It is a well known fact that Humanity's history has been wrought by war and conflict. With the dawn of the 46th Century, the species had known a time of peace brought about by the destruction of a trillion lives before. Though the sacrifice had been great, many in Aquarius assigned the memory of what happened during the Fall to their distant memories; instead preferring to focus on the future, and what lay beyond the stars for Humanity.
War, however, was never a distant memory. Ever since the formal introduction of the Human species to the Cordial Trade Alliance lead by the alien Vujlcyon Conglomerate, conflict had indeed been brewing close to Humanity's new home among the stars, in Aquarius. The conflict that festered was not with the Vujlcyon themselves, but between two incumbent members of the Alliance, and Humanity itself.
The Tyandirr Third Imperium had a long history of conflict, its own caste-based cultural hierarchy being based on domination and conquest. The reasons behind this outwardly aggressive culture were linked to events far closer to Human Beings, and indeed, the Senlani, than any in Aquarius could have known. It was this historic hatred that brought about the clouds of war over Human destiny once again, regardless of how distant the once beloved Earth was.
The Tyandirr Third Imperium had begrudgingly approved Humanity's entrance to the Cordial Trade Alliance on the grounds set forward by the enterprising Vujlcyon, who promised great wealth and power for the expanding Imperium with the inclusion of the new species in the Alliance. However, when the Human Federal State of Aquarius transformed into the more centralised Imperial State of present, the Tyandirr's tolerance for humanity slipped beyond the critical point. Indeed, their tolerance for the human-like Senlani was at an all-time low, and such, plans were drawn up for a new conquest. A conquest that would finally vindicate the Ancestors' struggle.
Humanity silently prepares
The Tyandirr's plans were known to the Imperial Secret Service and Bureau of Naval Intelligence of the Imperial Navy of ATIS for some time, due to the presence of covert deep-recon probes on the outskirts of the Taran Nebula. Their deployment came about from information discovered in the Eridonia Archives concerning the Tyandirr and the potential threat they pose due to their ancestral culture. Such knowledge wasn't disclosed publicly or even to the highest echelons of the Imperial Navy Admiralty, instead, it was The Director that ordered the deployment of the probes and carefully monitored the developments in the Taran Nebula.
The Directorship of the Imperial States had foreseen a major conflict between the Aquarian and Taran states, such a prediction was indeed a major driving force behind ATIS's extensive military build up leading up to the turn of the 46th century. Such deployments would include the re-activation and re-development of the weapons that brought about the worst devastation in human history. Humanity in Aquarius was far from unprepared for conflict, but there was still very little solid data on the exact capabilities and indeed, scale, of the Tyandirr Imperial Fleet. It was already known that the war-like aliens had the capacity to carry out devastating strikes deep within human-controlled space with precision and little warning, but data from that incident was already being used to create new weapons and technologies to aid humanity in what The Director foresaw as the greatest war for the survival of the species in Aquarius.
The Imperial Navy High Command on Lorentis was informed of details from The Directorship of the ATIS council fairly soon after the formation of the new Imperial States, but the details where not explicitly conveyed in accordance with The Directorship's vision; the prediction of a conflict with the Tyandirr was not something The Director wished to be known throughout the military leadership of the Imperial States, at least not until the variability in the predicted outcomes could be narrowed to such levels that direct human involvement was warranted.
Under this doctrine, the Directorship implemented a series of tiered 'Strategies', each with an outcome depending on the severity of the perceived threat. The first, 'Strategy One'; was the deployment of Deep Recon probes into the outskirts of Tyandirr controlled space in the Taran Nebula, in a covert operation carried out entirely by the Directorship's dedicated military unit, the Vanguard. The probes underpinned the basis of the influx of information as to Tyandirr intentions in the regions of space G-South of the Taran Nebula, where it connects with Aquarius via the Angel-Crimson Pass. Strategy One was largely a success with probes being deployed without suspicion by the aliens. The data they provided included long-range Space-Density Distortion and Passive Radiological Emission scans of FTL jumps in and around Tyandirr space; such data allowed The Directorship to analyse the capabilities of the Alien FTL systems, and build up a reasonably accurate model of their predicted jump range and power requirements.
This data was essential in developing the basis for Strategy Two, which would involve the limited deployment of the Aquarian Imperial Navy to systems G-North of the Angel-Crimson Pass, from positions in the recently annexed Angel Reach sectors.
Strategy Two would involve, at first, small-scale deployments by the Aquarian Imperial Navy into the Crimson-North regions near the northern exit point of the Angel-Crimson Pass, directly G-South of the Taran Nebula. The Imperial Navy High Command was informed of a possibility of conflict with the Tyandirr before the deployment was authorised from the Directorship itself, but the knowledge was carefully limited to the most senior officers in the Admiralty in order to prevent details of the plans leaking out to potential informants of the aliens. In accordance with the defensive plans, the Imperial Secret Service and Population Compliance Departments were instructed to initiate sensitive covert operations within the Angel Reach and to some degree, within Aquarius itself, to identify potential for compromised units within the ATIS Military, which could lead to a data breach.
