South of Goblin Coast, Goblin Sea
The Fury and her escorts steadily made headway, their sails filled with cold air blowing towards the continent as the season was changing. The ships spotted a massive sea creature out beyond the Goblin Sea, the creature hunting something as a deep wailing cry could be heard from afar.
The sailors made gestures to their gods and prayed that the sea creature will not come closer while Fleet Master Dijon ordered the fleet to bear away from the creature, keeping their distance from it, lest they attract its attention.
"Could the previous wrecks be caused by that creature?" The Fury's First Mate asked Dijon while they were inside his cabin.
Dijon frowned, "Maybe, maybe not."
"It will be wise to still keep the men at ready," Dijon said.
"But Master, the crew has been on cold rations since yesterday," The First Mate not daring to look at Dijon. The fire in the galley will be doused during ship actions and the men had to endure leftover cold porridge and hardtacks for meals. "They are nervous and grumbling!"
"Issue them another ration of mur," Dijon ordered, "The alcohol should keep them happy for a while but only for those on their breaks!"
"Aye, Master!" The First Mate gave a broken tooth grin and went off to issue the order.
Dijon sat down on his chair and opened a magically locked box and grinned to himself. Inside the box was a silver necklace encrusted with various precious stones and a centerpiece of a large heart-shaped emerald stone.
He admired the necklace under the glowlight and was pretty confident that the Princess would like it. He snapped the box shut and restored the spells on it before keeping it locked in his sea chest.
"Soon, I will see you again," Dijon smiled as he strolled back out of his cabin. "Very soon."
The Colony, City Hall
Princess Sherene sneezed and rubbed her nose, wondering if she caught the chills. The weather had turned cold lately as autumn slowly seeped its way over the land. She was busy ensuring that the farmers had changed their crops and have the proper tools and equipment. Not only that, she has to add in a new fishing department to the Hunting and Forestry sector which will regulate the new fishing industry that is getting set up.
Sherene sighed at the amount of work she has to do and wondered why the hoomans have to be so detailed, even tho she acknowledges there were good points in being detailed. I think I need to hire more help, thought Sherene as she rubbed her eyes and yawned.
Suddenly a soft chime sounded from her computer and a message notification popped up. She clicked on it and smiled warmly as she read the message.
<I miss you...>
Goblin Sea, Far Harbour
Captain Blake walked up the gangway of the UNS Floatin' Wreck with Princess Sherene to much fanfare from the crew and workers. Blake stood at attention and saluted the flag hung over the radio mast and asked, "Permission to come onboard?"
Commander Ford with the ship's officers and the crew turned out in their finest stood at attention and saluted Blake. "Permission granted, Sir!" Ford grinned and gestured Blake to follow him.
"Do you need to make it so formal?" Blake asked as he nodded and greeted some of the sailors as they headed into the ship.
"I wish I had a band or had time to train some of the crew to play something," Ford laughed at Blake's expression. "Seriously, its good for the crew."
"Welcome aboard," Ford gave a quick tour of the Floatin' Wreck. "Now, the ship is roughly there, I say another couple more sea trials and a few more fine tuning and debugs, the ship will be fully operational and ready for combat."
"I don't think we have that much time," Blake replied. "We picked up the convoy inbound to Far Harbour. They are roughly a day's sail away if the weather holds."
"Damn," Ford frowned. "I hoped that we have a couple more days to work out more bugs on the ship first."
"Well, you know what to do," Blake said, "Take her out and provide escort for the Isle's convoy."
Ford nodded, "Got it, I will get the ship prepped and ready to depart by today."
"I heard you got a new toy from the Airforce?" Blake changed the topic. "How is it?"
"The float plane?" Ford smiled, "Well its good to have some form of aerial support. The couple of prototypes Tommy dropped on my lap so far is doing great."
"We build a simple floating dock for the float planes using spare wood logs and barrels," Ford said. "Refueling is a bitc-, I mean refueling is still tricky." Ford gave an apology to Sherene who smiled back.
"We don't have to proper facilities to store the fuel tanks and refueling equipment out in the sea at this moment, so we are reduced to refueling by hand using canisters one by one," Ford explained. "Once the water hangers for them are built, we can do it more efficiently."
"But so far they proved to be pretty handly," Ford added. "As long as the seas are calm enough, they can take off fairly well."
"Good," Blake nodded, "Good initiative by Tommy to give you the seaplanes. Well, I hope to see some form of carriers in the future."
"Carriers?" Ford frowned, "If we can solve our manpower issues, that wouldn't be a problem I guess. Once we master proper shipbuilding techniques, I am sure we can build some."
"Great, I leave you on your work," Blake grinned, "And for god's sake, you are the Chief of Naval Operations, I expect you to lead the Navy, but not at the front lines."
Ford laughed, "Well, where is the fun in a desk job? Besides, if I don't take the chance to be a Captain now, I probably won't have the chance in the future!"
"True, but watch yourself," Blake reminded him, "You're a senior officer, we can't afford to lose you!"
"Well, Navy warfare doctrine which I am writing will be to engage the enemy from long range," Ford winked, "We just stay far away and pound the shit out of anyone!"
