The Manticoran heavy cruiser HMS Hexapuma was assigned to the Nuncio System by Admiral The Honorable Augustus Khumalo, commander of Talbott Station. Commodore Emil Karlberg, the senior officer of the Nuncio Space Force, informed Captain Terekhov that unknown ships had recently penetrated the system's territory on more than one occasion.
Hexapuma began patrolling the system and, on August 25, detected three unidentified spacecraft. These were the heavy cruiser Anhur, an unnamed destroyer, and the Solarian cargo liner Emerald Dawn, which the pirates had taken two and a half months earlier in the New Tuscany System. Captain Terekhov and his crew worked out a plan to kill off the destroyer and take both Anhur and Emerald Dawn. (SI1)
Order of battle Edit
- HMS Hexapuma, RMN, Captain (SG) Aivars Terekhov commanding
- ad hoc NSF squadron carrying boarding force, Captain Magnus Einarsson commanding:
People's First Liberation Squadron Edit
People's First Liberation Squadron, Commodore Henri Clignet commanding:
- PNS Anhur, Captain Daumier commanding
- unidentified Desforge-class destroyer marked as 'Bogey Two'
- prize Emerald Dawn, Citizen Lieutenant Eisenhower commanding
Course of battle Edit
Hexapuma "fled" the orbit of Pontifex, disguising itself as the Rembrandt-flagged freighter Nijmegen. Anhur and 'Bogey Two' quickly followed her. Upon reaching missile range, Anhur ordered the "freighter" to stop, firing a warning shot. Minutes later, Hexapuma's crew executed Abattoir, activating a cascade of carefully organized secondary commands. The Manticoran ship's impeller wedge abruptly went to full power and she came around to starboard in a 600g 180° turn. Her sidewalls went up, EW drones were launched and energy weapons ran out; and radar and lidar system began scanning the enemy vessels.
It took Hexapuma fourteen seconds to come to full combat readiness, but her fire control computers had been running continuously updated tracks on both targets and the missile systems were programmed for three broadsides in advance, with the firing solutions being updated every fifteen seconds from the instant the pirates had entered her maximum missile range. Now a double broadside was launched on 'Bogey Two', destroying it instantly.
Protected by her bow wall, Hexapuma decelerated towards Anhur at 720g as the later continued to decelerate towards her at 531g. It took another 31 seconds, in which the range dropped by another 108,684 km, for the Mars-class cruiser to begin to maneuvre: Anhur's bow rose, relative to Hexapuma, which simultaneously dipped her stern, since she was decelerating directly towards the Manticoran ship, presenting only the roof of her impeller wedge to Hexapuma as they closed.
When the range was down to about 423,500 km, Captain Terekhov gave order to open fire.
Both grasers and two of the three lasers scored direct hits, shattering Anhur's after hammerhead section, killing over thirty-five percent of her crew and wounding another nineteen percent. Thirty-one percent of Anhur 's weapons were destroyed, her maximum possible acceleration reduced by half. She had lost forty-seven percent of her sidewalls, all of her after impeller nodes and Warshawski sails, as well as fifty percent of her power generation, her aft fire control and sensor arrays, and almost two thirds of her tactical computers.
Within seconds, Anhur surrendered, its captain begging Hexapuma to stop firing. Captain Terekhov ordered them to cut down their wedge, shut down all active sensors and stand by to receive boarders. They were not to resist them in any way and not to purge their computers.
Meanwhile, pinnaces commanded by Lieutenant Abigail Hearns reached Emerald Dawn, and RMMC troopers in heavy maintenance hardsuits boarded the freighter, finding many dead and Lieutenant Josh Baranyai, the ship's original third officer, along with eleven other survivors. (SI1)
Lieutenant Baranyai was able to confirm that one of Emerald Dawn's heavy shuttles was missing, but no trace of it was found.
- ↑ 3rd Platoon of Hexapuma's Marine detachment, Lieutenant Bill Mann commanding
- ↑ Meaning "slaughterhouse".
- ↑ Anhur's crew had not completely cleared for action: only her missile crews and half a dozen energy mounts were in skinsuits, and the spaces normally evacuated of atmosphere for combat were wide open and fully pressurized. Almost three-quarters of her crew were in normal working dress, causing the number of casualties to be extraordinarily high.