Pleiades (Individual Aegis-class WarShip)

Pleiades
Vessel Profile
Type WarShip
Class Aegis

History[edit]

When the Hegemony Armed Forces began to introduce the new Avatar-class heavy cruiser to service the decision was made to place the bulk of the older Aegis-class heavy cruisers in mothballs, orbiting the sun at a position somewhere between Terra and Mars, with a small number staying in active service as training vessels.[1] The ship which would later be known as the Pleiades was one of the Aegis-class ships to have survived her service to the Terran Hegemony, and when First Lord Ian Cameron of the Star League chose to bring the Aegis fleet out of mothballs in 2582 two-thirds of the Aegis class went on to service in the newly-formed Star League Defense Force; the remaining third of the fleet[1] - some 30[2][3] to 36[1] vessels in all - were sold to the various Star League member states.[1] The Manaslu was either purchased by the Free Worlds League at this point, or obtained subsequently, and was still in service with the Free Worlds League navy in 2789.[4] At least five Aegis were active in the Free Worlds League Navy in 2765 and it is possible - but not certain - that the Pleiades was one of these WarShips.[5]

In March 2789 the Pleiades was in service with the FWLN Third Fleet as the FWLS Pleiades. The Third Fleet had spent some time split into two groups, one waiting in the Holt system and the other in the Oriente system, with each group waiting for news of a Capellan attack on any of the nearby systems - a decision prompted by intelligence agents working for the Free Worlds League on Propus, who had detected a Capellan Confederation Armed Forces buildup in the system. What the agents had detected at Propus was the formation of Task Force Devlin, a substantial task force intended to inflict a morale-destroying strike against the planet Calloway VI, a repeat of a strike in late 2788 against New Delos, which had become known as the New Delos Massacre due to the high number of intentional civilian fatalities and the devastation inflicted on civilian population centers.[4]

Task Force Devlin consisted of thirty WarShips, fifty attack DropShips, fifty-six transport DropShips, numerous transport JumpShips and seven regiments of 'Mech forces. The 'Mech forces included the Red Lancers, the Ares Titans, the First and Second Sian Dragoons, the Fourth Capellan Chargers, the Third Confederation Reserve Cavalry and the Fifth Liao Lancers. The overall command of the Task Force fell to Colonel Jacen Devlin aboard his flagship, the Du Shi Wang-class battleship CCS Sundermann Liao. Also present within the Task Force were Chancellor Barbara Liao, intent on leading the Red Lancers in action personally, as well as both of Barbara's sons, Baltazar and Barnabus Liao.[4]

Unfortunately for the Capellans, the battle for Calloway was a disaster. Unlike the earlier action at New Delos, the Maskirovka didn't have cracked Free Worlds League codes to supply to the CCAF, so the Task Force was going in blind; the Task Force had also been betrayed by a traitor within the naval fleet, who had been sickened by the massacre on New Delos and who passed word of the impending attack to League agents at Propus while the task force was being assembled. Also working against the fleet was the presence of Barbara Liao - who was able to order the Task Force to continue the attack against the advice of her subcommanders when things began going wrong, and whose very presence sapped resources away from the main Task Force because of the need to keep her safe... something that began almost immediately.[4]

The FWLN Third Fleet jumped to Calloway a week into Task Force Devlin's two-week approach to Calloway VI from the jump point. Arriving close enough to the Capellan transport JumpShips to engage immediately, the Third Fleet destroyed all bar two of the JumpShips, along with their small WarShip escort, and began burning towards Calloway VI, determined to avenge New Delos. As the Capellan forces began retreating from Calloway VI after ten days of grueling, attrition-based warfare, Colonel Devlin became aware of the destruction of the transport ships and the approaching Third Fleet ships. Devlin assigned six WarShips to evacuate Barbara Liao, while his remaining forces acted as a rearguard against the vengeful League forces; in the ensuing battle, the FWL destroyed many of Devlin's ships - including the Sundermann Liao, killing Devlin himself. The Pleiades was responsible for the destruction of the CCS Calseraigne, an Essex-class destroyer; lost along with the Calseraigne was Baltazar Liao, whose brother Barnabus had been killed along with the other members of the Ares Titans during the withdrawal on Calloway VI itself. Of the original Task Force Devlin ships and forces, the survivors who managed to escape mustered just twelve WarShips, six attack DropShips, five 'Mech transports and three fighter carriers, transporting away the remnants of the ground forces - of which only the Red Lancers, Third Confederation Reserve Cavalry and Fifth Liao Lancers had managed to survive in any numbers.[4]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Technical Readout: 2750, pp. 132–133: "Aegis"
  2. Technical Readout: 3057, pp. 144–145: "Aegis (Heavy Cruiser)"
  3. Technical Readout: 3057 Revised, pp. 142–143: "Aegis (Heavy Cruiser"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 First Succession War, pp. 58–60: "Debacle at Calloway"
  5. Field Report 2765: FWLM, p. 20: "Free Worlds League Navy"

Bibliography[edit]