A gathering was called. This was big. Really big. Everyone could feel it. Inside the inlet base, there was an army of people, working tirelessly. Their focus was on the airships.
Wolf had the team gathered inside of their briefing room.
Bane was already excited. “So, ma’am, what brings us here today? A new mission?!”
She nodded. “Indeed! We’re going to be testing out our latest weapons today!”
Riddler sat forward. “You don’t mean..?”
“I do!” she replied. “We’re going to be sending our airships into battle! But I called you all here for a reason.” She cued up a display on the table. It was showing an island off the coast of British Columbia. “I recently received intel from Oracle that Prince Adam, who is going to be taking over the military efforts in Area 7, is going to be here, in 17 hours. He will be overseeing a weapon’s test of a new kind of airship that the Empire is hoping to mass-produce.” The image showed the military forces around the island. “Our mission is simple – we are going to have our naval forces engage the Empire’s on the north side of the island. That will draw their naval fleet there. At the same time, we will be dispatching our airships, with two objectives. First, we have to get the Empire’s new weapon. I don’t like having a disadvantage! It irks me something fierce. But the second, and more important objective is to locate Prince Adam and eliminate him.” She could see the smiles on her commanders’ faces. “I have no doubt that he will have significant ground forces, and potentially one or two Knights of the Crown with him. This is going to be touch-and-go, people. If the Prince is too heavily defended, then we will take the weapon. At the very least, we will let him know that we can hurt him. But, we are not going to do that without exhausting all possibilities.”
It was then that Brainiac entered.
“Excellent timing! Is my flagship ready?”
Brainiac gave her a large smile. “Ready and waiting, ma’am!”
“That’s what I like to hear! From this point forward, we will no longer be housing our forces inside the command vehicle. Instead, we will be working directly from my command ship, the Odysseus. Black Mask will be handling our ground forces. I will be handling our air and naval forces. This will be another major offensive against the Empire. Let’s do this right, and send the Emperor’s son straight to whatever bowel of Hell that Satan sees fit. Understood?!”
“Alright then, have all of your forces and equipment loaded onto the Odysseus immediately. Dismissed!”
The group scattered, eager to get moving quickly. Wolf looked out at her flagship. The Odysseus. It was a marvel to look at. They had other airships that were being developed by their partners in the AU. The EU was no longer an option for them. It was almost completely conquered by the Empire. France, Germany and Britain were the only hold-outs, and they weren’t doing so well. In the Inlet, they had five airships. The Odysseus was beautiful. The same black, white and gray color scheme that Winter’s Shadow had. It had two major particle cannons, each of which could rip a smaller airship in half. In between those there was the Aurora Cannon, which was the primary weapon of that ship. It was like being able to send hellfire through concentrated particles. It could rip right through any shielding and blast right through the hull of a dreadnought-class airship. There were also dozens of smaller particle cannons and a vast array of anti-air weapons, for repelling fighters and close-range battles with airships. It also had several shielding mechanisms. The Nova Particle changed everything. It could make barriers, weapons and even allow flight without large engines. Having seen Deadshot’s hit on the enemy airship, Wolf worked with Brainiac to remove the problem of stabilizers of airships. This ship instead had a system of dispersing the Nova Particle around itself, creating a field that worked to counteract gravity. The downside of this was that it made it so that anyone could see where the ship was going, since it had a huge swath of glowing, nearly-white particles trailing it. But that was immaterial. If this ship was moving, that was a good sign to get out of the way. Unless one had an airfleet of their own to send at it. This ship was a fortress, in every sense of the word.
There was excitement everywhere. The elevator into the ship was absolutely filled with material, from tech to the weapons that the various forces of Winter’s Shadow was using. A man came walking down from one of the entrances into the ship. He wore an airship uniform, decorated as an officer. His black hair was short, well-kept and he was clean-shaven. Wolf walked over, acknowledging him. Firefly and Deathstroke were with her, not in their Armor.
“Ah, Captain Matthias! I was hoping to run into you.”
He walked over, saluting her. “Always glad to speak with my commanding officer!”
She saluted back, then holding out her hand. “No need to be so formal, Captain. We’re not the regular military here.”
The man had a very charming smile as he shook it. “Well, one never truly leaves the military. So, what can I do for you, ma’am?”
She leaned against the railing, getting out of the way of some cargo being loaded onto the ship. “Just checking in on my flagship. Is she ready?!”
The man’s smile grew. “Ready as she’ll ever be, ma’am! I swear, it’s a thing of beauty! All of the crew is settled in and has gotten the feel of their posts. We ran several drills where we had mock-battles and I can tell you, ma’am, they’re itching for the real thing!”
