The passageways within the Protectorate's ship was dark and warm, and the thunderous echoes of the Marines assault rifles ear shattering loud in its confines. Roughly a hundred Marines from the first wave that had landed on the top of the Protectorate's airship from seven heavy helicopter transports with the loss of a single helicopter and its cargo, had stormed into the airship.
The remaining seven helicopters dodged the barrage of anti air fire as they returned to the converted freighter turned troop carrier. The Marine insertion mission was supposed to be done quietly before the Protectorate's Flagship raised its shields or defenses, but unfortunately, the air fleet was discovered and now, the night skies were ablaze with tracers and illumination spells.
Commander Ford quickly scrambled his naval fighters, which were dropped over the side of the seaplane carrier by cranes, where the pilots used the rocking sea as their runway, the floats of the little fighters allowing them to bounce off into the air from the waves when their airspeed was sufficient for them to take off.
The Unicorn helicopter gunships dumped all their remaining flares as they worked to draw the enemy escort's cannon fire to them as the helicopter transports made a dash out of their weapons effective range. Once the Unicorn pilots noted the CH - 1 Griffins were safety out of the enemy's weapons range, they broke their attack and diversion tactics and formed up around the retreating Griffins, while the Sea Cobras came roaring in, underneath their bellies from the waves.
The single squadron of twelve F/A - 1N Sea Cobras which were all 'donated' from the Air Force as the Air Force upgraded to the newer F/A - 2 Vipers, were converted into the naval variant. The Navy's ageing fleet of F/A - 1N Sea Cobras came roaring in over the tops of dark waves as they made use of the dark surface of the ocean to mask their silhouettes from the light of the illumination spells that was randomly being fired off by the Protectorate's Fleet.
The glowing red yellow shells spat out from the three single 3" turrets of the UN fleet of corvettes dart rapidly towards the enemy escorts. The rate of fire from the UN corvettes had dropped due to their ammunition limits and instead they proceed to harass the enemy. The Protectorate Fleet sought to gain altitude but with their Flagship running on half power and depleted shields, they could only attempt to support the Flagship instead.
Two of the small escorts that were almost twice the size of the UN Goblin Class corvettes, led by a even larger airship, changed course and headed directly towards the UN Fleet, attempting to close in to their effective weapons range. The remaining three escorts and two large transports that remained next to the Flagship proceed to transfer their troops over to the Flagship via zip lines to help fight off the UN boarders.
Commander Ford watched the change in the enemy fleet formation on the radar and started passing out orders, "Designate new enemy squadron as Beta, targets One to Three!"
"Order the Fleet to hold the engagement distance!" Ford ordered his command staff as he remained seated in the command chair while the Captain of the UNS Goblin stood in front of him. "All ships to switch target to Beta One!"
"Aye!" His command staff quickly started relay orders while the Captain ordered the UNS Goblin to turn and hold the engagement distance. Before them, outside the armored windows of the bridge, the two stacked single 3" enclosed armored gun turrets ceased their fire momentarily as they swung their barrels to target the approaching enemy squadron.
"Captain!" The weapons officer of UNS Goblin gave his report. "All guns locked on target Beta One! Orders?"
The Captain turned to Commander Ford whose eyes remained fixed on the radar screen. Ford waited for a moment as he watched his own Fleet completing a ninety degree turn. "All ships, open fire!"
"Open Fire!" The Captain repeated the order to the weapons officer who quickly spoke into the handset, relaying the command down to the weapons stations. Seconds later, the Number One Gun of the UNS Goblins thundered, followed by Number Two Gun, than finally Number Three Gun at the rear.
The night sky lit up again as 36 spinning shells fired by a dozen corvettes converged onto the approaching Protectorate's lead airship. A third of the fired shells missed, over or under shooting the airship, while 24 shells slammed right on target. The Protectorate airship's magical barrier briefly suspended the 24 shells in midair just a meter from its hull and 0.32 seconds later, the fire rune impact fuzes of the shells crumpled from the shock of the split second impact and detonated, creating a ripple of thunderous explosions all over the side of the Protectorate airship.
The airship shook violently under the barrage, and despite the magical barrier stopping the shells, the hull nearest to the explosions visibly buckled under the shock waves. But before the airship and its crew could even recover themselves, another volley of 3" naval shells came screaming in.
"Swordfish Lead to all Swordfish," The leading pilot of Swordfish Squadron radioed to his command. The dark shapes illuminated by both star shells and illumination spells hung above his cockpit, growing larger and larger. "Ignore the enemy ships that has split off. Continue on to mission!"
The squadron of F/A - 1N Sea Cobras had formed up in three diamond attack formation, as they made a beeline straight for the unsuspecting Protectorate Fleet. The Navy was considering to scrape off the old F/A - 1N Sea Cobras as the new AH - 1 Unicorn attack helicopter had proved to be more capable to the older biplane in terms of performance and even armament.
