• Published 10th Oct 2016
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The Red Sun Rises: Voyages - The Atlantean



As Crimson Dawn fights the Crystal Empire at Manehattan, Princess Celestia must journey to unknown lands in search of a way to bring her sister back from the dead.

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The Battle of Stormwater Cove Part 1

“USS Pennsylvania, what can you say about these waters?” Robinson asked. The carrier group was now at the corner of the continent, and turning to zero-zero-zero: due north.

“Admiral, this is the main operating area of the Corsairs of Korea, based on the mysterious island fortress known as Stormwater Cove. They seem to have control over local wildlife, and will no doubt use it against us. The best course of action would be to sail through as quickly as possible. Unless you plan to invade Stormwater Cove, which we don't necessarily have the material to do.”

Robinson digested Captain Ross’s words. He had the inclination to follow his advice, but at the same time, he wanted to take out the pirate base. It could acquire material they wouldn't get otherwise. Extra food, fresh water, and maybe some more ammo, albeit primitive compared to Reagan, would help quite a lot in the long run. But without marines, that would be easier said than done.

“Sir, what are your orders?” asked the Helmsman.

If we can get a detachment of Atlantean troops, it just might work. But then again, that means turning around. And that would waste a few days. He thought long and hard on the subject.

“Ahh, fuck it. We’ll assault the base.”

One of the officers was surprised. “Sir, we don’t have ground forces.”

“But we do have helicopters and jets. We’ll just use Pennsylvania’s crew. That is,” he said, turning to Captain Ross, “if your crew can actually handle a ground assault.”

“Admiral, my crew has taken out a dozen pirate bases in the past with nothing but lifeboats as craft to get us to the beach. We can handle it,” came the reply.

“Good.” glancing at Celestia, Robinson saw that she was concerned about violence. But then again, she always was.


Fifty minutes later, Commander Amber was given authorization to begin flight operations, as Reagan had already sailed to within strike range of Stormwater Cove. Super Hornets whined their engines as they taxied up the elevators and to the catapults. Flight personnel ran around the jets, prepping them for liftoff by lifting ordinance onto the undersides of the wings and pumping fuel into the tanks. The pilots climbed into the jets, buckling up and fitting on their helmets once inside the cockpit.

“Attention on the Flight Deck, Four-Alpha-One and Four-Alpha-Two are go for launch. All unauthorized personnel, clear the catapults. Pilots, begin the final preflight checks. Admiral, we are lit.” Amber looked down on Vulture’s Row and saw Celestia watching the operation. The princess’s multi-colored hair flowed with the little wind blowing to port.

“Commander, Four-Alpha-One and Four-Alpha-Two have passed checks; winding the catapults now.”

“Good. Four-Alpha-Three and Four-Alpha-Four, begin final preflight checks. Load ordinance and top JP-5. We don’t want unarmed jets that run out of fuel.” She hit a button on the console in front of her, giving the flight directors clearance to send the first Super Hornets into the sky.

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On the jet assigned as Four-Alpha-One, the pilot saluted the man near his Super Hornet. The man raised his arm and lowered it into a horizontal position, signaling the pilot to activate the afterburners.

The pilot’s name was Matthew Powell, callsign Railgun. He earned it from his skill using the six-barrel Gatling gun fitted on the F/A-18, taking out training dummies more efficiently than any other pilot in the Air Force or Navy. His lean but muscular body allowed him to pilot many advanced aircraft, and meant slightly less fuel was spent lifting off, if that made a difference. His wingman, Courtney Melendez, callsign Artemis from her beautiful yet secretive body and personality, weighed about the same, and the two didn’t care if the other pilots used more fuel. They had a mission to accomplish.

The catapult hooked to Artemis’s Hornet suddenly released, and she was sent over the bow with enough speed to cruise on. She flew to the tanker Super Hornet already flying, and began to top off her fuel tanks.

Railgun saluted the man off to his right once more, then gripped his controls. The catapult released with its usual clunk, he was pushed back into his seat, and his jet was in the air. He flew behind Artemis, and waited his turn to top off from the tanker while the rest of Reagan’s first cycle lifted off over the calm waters of the Celestial Sea.

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The first cycle of Reagan’s aircraft flew at high speed to the island of Stormwater Cove, far ahead of the carrier and her fleet. At the tip of the wedge formation was Railgun, with Artemis to his immediate right. Two radar-jamming EA-18G Growlers flew at either end of the formation, preventing any possible threat from enemy missiles. That was, if there was one. Captain Ross aboard the battleship Pennsylvania reported that the Corsairs of Korea had not acquired a technological level higher than black powder, used in early gunpowder-based weapons, and highly combustible. If a magazine or powder storage building was anywhere in the area, it was top priority.

