Chapter 16 – Battle of the Loki Star System
The Loki system is 110 light-years away from the Diete system towards Conopus. The distance from the solar system is about 100 light-years, making it little closer to the Coalition as a sphere of influence.
Within the star system, there is a rocky planet “Loki’d” whose surface is ice with a thickness of several kilometers, has liquid water, with gravity is close to Earth and has reached the magnetosphere, so the possibility of settlement has been considered several times.
However, human beings never colonized the Loki system.
Loki’s primary star is a quasi-dwarf star, which is darker and hotter than the sun due to its low proportion of heavy elements, and has strong ultraviolet rays due to its high transparency of the atmosphere. For humans who evolved from Earth in the solar system, the star system’s environment was too different.
Due to the strong stellar winds in the Loki system, celestial bodies blown away before the formation of giant gas planets have formed a cluster of extrasolar exoplanets on a scale of several hundred to several thousand times the size of the Earth, about 6 billion to 7.2 billion kilometers minimum from Loki’s primary star.
Since it is impossible to warp out directly into the star system, colonists will have to travel between a huge number of celestial bodies.
The Loki system has been neglected for a long time due to the inconveniences and dangers.
However, it is located near the border between the two powers, it is a star system protected by a magnetosphere where no one can approach and has an inexhaustible supply of water. The Coalition, having reassessed the value of the Loki system through war, has secretly built a forward base to provide a foothold for the invasion of the Monarchy.
The Coalition invasion fleet and the Monarchy’s interception fleet rushed toward the Loki system one after another.
“Warp out confirmed. All sections clear.”
The Subscreen of the Command Center shows the map of the surrounding sector centered on Fortress Kerviel. The fortress was positioned about 8 billion km from Loki’d, the planet where the Coalition base was built.
In the sector leading up to the planet, a vast number of unobservable celestial bodies form a wall.
It is impossible to move from the fortress’ entry point into the system using warp.
Within the star system, magic elements are swirling in a powerful current. A ship diving into the turbid stream of dark energy would only be an act of suicide.
In the surrounding sector, billions of kilometers away from such a whirlpool, allied fleets were warping out one after another, and about 500 million km away, the Coalition Fleet was withdrawing into the system.
The position of the two forces was the difference between their grasp of the extent of the outer rim of the star system and their understanding of it. The Coalition, which uses the Loki system as a forward base, has an overwhelming geographical advantage.
Both forces were out of range, and except for the rare occasion when a ship from one side or the other missed its coordinates and was struck down by the other side, they were both gathering and moving into the system.
“The Coalition appears to be building a line of defense in the outer edge of the star system. Friendly forces are scheduled to move in en masse after blowing up a group of celestial bodies with fusion rounds to create a path. The blown-up celestial swarm will rain down on Loki’d as a meteor shower, destroying the enemy base.”
The communications officer who received information from the preceding fleet reported to Hart, the Acting Commander of the fortress. The attitude of the older subordinates has visibly improved since the huge success of the previous fleet battle.
Prior to that, he had received a mixed reception between his achievements in the Frodi sector and the battle with Philine and Yuna.
“I wonder if the cluster of celestial bodies we blew up will damage the enemy fleet.”
Hurt hoped that they would be able to take advantage of this, but people around him had a different opinion.
“I think they’ll fall back when the celestial bodies get blown up.”
Perhaps because there was no danger in the previous victory, Yuna, who was in a normal state and not feeling as though she was on the battlefield, calmly predicted the movement of the enemy.
Colette supplements that view.
“The enemy will also use fusion bullets, so they will stay away from the celestial bodies drifting around the outer edges of the star system. Rather, when the Monarchy forces passes through the narrow sector emptied with fusion missiles, it will be exposed to a barrage of fire.”
The speculated development was quite possible, and Hart nodded his head in agreement.
To prevent this, large-scale fusion rounds must be used. There should be some remaining amount of fusion ammunition, but whether it will be used for the opening of the cluster depends on the decision of General Command.
“Do you have any instructions for our fortress?”
“The Commander-in-Chief has informed [Fortress Kerviel to give top priority to the elimination of enemy fortresses].”
There was no instruction on the route of the advance or coordination with the rest of the fleet, and it was an order with a high degree of discretion. Is it because he has achieved considerable results? Hart thought.
Even if Hart were the Commander-in-Chief, he would not issue every single order to the man who would destroy the enemy fortress one after another with his most powerful spear and throw fusion bullets into the center of the enemy fleet. If the scene is doing well, leave it to the scene for the time being.
