The Sun Never Sets (Part 2 of 2)

Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on The Sun Never Sets (Part 2 of 2)

The Sun Never Sets (Part 2 of 2)

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Francis had to act quickly; he had less then a minute and the Samurai warriors would be jetting aboard. He needed to get to Sergeant Bailey and the Ack Ack gunners quickly and traversing the ladders and gangways to the lower decks was not an option.

“Marcus,” Francis called as he turned casually to his PARA troop corporal. “Wait here till I get back will you, we’ve got a fight on our hands I’d wager.”

Francis engaged his pack by turning the rotating brass disk on the white leather chest harness. He heard the small hiss of the ignition sturginium being released as he retracted the small wooden handled controls at his hips and jammed down on the ignition and throttle toggles at the same time, lifting him in to the air.

He kicked off the bulwark, propelling out above the lower deck as he slowly released the throttle toggle, hitting the ground running and stumbling into the private standing two feet from Sergeant Bailey.
“Blimey, you all right, sir?”

“Splendid Tawdrey, nothing to worry about,” Francis said as he straightened himself and casually stepped over to the Sergeant. “Sergeant Bailey might I have a word?”

The Sergeant followed Francis as he stood beside the bulwark facing the oncoming enemy frigates. A volley of rockets raced so close overhead the whistle was piercing to the ears but thankfully landed in the sea just beyond the deck.

“Christ, but that was close!” exclaimed Bailey.

“Quite,” replied Francis, handing the telescopticon to the sergeant. “Sorry old boy but it seems the captain has landed us in a spot of bother again.” It didn’t take Bailey long to see why, the enemy decks were now full to bursting and the Samurai assault troops were so close to launching they began to extend the bizarre bat-like wings attached to their rocket packs.
“Orders, sir?” the sergeant said loyally, without missing a beat.

“Attach bayonets and line the men on the starboard side to repel in line. I’m gonna try to thin the numbers.”

“Aye aye, sir,” the sergeant snapped and turned on his men. “Right you dogs, fix bayonets and form two lines to starboard. Hop to it, Harding…”

Francis was jetting off again, skimming along the deck once more and climbing to the Ack Ack guns, his long black hair beginning to blow down out of his bicorn hat, which he grabbed just in time before it blew off.

He landed more gracefully this time on the bulwark beside the Ack Ack guns like a cathedral gargoyle, adjusting his officer’s sabre as he landed. Private Thatcher sat at the Ack Ack gun, staring at the heavens blissfully unaware his senior officer had just landed beside him.

“Thatcher!” Francis bellowed, almost causing the private to fall out of his seat. “There’s unlikely to be any aircraft involved in today’s outing so I have an unusual request for you. Get that gun firing on the forward decks of those frigates. You can’t see it from here but it’s bristling with enemy Samurai and I want you and the other gunners to whittle them down. Think you can do that? That’s my boy,” and Francis was off again.

He considered heading to the bridge to inform the Captain but he figured there was little he could do that he probably wasn’t doing already. Another two blasts rocked the Deliverer and Francis saw a few of his red coats blasted into the air and then fall down out of view, no doubt into the drink.

The blasts did not seem to cause any critical damage to Deliverer though and she continued to fire at the oncoming ships. But the enemy’s surprise ambush was timed to perfection and they were now close enough to nullify much of the main gun’s effect.

Francis rocketed back into position with his PARA troopers who were beginning to engage the rocket controls on the crossed white harnesses. No sooner had Francis landed than Thatcher, Smythe and the rest of the starboard Ack Ack crew opened fire, having manhandled their Ack Ack guns into the downward arc.

Francis drew out his telescopticon again and surveyed the enemy decks. Carnage was ensuing. The wicked Ack Ack fire ripped across the deck, the large calibre rounds tearing up the wooden planks and obliterating many of the Samurai.

But the carnage forced the Samurai commanders’ hand and now Francis had brought the fight on even quicker as the winged demons took to the air to avoid the fire, their shining Katana swords in hand.

The marines of the Ascent had obviously followed suit with their Ack Ack guns, also unleashing on the incoming rocket troops, but it was all too little too late. The Samurai were now correcting their wings into a downward flight, the divine wind roaring down upon the Royal Marines, blocking out the afternoon sun and in the blink of an eye they were crashing down on the Deliverer’s decks.

“Fire!” yelled Bailey and a thunderous volley opened up on the lower decks, plucking Samurai out of the air.

“Reload! Second rank, fire!” The first rank knelt as they reloaded their rifles and fire and smoke belched from the second rank with the same crack of fire, once again dropping the enemy into the sea or on the deck at their feet.

“Fall back and fire at will!” bellowed Bailey, who fired his own rifle before grabbing his sergeant’s electro-spontoon, running the electrically charged pike through a Samurai as he landed on the deck.
Bailey moved the marines slowly back towards the middle decks, maintaining good order and firing as they went, but the Samurai now had a foothold on the deck and their numbers began to show.

Marines fell left and right against the wicked Samurai blades. In missile fire the marines had their measure but in the melee the martial prowess and sturginium strengthened yoroi armour of the Samurai was telling.