An E-2 Hawkeye relayed radar information to the fighters from high in the clouds, safe from all ground-based threats. It picked up several projectiles from the island, most likely cannon fire shot by overzealous and confused pirates. But then they changed to symbols its operators recognized: Russian surface-to-air missiles.

Four of them stayed at fifteen thousand feet, zoomed over the Hornets, and kept going. An operator wondered if this was a new generation, one that changed altitude at the last second. And it did change altitude quickly, but it wasn’t falling. It took a second for the operator to realize their intended target.

“Incoming missile, bearing three-zero-nine!”

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Matthew saw the missiles streak overhead, interested by the peculiar turn of events. Soon the four disappeared from his display, along with the rest barreling at the twenty American aircraft. He switched to his organic sensors, and the missiles reappeared. Most of the forty-some bogies were identified easily, except for eight.

As the two forces neared, all the Americans dispensed chaff and juked to different directions to avoid getting pummeled. But two friendly jets dropped off the grid, and Matthew was horrified to see that it was the Growlers, taken out by the eight unidentified missiles.

“All friendlies, this is Railgun. Drop to one hundred feet and see if we can die at a later date.”

The others in the cycle followed his orders, angling down and leveling off just above the surface. But the Russian missiles that originally missed looped around, racing down to the twenty craft and slamming into several. Railgun and Artemis both had to dispense chaff and juke hard to avoid certain death. But the number of missiles was still more than double its prey.

He heard Courtney lobby for dropping the ordinance and returning to the carrier. But they both knew that Amber had to give them the order to go back. However, she didn’t have to tell them to drop the payload. He agreed, and whoever was left followed suit, dropping their bombs into the water below in order to lighten the jets.

Matthew felt his Hornet get so much lighter, and just in time. He dispensed more chaff and banked hard to the left and the sky as another Russian missile streaked towards him. The missile, attracted by the aluminum-coated fibers in chaff, flew on down and splashed into the sea.

He took a chance to find Artemis, and saw her zooming high up to get more maneuvering room, getting two missiles to chase and collide with each other. Glancing at his display, he noticed that besides him and Artemis, there was only four others still aloft.

Amber’s voice crackled on the radio. “All cycles, return to Reagan. We can shoot down the missiles if you get in range.”

Matthew was more than happy to oblige. He raced back to the carrier at full speed, with Artemis on his left on some guy on his right. Behind them, three more formed up as well. All six maneuvered constantly to prevent a lock-on by their predators, but almost to no avail. The third plane in Matthew’s little group was hit, and spiraled a smoky trail into the water. Nothing remained of the three Hornets behind them. Artemis was close to going down as well, but Matthew looped back and blasted her bogie with his Gatling gun.

“Thanks, Railgun. See you at Reagan.”

The two parted ways, and just in time. They had reached the range of the U.S. fleet. SM-3 missiles launched from the cruiser USS Lake Erie came within thirty feet of knocking them out of the sky as they took out the Russian ones.

The two were the only ones left in their cycle. They both breathed a sigh of relief, until Matthew realized that the Aegis Warfare Systems aboard the frigate USS Klakring had read them as enemy, and fired SM-3s to destroy them.

It was too late to evade. The only option was to eject from the fuselage and hope to God they were far enough when the missiles hit. Artemis ejected quickly and efficiently, falling to the surface just before the missile hit. Matthew wasn’t so lucky; his ejection seat failed and he flipped upside down to try and solve his issue. He unbuckled and opened the cockpit, falling out and whizzing between the two vertical stabilizers of his Super Hornet. His horribly aerobraking shape slowed him considerably, and he pulled open his parachute, slowing enough to survive his impact with the water. Above him, the SM-3 collided with his craft, showering the area in front of him with flaming debris.

As the two waited for the carrier group to rescue them, they tried to figure out how the hell Russians got on the island, and how they hacked the American software.

Author's Note:

I got most of this scene from the military action thriller Empire Rising. A little bit was tweaked (like Russian instead of Chinese, Reagan instead of Nimitz, no SM-3s would be launched towards friendlies, and everyone should've died) but for the most part, it's similar to the original. Credit to the author of Empire Rising.

Chapter name inspired by The Battle of Sugar Cane River Part 1, chapter 29 of Fireheart 1945's The War of 1002. Link to his excellent military fic is here: https://www.fimfiction.net/story/50809/the-war-of-1002