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Tales of the Phoenix:

The Red Dragon

© 1999-2002 Strata Drake of TWZ.

Chapter Two: The Blue Dragon

(Original Version)

Sheridan and Nigel were astounded by the cyborg's exclamation. No type of mech had ever developed could refer to itself in the first person, let alone the third person. Cyborgs could be controlled remotely by their operators, but the base had been inoperative for decades since the Collapse, and there were clearly no survivors to control any sort of cyborg. This mech must be something else.

It stated again. "Exactly who are you, and what are you doing here?!?"

Sheridan and Nigel identified themselves. "Ground commander Sheridan and air commander Nigel of Project remote team Sigma."

The mech looked down at Drake for a moment. "And, what is that?"

Sheridan responded. "Pet mech. You can call him Drake."

The mech returned its glare to Sheridan and Nigel. "'The Project'? No such military group exists."

Nigel interrupted. "Of course not..." he glanced at Sheridan and muttered something like this mech is pre-Collapse technology, of course it doesn't know about us. "Our group wasn't established until 2086."

That answer caught the mech totally off-guard, and it almost fell over. It was a surprise for Sheridan and Nigel as well to see a mech lose balance. It paused and apparently 'thought' for a few moments. Then it spoke again.

"Twenty, eighty-six? What year is it?"

Sheridan responded this time. "Year twenty-one fifty, late June."

"What happened? Have I been in standby for sixty-five years?"

Sheridan and Nigel proceeded to inform the mech about everything. Sheridan informed the mech about the Collapse in 2085, and the mech likewise informed them of what had happened at the base--an invasion by Western Continent soldiers, an evacuation, his shut-down inside of that chamber, and then now his re-activation. Sheridan continued, informing the mech about how the Project survived the nuclear winter inside of a Seattle underground military complex and re-surfaced near 2100 to re-claim their world. They told the stories of the Paradigm, Collective, and Nexus Intruder Program, and then proceeded to inform him why they were here in the first place--a Eurasian military group made up of similar survivors were scouring over the Eastern Continent in search of Pre-Collapse technologies, and apparently this mech, who insisted that his name was Aireus, was one of those technologies. Since many of the Pre-Collapse technologies were nuclear, the Project feared that a nuclear-military group would be of a more threatening nature than Nexus, and first blood replaced first contact when the Project shot down their jets.

Aireus spoke up. "What was that you said about the 'Nexus Intruder Program'?"

"According to pre-Collapse records, cyborg technology was developed by military scientist Dr. Reed. After the successful launching of cyborgs, he sought to take the technology even further and transfer an entire consciousness into a machine. His funding was cut and he disappeared, but the 'Nexus Intruder Program' appears to be the legacy of his ideal, a complex program capable of taking over--'absorbing'--other computer systems and completely dominating them with its own motives. We had no concrete information, but it appears that the Nexus Intruder Program was the embodiment of Dr. Reed's ideal, that it 'was' Dr. Reed."

Aireus volunteered some information. "I would not be surprised....I heard about this Dr. Reed. A man matching his description immigrated to our country in late 2080, calling himself 'Alfred Nexus'." Sheridan and Nigel were taken aback at this revelation. Aireus continued.

"As I said, I would not be surprised if these two were the same person. Our country developed cyborg technologies by the end of that year. Our military government commissioned Mr. Nexus to continue those technologies. He began two projects with full funding. I ... was, one of those projects."

Sheridan nodded. "And exactly what are you?"

"Eastern Continental ground-forces tactical commander, Aireus Redwolfe. With full funding, Mr. Nexus proposed the technology that your military canceled his funding for. It ... was successful."

Sheridan looked down at Drake for a moment, thinking, is that why Aireus took interest in you, before looking back at Aireus himself. "So you're... in a way... a veteran soldier of their army?" Aireus nodded.

Nigel spoke up. "You said that Nexus proposed two projects. If you were the first, what was the second?"

