Late January, off the coast of Trukya
The arrangement had been effective for the Atiland Task Group. While Major Jouett and his RDF forces were out protecting the western part of Atiland, Commodore Maganda was on toll duty near the Strait of Borea. The Task Group had successfully struck an agreement with the cartels, and had been steadily increasing the drugs “confiscated” before allowing safe passage through the Strait. The route to Furnifold was blocked off, but the cartels could ship the drugs through the Straits with no problem. The brass back home loved the successes of the mission, and Jackson Woolf, the Foreign Secretary of Furnifold, was even able to negotiate a lease of the nearby nation of Trukya for Furnifold naval vessels. They could dock on one of the islands, and store confiscated drugs there. The warehouse that was leased for the materials was becoming filled with confiscated drugs, and soon Maganda would have to thing about getting some vessel to pick it up and ship the drugs, for profit. That would come later, however, as there was still plenty of room and plenty of drugs to confiscate. Barring an audit by Furnifold brass, or a renege on the agreement by the cartels, Maganda felt that this whole Task Group was smooth sailing.
Of course, something was to go wrong. The drug cartels wanted their shipments of opium making its way to Furnifold, as the well of resources over in that nation started to dry. The organization coerced the Atiland Navy to escort the ships through the Atiland Task Group blockade to travel south to Furnifold. A confrontation was all but guaranteed, as the blockade would not allow drug ships through, and the cartel was determined to get the ships through.
One foggy morning, the RFN Ibiryo observed several cartel vessels heading straight towards the blockade. Maganda’s XO did the usual hailing signal on the established frequency, and requested the ships slow and steady for boarding. There was no response. The XO tried again, but stopped midway as more vessels appeared on the radar. There were three ships that were on the port and starboard side, which the XO observed to be corvette size. Maganda stared at the screen, then told the XO to hail at the regular frequency. “Unidentified vessel, this is the RFN Ibiryo, commanded by Commodore Maganda of the Atiland Task Group of Furnifold. Please be advised you are approaching Task Group Jurisdiction, and will be presumed as hostile if approached further. Please state intentions. Over.”
The response came quickly, and caused Maganda’s heart to flutter. “Ibiryo, this is the Royal Atiland Navy. Our vessels supersede your jurisdiction, and by notice of the nation of Atiland, are to pass by unencumbered. Please deviate from intercept formation, and belay order. Over.”
That’s it, definitive proof that the Atiland military is in cahoots with the cartels. They’re trying to get their drugs through out blockade! Maganda thought. “Damn it, I knew it was going to come to this,” he said to his Number One. “Prepare for hostile engagement.”
An alarm sounded as the sailors went to their ready stations, and prepared the cannons. The Litop-class destroyers also were under similar alert, and the Task Group ships readied for battle. A call was put out to the Alutian-class submarines to surface and engage. Commodore Maganda gave a final warning to the opposing Atiland ships when they were in range of the destroyer’s missiles. “Final warning, turn away or be obliterated.”
The only response was a string of curses from the drug cartels on the other station frequency. Maganda turned pale, shocked that it had come to this. He contacted the XO. “Move to block the cartel vessels paths, and fire on the corvettes.”
The two Litop-class vessels turned to starboard and approached the Ibiryo, firing missiles at the three Pevensey Castle-class vessels as they got in range. The Ibiryo took the cover to turn back and get distance between the destroyers and it, as Maganda knew that the cartel ships would likely easily get around the destroyers, and the Ibiryo would be ready to intercept. The destroyers will keep the guns of the corvettes off us, and we’ll incapacitate the cartel ships that get around our destroyers. The submarines are going to surface by the corvettes and take them out. he thought, trusting in his formation and naval plan.
The battle commenced. The Atiland corvettes fired at the destroyers, as they couldn’t fire over them to attack the Ibiryo, and the destroyers returned fire. Water exploded around both targets, and an explosion landed on one of the corvettes, which caused smoke to billow out of it. “The destroyers are successfully striking the corvettes, and they haven’t been able to get a successful strike on us, sir,” Maganda’s XO said. “Keep at it, we’ll wait for the cartel vessels to come into range.”
