[CANON] [RP EPISODE] As The Falcon Soars


#1

Daybreak. Men run to and fro on the busy deck of the aircraft carrier Xshathrya. Little cars carrying wagons stacked with missiles and bombs are now almost empty - the deadly implements of war installed beneath the fighters’ wings.

Today, for the first time since the Scourging, Kaveh would go to war. It was a bittersweet moment for Shahanshah Gilgamesh, who stood on the bridge in the conning tower, arms folded. If all went well, none would lose their lives today.

He knew in full, however, that things never went well. They didn’t for his father - why would they for him? There was a good chance that the war he was about to start would lead to their destruction. Felix stood next to him, a tall, brooding presence. He didn’t say anything.

One of the operations technicians on the bridge was speaking hurriedly into a headset. He looked up. “Radiant father, they are ready to launch.”. Indeed, the deck appeared deserted, were it not for the forty or so jet aircraft that lined it. With a deep breath and a prayer to Ahrmazed, the Shahanshah turned.

“You may launch when ready.”

@Aragottix


#2

Some time has passed since the Valkorian fleet vanished up north, the Keelish fleet did not pursue. They remained to lick their woulds. Repairs were under way on the damaged ships, and the fortifications the Valkorians have left on the shore to the west on Vallenora have been taken on by the Keelish military, had their defences turned around, artillery placed, and the entire complex cleaned out and re-designed to fit Keelish physique.

A pair of still salvageable ships were in the middle of being recovered, pulled up from the beach they purposefully crashed on by heavy cranes on tracks, it barely budged, it was a delicate task, but they would have it fully on dry land eventually. The reinforcements that arrived by ships not long ago have been deployed to the ex-Valkorian encampment, while the soldiers who had just fought them off were taken to the isles at The Neck for some rest, which would be followed by a receiving of commendations for valiantly holding on the front as the battle raged. IF they survived long enough to receive them…


#3

Vatabed Farzin sat, in the cockpit of his Merekhahe fighter, idly listening to the chatter of his squadron’s pilots as they discussed the mission. His squadron was to be the third wave, loaded with bombs and cluster munitions to sow chaos and cover the return of the others. The second and first waves both consisted of some 15 fighters. The first was to hit the enemy air units, and clear the space for the second, main blow which would strike using heavy air-to-ground missiles and lay waste to any ships or war machines found.

Suddenly, the voice of the Vataban - the air wing commander in charge of all fighters assigned to the Xshathrya - rang over his headset. “Squadron leaders, prepare to lift off by the flight unit. Four at a time. Godspeed, and may Ahrmazed keep you in his blessed light.”.

The first four fighters had already been hooked up to the magnet rail catapults for launching. These devices, of which the carrier had four, all but shot the fighter off the deck with enough momentum to lift off after the engines were engaged. It was a testament to the discipline and long practice of the air technicians that the whole Carrier Air Group was airborne within ten minutes.


#4

About thirty minutes later, the first wave was approaching the target. Vatabed Dilshad, commander of the squadron, keyed his microphone. “Alright ladies and gents, coming up on target. Range four zero clicks. Engage laser locks.” He flipped a switch on his dashboard, the pinging sound letting him know the missiles were now locked. “All callsigns, arm AAM. Prepare to fire on my mark, two missile spread.”

The Vataban watched the range designator rush towards the 30km mark, and spoke. “Aaaaand, away!” On his order, the twelve fighters of his squadron let fly with a spread of missiles, more than twenty of them streaking towards an enemy that was, as of yet, barely more than the tiniest blip on the horizon. “Manoever, pass left, circle, and let’s go for another round.”

The distant sky erupted in blooms of fire, and Vatabed Dilshad keyed the command frequency of Xshathrya. “HQ, Falcon. First volley away, two four missile spread, AA, BVR. Damage assessment?” The voice that came back through his headset, however, made him open his mouth in surprise. “Negative, Falcon Aleph. Radar is showing no effect, no bogeys wiped. Proximate cause: magical shielding. Advice is to continue barrage, they will overload eventually, over.”


#5

The sky above the Keelish troops flared brightly as explosions erupted along the island chain and what appeared to be flying craft darted overhead and past their position. The alarm was sounded, the Keelish leaped to their feat, a lot of them returning from a just finished battle, were tired. Others meanwhile were of a boosted morale when news of victory reached them, and rushed to their posts immediately.

