Betillio hung in the sky like a crimson marble. The rich iron content in the soil tinted it an intense red that was visible even through the meter thick armaglass that comprised the Valar Retributae's portholes. Caetus Adralion stared out as the planet crept into view, being obscured partially by it's orbiting Moon, the moon the Retributae and the rest of the 7th fleet used as cover to obscure their advance. The Admiral went over his battle plans with the rest of the Joint Chiefs, advised by several Salarian and Asari Intelligence Operatives. Betillio served as a lynchpin system in the western reaches of The Arbalest Nebulae, a vital refueling station for Krogan Fleets passing through the system to push against Turian and Salarian forces. This strike, deemed Operation Firebreak, served to deny the Krogan this valuable position, and provide valuable breathing room for the allied fleets operating in the nebulae. From the bridge of his Flagship Caetus stood stock still, hands behind his back. He was a proud, imposing figure, the harsh, sterile glare of the overhead lights illuminating the brilliant, polished metal of his prosthetic mandible. Robbed from him years ago by a Krogan Boarder. His prosthetic twitched almost imperceptibly. His gaze fixed on the World. He had seen enough Turian Worlds burn, it was time to see how the Krogan liked it.
Upon his orders the fleet pivoted, yawing to put themselves on bearing towards the planet. As they drew near the spiraling Anchorage came into view. Massive, skeletal installations dotting Betillio's orbit. Hosting the ugly, blocky forms of Krogan Warships. Some lay damaged, undergoing repairs from previous battles. Few were scouting the system for intrusion. Instead relying on electronic scanners and sweepers. All reading clear, the Turian fleet veiled under the cover of a custom designed Salarian Extranet Virus. Visual contact would be the only surefire way for the Krogan to spot their fleet. And the way they maneuvered across the system, covering their advance through the lazy orbit of asteroids and planetoids, ensured they would not be spotted until they were right on top of the planet.
The Mass Accelerator batteries warmed up, the Frigates knifed their way out from the larger fleet, dozens of nimble craft extending out. Quiet, etheric shockwaves rippled out as their own guns silenced comms buoys and scanners, blinding the Krogan network bit by bit. The bridge grew tense, building up an energy like static shock.
"Betillio is now in effective range of all ships. On your word, Admiral." A gunnery chief said from her terminal, looking over to the Admiral.
"Prioritize the shipyards first, declaw this beast before we put it down." Admiral Adralion returns in a cold, unfeeling tone.
And the first wave of shots ripples out like a wave, the incredible force expelling slugs from their barrels at unimaginable speeds. Visible for only a moment before they shatter in unison against the Krogan installations. The astronomical distance between the two targets betrays the true scope of the destruction. Sensors and optical arrays blind to the Rib-like docks crumpling in onto themselves, goring through the tender sides of already damaged starships. Breaking, tearing, rending in a hellish groan of metal and circuits. As the stations break their windows crack and shatter into a million glassy shards. Catching the light of the Betillian Sun and twinkling in the distance as dozens of bodies are expelled like a breath, spinning and dying as the frigid void freezes their limbs still and tears the breath from their lips. 2 nearby stations meet a similar fate, succumbing to the smaller, yet just as fatal guns of the Frigate Wolfpacks closing in.
Flak is thrown up into the blackness from the still collapsing stations. As ugly as Krogan stations were they were nothing if not resilient. Giant, boulder sized hunks of metal propelled at thousands of kilometers per hour hurled at the fleet. Onboard computer systems whirring and shrieking as they attempted to calculate the vector of the deadly projectiles. Caetus was not taking any chances with his Fleet. Immediately barking orders. Sharp and clear like a knife's edge. The fleet shifted, thrusters firing to put a planetoids mass between the Flak and the Fleet. He accounted for the flak breaking apart the planetoid, and having the resulting fragments damage the fleet, but he took a risk of death over a certainty of death. The Wolfpacks prioritized the Antiship platforms. And just before the Planetoid obscured his view of the world he saw the station firing at them balloon with the bright, indigo hue of antimatter annihilation.
