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"Rotors turning," The pilot spoke to the ground crew over the radio. "Engine oil pressure is up, transmission pressure is up..."

"Temperature all in the green, we got a good start!" The pilot continued down the checklist in his hand. "Fox Tango, this is Unicorn One One, are we cleared for take off?"

"Unicorn Flight, you are cleared for take off," The flight control tower of the FOB replied. "Skies are clear and windy with sustained speeds of 10 metres per second coming from north north east, over."

"Roger that, Fox Tango," The pilot of Unicorn One One replied and he leaned over the armoured glass and gave thumbs up to the ground crew. "Unicorn One Two, how copy?"

"Unicorn One Two, all green. At your lead."

"Roger, on my lead," The pilot seated at the rear of the tandem cockpit opened up the throttle and the powerful downwind of the quadrotors pushed the entire airframe off the tarmac. "Unicorn Flight, lifting off!"

The long sleek and predatory looking compound helicopter floated up off the ground and turned towards the north before its pusher propeller at its tail end pushed the attack helicopter away. The design of the AH - 1 'Unicorn' was unlike any conventional helicopters, as it incorporated both technology and magic in its design.

It had low mounted wings, that jutted out from its side in an angle, a rigid main rotor, the traditional tail was pointed downwards instead of up and both a tail rotor and pusher propeller at the end which provided thrust. An experimental magical wind rune derived from the natural wind barrier of the Wind Wolves was etched into the nose of the attack helicopter, providing a small pocket of air around the helicopter's cockpit, which increased its aerodynamics and provided some protection against projectiles to the pilots.

At high speeds, the amount of lift provided by the wings, along with thrust from the pusher prop, reduced the aerodynamic loading of the rotor, allowing bursts of speed of up to over 200 knots or 370 km per hour. At such speeds, the rotor produced up to 20% of the lift, which could be adjusted by collective pitch control changes.

The Unicorn had a two seater tandem cockpit and had a 20mm weapon turret mounted below the gunner's seat. It further had six hardpoints, two under each wing and one at the wingtip, allowing it to carry either 70 mm rockets in 7 cell pods, 20 mm cannon pods, or fuel pods. It also had two fuselage mounts just above the wings joints that were dedicated to carrying external fuel tanks.

Ceramic armour plating provided protection to the vital portions of the helicopter together with magical runes that created small bubbles of barriers. As magic protection barriers would interfere with the rotors and air pressure, the magic barriers could only be created small enough to not interfere with the helicopter's performance but enough to help reinforce vital portions.

"Fox Tango, Unicorn Flight, heading towards patrol sector Juliet Four," The pilot radioed back to base as the two AH - 1 'Unicorns' roared towards their mission area.

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The New Kingdom of Mecca, 415 km South South West of the UN FOB

The small town was called Turnstead, it had a nice stone and wooden wall surrounding it, providing it more than adequate protection against monsters and bandits. Surrounding the town, were dozens of fields of green unripe grain and cultivated greens.

Despite famine raging across the lands, the people of Turnstead managed to hold out, with a diet of monster meat and greens while they carefully cultivated and husbanded their fields. The hope of the starving people remained on the green grain stalks waving gently in the breeze that would soon ripen in weeks.

But today, hope was not on their side, as the walls of Turnstead laid in ruins. Black oily smoke bleached out from gutted buildings as a small troop of red coated soldiers watched and laughed as the town burn. A flying ship stood watch over the town, stubby barrels pointed downwards and vomited out shells that blew anything up into flames.

The remaining people of Turnstead were herded out and they hurdle down in the trampled fields that they once spent much effort and care for. Robed priests wielding whips strolled down the screaming people, whipping their sins off in preparation to be reborn.

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"Unicorn One One, Two Two," The forward gunner held a binoculars to his eyes called out. "You see that smoke in the distance? Two O' clock low."

"Yup, we see that," The radio replied. "Check it out?"

"One One roger," The pilot replied. "Let's take a look."

Both attack helicopters tilted and changed their heading towards the wisps of smoke in the horizon. As the distance closed, they spotted the very obvious red airship hovering above a small burning settlement.

"Is that the damn Protectorates bastards?" The gunner of Unicorn One One called out.

"X Ray! X Ray! This is Unicorn Flight!" The pilot grabbed his radio and reported in. "Protectorate forces spotted! NKM settlement under attack!"

"Unicorn Flight, X Ray," The calm voice from the FOB command centre came in. "What's your position and enemy force depositions? Over."

The pilot quickly read off his position with the help of his map chart. "One airship, and unknown number of ground forces! They looked like they have all the 'see vees' in one place!"

"Oh shit! Taking fire!" The pilot jerked his controls as suddenly the Protectorate airship started spewing white smoke and black dots zipped passed the cockpit. "Damn farkers are shooting at us! X Ray! Permission to engage? Over!"

"Unicorn Flight, you are weapons free! Repeat weapons free! Watch out for the civilians!"

"Roger that!" The pilot grinned as he yelled, "Guns hot!"

He threw the attack helicopter into a loop, and rotated its facing towards the airship that was climbing up to meet them, bringing the rotorcraft into a strafing glide with their nose pointed at the airship.