The fleet command stared at the radar.

‘‘What in the nether was THAT!?’’ one of them exclaimed panicked like over the coms.
’‘What happened?!’’ the grand marshal asked from his position in the continental garrison.
’‘We just got hit by multiple unknowns, they are in the air, moving swiftly!’’ an officer explained.
’‘Glider units?’’ the grand admiral asked.
’‘No, sir. They had a metallic form if i recall right. I could not see any humanoid figure from the quick glimpse i got of them, we don’t have anything on them at this time.’’

A soldier rushed in to the bunker to interrupt.

‘‘Incoming!’’ he shouted.
’‘Machine gunners, FIRE! Load those turrets with shrapnel rounds, lets see if we cant hit them!’’

Keelish warriors ran about like mad, getting a hold of as many machine guns they could find, pulling more out of storage and slapping on ammunition. They leaped outside, and with the barriers still holding, opened fire on the incoming aircraft.

The ships and artillery meanwhile rushed to switch to shrapnel rounds to shoot at this unknown craft.


#6

The jet fighters circled back around, drawing a long, lazy curve that brought them straight over the town of Maruba before letting loose with a second volley. The Vatabed’s voice rang through the CIC on the Xhathrya. Second volley away, two four missile spread, AAM, BVR. Damage this time?. The tactical officer looked at the radar plot table before speaking. “Affirmative, Falcon Aleph. Radar is showing zero three bogeys wiped, several others seem to be shedding bits. Launch third volley, then commence strafing and overwatch. ETA to wave 2 terminal approach is zero three minutes.”

The third volley streaked from Dilshad’s squadron, missiles erupting in red blooms that blew bits and planks off the enemy airships. A good number of them were now on fire, several having dropped out of the sky entirely. He granted himself a moment’s satisfaction before his attention was caught by something else.

Black clouds, exploding. Flak.

He keyed his mike. “All callsigns, be advised. Enemy has commenced flak AA fire. Evade and destroy, weapons free.” At his direction, the until then tight formation flew apart, fighters spreading to engage in individual attack runs on enemy anti-air positions with 20mm guns and light bombs.


#7

A few airships were on fire, the crew running about, fetching fire extinguishers, but to little effect. The ships had to be landed and hosed down, but they didn’t have time to bother with that at the moment, so they landed the ships in the sea where they would float as ordinary boats while their sails and balloons burned out. The flak was coming from guns situated through out the isles as well as ship turrets, there were quite a few of them. With most of the barriers down already, the cybermancers jumped in to action and conjured up new ones which they would maintain themselves. They joined in groups of 4 per ship to maintain said ships barrier, and protect it while exposing the land bases. Clearly, the ships were a priority.

The flak continued, as did the machine gun fire.


#8

In the meantime, Hawk Squadron - the second wave - was on terminal approach. Unlike the first wave that had been equipped for air attack, Hawk Squadron had been outfitted with ground-targeting weapons. “All callsigns, arm air-to-ground missiles. Pursue and destroy, weapons free. Target priority is the ships. Be advised, enemy has flak AA and magical shielding. Hit them with the little ones first before dropping the daisycutters and torpedoes.”

The formation, like Falcon Squadron before it, flew apart to individually attack enemy forces. Pairs of aircraft used light missiles to strip away the shields of Kleriel warships, before a second pair would come in with airborne torpedoes and heavy bombs to light it up. The bay became a scene of carnage, the air rent by the screeching of jets and screaming of wounded. Before long, however, the light fighter-bombers had exhausted their armaments, and after a few abortive strafing runs, Hawk Aleph keyed his mike. “All callsigns, cease attack. This is pointless. RTB. Third wave will be here momentarily.”


#9

‘‘Abandon ship!’’ a sailor cried as the mass of crewmen poured in the lifeboats from the totalled ships.

‘‘We just lost another batch of ships!’’ the officer yelled over coms, ‘‘And we haven’t made a dent in them!’’

The grand admiral radios the fleet in the southern Calledian sea for reinforcements.

‘‘Affirmative grand admiral, reinforcements are on their way. ETA, 27 hours.’’ the commander replied.

The admiral threw his arms on his desk as he leaned on them.
’‘Damn it…’’ he sighed in despair.

The old Hellebronai master was standing a few steps away from him, staring outside and admiring the battle taking place.

