Lobnas Gateway Battle
The Battle of Lobnas II, Lobnas Gateway Battle, or simply the Battle of Lobnas Gateway was a buying facilitation mission as Spoor clearly described with her experience in business. Deca-Commander and Territorial Ambassador to Lobnas Abriel Lafiel was charged with the task of evacuating the world before the arrival of the enemy fleet. Additionally a revolt had taken place on the world which resulted in the capture of the Deputy Territorial Ambassador Jinto Linn, who stayed for duty and honor. No mention was made of him during the operation, but a rescue effort was impossible until allied reinforcements entered the area. Admiral Spoor managed to buy an incredible amount of time for Deca-Commander Lafiel due to the business competence and overall eccentric genius of her replies. In spite of significant losses to her battle group, her overall strategy to buy time was achieved.
Rebellion of Lobnas
For the day before the arrival of Spoor’s group, the planet’s prisoner sectors had revolted against the authority of the planetary system. In the process the original Administrative Director of Lobnas, Geol Meideen, is killed by Mikay Angusson who originally commanded the revolt. Jinto Linn is for this engagement held hostage as Deca-Commander Lafiel struggles with the loss of the Deputy Ambassador and the incoming fleet she needs a miracle to save her ships and the mission at hand.
Admiral Spoor’s First Fleet, Second Meeting:
Admiral Spoor arrives on scene with her scouts exactly 21 ships not including her own Lashkau. She summarizes the situation and that she is charged only to scout the area. That being said; however, an allied fleet is detected in the area despite the fact a large enemy force is going to arrive in three hours. Immediately sore, assuming some incompetent officer failed to follow orders on the planet, she wishes to know who is in charge. Once it is presented that Deca-Commander Abriel Lafiel is controlling, her mood is no better.
Immediately an argument over orders sparks. Admiral Spoor commands that Lafiel leaves the system with her; Lafiel replies that she can’t. Lafiel moderately explains the situation, leaving the captured Jinto Linn entirely out of the argument. Admiral Spoor explains her current duty at the system. They fight over the overall worth of fighting for the system finally nearly ending with language that can be called crude. Lafiel explains her plan that if she does not defend, the transports would leave with Spoor, and that she would take one ship with herself on board to the planet. While there, they would hide somewhere on the planet while the enemy fleet occupied the space. In spite of her own powerful arguments, Admiral Spoor abstains and agrees to defend the system.
Admiral Spoor explains the terms of her own engagement in full to Lafiel and states she will do all she can. Admiral Spoor needs to buy at the absolute least five hours of time and the enemy is three hours away… An extra two hours at the very least if everything proceeds smoothly must be bought. The evacuations continue as Admiral Spoor’s battle group, now consisting of her remaining scouts; increasing the total to 33 including her ship, moves into position. Her objectives are set and she intends to fight for only the Honor of the Empire
“I Am Completely Dumbfounded”
Admiral Spoor and seemingly the enemy commander upon his arrival three hours later agree that the battle will be a useless engagement of forces over nothing. That’s where relations end. Admiral Spoor is tasked to stop a fleet that outnumbers her by more than twenty to one. She sets on her task as quickly as possible with all due intent. She considers her options and tells her Chief-of-Staff to send a communications bubble to the enemy. She wished for the message to say something along the lines of how pointless the battle to come would be. She explained that for the two of them to damage each other would simply be foolhardy. The message as recited by Spoor was meant to state:
|“||I am the Supreme Commander of Operation Hunter First Fleet Admiral Spoor.
Our objective is to temporarily secure the Lobnas Gate region.
Do not oppose us.
Remain at your current position until we have retreated.
Admiral Spoor, unfortunately, lets her chief-of-staff Kufadis handle the refining of the message. His message states that they request at least six hours for a retreat. The first reply from Salai Sector Fleet stated that Admiral Spoor would only be permitted an hour at most to retreat from the area. Admiral Spoor then requests for 24 hours to retreat. Her chief-of-staff as well as the enemy commander are both equally “dumbfounded”, since seemingly neither understand the business principles she’s throwing at them. Admiral Spoor simply says that it is because both Kufadis and the enemy commander are inexperienced in business that they are so lost; also she assumes the enemy commander is green. She makes another reply that states the first transmission was a mistake and that they need the enemy to hold back for 24 hours. She notes that the commander must be green because of the questions asked.
The enemy commander replies demanding an explanation for the four-fold increase in time requested. Admiral Spoor calmly states that she’ll let them know once the negotiations are finalized. The reply is just as simple; they wish to know why Admiral Spoor is not explaining herself; why is she being so secretive? She replies coyly: “It’s a secret.” The commander continues bickering with Admiral Spoor stating that he doesn’t believe she’s acting in good faith. She answers that claim with her own question; do they want to end the negotiations? Her chief-of-staff clamors that they should not ask that because that being an ultimatum, if the commander ended negotiations, they would have to fight. Admiral Spoor could tell though that the enemy didn’t wish to fight the battle and the question was sent.
The reply is sent again and they say they do not wish to come to ends. They “acknowledge” her request for her 24 hours, but the enemy’s terms still stand: 1 hour. Admiral Spoor now decides to attempt to explain in full detail even if she has to go into the dawn of time to do so. In fact she asks that her chief-of-staff spice it up and explain as sluggishly permissible. He asks Spoor that they send a message saying that they will explain their reasons for it being impossible to retreat in an hour. By this time, an extra hour has already been bought for Deca-Commander Lafiel. A hostile ultimatum is sent to Admiral Spoor claiming the enemy have their own reasons for wanting her to depart the system as soon as possible and those are secrets also. They grant her two more hours before they advance and engage all those in the way. Admiral Spoor understands inherently from her business experience that the negotiations are now over and that now with three, maybe four hours given, she must hold out against the enemy for another one or two hours. She asks that they make one last reply:
|“||Your message is understood.
