Operation Menelaus was a joint CSN-UNF operation, initiated on 13th June 2617 and aimed at recovering Dragon from enemy forces. The operation was named after the legendary king Menelaus, who raised a fleet to travel to Troy and rescue Helen, who had been stolen from him by Paris.
In early 2617, CSN Dragon was hijacked under mysterious circumstances. Out of its 50,000 strong, only one main returned: Anthony Hawke, the acting captain. The battleship then disappeared without a trace.
Several months later, CSN intelligence discovered Dragon travelling around a number of uninhabited star systems in independent-declared space. The reappearance of the ship prompted Elliott Parks to persuade David Turner to put together a strike force, aimed at recovering the stolen vessel. For the purpose, they recruited a number of vessels and personnel from the United Naval Forces.
The strike team was made up of Griffin, Ifrit, Leviathan, Grendel and Grendel's Mother. The allied forces aimed to intercept Dragon in the Aster system on June 13th. Dragon would be remotely shutdown and boarded by a combined CSN-UNF team, seeking to both return control of the battleship to the CSN, as well as apprehend Jason Zackaria and Julian Rissard, placing them under arrest.
The operation ran into difficulties when the remote shutdown procedure used against Dragon failed to work. The mission was compromised when Dragon's operators fooled the allied forces into believing the ship was out of action and lured them into a trap. All participants making up the Initial Run squadron were killed once they entered into Dragon's weapons range.
Shortly after, UNF Grendel was destroyed when Dragon turned its main offensive weapon - an Antimatter Cannon - against it. Parks called an immediate end to the operation and ordered the allied forces to retreat from the Aster system. However, before they could do so Griffin was put out of action when an Imperial frigate and a squadron of starfighters jumped into the system and attacked. In the ensuring battle, four members of the Red Devils were spaced, whilst the last member - Andrea Kennedy - was crushed to death when a ceiling collapsed on her.
The operation was saved from becoming one of the biggest disasters in naval history when the White Knights took the ATAFs into the battle and successfully routed the enemy forces, causing them to withdraw from Aster.
Planned Order of Events
- Allied forces meet at the Aster system.
- Leviathan and Grendel would take the front line, whilst Griffin and Grendel's Mother covered the midfield. Ifrit would act as rear guard, protecting the allied forces against any attempts at flanking manoeuvres the Enemy forces.
- Upon its arrival, Dragon would be remotely disabled using an in-built fail-safe.
- The two escorting Imperial frigates are eliminated by the Initial Run team.
- Any additional starfighters or moderately powerful reinforcements would be further dispatched.
- Dragon would be flooded with nerve agents, before being boarded.
- Jason Zackaria and Julian Rissard would be arrested.
- Dragon taken back to Spirit and de-commissioned until further notice.
Actual Order of Events
- Allied forces met at the Aster system.
- Leviathan and Grendel took the front line, Griffin and Grendel's Mother the midfield. Ifrit took up position as rear guard.
- Dragon arrived without escorts.
- Attempt to disable Dragon remotely fails, after enemy feint.
- Grendel is destroyed by Dragon.
- Griffin is badly damaged in surprise attack by first of Dragon's frigate escorts. Red Devils are killed.
- Hawke refuses to assist in allied forces retreat, citing further enemy traps.
- Griffin is severely damaged in further attacks.
- With the use of the ATAFs, the White Knights drive back the enemy forces.
- White Knights destroy first Imperial frigate.
- Hawke destroys second Imperial frigate.
- Kelly Taylor survives a head-on collision with an Imperial Sphinx.
- Initial Run Squadron
- UNF Grendel (Captain Edward Silverthorne + all hands)
- Red Devils (inc. Andrea Kennedy)
- Lieutenant O'Donnell
- Numerous pilots from primary + secondary defence teams
Imperial / Pandoran
- INF Crow's Foot (First frigate)
- INF Bastone (Second frigate)
- Numerous supporting starfighter pilots