"After my development, my project was discontinued. They never put me on their front lines for proper fear of my destruction. Mr. Nexus' second project...." Aireus stopped and looked at the radar console. "Those blue blips are your forces, yes?"

Nigel knew that Aireus was evading the question. "... Yes, those blue blips are ours."

Aireus pointed at the edge of the radar screen, where a red blip had just appeared and was moving across the edge of the sreen. "Then you've got company."

Nigel looked at the red blip. "That's got to be a Red Dragon unit. Sheridan, we'd better get moving." Nigel started off towards the exit.

"Wait", Aireus interrupted. "I should go with you. There is nothing left for me here."

Reluctantly, Sheridan agreed and the four of them returned to the base entrance.

When they reached the entrance, they were surprised to hear the sounds of combat. Project Howitzers had detected something and were firing. A moment later, a salvo of small rockets flew in, balistically, over the ridge and impacted the howitzers with unfailing accuracy. The impact from the rockets shattered the howitzers.

"Blast it!" Sheridan quickly climbed up to the top of his tank and jumped in. Drake followed. Nigel climbed into his jet and Aireus climbed into the jet's copilot seat. Nigel lifted off and relayed standby orders to Team Fenix while Sheridan drove out and accessed command of his drone tanks. "Construction units, halt reconstruction of howitzers; they've got counterbattery support. Air units scout out the situation. Ground units--hold your ground."

They waited. Team Fenix was hovering just below the top of the ridge to avoid detection while the sensor grid provided informatin. One enemy hovertank--a sensor of some sort, drove by on the waters. Sensors were harmless, so no attack orders were relayed. However, the sensor tank wasn't alone. Nigel radioed Sheridan. "We'd better evacuate. We've got one large blip headed this way!"

Sheridan blinked. Should their only escape route be cut off by enemy forces, only Team Fenix would survive to tell the tale. "Alright... ...?"

Sheridan was about to give his order when explosions rang across the ridge. One by one, heavy anti-tank missiles impacted and destroyed each of the installed sensor towers. However, when the sensors were destroyed, the attacks did not subside. One right after another, explosions sent concussions throughout the island and every now and then a major blast caused the ridge to tremble. "What's going on!?"

In a moment, Sheridan's question would be answered. Radar screens confirmed that one large blip had been near the island, but strangely enough, that large blip wasn't approaching the entrance at southwest, but rather was remaining put at the northwest portion of the ridge. Suddenly, that portion of the ridge exploded and rocks were sent flying everywhere and a tremendous cloud of smoke and dust lofted into the air. When it cleared, Sheridan's jaw dropped. A large, 50-foot wide hole had been carved out of the ridge--which was quite a feat--and behind it hovered the largest and most heavily-armed hovertank Sheridan had ever seen. The chassis alone was perhaps twice the size of the newly recovered Dragon schematics, and it was supported by four hover pads in a diamond pattern, the right and left of which sported an anti-tank missile launcher. Two even larger launchers, complete with missiles, resided along its side fins. A pair of mini rocket launchers were positioned on its front hoverpad. And sitting atop the chassis was a sleek but still unimaginable weapons turret, packing two howitzer-sized cannons and a pair of rotary machineguns on the turret's side. Whatever this monster was, Sheridan quickly sized up the situation and ordered a retreat. They fled out of their entrance, and the hovertank slowly followed for a moment. Team Fenix fled with the ground tanks as they surfed over the waters. The hovertank hovered on over to their outpost and in their absence left nothing standing. No repair centers, no defensive emplacements, not even the entrance to the subterranean base that Sheridan and Nigel had met Aireus inside.

Nigel radioed Sheridan. "Aireus wants me to tell you--the Eastern Continent army guys developed this thing just before the Collapse and nicknamed it the Nova Sea Dragon. And you don't want to know what it's capable of."

Sheridan responded. "Forget what it's capable of--that thing dug a 50-foot wide hole in the island's ridge! Prepare for long-range combat."

