Second Battle of Eratis

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The Second Battle of Eratis (also known as the Second Battle of Deep Space 17 and The Lament of DS17) was a major battle fought from stardates 238706.08 to 238706.16 between Federation forces and the Vaadwaur on and around the Federation station Deep Space 17 in the Eratis system. Although it was termed the Second battle, the incident took place well outside the Gorn Conflict of 2383, which involved its predecessor. The battle resulted in a resounding defeat for the defending Federation forces, with Deep Space 17 falling under enemy control, beginning the three-month Vaadwaur Occupation. The station was eventually liberated by Starfleet through Operation Bright Star.

Summary

Using advanced jamming techniques along with sabotage, a Vaadwaur assault fleet launched an incredibly successful assault on an unprepared Deep Space 17 on stardate 238706.08. The Federation defenders suffered horrific loss of life, although the only lost ship was a single Longbow fighter. With Starfleet forces in retreat, the station fell to the Vaadwaur on stardate 238706.16.

At the time of writing, under the escort of the USS Tiger and the USS Achilles, a small fleet of civilian ships packed with survivors and refugees is rendezvousing to regroup and discuss their next move.

Description

Three months before the battle, the crew of the Starbase 118 were, without warning, transferred to the heavily overcrowded USS Tiger as it made the journey to Deep Space 17. Crew morale suffered as the orders were given with twenty minutes notice by Starfleet Intelligence, who subsequently classified large swathes of their instructions. The crew were told only that the were to rotate out the existing crew of Deep Space 17.

The attack on Deep Space 17 appears to have been carefully orchestrated. The station was attacked, either deliberately or by coincidence, on SD 238706.08 when the Starbase 118 crew were one day into their scheduled handover procedure. A large, undetected fleet of Vaadwaur assault fighters came out of warp right on top of the starbase. The attack fleet employed advanced jamming along with what, at the time of writing, appears to be advanced sabotage of the station's computer core to elude both the sensors of the starbase and outlying patrols, allowing the attackers to arrive almost without detection.

The Vaadwaur employed phasing torpedoes to quickly disable Deep Space 17. After initial resistance, Commander Thelev ordered the evacuation of the station when it became clear that the cause was hopeless.

The Vaadwaur employed smaller, more agile ships along with breaching pods. In terms of personnel, nearly half the attacking force were boarding parties.

Federation casualties were extremely high for a pitched battle, short only of the horrific figures seen in confrontations with the Borg. The battle concluded with the sound defeat of the Federation defenders, with the station falling into Vaadwaur hands on SD 238706.16. The command staff, surviving crewmen and civilians evacuated the station; attacks against the retreating fleet were random and light, primarily due to the close formation of Federation and civilian vessels, and indifference by the Vaadwaur.

At the time of writing, the survivors are currently regrouping, tallying their losses, calling for aid and discussing where to move from here. The true impact of what has occurred has, possibly, not quite sunk in yet; despite this, crew morale overall is low and dropping, with the reactions of survivors varying from shock, grief, anger, desires for revenge, survivor's guilt, accusations of cowardice and hopelessness.

Federation involvement

Casualty Report

The following is a preliminary casualty report written by Alleran Tan in the hours after the battle. It contains a rough summary of the crew and surviving civilians immediately after the battle. Although later casualty figures were revised (typically by relisting those 'missing' as 'killed'), it provides an interesting historical context for what was one of the bloodiest battles in terms of lives lost in recent Federation history.

Surprising in this battle was the number of injuries sustained by officers, Commander Whale most notably. As of the time of writing, his prognosis for recovery is unknown.

Officers

  • Commander Jhen Thelev - Lightly injured. Evacuated on the USS Tiger.
  • Lt. Commander Sakorra Reed - Lightly/moderately injured. Evacuated on the USS Tiger.
  • Lt. Commander David Whale - Critically injured, presumably underwent emergency surgery. On the SS Achille Lauro.
  • Lt. Commander Nemitor Atimen - Status unknown, location unknown.
  • Lt. T'Reshik - Seriously injured. Aboard the Achille Lauro, tending to Whale.
  • M.Captain Alexandria Somers - Uninjured. In the Main Shuttlebay, USS Tiger.
  • Lt.jg Tracey Townson - Uninjured. Evacuated on the USS Tiger.
  • Lt.jg Sasak - Uninjured. Evacuated on the USS Tiger.
  • Lt.jg S'Peek Avandar - Uninjured, on the bridge of the FF Wraith.
  • Ensign Darren Shan - Uninjured. On the bridge of the USS Tiger.
  • Ensign Alleran Tan - Moderately injured. Bailed out of Longbow fighter, retrieved by Maul Tango 32. Evacuated on the USS Tiger.

