stood in wait for the Federation army to appear.

D1009 was one of the Technocracy soldiers who had survived 5 years of constant, desperate war for survival. His body was 30% machine. Two artificial limbs, his right arm and right leg, gleamed under his pressurised powered armor.

He ran diagnostics on the powerful sunbeam linked go his right arm, and the wicked retractable blade array on his left arm. On the line, there was nothing to do but wait.

A small scout skimmer silently flew past, it's sensor arrays scanning the area for the massive Federation army. Almost every vehicle in the Federation was unmanned, but still flew or walked with fluidity unknown by machines, even those of the Technocracy.

Since the first day, Kerbal had stood by machine on Vall. Autonomous drones fought side by side with native soldiers. Now, machines outnumbered Kerbal 5 to one. In all likelihood, there were only 20,000 living Technocracy soldiers left. By all estimates, the attacking force numbered 300,000.

War-drones walked down the lines, holding up signs with orders for the troops. On the 1,471st day, the Technocracy had flooded every single communications channel with memetic kill agents. The ploy worked as planned, nearly decapitating the Federation and slaughtering half the invasion force, but had only made several secure channels (from unit leaders to Vall HQ under Vallhedge) usable without immediate death or insanity.

A mournful noise filled C3725's helmet. He immediately tensed and flexed his mechanical hand. Enemies had been seen on the horizon. It was time to fight. Emplacements and soldiers waiting patiently for the Federation forces to get in range. The engines that propelled walking death machines spun up, and prepared to launch the screaming engines into the thick of the fighting.

To a silent command, every soldier and machine facing the invading army raised their weapons.

The emplacements fired first. Starship-grade heavy sunbeams fired, annihilating Federation tanks and APCs. Sleek, shining Technocracy skimmer-tanks glided outwards, firing precise shots that wrecked vehicle after vehicle. The Technocracy infantry fired last, releasing a bewildering array of energy weapons that tore apart, exploded, temporally dispaced, imploded, or caused vehicles to shake themself apart. D1009 fired his Sunbeam again and again, but it was mostly ineffective against more heavily armored targets.

It was not enough. It wasn't even close to enough. The Federation began firing, and the fighting began in earnest. D1009 flung himself down as a Sunbeam shot reflected off of his armor. The armor of the Kerbal next to him failed, and the corpse flew backwards in the low gravity, the green blood freezing in it's veins.

The Federation vehicles hit the Technocracy lines. Powerful Sunbeams disintegrated Kerbals and shattered war robots. D1009 saw a death machine wrestling a Federation mechsuit, and decapitate the white and grey engine with one of it's many blade-arms. Seconds later, it took a beam directly in the central computer, causing the self-destruct to immediately trigger. The scything, red-hot debris cut down a score of Federation infantry and rattled of D1009's armor. A Technocracy soldier encased in overlapping forcefields rushed by, swinging a massive broadsword that cleaved through a retreating Federation tank.

Something barreled into D1009's shoulder and he flew backwards in the low gravity. A Federation soldier calmly raised his weapon and blew off his mechanical arm, causing him to lose his Sunbeam. Snarling, D1009 desperately activated his suit's jets and extended his left arm's blade array. A Sunbeam shot tore his massive head apart, but his corpse kept moving, the blade array punching through the Federation soldier's helmet and skull.

C3725 saw his squad falling one by one and the line crumbling. Their well-crafted and advanced weapons were no match for the sheer numbers of the Federation. Though they always took down at least 5 Federals, eventually their armor failed and they suffocated in the vacuum or were incinerated by sunbeams.

C375 abandoned the command post, and plugged his armor into his mechsuit. He would not let his home fall and Vall's secrets pillaged. He jetted off towards the front, followed by several other mechsuit-clad Vallites.

Chapter Eight - Part Two - Dres Debris Field

The grand Republic Fleet shot through the debris field towards Jool, and by extension, Vall. They were slightly less than a day away, travelling at 0.6c using Technocracy powerplants. Only one thought was shared among all of the crew of the fleet. "We must make it there."

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Chapter Nine - Part One - Laythe - Negotiations

Both ambassadors faced each other, across the sandstone table. One in dark blue of the Unified Republic of Kerbality , and one in the elegant white and grey of the Federation of Laythe. The talks had been going on for a week, and Laythe had finally found a definite answer to the latest request the Republic had made

The Federation ambassador spoke first. "I am afraid the Federation cannot accept the terms of your latest act. The Federation was founded on the principles of democracy and personal freedom, and allowing you free access to our resources AND full control over our laws is an outrage!"

