The captain of the first division learns what it's like to fight in a war when he IS the weapon.
Battle of Trlyt: First Mobile Infantry, First Division
Trunks, watch your left flank! Upon hearing Taharka's voice in his head, Trunks turned to his left to see another cadre of Taydran infantry trying to cut off his division at the side.
Got it! he mentally replied to the psychic and started firing on the group. Taharka acted as a leader for the group and kept in constant mental contact with Trunks, Li-Nei, and Rahara during battle. He could sense enemy movements and would alert the other captains to Taydr's actions on the battlefield. In the two short weeks Trunks had trained with Taharka and the others he'd learned just how powerful the psychic was. He could destroy entire battalions with the flick of a wrist, and push thousands of soldiers away with a nod. He probably could have taken the entire battle at Nimht by himself without breaking a sweat.
Trunks fired several ki-blasts at the armored vehicles far below him. He and the other three captains floated in the sky above their own soldiers and laid waste to most of Taydr's troops before their own soldiers could fire on them. Taharka used his telekinesis, Rahara burned their vehicles to ash, and both Trunks and Li-Nei used their energy to combat the armored vehicles of Taydr. It didn't take Trunks long to realize that Li-Nei was right. He wasn't supporting the Cevan soldiers; they were supporting /him/.
The city of Nimht was a few miles to the north and easily visible from where the four captains had begun their assault on Taydran forces. After decimating the small squad that had tried to flank Trunks's troops, the demi-Saiyan looked north at the lake before them. Despite the fact that the ground was snow covered, Lake Ecole remained unfrozen. The lake was fairly large, almost taking up the entire four mile distance that separated them from the city.
Taharka! Trunks heard Li-Nei mentally call out to the psychic. Taydr's/ squads to the south were a distraction! The main force is preparing to attack the city from the north as we speak!/ Trunks looked to the north but as the sky was overcast it was too difficult to see anything that was happening on the other side of the city.
/We need to cross the lake/, he heard Rahara chime in.
We can't do that; if those vehicles get into the lake they'll destroy Nimht's water supply! Li-Nei interjected. Trunks fired a few more ki-blasts, taking out the last of Taydran troops he could see on his side, the west.
Trunks looked to his right to see Taharka several hundred meters away. Wait one moment/, he heard the dark psychic say as he flew toward the lake. His arms were crossed over his chest, and Taharka then threw them to his sides. /Now the men may cross.
"What are you talking about?!" Trunks heard Li-Nei scream aloud towards the fourth division captain. "We can't cross that lake!"
Trust me was Taharka's short reply. /Send the men across/. With that, Trunks noticed that Taharka's division began moving forward.
"Follow the fourth division across the lake," Trunks spoke into the small radio he wore in his right ear.
"Sir?"/ /Lieutenant Abel responded. Static flickered over the signal briefly before Abel spoke again. "Are you certain?"
"Yes," Trunks replied, his breath condensing in the winter air, "just do it."
"Yes captain," Abel replied curtly. Trunks heard him in the background giving the orders to the other soldiers. He stayed where he was in the sky however as he watched the first of Taharka's soldiers approach the lake. Right when they would have splashed into the water, Trunks saw that the lake remained unmoving... and that the vehicles appeared to be moving across above the water.
Way to go Taharka! Trunks heard Rahara cheer mentally for her comrade. He was maintaining a telekinetic barrier across the surface of the entire lake so that their vehicles could cross. Trunks glanced to Taharka again and the psychic pressed onward toward Nimht as if nothing was happening below him.
We need to move into the city, Taharka projected to his comrades. The others will be there shortly to provide cover fire but we cannot let the Taydran forces into Nimht. Urban combat is... messy at best.
Trunks nodded to himself and flew after Taharka, with Li-Nei and Rahara doing the same. The four quickly approached the city and flew overhead. Trunks noticed that the city looked abandoned and remembered Taharka had told him that Lieutenant General Chiro had ordered the evacuation. He was almost relieved to realize that Naya was not a ruthless general who let civilians die for the victory.
