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The government of New Tuscany, with the covert encouragement of Manpower Incorporated, set the stage for the incident by loudly protesting alleged "strong arm" tactics of Manticoran officers during customs inspections of New Tuscany freighters doing business in the Pequod System. They followed up the protests by stationing the New Tuscany Navy light cruiser NTNS Camille in Pequod to "formally observe" proceedings. Manpower was able to convince New Tuscany that they would be backed up by the Office of Frontier Security, and more importantly, by an actual Frontier Fleet task group, which would "show the flag" in New Tuscany in case the RMN decided to "try anything". And, in any case, if the RMN decided to take on a Frontier Fleet task force, an SLN Battle Fleet was also engaged in training exercises in the nearby McIntosh System. (SI2)
Destruction of NTNS Hélène Blondeau Edit
Five days later, during a routine inspection in Pequod, the NT freighter NTNS Hélène Blondeau exploded before an RMN pinnace could board her for inspection. New Tuscany claimed that the RMN pinnace had destroyed the freighter. Within a day of New Tuscany learning of the explosion (from Camille), they "determined" it had been an act of aggression by the RMN. They sent a diplomatic dispatch boat to Spindle, demanding an "impartial outside power" step in to investigate the incident. (SI2)
Destruction of the space station Giselle Edit
The Imperial Governor General, Baroness Medusa, decided to send her reply, as well as an ambassador, on board four Roland-class destroyers, to the New Tuscany System. Upon their arrival on October the 25th, 1921 PD, they discovered the presence of Admiral Josef Byng, along with seventeen Solarian battlecruisers and five destroyers. Admiral Byng was "showing the flag" in a "friendly" star nation, with Squadrons 112 and 302 of Task Group 3021, Frontier Fleet. Commodore Ray Chatterjee directed HMS Tristram to observe remotely, so she had stayed at the hyper limit, watching events via Ghost Rider remote reconnaissance platforms, in case New Tuscany decided to attempt some surprise maneuver akin to that of Monica.
After the Manticoran ships reached parking orbit and shut down their systems, and in accordance with covert instructions from Manpower Inc., the New Tuscan space station Giselle was blown up, killing 45,000 civilians, by a two-hundred kiloton bomb a Jessyk Combine freighter had delivered sometime previously. Immediately assuming a Manticoran attack, Admiral Byng ordered his ships to fire on the Manticoran units, destroying them with all hands. HMS Tristram left for Spindle immediately to report to higher authority. (SI2)
Arrival of Tenth Fleet Edit
- See also Second Battle of New Tuscany.
- ↑ The Mesan assumption was that the disastrous events of the Battle of Monica were due to Monican Navy deficiencies, not the ships themselves being inferior to Manticoran ships.
- ↑ Although they were unable to provide a motive for the RMN to take such an action, nor could they explain why the explosion occurred not from a single source, like a pinnace laser or missile, but rather from eight distinct and separate internal sources, such as scuttling charges.
- ↑ In an old pattern, that "outside power" would almost certainly be the Office of Frontier Security. It would presumably respond by sending a "friendly" task group to New Tuscany to protect all sides pending an investigation, thus preventing Manticore from using force to "negotiate", just as they had in the Republic of Monica.
- ↑ And without demanding surrender, even though he had seventeen battlecruisers sitting at general quarters in orbit.