The New Kingdom of Mecca, Several Kilometers of the Coast of Hensink, Protectorate Flagship Aggression

Commander Ford and General Frank stood inside the secured bridge of the enemy flagship looking out of the crystal windows at the airships floating next to them. Both men ignored the blood covered consoles and walls paired with bullet holes and instead were concentrated on the reports from the radio operator who had stuck a receiver out from a shattered window.

The expressions on both men where dark as reports of a massive war machine had appeared unexpectedly during the Army's assault. Ford glanced at Frank before he turned to the radio operator and said, "Order the 4th CorRon to start to make preparations to set sail and blockade the city's harbor."

"Do you need me to pull back some Marines to support the attack on the city?" Frank asked. "I could take out a battalion or so..."

"No..." Ford shook his head while gesturing around them. "We have yet fully secured nor swept the airships clean of any enemies! There are a thousand and one hiding spots all over the ship... We barely have enough Marines to cover the airships we have taken."

"The Army can handle it..." Ford added. "We still got plenty of our own problems here!"


The New Kingdom of Mecca, United Nations Firebase Delta, 2km away from Hensink

The ground rumbled heavily again as the massive war machine inched its way closer towards the UN Firebase. The rows of steam cannons along its flanks hissed mightily, spewing steam and projectiles that created balls of explosions rolling across the besieged UN base.

"Switch to direct fire!" The artillery commander ordered his men. The 155 mm guns sited behind berms of earth were aimed at the city two kilometers away. Now the frantic artillerymen rushed out of cover and spun the traversing wheels, turning the howitzers towards the lumbering metal giant that moved way too rapidly for its size.

The giant walker towered over several stories and loomed over the trees and appeared so unexpectedly that it caught the troops off guard. Each stride of its eight legs carried it forward dozens of meters across the devastated landscape and over the UN Army lines.

Lines of tracers chased after the war machine as the hull downed IFVs' gun turrets tracked after it, spent 20 mm shell casings cascading down into collection bins inside the IFVs' hull. Smoke and rainbow shimmer shrouded the giant walker as it ignored the clumps of trees barring its way. Trees were uprooted as hundreds of tons of metal dug into the soil, gouging out holes meters deep.

Private Gouda of the UN Army 1st Artillery Battery rolled the over 40 kilograms heavy 155 mm shaped in a cone dark green shell into the loading cradle where another member of the gun battery shoved the shell into the breach together with a cake of propellant. The breach was slammed shut and secured as the gunnery sergeant made last minute adjustments through the open sights at the large war machine that loomed over the defensive berm of the Firebase.

"Gun One Ready!" The gunnery sergeant yelled out and a red flag was raised up which allowed the battery commander on the spotting tower to see which guns were primed and ready to fire.

The gunnery sergeant kept his eyes on the tower where a soldier held up another red flag. The soldier started waving the flag and suddenly snapped it down sharply. The sergeant turned to his team and yelled, "GUN ONE... FIRE!"

The firer yanked the firing cord while everyone faced away from the howitzer with their mouths opened and ears covered. The 155 mm Thunderer howitzer roared like a raging monster, the shock wave hammered the artillerymen, and the long barrel slammed back along with the recoil mechanism with a hiss of well oiled tubes.

The shell fired at almost point blank range for a howitzer, whizzed directly at the center of mass of the Protectorate's war machine. The nose of the shell slammed against the magical barrier and crumpled before flashing into a ball of smoke, flames, and violent energy, momentarily creating a dent on the magical barrier's surface amidst a shower of sparks and violent rainbow hued magical energies.

Each artillery battery held four howitzers and the Firebase hosted three batteries of the UN Army's 1st Artillery. The sudden attack from the Protectorate's war machine had damaged and shattered almost a third of the guns and crew, leaving behind nine howitzers functioning.

Now the nine howitzers roared back in defiance against the war machine that tried to destroy them. Each shell unable to miss at the short distance, exploded all along its flanks creating colorful shimmering hues and smoke. The force of the impacts actually forced the war machine to come to a halt, its hooked skeletal legs digging in deeply into the soil as it recoiled back from the attack.

Private Gouda cheered along with the rest as they serviced and reloaded the howitzer again, readying the cannon to be fired again. In a matter of seconds, the red flags of the gun rosed again.


The Reckoner, Command Church

The Captain Bishop held on tight as the siege engine shook violently, sending half the command crew falling down. Despite knowing how powerful the heretical weapons were, he still did not expect the force of the weapons to be so overwhelming.

"Lord Captain Bishop!" A frantic command crew called out. "The magic shields are nearly depleted! The magic crystals are unable to restore the shields fast enough if we get hit again!"

"Damage?" The Captain Bishop strolled forward and stared out of the cracked crystal windows. "Why aren't our steam cannons firing?"

"Lord Captain!" The crew replied as reports came flooding in from speaking trumpets. "Boiler stations One and Two are reporting cracks appearing on the main pipes!"

"Four cannons on Deck Two and Three were overturned by the attack!" The reports continued coming in. "Leg Six has a misaligned cog!"

