The Dragon Queens

Chapter 3

Frostreach command center

Corrin Williams massaged his temples with his forefingers as he leaned forward against the war table. Gods damn it! They’d been close. Even with the wall breached, they could have held the bastards off until the reinforcements had arrived, but no, they simply had to go and win the orbital battle.

He closed his eyes and exhaled in a sharp amused snort. That’s what you got when you made plans, Sheogorath must be laughing his mad ass off right now at the fact that most of their carefully laid plans were now in ruins.

They had almost finished bringing up the wall wards when the aliens had attacked. Their first salvo had overloaded the partially charged ward and made short work of the wall. Not to mention the fact that they had lost nearly 2 thirds of a legion to the first of those damned orbital strikes.

To prevent this, he had the legions break up into smaller groups that would be harder to blast from orbit. He looked at another report, the 5 brotherhood agents were still in place, and ready to take action after all their Intel was gathered. At this moment, they were undetected and therefore the bloody Spikeheads would not be looking for them so their orders where to lay low until the kill call was made.

Spikeheads, a name the remaining members of the 36th had given the aliens, because of the crest that jutted from the back of their helmets and that they were pretty sure now were physiological. “Sir we have more reports from the lower city. The aliens are advancing in a leapfrog pattern, whenever they find a group of resistance they pull out and either comeback with reinforcements or the ships bomb them.” The young Redguard woman looked grim.

Williams gritted his teeth in rage “can we use the wings to provide cover?” he asked Sahrahnah who shook her black scaled head.

“Niid, their gunships are too many for our wings to properly engage while their aetherius vessels sit up there taking pot shots at us” the female Dov growled as she twitched her tail and bared her fangs in anger.

“We need a way to negate that advantage” a Bosmer commander told him as he stared at the viewer intensely “there may be no other option but to let the rogues loose” A large Nord mused as he flicked through reports “the Eyes and the Nightingales have been preparing some nasty surprises for our guests” he continued.

“I think it’s time to start using them, they can’t use orbital strikes against themselves” the Bosmer agreed. Williams nodded “very well. Do it. Send those damn Spikeheads a message.” He growled, his fingers gripping the rim of the map.

Turian bases- the assassins

The message was broadcast on a wideband frequency that everyone with a radio heard what was said. Not that the Turians could understand it. “Sithis, Nocturnal and Sheogorath send their regards” a low voice growled over the comms.

To the 5 dark brotherhood assassins it was the signal to act. They moved through both camps clearing the way for the thieves, assassinating everyone of importance they could as quietly as possible, as quickly as possible. Doctors, squad leaders, scientist, officers, pilots and engineers all fell to their blades.

They moved through the camps like winds of death, sending Sithis a large crop of new souls. The thieves came in after, taking everything they could get their hands on: rations, ammo, weapons, armour, water, meds and plans.

Everything that was not nailed down or on a Turian (and a few things that were) were taken.

The Eyes and Nightingales began booby trapping everything they could, poisoning what food and water they could and was left behind by the thieves. Doors, cots and chairs were rigged with poison dart triggers, destruction runes now littered the pathways for their landing zone and camps, waiting till the rogues pulled out to be activated.

Then like the ghosts they were, they slipped out, many carrying enchanted sacks full of loot, with wolfish grins beneath their helmets as they activated the traps and ran for Imperial controlled Frostreach.

Turian forward base, Kavira Greensky square- Desolas

Damn those primitives to hell! Desolas thought to himself as the looked at the projection of the city in front of him. Every time they thought they had those primitives pinned down, they slipped away. After the first group had been driven back he had begun to send men into the city to find and tag these aliens fortified positions so that the air support could wipe them out.

But the instant they had done that the aliens had broken up and begun engaging in guerilla style fighting. Ambushing patrols then vanishing, lightning fast strikes before pulling out to hide in the city. It was like fighting smoke, and sometimes they were.

Spectral varren like creatures would suddenly dart out of the streets and begin mauling solders, vanishing either when it had killed the patrol or if it was outnumbered and attacked with stolen melee weapons.
Massive golems made of ice or rocks and lightning would lumber at them laying waste to men before being taken down by overwhelming odds and usually some explosive. More of those flaming Asari came at them at random times, but the black armoured bipeds that came at them were the most horrifying.

They simply waded into their midst and began hacking with swords chuckling evilly as they did so. Not only that but those bipeds were immune to mass effect technology, weapons from mass accelerated weapons simply veered around them at wild angles, often striking friendlies.

Desolas shook his head, many of his men had ended up using stolen melee weapons in order to combat these menaces. Though the effects that some of the blades had was disturbing, burning freezing or shocking as they cut, others paralyzed or simply drained you of energy and made you weaker.

