UN, Fortress Singapore, Command Bridge
"We have several confirmed reports of enemy movement along our Northern borders," Intel Officer Tavor reported to the senior military officers. "Our early efforts in using high altitude bombings of the Imperial troops and supply lines were initially a success, but the Empire had adapted quite fast, hence the later results were lacklustre."
"The Imperial troops had dispersed themselves smaller units and had spread out instead of clustering them," Tavor continued. "There is good and bad to this. The good is that it slows the Imperial troops down and making their logistic and coordination a nightmare. Not to mention chances of desertion, getting lost or even the troops dragging their feet were high."
"The bad is that it makes it harder for our bombers to hit them," Tavor said. "And it makes gathering intelligence of their rally point had to predict till they are right in our face."
"So now we are getting at least nine hotspots of Imperial troops," Tavor gestured to the map on the tactical plot. "Problem here, is some of these hotspots are faked. The Imperials had learned a lot about subterfuge and hiding in this month."
"We found that they are using glimmer magic to hide the troops in the open," Tavor explained. "They have even resorted to using dummies and supply wagons filled with straw to divert our airstrikes."
"And we can't keep relying on our UAVs," Commander Tommy added in. "They are already starting to break down due to we overusing them well over their service life. Not to mention, we have to run the UAVS up and down the border to check out every hot spot and intel of a possible staging area for the Blue Boys."
"But we have plans to remove the sensor packages from the Owleyes once they reached the end of their service life and install them into the FB -1b Mariners, turning the plane into a kind of reconnaissance aircraft with Airborne early Warning and Control installed." The Air Force Commander said.
"In other words," Tavor continued off. "It's a spy plane with AWAC capabilities."
Blake nodded. "I happy to know that you guys are taking the initiative to handle our problems. But the issue now is how do we handle the enemy?"
Blake rapped his fingers on the tactical map, highlighting the areas where sightings of Imperial troops were reported. "They are within the 100 km zone of the Northern Border, with more sightings being reported constantly."
"Our UAVs can't be run constantly to investigate all the hot spots, nor can we afford to waste munitions hitting decoy locations," Blake said before he pointed to the blue icons next to the city of Falledge. "We got two Battalions already stationed here and another two more at Orwell's Point."
"And another two Battalions as the reserve between the two cities," Blake traced his finger down. "Our numbers are too low to hold any stretch of land. The Imperials outnumber us still and can easily manoeuvre around any fixed defences we have."
"We need a bait," Blake looked up at his commanders. "One so juicy that the enemy has no choice but to bite it."
"Problem now, is what kind of bait will be so attractive to the Imperials?"
Northern Border of the UN
The land was filled with clumps of forests and open ground of tall waving grasses. Low rolling hills dotted the scenery and would make a great social media spot for tourists. To the casual eye, the land was empty, except for a large blob of shimmering heat wave that floated on the surface of the land.
Yet under the shimmering wave, colourful flags and banners fluttered in the wind with blue being the dominant colour. Boots and weapons were bound with cloth to muffle the metal while the drums and trumpets were silent.
Mages sat on the top of the wagons were sweating under the intense concentration of maintaining the spells that hide the marching army while the sergeants and corporals hissed in low voices to the soldiers to maintain their formations and lower the noise they were making.
Occasionally, the soldiers will peer up to the skies, hoping not to spot any flying cross demons in the skies. They prayed feverishly as they marched, praying for the Gods to protect them from the flying demons.
Some of the soldiers had seen the destruction of the flying crosses while others heard rumours of the flying demons used by the rebels. They felt naked especially since their dragons couldn't even do anything against them and worse, the dragons had been pulled back from the frontlines.
The Imperial commanders had learnt a lot after getting attacked and harassed constantly by the flying cross demons. They learnt not to travel in a tightly packed formation. How to hide and camouflage the soldiers and even not to set up a campsite in the open.
At night, having light was dangerous, as those demons will zero in on the campfires and torches of the soldiers. These lessons were learnt in blood and deaths of hundreds and hundreds of Imperial soldiers.
But this made their campaign timeline a nightmare for the quartermasters and commanders. Soldiers had to be split up into smaller groups as do the supply wagons. Soldiers and wagons got lost or were overwhelmed by mobs of feral goblins or monsters which came out in mass numbers during spring.
Trying to coordinate and keep track of where everyone was made hell to the carefully crafted plans of the commanders. Units were lost and confused as they tried to resupply, only to find out that they were in the wrong camp.
It messed up the plans of the Imperials but it also reduced the number of casualties from the flying cross demons. The original plans of the Imperials were to commit to a four prong attack. Two armies will move simultaneously down to the last known stronghold of the rebels and stopping to resupply at the border town of Falledge. It was only till later at the last month of winter that they found out the town of Falledge had fallen to the rebels, making the Imperials change their plans to instead attack Falledge first.