The cartel vessels approached the destroyers, and being more maneuverable, avoided the heavy weapons from the destroyers. the cartel members on board the vessels used small arms and RPGs to fire onto the destroyers, connecting with their armaments when the Atiland Navy could not. When told of the news, Maganda struck a table. "Damn it, they’re gonna do the same thing to us! Our vessel might not be able to take it. Okay, deploy our helicopters, and get them to fire at the vessels as they approach. We need to get them to disengage from attacking the Ibiryo.
The two helicopters were quickly deployed, and those on-board were given small arms to fire at the cartel vessels. The helicopters circled the Ibiryo, firing at the cartel vessels as they tried to approach. Though not being attack helicopters, they were a pain in the side of the cartel vessels, as they could not approach without coming under fire from potentially three sources of gunfire. Two cartel vessels were incapacitated, though a few were able to make it past the blockade and escape. The XO on the Ibiryo made sure to register the signature of these escaped vessels, as the Furnifold Navy would need to be on the lookout for them.
The Atiland corvettes had out-maneuvered the approach from Furnifold’s destroyers, and had succeeded in striking one of the destroyers. “Our rudder is damaged, sir, we can’t keep at the pace of our other one.” Was the response from the struck Litop-class. Maganda commanded the destroyers to fall back, get out of range of the corvette’s fire, and commanded the submarines to surface and fire on the corvettes. The destroyers fell back, but before the submarines could surface, the corvettes turned around and disengaged, heading north towards Atiland. “Sir, they’ve disengaged, should we pursue?” the Number One asked. “Negative, we really can’t catch them, and we don’t know what could be waiting for us. Let’s assess our damage and prepare for possible next steps.”
The damage to the vessels was relatively minor and superficial, with the exception of the damaged rudder on one of the destroyers. Maganda told the captain to get the destroyer to Surikatu for repairs, and sent a message to the Admiral Eden of the North Fleet to let him know about the battle that took place. Maganda reasoned that they would very likely need to get more vessels to reinforce the blockade, especially if Atiland and the cartels were working in tandem. Maganda also sent a message to the cartels through the hidden frequency that the “arrangement” the Task Group had with the cartels was terminated, and any cartel vessels assisted by Atiland naval ships would be treated as hostile and fired upon. Finally, Maganda sent a message to the coalition forces of the United Kingdom, and Kuthernburg and its allies, that the Task Group came under attack by Atiland Navy, and would likely need assistance in this sector if another attack was to take place.
Damn it, we had a good thing over here, but of course the cartels had to get greedy. How corrupt everyone is. Now we’ll need to clear out the warehouse on Surikatu, and find a way to get the drugs there sold and out of our hands. He had one final command for his XO, to which the XO’s response was hesitation, naturally. “I need you to find a buyer for our warehouse of confiscated drugs. We need to move it before reinforcements arrive. We can’t have more of our navy looped in on this.” Sensing the XO’s hesitation, Maganda added, “I’ll give you more of a cut if we’re successful.”
“Well, yes, sir, I’ll see what I can find.”
Maganda walked away, seemingly over his nerves brought about by the battle, and remarked, “Fantastic, now, let’s get back to our stations, and be on the lookout for more of those devils in Atiland.”
Upon hearing the news, the Royal Furnifold Navy and the Magistrate’s Office agreed to send another Canterbury-class vessel, a Moudge-class frigate, and a Shedun-class transport dock. the transport dock would bolster Major Juett’s land forces by providing more vehicles and helicopters for the Task Group, as well as 300 more soldiers. It would also relieve the remaining Litop-class destroyer in Atiland, so that the destroyer could bolster the Task Group’s drug blockade endeavor. With the reinforcements were another one thousand sailors, and five helicopters, including three attack helicopters. The RFN was hoping that this increase in reinforcements would turn away drug runs from the blockade, and cause Atiland’s navy to approach with caution. It would also take assistance from Kuthernburg and the United Kingdom to really prevent any more movement by the Atiland Navy, as the invasion of Atiland continued.