The New Kingdom of Mecca, Coastal Waters off Hensink, UN 1st CorRon, UNS Goblin
The guns of the corvette finally fell silent as the last of the enemy force designated Beta drifted down to the ocean trailing flames and smoke. Commander Ford listened to the reports flooding from the Fleet and the airstrike against the remaining escorts with an expressionless face.
"The second wave of Marines is ready to depart, Sir," An aide reported. "Swordfish Squadron has just landed and is being recovered."
"Send in the second wave," Ford ordered. "Have the Unicorns disable the remaining airships."
Under the watchful eye of Naval Intel, they had managed to pick out which ships were combatants and which were carrying cargo or troops. This allowed Commander Ford's ships and pilots to know which target was the priority.
"Tell UNS Firefly to arm Swordfish Squadron for aerial combat instead of anti ship and be on standby," Ford added, referring to the Sea Cobras' loadout which currently was in anti ship configuration. He wanted them to switch all their armament to 20 mm gun pods. "And move our supply ships forward to restock the Fleet's ammunition!"
The collective roar of rotors swept over the UNS Goblin, as the second wave took off from the decks of the converted merchantman. Ford glanced out of the armored glass and only managed to briefly catch a glimpse of a flying V of dark shapes before they vanished into the dark night skies.
"This battle is as good as ours!" Ford mumbled to himself before he turned to his command staff. "Send Third CorRon to fish out any survivors from the water!"
Protectorate Flagship Aggression, ???
The pipes that carried steam out were just large enough for a grown person to carry inside. Both Claymore teams were now crawling and making their way through the pipes without any idea where they were heading.
Moments earlier, they had blown open the largest pipe in the boiler room, and after setting the timers on the demo charges and some nasty surprises behind for the Protectorate, they all started crawling in the pipe.
As they crawled within the pipe, they could hear gunfire rumbling outside. Tyrier pressed his ear against the walls of the pipe and listened, "Looks like the Marines has landed!"
"Great!" Hitsu laughed. "Now the Beetle Heads are truly screwed!"
"Won't they screwed when we landed?" Altied pointed out. "The Marines are just here to mop up the remains!"
"Well, I still prefer to have a company of Marines for backup!" Hitsu argued back. "It's better to have more gu-"
A loud series of thuds followed a shock wave that nearly knocked the men flat, suddenly slammed into them. As they recovered from the blast, Tyrier commented, "Looks like they triggered the surprises we set for them before the timer on the demo charges went off..."
"Alright, I think we traveled far enough!" Tyrier said. "Wolf! Move your ass forward more and set a breaching charge!"
"Yes, Boss!" Wolf replied and he crawled forward roughly twenty meters away from the rest of the group. Along the way, he used the butt of his revolver to tap the walls of the pipe, trying to see to find a section that sounded hollow. Finally, he heard what he wanted and he started slapping the sticky pads of the breaching charge on the pipe's wall and quickly back crawled to a safe distance.
"Fire in the hole!" He yelled back and tucked in his head as he squeezed the trigger of the detonator.
A dull thud followed by a loud shriek of metal echoed painfully loud within the confines of the pipe. The men were shaken again by a shock wave and once everything settled down, Wolf crawled forward again to check the jagged opening, finding a passageway beneath the hole made by the breaching charge.
"We got a way out!" Wolf yelled and waited for the rest to join him. Tyrier gave him a nod and he hoisted himself down the hole, carefully avoiding the sharp jagged edges. The drop down was not too much, just roughly three meters. Wolf boots clanged hard against the metal passageway and he found himself at one corner of the cavernous hangar which they had passed by earlier.
"We are back at the hangar!" Wolf reported as he did a 360 degree sweep of the area with his rifle. "All clear!"
One by one the 101st ATI operatives made their way down and they all let out a sigh of relief as the air was cooler and not as stuffy compared to the insides of the pipe. As they took a breather, suddenly at the other end of the hangar, a hatch opened and a group of four people appeared.
They rushed towards a rather nice looking flyer, that screamed expensive to the 101st ATI operatives. The length of the small red and gold airship was roughly twenty meters, the shape of its entirely enclosed hull looked like a hammer with four air screws at the end of the 'handle'. Several landing studs held the airship high up and in the middle section of the airship were two stubby wings on both sides in a shape of a 'X'.
Underneath its belly, was a ramp that led up into the airship and the group of four rushed up. All four were carrying large cases in each hand and it made the 101st ATI operatives very curious of what they were up to.
"Think they are running?" Someone whispered as they observed the small airship. "The senior officers abandoning ship?"
"Very likely," Both Tyrier and Claymore Six team lead nodded. As if on cue, smoke started appearing from a couple of exhaust funnels at the rear. "Looks like they are starting up their boilers!"
"Ship looks too ornate for any tom, dick, or harry," Tyrier said. "High chance it could be some High Value Target..."
"So we ambush them?" Claymore Six team leader gave a nasty smile.