"It's beautiful," said Sherene as she stood before a stretch of pristine clear water, her bare feet buried in fine white sand.
Blake smiled as he held her hand, watching the wind blow her hair messily. "You are beautiful!"
Sherene blushed and pouted, "I am talking about the sea!"
"Haha I know," Blake pulled Sherene down on the sand, cuddling her in his lap. The security detail that discretely escorted them melted away somewhere, giving the two of them some privacy. "We need to spend more time together."
"I know, but it's so busy at the City Hall," Sherene replied as she leaned into the warm of Blake's chest.
"We need to go on dates more!" Blake declared, "After all this is over, I am thinking of having a vacation with you!"
"But can we afford to take the time off?" Sherene sighed in Blake's arms. "There are so many people depending on us."
"A vacation is good," Blake replied, "Helps recharge the mind and body, if not we be too stressed out."
"Stress?" Sherene frowned, unfamiliar with the word.
"Yes, stress!" Blake smiled, "Stress can make you fat! Hair loss! Bad skin!"
Sherene startled as she clutched her tummy, followed by her hair than her face at each word Blake said. Her eyes were big and round as she stared worriedly at Blake who burst out laughing at her reaction. "Really!?"
"Hahahahaha, yes, in a way," Blake gave Sherene a tight hug till she squeaked. "That's why we need some time to relax!"
"YES!" Sherene nodded vigorously, "Let's go on a vacation!"
Goblin Sea, 179 km from Far Harbour
The heavy twang of the ballista arms sounded loudly next to Fleet Master Dijon as he stood next to one of the deck ballistas. The sweaty bodies of the gun crews toiled worked the cranks, turning the gears to pull the wooden reinforced arms of the ballista back.
Dijon stood on the side and observed the arc of the heavy ballista bolt flying into the distance and saw a white splash next to the goblin galley. The gun chief yelled, "Give me three points to the right!"
The crew quickly lifted the rear of the ballista and reset its position on pre-marked notches on the wooden decks. Finally, the arms were cocked back fully and four men lifted the heavy bolt and slotted it carefully into the firing bracket.
"Stay clear!" The gun chief roared, "Ready? FIRE!"
Another heavy twang sounded, and the bolt shot out, flung by the still vibrating arms of the ballista, arcing its way towards the pursuing goblin ship. The bolt landed close to its mark, clipping the side of the goblin galley, shaking the whole ship and sending a small spray of lethal wooden splinters around the impact.
"Give me one more point to the right!" The chief roared and the crew labored to lift the ballista again.
Dijon grinned at the crew, "Good shot! Extra mur for you men!"
"YAAAH!" The gun crew roared out happily and with renewed vigor, they worked to reload the ballista again. "KILL!"
Dijon turned his attention to his fleet, watching his experienced ships forming up into a battle line, and ballistas firing, the dark bolts hitting the goblin raiders as they tried to close in. He frowned as this was the second pirate attack made by the Pirates over the previous day.
What is happening here? He wondered as he watched another bolt skewered another goblin galley sending tiny figures and wood flying. Why are there so many pirates at this time?
His fleet had formed up in a flying 'V' with the merchant ships protected inside the 'V'. A total of five battleships, including his Fury and another two scouting sloops of war which were harassing the wounded and stricken goblin raiders at the flanks.
Five large triple masted merchant ships carry each carrying 200 tons of metal ore and livestock followed by two beaten looking single-masted sailing ships with their deck stacked full of fishing boats. Those ships hurdled tightly together between the majestic warships like little chicks as the warships kept the marauding pirates away.
"Ahoy! Sails ahead!" The lookout at the crow's nest yelled down and the boy pointed forward. Dijon frowned and turned away from the side and followed the direction the boy was pointing. He pulled out his foldable telescope and adjusted the view until a blurry image jumped to his eyes.
Dozens of dark grey square masted sails could be seen in the distance. Dijon waved his First Mate and handed him his telescope, "What do you see?"
"Hmm," The First Mate peered into the scope and frowned, "Square rigs, looks goblin. Looks like they are trying to box us in."
"Curses," Dijon snatched back his telescope and peered through them again. "Damn green skins!"
"Order the fleet to tighten the formation," Dijon ordered, "We will break through the enemy blockade at full speed!"
"Order the sloop Captains to go into independent action," Dijon ordered next, "They are to head to Far Harbour."
"And any ships left behind is to rally at Far Harbour with all possible haste!" Dijon ordered, "May the Gods of the Sea protect us all!"
Skies over Goblin Sea, 175 km away from Far Harbour
"Sea Wyvern One," The pilot hit the press to talk button on his mic. "To Poseidon, current position at Point Beta Six, I'm seeing a naval battle ongoing here, over."
"Poseidon, roger that, stay over the AO for observations, over."
"Roger that!" The pilot gently tilted the float plane over and dropped his altitude to get a close view of the ongoing sea action.
"Poseidon! This is Sea Wyvern One! It's the Isles convoy! They are under attack by a large fleet of goblin pirates!"