Immediately after the Flak hit. Smashing into the small planetoid and ripping it apart into fragmenting chunks. The thin, nitrous atmosphere came away with the massive kiloton slabs of rock like steam. Spiraling off into the space behind the fleet. They pushed forward, eager to clear the planetoids and continue their attack.
When the planet was sighted once again a small force of ships had been mobilized, a swarm of fighters seething around them, most likely emerging from planetoids hangars. Caetus scowled as long range scanners detected the ruins of a pair of frigates. The Augustan and Benecia appeared to have snapped like metal branches. Victims of the Small Krogan Fleet that had mustered during their evasive maneuvers. Caetus vowed that for every turian life lost. He would claim a hundred Krogan.
"Status on main cannons." Caetus barks to his Gunnery Chief. "10 seconds until next volley, sir!" She says in response. Caetus furrows his brows and looks to the Krogan Warships. "Reserve half of our guns towards handling that fleet, have the rest engage the stations." The Chief quickly nods and turns back to her instruments.
The fleet cleanly divides itself, a force of cruisers being diverted to continue engaging the fleet as the Retributae's heavy guns line up to fire upon the Station.
The front line shudders, another ripple of fire as the hyperdense slugs fly through space and rip through what's left of the orbital emplacements, for the second time metal groans and rends, flaking off into superdense shards, smaller blooms of fire erupt to their portside, the other half of the fleet knifing out to engage the Krogan fleet. Broadside cannons were still inaccurately blasting flak into the portion of fleet mustered around the Flagship but between the astronomical distance between the two and their full kinetic shields they would be at little risk. They continued firing, hammering shot after shot into the station until it was reduced to a tattered agglomeration of metal, held loosely together by the surviving struts and it's own gravity. Likewise, the fleet they engaged with in a similar state. Communications pinged back confirmation of their total destruction, in return, they had lost 2 frigates and another Cruiser, the Astra Imperia, was heavily damaged. Once again the orders come back firm and clear, the Imperia was to fall back to the Mass Relay and scan for incoming contacts while the rest of the fleet was commanded to proceed with their primary target.
The Fleet is seized with a surgical, calculating efficiency. Positions are assumed just past the destroyed station and shipyards. Betillio hangs in the sky like a crimson marble, the imposing warships of the Turian Fleet swooping in like birds of prey. The Energy that had building in the bridge is expelled into a frenzied choreography of target acquisition, weapons battery pre-checks and calibrations, and with a final punctuation, the singular. "Fire!" of Admiral Caetus Adralion ringing across the Fleet's comms.
Another shuddering wave of slugs are expelled, fired down onto the planet below. And in a moment all is silent. The entire 1,700 man-crew of the Valar Retributae is silent. Nobody dares speak, or even breath. Even the machinery seems to fall silent. And then, Impact.
The surface of the world blooms into a dozen white-hot blotches. Blinding flashes that leave the Admiral seeing spots as Betillio's surface is pockmarked by the artificial sunspots. He knows each one is thousands of kilometers wide, and will leave craters miles deep. The flashes of light cast shadows across the bridge, across Adralion, his shadow thrown up into a ghastly, ragged edged specter that stalks high above the ceiling of the Bridge. He stands erect, hands clasped behind his back as the true enormity of the attack strikes him. He doesn't recognize his smile, the heavy, metal prosthesis and his lighter organic mandible pulled upwards into a disconcerting leer, he only thinks of the lives he avenged, both from his own fleet and the billions of Turians that had given their lives throughout the duration of this War. Staring into the burning Krogan planet. His heart thrumming in his chest as he watches the resulting firestorm ravage Betillio's face, the initial blasts giving way to a violated, ash-choked atmosphere. The thin cloud cover is blasted back for tens of thousands of nautical miles as a hauntingly bright fire spreads across the face of the planet.
Finally, he pulls his eyes away from the dying planet as his smile fades. He scans the faces of his bridge crew, a mix of reactions among them. He ignores them all as he straightens up. "Our mission here is accomplished. We're leaving." He says with finality, and soon later the Fleet regroups, and exits through the Mass Relay, leaving Betillio's smoldering husk, and the millions that died on it, behind.