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|Chapter 10: A Race to Earth, Pt. 2|
3: Turned Tides
Air. Water. Earth. Fire.
After a long, fulfilled and yet exhausting life, Avatar Korra passed, being succeeded by Sari of the Earth Kingdom, who died early and didn't play a role in history.
The current Avatar is Asura of the Fire Nation, who mastered the elements quickly.
Although she thought she would never play an important role in history, she was proven wrong when the black ships arrived. The first one came in peace, but all the following carried a deadly load: WAR.
A war even the Avatar and her allies can barely end, one that threatens to end the worlds involved.
Now, more than ever, ending the war is urgent, for that for both sides it is either victory or death, for that this war could be the end of all of mankind.
Previously in Avatar: The War of the Worlds
Stuart leads an attack on the European Space Fleet above the mining planet Tau Ceti f in order to obtain copper to rebuild the League's Space Force, but Europeans - under the lead of Anna and Olaf - prove themselves elusive despite their lack of fuel.
The fireball expanded and damaged the armour further, a bang accompanying it. The shell's explosion could be heard all around, and the obsolete spaceship's insufficient armour gave in to the mighty battleship's single shell, before another struck the reactor area, followed by several plasma blasts at said area, which caused the reactor to follow the shells' example, and detonate. The ships was torn apart and scorched at once, making space for the following Fleet of spaceships, each and every one repaired (even if only makeshift) and refuelled for battle. Their approach was not unnoticed, nor silent, in fact, it was meant to be seen. The ships approaching were lead by the Red October, placed under the command of Admiral Olaf Janssen. His force was small but powerful, consisting of some of the best ships in their Fleet, but only the European vanguard. He smiled as his officers reported the fact that the enemy was preparing to attack his little force, for their trap had been set up perfectly. Above the ocean of the mining world, he and his forces waited for the enemy to come.
"Sir, we've lost all means of contact to the Solar Fleet ship Centauri, and instead get readings of around a dozen or more European ships. A squadron of the Solar Fleet is hurrying there, shall we send the whole fleet there?", an officer informed Stuart, who retorted watching the officer's screen, "It's a trap, has to be... but then again, there's a battleship there, of the... Nemesis-Class! We need to annihilate their forces there quickly, and then focus on their main attack that would come right afterwards. Send all the Colonial Sectors' Fleets in, and probably the Oceanian, too, we can spare those for now. The question is just where their main force will strike."
Stuart stood full erect again and walked back to his seat in the bridge's centre, seating himself there. "Their forces combined, though having suffered great losses and using hopelessly outdated ships, have to be enough to defeat them, while we are on the lookout for the actual counter-strike, and then rush there to fend it off as far as we can. One problem remains, though... they can call for reinforcements, but we cannot."
His bitter realisation had been heard throughout the bridge, and the officers shot each other doubting glances, sharing a thought, We're never gonna make it!
"Admiral, we've got incoming. The Oceanian, the Solar, the CoRoT-7 and the 55 Cancri Fleets are advancing into our direction in four separate columns." The officer's voice was a mere whisper to the redhead Admiral standing to his right, gazing at the monitor showing the movements.
"Separate columns, eh? I thought they'd learned the principle of 'divide 'n' conquer' by now... We need to shoot them down, last time we encountered them they weren't much of a match. However, we need to be cautious. Stuart might set up the same trap we have set up for him for us... "
The two dozen ships fired up their engines again and shot away into the direction the Oceanian Fleet was coming from, readying for deploying a seemingly obsolete tactic: submarine warfare.