"This is not a pact. You are a member of the Unified Republic of Kerbality, and thus are subject to our laws. You will surrender Dres, Bop, Pol, and Tylo to us, so that we may make more efficient use of their resources.", the Republic ambassador replied.

The Federal ambassador was tall for a Kerbal, almost 1.2 meters tall. He brought himself to his full height, and said with steel in his voice. "Your Republic is false. We reject your terms, and request that you leave Laythe immediately. That is all."

The Federation ambassador stalked out of the room, his single aide following behind him.

Two days later, Laythe had declared it's independence, along with Dres. In the next three days, Tylo, Bop, and Pol had joined the fledgling Federation. The metals imported from Dres and Tylo easily matched the goods the Republic had shipped in, and easy trade, allowed by a recent transfer window between Dres and Jool, made the Federation wealthier than any Republic member state.

Chapter Nine - Part Two - Kerbol System - Buildup

The Republic gritted it's teeth, but continued peaceful relations. However, a secret vote was passed in the Republic senate. Eve and Moho voted no, however, Vall, Minmus, Mün, Verviedi, Kerbin, and Eeloo voted yes. The vote? War against the Federation.

Moho always had a small population. Only 100 Kerbals permanently lived there, and these Kerbals were mostly prospectors and maintencekerbals for the great solar arrays in orbit. A small agreement with Federation officials for a monopoly on microwave solar power, and Moho shifted it's allegiance away from the Republic. It's single warship, a mostly unmanned Cartographer-Class destroyer named Kerbol's Light sat in orbit, it's hull decorated with hastily painted white and grey symbols.

Eve was even less populated. The only reason it had a vote was because it's fuel and metal exports were prized commodities. The 25 Kerbals on the Eve Station were easily persuaded with lucrative trade deals, and the drones harvesting the surface for fuel and metal were reprogrammed.

Every body in the Kerbin system began making war material. Tanks flooded out of the Minmusian factories, and the largest ship ever built, Archangel's hull began to be constructed by the docks orbiting Kerbin.

Diplomats were sent to the Technocracy of Vall, along with a small armed expedition. None of them were ever seen again.

Eeloo, as always, clung tightly to Kerbin, relying upon the Republic for food and energy. Eeloo's old-pattern liquid-fuel craft began to slowly make their trip over to the fleet massing near Kerbin.

Verviedi, as always, played both sides, trading with bith the Federation and the Republic.

The tensions created by the fracturing Kerbol system lead both sides to began building their militaries. Tylo's orbital factories churned out Federation vessels, while the low gravity of Bop and Pol allowed many tanks to be produced. Laythe's orbital docks bristled with weapons, and kill-sats surrounded the ocean moon. Dres' military bases produced heavy vehicles, and shipped them to Jool while they were still warm.

The spark came when the Republic attacked. A large fleet of Republic warships entered Dres' sphere of influence. Though the dwarf planet's defenses fought bravely, they fled for Jool defeated. Rather than invade Dres, the Republic fleet hung in low orbit for a day.

The Federation commander on Dres grimly prepared his soldiers for battle. In orderly lines, Federation tanks surrounded the largest bases on the dwarf planet.

This was futile.

Silently, the Republic ships began firing. New craters were explosively formed, and rock and dirt thrown into space formed a temporary atmosphere. The bombardment continued for 10 hours, targeting Dres' long-dead fault lines. Rock liquified by the heat of kinetic impacts and sunbeam hits exploded out of the surface, burying the remnants of Dres' bases and mines.

Eventually, the bombardment had drilled though the mantle and crust, and into the core. Finally, the lead ship launched a single missile into the pit.

Dres was observed to break apart into a mass of asteroids and debris. Every Kerbal on the surface died during the bombardment.

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Chapter Ten - Part One - Vall - Civilization Lost

The circle around Vall City was tightening. Some emplacements still fired, but most had been destroyed by the advancing Federation army. The forces of the Technocracy gradually fell back, fighting on the move to buy time to allow the civilians inside Vall City to reach their emergency bunkers.

Eventually, after 6 hours of constant, furious fighting, the Federation entered the capital of the Technocracy, passing through the massive energy barrier protecting the city.

