Chapter 14:

Mad Dog

Convergence of the Three Empires

The entirety of the Carrier Group’s trip consisted of two pilots kilometers above ground attempting to murder one another. They flew day and night endlessly and subjected themselves to dizzying Gs and yet they never one upped one another. When one of them won, another would come back right after. It was an endless game of cat and mouse where they were both the rodent and the feline.Bookmark here

The only break that they took were during times where one of them starved. And even then they discussed their strategies. They discussed their movements, their maneuvers. There came a point where Caius himself taught Angelica how to do specific moves, all the while Angelica would use it against him.Bookmark here

And though she used everything she could against him, he was still able to win against her. The frustration in her heart grew and grew, this frustration turned into anger, and with the lack of outlet, this anger turned into spiteful hatred, “I WILL FLY OVER THERE, CRASH YOUR PLANE! AND CHOKE YOU!” Was one of the colorful threats that she threw at Caius who paid her no mind.Bookmark here

It wasn’t long that fellow pilots followed after them and it turned into a gigantic dogfight in the sky. It was good for the both of them anyway, in such a close quarters combat that it became a good way to test their skills in working with groups.Bookmark here

Agrippa sat down on the flight deck and watched the fight happen above with binoculars. In some metric, it was a sight to behold. The smoke trails of the planes collided with one another, and the maneuvers that they made towards one another felt very clean.Bookmark here

“ALERT! ALERT!” Alarms blared throughout the entirety of the carrier group as the radar group spotted a Sakilo-Jawani carrier group thirty kilometers away, “All units land and rearm. Combat situation: Yellow.” With no hesitation, every plane up in the sky landed, and in less than an hour, all of them were armed.Bookmark here

Agrippa took control of the Admiral position under Julius command, “Has Z-98 armed its missiles?” He asked the officers that stood behind him. Z-98 was the only destroyer in the carrier group and it was armed to the teeth with missiles.Bookmark here

“Yes, admiral.” One of them responded, “The entire navy is armed and ready, we are now only waiting for your command to attack.”Bookmark here

“And the submarines?”Bookmark here

“U-88 and U-66 are in position and currently unnoticed.”Bookmark here

“Are we detected?” The radar flashed in front of him, there were no blips that seemed to indicate an assault towards them.Bookmark here

“We don’t seem to be, we are in their radar range though.”Bookmark here

“Tell the Z-98 and the submarines to fire their missiles, make sure that the air wings follow them closely behind.”Bookmark here

“Affirmative, admiral.” Agrippa observed the air wing as they took off from the flight deck and flew circles around the carrier group. They waited for their signal to attack.Bookmark here

Heaps of steam were released from the Z-98’s missile hatch then, as if to signal the jet fighters, they launched. Like a mystical meteor they flew towards the enemy carrier group, the air wing followed closely behind it and made sure that the missiles weren’t interrupted in its path.Bookmark here

In the distance, Caius saw the Sakilo-Jawanian air wing group. They flew in a single file to hide their numbers, yet as they flew near they separated on all sides in a sunburst position and sought to encompass the Kaiserreich’s flying V.Bookmark here

In response, the Kaiserreich chased and followed after their starburst. One by one, they chased after the other, wingmen followed closely behind. Within minutes, the surroundings were filled with smoke and chaff. Missiles were fired all around, and planes crashed into the ocean below.Bookmark here

The missiles that were fired crashed into the ships, a direct hit, but it wasn’t enough to sink them. The submarines and the destroyer fired their missiles once more. But perhaps through the chaff they may not be able to fire as effectively.Bookmark here

Caius chased after one plane after another, he felt sweat down his brow. One by one the planes were shot down, one by one his victories accumulated, “MISSILE! MISSILE!” The alarms blared through his face and through his ears. He was out of flares, and thus he had to only rely on his maneuvers to avoid the fire. But he didn't care, he knew, he was Caius von Kaiser.Bookmark here

He felt like a mad dog that chased one man after the other. He saved those who were chased, he killed those who chased. Everyone died through Caius and Angelica, as if this was another one of their competition. Who can achieve the most victories? He weaved through his enemies and through his allies. Avoiding missiles all the while shooting down whatever he saw. It was, to put it mildly, a slaughter. Though if it weren’t for the intense exercises they’ve done, this victory may not have been so total.Bookmark here

They reformed once more, two kilometers away from the carrier group and its flak, “What now, Caius?” Asked Angelica.Bookmark here

“Switch to ASMs.” Air-to-surface missiles, it was time for them to sink some ships. Bookmark here

Agrippa watched from a distance, he ordered missile after missile after missile to be fired upon the Carrier Group, “Say,” He turned around to his officers, “We are flying the flag of the Antediluvians, yes?”Bookmark here

“Yes, sir!” Said the officer. To not do so would be a direct act by a “Third party”. It would put the Kaiserreich under the radar of the other militaries, that would be the gravest of all mistakes that they could make.Bookmark here