Olaf's forces sped through the air at supersonic speed, all their forward guns loaded and ready, as the remnants of the Oceanian Space Fleet approached them in the opposite direction. Just as they had come into sight, the Red October vanished from it, activating its stealth device. The other ships opened fire mid-flight, all aiming at several ships sharing their weak armour. The shock waves' also rocked the other ships, not solely those they hit, and thus caused an even more severe effect, as it propelled chunks of armour through the air, that struck near ships, mostly severely. At the same time, the Red October literally appeared from nowhere behind the Oceanian ships, and started to shell them as well, and the few ships began encircling the Space Fleet's remnants, shelling them all the time. Of the Oceanian Fleet, only the fastest had survived the Battle of the Kepler 22 system, and those were fast for their light armour, which now proved as a great disadvantage. Ship after ships exploded, or slowly descended towards the ocean beneath, merging into it and never emerging again, only minutes the massacre lasted, before the whole Oceanian Space Fleet was buried at Tau Ceti f's ocean floor.
"One down, three to go.", Olaf stated, just as a shell exploded at the Red October's outer hull, just above the missile silo, fired by one of the incoming ships of the three Space Fleets, all three now employing the tactic the European had just made use of, only surrounding them already at the start. The Red October's cloaking device was turned on again, and the ship became invisible, as well ceasing all acoustic emissions, before gliding through the lines without much effort, as the European ships opened fire on the approaching ones, without any pattern, plainly firing on every ship not of the Allies. The Red October however, uncloaked and wildly opened fire on the nearest enemy ships, but itself got hit in the tower, in the hangar door, and the stern, near the propulsion, after which it cloaked itself again and headed off, seemingly leaving the other ships for dead.
"Sir, the Oceanian Fleet was sunk, but the Solar, the CoRoT-7 and the 55 Cancri Fleets are currently annihilating the European task force. Also have our scouts found no sign of the rest of the European Space Fleet, not yet. They are, as of our current state of knowledge, not in the system.", the officer informed Stuart, who briefly turned to him, "Very well. They've got no way of defeating us with their current force. The planet is our- "
He stopped mid-sentence as he rose from his seat, not believing what he witnessed. The Red October uncloaked just before the Bavaria, and opened fire, focusing on the bridge. The shells struck the fragile structure without much resistance, and destroyed its casing, before the focus shifted to the lower tower structure of the Bavaria, where they severed most of the connections to the rest of the ship, before firing one shell on each of the two antennae, destroying both. The Red October then came under heavy fire itself, and therefore cloaked again, flying off. The greatly devastated bridge was now filled with dead and injured, Stuart having had the luck of only having been blown into the structure's back, hitting the wall, and hadn't been pierced by any splinters that coated the floor. The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces picked himself up, and shouted, enraged, "WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME THE RED OCTOBER WAS THE NEMESIS-CLASS SHIP?!"
He stumbled out of the room after receiving no answer, and headed towards the hangar. Time to change the flagship. The third time in this freakin' war!, he thought as he climbed down a ladder meant for use in emergencies, on one side of it the hull lacking. After he had climbed down the ladder for a few minutes, he arrived over the ship's power source, which was a nuclear fusion generator, and the hyperdrive, and walked to the ship's starboard side, where he ran down a metal staircase, before, at its end, he swung a door open, and entered the hangar area. An armoured and armed shuttle was taking most of the space there, huge swastika and rank insignia indicating it as Stuart's. Without much thought, he boarded it, and ordered its pilot to bring him to the last unharmed sister ship of the Germania, the Teutonica. Time to end this hassle! This is the European Space Fleet's end!
The Nemesis orbited the planet Tau Ceti e, alongside the rest of the European Space Fleet, as its sister ship popped out of hyperspace, and uncloaked itself. The Red October flew near the Nemesis, and its larboard hangar opened, clearing the flight path for a gunship to transport the Swedish Admiral Olaf Janssen to the European flagship. The gunship, essentially a space-going helicopter, landed in the hangar, and opened its sides, Olaf storming out, out of the hangar area, up the stairs by the generator's side, and then upwards to enter the bridge. Arriving there out of breath, he turned to Anna, who observed the Fleet arranging itself in a formation for the upcoming battle.