The city seemed deserted. Blue stone and metal buildings extended towards the void in orderly lines, and the captive atmosphere did not make a sound. The only things moving were Federation APCs and tanks, and the occasional cleaning engine.

Sigly's squad sat in their APC, occasionally nervously shifting in their armored spacesuits. The two empty seats on the right side of the vehicle belonged to- HAD belonged to, Sigly corrected himself mentally, two Kerbals who had been atomised by a faceless, armored Technocracy soldier. The silence outside was uncanny. On Laythe, the squad had been constantly barrages by the sound of waves and wind. One Kerbal whispered to Sigly. "What shall we do? This place is empty..."

Sigly's reply was lost in the massive din outside. Large pipes had emerged from the ground, and were pulling in the air contained inside the energy dome. An unlucky umanned drone was also pulled in, into the air tanks beneath Vall's surface. The air pressure readings from outside went down to zero, and the APC switched to using air from the internal supply. With a grinding sound, it's magnetic locks engaged, stopping the vehicle.

The oxygen pipes retracted back into the street, and more pipes, these ones red, emerged from the street. These pipes pushed gasses out.

Sigly yelled into the primitive line-of-sight radio system. "All units! Retreat! The Technocracy has deploying chems!"

He was almost correct. Instead of some horrific gas formulated by Republic or Technocracy scientists, a small silver cloud emerged. The pipes retracted into the ground. Everything was still for a moment, and then the storm broke.

The nanobot swarms flew towards the immobile Federation vehicles, consuming metal hulls and clogging engines. Point defense sunbeams screamed to life, incinerating nanobots by the thousand, but billions more remained, and they consumed the weapons too. After every vehicle was crippled or destroyed, the oxygen pipes emerged again, and began blowing air into the shield dome. At the touch of oxygen, the nanobots rusted and fell. Within seconds, the city was as it had been when Sigly first entered.

Some of Sigly's squadmates were already climbing out of their harnesses. He raised a hand, telling them to stop. He ran a quick system check. Nothing except the magnetic clamps were operational, and everything was beyond repair, consumed by swarming nanobots.

The mag-clamps were the only thing that saved him and his squad. The next few moments were a blur of motion and screams.

There was a fizzle. The shield collapsed. Explosive decompression. Almost every single loose object was blown into the void above Vall. Federation APCs that were never designed to fly spun through the void, their occupants frantically bailing out using their MMUs. Infantry that had disembarked from their APCs were pulped, and drones exploded under the force of decompression.

In a milisecond, over half of the Federation force was rendered combat-unable.

Then, the defenses began firing. Sunbeams designed to be flush with roofs opened fire on the voidborne Federation ground vehicles. They sliced indiscriminately through bailing crews, and exploded vehicles into red-hot shrapnel.

The first Technocracy ion-tank emerged from behind a building. The remnants of the Federation force began firing.

Chapter Ten - Part Two - Jool Space - Interception

"We have entered Jool SOI.", the navigator on the bridge stated with eerie calm. The Admiral looked at him. "No excitement, Bee? We're lifting the seige on Vall, and if you're good, we'll hit the other Joolian Müns on the way out."

"Repeated, iteration 14. My designation is B139. Please do not continue with calling me 'Bee.'" "Ok, Bee." The Admiral said with a smile, and looked away, her eyes meeting the silver implant behind the navigator's ear.

The entire fleet had entered Jool SOI, slowing down before reaching the system, to a more reasonable speed. Engines flared as the relief fleet sped towards Vall.

Blade of Vall was the first to die, as well. A Federation sunbeam trisected it. The Republic fleet desperately tried to change direction, but the Federation defenders gave them no chance to manuever. Sunbeam after sunbeam lashed out at the destroyer screen in front of the main Republic fleet, decimating it. As one, the invading force began to frantically slow down, firing retro-thrusters and desperately scanning for a target. A Cartographer-class cruiser acquired a targeting solution, and fired it's main armament at the contact. The brilliant yellow beam crossed the distance in an instant, impacting the stealthy Federation ship right in front of it's engines, a death sentence for almost any ship.

The beam reflected off, and that was when the captain of the cruiser realised what he was facing.

The legend of the Kryptos was prevalent among the Republic Navy. Supposably the Kryptos was a vessel with a hull that reflected any attack, and could never be detected. It was often blamed for lost supply ships or the destruction of isolated stations. The myth was wrong in one way. There was no "the"Kryptos.