Sheridan's tank group quickly came upon a smaller island and he took aim with the command turret while construction vehicles quickly began work on re-arming pads for Team Fenix. Sheridan locked-on to the distant Nova Sea Dragon and relayed attack orders to his Howitzer drone tanks. They fired artillery shells in a rotary fashion at the Nova Sea Dragon. They impacted the Sea Dragon at full force and maximum range. Sheridan kept up the barrage for three minutes before ordering a cease-fire to examine the target. When the smoke cleared, Sheridan was shocked at what he saw. The Sea Dragon wasn't even scratched. No apparent damage was inflicted in any way on the Sea Dragon. It turned in their direction, and in a moment it fired off a volley of five antitank missiles. The missiles flew quickly and impacted Sheridan's five howitzer tanks, scrapping them in one shot apiece. Sheridan realized the truth. "So that's what took out our sensor towers...." A small fray of water indicated that the Sea Dragon was heading in their direction. "Team Fenix, engage...and hope that it doesn't have any AA turrets."

"Roger that, Sheridan. One moment..." The radio was quiet. "Aireus says that the Sea Dragon wasn't made to combat air attacks. We should be safe." Nigel's jets lifted off from their pads and flew to intercept the Sea Dragon. They approached within Scourge range and unloaded their payloads into the Sea Dragon. Or, more accurately, towards the Sea Dragon. Now that the Sea Dragon was closer, Sheridan realized why the Sea Dragon was unscratched from the Howitzer barrage. The VTOL's Scourge Missiles had failed to impact the Sea Dragon, instead exploding a few seconds before impact. Sheridan would have blamed it on dumb luck except that all the VTOL missiles were detonating prematurely. It was as if the missiles had hit something invisible, something that was protecting the Sea Dragon from their attack. The only things to actually impact the Sea Dragon were the smoke and dust from the detonating missiles. Team Fenix swung around for a second strike, and again, their Scourge missiles detonated prematurely and failed to hit, let alone damage, the Sea Dragon. Team Fenix returned to their pads and Nigel radiod Sheridan. "Negative on impact. I don't know what that thing has, but we're not scratching it."

"Roger that, Nigel. Come in and land. We need to ask Aireus about this thing."

Nigel responded. "I'll do that..." The radio was quiet for a minute while the Sea Dragon entered within range. Sheridan radioed Nigel. "Gotta go...return to base with Aireus. We'll catch up!"

Drone tanks first, Sheridan confronted the Sea dragon. Cannon shells, missiles, and rockets were sent flying in its direction. All detonated prematurely and failed to inflict damage. The Sea dragon took aim with its turret and fired a salvo of heavy cannon shells in their direction, blowing one of the drones out of the water. Sheridan flanked the Sea Dragon for a safer angle and the piloted tanks followed while the drones continued to blast away. The Sea Dragon backed off, but did nothing. Suddenly, a large underwater explosion impacted the drone tanks and they went flying. Only one drone had taken damage, and the rest were quickly moving to regroup. The Sea Dragon fired again, its missiles scrapping another drone and tossing another about in the waves. There were seven drones left. Sheridan watched as the drones fired again, and this time he noticed a clue. All missiles and cannon shells were detonating prematurely up against the Sea Dragon's 'shield', but the two Pulse Laser drones were actually hitting the Sea Dragon. They were not inflicting much damage, but they were succeeding! Sheridan routed the two laser drones over to his flanking position while the Sea Dragon continued to attack the other drones. Sheridan realized why--lasers are optical weapons, and those can't possibly detonate prematurely. He grabbed the radio and relayed Team Fenix. "Team Fenix, re-arm with laser weaponry and prepare for attack runs."

He relayed more orders to the construction units. They retreated to the second-nearest island and built several VTOL pads there to support Team Fenix. The first group of pads would soon be in danger of dragon fire, so a backup position was necessary. The Sea Dragon polished off the last of the drones, leaving Sheridan, three comrades, and two laser drones at its side. Instead of attacking them, it made its way to the first set of VTOL pads and promptly destroyed them. Then it turned in Sheridan's direction. Sheridan ordered evasive maneuvers. His group started to circle the Sea Dragon, but the dragon kept a watchful lock on them. Strangely, it did not attack. Sheridan caught eye of a sub-aquatic missile slowly travelling in their direction. "Retreat!!"