"Have you lost?", she acknowledged his unexpected early return.
"No, but we're about to. What's taking you so long?", he replied, "We've sunk the Oceanian Fleet, and the Solar, 55 Cancri and CoRoT-7 Fleets are currently encircling the rest of our task force."
The South Tyrolean Admiral turned to face him, and gestured him to come to her side. "This is taking us so long", she announced as he caught sight of all light spacecraft of the whole Fleet flying around to find the ship in whose hangar they belong, "We're preparing a fast strike-force. Actually, we were about to leave. As you might have noticed, the light spaceships are not landing in the hangars, but grouping around the ships. We're preparing a surprise attack. The Red October and the fighters sure are enough to sink the three Fleets you spoke of, while the rest engages the two American and the African Fleets."
"You always have plans for everything, don't you?", Olaf complimented her battle plan, a hint of sarcasm in his voice, which she countered, "No, but they always come to my mind at the right moment." She then turned to her officers, of whom the communication officers announced the Fleet ready. She then turned to Olaf again, who looked reassuringly into the eyes of hers, before she shouted, "Alright, then... VICTORY OR DEATH!"
With this order, the ships of the Fleet entered hyperspace, only to leave it again seconds later above Tau Ceti f.
The former Propaganda Minister leaned over the shoulder of his subordinate, monitoring the officer's radar screen. All of sudden, a huge mass of spaceships appeared near their own position, and the officer was about to start with, "Sir, we've got incoming", but stopped when Stuart shot him a murderous glare. "I know. The Europeans have returned at full force, as expected. Oh, a small force is breaking from the main force to aid their task force? Amusing how foolish those youngsters act often. And the main force seems to intend to engage us... Fools."
"Sir, with all due respect, we shouldn't underestimate their abilities after all they had accomplished.", another officer reminded his ultimate superior, and, other than expected, didn't get shot, instead, Stuart stated, "Indeed, but they part their already parted force again, and then try to engage a force thrice their size? No matter their capabilities, we can annihilate them quite simply, by encircling, and by that I mean completely encircling."
Olaf had returned to the Red October, which guarded the fighters' unit on their way to relief the encircled task force. The cloaked ship was their spearhead, and came into range of the three Space Fleets first. The few European ships and the remnants of the three Space Fleets had not managed to sink any of their respective enemy's ships, in fact it seemed they were in quite a stalemate, constantly firing volleys at each other. The Red October's uncloaking changed that. Opening with a volley on the nearest enemy ships, the stealth ship managed to severely damage three enemy vessels, while the fighters swarmed, explosions following their track. Not unlike snakes, the two columns of fighters wound between the enemy ships, the AA-gunners not managing to keep track of their rapid movements. Both the Red October and the encircled ships began to shell the distracted enemy, which resulted in the first ships sinking towards the ocean after a few minutes. After the first ships had been rendered useless, the resistance was diminishing. The fighters' scourge in combination with the Red October's concentrated fire, and the wildly fired volleys of the encircled task force sunk ships every few seconds, and therefore, lead to the Fleets' leaders decision to abandon the mission of annihilating the task force, and fled. However, Olaf noticed the potential danger for Anna's main force, and hastily positioned the Red October right in front of the fleeing and unorganised enemy force, firing a broadside. Being shelled from the front, from behind, from the outside and from the inside, the ships' captains of the last remnants of the Space Fleets of the Solar, the 55 Cancri and the CoRoT-7 Colonial Sectors all shared a thought, of sacrificing themselves, and enabled the use of their last weapon. Their joint self-destruct resulted in a bright fireball tearing everything within apart, all fuelled solely by artificial nuclear fusion. Unfortunately for the League, however, did the massive explosion also produce a massive shock wave, which pushed most of the European ships out of the danger despite their aero dynamical design. When the massive fireball, easily having a diameter of several kilometres, slowly diminished in size, Olaf decided to check on the other ships engaged in the fight against those three fleets.