“Well then, they’ll get their wish today! We’re deploying in 10 hours. Our flagship is entering the fight! I will give you the mission brief. Apologies for not inviting you to the debriefing. As the commanding officer of the ship, it is your right to be there. From now on, whenever a call goes out for senior staff to assemble, unless we are in the heat of battle, assume that that means you too.”
The man came to attention, saluting. “Yes ma’am! If you’ll excuse me, I have to get the crew to work! It sounds like we have a lot of work to do.”
She saluted as well. “Very well. Carry on, Captain!”
Deathstroke smiled. “I like him! He clearly is the right man for the job.”
“I thought so,” Wolf replied. “Now, both of you, get your gear loaded up. I don’t need bodyguards while we’re here.” Her tone was joking, so the two made known their amusement as they headed off. She looked out at the ocean. Below her, the naval ships were getting ready as well.
Prince Adam arrived on the island from his personal airship, the Hyperion. Much like Wolf’s vessel, it was built to be a fortress. He had one Knight of the Crown with him. It was a young woman whose Armor appeared to have no weapons at all. It was sleek, silver and made to move. He arrived with the base’s senior staff greeting him.
“Your highness, it is an honor that you would come!” The General of the base greeted, bowing to him.
“This is the newest weapon of our military. I would be remiss if I didn’t come and see what we have to work with. Given the level of priority that Winter’s Shadow is right now, you all can see why this would be so important.”
Everyone was nodding. The General pointed to a transport. “In that case, let us dispense with the pleasantries and get down to it! I’m sure that you are a busy man!”
Once everything was loaded on, the airships were ready to go! The naval vessels were also reporting that they were ready. The door to the bridge opened, with Captain Matthias, Wolf, Deathstroke and Firefly (both of whom had their Armor on) came walking in.
“Captain and Senior Commander on deck!” the first officer shouted. Everyone stood at attention.
The Captain stepped to the side. Wolf stood forward. She cued up a link to the entire fleet. “To all vessels, this is Wolf! Today is the first major battle for our fleets! Each of you, regardless of your position on your respective ship, has a part to serve! We will all be tested in fire today. Today, you will show what you are made of! We are not going to fight! We are going to win! Make sure that you are part of the reason why! That is all.”
The Captain stepped forward. “Power up the primary drive mechanism!”
From deep within the vessel, a massive machine came online. It had a droning hum and light flowing out of tubes into the rest of the ship.
“Main drive is online!”
“Alright then, begin particle dispersal!”
From outside, it looked amazing. Huge clouds of particles started flowing out of the ship. All staff was ordered to clear the ship within a certain radius once the engines were online. The entire inside of the Inlet was filled with particles. It was beautiful.
“Particle dispersal complete, sir! Gravity field created!”
“Helm, clear all moorings!” The clamps that held the ship in place were removed. There was a brief moment of vertigo as the ship fell ever-so-slightly.
“We’re clear, sir!”
“Excellent. Take us out of the Inlet and keep it steady!”
The Odysseus made a sight to behold as it gently drifted out of the Inlet. For something so massive, it looked like it was drifting like a bird. The particle clouds dispersed as it left. They trailed it now. The rest of the airships followed suit. Below, the naval ships had already moved out of the Inlet, toward the target. The crew of the ship was in good spirits. The other perk of their means of propulsion – the field prevented radar from picking them up!
The Prince was coming to the testing grounds. It was a perfect day for this. The space was large, with varying terrain to provide different tests. The weapon they were testing was sitting on a runway. It was the size of a fighter, yet had a cockpit for two people, sitting side-by-side. The weapon had a large set of odd-looking wings on either side, Attached to each of them was a device that was conical. It appeared to be collapsible. There were two particle cannons on it, along with a segment underneath that housed a strange diamond-shaped object that looked like glass.
“Impressive, General!” The prince admired, running his hand over the hull. “What do you call it?”
“We call it the WASP, sir. It is a new model of airship. One that can deliver immense firepower, with a small unit. It will be a weapon that can turn the tide of any battle, with some of our latest designs in weaponry.”
“Indeed, so, how does it function?” Right as he said that, the alarm on the base sounded.
The General touched the comm device in his ear. “Report!”
“Sir, we’ve come under attack!”
Their sea-faring navy opened fire on theirs, along with the land-base in the north. With the particles the airships were using, they were perfectly masked. Long-range artillery was blasting the enemy ships to pieces.
“Enemy ships attacking our base to the north!”
Prince Adam’s mind was already working. Winter’s Shadow?! No, it can’t be! It has to be a strike from the AU! But how did they know that I’m here?!