“Send an [order accepted] to General Command. The fortress will advance after friendly forces have blown away the celestial bodies with fusion rounds as planned. Each personnel on combat deployment will take a short break of one and a half hours in two shifts. Given the travel time to the celestial swarm, there will be no battle for three hours.”
“Understood. Notifying now.”
The officers in the operations command center who had been ordered to take a break looked relieved.
As a human being, if fatigue accumulates, it is inevitable that concentration and morale will decline.
It is within the scope of the fortress Commander’s duties to endeavor to restore the physical strength and mental energy of the troops by finding the right time for rest. If a fierce battle is on the horizon, a break is even more necessary.
“Then we’ll take a break too. I want to return to the command center quickly, so I’m sorry, but I’ll take a break first. Keep the fortress close to the outer edge of the star system. I’ll leave the coordinates to you.”
“Yes, of course.”
“Please take a rest.”
The first to answer was Philine, who smiled, and as if in competition with her, Yuna also smiled and gave a word of encouragement. And the third saw Hart off with a jittery look.
The huge fortress is also designed to accept refugees, and is equipped with all legitimate facilities that exist in large cities.
Hart ate a meal instead of nutritional supplements, took a shower, and relaxed in his room before returning to the Command Center ten minutes ago.
After taking turns with the other three, they watch the fireworks launched by both forces on the outer edge of the star system.
The vast river of stardust surrounding the Loki system was blown away by the enormous energy created by nuclear fusion, changing the landscape.
The friendly forces seem to be pushing, and the celestial bodies are flooding and flowing into the star system. Unmanned weapons deployed in the celestial bodies were destroyed and blown away one after another.
A huge storm is blowing through the star system, and celestial bodies of all sizes will eventually descend on Loki’d, the planet where the Coalition base is based.
By the time the Philine and the others had returned, the Monarchy Fleet, judging the effects to be sufficient enough, began to avalanche into the system. They would pressure the Coalition forces so as not to prevent the group of celestial swarm from falling to Loki’d.
“Fortress Kerviel, begin advance”
Artificial lights jump in one after another as if they were sucked into the space vacant of celestial bodies. Fortress Kerviel, which emits the brightest light among them, also flowed in from the left edge of the empty sector.
“Four fortress-class magic reactions ahead on the opposite bank of the celestial bodies. Presumed to be enemy fortresses.”
The command center’s screens displayed the four huge magic responses observed by radar.
Five of the seven fortresses mobilized in the last battle were destroyed, so only two should remain. There are two more fortresses than there had been during the chase.
“Were they deployed for defense or as reinforcements?”
Asking himself, Hart thought that it was probably a follow-up.
There is no reason to leave important forces in the supply base when attacking the Monarchy’s capital planet. Perhaps they were late because realizing prisoners were taken and the invasion information revealed, they rushed to advance before the defense system was set up.
“There were to be at least nine of them on the actual plan?”
Yuna muttered with a gloomy expression.
The nine Coalition fortresses are evaluated on the same level as Hart’s Fortress Kerviel. If they get together and are within the range of both sides, it can become a 50-50 shootout.
Hart also wants to avoid an even firefight, but there are times when he has no choice but to follow orders when his allies are in danger. As a result of her various imaginings, Yuna seems to have darkened.
When Colette saw Yuna’s condition, she immediately followed up.
“They advanced with insufficient force, so they dispersed their strength and were individually destroyed. It’s fine.”
That’s exactly true, but Hart had something to call attention to.
“If there are more fortresses, then the fleet must be increasing as well. With 28,000 ships and 7 fortresses, 2 fortresses have increased the ships by about 8,000. We should assume that the ships and fusion missile they spent in the pursuit have been fully recovered.”
From Philine on the left, a hoarse moan that was unlike a daughter of a Marquis was raised.
There are more magic power holders who can operate warships in the Coalition than in the Monarchy. Simply put, the Coalition has more warships.
“Why are they attacking us?”
“It’s going to be difficult to take control of the star system. I wonder if it will end with the celestial swarm against Loki’d.”
Colette pulled Yuna back to reality as she began to talk on philosophical matters.
Of the royal forces that jumped into the holes vacant of the celestial bodies, the first to capture the enemy in range was Fortress Kerviel.
“We will destroy the fortresses on the enemy right wing. Same way as last time. Open fire.”
A huge energy beam from the long-range Fortress Kerviel broke through the shield of the fortress on the enemy’s rightmost wing and pierced the fortress’s magic element engine.
The spirit-corrected main cannon on Fortress Kerviel outperformed the enemy’s evasive maneuvers. The enemy would be terrified, wondering how they could hit the target.