‘‘They are magnificent though, aren’t they?’’ the master asked while holding his tea cup.

‘‘Wha-?’’ the admiral cut off abruptly.

‘‘The flying ones. The way they move, the coordination, the grace… It’s beautiful. The art of war unfolds.’’

The admiral stared at him for a moment, wondering how to reply to something like that.
’‘Youre insane, old man.’’ was the only thing he could think of.

‘‘Though it seems our guests are forgetting something. Why don’t you return it to them?’’ the master hinted and sipped his tea.

‘‘Ofcourse…’’ the admiral realised, and relayed the order.

The cybermancers on the isles got in to position, and as the enemy aircraft neared, they used magnetic magic to launch thousands upon thousands of small debris which their own rockets, bombs, and their destruction left behind.

‘‘Lets see you evade THAT…’’


#10

Alarms blared through Hawk Aleph’s cockpit as he suddenly found his flight path full of floating debris. Reacting on pure instinct, he let go of his controls, reached deep inside for the hidden currents, and projected the most potent shield magic he could to protect the twin engine intakes - getting debris in these would be catastrophic.

Bits of metal pattered against the hull and cockpit canopy for a moment, and then he was through. Still flying - more or less in a straight line. He hurriedly grabbed his controls to correct his course - which would’ve slammed him into a mountain five seconds later if he had not intervened, and swung back up. His aircraft had been badly pockmarked by the debris, the canopy scratched all over. It was clear this bird would need significant repairs before she would be airworthy again.

He keyed his mike and spoke, voice slightly quaky. "All callsigns, Hawk Aleph. We’re bingo on missiles, and wave three is inbound. ETA 2 minutes. RTB, RTB, RTB."


#11

‘‘Sir! Another wave incoming!’’ an officer yelled in panic.

‘‘This isn’t war, this is slaughter! We’re fucking powerless!’’ the grand admiral replied with a fearful shaky voice. ‘‘Keep up the fire! All commanding officers, disperse the ships, disperse the men! They can’t get many of us at once if we are spread out! All free hands, move the wounded to shelter! Keelish and Mechari have priority, Valkorian prisoners are secondary!’’


#12

Vatabed Farzin finally arrived in hostile airspace to behold a scene of carnage. Floating wrecks of ships lay scattered on the shores or were still burning. Plumes of smoke reached high into the sky. He keyed his mike.

“Alright, Eagle Squadron. Let’s get this done and get home in time for the mint tea. Weapons free, cleared to engage, target priority is the land army. You’ve got two cluster bombs each, so use them wisely. Otherwise, feel free to strafe and bomb at your leisure.”

Flipping his rudder, the Merekhahe made a sharp bank to the left, which turned into a dive that sent two bombs flying down into what appeared to be an enemy command group. He curved his plane back up, and cruised in a long turn before returning to repeat the manoever. This time, however, rather than impacting as solid units, the bombs split apart while still airborne to shower the area with little bomblets.

The results were gruesome. The bombs were too small to kill, but very capable of damaging or blowing off limbs.

After banking back upwards, however, he felt a series of sharp thuds rake his fuselage. He looked left, and saw that a volley of machinegun fire had apparently pierced his engine air intake. As he looked, it caught fire, and he barely had time to shout a panicked “Mayday, mayday, going down. Ejecting!” into his mike before punching the chair launcher and shooting up. The canopy was blown clear, the chair shot into the sky. Parachutes swiftly unfolded from it, and he saw the remains of his craft soar down to crash amidst the trees as he slowly drifted down.

Up above, the other aircraft seem to have depleted their bombs and ammunition, and the sharp screeching of the engines was receding.

He looked down towards the earth with trepidation. There was nothing he could do now.


#13

The host of aircraft broke off and fly off in to the distance.

‘‘Dammage report!’’ the admiral shouted.

‘‘We lost, erm…’’ his aid muttered as he got his bearings.
’‘I KNOW WE LOST, now tell me how much did we loose?!’’ he yelled, utterly stressed out.
’‘Well, some of the ships are on fire, but are salvageable still.’’ the aid replied.