Once the four had passed through downtown Nimht and cleared the skyscrapers of the inner city, they saw the Taydran forces were already attacking the outskirts of the city's north end. /Wait/, Trunks heard Taharka in his head once more. He, Rahara, and Li-Nei stopped and hovered in place while Taharka moved forward a bit more. He flicked his right wrist at the tanks inside the city and blew them backwards, end over end into the sky and into the troops behind them.
"There are two squadrons to the west and six to the east," Taharka spoke aloud, presumably so his lieutenant would hear him also. "Rahara, Li-Nei, you two will take those to the east. Trunks, you will take the west and afterwards assist me with the north."
"How many are to the north?" Li-Nei asked.
"Fifteen," Taharka promptly answered. "Move out!" he ordered and flew due north, taking out the stragglers in the city he had missed with his first attack.
Trunks watched Rahara and Li-Nei take off east before he flew west. He needed to dispatch of the two Taydran squads quickly so he could help Taharka with the north, though he doubted the insanely powerful psychic would need any help.
In a matter of minutes Trunks found the two squadrons. Fog had settled on the western side of the city which was lower in elevation than the other sides, making each individual vehicle hard to spot. Trunks decided to fly in low to get a better vantage point on the enemy. After all, he was fast enough to dodge their fire, and he really wanted to be able to aim better so as to not unnecessarily destroy parts of the city.
Trunks only stopped his descent when he hovered a few meters above the streets of Nimht. Although it was a good thing that the civilian population had evacuated, it was still creepy to Trunks how empty and vacant everything was... almost as if the city was dead even though Taydr had barely touched it.
Trunks flew forward and started firing at the first few Taydran soldiers he saw in the street. After dispatching of them, he quickly pressed onward, remembering how many soldiers and vehicles he'd counted from the sky and their general positions relative to one another. He knew he hadn't seen all of them but two squadrons worth of Taydrans was still not a lot, and not much more than his initial count.
Trunks approached an intersection and noted how suddenly everything was strangely quiet. He moved as silently as he could through the air, hoping to see something through the now thick fog. Trunks stopped once he heard a vehicle approaching. The way the sound echoed around he couldn't tell from which direction the vehicle was coming, so he waited until he could see it before he would fire.
A black armored vehicle appeared through the fog on the street right in front of Trunks. The demi-Saiyan fired and easily destroyed the vehicle. Suddenly he heard a shot fire from the left and by the time he turned toward the sound it was too late. The round stopped just a few feet short of Trunks and was deflected away by some invisible barrier. /Be careful/, Trunks heard Taharka speak to him mentally once more. The psychic was powerful enough to continue to shield his comrades even from miles away while fighting off fifteen squads of Taydran forces... and drop the shield whenever Trunks fired.
In an attempt to blow the dense fog away, Trunks flared his aura to drive up the wind. The fog cleared somewhat but still gave Trunks plenty of visibility in finding his enemies. He quickly flew up to get a better view and started firing on the Taydrans. In a few minutes he had finished off the last of the two squads and proceeded to fly north to help Taharka, as if the psychic really needed it.
When Trunks found Taharka the psychic was easily decimating the Taydran forces below. He looked like a puppeteer, using strategic hand movements and flicks of the wrist to send soldiers and vehicles hurtling around below.
"Looks like you've got this under control," Trunks commented aloud as he stopped several meters away from the dark psychic's left side.
With one last wave of both hands, the fiery debris left behind by Taharka's destruction was blown north and out of the edge of the city. He relaxed slightly and looked to Trunks with his dark violet eyes. We are done here, Trunks heard Taharka project to not just him but the other two captains as well. Rahara and Li-Nei cheered and Trunks half-heartedly smiled. Their first battle of the war was a victory, and Trunks hoped their success would only continue.
"Taydran forces appear to be gathering around Trlyt," General Yuy spoke forcefully as he pointed to the large coastal metropolis on the digital map laid out before him. "We suspect they will attack within a week's time."
"The battle at Nimht last week was far too easy for our forces," Lieutenant General Chiro spoke up as she kept her gaze locked on the continent of Marseilles on the map. "Taydr sent far fewer troops than we had anticipated, and our forces had almost zero casualties," she continued, finally looking up to the other officers gathered around the map. "Taydr's testing us," her gaze hardened. "They want to know what our forces are capable of before sending in everything they have."
