The Federation Council, realizing that the situation was out of control and that war was imminent, ordered Star Fleet to evacuate all Federation citizens in the Mantor system. The cruiser Reshadije was dispatched on the direct orders of the Council, against the advice of Star Fleet Command, which wanted the powerful ship defending the border directly. She rendezvoused with the police flagship R. F. Kennedy, and the police cutter Pete Malloy. As Captian Abdul Aziz of the Reshadije frantically tried to organize the evacuation, a Kzinti force arrived and started shooting. Complicating matters even more was the arrival of a squadron of three Klingons ships in the system, for what purpose Captain Aziz did not know. And to complete the nightmare for Aziz, he had strict orders to use “non-violent” targeting only, since no formal declaration of hostilities had yet been issued by the Federation government.

We played this scenario from Captain’s Log #24 today, we all had our normal roles. So, I had the invading Kzintis, Mark the evacuating Federation, and Mike the Klingons.

I seem to have been the recipient of a few lucky circumstances. Mike had mistaken what today’s agenda was, so he didn’t have as clear cut a plan as he could have. But, the main Klingon force arrives at the beginning of turn 3, which gave him a chance to figure it all out. Mark was hosting, and missed an important point while fixing lunch….

For the most part, the forces involved are pretty light. The Federation has a CA, and two police ships to protect a small freighter, a free trader, and evacuate a bunch of civilians. The Kzintis have a CL and three FFs. The Klingons have a large freighter (which they get bonus points for getting out of the system), a D4 (predecessor to the D6, not very impressive against current technology), a F4 (a frigate as old as the D4), and an E3 (modern, but very tiny).

The main Federation focus for the first two turns was picking up as many civilians as possible. This left them tied down to the planet, Mantor, at speed four. In hindsight, I think I would have picked up a few and escorted the civilian ships (a small freighter and a trading ship) to the board edge, and then tried to pick up more on high-speed passes. But leaving civilians on the planet not only costs him points, it gives me victory points, so I don’t blame him for doing his utmost to get as many as possible before moving away from the planet.

The Kzinti’s sent a FF squadron screaming in towards the Feds, ending the first turn at a range of about four, then slowed to circle around the planet, hoping to pick off the lightly shielded civilian ships. The CL leading the force, lead from behind, unable to keep up with the frigates.

Non-violent targeting kept the Federation from being able to do too much to the Kzintis. Knocking down a shield was easy at close range for the crunch-heavy Feds, but they were unable to easily translate this into hits that could force the Kzintis to back off. Meanwhile, the CA took a pounding, losing two shields and a good number of internals. Thanks to lunch distractions, Mark didn’t notice the final pair of drones bearing down on his force. I made certain to mention their launch, but apparently it didn’t sink in. On the other hand, only the POL and FLG had any phasers left at this point, and they were at best at the edge of effective range. He probably could have killed one drone, but as it was, two drones hit the CA on a down shield, effectively gutting it.

This took what was becoming a grim situation for the Federation, and left a scramble to keep it from getting any worse.

Then the Klingon force entered, and dove into the middle of the Kzinti force which was turning itself around to follow the Feds who were getting out of Dodge. Not much firing happened, but there has been some sniping, and it’s getting pretty obvious that they’re going to pick up their own civilians. Whether they’re hoping to see a good opportunity to cripple or destroy a Kzinti ship while they leave has yet to be seen.

Meanwhile the Kzintis have been trying (unsuccessfully) to stop the two police ships, and have closed the system to commerce (I’ve been shooting up both freighters, and it looks as if I’ll get them).

We aren’t quite done with the scenario yet, but it’s pretty close to wrapping up (it’ll automatically end when the remaining Federation ships leave). Unless something odd happens, it looks like a pretty decisive win for the Kzintis.

The next face-to-face session should be a scenario we’re working up for a Kzinti assault on a small strongpoint as they try to take their primary initial objective in the Second Federation-Kzinti War. (It is also an excuse to use a minor race that also appeared in CL24).