Inquiry Into the Loss of the Odysseus-Class Naval Exploratory Vessel CS Iason Reg E-1456
DATE OF LOSS:
RULING AS TO CAUSE:
PROBABILITY OF ACCURACY:
DEGREE OF LOSS:
SUMMARY: At 0450 hours on 2638.229, Iason made visual contact with three Kilrathi B'ru'k-class merchantment. For approximately five hours the Iason attemped to establish communication with the alien vessels, with no response. During this time the Iason maintained a continuous data-stream transmission to CN HQ. About 1000 hours Kilrathi ships opened fire, destroying the Iason's offensive, defensive, drive and life-support capabilities.
RECOVERY: At approximately 1900 hours on 2638.234, Kilrathi B'ru'k-class merchantmen jumped into Hyperion system towing the gutted hull of the Iason. The hull was cut adrift near Hyperion 4, apparently as a challenge or warning. After extensive long- and medium-range scanning, hull was destroyed by friendly fire, by order of Port Admiral Miru, due to the possibility of enemy booby traps.
SHIP SPECIFICATIONS: CS Iason, commissioned 2613.078 as long-range exploratory vessel, refitted 2633 as fleet support transport, refitted 2637 as exploratory/ research vessel.
- Modified Odysseus-class explorer massing 17,000 tons. Jump drive, hopper drive, long-range fusion impulse drive. Enhanced sensor array, ultra-long range communications system (voice and data), self-sustaining life-support systems rated for 1.2 year voyage @ full complement, astronomy, xenology, planetology and gravitics laboratory facility.
- Armed with 2 twin long-range pulse cannon, one torpedo tube, 12 N44 torpedoes with conventional explosive warheads. Class 5 heavy-carbon armor, 4.7 terajoule xenon-charged phase shield generator.
- 1 long-range Pelican-class shuttle refitted for research, 1 standard Tern-class shuttle, 2 towed Ferret-class scout fighters with enhanced sensor arrays, 19 lifeboats.
- Crew consisting of 19 officers and 71 crew, plus research staff consisting of 3 officers, 19 crew, 5 civilians.
- Cargo capacity of 8000 cubic meters, cargo of provisions, research equipment, unknown quantity of research samples.
DETAIL: Departed Port of Hellespont 2638.009 on nine-month mapping/ research mission into outer Vega sector. Put in at Tartarus .065 for minor repairs. In continuous communication with HQ for entire voyage.
On .221 Iason hopped into system V343 to investigate composition of gas giants in the outer system. When early scans produced evidence of complex radioactives in outer atmosphere of planet 9 (in 11-planet system), Captain Andropolos ordered a 10-day layover for analysis, after which Iason was to hop back to Tyr jump point.
At 450 hours on .229, automatic scanners recorded three unknown objects moving at a high rate of speed on a non-orbital trajectory, at a range of 97,000 kilometers. At 0512 hours objects altered course to intercept vector with Iason. By this point scans had already confirmed that the objects were pressurized, manufactured, self-propelled craft of unknown origin. Upon being notified of the approaching ships, Captain Andropolos ordered full shields and readiness standby level 2.
At 0527 unknown craft entered visual range, and thew captain ordered continuous wide-band scanning combined with a continuous real-time telemetry stream to HQ. Based on scans and images, craft have since been identified as Kilrathi B'ruk-class light freighters, armed with heavy mass drivers and anti-ship missiles.
At 0610 captain transmitted formal notice to HQ and Confed of first contact with sentient, non-human spacefarers. This transmission also advised that the Iason was monitoring alien radio traffic in unknown language, and had begun hailing procedures according to Confed first contact protocols.
(Recordings of the Kilrathi traffic during this period are fragmentary, and translation is still underway, but it appears to be a discussion of the Iason's nature and offensive capability.)
At 0715 hours both Ferrets were scrambled. One, piloted by Captain F. Izmuti, was ordered to begin a pattern of concentric fly-bys of the Kilrathi ships, while the other, piloted by Commander J. Taggart, was ordered to commence long- and medium-range scans of the area.
At 0743 hours, on an approach within 2 kilometers of the Kilrathi ships, one of the Kilrathi opened fire on Capt. Izmuti's Ferret, damaging the right wing array, including cameras and stabilizers. She was ordered to return to the Iason. Commander Taggart remained in space apparently until after the Iason was destroyed. His precise fate is unknown.
At 0800 hours Captain Andropolos sent a second message to HQ, indicating she was going to "wait out" the situation, taking no further overt action other than continuing automatic hails on all frequencies, until the Kilrathi took action.
For most of the next hour, the Kilrathi remained silent, even maintaining radio silence between themselves. At 0857 a video signal weas transmitted to the Iason. Captain Andropolos immediately ordered a two-way channel, but the Kilrathi signal showed only an unadorned wall. It was noted that the signal was largely within the infrared spectrum. It is likely that the Kilrathi wished to get a look at the humans without showing themselves. If that was their intent, it was successful.
At 0942 hours, a Kilrathi radio transmissionw as intercepted. This has been translated as the order to open fire on the Iason. However, its meaning would have been unknown to the ship's crew. The three Kilrathi ships all opened fire simultaneously a few seconds thereafter. Captain Andropolos gave the order to return fire and retreat at top speed. The KIlrathi pursued, keeping pace with the Iason.
The signal from the Iason continued until 0947, when it broke up, probably due to electromagnetic interference from the battle. Tactical analysis suggests that the Iason's shields would have endured until about 1000 or shortly thereafter. When the shields fell, hull intergrity would have been fatally breached within 15 seconds. Most of the crew probably would have died either of radiation flash when the drives exploded, or of oxygen deprivation due to depressurization. If any of the crew made it to the lifeboats or into full-environment suits, they were probably killed by subsequent Kilrathi boarding parties. The possibility of living captives being taken cannot be ruled out, although this does not appear to be normal procedure after Kilrathi victories.
At 0130 hours sector HQ certified the Iason as a lost or missing ship.
On 2638.234 at about 1900 hours, a single B'ru'k-class ship jumped through the Hyperion jump point towing an object slightly larger than itself by volume. It proceeded at full speed into the system up to the orbit of the fourth planet, disconnected from its cargo at 2307, and returned at full speed to the jump point, leaving the system at about 0200 hours on .235. The Kilrathi ship was identified only by long-range scanners at the jump point, and was never within visual range of any Confed ship or monitor. It is not known if it was one of the three which attacked the Iason.
Ships were dispatched from Hyperion 2 to investigate the objec, and at 0512 hours on .236 it was formally identified as the Iason. Port Admiral Miru, of Hellespont Naval Station, reached the scene in the CS Kurosawa at 1500 hours. Over the next 16 hours the hull was extensively scanned by Navy sensor teams, but AdmiralMiru ordered a quarantine distance of 10 kilometers. No Confed personnnel were allowed witin that distance.
Scans further revealed that there wer no living or dead humans on the hulk, and furthermore that the Kilrathi had stripped the ship virtually down to bare hull walls. At 0700 hours on .237, the admiral ordered scanning stopped. Based on the risk of biological or other contamination of the hulk by the Kilrathi, the admiral ordered the hulk to be tractored to a descending spiral orbit into Hyperion's star and further ordered that once such orbit was achieved, the hulk should be destroyed by torpedo fire. Based on ballistic projections, the debris from the Iason fell into the star and were destroyed on or about 2638.244.
CONCLUSION: Iason lost due to attack by superior hostile force. The actions of tha captain and crew are deemed by this office to have been in accordance with the policies and traditions of the Confederation Navy, and this report is referred to Command for consideration for posthumous honors.