"Why would that matter?" one of the male officers spoke up. "If they have disruptors and an army over ten times our size, why would they care to test our strength? They have the upper hand already; there's no need for reconnaissance."
"Perhaps they do not want to rush in and make the war bloodier than absolutely necessary," Naixame answered, not believing her own words. "Learning of our capabilities will give them an idea of exactly how many men to send to achieve a swift victory at each battle."
"Their standing regulars are still over twice our size," General Yuy broke in. The general shook his head. "Hesitancy on the part of Taydr; it's not like them. They have never hesitated to attack us in the past."
"If the prince was the one running Taydr and not the emperor," a second male officer stepped in, "isn't it possible that the nation is scrambling for new leadership? The prince is dead and Emperor Gen has not actively ruled for over a decade," he paused. "He may not to be fit to rule, in which case Taydr must give control of the nation to General Hinden."
"General Hinden is not as merciless as Emperor Gen," the officer who first spoke broke in once more. "Perhaps he will not use disruptors against us."
Knowing there was more to the story but sworn to secrecy, Naya cut everyone off. "Speculating about the political stability in Taydr will not help us win this war." She glanced at the faces of the eleven officers in the room and looked to General Yuy once more. "We need to focus on the battlefield."
General Yuy nodded to her. "Send the Mobile Infantry to Trlyt," he barked out. "Taydr's forces are numerous, but they should be able to hand it."
"So after she'd caught the curtains on fire," Li-Nei spoke to the captain of the first division who sat across from him, "she tried to control the fire to make it stop spreading, instead of putting it out!"
Trunks and his new comrade laughed heartily. Li-Nei was sharing some of the funnier experiences he'd had with his two other comrades, Taharka and Rahara, from over the years. "So what happened?" Trunks asked with a smile once the laughter had died down.
"Taharka sensed the trouble and arrived to put out the fire. He sealed it off with his telekinesis and suffocated it. The curtains ended up completely ruined though, and the Empress wasn't exactly happy," Li-Nei laughed again.
"Hmph," Rahara huffed as she sat down between the pair around the small campfire. "Nice to know you're telling Trunks all the embarrassing stories about me." She sat on a munitions crate and crossed her legs, a scowl on her face.
"Oh come on Rahara," Li-Nei laughed, "we all have embarrassing stories to tell."
"How about I tell some about you, Xana," Rahara quipped, still annoyed at her comrade.
"Be my guest," Li-Nei faked a bow to her and Trunks laughed. The second division captain looked to Trunks who seemed slightly puzzled. "Oh," Li-Nei exclaimed after a moment to think over it, "you still don't know who 'Xana' is, do you?"
"Not really," Trunks replied. "Just that he's someone historically famous."
"So you don't know much about the Republic then, huh?" Rahara stated more than asked.
"I'm not really from around here," Trunks laughed nervously. /Although I think Earth is somewhere in the Republican Frontier/, he thought briefly.
"Well, let me be the one to tell you about how the Republic was founded," Li-Nei said somewhat excitedly. Trunks was pretty sure that Li-Nei liked the sound of his own voice, but usually when he was talking it was mildly interesting, so it wasn't all bad.
"A long time ago, over sixteen thousand years actually," Li-Nei began with a slight laugh, "there were many small nations that were independent of one another in the area that is now the central Republic. Anyway," he continued, "the largest and by far strongest nation was that of Venice.
"The Emperor of Venice knew how powerful his nation was and decided that he wanted to expand his empire to lands beyond the world of Venice. So, the Emperor ordered his nation to begin attacking neighboring worlds. These other nations were so small and weak in comparison they fell easily to the might of Venice. No nation in the area, and maybe even the galaxy, was powerful enough to defeat Venice on their own.
"That's when the leaders of the three largest nations aside from Venice met and devised a plan to stop the war mongering empire. Those three leaders were Galon of strength, leader of Rome; Reno the wise, regent of Florence, and Xana the dragonfire, ruler of Milan. Reno, in his wisdom, knew that their nations would fall one by one if they did not work together to stop the Venetian Empire. He convinced Galon and Xana to join with his nation in taking the fight to Venice itself. The three leaders made a pact, and several smaller nations joined in on the alliance as well.
