Harry & Ginny
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Marquis Black - The Dark Wars: Empire's Rebirth
Chapter 8 - Chapter VIII: Once More, Into the Breach
AN: I figured that, after such huge delays, I should post a chapter sooner than before, so here goes! Part 1 of the epic Battle of Salt Lake City!
Harry watched as the docking crew began loading crates of unspecified materials onboard the Retaliation. According to Eisenheim and Bill Weasley, who'd been taken under Eisenheim's wing, it was a surprise for the Imperial forces. According to Bill, the two had been driving their scientists round the clock in order to invent these. He'd granted that they weren't up to par with Roberts-issued weaponry, but it was "good enough" for the job.
"Careful with that!" he heard Bill Weasley urge the loading crew. "We wouldn't want an explosion, now would we?"
That seemed to pierce the monotone minds of the loading crew, and the five men pulling on the rope suddenly began taking far more caution as they slowly hauled the crates up.
Bill turned to grin at Harry. "Once you get the right words out, it's easy as pie," he told the younger man.
Harry chuckled. "Indeed. A nice death threat does do wonders on discipline."
Bill laughed along with Harry at that. When the two sobered up, however, Bill turned pleading eyes on Harry. "Harry, you wouldn't have heard anything about…?"
Harry sighed. Bill asked him this question every time an expedition set out. "I'm sorry, Bill, but no word on either Charlie or your family."
Bill's shoulders slumped at that, though he quickly masked his disappointment. "I guess I'm hoping too hard, what?" he asked ruefully. Harry shook his head.
"It's never a bad thing to hope, Bill. I still hope every day that my family, my wife, is safe," remarked Harry. And indeed he did. Ever since his revelation hit him, he'd gone to sleep each night only after he prayed to whatever deity there be that his wife and family was safe and sound.
Bill smiled nostalgically at the thought of his baby sister. "Well," he said eventually, having recovered his composure, "you know what to do if you hear of them. I'll be with Eisenheim in his lab working. As always."
Harry chuckled. "Indeed. Good luck, Bill."
Bill grinned at Harry. "No, good luck to you. You're going to need it."
Somewhere over the United States…
Elijah Shepard had always loved flying.
Even as a toddler, his favourite toys had always been something with wings, a fact that had alerted his parents to Elijah's future career. So it was no surprise when, at the age of 19, Elijah had enlisted and been accepted into the Royal Air Force.
That had been five years ago.
Now, Elijah was one of the squadron leaders for the flight complement on Admiral Hawke's flagship, the HMIS Redemption. It had been a jump up the career ladder for the pilot, but he'd taken to the job like a fish takes to water. Thus, he now led the Black Knights squadron.
And it was the Black Knights that had been assigned the task to run escort to the flying armada, with Elijah and his wingmate, Knight 2, in point.
Elijah was having a splendid day, too, as the Imperial Research Laboratory had finished building the first four dozen prototypes of new fighter planes. Only, the word that needed to be used was craft, as the wings were reduced in size to mere bumps on each side of the chassis. The lab crew called it the Lambda, due to its vaguely Lambda-shaped body.
And, earning itself new weaponry to go with the new design, the ship was given two quadruple gun placements on the wing stubs on either side, as well as fourteen of the new heat-seeking ME Missiles, known as HS-ME missiles.
In addition to their new weaponry, the Lambda craft were far quicker than the old jets the pilots had been used to flying. Of course, that meant a higher level of skill was required, which is why Elijah kept his off-duty pilots in the simulators back on the Redemption at least three hours a day.
Elijah pulled up his fighter so he was eye-level with his wingmate. Elijah tapped his helmet and motioned forward, prompting Knight 2 to nod.
With a determined look, Elijah pulled the thrust lever back as he felt the Lambda fighter speed up slightly. Elijah had decided to go on ahead and scout out the area, just in case.
Banking right, Elijah pushed down on the control column, making him rapidly lose altitude. Elijah didn't mind, he was used to it.
"Knight Leader to HMIS Retaliation," announced Elijah through his headset, "I'm preparing my scouting run."
"HMIS Retaliation, we hear you, Knight Lead. Green light for scouting mission."
"Roger," replied Elijah as he pushed his fighter into a dive and went into the clouds. After the last ambushes, it had become routine for fighter aircraft to scout out the cloud formations, just in case.
Elijah sped through the clouds rapidly, his eyes alternating between looking out the window, and looking at his enhanced radar.