Francis’ marines on the upper decks were firing on scattered pockets of Samurai with their lighter weight carbine rifles, maintaining a perimeter around the bridge, but the screams of dying marines rang in Francis’ ears and he could see the fight on the lower decks was being lost, with still more Samurai landing every second.

“Marcus!” he called clasping the corporal on the shoulder. “Keep them away from the bridge, I’m taking B troop with me to help Bailey.”

Marcus nodded and turned back to firing on the Samurai boarders while Francis gave the signal for B troop to follow him. Over the din of battle Francis could just hear the scattered hiss and hum of PARA packs igniting and within seconds they were in the air pouring down on the flank of the Samurai, carbines firing.

They landed port side on the lower deck where the enemy were thinnest and opened up with everything they had but the landing did not go unnoticed by the Samurai at the rear of the assault group and they regrouped and changed direction like water flowing in a creek, flooding towards Francis.

Francis drew his officer sabre and prepared to meet the attack firing with his pistol. The Samurai came at them with katanas held high and hit the troop like a tsunami, slashing up and down. At one end of the troop a Samurai thrust his blade accidentally rupturing one of the marines’ PARA packs and causing a mammoth explosion, killing Samurai and marines alike.

Francis parried and thrust, parried and slashed. A Samurai blade was narrowly deflected by his pistol barrel which he then discarded, using his sabre with both of his tiring arms, but the red coat numbers were thinning rapidly.

“Fall back!” Francis finally called and the PARA packs roared into life again, pulling the marines out of the fray, but Francis swung his sword once too many times. The Samurai were upon him before he could activate his rockets. He kicked and slashed as he fell under the weight of the attack, shuffling along on his back until he pinned himself up against a bulkhead.

A Seieibushi Samurai leader stepped forward from the mass, wanting the honour of killing the Britannian officer. He stood above Francis, his armour and sword gleaming and the light catching in the red lenses of his war mask, giving him an almost supernatural aura.

“Banzai!” he shouted as he lifted his sword above his helmeted head, his voice given an otherworldly quality by the regulator in his helmet which let off small bursts of gas as he spoke.

Suddenly a single crack of fire rang out over the battle and a hole blasted through the Seieibushi’s helmet. He fell to his knees, sword dropping behind him. The other Samurai moved to react but they began to fall in numbers, blasted from their feet.

Francis pulled himself up and looked to see what was happening. From over the port side rocketed a great mass of red coat marines, arrayed shoulder to shoulder and firing as they came.

Lieutenant Kellingsworth came rocketing to Francis’ side, helping him to his feet and instantly Francis knew what had happened. He looked over his shoulder to see the HMS Brawn begin to slip beneath the waves.

“Looks like you’ve got it all under control anyway, Francis, but with the Brawn going under we were left with nothing to do. Hope you don’t mind old salt?” said Kellingsworth with the wink of an eye and flick of his blonde hair. “Tally ho!” and he was off, sabre drawn and into the Samurai ranks.

With that, Francis regrouped his PARA troops and they were into it again. The sudden arrival of the Brawn’s marines had sown confusion among the Samurai who began to fall back. Sergeant Bailey was soon at his side again, fighting back through the disorganised enemy. “Nice bloody fracas we’re having here, eh sir?”

“Yes, Will,” replied Francis as he ran through another Samurai. “Top shelf.”

Just then a yell went up from the bridge above. The Samurai were all but beaten but a group had broken off and were heading for the bridge. They had broken windows and were forcing their way in despite the small arms fire coming from within.

“PARA troopers to me,” Francis called as he grabbed up a rifle from a dead marine, once again firing up his rockets and launching into the air above the deck. He came in fast, landing with a thud on the steel steps running up to the bridge. He ran up the steps, shooting Samurai off the windows as he went and blasted the lock on the door, bursting in with his men at his back.

But inside all was calm, Samurai lay dead on the floor and the blue coated officers stood resolutely in a circle with pistols drawn. In the middle, cowering on the ground, was Captain Montgomery T. Sawlington. He looked up and saw Francis and the look of fear became confusion, followed by embarrassment and then anger in the blink of an eye.

“What in the devil are you doing hear Fwancis? As you can see it’s all under contwol, get out there and do your duty!”

No sooner had he finished speaking than a Samurai who was not yet finished burst from the ground and through the bridge officers, sword drawn. The Captain was unarmed and reeled screaming as the blade fell, but in a sudden blast of fire and blood which splattered his face the Samurai dropped his sword, grasping his stomach. The Captain looked on as the Samurai fell, revealing Francis behind him, rifle smoking.
“Gwacious Fwancis!” exclaimed the Captain. “You could have killed me.”

Francis paused for a moment before lowering his rifle and saluting to the Captain. “Nothing you need bother yourself with Captain,” came Francis’ reply. “Nothing we can’t handle.”

The other bridge officers smiled amongst themselves at this jibe and the one closest to Francis gave him a subtle nod of approval. The Captain made to say something but sensing the mood in the room, was lost for words.

“We’ll be off to do our duty then sir,” finished Francis. “Come on marines, let’s finish off those Samurai.”