Our patrol came to an end after a very boring and long four weeks at sea. We put in at Wol for supplies. As the crew loaded the ship with all the food and weapons we needed, the other officers and I met on the Main deck. We watched the ship get loaded and talked about where we would sail next. We also chatted about some general concerns we had regarding members of the crew, conditions on the ship, moral, and other items that we needed to disscuse. We had been talking for about an hour and a half when one of the ship hands came to us.
"Sir Admiral Enoch is requesting the presence of all officers in the Bay Office for Assignment of Orders."
"Thank you, dismised." replied the captin.
The ship hand departed. We all gathered around as the Captain spoke.
"Well, men. Looks like we may have a change of plans. Let's go see what the Admiral wants."
The other officers and I left the ship with the Captain in the lead. We went straight for the Bay Offices.
The Bay Office is the main building in the docks. The Admiral makes his office there. All ships are tracked through that office. Orders are also given there. That's why we were going there. Our original orders had beenn to conduct a four week patrol befor the start of the war. Then to port at Wol and resupply. After that we were to alternate with another set of ships and work on two week patrols. The goal was to stop any ships befor they could advance beyond our border. I figured our new orders couldn't be too far from that, otherwise we would leave our shores open to invation.
We entered the office and showed our ID's to the guard. We were then admitted into the Admiral's office.
"Welcome Gentlemen. Please sit down." Said the Admiral. Then he contiuned once we were seated.
"As you know I have a change of orders from you. These files hold your new commands."
The Admiral passed us all a folder marked with our particular job. Each folder contained the same general orders. They also had specific orders for each position. The Navigator's folder held the carts and course settings needed. The Captins held more details regarding what other units were doing. Mine contained a few reminders on how to prep the ship for combat. It's not a simple thing to pull a several ton ship up against another ship and then transfer your fighters on board. That's why they gave me the instructions on how to prep the ship and what supplies I should have readily availible for repairs.
The Admiral continued to give us a general overview of the situation.
"Command thinks this war can be won quickly. They hope to end it all with in a year. The Army is massing a large force in the center of the coutry. The idea is that if we gather a large enough force we can force most of our resistance to flee. Also with this whole "no killing" deal they are getting a little bolder. If we can keep pushing straight for the enemies captial then we can win the war. Command is willing to lose a lot of men in this effort because they don't feel that lives are at stake. Basically the Capital is our goal. Small garrisons are going to be left at all cities to protect from possible invation. There is also a sizable force positioned at the northern end of Kesam Beach. Because of how narrow the beach is it is not likely that any major force can advance that way. Also with all the rocks they won't be able bring wagons up the beach. If any forces are to attack by that way it will have to be small and ill equipt.
Command feels that a major battle will surely result in our victory and then we can push to the capitol. This is where you come in. In order to make this push for the capital we will need to work with the ARMY. The ARMY hopes to make it into Ganed befor they met any resistance. With an ARMY of their size they will surely be noticed. Therefore they hope to lure the enemy into a field near Fasu.
You will be joining with a fleet of "Dock Crushers". You'll be in command Captain. Your job is to escort the "Dock Crushers into the port at Fasu and make an assult. The "Dock Crushers will take immedeate control of the port. After a foot hold has been established they will unload their landing parties into the city. You're fleet will establish a patrol of the bay and keep the docks open. Once the city is controled your forces will met with the ARMY and word will be sent back here.
Fasu is going to be our newest port. We need that port in order to supply our thrust for the capital. In the distant future, provided you succed at Fasu, you may be selected to lead the sea based assult on the Captial."
The Admiral paused for a few minutes before directing us all to look over our orders. He was waiting for any detailed questions, that he could answer. He also went over the time frame we were working with. The time line was to go like this.
The "War" would start, officially, tomorrow. The ARMY would leave immediatly for the land of Ganed. We would sail two days later. Given the travel times for our respective stations we should arrive at our destinations at roughly the same time. The two flanked attack would further weaken the enemy.