The radio in his helmet crackled and a deep male voice said quite clearly “Sithis, Nocturnal and Sheogorath send their regards.”

He turned to stare at the two other officers standing across from him “what the hell was that?” he demanded “a broadcast from the enemy” one on the left reported as he typed furiously away on his Omni-tool trying to locate the source of the broadcast.

“They routed it through several different broadcasters. We can’t find them” Desolas swore, “they meant for us to hear that, get someone working on translating that message. I want to know exactly what they said”.

But five minutes later all hell broke loose, streets, doorways, corridors, any kind of chokepoint began exploding with ice, fire or lightning as people walked through them, many crucial personal were found murdered and gear missing.

That was what the bloody message was. Desolas thought as he picked himself up from the floor where he hand thrown himself to avoid the flames from some form of explosive that had been triggered as an aid walked in. It was a signal for them to begin this shadow campaign. He looked at the burning remains of the aid and the mangled body of one of his fellow officers and growled. These Aliens were going to pay.

3 days since the invasion began-Imperial Frostreach command center

General Williams rubbed his aching eyes with tired fingers. It had been three days since this war had begun and they still were no closer to driving these damn Spikeheads from the planet. On the flip side the Spikeheads were no closer to taking it, so that was positive.

Reinforcements were due tomorrow and he prayed to Akatosh that they could hold out till the fleet got there. The fighting in the streets had turned out to work just fine for the Nirnian troops, the only problem being the orbital strikes.

The citizenry huddled in deep subterranean bunkers connected by tunnels, listening to the shudders that rocked the earth around them and prayed to Divine and Daedra alike for victory. Corrin knew this and was determined to give their prayers an answer.

The city was a shattered husk of its former shining glory. The crystal towers had been shattered and cracked. Houses reduced to dust, forums and markets turned to craters. The university, a marvel of Nirnian architecture had been turned into a mass grave from the battle that had occurred there. The Nirnians had refused to allow the Spikeheads to retreat, negating the orbital advantage and deploying in on of the few mass troop movements of this invasion.

The great library had suffered similarly, though the tomes had been evacuated with it’s staff, the terminals had been smashed and the beautifully carved statues destroyed. Even the great temples of the Divines and were not spared. The figure of Akatosh was now missing its right arm and Mara was destroyed from the waist up. Dibella lay in pieces with the others as little more than rubble.

The less said about the Great Daedric shrine the better. It was a giant crater now; the princes had not taken kindly to the desecration and sent a few of their warriors to kill the Turians. Since the Shrine had been too costly it had been destroyed by the Spikeheads’ ships.

The Vampires and the Weres had made several forays against their airstrips and camps at night, striking terror into the Spikeheads at every opportunity. Now the damn aliens were afraid to even take a piss without their entire cohort nearby and every weapon available to them at hand.

He smiled grimly, they were now fighting with blades, as the gods had intended. Since the thieves had stolen all their ammo and gear, they had been reduced to scavenging from the Nirnians. Alas for them, it was with blades that the Nirnian excelled.

Dragon and fighter wings now made strikes in the night, killing when they could and in general spreading terror, they tore into the Spikehead ships, the fighters nipping out of orbit to draw the shots enough for orbital Magica cannons to fire at them before they were destroyed through concentrated fire.

He himself had led a few brief raids against the enemy, and his sword Neck Breaker had tasted their blood (which the Vampires and Weres had told him was toxic… mores the pity, they could have fed those troops easily that way. spoils of war and all that).

But now the glory of battle was palling. The children of Nirn may enjoy battle, but the disliked war, too many heroes of previous battles would die because they were too exhausted to continue. As Queen Ayrenn had said “you win battles. But you survive wars. Because in war there are no winners.” Wise words.

Wars never helped, they prolonged suffering. Williams shook his head and turned as an aide spoke up, excitement evident in her tired Argonian voice. “We have a message from the Imperial fleet” there was tentative excitement in the air now “the say that they will arrive late this evening. That they are only 6 hours away and to hold out.”

The aid looked up “signed Admiral Hakket” shocked silence reigned over the bridge. Admiral Steven Hakket was famous in the Imperial navy for his brilliant but brutal tactics. A Dunmer of short stature, he had won his fame in a campaign against a cult of Molag Bal worshipers where he had cleared them out by employing and ingenious tactic of using gravitational fields to slingshot small pieces of space debris at their asteroid base.

The cult had been destroyed with no casualties to imperial forces, winning him the medal of Cunning given to him by Queen Ayrenn herself. Now he was an admiral, and leading the fleet that apparently was coming to kick these Spikeheads back to whatever plane of oblivion they crawled out of.

Imperial Super dreadnaught NIV Searing Vengeance, Imperial fleet.

