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0655 Hours, Northern Front

As the sky started to slowly brighten over the horizon, hundreds of rainbowish hue domes of protection advanced across the battlefield that was lit up by dazzling stars floating in the skies.

Orange red tracers were like some kind of firework display burst out constantly creating an enormous light show for everyone to see while the thunder of the guns was the symphony to the grand show.

Captain Joseph frowned deeply as he observed the light show from a safe distance where the UAV broadcasted everything on the display screens inside the command bunker.

"Sir, the enemy is throwing everything at us," The Command Staff officers gathered in the command bunker reported. "We can't hold the enemy back with our thin numbers."

Joseph nodded, "Time to bring out the big guns."

"Throw everything at them," Joseph ordered. "No point keeping anything in reserve."

He spread his arms over the map table and looked at the numerous red blocks representing the Imperial forces while his smaller blocks of green represent a platoon defended a long stretch of defenses.

Every now and then, a staffer pushed or removed the blocks of red from the table as they updated the situation on the ground.

"Direct the Cobras to hit that flank," Joseph ordered as he gestured to the largest cluster of red on the tactical map. The staff officer quickly tallied the map coordinates and relay the command over to the fighters being scrambled from the airfield.

"Damn," Joseph frowned at the map. Despite them having dug in, fortified and holding a superior position, the enemy had enough troops to tie his men down while a substantial portion could still flank around to either attack them or push on to the city.

"I want the reserve platoons to set up here at the extreme right flank," Joseph finally decided and he pointed to the north eastern side of the city. "They are to delay the enemy should they attempt to encircle around the defense lines."

"Sir, Angel Flight ETA to target, 18 minutes!"

"Charlie Three reporting a massive wave of infantry, requesting for fire support!"

"Alpha One, reports movement along the river! Requesting river support to intercept enemy fleet!"

"Fire mission acknowledged! Time on target, twenty seconds!"

"Enemy breaching into the first line of defenses!"

Joseph watched his staff work seamlessly as multiple reports and request kept flooding in from the forward lines and nodded to himself, knowing his staff had fully adapted to the new ways of the hoomans in waging war.

He turned back to the observation slit of the bunker and looked over the battlefield and smiled. "Time to show them who the barbarians here!"

----

0710 Hours, UN Forward Trench Alpha Two

The Imperials had learned their lessons and had formed into a column formation with each magic protection dome stacking behind each other.

The Imperials sheltering under the domes marched forward like a battering ram. When the first dome at the head of the column was destroyed, the men scattered to the sides while the next dome continued pushing forward.

Using this formation, the Imperials managed to reach the concealed markers indicating the distance. The Imperials seeing their tactics working gave a warcry and charged only to come to a sudden stop as a couple of screaming RPGs slammed against the dome, sending the men inside reeling back from the shockwave of the explosions.

Mills peeked over the trench and shook his head at the broken bodies lying all over the battlefield as the first rays of sunlight bathed the land. "Damn fuckers have guts!"

Another shriek of an RPG screamed out and hit another magic shield and the area around the dome burst into a cloud of smoke.

"Make ready!" Mills yelled to his men around him. "Riflemen! Check your sights! Make sure you are zeroed to hundred meters!"

The machine gun teams ceased fire as they swap out their glowing red barrel and slapped in new belts of ammunition, giving the Imperials a breather and they pushed harder forward.

"Wait for it..." Mills half raised his hand as he watched the shimmering magic shields appearing before him. "Wait for it..."

As the Imperials crossed the hundred meter mark, Mills chopped his hand down sharply and yelled, "NOW!"

A demolition Marine twisted the detonation trigger key and almost instantly the front of the trench erupted into flames and smoke.

Dozens of claymore mines seeded in the front lines detonated and spewed their deadly loads out, hammering and overloading the Imperials magical shields and the shockwaves rolled over the stunned soldiers.

When the smoke cleared, several shields before the trenches were totally devastated, leaving the stunned Imperials unprotected by magical means.

"MARINES!" Mills roared while he leaned into his rifle. "FIREEEE!"

He put his words into action and held his sights over a stumbling Imperial wearing a simple helm and what looks like skirts instead of pants with a blue shirt under a suit leather and metal armor.

The kick of his rifle jolted him and he saw the enemy he aimed at clutched his chest and disappeared into the smoking terrain.

All along the line, the Marines picked their targets, firing at any Imperials not under the protection of the magic domes while the machine gunners and RPG teams hammered at the domes.

Mortar fire rained down at the rear of the enemy, the rounds air bursting among the forest edge where the Imperial reserves and forces gathered.

The punishing effect of the mortars took its toll on the morale of the Imperial troops forming up to support the attack on the UN lines. The mages barely had time to conjure up magic barriers to stop the unseen death reaper as lives were harvested without any indication of a magic attack.

All they knew was when you hear the sharp piercing scream and the thunder that followed, death comes knocking. The soldiers unwillingly to stand still and be killed by the 'Screaming Death', ran in fear when they heard the mortar shells screaming over.