The Admiral finished with the orders and sent us on our way. We all headed back to the ship. Once the at the ship the Captain spoke to the men. He told them not to bother hurrying with the cargo. We would not be leaving that night like planned. The Captain also told the crew a watered down version of what our orders were. Then everyone went back to work.
We were all in good spirits that night. We had been waiting for this day for years. Now Command had made a very good plan and we were sure to win. Most of the crew slept very easily that night. However, some of us had work to do. The Navigation Officer was busy learning the new course. He also had to learn the lay out of the the shore line so that he could teach his piolets how to navigate any rocks or reefs we may encounter.
The Captain was planning the order in which his ships would be lined up. He needed to have his best saling ships in the back to patrol the bay. He also had to have his best landing forces in the center and front to hit the shores. He also had to figure out what order he wanted the "Dock Crushers" in. "Dock Crushers were key to the landing force. Here's how they work.
When a port is likely to be attacked they must try to keep the ememy from landing. The way this is usually accomplished is by doing one of several things. The first is to station a large force of men on the docks to stop anyone from leaving the invading ships. The other is to station the men further in on the docks and to rig the dock platforms with traps to stop the invadors. The later method is typically the most effective and least costly. The "Dock Crushers" are the answer to both problems.
Dock Crushers are large flat-topped ships that hold an invading force. The boat has three decks within it. Each level is connected by a series of ramps. On top of the deck is a command center. The ships Captain and officers stay here and guide the battle. The building has no doors on the surface and can only be reached by stairs from with in the ship. This keeps the enemy from taking control of the bridge without first having to fight through the ship.
The Hull of the ship is armored because of it's job. The ship comes into the port and simply crushes the whole dock. This emlimanates the need to fight throught the ememies traps. Then the ramps are pushed out the sides and catch onto the main land of the port. The doors open in the dock and out comes the crew. Mulitple ships can also use their platforms to connect to each other and form a new dock to transfer people and supplies.
This was all the duties of the Captain. He had to plan the order in which the ships were to land. I didn't have to worry about that. I had my own job.
That night I met with the crew leaders from the other ships in our fleet and reviewed the landing procedures with them. We had to get the bumpers in place on all the ships just incase we had to pull along side any other ships. These bumpers kept the ship from getting damaged. We also had to work on getting a quicker time when it came to getting the sails down. The sails needed to be pulled in before the fight to keep them from getting ripped. We were probably going to need those extra couple of days to get ready.
The time passed relitivly fast. It didn't seem like we had had enough time to get ready but we had to leave. I knew my men were ready but I still had some fear about the actual battle. Just nerves I guess.
We sailed early in the morning. We were going to follow the coast until we got to the beginning of the beach. Then we were going to sail straight for the city of Fasu. The Admiral had sent out many fast patrol ships out during the days before our departure. Their job was to search for the ememy fleet. So far they hadn't spotted anything. Without the treat of an ememy fleet we sailed as fast as we could and in an open formation. We had two ships out in frount sailing side by side. They were trailed by the six Dock Crushers. Behind them was two more of our ships. The two rows of ships sailed side-by-side. On the out side of these ships sailed the other six ships in our fleet. Three on each side. They were set in a staggered position in order to make better use of the wind. The Dock Crushers were being towed behind the two lead ships in order to make better time. The Crushers had sails of their own but they were not very effective out on the open sea and the large size of the ships made them sail very slowly.
We proceded this way until we got close to Fasu. As Fasu came into sight we slowed our progress. We needed to wait until we got the signal from the ARMY befor we launched our attack. There was still no sight of the enemy fleet either. We brought the fleet in until we could almost see the people standing on the dock. This was not good. We waited for nearly an hour and still no signal. The enemy had enought time to further build their defences on the docks. All we could do was watch.
