The Fifth Fleet of the Imperial Navy (also known as the Bug Fleet, Junk Fleet, or Prison Fleet) is tasked with containing the Bugs within the Arachnid Quarantine Zone. It is comprised of obsolete warships staffed by exiled convicts, and serves as a combination naval fleet, floating prison, and frontier penal colony. The Fifth Fleet is currently commanded by Admiral Viktor Molotok (himself a convicted mass murderer).
In the early years of the Holy Terran Empire, the Imperial Navy found itself weakened by losses in the Caal Invasion and Ascension War, threatened by Jurvain Commonality and Arachnid aliens who were slowly encroaching on human territory, and preoccupied with both guarding the hyperspace trade routes and enforcing the blockade against the K'Nes Llan. It simply didn't have the ships or manpower to deal with all these problems simultaneously.
Lucky, Bug ships are vastly inferior to human ships, and even humanity's outdated and obsolete warships that wouldn't stand a chance against the K'Nes or Jurvain could still hold their own against an Arachnid fleet... so that's exactly what the Empire did. The modern warships guarding the border of the Arachnid Quarantine Zone were pulled off the line and replaced with every antiquated warship and starfighter that could fly or fight (preferably both) that the Empire could scrape together.To crew the ships, prisons across the Empire were emptied of convicts serving a life sentence and shipped out to the Quarantine Zone to be retrained as spacers. To prevent the prisoners from rebelling or escaping, each convict had a cortex bomb implanted in their skull that would explode if they ever left the Quarantine Zone.
Together, these leftovers of humanity were collectively dubbed the "Fifth Fleet," even though the Empire had only one other operational fleet. The name was a combination of propaganda and counterintelligence aimed at convincing the Empire's subjects and enemies alike that there must be four other fleets out there somewhere.
The Fifth Fleet was not expected to last long, being more of a stumbling block or speed bump for the Bugs than anything else. The Imperial Navy's hope was that the Fifth Fleet could hold the Bugs at bay just long enough for the Imperial Navy to retake the human systems captured by the Jurvain, Chalfont and Sarma.
Behind the ScenesEdit
The Fifth Fleet was created by player/writer Ed Stasheff during the Season 9.1 Miniseries, and is
a blatant ripoff inspired by the Knight's Watch and The Wall from Game of Thrones. The propaganda thing with the name "Fifth Fleet" is based on a real-life tactic, most famously used by the US Navy in the Pacific during World War Two, where the Fifth Fleet and Third Fleet were the same (enormous) group of ships, but with two high command/planning staffs, one of which would command the ships for a current operation while the other planned the next operation.