The world at large was a spinning mass of cogs and wheels, with the dizzying array of changing, merging and shifting alliances, partnerships, deals and betrayals all too turbulent and messy for Koleny. He no longer bothered to try and keep ahead of who was in bed with who, it all seemed a macabre and crazy dance, best to just put your head down and soldier on.
In a twisted way he admired the powers that were easiest to peg-hole - the East India Company for example were and probably always would be unscrupulous bastards. The Australians owed their loyalty at the lowest level to the British (at least the Royal Australians did), then next the highest bidder (being formidable mercenaries), and finally, most importantly, to each other, despite their internal division. It was easy to keep track of that way, kind of neat and tidy in an otherwise messy world.
Koleny sighed, glancing back at his orders again, he liked Australia; as part of an ongoing agreement between Free Australia and the Covenant Koleny had spent years in Sydney training future commanders of the Free Australian Navy and he had come to think of the Country as something of a second home. Still, Royal Australia wasn't really Free Australia, orders were orders, and the machinery of international diplomacy was a shambles he wasn't planning on expending too much thought on. He would have to be careful of course, his was a small force and the Australian's were famous for having both big guns and a positive love for boarding actions.
He glanced around his gas-lit cabin as he poured himself another dram, well, if it was a brawl they wanted, it would be a brawl they'd get. The Covenant weren't known for their ability to board or even resist boarding, but this technological terror was another story, time to put this Aronax class submersible to the test.
Neither the Aronax nor the Time Dilation Orb have been tried by Koleny in the heat of battle.
First casualty of the engagement, the big guns of both a Victoria class gunship and the Cerebus flagship lay waste to some Covenant Frigates.
The incomprehensible generators of the Time Dilation Orb teleport the Aronax into the thick of battle. The biggest Australian ships have already activated, and the Aronax powers up its cloud generator and weapon systems.
After a blast from the maw gun and Particle Accelerator both the Cerebus and Victoria to the rear take damage.
First the injured Cerebus, followed by the Victoria, swing about and broadside the Aronax, which takes enough damage to render it's weapon systems useless.
With little hope of getting the weapon systems back online after a lucky hit, Koleny orders the stokers on the Aronax to have at it, and the submersible steams in a wide circle back around the ram the Victoria in the hope of crippling her.
A boarding assault! Men from the Aronax attempt to prize the Victoria, in the end both ships lose their compliment of Marines, the Aronax is left effectively indefensible, but the Victoria lies drifting and derelict.
Later that turn the weak Aronax, with an injured and brave Koleny, cleaning the taste of blood from his mouth with a flask of Cognac, falls to a boarding assault initiated by a Protector class Frigate. He had given his all, and in the end, the biggest of the Covenant ships fell to the smallest Australian one.
Soldiering on despite the loss of their admiral, the squadron of Platos swings about and circles the badly injured Cerebus like wolves about a dying calf.
After several devastating broadsides the Cerebus slowly breaks apart and sinks.
The turrets of the Platos, with nothing large left to target, seek a quick end by firing on the wounded Frigate. A massive 16 hits leaves little in the way of debris to wash up on the shores of the nearby islands.
It had been a struggle, but in the end the Covenant had handily won, despite the loss of their Admiral and his remarkable squid submarine.
We noticed after the battle, that we had accidentally left off the table one of the Victoria class Gun Ships that Aussies would have had - how I can't say, but it was entirely my fault. At the end of the game, while the Covenant had thoroughly won, there had been a tipping point in the mid game, where the Aronax had it's moment of glory, and it was in this tipping point that the game could have swung.
We'll say that the other Victoria was hauled to in a natural port along the coast of Patagonia, trying to make contact with their SUSA employees, but we'll never know how it could have been...
Since playing I've also managed to finish a few more models...
Now to start work on my Aussies...