"Reno led the attack on Venice, and with the combined forces of all of the nations who didn't want to be conquered by the empire, Venice itself was conquered and the Emperor was killed. All of the nations celebrated that Venice was no more, but the three leaders of the offensive knew that they couldn't leave Venice completely defenseless.
"Realizing that their alliance proved to be much stronger than anyone anticipated, and that all nations alike, large and small, should have equal protection from their aggressors, the three leaders created a republic with a senate comprised of several diplomats from every world. They made Venice the capital of this new republic, which has remained so to this day.
"At the first meeting of the Senate, the governing body decided two things. First, because the new nation was enormous with the number of its member nations over twenty to begin with, the Senate made the three leaders of their alliance, Galon, Reno, and Xana, into three consuls, leaders that the Senate could consult with on many issues they were unfamiliar with as well as run any military operations the fledgling Republic may need. The position still exists today with only three people as consuls over the entire Republic. Secondly, to honor the three men that had saved them all from the wrath of Venice, the Senate renamed the Republic to the GaReXa Republic, after the three visionary leaders, and obviously the name has never been changed.
"My nickname, Xana, comes from the fact that I hail from Milan and the dragonfire clan that Xana was the leader of," Li-Nei laughed somewhat. "And supposedly Xana had black hair and dark eyes, like myself."
"What is the... 'dragonfire' clan?" Trunks queried. From what he could tell, Li-Nei was just a ki-fighter like himself.
"I'm from a tribe of energy warriors, not unlike yourself," Li-Nei looked to the demi-Saiyan. "Thousands of years ago people that did not know what ki-fighters were claimed that my people could 'control the wrath of a dragon,' and somewhere, someone began referring to us as 'wielders of the dragonfire.' The name just sorta stuck, I guess," Li-Nei laughed.
Taydran forces are close. Everyone be on your guard. Taharka's voice shot through all of their minds, cutting their conversation off.
Trunks shook his head, "Does anyone else still think that's weird how he does that?"
Rahara laughed, "That's Taharka for you. For the most powerful psychic in the universe, it's an easy thing to do."
"Is he really that strong?" Trunks questioned. "When I first met you guys he said-"
"I know what he said," Rahara cut in. "He's over seven thousand years old, Trunks. If any psychic was more powerful than him, he'd have met the person by now."
"Seven thousand years old?" Trunks's eyes widened in disbelief.
Rahara nodded. "He comes from a line of super powerful psychics that live for thousands of years. I think, in terms of age," she looked up as she thought, "he's about one-third of the way through his lifespan."
"So he could live to be twenty-one thousand years old?" Trunks was still in shock. He knew some aliens lived a lot longer than he did, but someone to live that long... it was astonishing to say the least.
"I think from what he told me some have lived a little longer," Rahara added thoughtfully.
"Well compared to us Rahara's a bit old herself," Li-Nei laughed. "You're what, Ra, four hundred and thirty?"
"Four hundred and twenty-seven, thank you very much," Rahara snorted at him.
Trunks laughed, exasperated at the numbers he was hearing. "Please, Li-Nei, tell me you're normal."
"Moreso than those two," he laughed. "I'm sixty-four."
"Okay that I can live with," Trunks laughed.
"Lieutenant General, the battle has started! We need you at headquarters, now!"
Naixame quickly rose after hearing the muffled voice of Commander Constantineau at her door. "I'm coming," she shouted as she quickly threw on her black uniform, finishing clasping the last few buttons in the dark as she moved for the door.
She opened the door and Constantineau looked just as disheveled as she was certain she appeared to be. "Let's go," she said sternly and the pair started running down the dimly lit halls of the palace. Being faster and not wearing heels, the commander broke away from Naya and ran faster than she did. It didn't help that Naya was hurriedly trying to pin her hair up into a bun as she ran, which slowed her considerably.
Soon Constantineau was out of sight and Naya was trying to catch up. Before she could get to the end of the hall where he turned, she was struck by an awful headache. No... not now! she thought and stopped running, her hands clutching her forehead and temples. Her breath caught in her throat as the pain made it hard to focus on anything else.
