Task Force Flag, 3rd Flotilla, UNS Braveheart
The small corvette bobbed up and down among the wreckage spewed all over the ocean together with its motor launches. A shimmering layer of oil covered the water's surface as the crew of the UNS Braveheart dredged the waters for survivors and anything that could provide a clue to what they had just blown up underwater.
"Attention all ships! This is the Flagship Vengeance! All Flotilla except the 3rd and the 5th are to form up with the Task Force immediately!" The comms blared out from inside the bridge. "The 3rd and the 5th are to continue rescue efforts and support the Marines on the ground! Vengeance out!"
The captain frowned as he turned his binoculars out to the distance, where the main task force lies. He could see the other corvettes speeding off from the white waves covering their bows and not long after the entire task force except for the 3rd and 5th were left behind.
"Cap," The XO of the Braveheart asked. "Do you think we should have reported this?"
The captain of the Braveheart shook his head, "No, not yet. We don't even know what it is... Whether it is really a sea monster or some kind of... ship, we don't know yet!"
"Continue to dredge the waters!"
Task Force Flag, UNS Vengeance, Command Bridge
The tactical plot table was covered in scribbles as the tactical officer and his team worked out an intercept course for the task force against Megan's loyalists' ships. Another officer made constant updates to the chart as new information coming from the AWACS recon plane shadowing Megan's fleet came in.
"They had a good head start," Captain Nimo said. "But our reach is longer."
"Yes," Commander Ford replied as he checked the updated charts. "A hundred ships... It will take at least three to four launches to take them all out."
"Launch both air wings?" Captain Nimo asked. "It would cut down the number of launches..."
"We only have two attack wings," Commander Ford replied. The Vengeance's aircraft were group into three air wings, the 1st and 2nd Attack Wing each consisted of four mixed squadrons of F/A-1N Sea Cobras and F/A - 2 Vipers while the 3rd Support Wing consisted of the attack helicopters, transport helicopters and aircraft. "I want to hold back one air wing just in case something unexpected pops out."
"Yes, Sir. But they do seem to be running pretty fast," Captain Nimo added. "Could Megan be hiding in the North Islands?"
Commander Ford looked at the display showing an aerial view of the combined fleet of Megan's loyalists and frowned. Even him a layman with magic could tell that the fleet was sailing with the help of magic. "I don't know by they do seem to be in a hurry."
"Still no word on Megan?" Ford asked his intel officer who shook his head. "Damn... Where could she be hiding?"
The Isles, Island of Sando
Major James '007' Bone was frowning and looking down on two stout and scruffy looking dwarves. Both of the dwarves were covered with thick brushy hair, eyebrows and beard, except for the one wearing some kind of crystal glasses that had cracks on the glass whose hair was mostly singed.
"What can I do for you two gentlemen?" Major James politely asked using the New World common tongue as he accepted a report from one of his aides and glanced through the papers, his attention clearly not on the two dwarves.
The dwarf without the glasses seemed to puff up like a pufferfish, his expression turning reddish while the other dwarf said some words in his ear, making the angry dwarf calm down. "I am Grand Lord Hammerfall! Commander and Chief of all the Cartel forces in the New World!"
Major James put down the report in his hand and tilted his head as his universal translator device in his ear got to work. They had updated its language database with the help of the stranded Iron Kingdom Professor but there were still some words that did not make it into the update, hence the program had to learn.
"Are you the... long leg in charge of these... troops?" The really short dwarf demanded, his arms stabbing into his sides. "We demand to see the Great Lord!"
Major James turned to the Iron Kingdom Professor, Hamlot who had been attached to his command to act as a translator as he knew how to speak the common trade tongue used by the people of the Old World. Professor Hamlot gestured to James and answered in trade tongue."This hooman here is the one who commands the soldiers here, he holds the highest authority."
The dwarf glanced at James before he gave a sort of salute bow and said, "We surrender and want no more war! Peace between us!"
Professor Hamlot turned to Major James and said, switching to the Old World common tongue, "They want to end this war."
"I know," James replied while shaking his head. "But they started all this."
Seeing the shake of his head, the dwarf gritted his teeth and growled out, "We give compensation! Peace between our nations!"
Once again, Professor Hamlot turned back to Major James and said, "They are willing to pay compensation..."
"Of course they have to pay compensation!" Major James chuckled. The humans had long learned to collect compensation and the ransoming of prisoners from their defeated enemies. "They will be billed!"
Professor Hamlot held back his smile and schooled his expression before he told the dwarves that they were expected to pay compensation and a bill of compensation would be given to them later. His words made the expressions of both the dwarves ugly, making Major James's smile all so wider.
"Now, since you guys wanna surrender," Major James squat down until he was around the dwarf's height and said, "Give me the locations of all your bases and codes or letter to tell your troops all to stand down!"
