• Published 9th Jan 2017
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The Atlantean-Dominion War - The Atlantean



Crimson Dawn enlists in the Atlantean Reserve Emergency Army (AREA) to defend Atlantis from the Dominion of Apollo.

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40. Nightmane In Nautinia

Middle Road felt the brisk wind blowing through her tan coat. She stood on Nightmane’s starboard bridge wing, eyeing the brownish blob of land known as Atlantis as it moved to her right at a disappointingly slow rate. But who cared how fast the land went by? She was going twenty-five knots across the sea, its choppy whitecaps sliced in two by Nightmane’s needlepoint bow. Stormy gray clouds were bundled up like an anvil to the south, heralding a thunderstorm on its way. Lighting flashed from them, just barely in view from this distance. From here, no thunder accompanied them, what remaining boom drowned out by the roar of the wind.

Nautinia was only an hour out, and she was excited to share with Queen Atlanta her accomplishment. Sea trials had gone without a hitch. The five-inch guns on the bow and stern made shrapnel of the long-range targets off Cape Lune, while the broadside cannons effectively shredded all the buoys and churned the already-rough sea out to six hundred yards. The cannonballs were easy to obtain; they were really the same ammo AREA’s twelve-pounders used, so production wasn’t going to be a problem. Plus, they were pretty light for the size of the gun that spat them out - six-pound balls for a standard twelve-pounder gun, and even lighter if they were canister - and they were exceptional.

The Captain’s first hint that something was amiss came when an Artemis frigate came in view over the horizon, her tattered sails and ripped flag flapping in the breeze. She was listing forty degrees to port. As the small destroyer passed by, no response at all came from the crippled ship. Nopony raised an alarm. Middle Road ordered for them to circle around and check out the wreck. Every soul found aboard was lost, killed by some kind of disease. Weird green goo was found in the captain’s cabin. A sample was brought back to the deck, where Middle Road waited.

“Green goo. I’ve never seen it this far north.” The Captain cleared her throat. “This vessel is now a threat to national security. When we get back aboard, I want all of us who came aboard to go through a detox spell. After that, we’ll gain some distance and sink her. Do you have the ship’s plate?”

‘Yes, ma’am.”

Middle Road looked at the solid gold plate that bore the ship’s name. “ANS Avenger. We’ll report her loss to the Queen.”

All seven ponies subjected themselves to a detox spell to detect and destroy any goo that may have come with them as they boarded Nightmane. The metal ship sailed a safe distance away before firing two precious five-inch HE rounds into Avenger’s hull. They turned the Artemis frigate to splinters, and the hulk quickly slipped beneath the waves.

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Queen Atlanta knew that the new construction in Summercrest Shipyards had gone. She just didn’t where it was or where it was going. There had been the sea trials, which she could tell never took this long, and then the ship simply disappeared from her scrying spells. That was one of the reasons the Celestial Sea could be dangerous: once you were out there, nopony knew where you were until you came close to land once more.

Suddenly, a relayed message from Fort Azure came in, yelled by the flag-code ponies on the palace’s tallest tower. “Sail to the southeast! Steel hull, two smoking funnels, and smaller than the Summercrest Project!”

Atlanta perked up. Her lost ship was back. Before she could cast her scrying spell, however, she heard another call: “She carries the Atlantean flag! Fort Azure is communicating now, and Fort Lazuli has visual contact!” Atlanta waited a minute for something noteworthy to come from the ship. “She says her designation is ANS Nightmane, DD-01, and she has news regarding the Artemis frigate ANS Avenger!” A minute more. “She says that Avenger was lost at sea, taken by green goo! The wreck is about an hour behind her present course now!”

This far north? “Understood!” the Queen called back. “Keep me informed!”

“Yes, ma’am!”

Atlanta watched from the palace wall where she stood as the metal ship steamed into port and hove to at the military dock. The lines secured, the gangplank was pushed into place and supplies began transferring aboard as sailors took shore leave.

Her green mane got in her eyes. She pulled it back with her magic. After a moment, she signaled to her personal guard and walked down to speak to the ship’s captain.

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Middle Road spun her right hoof in a circle above her head and pointed at the five-inch guns at the bow and stern, signaling that she wanted them covered in tarp. The crews for each hurried to comply.

“We’ve been sailing this whole way without a ray-dee-oh to talk to base with,” she said to her XO for the voyage. “I hope R&D figured them out, because we’re out of spares from Indianapolis.”

“I do as well, ma’am. Those are extremely useful.”

“I’ll go see if we can get some more of our topside steel instead of bronze. Stay here and hold the fort.”

“Captain.” He pointed to the ocean-blue alicorn walking down the pier. “She’s here.”

“Oh, shit!” Middle Road leaned off the port bridge wing and looked to stern. Half the deck was being repainted and the other half had small rust streaks being chipped away, creating a reddish haze over the ship. “Exec, is the situation the same on the starboard side?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Middle Road took her weight off the rail. “Well, we’re fucked.”

Atlanta strode across the gangplank amidst a crowd of wondered ponies and working sailors. Her light steps went virtually unnoticed on the creaky wood, she thought, until a hastily-assembled side party formed right at the ship’s end. Somepony used a flute to announce her arrival, its fluttery tune almost lost to the racket around.

She immediately recognized the tan Unicorn that bounded down the stairs to greet her. “Captain Middle Road, what have you cooked up this time?”

“My Queen,” the Unicorn replied, saluting. “In coordination with the Second Coastal Regiment’s marepower, the Summercrest Shipyards has constructed the first Atlantean-built vessel made completely of metal. We were in a time crunch, so we planned on replacing all the bronze and brass on deck here with steel when we get some.” She gestured to the surrounding chaos as she spoke.

“ANS Nightmane, DD-01. I heard.” Atlanta raised a green eyebrow. “Exactly what is a ‘DD,’ Captain?”

“We borrowed the designation system from one of Indianapolis’s books. A ‘DD’ is a destroyer, small, fast, maneuverable, and packing some sharp teeth. Since we also based the design off the image of a ship from there as well, we felt it matched.”

The Queen sighed, planting her right hoof over her eyes. “Please tell me that this thing is worth the materials it’ll take to maintain it.”

“I assure you, ma’am, Nightmane will prover her worth.”

Author's Note:

I don't have much to say, except that I'm here to answer any questions about the story.

Feedback appreciated.

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