Naya's legs buckled and she fell to her knees, hands still glued to her head. The already dim lights in the hallway began to flicker in and out. Naya's body started to seize, and the last thing she remembered seeing was the blood seep from her mouth because she was biting her own tongue.
Trunks ran outside when he heard the first few explosions. He looked south to the city of Trlyt and saw the light of explosions on the west side of the city-Taydr was attacking from the sea under the cover of night.
"Trunks," Taharka floated over to the demi-Saiyan, "get your men over to the south end of the city," he commanded. "Taydr is attacking from the sea but they are sending an air strike at Trlyt from the south."
"Right," Trunks nodded and took off to find Abel and mobilize his division. Within a few minutes he'd found Abel, already up and getting the troops in gear.
"Captain," the young lieutenant looked to Trunks, "we should be ready to head out within ten minutes."
"Good," Trunks responded promptly. "We'll be heading for the south end of the city to intercept an air strike while the other divisions deal with the attack from the west."
"Yes sir!" Abel saluted before turning around to the rest of the men scrambling to get ready and get into their vehicles. "Hurry it up, men!"
Remembering about the small communication device in his pocket, Trunks reached in and grabbed the tiny radio. He quickly put it in his right ear and adjusted the signal until the static faded away.
Trunks, how much longer until you are ready to move out? Taharka's voice projected into the demi-Saiyan's mind.
I'll never get used to that, Trunks thought briefly. Abel said we'll be ready to go within ten minutes, he mentally replied.
/Good; you should be in position several minutes before Taydr's air forces arrive at the south end of Trlyt/, Taharka finished.
Trunks looked to his scrambling troops again, his gaze settling on Abel. "Lieutenant," he called out.
"Yes sir?" Abel turned to his captain.
"I'm gonna fly ahead to the south end of the city and I'll wait for the rest of you there," Trunks told him from where he stood several meters away.
"Yes sir!" Abel saluted and Trunks took to the air. He trusted in Taharka's judgment that they'd arrive before Taydr's forces did, but that didn't prevent Trunks from worrying all the same.
Rahara threw more flames below, carefully controlling the blaze among the Taydran soldiers so the buildings of Trlyt would not catch fire. With exaggerated motions of her hands, she quickly changed a small kindling into a blaze that swallowed seven men and an armored vehicle. Taydr had launched ground troops into the city before Rahara and her comrades had arrived, and Taharka gave her the specific task of tracking down the men who'd made it into the city.
"Captain" /Rahara heard her lieutenant speak in her left ear, "we're ready when you need us."/
"Don't worry," Rahara laughed with a smirk, "I can handle these guys. Just keep an eye out toward the docks to make sure we don't get any more coming into the city."
"Yes captain," Rahara heard him reply.
Rahara extended her right arm forward before sweeping it up, causing the flames below her to do the same and roar into the sky.
Far below the second division captain, several Taydran soldiers fled from the blaze before them. "She's an elemental!" cried one of the men inside the singular armored vehicle in the street.
"We're all gonna die!" another voice chimed in.
"No," Captain Welsper shouted, "she's not an elemental... if she was we'd all be dead by now," he added darkly. He observed the woman in the sky above them a few seconds longer before a realization hit.
"Corporal," Welsper called out to one of the men on the ground behind him. The captain busily wrote a message on his small digital notepad while his corporal approached.
"Captain!" the soldier saluted.
"Here," Welsper shoved the notepad at him, "take this directly to Lieutenant General Avant, now."
"Wh-what?" the corporal reeled in shock. "The lieutenant general himself?"
"What did I say?" Welsper questioned, annoyed with his soldier's query.
"Uh, yes sir!" the corporal saluted before heading back towards the city pier.
Welsper hoped that his message wouldn't be discarded by Lieutenant General Avant. He knew that Rahara wasn't an elemental, because he'd seen those fearsome beings in action. He was left to wonder if the general would believe that she was a fire deity.