“Ignore the attack from the north! It’s a ploy to divide our forces! Concentrate our airships in this area. I have a feeling that I know who they are coming for.”
Immediately, the Knight with him had a glow effect coming from her Armor.
The Prince touched his own comm. “Hyperion, how soon can you get to my location?!”
The captain of the ship was on the other line. “It would taken 20 minutes, your highness! We were expecting to have some time, so we powered down! We can bring our weapons online to defend this base, but that’s about it!”
Damn! He kept his cool veneer. “Alright then. Send as many airships as you possibly can to this location! We must intercept the enemy before they have a chance to come at us!”
Everyone on the ground looked up. “I think they’re already here, sir!” They all looked up to see the Odysseus moving in.
Captain Matthias was looking at the screen. The enemy had airships moving in.
“All hands, prepare for ship-to-ship combat!” The room went dark as the protective panels were moved to the reinforce the bridge. The weapons systems came online.
Wolf turned to him. “I leave it in your capable hands, Captain Matthias. Do me proud!”
“Yes ma’am!” She motioned for Firefly and Deathstroke to come with her.
From the ship, dozens of smaller airships launched. They were vessels made for one purpose – to drop troops into combat. Black Mask had an even approach to deal with the forces in the immediate area. The goal was to incapacitate the Hyperion. Bane was in heaven as his Armor jumped out of the landing craft. He opened fire with his particle cannon, It blew through two tanks and a bunch of soldiers. His men proceeded to send artillery to every target that would explode that he could think of. It was pandemonium. Two-Face and his forces, meanwhile, were being deployed to back up Wolf’s efforts on the ground. She was not commanding them. She was going to take the WASP. The Odysseus opened fire on the enemy’s ground forces, but kept it light. Just enough to disperse them and let their landing forces move in. Wolf had Ghost and Copperhead’s people with her, backing her up. Their glowing eyes would appear but for a moment, before shooting a soldier in the head.
Azrael and his forces were backing up Bane. Not that he seemed to need it. The enemy was caught with their pants down and was desperately trying to get a defensive position together. They lost a few, but their casualties were incredibly minor.
The enemy’s airships were moving in. There were seven of them in all, with more coming. Captain Matthias was cool and in control.
“Bring the Aurora Cannon online! It’s time to show the enemy what we’re made of!”
The Prince was also cool and in control. He looked over at the General.
“Can we bring the WASP online?!”
“Negative, your highness! Powering up that vessel’s defensive and offensive capabilities would require twenty minutes of calibrations! We don’t have the time!”
He nodded. This isn’t looking good! “Alright then, we shall fall back to the Hyperion!”
The General looked at him like he was insane. “Sir, are you kidding me?! The enemy is here for the WASP! We cannot just give it to them!”
Prince Adam turned on him. “Lose this weapon or we all die, those are our choices! I’m sorry, but I choose the lesser of two evils! We are falling back to the Hyperion!” Right as he said that, their car exploded. The Prince was thrown backwards, only to be caught by his Knight.
“Are you alright, your highness?!” she asked.
“I am! Where the hell did that come from?!”
As if to answer him, a transport landed in front of him. Firefly and Deathstroke came rushing out, easily dispatching the troops surrounding the Prince.
He looked over at his Knight. “Take them down!”
“With pleasure, your highness!” In a flash, she was on them, and the battle began.
The Odysseus lined up its bow toward four of the airship.
“Status!” Matthias shouted.
“Sir, we have a shooting solution!”
“Excellent! You may fire when ready!”
From outside, the central cannon seemed to have an increasing glow inside of it. It was a distorted glow of yellow and orange. It seemed to build and build inside. Then, with the roar that sounded like a dragon, a beam of energy like no other came forth. It made the entire sky around it glow as it lanced outward. It carved through all four of the intended targets, ripping two in half, having one slowly drift towards the ground and the third to lose a large section of its stern. To everyone inside, it was unbelievable.
Just then, alarms went off.
“Sir, airship approaching on the port side! It’s coming up behind us!”
Matthias wasn’t fazed. “Rotate vessel, port-side! Bring all defensive cannons online! Bring Javelins online as well. On my command, hit that monster with everything we’ve got!”
Their cannons started to move. The Imperial airship was coming in fast, already firing. The Odysseus’ barrier deflected some of the shots, but not others. Holes were ripped into it as it came about.
The airship let loose its entire arsenal. The Imperial ships barrier barely deflected anything. Its hull was ripped open, with it limping away like a beast.
