VVS-989 Ryan’s Raiders | Stellaris Invicta

This episode is sponsored by Skillshare. Sign up using the link in the description
to get 2 free months of Skillshare premium. I, as a citizen of the Greater Terran Union,
joining the ranks of its armed forces, do solemnly affirm that I will serve my country
faithfully and conscientiously, and to my best ability, seek to pursue its edification
and advantage, to be obedient to the law and execute the orders of the National Council
and the orders of the officers appointed over me, to stand firm in guarding the rights and
equality of the Terran citizen, and to defend the honor and dignity of the Terran nation. The Oath of Enlistment has been spoken in
French, Mandarin, Bengali and a thousand other languages for the Greater Terran Union recognizes
none above any other. It has been sworn on the pages of the Bible,
Quran, every holy book or none at all, for the Greater Terran Union affirms no faith
or creed. No single culture binds the Terran state,
no single species sustains the Terran name. It is a military tradition that unites the
nation, one born centuries ago when all mankind was threatened with extinction. The names of fleets and armies that fought
back the Tyrum have been enshrined in the nation’s memory, and as the Greater Terran
Union spread across the galaxy, joined by countless others. It is rare to find a citizen who can not recite
the achievements of the 2nd Armoured, the RGR, The Mighty Second, or the Tamanskaya
Division. Yet even among the greatest military units
of the Union there is one that stands above all others, the most decorated battlegroup
in human history; VVS-989, famously known as Ryan’s Raiders. It is with some level of irony then that VVS-989
was never intended to be a notable or even permanent fixture within Fleet Command. Its establishment occurred without ceremony,
an ad-hoc collection of warships rerouted from deployments in the numbered Expeditionary
Battlegroups or the Terran Home Fleet. The flotilla was assigned to Fort Verdun,
a station on the increasingly tense border with the Algan Republic. The leading power within the alien federation
known as the Compact, the Algan Republic had repeatedly attempted to seize Fort Verdun
during previous conflicts and 989 was intended to supplement its defenses. The flotilla was formed around the Passchendaele,
one of the last Monte Cassino Class Destroyers still in service, and supported by a half
dozen slightly more modern corvettes. Vastly understrength even by the standards
of the time, the formation was deemed incapable of sustained offensive action and relegated
to garrison duty and inter-system anti-piracy patrols. In 2314, following the declaration of what
would become known as the Second Terran-Compact War however, 989 had gained recognition within
Fleet Command after the appointment of Commodore Jim Ryan as its Commanding Officer. A soft spoken man whose affability and calm
was often mistaken for timidity, Ryan’s ingenious use of 989’s limited forces during
training exercises had brought to his command an immense amount of confidence. After successfully “destroying” Fort Verdun
during a simulated attack within Exercise: Tycho Nimbus, a feat considered impossible,
989 was granted an unprecedented degree of initiative and freedom of execution at the
operational and tactical level. Within the first year of the Second Terran-Compact
War, 989 had earned an almost legendary status amongst the fleet for its series of lightning
raids across the Algan border. Acting almost completely unsupported, this
small understrength flotilla had managed to harass Algan convoys and infrastructure across
multiple star systems. Repeatedly testing the limits and original
intent of his orders, Commodore Ryan struck deep across the Algan Border, engaging every
target of opportunity while slipping away before any enemy counter-attack could be mustered. On three separate occasions the Algan Republic
announced the flotilla had been destroyed, and the Passchendaele in particular became
known in Terran propaganda as the Headless Horseman. On August 9th, 2316, for the first time within
the Terran military, VVS-989 was officially assigned the nickname used by it’s sailors;
Ryan’s Raiders. Following the end of the war, each ship within
the 989 was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation by the National Council, the Passchendaele
presented 9 Campaign Stars and Jim Ryan himself earned the distinction; Hero of the Greater
Terran Union. In a post-war analysis of the flotilla’s
actions, it was concluded that the 989s raids into the Algan Republic had forced the Compact
to withdraw substantial forces away from the main theater of operations. Faulty intelligence by the Algan Republic
on the Raider’s size and capabilities in particular, compelled the Algan military into
ordering an inefficient disposition of their forces and poor decision-making due to fear
of an attack on their homeworld itself. The release of the novel “Raiding Party:
The Untold Story of VVS-989” in 2347 and its adaptation into the award winning film
“Hellfire Across the Heavens” three years later, kept the flotilla in the public consciousness. As part of a larger rearmament effort in 2378,
Fleet Command announced that Ryan’s Raiders would be reinforced to match the size and
capabilities of the Numbered Expeditionary Fleets. This announcement coincided with a special
re-release of “Hellfire Across the Heavens” and a recruitment effort centered around screenings
of the film. No longer able to participate in the types
of operations for which it had become famous, the far larger and better equipped VVS-989
of the early 25th century nevertheless cemented its reputation as Fleet Command’s most capable
naval force. During the numerous wars against the Compact
and Vol Hive, Ryan’s Raiders served with distinction, but it was it’s deployment
against the Tyrum that earned the Battlefleet it’s greatest achievement. In 2448, when the Sword of Terra unleashed
its destructive power on the homeworld of the Tyrum race, it was VVS-989 that had escorted
it there undetected. The images of its warships, silhouetted by
the burning husk of a broken world were seen broadcast across the galaxy, one of the most
enduring portrayals of Terran power. Ryan’s Raiders participated in every major
conflict over the next two centuries. It was among the fleets assembled for the
Battle of Last Light, and nearly destroyed to a ship during Operation SUNDIAL. They were the first to engage the interdimensional
invaders, and the last to unleash their weapons against the portal from which these “unbidden”
arrived. Today VVS-989 is based on the ringworld Al-Waha. Its primary mission is that of conflict deterrence,
utilizing the gateway network to conduct prompt and sustained interstellar operations in the
event of war. With the entire galaxy united under the Greater
Terran Union however and no major conflicts in the last 75 years, the battlegroup’s
only significant deployments have been as part of goodwill tours or training exercises. While individual ships or smaller task forces
might be deployed independently from the fleet for anti-piracy duties, the battlegroup as
a whole has not unleashed its weapons in anger for the longest period in its service history. A common joke heard aboard its warships is
that the entire force is to be sent to the Sirius System, to be anchored alongside the
ancient Passchendaele as museum ships, relics of a time when the Union’s survival had
to be earned through blood. Whatever it’s fate, the veterans of Ryan’s
Raiders can be found in every tier of Terran citizenship and every era of Terran history. The fleet emblem of VVS-989 is displayed with
honor in the homes of Terran politicians, celebrities, athletes, and those of countless
Terran citizens. Most importantly however, it can be found
on the gravestones of cemeteries across a thousand Terran worlds. Unbeknownst to all but the highest tiers of
citizenship, the first trials have exceeded expectations and the first campaigns are already
being drafted. Targets are being identified and objectives
are being pronounced. Soon the order will be given and the first
banners of the Greater Terran Union to be raised in another galaxy will be carried aboard
the warships of VVS-989; Ryan’s Raiders. A citizen of the Greater Terran Union has
a solemn duty to the human race to improve their skills for the benefit of the nation. If you’d like to fuel your curiosity, creativity,
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