Spirit crystals are not the result of accumulated technology, but an existence created without any previous technology.
It is a technological breakthrough approaching that of the invention of the magical elemental engine, and it is unilaterally attacking with the margin as if the Coalition was running tanks on the ground while attacked from the sky by unmanned drones of the Monarchy.
By the time the first fortress was destroyed, Hart was already illuminating the second fortress.
The Reaper’s Scythe, created by absorbing technology a thousand years ahead and the magic of 100 aristocrats of the Monarchy, hunted the shields of the second mobile fortress, sucked out the lives of the soldiers inside the fortress, and ran through into the space behind it.
The perforated fortress spilled air, supplies, and people into outer space, destroyed the transmission line of the magic element, causing a short circuit, and dropped out in a glowing chain of explosions.
“Destruction of the second enemy fortress confirmed. Two fortresses remaining on the enemy left wing side.”
The left wing of the enemy is the opposite side to Hart, who is to the left of the open sector of the celestial cluster.
It’s out of range, and if they cross the battlefield straight, they’ll be bombarded by a concentrated fire.
Fortress Kerviel has high combat power, but it is not all-powerful.
If fusion missiles were to be detonated at close range, the close range turrets would be burned down, even if the long-range cannon’s and propulsion engine embedded in the metal layer were safe.
If the enemy concentrated on it and obstructed its path, they will not be able to irradiate accurately, and if sabotaged, they will risk destroying the embedded turrets and propulsion engines.
If the main unit is destroyed and allies are forced to withdraw, it is possible that the fortress will be captured.
Hart, who did not possess a heroic self-sacrificing spirit, considered Fortress Kerviel to be a giant long-range battery, and had no intention of going out to the front and becoming Aegis’ shield.
“The fortress will move counterclockwise to the right wing to attack the enemy fortresses. There is no need to overdo it. Better to keep the fortress intact and continue to defeat the enemy steadily.”
Hart, who announced his policy as Acting Commander, moved the fortress from left wing to right wing through a sector secured by his allies.
Both forces were firing at each other once within range, but the battle lines were in a stalemate because there were enemy reinforcements that had not depleted. A group of celestial bodies were poured into the star system, but the fleet battle was evenly matched at best.
The space that was vacated by blowing up the celestial bodies was too narrow to deploy a large fleet. The fleet can’t change its formation and can only exchange fire with the enemy head-on.
Hart’s fortress is intact, but the fortress armament is not suitable for targeting small ships. The damage they can inflict to the enemy fleet is too small to be decisive.
“We can’t attack them. It’s a draw.”
Hart’s conclusion was that the Loki system was within the enemy’s territory, and given that reinforcements would come after this, there was no choice but to withdraw.
“Given the damage rate, it’s a victory for the Monarchy Army. With nine mobile fortresses, the construction cost alone would account for 20% of the Coalition’s estimated national budget.”
The amount calculated by Philine did not ring true to the upstart Viscount.
The battle has caused significant losses in terms of both material and human resources to the Coalition forces. Still, the damage has not reached the point of making the war unsustainable.
The wealth and resources accumulated by the two powers during the more than four-century natural truce have not been exhausted even though decades’ worth of the national budget have been wiped out.
“We’ll just do our job. Destroy the third fortress.”
After moving to the right wing, Kerbiel Fortress irradiated the newly captured third enemy fortress, and after a short time, pierced the fourth enemy fortress.
The fleet battle between the two forces continued for a while, and General Command decided to withdraw, deeming it impossible to annihilate the enemy.
“All forces. Fire fusion rounds into the forward sector. Under the energy of the explosion, we will retreat, and the enemy will be pushed into the system and away from us. After that, scatter as many mines as possible to keep the enemy in the system, do not let the enemy out of the system.”
Hundreds of thousands of fusion missiles remaining in the Monarchy’s army created a huge planetary-scale flame that burned down the optical observatories of both armies with its intense light.
The celestial bodies and the ship wreckage that were blown off by the explosion became mass weapons and flew away around both warships, destroying those that were unfortunate enough to be hit, creating a new threat.
The outer edge of the system has become a hell where a vast group of celestial bodies were blown into disorder. Each planet in the Loki system is also attacked by a meteor shower.
The Loki system has become a dangerous sector that is not worth being a water supply base.
The Fenrir fleet, with its mobile fortresses and a large number of ships destroyed, has also lost its ability to invade the Diete system.
“All forces, withdraw “
The Vídar fleet of the Royal Army trampled on Fenrir’s lower jaw, which was the purpose of the operation, and after the upper jaw was knocked off, they retreated in an orderly manner.