UNS Singapore, R&D Laboratory
Senior Spaceman Mason scratched his head as he looked at the wooden model made by the ship carpenter, Amar, whom they rescued months ago. He turned the model around and frowned, "Is this how the long boats were built?"
Amar nodded, "Yes, it is the simplest and fastest way to build them that I know of." The model has a wide shallow draft and double banked open deck for rowers to be seated side by side.
"No, for the speeds we are looking at, this design will rip the whole boat into pieces!" Mason shook his head, he had a fast boat handling license back on Earth and while most of the naval personnel had some basic training and time on a fast craft on the sea, he had the most experience out of them all.
He pointed to the monitor displaying an image he had of a speedboat he used to own, "See the bottom hull? Its a sharp 'V' at the bow softening to a flat bottom at the stern, it gives it the ability to plane the boat at high speeds."
"Plane?" Amar looked confused, "I am not very familiar with this hooman word."
"Alright, let me explain as best as I can," Mason said, "While the boat is at rest, the boat's weight is borne entirely by the buoyant force. At low speeds every hull acts as a displacement hull, meaning that the buoyant force is mainly responsible for supporting the craft. You understand so far?"
"Roughly," Amar nodded as his years of as a sailor gave him a rough idea of what Mason was trying to explain. "The 'buoyant force' is what keeping the boat afloat right?"
Mason nodded, "That is correct, now as speed increases, hydrodynamic lift increases as well. Eh... What hydrodynamic means is the motion of water and effects on the water and in movement." He gave the best simplest explanation he could think of.
Amar nodded, gesturing Mason to go on.
"Ok, as speed increases, the hydrodynamic lift will push the hull upwards," Mason demonstrates by placing the wooden model of the longboat on the table and moving it while tilting the bow of the model upwards. "This is called plane, you might want to ask Dr. Sharon to explain more on it, but as speed goes up, the bow also lifts up due to hydrodynamic lift. "
"How fast must the boat go to have this ... 'hi-row-die-namic' lift?" Amar asked, "4 cables? 6 cables?" He had never seen such an extraordinary thing happen before in his many years at sea.
"Eh 1 cable is roughly 1 Terran knot which is one nautical mile per hour which is roughly 1.85 km..." Mason mumbled as he calculated the speed the elves used for measuring sea travel which was by cables instead of knots.
"I say roughly 10 or 11 knots," Mason answered, "about 18 to 20 km per hour."
"10 cables of speed?" Amar's eyes went wide, "The fastest flying clipper is only at 16 cables! And it is more than 10 times the size of a longboat... and the number of sails needed for that speed!"
"Well, they are using the power of wind and magic," Mason grinned, "We are using motors to power the boats."
"Now, we gonna need to build a prototype out," He smiled and hooked his arm over Amar's shoulder, "Come on, trust me! This boat is gonna be the fastest ever you have ever seen! It will have at least a sustainable speed of 38 knots per hour and a max speed of 44 knots!"
"38 and 44 cables?" Amar felt like he was dreaming, or that Mason is pulling the wool over his eyes, "Are you sure such a thing is possible?"
"Oh come on! You have seen our airplanes," Mason tsked, "You think we can't make ships go that fast in the sea?"
Amar felt a sudden thrill going up his spine, "Re-really?" He had never felt so excited for a long time, maybe since the first time he built his own boat when he finished his apprenticeship at the shipyards in the Isles, "Let's do it! YES!"
"Hahahaha," Mason laughed at the joy and excitement shown on Amar's facial expressions, "Alright, I don't have any shipbuilding experience, and that I have to leave it to your knowledge, but I do know some of the modern concepts of boat craft, and that I will try my best to teach you and let's see what we can come out together!"
"Yes... yes... you were saying about the bow being a 'V' shape?"
Skies over the Uncharted Forest
Third Sergeant Stamford formerly Petty Officer of the UNS Singapore had transferred over to the newly formed Airforce and his naval ranked switched to an air force rank. Riding on the back of Blue Thunder, he was the only human and the Crew Chief of the other three members of his flight crew.
With the strong bone-chilling wind whipping his thickly insulated body with a full face mask, he grinned at the endless seas of blue-green trees underneath him with the jagged peaks of the mountains to the left of his view. "Damn, this is a view to die for."
"What is it, chief?" Corporal Barkley the navigator yelled, as he looked up from his maps that were velcroed to his thigh. He was seated in a bucket chair that was part of Blue Thunder's harness. Most of the others were also seated in the twin rows of chairs and were either dozing off or admiring the view.
"Nothing! Just thinking how beautiful this view is!" Stamford yelled back. When the Airforce was just formed, he volunteered immediately, hoping that he could serve alongside a dragon, and his wish was granted. Having grown up in Sout West England, Cornwall and hearing stories of knights and dragons from his great-grandfather since young, seeing real dragons brought him back to the stories of chivalry in the old days of man.
"I always wanted to ride a dragon!" Stamford yelled again, "Damn, this is awesome!"
"10 minutes to Rendevous Point Yellow!" Barkley yelled back, "Blue? You got that?"