After five minutes of cruising, Elijah began to feel bored, and leaned his head back, closing his eyes in the process. He promptly began humming a tune under his breath.
He had just going through the second paragraph of lyrics when his proximity alarm blared. Jerking forward, Elijah looked at his radar and felt his eyes widen as he saw the veritable swarm of objects flying around several larger ones. Making a hard turn to the right, he pulled his craft back into the direction of the Redemption, hoping to God that the swarm wouldn't follow.
No such luck.
Elijah swore colourfully as he saw several bullet traces shoot past his cockpit. His only hope now was to outrun them, and with that in mind, he pulled the thrust lever as much as he could, pushing the Lambda's engines to their maximum capacity.
Frantically, Elijah activated his headset. "Knight Lead toRetaliation! Knight Lead to Retaliation!" he shouted into it. "Enemy ambush at ten kilometres from your location! Be advised, large number of American aircraft are in the air!"
At first, Elijah thought despairingly that the ship had not received his message. However, after a minute or so of static, Elijah was relieved when he heard, "Retaliation to Knight Lead. We copy, Knight Lead. Scrambling all available squadrons and moving into attack vector."
Elijah sighed in relief as he cut the comm-link to the Assault Ship. He became even more relieved as he saw the fleet approaching, and a small cloud of smaller objects zooming right for him.
"Knight Two to Knight Lead," came the voice of his wingmate, "We're coming onto your position. Prepare to incorporate into formation."
"Knight Lead to Knight Two, copy that," said Elijah grinningly.
Elijah waited four seconds before pulling up into a U-Turn, only to find himself right where he was supposed to be in the squadron's V-formation.
"Knight Two to Knight Lead; Good to have you back, sir."
"Knight Lead to Black Knights: Thanks a bunch, guys. Now, back to work!" Elijah said, causing much of the squadron to chuckle over the radio. Elijah took one look at his radar and immediately sobered up as the enemy fighters turned to engage them. "Alright, Black Knights. Sound off!"
One by one, the members of the Black Knights called in, until the count came back to him. "Knight Lead, all green. Disengage weapon safety!" he ordered as he did the same and heard the whirr of the several weapon safeties disengage.
"Knight Five, I've got a visual on the enemy. Five kilometres and closing."
"Knight Lead, copy that. Fanning deployment, on mark."
Elijah waited until the enemy was at one kilometre distance (by which time they were firing off clumsy, yet deadly shots) before shouting, "Mark!"
Elijah banked hard to the left as Knight Two led his own wing to the right.
Seeing the amount of fighters passing through their formation, Elijah knew playtime was over. Steeling himself for what was to come, he activated his link to his men. "All pilots, engage at will. Take down as many as you can!"
Banking to the right, Elijah brought his wing behind the enemy and, placing his trigger finger on the trigger, smiled nastily before pressing down and opening fire.
As Elijah barrel-rolled to avoid incoming projectiles from behind, he watched as the cloud cover dissipated and the air below showed they were right above the concentration camp in Utah.
Unlike what they'd expected, however, rather than a measly defence force, they were facing quite the formidable fleet, with Staples' fleet taking a beating at the moment as American-built Death Eater battleships opened fire on the Assault Ships next to them.
"Knight Lead, Knight Lead, calling in Retaliation," Elijah grunted as he avoided another projectile shot. "Be advised, fleet is over target! Oceania forces are under heavy attack!"
"Copy, Knight Lead," came back the reply. "Your orders are to move in and provide assistance as possible to the Asian Loyalist League forces"
"Great," muttered Elijah as he cut the link and patched himself to his men. "Knight Lead to Knight Squadron, break off and move in to assist League forces!"
"Knight Two, roger that. Breaking off wing from engagement and moving to assist friendlies."
Reassured by that, Elijah patched himself to his wing. "Alright boys, time to go save the League's butt once more! Break off and dive!"
Not paying attention to the wing's replies, Elijah pulled up and performed a daring loop which ended with his craft plunging down towards the battle below.
The Battle of Salt Lake City had begun.
AN: I was wondering. Do any of you, faithful readers, happen to know how to add/edit things on the Wikidot sites? I've registered a wiki to post the visual/historical/statistical information relating to the Dark Wars (and my upcoming original stories), but I'm afraid I'm not quite getting the hang of it...Anyone who knows (or who is willing to learn how to do it) and wishes to help me in this endeavour, please send me a private message so we can work out details. Two-Three people max, however.