[Main Thread] International Talenore-Niijima Friendship Cruise
Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:55 pm
TL;DR An international armada assembled off the coast, to the south-south-east, of the island of Talenore; the coalition was formed out of the disparate elements of the international community who disapproved of the efforts of the New Zimian War League to blockade the Hoennese island of Niijima.
The attempted blockade of the Hoennese island of Niijima by forces of the New Zimian War League was, it was agreed by most observers, triggered by a comparatively trivial spat over perceived violations of Hoennese etiquette by Bassarid emissaries which then resulted in Bassairds being excluded from a Hoennese controlled communication network popular amongst those discussing pan-Micrasian affairs – and football, predominantly. The fury of the nexus of Bassaird sovereignties and corporations towards the Hoennese Realm on account of this went on to colour their perception of, and reaction to, the decision of the Hoennese Forces to support to an international humanitarian mission in and around Zalae. The severity of the ensuing overreaction, the interception of Hoennese aid flights, and the attempt to enforce a close blockade against Hoenn's forward base on Micras – the island of Niijima, produced a welter of condemnation directed against the amorphous Bassarid federacy by the wider international community. This criticism however was something that the Bassarids, bolstered by their membership of the USSO, felt largely free to disdain.
The Hoennese meanwhile, tethered to the island of Nagashima on the planet Terra by a little understood quantum tunnelling effect buried in a network of caves deep beneath Niijima city, remained self-sufficient throughout the duration of the blockade owing to the stable gateway between the two worlds. The fixed dimensions of the portal had however restricted the flow of traffic, as well as the size of what could be brought through, much of which – airframes and patrol vessels for instance – would have to be reassembled in-situ upon arrival in Niijima.
In spite of these limitations, the Hoennese Forces, bolstered by purchases of military equipment from the Imperial Republic of Shireroth in the years antecedent to the blockade, had built up a sizeable defensive air force and coastal defence force, supplemented by a fearsome menagerie of powerful creatures, seemingly indigenous to Terra, known as collectively as majuu, which had been used to good effect during the early days of the blockade.
Because the survival of Niijima island had not been imperilled by the blockade the Hoennese response had been comparatively muted, beyond a few sorties launched in the early days to burn any New Zimian War League gunboats which ventured too close to the island's exclusive economic zone. Subsequently, beyond maintaining a posture of vigilance and regular patrolling over their own air space, Hoennese forays into international waters had mostly been for the purpose of laying down pyrotechnic displays to cover the irregular sorties of a small force of deniable blockade runners being operated in the region by a consortium of interested parties.
While the survival of the island had not been put in doubt, its economic fortunes had been significantly jepoardised. The Shirerithian-Hoennese Interplanetary Postal, Trade, and Transportation Company, the monopoly trader overseeing the export of the produce of Terra to Micras and vice versa, had seen its profit margins substantially impacted by the delays, complications, and risks, imposed by the blockade. Certainly it did not enjoy witnessing its privileged position being challenged by the emergence of smaller, nimbler, and less-risk adverse, competitors, as epitomised by the so-called 'Jolly Froyalaner' syndicates, who had been drawn to the opportunities presented by the situation.
After 1664, the major shareholders of the SHIP-TTC had been bought out by the Shirerithian Imperial Government in an effort to streamline business relations with the company whose remaining 50% stake was controlled by the Hoennese government. It was then the desire of the Imperial Government to protect its investment which resulted in the deployment of the Noor Banner Group of the Imperial Navy to the island of Talenore, a Shirerithian protectorate and the closest port to Niijima.
Talenore itself had bitter memories of Bassarid aggression, having endured a siege of its own throughout the latter stages of the War of Lost Brothers. Although protected by an Imperial garrison, the ruling National Development Party was determined to practice self-reliance in matters of defence and, leveraging wealth gained from the Hoennese trade and Sadrist economic development policies, had built up powerful defence forces including a formidable air arm and a capable fleet based around the Musican task force sent to relieve the island at the end of the last war.