Individuals of Note

  • Ladon Ethne - Uninjured. In the Medical Bay of USS Sacred Heart.
  • Staff Sergeant Chris Kildare - Abandoned post, extracted with Somers.
  • 1st Lieutenant Jill Adrura - Possibly lightly injured, shuttle towed by the Tiger.
  • Petty Officer Che'tara - Extracted on civilian shuttle.
  • Ensign Kiarna Taiven - Severely injured, currently MIA; possibly transported out when Tiger attempted to transport any remaining Starfleet personel. Probably KIA or imprisoned if left on the station.
  • Sherry Gibson - Aboard the Achille Lauro, uninjured.
  • Warrant Officer Tom 'Dodger' Smithers & Lance Corporal Kestrel Cagliari - Escorting the Achille Lauro in Longbow fighters, uninjured.
  • Danilo Pitik - Aboard the Tiger, fetching medical supplies for Commander Whale. Uninjured but exhausted.
  • Dr. Fiona Shelley - Aboard the Achille Lauro, tending to Commander Whale.

Other Federation Personnel

  • Marines: 161 marines total. 112 surviving, 33 lightly wounded, 28 seriously wounded, 14 critically wounded, 26 MIA, 23 KIA.
  • Security: 1475 security staff total. 734 surviving, 104 lightly wounded, 235 seriously wounded, 144 critically wounded, 557 MIA, 184 KIA.
  • Medical: 66 medical staff total. 58 surviving, 8 MIA (the medical division fared well as they were evacuated early and were stationed near an evacuation point. Six medical staff members who remained at their posts in one wing of the medical bay and two medical officers who were off duty are currently unaccounted for).
  • Science: 1429 science staff total. 1105 surviving, 214 lightly wounded, 101 seriously wounded, 94 critical, 248 MIA, 76 KIA.
  • Engineering: 1657 engineers total. 1039 surviving, 240 lightly wounded, 199 seriously wounded, 86 critically wounded, 417 MIA, 201 KIA.

Civilians

  • Adults: 5156 total. 4074 surviving, 330 lightly wounded, 416 seriously wounded, 191 critically wounded, 711 KIA, 371 MIA.
  • Children: 68 total. 64 surviving, 6 lightly wounded, 3 critically wounded, 2 MIA, 2 KIA.

Materials

  • Station EMH: Destroyed by retreating Federation unit.
  • Station computer core: Destroyed.
  • Armoury contents: 97% destroyed by retreating Federation unit.
  • DS-17 shields: Inoperative.
  • DS-17 structural integrity: Moderate damage.
  • DS-17 crew quarters: Light damage.
  • DS-17 life support: Moderate damage.
  • Misc. equipment: Approximately twenty-two tonnes of civilian cargo dumped to make room for evacuees. Approximate gross value, 1,100 strips of gold pressed latinum. Cargo consists of one tonne gorn carpets, two tonnes cardassian yamok sauce, one tonne klingon blood wine, ten tonnes of assorted terran antiques from the mid 22nd century, two tonnes of andorian cabbage, four tonnes palamarian sea urchin, two tonnes misc goods.

Ships

  • Marine shuttles: One undamaged, one moderately damaged and dead in the water.
  • Longbow fighter-shuttles: One severely damaged, abandoned and presumed lost; two undamaged.
  • FF Wraith: undamaged. Currently cloaked.
  • USS Sacred Heart: undamaged.
  • USS Tiger: relatively undamaged, light engine damage from prolonged run to the station at high warp.
  • Dado's Flying Fancy: undamaged.
  • Maul Tango 32: undamaged, returned to the USS Ronin.
  • USS Achilles: undamaged.
  • Mk XVI Sensor Probe '33-B': undamaged, currently transmitting information regarding DS-17.