"Yes, I hear you, Barkley, I see the river!" Blue Thunder's voice came in crisply on their headsets.
"Alright, people, brace yourselves!" Stamford yelled into the radio, "LZ in sight, 10 minutes!"
The rest of the crew quickly checked their buckles and ensured that they are secured before gripping onto the holding bars at set at the side of their seats and braced as Blue Thunder made a gently dive towards the ground.
The snaking river came into sight, parts of it sparkling under the sun where the forest canopy exposed the river to the skies and Blue Thunder flared his wings, dropping his air speed as he glided in, to land at the only area that was not covered by the trees which were on the river itself.
He beat his wings rapidly as he came to a slow hover and his hind legs sank into the cool clear running water, reach up to his hind calves and mindful of his passengers he gently lowered his front body and forward limbs into the river, barely shaking his crew.
"Touch down!" Blue Thunder gave a loud tired puff, "Phew, I need some sleep... and meat!"
"Alright, you big lizard, get us off the river and let us unload the gear, then you can go sleep and eat!" Stamford yelled.
"Yes, Sarge..." Blue Thunder rumbled and climbed up the banks of the river and flopped on all fours, flat on the rocky river bank. "Done!" He folded his wing in and rested half his head onto the river, letting the water run over his chin and he stuck his tongue out, licking the water lazily.
"Alright! Let's unload the cargo and wait for the Marines to come!" Stamford ordered and the rest of the crew started to unclip the restraints holding the cargo and move them off Blue Thunder's back.
It took them an hour to fully unload everything off Blue Thunder's back, by then, the midday sun was blazing away at them. And all of them were hot and sweaty from the work.
"Dek, you're on watch! Setup the MG and radio in to HQ that we have landed, on schedule! And see if you can raise the Marines." Stamford said. "The rest cover up the cargo with the ground sheets, then get some rest and food. We rotate the watch every two hours."
The tired men nodded and went on their work, and everyone went for a quick wash up in the cooling river before settling down into the shade of the trees, nibbling at dried rations or having a shut eye.
Private Dek, climbed back up the back of the snoring Blue Thunder and attached the MG support into the harness at the right shoulder of the sleeping dragon. He locked the bolts of the support into place and hefted the MG-1 out from its storage container, carefully locking it into place, followed by attaching the roll magazine in and worked the action of the machine gun, before putting it on safe.
Next he sat down on the bucket seat behind the machine gun and unslung his radio out, "Dragon One calling Mother, do you copy over?"
'-ther, receiving you, over."
"Dragon One has landed, standing by to receive Marine force over."
"Mother, roger that."
It wasn't even an hour when a whistle was blown from the forest edge and two camouflaged Marines walked out waving, and Dek waved back, "Hey guys, the Marines are here!"
Soon the rest of the Marines and ragged looking slaves appeared, and the slaves were frightened by the large yawning mouth of Blue Thunder who was woken up by the sudden bustle around him, and he sleepy rumbled, "I am hungry..."
"Go hunt something!" Stamford shooed him away angrily when he poked his massive snort and blew hot rancid air at Stamford. "Bring home dinner!"
Dek quickly secured the MG away and scrambled down the back of Blue Thunder who quickly bounced off into the sky, looking for prey.
"Sir!" Stamford greeted Lt Joesph and the Claymore One team leader, as they gathered for a quick talk. "Supplies here will be enough to last you guys to the next rendezvous point. Which is Point Blue."
Lt Joesph nodded, "Can you medivac some of the more seriously wounded?"
"I can take roughly six to eight stretchers on the back of Blue, but his landings and takeoffs are not exactly gentle," Stamford advised, "It might not be safe for those that can't be moved."
"How about the Valkyries?" Tyrier asked, "Can't they come in to take the wounded off?"
"There are too many trees in the vicinity," Stamford replied, "We can't land those birds. We are using the river to drop in, but it is still too risky to get a Valkyrie over the such a small opening in the canopy."
"And HQ doesn't want to risk such a valuable asset," Lt Joesph sighed. "Alright, let's see how we can rig up a medivac on the dragon. I got a couple of serious cases and a high profile target that the Hero wants."
"CHIEF!" Stamford comms suddenly crackled alive, "ENEMY DRAGONS! I GOT THREE ON MY TAIL! ALL MEDIUM WEIGHT!" Blue Thunder's voice roared over the comms.
"What?" Everyone froze and quickly headed out to the break in the canopy over the river and stared out at the sky.
"STAND TO! STAND TO!" Lt Joesph roared out, startling the nearby Marines and slaves, "Incoming aerial dragons! Move it!"
The men, quickly sprung into action, scrambling away from the open areas and directing the frightened slave to take shelter among the trees keeping out of sight, while they manned their weapons and kept watch of the surrounding area and skies.
Suddenly a shadow darted over the river, followed by a few more, and Blue Thunder was seen flapping his wings as he led three other smaller but faster dragons with blue rigging and trappings of the Empire away from the rendezvous point.
"Oh shit! The Empire found us!"