The battered airship came drifting down from the skies to the beach and for a moment, the airship appeared to hover just off the crashing waves before dropping down with a mighty splash on the water. The airship's forward momentum ploughed its hull through the wet sand before coming to a halt. Smoke and steam hissed out from cracked piping and armour plates while hatches sprung open on all sides.

The weary and injured crew of the airship stumbled out from the wreckage and they joined a large crowd just off the sandy beach who had been gathered there by soldiers wearing a strange uniform that appeared to be a patchwork of colours.

Another airship came sliding to a halt on the beach and more Cartel sailors poured out of the beached ship. Overhead, there was a constant drone of aircraft circling in the air and finally, the last of the Cartel airships landed on an island.

UN Marines ushered the Cartel prisoners off the beach on to a gathering point while the local fishermen and farmers watched. Many of the locals were cheering the UN Marines and they spat and kicked at the short Outsiders that came off the airships.

Grand Lord Hammerfall stumbled over the sand together with his crew and some soldier in a strange uniform yelled at them, gesturing them to sit down. He joined the earlier groups of crewmen already seated down on the warm sand and looked around. He could see hundreds of his crew sitting on the sand and dozens of locals in that strange mottled uniform walking among them.

Looking at the small number of soldiers guarding them, he toyed with the idea of ordering his people to rush the guards. He was certain their numbers would overrun the guards but he gave up on the thought when he stopped what looked like an eight legged War Jack half hidden in a grove of trees.

And also the loud roar of the fearsome flyers that forced his surrender could be heard flying overhead and Hammerfall knew that they would be slaughtered if they made an attempt to breakout. He gave up any thoughts of escape and concentrated on making sure his wounded were given care.

The defeat was shocking and at first humiliating to him especially when thinking how backwards the locals were in the New World in terms of magic and steam. But the more Hammerfall thought about it, the more impressed and amazed he was of the United Nations' magic and steam!

He regretted greatly not having the first contact with the United Nations! If they had met the United Nations first, things would not have gone this way and they might in fact benefit even more! As he thought more about this issue, he started to question the information told to him by the Isles. Could it be that they were played by the Isles, by that soft looking long legs Akron?

"My Lord!" A weary looking Lord Copperstone suddenly appeared next to him, his hair, eyebrows, and beard were singed. He was also covered in cuts and bruises and walked with a limp. "You are well!"

"Rock and stone!" Hammerfall broke into a genuine smile as he saw his old friend still alive and grasped arms with him. "I had assumed the worse when your fleet was destroyed!"

"It was a really close shave there!" Lord Copperstone rubbed the ends of his singed beard and sigh. "Thankfully my invention saved me! The magic saving pod protected me when my ship blew up!"

"But alas, it saved only me and none of my crew..." Lord Copperstone said dejectedly. "May their poor souls return to the Mountains!"

"The enemy fished me off the waters," Lord Copperstone continued after a moment of silence. "And here I am!"

"These United Nations have very powerful magic and weapons!" Lord Copperstone said in a low voice. "Their steam works is also beyond what we are capable of! When they picked me up, I have seen their work up close!"

"I have a feeling that our old friend Akron has deceived us..." Grand Lord Hammerfall replied in a grim tone. "He had spoken nothing of the magic and steam works of the United Nations! I have a feeling he led us on, on purpose!'

Lord Copperstone nodded, "Aye, I think so too, now that you mentioned it. There is something more going on here! To think we were playing these backward lands, but in truth, we were the ones being played!"

Grand Lord Hammerfall nodded too, "We had been too confident and complacent! Now I worry about our people left behind in our outposts! And the coming reinforcements!"

"We need to find the ones in charge here!" Lord Copperstone hurriedly advised. "We must make peace at once or all our people coming to the New World will perish!"


Further out of the ocean from the island turned prison, the UNS Vengeance laid anchor while a detachment of the Task Force was coasting around the battle flotsam and searching for survivors.

"Captain, in total, twelve of the Cartel Air Fleet were shot down," Commander Ford reported to Blake inside the Admiral's Bridge. "Of nineteen airships, only seven survived, with different degrees of damages. Four were forced to land here and another three heavily damaged in the opening airstrike from the 1st Carrier Wing had retreated while the rest where all shot down in one way or another."

"Casualties sustained by the opponent is estimated to range between seven to nine thousand," Commander Ford continued as he read off a document. "Numbers are still being tallied from the prisoners, but we expect to have around two thousand in custody. As for the wounded, we have over seven hundred being treated by field aid stations set up on the island."

"And ours?" Blake's image on the screen asked. "Any damage taken?"

"Two deaths," Commander Ford replied. "Both pilots and the loss of one Viper and three Cobras to anti air fire. The rest of the pilots had managed to eject safely and Search And Rescue had picked them up. Other than that, there are no other damages or casualties."