"GUNS GUNS GUNS!" The gunner yelled excitedly, his gloved finger squeezing tight on the red trigger. Instantly the dull thumping of the 20 mm autocannon underneath their seats shook the airframe.

Flickers of yellow white tracers darted out and inserted against the airship. On the other side, Unicorn One Two similarly came to a strafe and the nose turret spat bolts of tracers out too. Smoke appeared from the side of the airship as the heavy rounds impacted against its armoured hull.

The air around the airship suddenly shimmered and a semi transparent bubble appeared over the airship. The pilot of Unicorn One One cursed as he saw the enemy's had raised its protective magic shields. "Going for rockets!"

"Rocket! Rocket!" He squeezed his trigger and the rocket pods on the wings flared to life, streaking flames darting forward and within seconds, the dual purpose rocket warheads exploded on the magic barrier, making it flicker harder. "There's more where this came from!"

Both AH - 1 Unicorn salvo fired their rocket pods while the gunners continued to flay the airship with 20 mm cannon fire. Both Unicorns were in standard mission load outs, carrying six 7 cell rocket pods. In barely a minute, both gunships had fired off half of their rocket pods, sending a total of 42 High Explosive Dual Purpose rockets screaming down to the Protectorate's shields.

The force of the explosions actually knocked the Protectorate airship downwards, causing it to stall in midair. It's top facing firing steam cannons tried to shoot down the gunships, the Protectorate gunners valiantly sang hymns as they loaded and reloaded their steam cannons. Suddenly the magical barrier popped, and like without the protection offered by the barrier, 20 mm shells and 70 mm rockets slammed against its hull again.

"Aim for the propellers thingy!" Unicorn One One yelled to his gunner as he volley fired off his remaining rocket pods. The gunner grunted in acknowledgement and he swung his sights over to the spinning airscrews, using the impacts of the 20 mm shells to guide his aim and working the cannon over the target.

Metal screamed and twisted as they could no longer take the relentless punishment. Mixtures of 20 mm shells of HE and AP, punched holes through weakened armour and mangled whatever was behind them. Pipes carrying steam ruptured as high velocity shells shredded through everything in their path. Steam and hot aetherium gases started leaking out from cracks and broken pipes.

Crews within the hull screamed and died as shards of metal and steam sprayed over them as they worked their stations. The airscrews propelling the airship snapped like a twig under the heavy barrage of 20 mm shells and spun off, leaving the Protectorate airship without any means of propulsion.

Suddenly a massive groan came from the shell and the top armoured decks of the airship bugled outwards before the airship started falling towards the earth. The top deck was suddenly ripped out and a bulbous looking tank trailing pipes and streaming gasses burst out and started to floating upwards into the air.

With the loss of one the aetherium flotation tanks, the Protectorate airship fell faster towards the ground and impacted with a loud crunch that the Unicorn pilots and gunners could even hear. Thick clouds of white smoke billowed out from the wreck before flames erupted from the sides and the field of green grain stalks burned.

"Holy hell!" The gunner of Unicorn One One mumbled. "That... was fun! Let's do it again!"

The ground troops of the Protectorate stared up in horror at the loud buzzing flying machines which brought their first defeat of the New World. Commanders started yelled and the soldiers started retreating towards the nearest grove of trees for some form of cover.

The bloodied people of Turnstead on their knees, looked up to the skies, hope slowly returning to their hearts as the Protectorate started retreating, no longer having any interests in them.

-----

New Kingdom of Mecca, Reachfield, United Nations Forward Operating Base, Command Center

General Joseph rubbed his chin as he read the incident report of Unicorn Flight. "Has the wreck of the airship been secured?"

"Yes, Sir!" His aide replied. "Able and Bravo company of the 1st had been airlifted in with an attachment of combat engineers to the site."

"We have informed the Silver Lord of Clearfield regarding the attack and he has agreed to send his men to help the survivors," His aide continued. "The Protectorate appeared to have retreated ten klicks into the forest to lick their wounds or await reinforcements."

"Get the Air Force planes up to start bombing those farkers," Joseph ordered. "I want to put the fear of the UN up their asses!"

"Yes, sir!"

Joseph stood up and stood before the map mounted on the board inside the command centre. He traced his finger from the Meccan Capital and paused at the site of the latest engagement. He tapped his finger at the town and frowned as he was certain that the Protectorate was just advancing in a straight direction.

Now two companies of the 1st Army Rifle Regiments had been airlifted over as a blocking force while other elements will be pushing up to reinforce them once the matter with local lords had been settled. That quick thinking sergeant who came out with the reason of why they were here, should be rewarded, thought Joseph. And for some reason, he thought the sergeant looked quite familiar but he could not remember where he had seen the sergeant before.

The problem now Joseph was facing was that the number of enemy troops still remained unknown, but Intel had estimated that they should not more than ten thousand troops. The weapons of the Protectorate were also unknown, with Intel only having a vague idea of their steam weaponry.

"Guess we will find out soon now that we had poked the razor's nest," Joseph wondered out loud. "I wonder what their response would be like..."

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A note from neo Koh

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The AH - 1 Unicorn is based off Lockheed's AH 56 Cheyenne and without the belly weapon turret.


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neo Koh

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