The admiral glared at him, then sighed, and wiped his forehead with a tissue.
’‘Report. What were those things?’'
The aid wasn’t sure how to explain. ‘‘We don’t know…’’
’‘Were they Valkorian?!’’ the admiral asked.
’‘We aren’t sure…’’ the aid replied.
’‘Did we spot any colours on the things? Any symbols that would tie it to any known power? Where do they come from?’’ the admiral kept asking, covering his aid in a landslide of questions.
’‘We don’t-’’ the aid began his usual reply when the admiral abruptly cuts him off.
’‘Well tell me something you DO know, DAMN IT!’’ he yelled as he pounded his fist against his desk. The aid freezing completely still under the tension.

The tension broke when a Keelish warrior ran in.
’‘Grand admiral! We downed one of them! It looks like the craft’s operator has ejected and is now floating down towards us in a safety-chute type gadget!’’ he reported with urgency.
’‘Have our men surround him! Quickly!’’ the admiral ordered.
’‘Already done sir!’’

The moment the parachuter was noticed, Keelish from the surrounding area rushed to the scene to surround his landing site. Soldiers with machine guns, rifles, crossbows, as well as melee waited patiently to receive their newest guest.


#14

Upon landing, Farzin unbuckled himself from the seat, then stood up slowly, raising his hands. The light SMG that was embedded in the chair was left where it was - he saw no reason to throw his life away.

Now it was up to the Father to get him out.


#15

The pilot was approached carefully from the behind, his arms pulled backwards behind his back and shackled as loud and clear instructions were given to him by an officer at his front. Then he was made to kneel, and his feet were shackled together, disabling him from making long strides. The weapon in his seat was confiscated, and what remained of his aircraft recovered for study. The Kavehan will have a lot to answer in the near future.

Long hours passed as the Keelish attempted to regain control of their holdings. The damage was great, but they did not loose everything at least. With the arrival of the requested reinforcements and supplies, The Neck was reinforced once more. It was not as tough as it was before though, and it probably wouldn’t be even if they summoned the entirety of their fleet there. The Keelish took advantage of Maruba’s willingness to aid them in their time of struggle, and had their damaged but successfully salvaged ships escorted to their port for much needed repairs.

Kleriel would remember this day for a very long while…


#16

Later that day, in the main briefing room onboard the JTNS Xshathrya, forty or so pilots sat, idling after their mission. Conversation was subdued, the men still coming down from their adrenalin high, their taste of combat. The room quieted when the door opened.

First one in was the Vataban Frya, the man in command of the Xshahthrya’s Carrier Air Group. After him came the captain of the Xshathrya himself, Navban Asabana. The last person to enter the room, slightly shorter than the others but much bulkier in his usual golden-and-black powered armour, was the Shahanshah, Gilgamesh the Golden.

Upon seeing him, the pilots in the room rushed to their feet and snapped to attention - right hand over their heart in submission to their monarch. The Shahanshah spoke, a hint of wriness to his voice: “At ease, men.”. He stood at the center of the room, in front of the operations screen - one slave-linked to the one in the CIC, able to show all the stylus annotations made by the operations officers.

Gilgamesh scraped his throat. “Pilots, today you have struck a mighty blow against a fearsome power from the North. It was not our enemy, but those of the Valkorians we devastated. With our attack, we have shattered the military might of this foe. In doing so, we have finally repaid the debt of a hundred years, owed to the Empire for their aid against the Tyrant so long ago. Your work today released our whole nation from this bond, and for this I give you my gratitude.” to everyone’s astonishment, the Shahanshah actually bowed his head at this, raising it again before continuing.

“With our debt settled, we can now approach the Valkorans as free men, unbound by any historical bonds. We have shown them our strength - shown them that we are not to be trifled with. And this is necessary, because our scouts indicate a Valkoran garrison occupies Kurshid and the Temple, and has wreaked devastation on our erstwhile capital.” The Shahanshah’s voice grew hard and cold. “This is something we cannot easily forgive. We will expunge the Imperials from Kurshid, by diplomacy if we can, but by force if we need. We will reclaim the city of our ancestors, and rebuild it into a shining testament to Kavehan engineering and ingenuity. From there, our power will once more spread over the steppe, until the whole land has become a wonder to behold!” With finality in his voice he concluded. “This is what I, Shahanshah Gilgamesh the Golden of Kaveh, have determined. It shall be so.”

Without a further word, he turned and walked out of the room with his naval captain in tow.

Vataban Frya waited until the senior officers were out of earshot before chuckling softly and speaking. “Alright, laddies, have a sit down and let’s debrief. Damage reports indicate that…”

@staff You can close this one.


#17