But several factors kept the Navy from removing the Sea Cobras from active service. The cost of each Sea Cobra was lower than a Unicorn, including the cost and ease of maintenance. The biplane was also very rugged and could easy to fly for beginner pilots while the Unicorn requires a more skilled pilot. Therefore, the Navy decided to hold off decommission the Sea Cobras and instead use them as fast attack bombers.
The twelve Sea Cobras of Swordfish Squadron were specially loaded with a launch rail on each of its four hard points where two 5" or 127 mm high explosive rockets were inserted. The new 127 mm rockets were designed to be ship killers, after the UN's experience with the goblin pirates, they realized that the standard 70 mm rockets were not enough to outright destroy a goblin raiding ship, hence the 127 mm ship killer was born.
The 1.7 meter long unguided rockets has a effective range of 900 meters and the warhead carrying 3.9 kilos of high explosive was as devastating as a 155 mm artillery strike. Tests has shown the degree of accuracy obtained from the rockets depended upon the altitude of the plane, dispersion of the rocket after launching and aiming error of the pilot. Inaccuracies, however, decreased as the speed of the plane increased, so that speeds of up to 300 kilometer per hour, a trained pilot could put half his rockets in a 5 meter circle from a range of 350 meters.
"All Swordfish engage!" The squadron commander ordered as he aimed his sights over one of the dark shapes. The other attack formations each made a beeline without reducing their speed as they too lined up for their attack runs. "FOX FOUR! FOX FOUR!"
The entire dark shadow of the Protectorate airship had filled up his cross hair when he squeezed off the 127 mm rockets mounted on launch rails. His light fighter shuddered violently and flaming tongues roared past him cockpit and his fighter immediately lightened up. His attack formation similarly volley fired off their rockets just as the others did, the rockets lighting up the night sky with trails of flames and thunder.
The sudden appearance of rockets shocked the Protectorate Fleet as the airships quickly tried to maneuver out of the fast approaching flames. Even if they did not know what those flames entailed, they were wise enough to know getting hit by those flames would be bad, very bad. As the panicked Captains tried to move out of the way, the zip lines that anchored the airships to the Flagship snapped under the sudden stress and those soldiers that were still being transferred screamed as the cables snapped and they dropped into the inky darkness.
The 127 mm high velocity aircraft rockets slammed into the sides of the escort airships, and balls of flames covered them under the flickering shields. The shields barely held for five seconds before failing and popped out of existence as if running away from the explosions that ravaged the unprotected flanks of the airships.
The rockets that missed, some slammed into the side of the Flagship and silenced gun ports and melted armor while other rockets detonated over the ocean. The Sea Cobras continued through the Protectorate Fleet and once sufficient distance was achieved, they looped back and built back speed for another attack run on the now unprotected escorts.
Protectorate Flagship Aggressor, Bridge
The glow of the burning airships around the Aggressor was reflected on the face of Inquisitor General Rism's featureless mask through the crystal windows. His lips under his mask twitched in anger as he watched his another of his airship suddenly broke into two halves as an internal explosion blew it apart and both parts of the hull even gently float down to the ocean, trailing flames and smoke.
The bridge crew and the commanders and aides were all dumbstruck by the one sided battle that was raging outside. They stared in horror at the airships that were dying without even catching a glimpse of the enemy that was killing their people with impunity.
"Lord Inquisitor General!" A panicked aide saluted as he made his report. "More boarders were reported on the upper decks! The Chief Paladin is requesting reinforcements! The Paladins could not hold the upper decks any longer!"
"TRASH!" Rism suddenly yelled as he spun around at the frightened aide. "All of you are trash!"
"All of you!" Rism glared at his commanders. "GO TAKE BACK THE REAR BOILER STATION! NOW!"
The shaken commanders and generals quickly left the bridge as they summoned their personnel guards as they obeyed Rism's commands. Rism's eyes narrowed as he watched them depart from the bridge before he gestured to his personnel guards. "Attend to me!"
Eight red coated masked Guardians stood fore in a straight row before Rism. Without a word, Rism left the Bridge and headed in another direction towards the hangar decks with his aides and personnel guards following behind. "Go! Go get my personnel ship ready!"
"You two, get my luggage and all the important items in the vaults!" Rism ordered his aides as he walked down the passageway which shook even now and then with a loud thud. A rain of metal dust dribbled down the overhead. Half of the Guardians immediately took the lead of the party, their hands on their weapons.
Just as they turned around the corner of the passageway, they bumped into a group of people dressed in strange clothes. For a moment both sides stared at each other, before the Guardians leaped into action, drawing out a pair of fat looking swords that were connected to hoses that ran all the way to their backs. Two of the Guardians charged forward while the rest pushed Rism and his party back the way they went. Another two Guardians remained behind to support their fellows against the boarders.
Thunderous roars broke out behind Rism as his guards fought against the boarders. Rism cursed inwardly as he quickened his steps, taking another path towards the hangar where his private ship awaited. As he retreated, he wondered where did everything went wrong. The natives on this New World should not have such weapons and power!
"There must be some secret in the New World!"