Slowly but surely the enemy carrier group disappeared from view. And soon, they were all below the horizon. It was just another day, routine, almost. Only this time there were live rounds being fired.Bookmark here

Agrippa wonders the ease of which the Amazonias campaign would take. Would they have to spend more ammunition than necessary? More men? He felt it would be a long, drawn-out campaign, but as the air wing left a trail of fire and brimstone in their wake, he realized that those fears may as well be forgotten.Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

There was no man as equal in shrewdness amongst the high ranking officers of the Kaiserreich to Julius. No man except for Marcus Antonious, Julius’ right hand man. He was an accomplished general in his own right, and helped Julius in establishing the Kaiserreich in its first legs. He was even with Julius when they first arrived in Concursus, battered and beaten as they fought in the front lines. Bookmark here

In Caspian, Marcus had a family, a wife and four kids. He had abandoned them after he set foot in Concursus, along with his Caspian citizenship. Perhaps it is due to the fact that he can never come back home the same man as he was, that he could never see his family the same way ever again. He figured that with the crimes he dabbled on with Julius that it would be better to just stay away from them. Bookmark here

Marcus reminisced about those times as he walked through the solemn streets of Caspian. Its crowded streets and the suffocating lights of billboards and advertising made it seem that each man and each man and each man that walked past him was nothing more than another smudge in the orange-brown painting of the grand city. At the distance of the long road, a silhouette of a castle that pierced the heavens slowly took form.Bookmark here

Marcus found himself in a private audience with the Empress of the Caspian Empire. Formally known as Queen Elizabeth XIV, she was older than him by a few years yet the stress of running the empire showed in the cracks and wrinkles that messed her face.Bookmark here

They sat in front of one another inside a somewhat empty private room, it was in one of the highest points of Caspian and as such, it was graced by the sunlight far above.Bookmark here

Formalities had been done earlier, a bow, a salute, a kiss on the cheek. Teas, crumpets, it was all said and done, and now they stared at one another, “I’m sure you know why I asked for your audience, my Queen.” Bookmark here

“Dismiss the formalities, Marcus. It is unneeded.” She signaled her guards to leave as they did so. She silently sipped her tea, this was the first time that the Condotierri’s leader specifically asked her audience, “What do you need?”Bookmark here

“I need your formal permission to extend the contract that we have given the Grand Caspian Army last year. We wish to continue fighting for your cause.” He lied as naturally as he breathed. There was not a time where the Kaiserreich fought for the Caspian cause which Julius always knew as profit and conquest.Bookmark here

“That’s all? My, my, Marcus. You could’ve just sent this to Dorsia.” It seemed like the news of Dorsia’s disappearance hadn't quite reached her ears yet.Bookmark here

“We wish to acquire your formal permission to act independently for your cause, as we have acquired information that we cannot risk giving to your generals. It is for that purpose that we have skipped past the bureaucracy of your army and went directly to you.”Bookmark here

Elizabeth sipped her tea once more and smiled at Marcus, “How’s Julius?” Marcus’ heart sank to the floor, he felt gripped to the seat with one question. And as he stared at the Queen he felt watched, watched on all sides. He felt it a bad idea to be seated with the door to his back, with the window to his side.Bookmark here

Julius was supposed to be cut off from the Caspian information sphere, for all intents and purposes for the Queen, he was supposed to be dead. Missing at least, “J-julius?” Marcus stammered. And yet she was here, asking about him. This is a jest, this has to be a jest, right?Bookmark here

“Yes! Julius von Kaiser. The leader of your merry little crew. The exiled noble of Caspian as he’s known by your peers. How is he?” Bookmark here

This is a bluff. Bookmark here

This is a bluff. Bookmark here

This is a bluff. Bookmark here

This is a bluff. Bookmark here

This is a bluff. Bookmark here

“That man died twenty years ago in the jungles of Concursus. That was your intent, wasn’t it?” He played her bluff.Bookmark here

“A little bird told me that he’s alive, lurking in the jungles of Concursus and in the arms of those Antediluvians with his nephew. Do you deny it?” A dead glare sent Marcus further down his seat.Bookmark here

“I do not deny anything I have no clue about.” He feigned ignorance, his heart thumped loudly, with his paranoia he felt his heart thump louder, a cruel cycle that ate him up. “Let us return to the conversation at hand, shall w-”Bookmark here

“Here is my proposition,” She sat up straight, “Bring me Julius von Kaiser. Alive. And I may just accept your proposal.” Bookmark here

At least she doesn’t know the extent of his livelihood Marcus thought, “And what of his Nephew?... should he be there” He asked, mostly because he doesn’t know what to do with Caius.Bookmark here

“He doesn’t matter, I just need Julius.”Bookmark here

“For what purpose?”Bookmark here

“We have details we’ve yet to settle. Don’t worry,” She stood up and started to walk away, “I won’t kill your friend.” She was gone.Bookmark here

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