Sheridan's tanks backed away towards one of the islands at full speed. One of the piloted tanks was not quick enough to react, and the aquatic missile torpedoed the tank, blowing it out of the water and into shreds. No sooner had Sheridan's tanks arrived on the shore of the nearby island but a huge cloud of dust and smoke was kicked up as a second aquatic missile impacted the island's shelf just offshore. "Everyone, stay on dry land."

Team Fenix arrived with Nigel in the lead. They approached the Sea Dragon and let off a volley of pulse laser fire in its direction. The lasers impacted the Sea Dragon, but still only inflicting minor damage. They swung around for a second volley. This time, Nigel designated one of the Sea Dragon's mini rocket launchers. They disabled it in two laser bursts. On the third swing, Team Fenix disbled the other mini rocket launcher. Sheridan looked at the action. The jets were succeeding where the tanks failed. "Keep it up!"

On a third fly around, Nigel designated one of the Sea Dragon's hoverpads. They attacked, but to no effect. The Sea Dragon finally aimed in Sheridan's direction. It let off two of its large antitank missiles. Sheridan performed evasive action, and was lucky. The antitank missiles hit the ground, instead of Sheridan's tanks, but damage was still sustained. Team Fenix came back for a fourth round, this time targetting one of the main antitank missile launchers. A fourth blast from the lasers made no effect on the launcher.

The Sea Dragon moved closer to Sheridan's tanks. Sheridan flanked the Sea Dragon, at close range this time. Because of the Sea Dragon's weight, it was a bit sluggish and unmaneuverable, so by flanking the unit, Sheridan might be able to avoid its fire. The Sea Dragon started to turn in their direction. It was, in fact, more maneuverable than Sheridan had predicted, and the flank maneuver wasn't working. Nigel's jets assumed a hover position and fired a few more batteries at the Sea Dragon. They managed to disable the two rotary machine guns on the dragon's turret as it aimed at Sheridan's ground forces.

Sheridan's group split up and circled around the Sea Dragon in two different directions in order to flank it. This maneuver was successful in confusing the tank, for even it could not easily aim at two moving targets simultaneously. Instead, it lifted its two main cannons skyward. It fired two bursts into the air and knocked one Team Fenix jet out of the sky and into the water, where it torpedoed the jet and blew it to shreds. Sheridan cringed as Nigel's team performed evasive action. Sheridan radioed Nigel. "I thought that thing couldn't fight against air units!" Nigel radioed back. "Neither could our old Scourge missiles. It must be improvisation."

Sheridan's laser drones let off a few more volleys of laser blasts at the dragon. Minor damage again, and Team Fenix would need to re-arm soon. Sheridan sprang an idea. His comrades continued to flank in the opposite direction, coming ever closer as they circled. Sheridan relayed an attack order to the team. His laser drones obeyed the order and focused fire on the Sea Dragon's antitank missile launcher. However, there was no response from the other tanks. The other tanks appeared around the backside of the Sea Dragon, aiming their turrets at the hull at point-blank range. Sheridan radiod the tanks. "What are you guys up to?" He received a response. "We passed through some electromagnetic barrier a minute ago while circling. Did we miss an order?"

Sheridan responded. "Not yet. Just be careful." The tanks let off a few shells at point-blank range, and unlike the previous attacks, the shells actually impacted the Sea Dragon. "That's it! Whatever form of barrier is protecting the Sea Dragon, you must be inside of it. Keep it up! Take out its righthand missile launcher."

Sheridan continued his idea. His laser drones fired another volley into the antitank missile launcher. No effect...yet. He kept up the order as Team Fenix headed back to the re-arming pads. The Sea Dragon turned in Sheridan's direction to aim, and he kept flanking it. Within the minute, Team Fenix was airborne once again. The Sea Dragon backed off for a moment. The piloted tanks continued to fire, inflicting more damage on the Sea Dragon's launcher--but still minor. Team Fenix let off another salvo on the Sea Dragon's turret, but to no visible effect.