As the enemy rear broke and the men in the front edged back uncertainly, even under the protection of the magic shields, they dared not advance anymore as they realized that the reinforcements behind them were abandoning them.

The last straw that broke their morale was when several flying creatures dived down from the skies, a loud wailing siren scream came from the creatures as they dived down and the ground beneath them erupted into flames and smoke.

Unknown to the Imperials, the Cobras were equipped with a propeller driven siren fitted on each undercarriage leg that emitted a high pitch scream when diving down for the purpose of damaging enemy morale and causing physiological damage.

One by one, the Imperials at the frontlines stepped back and soon the retreat became a rout as the men scrambled to be in the front as they ran for their lives. The mages with their concentration broken could barely sustain the magic barriers and they popped prematurely, suffering from the backlash of the disrupted magic.

Soon, the entire line of Imperials withdrew and the Marines cheered as they fired at the running soldiers.

-----

Northern Front Central Command

Joseph glanced at the map table as the command staff swept the red blocks of enemy troops away from his defensive line and smiled in relief at the retreat of the enemy.

Reports started coming in from the front as the ground commanders radio back their situation and requests for new orders.

Joseph checked his watch and noted that the pre dawn battle actually barely lasted roughly forty minutes yet it felt like a lifetime.

He frowned as he looked at his deployments again before tapping on the map. "Rotate two thirds the men for rest."

"But Sir, that will leave barely a hundred and fifty men to man the lines!" One of the command staff said. "If the enemy attacks again, we can barely hold the lines!"

"I doubt they will attempt any attacks soon after this debate," Joseph confidently replied while grinning. "They need time to rally their men, restore their morale, lick their wounds and sort out what the hell had beaten the shit out of them."

"We should have some time for our men to rest and recover and prep for the next attack," Joseph added next. "We don't have the men for a prolong siege, so we need our men to get as much rest as possible to fight off the next attack."

"This will be a battle of endurance and numbers," Joseph gestured to the enemy lines.

"Will their numbers break first or our endurance breaks first!"

-----

Northen Shard River

"Skipper, think they gave up the search already?" Asked the pilot of the FAC 09, Daisy. "We don't see any more of their rowboats."

"Shhh..." 2nd Lieutanent Quartz of the Daisy hissed as he peeked out of the battered armored window slits. "Lower your voice! Sound can travel across water easily!"

The once pristine PT boat, FAC 09, Daisy, hidden among the river reeds with the low hanging branches sheltering its upper structure. Gouges, nicks, and even burnt marks covered most of its hull and structure.

Shell casings and broken arrows littered the deck of the PT boat as its crew kept quiet while waiting for the Imperial search parties to pass by their hiding spot.

Quartz narrowed his eyes and strained his ears to catch any signs of the enemy as they nervously expected any moment the enemy will spot them.

Quartz caught the sound of splashing oars softly disappearing away and let out a sight. "Damn, that was close."

"I want a watch party up top to keep an eye out for the enemy," Quartz ordered the relieved crew while he headed to the map room.

"Where are we at?" Quartz asked the navigator as he entered the tiny cabin. "Think you can find our location?"

The Daisy's navigator shook his head, "Skip, we lost our communication mast and even the damn radar!"

"We been dodging and avoiding the Imperials up along the river," The navigator continued. "The only way I am sure is that as long we head southwards, eventually we will get back to the main tributary and find ourselves back home."

"Got it," Quartz nodded. "Keep trying to see if you can identify our location."

He next headed down to the engine room where the boat's engineer and mechanics were servicing the engine. "How is it?"

"Well, we managed to repair whatever damages we could," The Daisy's Engineer reported. "And also patched up whatever holes in the hull."

"But our dragonite fuel is running low," The Engineer warned. "We have been running for more than a day non stop. We going to need to return to base soon or be we dead in the water."

"Keep up the good work," Quartz nodded and he climbed back up the hatch to the wheelhouse.

"Skip! A word please!" The Daisy's XO came over and gestured Quartz into the map room. The XO shooed the navigator out and closed the hatch before saying, "Sir, we really need to get back to base soon."

"I know," Quartz sighed. "Once we are certain the Blue boys have given up the search, we will make a run for it."

"Our ammunition for the fifties and 20 mikes are almost depleted," The XO said grimly. "Small arms ammunition is also very low, and I'm sure Petty Officer Alec just told you our fuel situation?"

Quartz nodded, "Yes, but we can't go charging out when the enemy has us surrounded. Our boat is fast, but we can't breach a blockade even with our speed!"

"The enemy's ballistas and mages will tear us apart if we rush blindly into them," Quartz said. "We need to wait until its dark and make our way back to our lines."

"But Skip!" The XO frowned. "It's hard to navigate through the waters in the dark and we will be spotted hundreds of meters away if we turn on our lights!"

"No lights, we will be running silent!"

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Hmmm my blood report came out yesterday and the usual high levels of chorestrol, my oxygen level in my blood was alot lower than normal... damn...

No wonder i keep having headaches...


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