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Subject: WBC Talon Tourney AAR rss

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Michael Powers
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As submitted for the World Boardgaming Championships' 2017 yearbook:

Welcome to the Talonverse! Many fleet captains enacted the unsung battles of the Great Terran-Talon War of 2227. These fleet actions were largely skirmishes of border attrition: quick strikes to sink the enemy command ship in each sector.

All rounds were Priority Target Missions. The goal was to destroy the enemy flagship and retreat your own flagship, and otherwise destroy as many escort ships as possible. The first two rounds saw fleets of two to three ships on a side, either two heavy cruisers, one of which designated as a flagship, or a battlecruiser with small escorts. Starting in the third round, fleets could add either more escorts to their command ship, or introduce a dreadnought or battleship as their new command ship. After that, the field was reduced to a final four captains in a final three matchups.

In one sector, two famed fleet captains of similar background and experience met in a rocky patch of space: Terran Captain Jordan Kehrer against Talon Commander David Edelstein. Both had similar records in combat, and in another eerie parallel, each commanded a newly commissioned battleship, each accompanied by a cruiser and pair of destroyer escorts. That’s where the similarities ended. The Terrans, seeing the Talon fleet deployment bunched near a spread of asteroids, split their fleet to attack around both sides of the debris field, both groups in a spread formation to avoid the worst of the dread area-effect Talon fusion cannon. The Talon sent the escorts to defend their flank and sped their battleship to joust the Terran battleship, each crippling the other. After all the weapons were spent, a lone Talon destroyer accelerated into range and launched missiles which none of the Terran ships could stop. The missiles slowly but silently glided into the Terran battleship’s unshielded hull, delivering another victory for the Talon.

In an adjacent sector, the young Terran Captain Caedmon Armstrong faced the feared and undefeated veteran Talon Commander John Coussis. The Terrans fielded a battleship and a pair of cruisers against the dread Commander Coussis’ formidable dreadnought escorted by a light cruiser and two destroyers. As the Talon encircled a gaseous stretch of rocks, the Terran commander employed an unorthodox strategy, turning his ships away from the Talon fleet and speeding away from the terrain. The Talon engaged all afterburners to close the distance when the Terran fleet powered a high energy turn to face their pursuers. The Terran battleship lined up a shot with its powerful wave motion cannon, and missed. The Talon returned fire, destroying the Terran heavy cruiser, but the Terran battleship overran and destroyed the Talon light cruiser with a phaser barrage. In the resulting wheeling and chaotic melee of painstakingly critical moves, the Talon Commander made a miscalculated maneuver that the young Terran Captain was quick to exploit, crippling the dreadnought and winning the sector in an upset.

Terran Captain Caedmon Armstrong had no time to celebrate. Talon Commander David Edelstein rushed into the sector for a final battle to breach the Terran border or die trying. The Terrans were reinforced by a new heavy cruiser and two destroyers, and faced a Talon dreadnought escorted by two cruisers and two frigates. The fleets closed quickly on opposite sides of patch of stellar gas which would render shields inoperable. Escorts went to one side, capital ships to the other, and the fearsome Talon dreadnought after-burned to close range to unleash not one but both of its fusion cannons. And the mighty Terran battleship went down.

In all, the Talon outmatched the Terrans in 8 of the 15 matches, taking the border and commencing their storied invasion of Terran space. The rest is history.
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