Sheridan was still aiming at the antitank missile launcher. If he could disable the launcher, chances are he could detonate the antitank missile at point-blank range as well. He had already seen what those large missiles were capable of when the Sea Dragon countered his Howitzer drones. The Sea Dragon aimed skywards once again at Team Fenix. Strangely, instead of fighting harder, it was fighting smarter, aiming its turret at Team Fenix while trying to target the tanks with its main weapons. This time, it retreated from the action. Sheridan lost sight of his target but continued to fire at the Sea Dragon. Contact with the piloted tanks was broken for a second as the Dragon retreated. It let off a few cannon shells in the direction of Team Fenix, but they evaded the attack with no damage.

Sheridan's comrade tanks fired another round at the missile launcher, but this time, their shells exploded at short range. "Dang! You guys must be outside the field!" The tanks approached closer to the Sea Dragon and fired again with the same result. The Sea Dragon stopped retreating for a moment and aimed in their direction. Specifically, it was aiming at Sheridan's laser drones. It let off two antitank missiles and scrapped both of them. Sheridan evaded counter-clockwise to get a lock on the missile launcher. Team Fenix circled around as Nigel radioed Sheridan. "Need a hand?" Team Fenix assumed a hover position and emptied their laser batteries into the Sea Dragon's right missile launcher.

Suddenly, it happened. The Sea Dragon's right antitank missile detonated with an extreme force, sending a large amount of smoke and debris in all directions and knocking the Sea Dragon top-first into the water. Team Fenix returned for re-arming and Sheridan's tanks approached within point-blank range of it. The Sea Dragon was not down, however. It quickly righted itself and whirled around to face its attackers. It powered-up its three hover engines and in a new maneuver, lifted itself twenty feet above the surface of the water. Its front hoverpad ejected from the chassis and fell into the water with a large splash. The hoverpad activated, and Sheridan noticed a medium antitank turret on top of it. It appeared that the Sea Dragon had its own drones! Sheridan relayed attack orders to his few remaining ground comrades and ordered the construction vehicles to begin work on long-range but low-altitude artillery emplacements that he would route to his control.

The Sea Dragon's drone was in fact more maneuverable than Sheridan's own comrades, and it quickly began to circle around them while aiming at tanks and firing. As Sheridan and his comrades swung around to attempt a flanking maneuver of their own, he had a difficult time locking onto the enemy, and even when he succeeded, it was a bit too evasive to hit. Team Fenix, finished from re-arming once again, flew towards the Sea Dragon around its right side. "Nigel to Sheridan. That explosion blew a major piece of this dragon's armor right off, along with the launcher! This might be our chance to actually hurt the thing."

As if the Sea Dragon knew what they were planning, it maneuvered around to get a lock on Team Fenix. Even with missing armor and one less hoverpad, it was maneuvering better than it had been a mere five minutes ago. Team Fenix lasers fired into the Sea Dragon's gaping injury, and the Sea Dragon itself seemed to 'flinch' with each hit. Sheridan's ground defense structures were ready, so he relayed an analyze-and-attack order. A few seconds later, friendly shells flew towards the drone. They failed to hit the fast-moving drone, but in reaction, the drone broke off its pursuit and travelled towards the defensive emplacements. Sheridan seized the opportunity and targetted the drone. His Scourge comrades fired at the drone, and this time the missiles impacted the drone. The drone was still functional, but it was clearly damaged--smoking and moving at perhaps fifty percent speed. As Team Fenix continued their attack on the now-airborne Sea Dragon, Sheridan kept up the attack order until the enemy drone ceased to move and subsided under the surface of the water in a smoking wreck.