Another army will straight for Orwell's Point while a water based fleet coming from the Empire's coastal cities, which will land its sailors and soldiers and making an overland march directly and attack Orwell's Point together.
Yet, all the plans were delayed but the sudden appearance of the flying crosses which the soldiers all refer to as flying demons. And with the Emperor's fury mounting, the generals and commanders finally came out with a new plan, and that was to split the army into sub armies which are large enough to hold against the wild monsters and goblins but small enough to avoid the flying demons and attack the two cities held by the demon worshipping rebels.
Northern border of the UN, Observation Post #37
Yak, son of Yar, of the Hand tribe, now an official Marine of the UN, leaned his beefy arms against the lip of the dugout. His non regulation uniform had it sleeves ripped off from the shoulders, leaving his green grey toned arms bare. Yak wore his XL sized standard issue M1 helmet at a jitty angle while his buddy, a soft skin, called Romea was scanning the horizon with a pair of binoculars.
Yak was bored. It has been days, yet there was nothing to be seen or even heard. The LT gave them a briefing about the Empire sending down thousands and thousands of soldiers to wage war with the UN, yet nothing has happened so far.
"I bored..." He grumbled to his buddy who sighed back. "No soft skins to kill!"
"Yes, I know..." His buddy Romea replied in a dead tone. "You have been grumbling for the past two days."
"Well... they say join the Marines, see new places, meet new people..." Yak growled. "And kill them! But we join... now in new place, but meet no new people to kill!"
"It's a joke!" Romea sighed. "Anyway, just one more day and our duty are up. You can watch your favourite movies back in camp!"
"Oooo!" Yak instantly cheered up. "I want watch Lord of the Rings! Heard many Orcs inside!"
"Hey!" Romea suddenly paused in his actions. "Hey... I see something strange..."
"Gimme," Yak reached over and took the binoculars from Romea. "You soft skins eyes weak. Orekin better eyes! Prettier too!"
"Yah... fark you..." Romea rolled his eyes as he went to check on their radio set.
"Hmmm..." Yak frowned. "See nothing..."
"Look towards your right more," Romea said. "I thought I saw some flags..."
Yak slowly scanned his view towards his right. He had been amazed by this device which allowed one to have a sight many many times greater! If previously his tribe had such a far sight device, maybe his tribe would have prospered greatly.
"I no see nothing!" Yak mumbled. "I- no... wait! Yes... strange... very strange!"
"You saw it?" Romea asked as he pushed out the antenna of the radio set just as he was taught.
"Hmmm... it gone..." Yak frowned. "No wait! It back! Yes... its a flag... no wait... many flags!"
"Imperial!" Yak growled excitedly. "Glimmer spell!"
"OP Three Seven, to Nova Command! We got contact! Repeat, this is OP Three Seven, Imperial troops spotted!"
Source Sea, UNS Dragon Roost
Without the Mariners crowding around the service cranes of the floating tender, the UNS Dragon Roost was actually a pretty relaxed posting. Four ex Imperial river barges were interconnected together by a series of steel welded bridges, creating a simple and stable floating platform.
In the middle of the four hulls, sat a couple of PT boats, with one of them having converted into a passenger transport, with most of it weapons removed and had enough seats to ferry an additional twenty passengers.
It was dragged over by a PT boat before it dropped anchors and provided a refuelling and rearming station for both ships and aircraft of the UN. Its presence help extends the UN's ships and planes in the area.
As usual, the freshwater sea was calm when the wind was down. The flying boats which the UNS Dragon Roost serviced were out on a call to hit some targets and would only return in a few hours. Most of the crew were having their downtime, some were even fishing for their dinner on the side of the hulls.
Even the lookout on the tower dozed off on his watch as the gently bobbing motion of the waves made him sleepy. The lookout yawned and rubbed his eyes as he leaned against the side of the tower and idly watched the others fishing on the side.
A sudden draft of strong wind blew and rocked the tower slightly and the lookout quickly held himself stable. As he did that, he caught sight of several white clouds on the water horizon. He picked up his binoculars and his eyes grew in horror as the clouds turned out to sails belonging to dozens and dozens of Imperial ships. "Oh, fark!"
"CONTACT! CONTACT!" He yelled into the speaker horn on the side of the tower while he jammed his finger as hard as he could into the siren horn. A sharp ear splitting bellow came out from the siren, shocking the rest of the crew as they stared up at the watchtower.
They saw the figure of the lookout pointing and they turned to look before some senior NCO yelled at them to get to their battle stations. "Stop gawking you pieces of shit! The enemy is here! Get to your stations now!"
The shaken crew quickly leapt into action and ran off, most of them half dressed as they manned their stations.
"CONTACT! Imperial ship sighted!!!" The lookout yelled again and started counting the number of the Imperial ships that he could see with his binos. "Oh shit... I'm farking screwed!"