The Captain then gave the order to take formation so that we would at least be ready for the signal. The two collums of our two lead ships, the six Dock Crushers, and the two tail ships held their position lined up with the docks. Two ships moved out to either side of the port to watch for the enemy fleet. The two remaining ships began to patrol back and forth across the bay. They watched the docks for weak spots, and kept themselves in a position to aid any of the other ships that may need it once the battle began.
In the wars of older days this would have been death. During the Death Wars cannons would have started fireing a long time ago. Now we just sat there waiting for the fight to start. And wait we did. We waited for a long time. And still no enemy fleet was seen. It was getting late.
The we heard it. It wasn't the signal from the ARMY. That was supposed to be a flare. This was one of the horns from our patroling ships. We all turned and looked to the south. We didn't see anything. Everyone started to look around. That's when I saw it.
"Sir! Behind us!" I yelled.
The rest of the ship's crew turned around. The enemy fleet had managed to get around behind us. We had all been watching the shore looking for our flare and keepinng an eye on the docks. They were close now too. The patrol ships were slacking in their job.
"Captain, What's the order?" asked the Signaler. His job was to get the orders to the other ships and now we all needed orders.
"Send in the Crushers. They can't repel a ship-to-ship attack. At least they will have a chance on shore. Keep the lead ships on their tails to defend them and get those weapons on shore. That the docks and establish a line of defence until the ARMY arrives. Bring the other ships up and form a line. We need to keep that fleet off of our ships."
The signaler was busy translating the Captains orders into the code and getting them to the ships. The chain took off and soon all the ships were moving into position. All of our defence boats pulled up into a line about a ships and a half apart from each other. If the enemy wanted to get through us they were going to have to fight first. The Crushers sailed out around the lead ships and headed straight for the abandoned docks.
We now had time to see what the fleet we were about to face looked like. It scared me to death. We had planned this perfectly. The scouts hadn't seen anything and I don't know how they could have missed them. We were sitting on some rather large combat ships but this was insane. They came at us with nearly twenty boats. In the center were two giant command ships. These rigs were almost twice as big as our ships. They held a fully armed division of troops. Between these ships was a line of four Dock Crushers. They were probably there to hook up with our ships and unload there troops on our flank. Then out to the side was an arch of eighteen ships (nine on each side). These ships were about the same size as ours, but they were troop ships. They carried a full load of armed soldiers. Some of the best fighters in the world were on those boats. They were sailing in an arch similar to the Armadas of olden days. They would sail until the enemy was within their archa and then be able to attack from three sides and offer no chance of escape for their enemies. We were the enemy this time.
The ships closed in as our fleet got into position. The main line of our ships already had the sails down and the others were almost set. Their fleet was almost ready to attack. As the enemy fleet pulled up they launched into position. The front four ships from each side continued straight ahead until they reached our outer two boats. The four in the center, along with the command ships, joined in the attack of our main row of ships. The middle ship on each branch joined with the Crushers and waited in the back.
It was around the time that the ships were all getting into position that I lost track of what everyone else was doing. I had to trust that my men would know what to do on the other ships. At the same time I had to remember to keep checking on their ships. If anything was to get damaged on one of the other ships, it was my job to know about it. Especially if it might be important to the overall stratagy of this fight. I was stationed on the Main deck of our command ship. The captain stood and watched over the whole battle. Our ships Chef Tactical Officer was watching over the fight that was about to take place on our boat. I was watching the sails and the bumpers on the sides. If there was any damage I needed to get on it quickly. It was time to fight. We were ready.
One of the Enemies Command ships pulled up to our side. We threw our planks out and they did the same. Now there was no breaking free. In order to fight in accordance with the Rules we had to fight hand-to-hand. It was a bit more of a challange to pull a persons TAG from them than one would think. The only true way to do it was to knock the person out and cut their TAG from their belt. As long as the person could defend themselves there was not going to be any easy way to get the TAG from them.