The Kryptos-class heavy cruiser was one of the Federation's most secretive projects. Produced in orbit over Dres, only one was made, and it barely escaped the Desolation of Dres. It was designed to be the ultimate vessel. Covered with a incredibly tough coating that reflected sensor scans and sunbeams, and run entirely by an experimental AI, the Kryptos-class could supposably match a Republic battleship one on one and win. And the unlucky Republic invasion fleet was on the wrong end of it.

Seconds after sending a warning to the rest of the fleet, the cruiser that fired on the Kryptos was destroyed by a furious barrage of sunbeams and more exotic weaponry.

The main body of the Republic fleet could finally engage, and they fired wildly at anything resembling a target. A stray kinetic weapon punctured the hull of the Kryptos near it's drone hanger, but the AI aboard fought on. Five quick shots destroyed a Technocracy destroyer, and Kryptos moved it's crosshairs to a one of the large Eve battlespheres, blowing out it's engines and collapsing a section of hull. Suddenly, the AI registered an impossibly large contact. It broke away from the damaged battlesphere, and burned towards the alert Archangel.

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Chapter Eleven - Jool Space - Dragonslayer

Archangel fired first. A heavy sunbeam blazed across space to the Kryptos, burning a small crater in the stealth cruiser's mirrored coating before glancing off.

The AI-driven cruiser continued burning towards the Archangel, entering the 100 kilometer range of it's weapons. As soon as it entered the effective range of it's weapons, the Kryptos began firing it's array of weapons. Most of the cruiser's sunbeams were deflected by Archangel's hull coating, but one punched through an engineering bay, and one hit a hanger, spacing a company of battle-ready pilots and fighters via explosive decompression.

The Admiral called off his escorts. This battle would be his and his alone. "Prepare to fire main armament! Brace for primary weapon discharge! This fight is ours! For the Republic and Kerm curse the Feds!"

Deep in the bowels of the Archangel, the central reactor increased it's output massively. An energy spike was detected by every ship in the fleet. Six massive beams fired out of the Archangel's primary armament, hitting the Kryptos dead on.

Four beams ricocheted off of the Kryptos' armor. One tore through the armor and hit a coolant tank, starting a fire that was instantly extinguished. The sixth beam burrowed right into the core of Kryptos, severing cables and damaging sensors. It cut into a drone hanger and storage deck, causing secondary explosions that collapsed an entire deck and caused a battery stack to explode.

The AI aboard Kryptos was not programmed for mercy. It ignored the damaged systems on-board and collapsing structures near it's reactor-core. It made a minute course adjustment, and begin firing at maximum rate, not caring for power conservation.

Space between Archangel and Kryptos glowed for a second, as Kryptos put all of it's power into it's sunbeams. A deluge of sunbeams tore apart the Republic flagship's armor in 6 places, causing explosive decompression through several decks. A stray missile tore through one of the breaches, into a reactor stack, causing a fourth of the massive vessel to lose power. The few crewmen that survived the blast managed to jettison the reactor before it went critical due to loss of coolant, but all non-emergency onboard lights went off.

The Admiral watched the Federation ship closing, and smiled ferally. This smile was interrupted by a navigation officer. "Enemy contact on collision course, sir! ETA 3 minutes!" The Admiral frowned, his face appearing hollow in the emergency light. "Fire point defense weapons, complete spread of enemy vessel. Order escorts to provide supporting fire."

The rain of fire impacting Kryptos intensified. Sunbeams and kinetic rounds ricocheted off of the Kryptos' fragmented armor, but yet more lanced through the spaces inside the AI-ship. A shot from the Archangel tore a massivd chunk out of the Kryptos' side, but the AI aboard the vessel continued firing wildly, thinking of nothing but vengeance.

"30 seconds until impact!", the navigator shouted. Most of the bridge crew had abandoned the bridge, hiding in the bunker decks. The only ones on the armored edifice now were the Admiral, Navigator, Communications Officer, and a robed Vallite sensor officer.

The Archangel's point defenses began firing, blasting chunks out of the Kryptos' hull. The computer banks containing it's AI commander had been destroyed, and all the venerable drone-ship was now was a high-speed hulk.

The Archangel's main weapon fired for the last time, detonating the last munitions in the heart of the Kryptos. The drone-ship broke into a rain of debris.

A chunk of debris filled a viewscreen for a split second. The bridge crew threw themselves down, and the Vallite sensor officer whispered a prayer.


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