Battle of Home System


Battle of Home System

The Battle of Home System was a battle of the Fish War depicted in Fisherman's Hope by David Feintuch.

Prelude

Upon his return to Earth following his victory at Hope Nation, Nicholas Seafort was appointed Commandant of the Naval Academy by Admiral Duhaney in August 2201. Despite the destruction of nearly a thousand Fish at Hope Nation the war was going badly for the UN, having lost dozens of ships, and been forced to abandon Hope Nation, Kall's Planet and Vega. New officers were desperately needed to replace those who had been lost, and Seafort's status as a war hero attracted applicants to the service. Following his experiences on UNS "Challenger" and at Hope, Seafort proposed that a "caterwaul bomb" be developed to help combat the Fish, but the proposal was initially pushed aside until an attack on UNS "Wellington" during her commissioning (driven off by Seafort himself, aboard as a guest) forced the Admiralty's hand. It was too late and in January 2202, while Seafort was aloft at the Academy's Lunar Farside facility, the Fish launched their final attack.

The Battle

Over three hundred Fish launched the initial attack, hitting the Navy's moon base at Lunapolis with a massive asteroid, knocking out an important communications hub early in the battle. Caught completely by surprise the UNNS scrambled to recover from the early loss, but their scattered formations, and a concentration of 75-100 Fish around Earthport seriously hampered their efforts. Attempting to recover from the initial attack, Secretary General Rafael De Vala ordered the Home Fleet to concentrate their defence over the western hemisphere, abandoning Africa and Asia in favour of the key industrial base, culminating with a paraphrasing of Nelson's Trafalgar signal- The United Nations expects every man to do his duty.

Seafort initially considered the situation to be hopeless, and contemplated suicide, but suddenly realised that Earth could be saved, albeit at terrible cost. Calling the cadets of the Academy together he announced a 'training exercise' in the Fusers, small, unarmed, but FTL-capable training ships, insisting on volunteers only due to "reports that Fish have been sighted". Taking forty-four Cadets, seven Midshipmen and his First Lieutenant Edgar Tolliver in seven Fusers and their commandship, UNS "Trafalgar" he set forth to join the battle.

The plan was based on two facts: Fish were attracted to a malfunctioning or low-power Fusion drive like moths to a flame, and no ship, of any mass could escape the B'n Auba Zone, extending 20.3 million miles out from the Sun. Seafort would order the Fusers to active their Fusion drives in sequence, passing the Fish they attracted down a long line towards the Sun and then, one by one, they would be sent into the B'n Auba Zone to their deaths, sacrificing the cadets to destroy the Fish. Earth would be saved- at the cost of the lives of fifty teenagers, Tolliver, and Seafort himself.

Early his operation Seafort found himself at odds with his commander, Admiral Seville, who intended to Fuse the fleet in a coordinated manoeuver in order to regroup. Desperate to prevent the move, which would draw Fish away from his Fusers, Seafort used an obscure UNNS regulation to seize command of the Home Fleet, a regulation which mandated the automatic court-martial of any who invoked it, and the execution of any who did so without just cause.

Ultimately, having ordered all seven Fusers to their deaths in the Sun, Seafort prepared to follow them in with "Trafalgar", but not matter how powerfully the ship caterwauled, no Fish appeared. All had followed the last Fuser into the Sun. Horrified at the thought that he would have to live with the knowledge that he had tricked the cadets to their deaths, an act he had only been able to carry out with the 'comfort' that he would ultimately meet the same end, Seafort suffered a nervous breakdown.

Aftermath

After his breakdown Seafort, along with Tolliver, Tenere and the surviving Cadets, was rescued by UNS "Prince of Wales" and returned to Earthport station. En route Tolliver convinced Seafort not to reveal that the Cadets had been tricked into their deaths, and to let their families believe that their children had willingly sacrificed themselves to destroy the Fish. At his court-martial Seafort attempted, but failed, to plead guilty to illegally commandeering the fleet, and was ultimately found not guilty by the court after numerous officers gave evidence of the hopeless situation of the battle before his intervention. Disgusted at the outcome, he resigned from the navy, and went into self-imposed exile as a monk at Lancaster.


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