Sheridan turned his attention back towards the main Sea Dragon. He and his comrades moved to almost point-blank range of it and a crackle over his radio confirmed that he was now on the inside of the barrier. He carefully designated the Sea Dragon's gaping hole in its armor and ordered an attack. Two volleys of Scourge Missiles were let off into that wound and, almost as if in response, the Sea Dragon lost altitude, lowering itself to ten feet above the waters. Two torpedoes revealed themselves between the Sea Dragon's two hoverpads. The torpedoes dropped and began swimming their way towards Sheridan. Using an old-school evasive maneuver, he flanked the torpedoes and as they corrected for the course, he successfully evaded them. Seeking a new target, the torpedoes swam towards the construction vehicles at the island. They exploded in vain just offshore, up against the island's shelf. Sheridan circled back around as his comrades and Team Fenix let off another volley of laser bursts and missiles. This time, the Sea Dragon fell into the water with a massive splash that knocked Sheridan outside of its barrier, and almost did the same with his comrades. His comrades kept up the assault and Team Fenix now targetted the Sea Dragon's other antitank missile launcher. Several volleys fired into the Sea Dragon's wound continued to sink it, and its fate was sealed when Team Fenix's laser bursts detonated the other antitank missile, resulting in a second large explosion. Sheridan watched as the Sea Dragon sank, the water washing over its armor and the two gaping holes in it, its weapons systems, and finally engulfing the turret itself as the Sea Dragon sank out of sight. Sheridan's sensors detected a moderate energy buildup in the sinking hulk. "Everyone, back off." Sheridan backed away towards the island, and his comrades followed, while Team Fenix returned and landed on their re-arming pads. They were just in time. Sheridan's sensors continued to detect an energy buildup, and suddenly, a large explosion--three or four times that of a standard Ground Shaker--sent up a large plume of water accompanied by a moderate shockwave and several remaining pieces of the Nova Sea Dragon. The water showered down upon everything, and the debris fell like rocks, landing just about everywhere, both on water and on land. Sheridan gave a sigh of relief. He opened the hatch and climbed out. The sky was clear and the sun was shining. Drake quickly jumped out of the tank to bask in its light, while Nigel, the Team Fenix pilots, and the rest of Sheridan's comrades and crew climbed out as well. Sheridan was surprised to see Aireus climbing out of Nigel's jet. Sheridan walked over to Aireus. "Surprised to see you here. Nigel; I thought I told you to take Aireus back to home base!"

Nigel shook his head, and responded with a smile. "You said 'return to base'...that I did. You never said anything about leaving Aireus back there."

Sheridan turned to Aireus. "Now, about Dr. Reed's second phase of this project...?"

Aireus sighed in response. "The Nova Sea Dragon was part of that second phase. You had it easy."

"Easy? You call that easy?? I lost two comrades in that battle! Drones can be replaced, but them--"

Aireus looked at Sheridan with a deadly-serious gaze. "Nova Sea Dragon was not designed to work alone; that's why the Eurasian Continent military never installed any anti-aircraft turrets. It was designed to work with the typical ground army as its commander and superior. It would seem that this 'Red Dragon' of yours didn't know this, otherwise they would have escorted it with AA units and shot your Team Fenix out of the sky."

Sheridan responded. "That thing was almost unstoppable, and now you're saying that it was supposed to bring along an army with it?!?"

Aireus looked back. "Don't thank your lucky stars just yet. There are two more."

Sheridan looked at Aireus in astonishment. "Two more?!?"

"Yes. There is some ... important tactical information I should tell you about the two remaining Nova Dragons."

Nigel interrupted. "If so, we'd better discuss it back at base."

Everyone at home base was surprised by their new ally Aireus as they saw him climb out with Sheridan, Nigel, and Drake. The four of them regrouped at the HQ for debriefing. Sheridan sat down in his chair, with Drake at one side and Aireus at the other. Nigel sat down with Team Fenix's four remaining pilots and the other Project officers sat down in their places. Sheridan passed around photocopies of their combat log and report. After a few minutes, Sheridan looked to Aireus and prodded him. "Your turn."

