Victory on the Vanduul Front
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Beck Russum: Good evening, I’m Beck Russum, here with Alan Nuevo. We begin today’s Empire Report with breaking news out of the Oberon System where Admiral Bishop’s campaign against the Vanduul has scored its first major victory.
Alan Nuevo: That’s right, Beck. The battle in the Oberon System involved the 65th Battle Group, and was led by Admiral Bishop aboard a new flagship, the recently commissioned UEES Retribution. While there is currently scant public information about the ship, rumors about its existence have been around for months.
UEES Retribution’s first action comes in the wake of recent, devastating Vanduul attacks on Uriel, which left thousands dead or missing. Earlier today, Admiral Cedric Cochran held a press conference in Kilian describing a decisive victory against the Vanduul and confirming Retribution’s role in the battle.
[ Admiral Cochran stands before a podium during the press conference. ]
Admiral Cedric Cochran: Operation Mandrake began roughly two days ago, when we received credible intelligence that a Vanduul clan was in the process of mounting a second attack on the Oberon System. Concerned about such a possibility, Admiral Bishop had detached a small strike team to sweep the system. When the Vanduul appeared, these forces were able to intercept and engage the clan before it could attack another Human settlement. While the advanced forces occupied the aggressors, Admiral Bishop ordered Retribution into the system and cut off any escape back to Vanduul space. Once Retribution was in place, the Vanduul … well, they found themselves between a rock and a hard place, as I like to say.
Reporter #1: What else can you tell us about Retribution? There are reports it’s the largest capital ship ever built by the UEE.
Admiral Cedric Cochran: Details on Retribution are classified. Right now, all I’m authorized to say is that personnel aboard the ship were very pleased with its performance during the battle.
Reporter #2: Can you describe the extent of the Vanduul forces?
Admiral Cedric Cochran: The exact specifics are currently being analyzed, but from the reports I’ve seen, it’s probably best to describe them as a medium sized clan.
Reporter #2: Does that mean a Kingship was present?
Admiral Cedric Cochran: No, though there were multiple capital ships reportedly destroyed.
Reporter #3: What was the extent of UEE casualties during the battle?
Admiral Cedric Cochran: Look, one life lost is too many in my book, but safety and security doesn’t come without sacrifice. It’s a simple reality that every member of the UEE armed forces understands, so yes, there were reported casualties. I will refrain from getting too specific until family is notified.
That said, I couldn’t be prouder of how the men and women of the Navy performed. This victory was only possible thanks to a team effort that includes everyone from the Starmen aboard Retribution, the rest of the 65th, and all the way up to us here at High Command. The people of the UEE should be proud of what their Navy accomplished today.
[ Back to Alan and Beck ]
Beck Russum: Joining us now in the studio is military expert Jack Hayden. He’s a consultant at the Center for Universal Security and author of Clan Brutality, which examines what little we know about the Vanduul clans that we find ourselves fighting.
Based on what you’ve heard from your sources, what else can you tell us about Admiral Bishop’s victory in Oberon?
Jack Hayden: This was a successful operation in many regards. Essentially Admiral Bishop got Retribution in theater and gave it a test lap against overmatched opponents. I would expect the victory built confidence among his crew and gave them a chance to work out any kinks on the new ship before engaging a truly dangerous enemy.
Beck Russum: So you don’t consider the Vanduul in this battle to have been a serious threat?
Jack Hayden: Well, as Admiral Cochran alluded to, this did not appear to be a particularly developed Vanduul clan — one that hadn’t even accrued enough materials to build the framework of a Kingship. That leads me to believe this was what I call a “carrion” clan. They are not built up enough to engage in large scale attacks, so they feast on areas weakened by previous assaults or clean up what stronger clans leave behind.
Beck Russum: It sounds like you are classifying this as more of a symbolic than strategic victory?
Jack Hayden: Not entirely. It does give the UEE a clear cut victory against the Vanduul after the horrible events of Vega and the unexpected, initial incursion into Oberon. I’m sure there are plenty of people among Imperator Costigan’s staff and in the halls of the Senate who are excited by this outcome. I would argue that while this victory is good for morale around the UEE, it wasn’t the entire motivation behind Bishop’s decision to commit.
Beck Russum: Then what was? Oberon is an unclaimed system and not under the official protection of the Navy.
Jack Hayden: Oberon may not be an official UEE system but it is still, very clearly, a Human one. Having Oberon fall under the control of the Vanduul would be a setback in that regard. By establishing a presence in Oberon, the system can be used as a staging ground for a push into Vanduul territory. The system has jumps into Virgil, Tiber and Caliban, all systems that used to have UEE settlements. If Admiral Bishop wants to retake any of those systems, Oberon can now be a part of that plan.
Of course, I’m far from the Admiral’s inner circle and he has surprised me many times in the past. With there being so little verifiable information on Retribution, it’s hard to predict how the new ship and its capabilities will affect this war.
Beck Russum: Thank you for your time.
Jack Hayden: You’re welcome. Always a pleasure.
Alan Nuevo: Coming up, residents of Lago call for the UEE to increase its presence in the Nexus System after a series of comm relays were destroyed by pirates. We’ll ask if the UEE has the resources to aid this struggling system. That, and more, when the Empire Report returns.