The Battle of Boros' Folly
Following the recommissioning of the Dammerung, Vice Admiral Laius Ortano decided it was a good time for the battleship to return to the pirate-invested system from whence it came, but this time, with the intention of luring the system's pirates into a trap.
Captain Roche-Voclain suggested using a convoy of heavy freighters as irresistible bait that would force the pirates to team up. Naval intelligence would insert agents into Boros' Folly a few weeks ahead of the convoy to spread the word and give the pirates time to organise. Meanwhile, the bulk of Battlefleet Achernar would split into two flotillas, move quietly into the system, then lie in wait just near the Mandeville Point, with the Intemperance serving as the convoy's escort.
Sure enough, the pirates took the bait.
There was one significant complication: the sporadic raids that had been occurring in the Cetus sub-sector, moving trailingward through the sub, turned out to be a fleet of heretics heading down to Boros' Folly to recruit the pirates to their cause.
Thus, when the Intemperance and its convoy emerged from the warp, it was confronted by four cruisers, a battlecruiser, and a shoal of escorts. Worse, one of the enemy carriers and it's attendant destroyers were those that escaped the engagement during the Exterminatus on Centra V, and unlike the last time they had been scanned, they now returned bio-scan results far in excess of what seemed feasible for a ship of that size.
Ortano ordered the fleet to engage with all haste. Initial nova cannon bombardment crippled one of the enemy carriers, which lashed out with its remaining guns and destroyed the frigate Amphion.
The Dammerung launched an assault boat to board the destroyers with the strange bio-scan readings to investigate. Helmet cam footage relayed back to the Dammerung showed no crew, but much of the ship had the appearance of flesh fused with metal. This flesh soon began to adhere to both the docked assault boat and the boarding party. None of them survived, and no further boarding actions were attempted. Instead, the Dammerung locked on with all batteries and destroyed the strange escorts in its first volley. The strange carrier moved to close with the Dammerung, seemingly heedless of the danger. A combined barrage from nova cannons, the Vigilant, and the Dammerung crippled it, then a salvo of torpedoes were fired into its aft section. By good fortune this collapsed its warp drive, and the strange ship was obliterated.
Over at the slowly turning convoy, having suffered at the hands of the ships closing around it, the Intemperance made a highly successful attack run, ramming through two frigates, then unloading a broadside into the enemy's leading line ship, softening it up to be crippled by the San Celestine's prow lances.
Despite the loss of the Amphionand her crew, and some damage to the outer hulls of several other ships, the ambush was an overwhelming success, with only the enemy battlecruiser, one crippled line ship, and a handful of escorts managing to escape the navy's trap.
Abnormal bio scan signatures could still be detected aboard the wreckage of the three destroyers that had been boarded earlier. Keen to ensure nothing survived from those particular ships, Ortano ordered them destroyed. It was suggested by the Dammerung command crew that the melta-lances carried by assault boats would be a good way of slagging smaller components, whilst the nova cannon could be used to destroy larger fragments.
The melta lances were a success, but the nova cannon mostly just splintered the wreckage. A new plan was formulated, even as augur crews looked to track every object in the rapidly expanding debris cloud. Lance strikes would be used to break larger sections apart, then the assault boats would use their meltas to destroy the smaller areas, returning to their hangars regularly for ammunition.
This would be time consuming, and required the munition manufactories on the Dammerung to work hard to keep up with demand for melta fuel canisters. Consequently the Dammerung was left behind with a squadron of firestorm class frigates, while the rest of the fleet moved further in-system.
Taking the orbital docks
Negotiations with Ankrah
Ortano knew that he didn't have the manpower to take the three orbital docks of Boros' Folly intact, which would be a serious setback. As such, he petitioned Lord Tane of Ankrah for PDF regiments, seeing as how Ankrah was the nearest populous system to Boros' Folly.
Tane struck a hard bargain: give the House of Tane lordship over the system. He would assume responsibility for providing safe passage through the system for any merchants who paid the toll. In exchange, he would provide two full regiments of Ankran troops to help conquer birth the orbital and the ground facilities.
Ortano agreed to his terms, but only if Tane provided a further two regiments quickly enough to be tactically viable.
Preparations consequently took an additional day.
The assault on the docks
Colonel Rabindran of the Intemperance assumed command of the fleet's armsmen and coordinated with the Ankran Marshal, who would consolidate gains made by the navy crew.
The navy ships took the lead, their superior shielding protecting them from the stations' ill-coordinated batteries. After the stations' initial bombardment, the pirates sallied forth in great waves of various assault craft, and without sufficient interceptors to take them on, the navy fleet went into close support formations to make best use of their defensive turrets.
The strategy was mostly successful, and allowed the fleet to close with the stations and initiate three simultaneous boarding actions involving four Navy capital ships, with over two thousand armsmen committed to gaining beachheads in the docks.
Resistance was fierce. In the first two hours of fighting, beachheads were secured, but the Imperial forces sustained just over a thousand casualties, three hundred of which died.
The beachheads secured, Rabindran ordered the heavy troop transports into position.