Operation Rook Takes Pawn
Operation Rook Takes Pawn was a top-secret black-ops mission by Gudersnipe School with heavy support from the Assassin's Guild. The goal was to capture, intact, a Kamian capitol ship and its senior staff.
Attempts had been ongoing throughout the war to capture Kamian technology for study. Numerous badly damaged ships had been taken; but with their computers destroyed and their equipment in ruins, there was only so much that could be gleaned. Finally, the Blind Consul ordered Gudersnipe School to make it happen at all costs.
The entire effort was first complicated by Kamian policy: as a matter of course, no ship should be allowed to fall into enemy hands, and the captain or ranking officer was expected to destroy the vessel to prevent this from happening. Ninety-eight previous attempts to capture operational Kamian ships had ended this way.
Another major stumbling block was in intelligence. The Kamians had no spies, so turning a double-agent was impossible. Sympathizers among the Kamians were virtually non-existent, and those who did exist were never highly-placed. The Foundation had labored for years to create deep-cover operatives with no success; Kamian family structure made it impossible. To insert an operative, they would need to be given a background; but, again due to the nature of Kamian families, any background could very easily be checked. Further complicating issues was Kamian physiology; any deep-cover operative would have a difficult time passing for Kamian for a long time.
Initially, the Assassin's Guild, being comprised mostly of graduates from Gudersnipe School, was only to provide logistical support. Most of the School's top deep-cover and black-operations experts ended up in the Guild. However, as the plan formed and the requirements became clear, full-fledged assassins were volunteered for the program.
The theft required three things: an insertion team to take control of the ships themselves, an operations team provide leverage, and a frontal assault to cover everyone's tracks.
The Insertion Team posed as laborers, brought to the station by transport to work at the supply depot. Since the Kamians employed humans as servants, this part was simple. A second insertion team also shipped weapons and equipment to the station in containers marked as food. The station team, over two hundred strong, was able to spread out and, at the appropriate time, begin a workers' riot.
At the same time the riot began, a third insertion team arrived aboard a stolen transport. Its credentials were not properly checked and it was given clearance to dock. Reinforced by the first team, they caused massive damage to the station and took control of two Kamian ships, capturing several high-ranking officers from each.
The Assault Team consisted of five battle groups, code-named Taskforce Horsey. Horsey was comprised primarily of crimson blade regulars, with seven destroyers in the group being operated by school students who were aware of the operation. The entire rest of the task force was only aware that they were making a surprise attack. In the melee that followed, the destroyers used cables to tow the captured ships away from the station and into FTL. The rest of Horsey persisted in raising the complex.
Comprised of over a thousand assassins in one hundred and seventeen units, the Leverage Team went deep behind enemy lines and located the families of the Kamian officers. Using a highly secret real-time communications system, these teams were able to immediately threaten the lives of several officers' family members. In one instance, an officer was shown a live-feed of his wife, taken through a gun scope, and strongly encouraged to co-operate.
The operation targeted five different ships and successfully took and held two, escaping with both while the rest of the task force destroyed a station and the other three ships. Task Force Horsey suffered almost a total loss of all capitol ships and most of its smaller vessels. The trade, it was considered, was fair, as they had taken two full Kamian ships, a battleship and a cruiser, fully operational. Most of the crew had been off the ships when they were taken, and the rest were killed to prevent counter-measures. Only fifteen Kamians were actually taken prisoner.
As a bonus, the Leverage Teams, still deep behind enemy lines, carried out an extensive terror campaign on several Kamian home worlds, killing the families of thousands of Kamian officers and contributing significantly to demoralizing the Kamian troops.
When the ships were analyzed, the Foundation discovered several key pieces of information. The battleship, they found, was over two thousand years old. Both ships had been designed, from the ground up, for a lengthy service-life. It was determined that the Kamians had spent fifteen hundred years preparing for the war, building ships that entire time; and, if a ship was lost, they lacked the means to quickly and easily replace it.
A further, equally important finding was around the nature and function of the Kamian FTL drive. While it was largely a standard Python Reactor in concept, the drives used an artificial singularity to improve compression in the core. This accounted for serious problems on the battlefield, when Kamian core breaches seemed to be far more catastrophic than should be possible. Further, the Kamians used multiple, in some cases dozens, of small reactors to power their ships, instead of one large reactor.
Since the reactors had to be perfectly synchronized, any capitol ship could have its FTL drive crippled by a cynosural field along its jump path. This tactic is useless against single-drive ships and barely effective against dual-drives (the largest Foundation ships used four, but could make short jumps on two). On a vessel relying on up to sixteen individual reactors, however, it completely destroys their ability to jump to FTL. Further, a large capitol ship, traveling along a well-defined trajectory, is an easy target. Simply put, Crimson Blade ships now had a highly effective tactic for destroying Kamian capitol ships without risking their own, and had learned that capitol ships had a much higher value than previously thought.
This revelation came to light around the same time the M'KHarens joined the war, siding with the Crimson Blade. Re-enforced, better armed, and newly informed, the war would be ended in just thirty-seven more years.
For their part, the assassins who participated in the raid were unable to be retrieved. Few were ever captured, but the majority lived out their lives in isolation or on the margins of Kamian society. One such assassin, Yule Hoff did survive the war and was rescued along with a few members of his team, and shared his insights on life in the Kamian backyard.