We will do our best to evacuate within two hours but we may not be successful.
I suggest we suspend further contact to conserve energy.
On Lobnas, they continue to evacuate the planet (except in the novel, in which case this moment the evacuation is complete before Spoor engages). Despite the internal dissent and disorganization of the rebellion, they could not find the Deputy Territorial Ambassador. He continues to be Missing in Action for the remainder of the operations there. After a three hour waiting period, possibly four, the enemy begins their advance onto Spoor’s position. She gives the order for her ships to ready for battle, which surprises Kufadis that she actually intends to engage in battle. The fact that soon the enemy takes up a rear and front formation bothers Admiral Spoor; how obvious it is worries her because it then clearly shows the actual number of enemy military ships at the enemy’s disposal. Surprisingly, the enemy does not fire its mines upon them. She then realizes the objective of the enemy; they’re to link up with the ships that Admiral Neres left for Trife and Spoor. She orders her 4th and 5th squadrons to hold positions near the gate to eliminate all other enemy ships while she takes the rest of her battle group and attempts to go through the front line. The Chief-of-Staff, in typical manner, protests greatly. Admiral Spoor then explains in great detail of how artists from 28 provinces are gathering to construct the family tomb and that there will be a banquet to celebrate to completion. That being said, the celebration is supposed to happen 12 years from then in Year 968. She invites him to attend, but he continues to doubt his survival. She explains however advanced her ship may be; it would not be suitable for her to die in.
She orders her fleet to take up the 8th Dense Pack Formation in individual space-time bubbles. It is at this moment her Chief-of-Staff Kufadis questions secretly the commanding ability of Admiral Spoor. Admiral Spoor orders that their targets only be front-line outside ships for mines. At that moment the rear squadrons break up and split in two directions. Admiral Spoor’s strategy is working since no countermeasures are fired. She orders her 4th and 5th squadrons to take half-squadron formations and engage right. During this, her ships are being surrounded. She orders for her squadrons to be ordered to come about and engage left, firing mines at anything surrounding them. 1st Squadron is completely lost once they’re cut off. Kufadis is now solely responsible for ensuring the space time bubbles are ready for an emergency and that all ships are kept in half-squadron formations. 2nd Squadron is almost immediately wiped out following the 1st. Admiral Spoor’s ship, Lashkau, is then subject to direct fire from the enemy. Only six ships remain in Admiral Spoor’s personal command, which just broke through to engage the enemy. The 4th and 5th Squadrons faired much better against the enemy than Spoor herself did. She orders an immediate retreat from battle, knowing that her scouts can no longer hold back the enemy. She assumes the enemy will realize that the battle is pointless and let retreating ships go. She orders them to pull back to the Milky Way Gates. She orders them to form a single squadron bubble as they pull back. As it turns out, the enemy commander is as green as Admiral Spoor may have anticipated and continues his assault on her fleet. She has no available options, simply stressing to do what is possible. At the moment the Doubilge is destroyed (in the anime only), the boarding of evacuees at Lobnas II is complete.
The Fight Ends
Lafiel is told that the enemy is passing through the gate. She has no choice since the gate is the only way they can escape. She orders that they activate their generators and go on through. A general order is given to ignore the enemy and keep moving forward. They pass by enemy transport ships, hence they are never attacked. Basroil and Lafiel on a transport craft notice that they do not fire, but now since they’re so close, they would hit each other. Their escape is nearly complete. They pass through the gate and soon receive a message from Spoor to regroup with her ship the Lashkau. The group all soon realize the unheard of damage to the first fleet. 26 ships are gone, leaving only 7 including Spoor’s flagship. Lafiel wonders if that is what her grandmother, the Empress, has to cope with each day of the war; were the deaths meaningless? It dawns upon the Princess that possibly everyone blames her for the deaths that day.
The battle; however, revealed something of far greater merit than Lafiel realized. Admiral Trife receiving the report from Spoor following the battle confirmed that Trife had double the firepower needed to take them on and that the enemy had no supplies of which to speak of. Also, since Admiral Spoor’s fleet did manage to give the enemy her traditional beating, Trife’s fight would be far easier. The brutal battle, of which Spoor came closest to death in her entire military career, ended.
The Surrender at Salks Gate would occur and effectively stop the enemy advance, as well as end Operation Hunter three weeks later. The shape of Admiral Spoor’s 1st Fleet was so poor following the battle, that a long hiatus was arranged for her battle group and she was to be replaced at the front-line temporarily. In the novel it can clearly be seen that Admiral Spoor also takes this leave to recover personally from the loss of her servicemen, for she despairs from the great loss. Despite her losses, her casualties were at worst comparable to the enemy's and she achieved her overall objective in buying time using her wit and business experience. A conversation between Imperial Admiral Abriel Crybh Dubeusec and Admiral Bebaus Neres later reveals that Abriel Lafiel asked to return to Lobnas three weeks after the last engagement there. Jinto Linn would eventually be found there by a rescue squad personally tended to by the Princess herself and the new Territorial Governor Tomasof, narrowly managing to survive on his own on the world for three weeks, far longer than his last abandoned mission on Sufagnoff system.