Other life forms

  • Assorted pet fish, Crewman Pivek's quarters: Uninjured but uncared for.
  • 'Vica', a civilian's pet dog. KIA.
  • 'Ulan', a civilian's pet dog. KIA.
  • Station voles. 835 total, 811 survived, 24 KIA when docking port two was struck by a torpedo and decompressed.

Hostile forces

  • 90 ships total. Breakdown:
  • 60 assault craft: 52 survived, 7 destroyed, 11 lightly damaged, 4 heavily damaged, 1 critically damaged and abandoned.
  • 10 boarding ships (each with four breaching pods): 9 survived, 1 lightly damaged, 1 destroyed.
  • 10 electronic warfare units with jammers, sensors and false-IFF transponders: 8 survived, 3 moderately damaged, 1 heavily damaged, 2 destroyed.
  • 10 command, coordination and control vessels: 10 survived.
  • 850 Vaadwaur individuals.
  • 450 pilots, crew and command staff, 394 survived, 23 lightly injured, 10 severely injured, 2 critically injured, 56 KIA.
  • 400 boarding marines (10 per breaching pod)- 347 survived, 42 lightly injured, 19 severely injured, 34 critically injured, 51 KIA, 2 MIA.

Initial Analysis

Preliminary analysis suggests that the Starfleet and Marine corps units put up a valiant defence, but were swiftly overwhelmed. While the station was ultimately taken, casualties on the Federation side of the conflict were mostly limited to high-risk and vulnerable units; marines, security personnel and civilians. A notable exception is engineering- most of these crewman were deep within the station when the battle commenced, and were subsequently assigned to emergency repairs when the evacuation order was sounded. Being so far away from the docking ring, the engineering department's casualties were high; most of the engineers who escaped did so through Jefferies tubes or were off duty.

Out of a total staff numbering 4788, 484 are confirmed KIA, with an additional 1250 MIA. Unfortunately, we can presume most of the missing crewmen are dead. Summing together the MIA and KIA totals results in an approximate 36% casualty rate; far higher than most federation conflicts short of encounters with the Borg, but given the element of surprise against the Federation, use of phasing torpedoes to bypass shields and an attack launched on a crew which had, for the most part, only been settled in for a day, this is understandable.

Of particular note are reports from Federation units that actively engaged in combat. Aside from very isolated incidents which will no doubt be addressed in due time, the vast majority of units from all disciplines either dutifully retreated as ordered, held their positions and engaged the enemy to the best of their ability (until forced to retreat due to injury or direct evacuation orders), or died at their posts. Reports are coming in all over the ships in the fleet of units who held their posts until overrun; the large number of Starfleet personnel currently listed as "Missing in Action" testifies to the bravery and courage of whole units of marines, security personnel and non-combatants alike.

The Vaadwaur have taken the station, but their costs have been significant. Outnumbered by the Federation defenders but with a significant tactical advantage, the Vaadwaur boarding parties suffered a 12% casualty rate; the majority of their losses were destroyed assault ships, which will reduce the vaadwaur's ability to defend their new found prize. 12% of the attacking ships were destroyed, with others damaged and in need of repair. Conversely, if any kind of good news can be extracted from this at all, almost all Federation ships escaped with little or no damage. DS-17, itself, suffered significant damage; if a Federation counterattack is launched relatively soon, the station will be in little better state than we left it. This bodes well for a successful recapture.

However, in the words of the ancient terran leader Sir Winston Churchill, "Wars are not won through evacuations." The Federation was soundly defeated in the battle and her remaining forces must now regroup, then decide where to go from here.

Of note; a low-EM signature probe was deployed from the Tiger on Commander Thelev's orders during the retreat. It has begun taking snapshots of the station and its surrounding ships, then transmitting the information in hard-to-trace microbursts to the fleet. Presumably the vaadwaur are aware of it, but it is programmed to move after every transmission and is almost impossible to see on sensors. It is unlikely to evade detection forever, but for the moment it is providing valuable intelligence to the remaining Starfleet units. The idea that the Vaadwaur know we are watching them and they can do nothing will provide some measure of comfort, I am sure.

Our thoughts are with those civilians and Federation personnel who are wounded, or who have lost loved ones in the recent strife.

Report ends.

-- Ensign Alleran Tan.