Commander Doane stood on the bridge of the TTFN destroyer Triumphant and watched the IFF mark the four incoming ships. He felt confident that Captain Singh on the destroyer leader Ipswich had everything under control. Cmdr Doane had served in the battlegroup for two years now and felt confident that the combination of two Swiftsure class destroyers and one Samurai class destroyer leader could handle (or at least out run) any opposition they met.
"Commander Doane, is your IFF having any luck with these new contacts? " Captain Singh 's voice barked out of the intercom, bringing him back to the situation.
"Sorry Captain, Our computers cannot make heads or tails out of them. Either they are a new Nova Liberian class of ship or we have a new contact situation on our hands. Do you suppose these might be the new race that the Novas have been skirmishing with on their border for almost a year?" Commander Doane did not like bringing up the possibility. The Nova Liberian fleet reportedly had their hands full with a new race discovered on their border. The new comers had been labeled ''Carnivorans " due to their cat like appearance and tendency to hunt in packs.
"We'll see Commander. For now let 's go to battlestations and get all systems up and running." Singh replied. Doane knew this meant readying the jump drive as much as the weapons and shields. Singh was no fool; the captain knew that getting out of this situation with new information was more important than fighting to the last man over an outlying system. Any information they could return to Burroughs with would give them considerable tactical knowledge of the aliens and increase their chances of defending the Terrans furthest reaching colony.
"Sir, they are not slowing down. They're coming in at thrust six or seven. I think they mean to fly right past us. "Easy ensign," Doane turned to his combat officer, "Shields to full power. I want a weapons lock on that lead ship. "
Turning back to the ensign, "1 also want our jumpdrive powered up; we might need to withdraw quickly"
Commander Doane and his crew listened as Captain Singh transmitted the standard Terran greeting and offer for peaceful interactions with a new race. They then stood opened mouth as the new ships increased speed, closing the distance in an almost unimaginably short time. Before he could give the order to fire, the two unknown ships in the lead launched missiles at the Ipswich and the Salem. As the missile struck, his instruments went haywire bright flashes erupted from the shields around both ships, leaving momentary blind spots on the screens. When the flash cleared neither ship was harmed but instruments showed that both ships' screens were down.
Before any evasive maneuvers could be made the Carnivorans were among them. Concentrating on the lead ships, medium sized guns mounted all over each alien ship tore huge wholes in both Terran vessels ..
''Fire, Damn it! FIRE! Fire all weapons at that lead ship!" Doane shouted, coming to his feet.
The Triumpant's crack crew leapt into action, all of the destroyer's guns blazing. The lead Carnivoran ship reeled from the barrage, many of its weapons now burnt and mangled. But the damage had already been done: the Ipswich was spinning free in space, no longer under her own power, and the Salem was venting huge gouts of flame from her engines. Before any orders could be given the Salem exploded in a huge white hot blast of anti-matter.
"Get us out of here, Ensign. We have to get back to Burroughs and report this to the admiralty. These Carnivorans attack like wild animals." Seeing a number of escape pods ejecting from the Ipswich, Commander Doane hoped that his friend Singh was among the survivors. Together, they would avenge this attack.
Turning his attention back to the situation, "Give them a full barrage of missiles, Lieutenant. Ensign, as soon as the missiles are away, engage the jumpdrives. "
Thus ended the first encounter between the Terran Transolar Federation Navy and the prides of the Carnivoran Republic.
The loss of two ships was nothing new; the Entomolian Invasion had caught the Terrans by surprise much more than the Carnivorans. For almost a year prior to the incident near Burroughs the TTFN had heard rumors of the new aliens and how they were giving the Nova's all they could handle. Now it appeared that the Carnivorans were moving around the edge of Nova space and right into the Terran's lap.
Over the next few months the number of Carnivoran raids increased along the Terran frontier, rarely appearing in great numbers or with large ships. This was a pleasant surprise for the members of Parliament; with war still raging with the Entomolians and the relationship with the Avarians being cold at best, the Terrans did not need another serious threat on their border.
After the first few raid the Nova Liberian Government released all of their data on the new race to the Terran Navy in the hope that the information would lead to assistance with the Carnivoran situation. From this information the Terran's have compiled a strong knowledge base concerning the Carnivoran Republic.
Located beyond the edges of Nova Librarian Space the Carnivoran worlds consist of over 20 known systems. These systems are divided into a number of "prides". Each pride is a family unit that rules from one to five systems. Each pride has a representative on the Republic Council and has a vote equal to the power their systems hold. The prides operate as independent forces and are often at war with each other over holdings and strength on the council. For this reason, Carnivoran attacks have been limited to small raids for new technology, ships, and recognition of the prides fighting prowess.
It is understood by the Nova's and the Terrans that although the Carnivorans have not shown their hand with their larger ships, these ships do exist but are kept within Carnivoran space to protect home worlds from rival prides. The Carnivorans are a fighting people, but if their home worlds are threatened it is believed that the prides will unite to defeat a common enemy before returning to their own internal struggles.
For this reason, the Terran Navy has issued a standing order that no Terran ship should enter Carnivoran space without direct permission of the Terran High Command. Including chasing enemy ships away from a battle. It is believed that by not provoking the Carnivorans they will continue to fight among themselves for the most part, allowing the Terrans to concentrate on their current alien problems.
It is unknown at this time, whether or not the Avarians or the Entomolians have any standing relationship with the Carnivoran Republic. With Avarian space bordering the Carnivoran Republic it is believed that Avarian worlds suffer the same raids that have begun to plague Terran space.
With this in mind, the Terran parliament has formally requested a diplomatic conference with the leader of the Avarian United Worlds in the hope that a Terran, Nova, and Avarian alliance can be struck to deal with the Carnivoran threat.
Many Terrans think this is insane due to the Avarians lack of interest in directly assisting the Terrans against the Entomolian threat. Currently the Avarians have not responded to the request, but it is still hoped that in the future the Avarians and Terrans can create a formal alliance against their shared enemies.