Someone was shaking her, the action making pain flare up all over her body. She cracked an eye open and the light stabbed into her eyes, making her squirm further in pain. "Fleet Master!"
Megan blinked her eyes as the fog in her mind cleared and she found herself laying against the bulkhead and everything appeared to be slanted to one side. As clarity came back, she recalled what happened. There was suddenly several loud thuds and she remembered the ship shaking wildly before everything when dark.
The face of her aide hovered closely next to her and he gestured to the healer. "Heal her! Quick!"
Megan pushed her self up, while her worried aide supported her. She shooed the healer away and said, "I don't need a healer! Go help the others."
"What... happened?" Megan looked around the slanted decks that were littered with odds and ends. Some puddles of water could also be seen pooling at the decks. "What is the damage?"
"We lost the tail section!" The aide nervously reported. "Also leaks were reported along the central hull! And... we lost the air pumps!"
"Where... is helm?" Megan asked as she tried to make her way across the clutter collected at the slanted deck. "Why have we not returned to the surface?"
"There... is no controls left!" The aide blurted out. "We are sinking down!"
"Release the ballast!" Megan ordered as she stared at the panicking aide. "Hurry up!"
"Fleet Master!" Megan's First Officer appeared. Blood caked his face from a head wound he suffered. "We are taking in too much water! The pumps can't keep up!"
"Release the ballasts! Megan repeated as she stumbled her way over to the helm controls. "Bring us up to the surface now!"
"We are trying!" The First Officer replied helplessly. "But we are too heavy!"
"How deep are we now?" Megan asked as she finally reached the helm controls.
"At least seventeen cables and increasing!" The First Officer replied. "Fleet Master... The crew... they are frightened!"
The sound of metal groaning and splintering wood grew louder and Megan frowned. "Dump all unneeded weight!"
"The cannons, ammunition, supplies... the dragons!" Megan ordered. "We need to lose weight if we want to float back up!"
"But... the dragons..." The First Officer hesitated for a moment before he nodded. "Yes, Fleet Master!"
He started barking orders to the crew still able to function and ordered them to start dumping the dragons and unnecessary things off the underwater ship. The crew with their lives on the line did not hesitate to follow the orders. They rushed as fast as they could along with the slanted decks and reached the gun decks.
Mortars, cannons, and ballistas were shoved into the side lock, where the chamber was flooded with water and the heavy weapons sunk off the slanted side. Another group of crew members hurried over to the dragon pens where the frightened and agitated dragons were herded towards the cargo hatches.
The dragons already claustrophobic and frightened screamed and snapped at the crew. The desperate crew attacked the dragons in return. Most of the dragons were either restrained and hooded or even sedated to keep them calm, could not put up much of a fight. Their riders bravely tried to defend their mounts and many were cut down without mercy.
The crew ignored the pleads of the dragon riders and dragged the dragons towards the locks. Blood covered the decks and both the dead and live dragons were dumped into the locks. In the end, some of the dragon riders too loyal to their mounts joined their dragons inside locks.
When the locks were sealed and water flooded in and the dragons and their riders struggled on the other side until they drowned. Some tried to swim to the surface but they were too deep and they too drowned in their futile attempts while the crew inside continued dragging more of the dragons to the locks.
Finally, after two turns of the sandglass, the ship was lightened enough that it no longer was sinking. Repairs had also plugged most of the leaks and the water pumps finally managed to pump water out faster than it is taking water in. With all the cannons and ammunition dumped off the ship and without the dragons, the Sea Shadow managed to ever so slowly float towards the surface.
The air pump used to exchange the air inside the Sea Shadow was also replaced and the barrel holding hose was released, allowing it to float to the surface and the crew inside the Sea Shadow laboured at the bellows, pumping in air to the Sea Shadow. By now, the Sea Shadow was no longer slanted to the side as much as before.
Megan let out a relieved smile as reports of the repairs came to her. The Sea Shadow's calamity had passed and they were only about twelve cables of length to the surface. Just as she was about to give out more orders, there was a sudden mighty shake that knocked many off their feet. Even Megan, seated in her chair, nearly fell off too.
Metal groaned and wooden beams cracked loudly. Megan cried out, "What was that?"
The ship shook again as if something had rammed it from the side, shaking the crew once again. A crew suddenly cried out, "Sea monster! It's a Sea Devil!"
The sea devil was a sea monster that looked similar to a Terran Plesiosauria. It had a thicker neck and its body was covered in hard scales. The sea devil was attracted by the scent of dragon blood in the waters. It gouged itself fully with the bodies of the dragons and in doing so, further spread the blood scent in the waters.
More and more sea devils were attracted and they noticed the strange creature that had some scent of blood on it and they started to investigate the creature. One by one they came, using their powerful heads to 'bump' against the creature, before long one started nipping the creature and soon, the whole horde joined in to nip away at the unknown creature.