"SAR operations are also still ongoing around the site of the battle," Commander Ford added. "We are working with the ships of the Isles' Home Fleet at combing the waters for any more Cartel survivors."

"And the last three retreating airships, they are too crippled or damaged to pose any threat for now," Ford said. "But the Cartel still has around eight airships of various types still scattered around the Eastern Islands."

"Ignore them for now," Blake said. "What is the situation with the Council now?"

"Dijon had Fleet Master Akron and a few other accomplices arrested," Ford reported. "And he also disbanded the Council and has taken solo command over the entire Isles."

"Help him consolidate his power over the government," said Blake. "Once the shock and momentum run off, the disbanded Council members will start to question and things might get messy for Dijon."

"Yes, Sir," Ford nodded. "As for the whereabouts of Fleet Master Megan, she should be lurking around the Eastern Island onboard some special ship."

"As to what kind of ship that is..." Ford frowned as he said. "No one knows, and those that know are too loyal to Megan to tell us..."

"I had launched all my AWACS birds out to comb the area, especially at that Seabone Reef which Akron so wanted my fleet to head there," Ford said. "It shouldn't be hard to find Megan unless she's in hiding..."

Blake nodded, "Do what you need to do to stabilize the region. Leave the Cartel to Dijon to handle."

"Yes, Sir," Ford replied. "Ah... Sir, there is also a tiny problem here..."

"What problem?" Blake's eyes narrowed.

"We found out what caused the Vengeance's controls to be lost," Ford said. "It turns out that the Vengeance's controls were hijacked by the god girl, Plee..."

"Apparently, so how or rather, she has the ability to take control of certain aspects of the ship," Ford gestured around. "Like the engines, rudders, and even the guns..."

"Seriously?" A surprise was shown on Blake's stoic expression. "How is that possible?"

"Well, Dr. Sharon and Magister Thorn have come out with plenty of guesses," Ford sighed. "One of which would be that either the dungeon core which became her divine core, had somehow made the Vengeance into a type of dungeon, hence the ship could be manipulated in certain ways..."

"Another was that due to her summoning into our world, the ship might have been influenced by her divinity, turning it somehow a part of her," Ford started listing off some of the guesses. "Also another guess was that she is a god and her godly powers allowed her to do... god things?"

"So... no one knows?" Blake cut in. "Did she say anything?"

"Not even Plee knows..." Ford replied with a shake of his head. "She said she could just... do it and she did it just like that..."

"Can she control other ships?" Blake mused. "She's like some autonomous ship AI...

"We haven't tested it yet," Ford said. "I will get Magister Thorn and Dr. Sharon to run some experiments."

"Good, but first things first, pacify the region!"


Plee sat sulkily on top of a crate as Captain Nimo stood before her with both an angry and helpless expression on his face. "No! You are not allowed to take control of this ship without any permission from ME or Commander Ford! Do you understand?"

"But they want take burgers!" Plee stubbornly replied. "I protect burgers!"

"But you endanger the lives of the crew onboard this ship in doing so!" Captain Nimo replied angrily. "You are lucky that the flight deck was cleared of any aircraft at that time but still a few crew members were wounded by the shockwave!"

"But... burgers... I protect..." Plee meekly said in a small voice.

"This is the reason why permission must be gained!" Captain Nimo sighed. "Selfishly controlling the ship can lead to people getting hurt! And you know how they all worship you! And you hurt them!"

"I... I sorry!" Plee started sniffed and Dr. Sharon stepped in.

She gave the captain a withering glare and hugged the crying god girl. "Hush hush. Alright, Captain. You made your point. She still doesn't understand a lot of things!"

"I know, but this is important!" Captain Nimo stood his ground against Dr. Sharon. "Plee! Your rations of burgers will be cut... For two weeks for your recklessness!"

"No!" Plee cried even harder. "I really sorry! No... my burgers!"

"And you are to apologize to the wounded and the crew for your actions!" Captain Nimo firmly said. "Do you understand?"

"Sob... sob," Plee nodded when sobbing on Dr. Sharon's shoulder. "Plee... understands... sob sob..."

"Good!" Captain Nimo let out a deep sigh, feeling like he had just bullied a child. "Now, you must also undergo training if you ever want to take control over the ship! You must go to the Naval Academy!"


Somewhere around the waters of Seabone Reef

Megan frowned as she read the urgent message sent by a courier wyvern that came from the First City. Her plans to ambush the Un An's giant ship had to be changed as the Un An's commander did not take the bait. But it was of no matter, as she ordered the helm to make course changes back towards the First City.

The Un AN will never see her coming, thought Megan as she smiled to herself. The Cartel's major outposts were in ruins and the Un An fleet will be destroying the Cartel's flying ships. Once all that was done, all she has to do was to put a couple of holes into the Un An's giant ship and sink it!

"Since you wanted to have an audience for the battle," Megan sneered. "I shall let you have an audience of watching your precious ship sink! Hahahahahaa!"

A note from neo Koh

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