Our men were lined up and ready to go. The first wave from the enemy Command ship charged across the planks. The forces met with a terrible crash. Bodies were sent flying through the air. Clubs were swinging about like some horrid creature bent on killing every thing in sight. The men wore a light armor but that was nothing when a heavy wooden club is being swung at you. I had been trained to fight like the rest of the men. Even so I was still amazed at the brutality of the fight. The enemy kept attacking in waves. They would charge and attack our front row and then fade back a little. When they faded back they would rotate their men. They were keeping fresh troops pressing us down. We didn't have nearly as many men on board as they did. We couldn't afford to do that.
I took a quick glace around the area to check on the other ships in our fleet. They were all looking good. Everyone had their sails down. No masts were leaning or broken. All the ships were also riding at a good level which ment none of them were taking on water. I couldn't help but notice that all of our ships were being hit by two ships at once. That was all but us. I then saw a sight that made me forget everything.
"Captain!" I yelled as I pointed toward the port.
"I see it." he replied.
By now the Captain, the other officers, and I were looking toward the Port. The four Crushes had broken through with their escorts. They were now in two collums with two Crushes followed by an Escort ship. They were just hooking up with our Crushers.
The Docks had been well fortified. The crews of our Crushers hadn't been able to get off of their ships yet. They were still fighting to get their walkways down and secured. They had joined with each other and their escorts but they could not get onto the shore. Now they were being trapped between the shore they couldn't get onto and the enemy Crushers which were starting to dock with them. I watched the enemies doors spring up on their Crushes and their troops stream out. They had no trouble making it onto the escort ships of our fleet. But I couldn't watch anymore. That was the Captains job.
I check the other ships again and then turned my attention back to my ship. The enemy had completed another set of waves. Now things were starting to heat up. We had lost a lot of men by now. The bodies were starting to cover the deck. Our small medic crew was fighting to get the bodies out of the way in order to keep them from getting trampled to death. We were leaving our mark on their men as well. The only thing was that they were still able to out number us.
Suddenly their was a cry that rose up from the crew. Several men pointed up. I looked up and saw what was going on. The enemy had sent men across on ropes. They had used the masts to get over onto our ship.
The men started to repel down as another wave came from the enemy ship. We were being flanked! I was proud of our men. As the enemy came at them they grouped together and held their ground. They fought like wild beasts. Every man fought until he could no longer stand.
Again I heard a cry rise up from somewhere. At first I thought it was cries from the wounded. Then I heard the anger in the cry. I spun on my heals to face the the aft of the ship. The other ship that should have been attacking us was behind us. They must have pulled up behind and hooked some rope ladders to the our aft. Now a wave of men charged at us.
I pulled out my small club from it's holder on my side. I swung at the first man to reach me. I was suprised at my own brutality. I never knew I had it in me. I brought my club down across his face. The blow wasn't enought to really stop him because of the adrenoline in our systems. I grabbed the man by his sholders and pulled him into my knee as I raised it into his chest. His armor prevented me from doing much damage. I then back handed him with my club. He hit the ground hard with that one.
My club had a small hooked blade on the handle for cutting a persons TAG off with. I knelt down to get his TAG quickly. After I cut his TAG I stood up and picked my next victum. I was a man making his way toward the Captain. I rushed him and pushed him into the side rail. As he turned I clubed him across the face. I saw the blood come from his nose. For some reason it almost made me happy. I had knocked him out with one blow.
"I'm getting better at this." I thought to myself.
I knelt down to get his TAG. Then I got hit. I felt a blow to the top of my head. A pain shot down my neck as things started to get darker. My head had got hit so hard my nose actually started to run. I thought it was blood at first but it wasn't. I turned to see what had happened. I had just turned my head when another blow struck my cheek. I collapesed to the deck. I could still see the people move around me. Then it started to grow dark again. It started out in my periperial vision and quickly closed in. It was like looking throught a tunnel that was closing slowly. Then the shouts and voices started to fade. It was like I had something stuffed in my ears. Then I lost contiousness. I had been beaten.
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