Two months had passed. MinCol remained mostly the same, despite the loss of over twenty percent of the civilians to establish two additional colonies and a badly shaken Minister who was so inept that he could not effect any change to counter this "adverse current". Gettysburg was preparing to establish a second colony to appease the elements of the population that wanted to relocate elsewhere. There was also a tactical reason for doing so.
Meanwhile, during those same two months the more efficient leaders of the rebel factions established a foothold into the nameless realms of the asteroid belt. They were the true pioneers of the next era, in which colonization would occur ever more faster. For they were both racing against time. They both knew that MinCol would be secretly building a new fleet, laced with new technologies, to begin a second hunt that would wipe them out. So these rebel factions also built up their respective fleets, and prepared for war.
But Andarin always had in mind that he would be the sole ruler of the asteroid belt. He could not bear to share power with another rebel faction, the rulers of which were, when compared to his own surprisingly strong intellect, were but the scums of the earth. After all, they HAD copied his splintering from the MinCol to suit their own purposes. And so, animosity between the two factions developed. And Andarin was prepared to take the war to the Sons colony of New Haven to establish superiority with a preemptive strike. And he hoped in the meantime that MinCol's scouting shuttles would not find them waging war with each other.
The Double Edged Sword
Andarin's fleet took a week to reach the Sons colony of New Haven. Unbeknownst to him, the Sons triumvirate had also come to the conclusion that Andarin was dangerous to them, just as he was dangerous to the Minister's own rule. They wanted him crushed, or at least forced into aiding them in defeating the Minister. Therefore, they had brought their own fleet into position overlooking the Nobody base of Au Andarin. If the Nobodies tried to do anything, their base could be rent apart in minutes. The few defenders that Andarin had kept guarding his colony would prove to be insufficient.
Andarin's vanguard fleet (which Andarin was in at the time) engaged the Sons' rear fleet in just another nameless spot in the asteroid belt. The vanguard fleet had the better technology and triumphed. But when word of the engagement reached the Sons' vanguard fleet, they sprung into action and captured Au Andarin. The majority of the Nobody rebels were thus placed under the control of the Triumvirate. When reports of this reached Andarin's vanguard fleet, he quickly brought his forces away from annihilating New Haven and instead ventured deeper into space, where he set up a provisional capital colony of Tal Darin.
Nobody and Sons Nuclear Weapons Systems (Nuke)
Neither rebel faction had control of laser technologies, and thus both implemented nuclear warheads into their shuttles. Therefore the battle was much slower than that of First Strike. Thermonuclear devices took much more time to reach their target, and they could easily be located with ID/IFF and avoided. The nukes frequently detonated near each other. In any rate, nuclear warfare in space was extraordinarily inefficient, as the void of space could not carry the power of the explosion to any significant distance. The general rule was that one nuclear bomb could destroy either another nuclear bomb or one spacecraft.
Nobody Prometheus Reactor
Andarin had by that time developed a nuclear reactor inside one of the vanguard shuttles that could generate a tremendous amount of energy. However, he only installed enough battery into the reactor to power one use of the tremendous energy before they would have to be recharged. This instrument was used in conjunction with the E-bomb.
Nobody Electromagnetic Pulse Shockwave (E-Bomb)
Electronic devices (including spacecraft) were vulnerable to electromagnetic pulses, and therefore Andarin constructed one of these structures, along with a Prometheus, into one of his shuttles. His vanguard fleet used it to devastating effect, as it did not rely on accuracy of the IFF/ID and could simultaneously devastate many targets. Due to attention to details, Andarin managed to produce a device that did not harm allied crafts by blocking out the rays.
Sons Faraday Shield (Steel Skin)
This device had to be improvised by the Sons vanguard fleet immediately after word arrived that their rear fleet had been decimated by the E-bomb. When they launched into battle at Au Andarin, the Sons vanguard fleet had faraday shields installed on each shuttle and were therefore invulnerable to the E-bomb that Andarin had kept to defend his colony. The immediate advent of this mechanism, nicknamed the Steel Skin because it made crafts immune to electromagnetic shock, spelled the end of the E-bomb for the immediate future.
In their invasion of Au Andarin, the Sons were in superior tactical location because their opponents could not easily locate them against the backdrop of infrared radiation from the Sun. In other words, Nobody IFF/ID could not operate because it could not distinguish between infrared rays from the sun and from enemy craft engines. The effects of this were immediate, but at first neither side realized the importance of sunblinding until a bit later in the Battle.
- Challenge: given that sunblinding was a well known technique in WWII dog fights and is used to fool heat seeking missiles, it is implausible that no one on Au Andarin would have realized the importance and tried to do something to counter it.