Strategy Two culminated with the deployment of the Aquarian Imperial Navy's premiere warship, the RT-class Dreadnought, AINV By Their Sanction, to the OS-2356-03 system north of the Angel-Crimson Pass. The dreadnought would be accompanied by a small attendant fleet of escort ships; much fewer than would normally be deployed in order to reduce the mass signature of the Task Group and reduce the chances of detection. It was considered highly likely by the Directorship and Imperial Navy High Command that any such deployment G-North of Aquarius, though far from the Taran Nebula itself, would be seen as an aggressive act by the Tyandirr and likely trigger a border conflict which could indeed result in a full-scale conflict occurring sooner than anticipated.
By Their Sanction would hide within the gravity well of a large Gas Giant within the OS-2356-03 system; her escort would spread out around the system and conduct long-range scans, avoiding close proximity with each other in order to 'iron out' the gravimetric signature; in the case that the Tyandirr had listening posts in nearby systems. The Task Group consisted of the Sanction, two RV-class Fleet Cruisers, a BNI Recon Cruiser (RV-type), two SP2-class (Pattern 2) Destroyers and a single Hydra-class (Pattern 2) Light Fleet Carrier with two FR-EL-type Frigates and four wings of DF430/1B Deep Space Bombers, along with the four wings of the new DF430/1A Deep Space Fighters ('Super Dragonfly') assigned to the By Their Sanction.
The Task Group would be responsible for handling first-response operations in the only predicted path of a potential Tyandirric invasion fleet heading for Aquarius. The data from the Deep Recon probes indicated that Tyandirr FTL capabilities were insufficient to allow a large-scale fleet deployment over the Crimson Barrier, or a timely deployment around the far side of the Angel Nebula; it was also predicted that Tyandirric commanders would be unlikely to commit to through the Crimson Barrier or Angel Nebula themselves due to the particulate debris rendering long-range sensors essentially ineffective. However, plans to counter such developments, should they occur, were put in place by Fleets assigned to the Angel Nebula and Northern Aquarius sectors.
Ultimately, the primary purpose of the Angel-Crimson Forward Task Group would be early warning and mitigation until additional navy reinforcements could arrive, or the order to enact Strategy Three was given. The Imperial Navy High Command concluded that conflict with the vastly numerically superior Tyandirr Fleet would be best fought within the confines of the Angel-Crimson Pass; due to the intel gathered by the Deep recon probs on the alien FTL capabilities, a rough course was plotted between stars that the Tyandirric invasion fleet would have to pass in order to reach Aquarius in sufficient numbers. These star Systems would be used by the Aquarian Imperial Navy to launch stand-off counter-offensives and due to the lack of other routes, would likely funnel the bulk of the alien fleet into a co-ordinated 'kill zone' enforced by the defending human fleets and their devastating long-range firepower.
Strategy Three would be enacted in the case of a major breakthrough of the Tyandirric invasion fleets into Aquarius, or the projected defeat of the Aquarian Imperial Navy in slowing down and ultimately repelling their advance through the Angel-Crimson Pass. This Strategy was considered by the Directorship and the Imperial Navy High Command as the Last Resort Plan and would ultimately be a scorched earth approach to ensuring the survival of humanity in Aquarius. The details of the plan were not widely known, only to the Strategic Defence Admirals responsible for managing the Hammer of Aquarius platforms and the Navy's ISBM and 'Solar Killer'-class Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The Strategy would involve the deployment of these strategic weapons of mass destruction, with the capability to cause a Solar Collapse cascade, using the most powerful iterations of the SPARTAN ISBM system, to the star systems along the predicted path of the Tyandirric invasion fleet within the Angel-Crimson Pass. Simulations by the Directorship using data collected from the Aftershock during the Fall of the UTN indicated that if a sufficiently low yield of Polarytic material was used, in specific locations within those systems, that the subspace blast wave would largely miss the Aquarian Core Systems due to the gravitational mass of the nearby Angel Hook Nebula. These cascades would likely result in the complete destruction of all alien fleets within the Pass, and prevent any further reinforcements from arriving quickly by denying the enemy Solar Masses to exit subspace along the route - additionally, the residual Polarytic Radiation and material from the resultant supernovas would create zones of extremely dangerous ionising radiation that could stripe a warship of electronic systems and life in a matter of seconds.
The cost of this deployment, however, would not be small. Since the Angel-Crimson Path is the only viable subspace route into the Crimson North sectors, it would essentially cut Aquarius off from the other races of the Cordial Trade Alliance - though this was the smaller of the concerns by the Directorship. The newly annexed systems of the Angel Reach would likely be exposed to the full force of the Polarytic blast wave propagating through subspace with relativistic speeds, leaving deadly Polarytic Radiation throughout most of the populated worlds in the Reach, projects for the survival of the majority of their populations (some ten billion people) were not optimistic. Furthermore, in such an event, there would be little time to order the effective withdrawal of the Aquarian Imperial Navy's Angel Sector Fleet, and would likely result in the complete destruction of the Fleet.
However, it was considered the only viable course of action in the event of Strategy Two failing, and as such, plans were drawn up and the targets for the weapons were punched in should the need arise. Humanity's long-term survival must be preserved, no matter the cost.