"We ambush them," Tyrier grinned back. "You take the left side with your men, I take the right side."
Claymore Six team lead gave a nod of acknowledgment and his team started making their way down the platform walkway while Tyrier led his men to the other side, making sure to kept as quiet as possible even though the hum of machinery from the airship was even louder.
Both teams spread out as they approached the airship cautiously. They ducked in cover when suddenly one person came down the ramp and he stood at the ram looking around nervously.
"One to All units, hold tight!" Tyrier whispered into his comms. He observed the behaviour of the young elf in a form fitting red uniform and was certain he was waiting for someone. "Wait for my signal!"
They did not have long to wait when another group appeared from another hatch. The group of newcomers was even larger, with over a dozen people. Tyrier's eyes narrowed as he observed one of the elves that wore a white mask and the way he held himself oozed importantly.
"One to All, do not engage the masked fellow!" Tyrier whispered into the comms. "He's the HVT! We want him alive!"
A series of clicks answered Tyrier's comms. "One, Six, disable the engines, the rest engage the enemy... NOW!"
At his command, Claymore One and Six popped out from cover and started servicing the targets with single aimed shots. The suppressed rifles popped and bullets slammed into the unsuspecting Protectorate.
The nervous young elf who had a relief expression when the group he was waiting for arrived, had a look of surprise as a well aim shot drilled a hole through his ear and out from the other side of his head instantly flopped down.
More suppressed gunfire flayed the newcomers and four others in the group including one of the red coated soldiers went down before the remaining three red Beetle Heads throw up their magical barrier and stood protectively over the elf in the white mask.
Sparks and dirty black smoke spewed from two of the engines that were facing Claymore Six as they concentrated their firepower on the engines of the airship before switching over to engage the party of newcomers.
The party of Protectorates ran behind cover while two of the red Beetle Heads split up, one heading towards Tyrier's group while the other towards Claymore Six. The remaining red Beetle Head continued to protect the white masked elf only as he ignored the rest. Under the heavy suppressing fire, the remainder of the Protectorate could only hunker down behind cover while the two red Beetle Heads tried to get within melee range.
"Flash them!" Tyrier yelled to his men. Seconds later, a couple of flashbangs flew over the heads of the Protectorate and detonated with an ear shattering crack and a bright flash. Surprised cries came from the Protectorate and without the need for command, Claymore One pushed forward.
Suddenly, from behind a winged flyer, a red Beetle Head charged out and in each hand, held a short blade angled towards the closest Claymore One operative who was Hitsu. Hitsu gave out a cry of surprise and threw himself backwards just as the twin blades sliced his back armour.
Hitsu fell to his side and rolled over, his suppressed assault rifle up and he squeezed the trigger, emptying his magazine at the red Beetle Head who seemed shocked that his blades did no damage. Shields flickered wildly from the joined gunfire from the rest as the red Beetle Head tried to retreat but before he could, his shields were depleted and he did a short death dance as bullets perforated his body.
A loud crack of lightning and the smell of ozone filled the air as one member of Claymore Six blasted the other red Beetle Head with a high leveled lightning spell, sending the Protectorate soldier with his shields flickering, flying and slamming against the hull of a parked winged flyer.
That red Beetle Head then came under concentrated fire by the rest of Claymore Six till he laid in a puddle of his own blood. Wolf gave an appreciative nod of his head, "Damn, that's some good magic there!"
Hitsu rolled his eyes and muttered under his breath, "I can do that shit too!"
As they advanced forward, they found the red robed Protectorate with a white mask wiping a long sword that had a fat back blade and a tube like object for its pommel. The masked elf stood over several bodies of his own men and casually dropped the blood stained handkerchief on the floor.
He stood in a relaxed pose and gestured to Claymore One and Six in a provocative manner as if daring them to come. Tyrier frowned, his instincts were telling him that this was a dangerous opponent. For some reason, this white masked elf had killed his own people and was now challenging them to a fight.
"Switch to taser!" Tyrier ordered the men. "Flash him too! Do not get too close to him! He's dangerous!"
Those armed with tasers dropped their rifles down on their slings and whipped out their stubby shock pistols. With a puff of compressed air, darts holding a concentrated electrical charge shot out and flew towards the masked elf who seemed to slightly vanish from his spot as he dodged the taser darts.
Flashbangs tossed out from the rest bounced on the metal deck before bursting into a bright light and an ear shattering roar boxed the masked elf in as he tried to evade the attacks. The sonic and blinding attacks managed to disorientate him for a moment as his shields flickered wildly caused by the taser darts dumping all their energy out when they hit his shields.
Suddenly, the last remaining red Beetle Head appeared from Claymore Six side, the dual blades spewing smoke and projectiles, dropping one of the operatives. Immediately, the attention was switched over to the new threat and Tyrier cursed as he watched the red Beetle Head entered melee with Claymore Six.
"Goddamn it! It's a damn diversion!"