Trunks's division arrived while the demi-Saiyan floated high in the sky above them on the south side of Trlyt. He was watching the southern sky for any signs of Taydr's air strike, and waiting for Taharka to project to him when they would be arriving. He knew Taydr's ships were black and polished dull, and guessed that they would be operating in some sort of stealth mode since they thought it was a surprise attack. Or maybe they'd figured out in the past eight battles Trunks had been a part of that Taharka could 'see' enemy movements from miles away and it was all a ruse.
Trunks glanced back at the city behind him and saw two of his three comrades in the sky. Rahara was near the inner city, roasting the few that had snuck into the city interior and Xana was at the water itself, firing on the transport ships and anything in the ocean that wasn't obviously Cevan. Taharka remained out of Trunks's vision and the first division captain briefly wondered where the psychic was.
"Captain!" Abel screamed into Trunks's right ear. "They're here!" The mercenary quickly turned to see Taydran ships breaking through the clouds. He quickly dodged the first few shots fired at him by the three ships leading the small fleet and wondered why it was so dark outside, even for night. He glanced up and realized it was a new moon on Ceva, and the only light provided in the area was from the city and the stars above, both of which equated to very little.
After dodging the leading ships' fire, Trunks counterattacked as his backup far below also fired on the ships. In between dodging fire and returning it, Trunks tried to count how many Taydran ships there were in the in sky. In the extreme dark he could only manage to count seventeen yet he was sure there were more.
Taharka expects me to take out all of these ships by myself? Trunks thought as he dodged another shot and fired on another ship, watching it explode after his attack hit. If this is a small force compared to what's attacking from the sea... his mind trailed off on the thought as he saw three Cevan armored vehicles below him burst into flames. That was when he realized if he didn't act fast, the men in his division would go down before he would finish off the Taydran assault.
Deeming it necessary under the circumstances, Trunks transformed and flew at the ships as he fired. If he couldn't destroy them all fast enough to protect his division, he was going to at least disable most of their weapons. He dodged fire until he was flying between the ships and attacked their weapons directly. It didn't even take much energy, it was just a matter of finding them all.
After destroying all the weapons on nine ships, Trunks glanced back at his division. Apparently Taharka wasn't shielding them, or he wasn't shielding them well because Trunks had lost another dozen vehicles to Taydr.
Trunks stopped and floated in the air, grimacing at the situation behind him. "Nice work, captain!" he heard Abel speak into his right ear. "Keep disabling their weaponry; once they're defenseless we can take them down easily!" the lieutenant went on. It was then that Trunks noticed another pair of ships falling from the sky due to attacks by his unit.
"Right," Trunks spoke to Abel and nodded, reaffirming the idea to himself. He turned and went after the remaining ships, destroying their ability to attack as the first division went ahead with destroying the ships their captain had paralyzed.
After Trunks had finished disabling the weapons on all twenty-four ships, he helped the remainder of his outfit in shooting down the rest of the Taydran air assault. In just over an hour, Trunks and his division had completely destroyed the Taydran fleet. Trunks breathed a sigh of relief and returned to his normal form. He glanced down at his soldiers again and noticed several burning vehicles.
"Lieutenant," he spoke into the radio in his right ear, "how many casualties did we have?"
Trunks heard the static on the other end and knew that Abel was hesitating to respond. "We've lost thirty-two assault vehicles, captain" Abel replied. "And most of the men piloting them."
Trunks turned his attention to the western horizon, where the ocean lay. "You can handle returning to base, right?" he queried of his second-in-command while still keeping his gaze focused on the western end of the city of Trlyt.
"Yes sir," Abel quickly responded.
"Do it; I'm going to meet up with the other captains," Trunks deftly replied before flying towards the city. He heard Abel comply with his commands, but the thought didn't really register as Trunks was more focused on meeting up with the other captains.
When Trunks reached the western side of the city, he saw Taydran forces far out on the horizon retreating as the other three mobile infantry captains floated in the sky above the water. Trunks stopped next to his three comrades and the four watched as the last few retreating Taydran forces disappeared on the darkened horizon. Trunks turned around and looked to the east, seeing the first few rays of sunlight creep over the mountains in the distance. He sighed. It was another victory for Ceva, but not without losses.