"Bring those cannons back! I want them to start firing immediately!" The Captain Bishop ordered. "And increase the conversion rate of the magic crystal to the shields or we won't last long another volley!"

Just as he finished his orders, a thunderous ripple covered the Reckoner and this time, the Captain Bishop and his crew were all knocked flying off their feet as the shields collapsed almost instantly, exposing the hull of the Reckoner to attacks.

The Captain Bishop crawled to his feet and yelled, ignoring the blood on his face. "Full speed forward! If we are to fall against these lawless scum... We should bring them down together with us for the Judgement!"

"For Justice!" The Captain Bishop roared as he shoved dazed crew member against and push the engine speed lever forward, prompting violent shaking and loud machine noises from the depths of the Reckoner.



The New Kingdom of Mecca, City of Hensink

Cork and the rest of his men could only stare silly at the rear of the smoking war machine as it passed by them. "So what now, Sarge?"

Cork gave a shrug before turning to his radioman. "Any word from Command?"

"Command says to continue the attack..." The radioman replied. "The rear will deal with that thing!"

"Incoming contacts!" Krew yelled as he spotted dozens of red coated figures swarming out from the ground and holes in the walls. The large hulking shapes of Warjacks could further be seen lurking around the areas behind the enemy infantry. "We poked the Beetle Head's nest and now they are angry!"

"Make ready!" Cork ordered and took up a ready position by the trenches. His men took up positions and readied their weapons. The Protectorate forces swarmed out en mass and charged towards the waiting UN Army that took over the ruins of the previous defensive works. Gunfire erupted out as the singing Protectorate forces came into range and bodies fell.

"FIRE!" Cork shot a ragged looking Beetle Head who had his mouth open and singing some sort of weird song. He was surprised when his shot knocked the soldier off his feet without the usual flare and glow of a magical shield. "Have they ran out of magic?"

"Keep up the fire!" Cork called as more and more red coated bodies poured out from the city wall cracks. He frowned as his sights came over a group of shabby looking people who scrambled madly towards the UN lines. The new group was formed by a mixture of all ages and sex, their eyes were wild and red and their hands crooked into claws. "Those... those are civilians?"

"Sarge!" The men yelled out. "Do we engage the civilians?"

"Keep firing!" Cork replied angrily. "They are hostiles!"

The men could only hold back their unhappiness and gunned down the crazed people mixed together with the Protectorate soldiers. The Warjacks following behind the soldiers ignored the local converts as they charged through their lines, their large and heavy feet crashing their lives away as the Warjack stormed towards the UN lines.

Anti tank rockets streaked out from their tubes and slammed into the Warjacks, some directly exploding against their hull while others impacted against those Warjacks still have power left for their shields. Cork turned to his radioman and yelled, "We need some artillery support now!"

"Sarge... Command says... artillery support is temporarily unavailable!"


The New Kingdom of Mecca, United Nations Firebase Delta, 2km away from Hensink

The ground shook again as smoky trails landed all around the Firebase, creating balls of fire from the impact of the oil filled projectiles. The war machine now stood barely two hundred meters away from the walls of the Firebase, its remaining muzzles of steam cannons looking ominously down at the guns of the UN.

Fist sized holes appeared and shredded armor plating rained down, creating a trail of debris and destroyed land in its wake. Sparks and smoke spewed out from the ripped armor and holes all along the flanks of the Protectorate war machine. Surprisingly, even with more than half its skeletal clawed feet having ripped off by gunfire, it still managed to drag itself almost to the walls of the Firebase.

With a mighty groan and shriek of metal tearing, the war machine stood tottering like on the brink of destruction before the Firebase. Smoke and flames continued to spew out from its damaged flanks, yet the remaining Protectorate crew continued to fight on.

The gunners onboard the Reckoner shoved the muzzles of the loaded steam cannons out just as the artillerymen of the UN 1st Artillery finished the loading of their guns. "FIRE!"

The guns of both sides erupted simultaneously together at point blank range, 155 mm shells and mushroom shaped projectiles flying past each other in unison. Rolling balls of flames covered the UN Firebase while massive explosions covered the entire front of the Protectorate war machine.

The war machine snapped in half as its hull no longer was able to hold its weight and crumbled inwards. Smoke and flames burst out while metal groaned and shriek as the explosions tore it apart from within. With the ruptured aetherium tanks and pipes, the remaining legs of the war machine could no longer support its weight and the whole machine crumpled and the land shook.

As for the UN side, the guns were shattered by the balls of explosions. The artillerymen of the 1st Artillery crawled out from their dugouts and stared at the burning wreckage just beyond the base's walls. The men had after firing their howitzers and quickly rolled into the dugouts just as the enemy return fire exploded around the gun sites.

Private Gouda dusted himself off as he crawled out from his shelter. He patted the half melted barrel of the Haven Armament Work's 155 mm Thunderer howitzer with affection as he stared at the burning wreckage, feeling a great sense of pride. "Now... this is a true cannon!"

A note from neo Koh

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