Aireus stood up. "I'm sure you are all now aware of what happened." He picked up the report and leafed through it himself. "One of the late Dr. Reed's--or Mr. Nexus as we called him--projects was three superpowerful assault vehicles for the Eurasian Continental Army. These three vehicles were codenamed the Nova Dragons. Sheridan and Nigel were fortunate to destroy the first of them, the Nova Sea Dragon. However, there are two more Nova Dragons left, apparently under control of this 'Red Dragon' you are fighting against. You want information about them, that much is clear. So..."

Sheridan asked the first question. "Except for our laser arsenal, we couldn't even touch the Sea Dragon except at point-blank range. Why was that?"

Aireus responded. "Nova Sea Dragon was equipped with an experimental electromagnetic field device. The EMF generates a short-range moderate-frequency wave that destabilizes warheads on conventional weapons and makes them detonate early. However, it affects only incoming shells. Because of the Doppler effect, incoming shells encounter a higher frequency EMF than outgoing shells. It is this increased EMF frequency that disrupts the warheads and makes them detonate."

Nigel asked the next question. "Now, Aireus, what was the Sea Dragon's armor compound composed of?"

"Nova Dragon armor comes in two layers. The inner layer is about as strong as your Wyvern-class armor, but it is the outer layer that is all but impenetrable. The outer layer of armor can be pierced, but doing so requires more than just your factory-variety Armor Piercing warheads. As you and Sheridan noticed, Nova Sea Dragon's own missiles were capable of blowing away both layers of armor and revealing its vulnerable internal systems. The internal systems cannot sustain very much damage without affecting Nova Dragons' performance. When armor is removed and internal systems exposed, Nova Dragons are extremely vulnerable. But unless that armor is removed, they are all but invulnerable to attack."

One of the Project officers asked another question. "You said there were three Nova Dragons? If this was one, what are the other two?"

"Nova Land Dragon and Nova Sky Dragon. Nova Sea Dragon was designed to be the commander of Eurasia Continental Army's aquatic division. Nova Land Dragon was designed to be their ground commander. And Nova Sky Dragon was designed not as an aerial commander like Mr. Nigel here, but as a contingency. Nova Sky Dragon was made to be their ultimate aerial supremacy vehicle. Each Nova Dragon was equipped with its own arsenal of weapons. Nova Sea Dragon had its cannons, machineguns, antitank rockets and heavy missiles, plus torpedos and one commandable drone. As for Nova Land and Nova Sky Dragons... I was not present during their field tests in 2082. Security regarding project Nova Dragon was extreme. Any unauthorized persons who learned, knew, or even witnessed any part of project Nova Dragon were shot and killed on sight. The very researchers who constructed the Nova Dragons were killed, and Mr. Nexus himself vanished after its completion."

Another officer asked a question. "What is the safest way to destroy the remaining two Nova Dragons?"

"For the Nova Sea Dragon, laser attacks from airborne jets offered the greatest--but still slim--chance of success. Nova Sea Dragon had one gap in its armor, located right at its EMF generator. By taking out the generator, the Nova Sea Dragon could be shot at. Destroying the disabled EMF generator with standard weapons creates a hole through both layers of Nova Sea Dragon's armor. With the hole in its armor, it would have been a simple matter to drop high power VTOL bombs into that hole and crush Nova Sea Dragon from above and within. However, your idea of destroying its missile launchers was successful as well at creating holes in Nova Sea Dragon's armors, even though it was unorthodox.

"For Nova Land Dragon, I do not remember the specifications exactly, but I believe it had three main turrets. By destroying all three turrets, the topmost layer of armor could be 'lifted off' by airborne bombing. With thickest armor removed, Nova Land Dragon would be vulnerable to armorpiercing warheads and attacks."

"And what about the Nova Sky Dragon?"

Aireus looked down. "All I know about Nova Sky Dragon is that its flight engines are not EMP-shielded."

Sheridan remembered Bruno's report. "So these are the three weapons that our enemy, the Red Dragon, has recovered?"