Dreadnaught's Defense of Former President KingI am writing this to defend the former President King of the Commonwealth, who was forcefully "impeached" and killed, largely due to the actions of the captain of one corvette Dreadnaught CNV-301. In this article, I will address and counter the allegations made by Vesper against Harrison King.
The first problem with Vesper's argument and scenario is that we don't know if the conference is in the Midway system. While the scripting language does place the events there, the briefing does not indicate any sort of location. Due to a limited number of systems, the developers probably just picked that one at random. Also, holding a joint secret peace conference in an Indie-held system would be quite illogical for both sides, as the Navy would be in hostile territory and the Independents would have to let down their guard in order to hold the conferences. In addition, we don't know the exact LaGrange routes that lead to the Midway system, which makes it less likely that the Excalabur traveled through the Toliman points as Vesper so confidently states. So far, we know that Tau Ceti, Sol, and Epsilon Eridani have LaGrange points that lead to Midway. While the Toliman points lead to a lot of systems, we really can't be sure with the information given.
In the Battle of the Toliman Exchange, the Dreadnaught takes cover behind an Indie PatCom that shares the same paint scheme as the one that fired upon the Excalabur. Vesper posits that this PatCom was crippled in the Dreadnaught's initial defense pattern, but upon closer examination of the intro movie this does not seem as likely. When the Clay maneuvers the Dreadnaught into the incoming wave of Indies, he then brings the corvette above and then down and behind the new Indie destroyer UNO. Dodging the gattling fire, he positions the corvette right up to that PatCom that is believed to have made the attack. However, the way I see it, Clay intentionally brought himself so close to the PatCom that no one was willing to fire on the Dreadnaught and risk destroying the PatCom. The nervous and surprised PatCom captain just played it cool and held still until the Dreadnaught made a move. Vesper says that the PatCom didn't do anything, but we see that the PatCom quickly slows its rotation caused by the Dreadnaught when Clay orders a full burn towards the L-Point Blocker. In addition, why would the Indies evacuate and give up a warship with a still-intact hull? They're desperate!
Vesper's explanation for the 40% power of the cruiser is understandable, and makes sense. However, remember that the President is fairly alone in a system where small warships outnumber him 2:1 (I counted from the script) including the Lesserevil, assuming all of his former Navy warships turn to defend him in a situation. Also, the whole philosophy to the Indies is to be tricky. What if they called in a fleet with the UNO and blocked FTL? It would seem logical that weapons were powered and engines ready to go on the cruiser. We can't be sure what kinds of power outputs full battle stations have, so it's hard to elaborate on that point.
In order to defend her theory, Vesper explains that the reason the Excalabur ordered the Dreadnaught to stay outside of 5k was to prevent the discovery of the PatCom attached to the presidential cruiser. Needless to say, the Dreadnaught was also being accompanied by an Indie tug. Also, the Dreadnaught was technically no longer allied with King and given no orders to re-join him in under an executive order. We've all seen what a tug can do when it rams a capital ship While it may be possible to hide a PatCom under a pylon of the Excalabur, it seems excessive. I feel that I have proved that it wasn't the same PatCom as in the Toliman exchange, which rules out that he was using the same ship. It could very well be the same ship that was both at the Toliman Exchange and at the peace conference.
During the actual attack of the cruiser, King had just stormed out of the conference. Many of you who have passed time assaulting Saltlake and messing with the warships that are spawned from it will know that docking with another vessel disables both ship's LDA units, probably to prevent them from displacing each other. Knowing that they might have to re-join the Indies and attack King, a captain of a PatCom is a little on edge. He hears Yarwood's reports of the talks breaking down, and then King leaves the room. We don't know if King would have gone back later or if it was over right them. But, as far as he's concerned, the captain of the PatCom thinks it's time to fight again.
"Oh no! King is now going to use his cruiser to annihilate our council!" So he mounts a (feeble) attack on the Excalabur, hoping that his comrades will follow. Note that he seems to be aiming for the bridge. The other Indies don't join because the they really do want peace. So, this suicidal captain gets killed and the "No Surrender" makes up the bogus excuse with the "Bad paint job" and all. Chaos ensues, yet the Indies don't try take offensive action. King, scared for his life, orders his corvettes to attack the Indies who have "made an attempt on [his] life" while others cover his escape. And it's war again, but this time people think that King is trying to prolong the conflict.
One might argue that that PBC didn't cause the damage it was supposed to. This is a valid point. Perhaps the captain tried to power down, sneak up on the cruiser and hit the bridge dead-on. The rear is just as futile with those tail guns, and the command center is just as good as any a place to kill the president.
Finally, we can not forget the role of COSA in this war. In just the past few missions COSA has been destroyed and investigated. To them, it is all over unless the war can be prolonged. With their kind of shipbuilding facilities, making a simple PatCom wouldn't be too hard and perhaps this was the cause behind that bad paint scheme. COSA could just REM it from a hidden ship in the sector.
Either way, it is my belief that King was simply the victim of either a simple assassination attempt or part of a larger trap by COSA. Inevitably, the former president was able to get a loyal following and a fleet. Perhaps if he had not tried to continue the war with this following he would not have been killed.
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