"Captains and squadron leaders of the European distraction Task Force, can you hear me?", was the worried message he sent on all wavelengths the European Space Fleet made use of, and, after a short wait, received replies, "Aye, Admiral!", "Fairly well, actually.", "Sir, yes, sir!", amongst others assured him in planning his next move, the last in this battle, actually. "Well then, aid our comrades, shall we?", he smirked as the task force gathered itself and then took off to the two lines of battle that the three last of Stuart's fleets and the European had formed.
The two lines of battle were parallel to each other, and an eerie silence laid upon the area. That was, except for the continuous engine sound. The Europeans were clearly outnumbered, but still Stuart refrained from making the first move, his trap would only work if the Europeans would be foolish enough to attack. But Anna Visconti didn't order any attack, knowing it would be her, and her Space Fleet's end, and her Space Fleet was all what stood between the League's forces and the last resource necessary for them rebuilding their forces, and thus, their victory. Like in a game of chess, no one dared to make any move at all, for it would've been disastrous otherwise. Nothing seemed to move for all eternity, but then a message was sent, and an officer noticed an anomaly.
"Ma'am, Admiral Janssen seems to have to report something!", a communications officer stated, and Anna walked over to him, Olaf's voice hearable as she arrived, "Anna, it seems your plan worked quite well, except the ships surviving it seemed to have to self-destruct, and almost cost us some fine ships... so, we're coming over to aid in whatever you're doing. Olaf over and out!"
Before she could reply, the transmission was ended, and she returned to watching the enemy forces.
"Sir! There's an anomaly where the three Fleets of ours ought to be!", the officer called his superior, who then walked by, asking, "And by anomaly, you mean... ?"
"A massive accumulation of energy, like in a star, its- "
"Their ships' self-destruct. You realise we've lost FOUR FLEETS TODAY? JUST BECAUSE I KEEP UNDERESTIMATING THE TWO FUCKERS WHO COMMAND THE EUROPEAN FLEET? We must- " Stuart was infuriated. His underestimations have lead to their greatest military defeat. However, a communications officer then spoke, "Sir, we've got an incoming message from Washington!"
Stuart failed to keep a calm face, but still spoke coldly as always again, as he was greeted by the Führer through the radio unit. "Sieg Heil!", both spoke simultaneously, before Tanook/Johnston started, "I have heard from the Alpha Centauri shipyards that the Germania is finished at last. I order all units of the Space Fleets of both Americas, Africa, Oceania, the Solar, the 55 Cancri and the CoRoT-7 Sectors back if not engaged in combat, to guard our flagship on its first mission as the destroyer of worlds!"
Stuart's face darkened as he shot back, "There is one tiny little problem, though. We've only got the North and South American and the African Fleets left, the rest was sunk.", he caught sight of the approaching European task force, and added, "And our forces' remnants are about to be annihilated by the European Space Fleet. We will retreat immediately, and there is no debate about this. I've seen enough of the Europeans' power to know, our regular units are not enough. Sieg Heil and over."
The transmission was ended immediately, and the League's line of battle slowly rose into the sky, and after leaving the atmosphere, entered hyperspace, unknowing of the fact that one European ships had intercepted the Führer's message.
"Anna! You remember our first mission aboard the Red October? Of course you do, when we encountered the Germania in hyperspace? Well, they've repaired it!", Olaf announced out of breath when he'd arrived on the Nemesis' bridge. "It's first mission will start soon, possibly within this week. We need to go home, I guess."
Anna rose an eyebrow at the news, walking up to him, and made her look seem even less convinced, but then she approved of his plan, "I'm just doing this to go home, you know?"
Notes and Trivia
- The Solar, 55 Cancri and CoRoT-7 Fleets' self-destruct as a last attempt to severe the enemy's forces was inspired by several actions of the IJA (Imperial Japanese Army) in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War.
For the collective works of the author, go here.