“Admiral we will be emerging back into Mundus in 5…4…3…2…1” Admiral Hakket felt the gut wrenching, mind twisting thud of a vessel returning to mundus. Azura, he hated plane jumping, but maybe that was because he didn’t do it often now that he was an admiral. “Shanxi coming into view now sir” one of the bridge officers informed him.

“The rest of the fleet has emerged and are ready to rain oblivion on the bastards” his communications officer told his. Shaking his head mentally at the Orsimer’s choice of words Hakket stood and pressing a button addressed the entire fleet.

“This is admiral Hakket, we will now begin the liberation of Shanxi. The reports said that ice weapons have no effect on these ships as they are stopped by the alien’s shields. So, I want the barrage to be from flame, electricity and energy. Give no quarter to these aliens, intelligence tells us that their orders were to kill civilians and warriors alike. This cannot be allowed to stand, and I ask you all. Will you stand for it?” the open comms from the entire fleet were filled with a roar from all crews.

“NO!” they bellowed. Hakket nodded and continued “we must also find out where these aliens came from, so I order you to spare one small ship. Then we will follow them back to their worlds. The Queens will decide their fate. Now forward all to battle and Glory!!” he shouted the last part.

Across the fleet came the answering bellow, now 2000 years old “FOR OUR QUEENS!!!”

Space, between the two fleets

The golden ships of the Empire lunged forward like the Calvary of old. Like arrows from Auri-el’s bow they sped towards their enemy, golden hulls gleaming in the light of the nearby star and their weapon ports glowing as the they charged.

The Turian ships turned from where they had been raining death upon the now battered world to meet these new challengers. Confidence aboard the Turian fleet drained away as they saw the three, truly massive four kilometre long super dreadnaughts that lead the charge.

The other ships of the Imperial fleet were roughly equal in size to the Turians, but far more maneuverable, some of the smaller ones using micro jumps to dance circles around the beleaguered Turians.
These ships pressed close, the knife fighters of the fleet. Some passing a scant thirty metres from their prey, a distance most pilots could consider suicide, yet the Nirnian ships managed the difficult maneuvers with practiced grace.

The patrol of 27 ships was simply no match for the 73 belonging to the Empire and this became swiftly apparent as the golden fleet tore through them like a fire across a grassland, their bigger ships and fleet doing what the small ships of the defence fleet could not.

Shanxi, Frostreach, Turian base- Desolas

Desolas watched in horror from the Landing zone as the alien reinforcements arrived. With their orbital supremacy rapidly vanishing, the primitives had begun to fight in earnest again. It was almost like they
could smell that this was the time to attack in true force now that the ships would not rain death from above.

Their legions had formed up with frightening speed and precision and were now marching in neat formation through the city while the sky filled with those strange and terrifying flying creatures and small fighters that had been stalking them for days.

At the front of the legions led a figure in gleaming black armour with a stiff crest made red hair on its helmet, the figure carried a black sword and a massive black and red shield with the design of a flying beast decorating it.

The exhausted Turians were routed as the aliens beat them back, first from the city, and now to the landing zone where Desolas stood with the last of his men. They all looked to him and he could see in their eyes that they knew their death now marched towards them, weapons smashing their shields in concert.
He looked down at the green and gold sword he had taken from a dead primitive, his gun long since destroyed, and sighed, to think he would die here with a primitive edged weapon in his hand as opposed to his faithful lancer that now sat shattered in a square in that city.

The frightful crashing sound stopped, and in the sudden silence a voice spoke in thickly accented Turian. “You have fought well and we give honours to you for this. But your death is assured if you continue to fight. We would not kill warriors such as yourselves for that would dishonour us as well. Surrender and we shall treat you with the honour captive fighters are due.”

The remaining men looked at each other, then to Desolas. “Sir?” one of the younger men, lieutenant Victus asked clutching the sword and shield that were his trophies from this failed subjugation. Desolas looked at them and realised that many were young, it was those willing to change that had allowed them to survive, and almost all of them were young.

He sighed and nodded before walking out from behind his cover holding his sword out in the ancient gesture of surrender. He walked up to the leader and lay the sword at its feet “I, General Desolas Arterius of the Turian Hierarchy surrender, please spare my men” he pleaded before he bowed his head and waited for the alien’s judgment.

Slowly his men came out as well, their weapons held out in surrender. there were barely 200 of them left, compared to the thousands of the aliens. Slowly they lowered their weapons to the ground and held their hands up in surrender.

The leader barked a command, and an alien for each Turian came forward. With the rest of their fellows watching carefully, they bound the Turians’ hands and gathered their weapons. As they were lead back to the city Desolas could only hope he and his men would survive this. The Battle of Shanxi was now over.

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