Events occurring on the island of Talenore and around the Captive Sea did not escape the attention of those in Eura. In the Imperial State of Constancia, shattered by the events of the Second Euran War, and slowly picking up the pieces as its forces gathered around the national redoubt established in the Gulf of Aqaba, a new mercantile and maritime school of though coalesced – upholding the principle that the key to long-term national survival laid not in hunkering down in the remaining habitable portions of the radioactive husk of Eura as the Raspur Khanate had done but rather in reaching out to establish trading relations with the island and city states which had cropped up in the Norfolk and Skerry Isles in the aftermath of the War of Lost Brothers and the White Plague.
The ESB Group, banished to the Euran continent by the ramifications of the Modanese Migration, and thoroughly embedded into the fabric of the Constancian state by this juncture, was also keenly looking to re-establish its global presence, particularly in re-establishing contact with those of Keltian assets which had survived evacuation to Normark or the subsequent round of Bassarid repressions which had swept through Haifa during the civil war the ensued from the fall of Caputia.
It was under the guise therefore of escorting a trade fleet that a Constancian naval task force arrived on the island of Talenore and swiftly established contact with the Governor-General of that island. Talenore was, for the Constancians, a revelation of what could be achieved by a small, yet well organised and prosperous, polity if led by a man of ability. For the Governor-General himself his new Constancian guests were not without merit. Although impoverished, the Constancians had succeeded in preserving and building upon a technical knowledge base, and were in the process of salvaging and reconstructing their lost industrial capacity. The Talenore Defence Force Navy sought to divest itself of the old and expensive to maintain Shirerithian aircraft carrier it had inherited along with the Musican Fleet in favour of developing a more potent and agile littoral defence force, while the Constancian Navy harboured ambitions to develop a fully functional “blue water” navy in spite of having more corvettes and patrol boats than it knew what to do with.
A trade recommended itself and in due course, after a series of negotiations, the Constancians received the aircraft carrier “Drums-in-the-Deep” known affectionately as “Old Boomer” and its attached air wing, in return for four logistic support vessels, two missile corvettes, twenty-fast attack craft, and one hundred anti-ship/anti-air missiles.
The Constancians were to discover however that to acquire an aircraft carrier was an all together different proposition than to make an aircraft carrier fully operational and its ship's company and aircrew fully conversant in carrier operations.
[Scene 1] Petros Athanásios - Life aboard Constancia's "new" aircraft carrierSpoiler!
Shortages of trained naval personnel obliged the Constancian Navy to draft Home Guard volunteers for overseas service, who in turn required training up to an acceptable standard if they were to be entrusted with complex and mission critical operating systems. Even when on active service salaries and subject to naval discipline, the Home Guardsmen were frequently prone to mishaps and indiscretions, particularly when ashore, meaning that the penal detachments of the Task-Force were never undermanned and always available for the worst jobs, whether aboard or ashore.
Funding and staffing the expanded Task-Force, even with the reassignment of personnel from boats surrendered to the Talenore Defence Force Navy, and the drafting of Home Guardsmen, would have proven beyond the means of the Constancian Navy had not the Security Directorate of the ESB Group stepped in to plug the gaps as necessary. The ESB Group's stake in the venture revolved around a mammoth construction project being undertaken at the heart of the island of Talenore, in cooperation with Sadri Industries, the dominant economic concern on the island following the collapse of TalCorp.
Behind the involvement of the ESB Group however was the growing power of the General Service Corps (GSC), an establishment of the allied continental theatre-level command, originally as an operational reserve for officers and units being posted into or out of theatre but increasingly an independent organisation acting in its own interests and on its own behalf. Into its structure were fused the various strands of military and industrial power exercised upon the Euran continent by various national, international, and transnational forces. The GSC, by various power-plays and through its support of the rise of the Permanent Standing Committee of the Constancian Imperial Senate from a mere rubber stamp legislature to the authoritative voice of the country's ruling oligarchy, had secured for itself control of the Task-Force, its choice of candidate for the position of Consul-General in Talenore, and the right to determine what would pass for Constancian policy in the Skerry Isles.
[Scene 2] Aurens Xenophon - The commander sets out for seaSpoiler!
With the commander of the GSC taking personal charge of the operation, the objectives, determined ashore during the series of interminable staff conferences, which had taken the form of luxuriant dinners hosted at a variety of luxury hotels in Metro Talenore, now began to shift towards interests amicable to the GSC itself.
[Scene 3] Thais Locusta - How consensus is attained in the fleetThe result of these charming machinations would become known thereafter as 'Operation Tropic Badger'Spoiler!