On the ground, the battle was incredibly fierce. This Knight wasn’t like the last one. Her weapons were based on a hand-to-hand model, with specialized boosters for striking, along with an electrical effect when they hit a target. But that wasn’t her true weapon. Her actual weapon was her talent as a Special. She could teleport. While Firefly and Deathstroke were skilled combatants, a lot of the time, it was like they were fighting air. But they weren’t completely getting their asses’ kicked. The girl was clearly a skilled martial artist, only using her talent when the two would get in a good place to hit her together. She seemed to especially enjoy fighting Deathstroke. His sword collided with her arm, but it had a shielding capacity as well. Firefly came up behind her, and the girl vanished. However, Firefly was expecting this. The moment that she appeared behind her, she kicked out. The booster sent the Knight skidding down the runway. She flipped up, and the two could almost see that she was impressed.
Meanwhile, Wolf killed the people guarding the WASP and made her way inside. This ship was everything she could have asked for and more. It was made for two people. One person to pilot it, the other to handle the various capabilities of it. She ran to the secondary position and cued up the system. Her controls were a series of control consoles. Like a computer operator. Odd, but whatever. As she went through the systems, she saw that it was not properly calibrated. In fact, that was something that the operator of this position would continually have to do. That made her smile. She cracked her knuckles, sitting down. Her fingers worked like magic. So many systems to operate, but to her, it was intuitive.
The Prince saw the WASP coming online. He turned to face the General.
“I thought you said that it would take twenty minutes to calibrate the various systems on that thing! From where I’m standing, it looks like something has switched on the light!”
The General was in shock. “Sir, what I said is true! This…this shouldn’t be possible! Whoever is operating the craft must be a technical and mathematical genius!”
In that moment, Adam knew who he was fighting. The Wolf is here!
The Knight was enjoying this. I haven’t had a fight this good in ages! While she was dancing around the enemy, the enemy still was putting up a valiant effort. But the longer she stayed here, the more she knew that she was in danger. Time to finish this! She teleported beside Deathstroke, who whipped his blade around and met her arm. The combat was fierce, as Firefly made her move. She activated the sonic burst weapon on her arm, grabbing the Knight by the head.
“Got ya, bitch!” The weapon powered up, but as it unleashed, the Knight vanished. She appeared directly behind her, slamming her fists directly into the drive mechanism. Firefly shook as the shock went through her. Her systems were shutting down! Deathstroke leapt over her, bringing his blade down. The Knight vanished, but as it reappeared behind him to do the same, he was ready. His foot landed her into her mid-section and he charged. This man is an incredible warrior! How can a mere human do this?!
Inside the WASP, Wolf got the systems calibrated. It was going to be a constant effort, but she got the machine working. The weapon was based on a twin-drive system, which used the same concept as the Odysseus. She got the drives online, which had an interesting effect. What looked like wings were not wings at all. They were dispersal devices for the particles. And they changed shape, depending on what the intended setting was. She brought the weapons online.
The Knight saw the WASP moving. She knew, at that moment, what she had to do. She teleported to where the Prince was.
“What are you doing?!” he demanded.
“Forgive me, your highness!” She concentrated hard. Waves of energy grew around her. Then, in an instant, she grabbed him and the two of them vanished. The reappeared on the deck of the Hyperion, with her rushing him inside. Bane’s crew had done their job. The ship wasn’t going anywhere.
Deathstroke dragged Firefly into the WASP, setting her down in the back. She used the last of the power in her suit to get it open, dragging herself out. The skin she wore now contoured to every single curve, which was awkward as she ran to the pilot’s seat.
“Ma’am, we need to go!”
“I know! Can you drive this thing?!”
She looked at the controls. “I don’t think so!”
Wolf set up a link with Oracle. “Oracle, we could use a hand!”
“On it, ma’am! Firefly, do exactly what I say, when I say it!”
She nodded. “Whatever you say, boss!”
The ground forces got the order. It was time to leave. They got back to their transports, which lifted off with extreme prejudice. As they left, Prince Adam watched where they headed. He saw something else. Glowing red particle drifting behind something in the distance. He could guess what it was. So, this is the one they call Wolf! Finally, a worthy foe!
The WASP docked in the hangar of the Odysseus. Everyone came to see what this thing could do, but there wasn’t time.
“Captain Matthias!” Wolf shouted on the comm. “Get us the fuck out of here! We head back to the Inlet immediately!”
“Roger that, ma’am!” Their forces started to make their way out. The naval ships were already headed back. They served their function. As they got out, Wolf looked at her newest acquisition. It’s a good day!
Until next time, a quote,
“Science Team is attempting to reverse-engineer Samus Aran’s arsenal, based off data acquired from her assaults on our forces. Progress is slow, but steady. Command would dearly enjoy turning Aran’s weapons against her.” -Space Pirate log, Metroid Prime