The Grunn strike first!
The crew of the RDS Coriallum, a Dominion submarine, spot an invasion force on its way to Arelape Atoll, the strategic island they have been tasked with protecting.
The incoming fleet looks like it belongs to the Grunn Empire. If they take Arelape Atoll, it will have disastrous strategic consequences for the Dominion of Adam. Arelape is approximately halfway between the Dominion mainland and its oil-rich colonial islands. Ships traveling to-and-from the islands often refuel at Arelape. In addition, if Arelape is taken, it would give an enemy force a well-placed airfield from which to menace shipping traffic.
Captain Raul Warton and his bold crew make every effort to halt the invading force in its tracks. First they intercept the fleet offshore and launch a bold night-attack. They are able to sink three warships and at least one troopship. The enemy unleashes a withering barrage of depth charges, which all but disables the beleaguered submarine. Out of options, Captain Warton orders the Coriallum to evade the attackers and return to port.
Back at Arelape, the crew take up defensive positions on the island, ready to repel the invaders. Due to their lack of infantry training, the marine commander tasks the sailors with defending the back-side of the atoll, the least likely point of attack. All bets are off though when that’s precisely where the enemy strikes. Running across treacherous mudflats like they were standing on solid ground, the invaders run headlong at the entrenched submarine crew. It is now clear the invaders are not Grunn. The gargantuan Grunn soldiers would have sunk to their armpits in the mud. The sailors fight hard, but in the end the mysterious invaders prove to be too much. The defensive line breaks.
Radio communications are cut-off, but Captain Warton knows that the Dominion must find out what has happened, lest they take the attack to be from the Grunn Empire and declare war on the wrong enemy. He and two of his crew hop into a jeep and speed off toward an amphibious plane tied up to a dock down in the lagoon. His crew is left behind to fight a valiant, but suicidal, delaying action.
Arriving at the dock, the three escapists are just jumping out of the jeep when Captain Warton’s head explodes like a smashed melon: the work of a sniper. The two remaining compatriots duck and run for the boat-plane. They fire the plane’s engines and, having thrown off the mooring lines, taxi into the lagoon. Chief Kyper Dritch in the pilot’s seat, knows that flying a big twin-engine seaplane is beyond his experience. Nevertheless, he lowers the flaps and shoves the throttle to its stop. They must escape at all costs. Soon the plane is skimming over the water, and Dritch pulls back the yoke, willing the big plane into the air. At last, it frees itself of the earth’s touch and lumbers skyward. As they bank over the island, they can see the last of their shipmates being slaughtered below.
Two fighter planes from the invading force dive to attack the slow-flying seaplane. Lieutenant Laren Athnal, the Coriallum torpedo officer mans the machine gun on the nose of the plane. He squeezes of a few shots just as one of the fighter planes streaks across their bow. The fighter erupts into a brilliant ball of flame. A lucky shot, but Athnal had made a career out of lucky shots. As the twin-engine plane got up to speed, the single-engine fighter starts to fall behind. But the two remaining sailors weren’t in the clear just yet. Bullets from one of the fighter’s strafing runs had ruptured one of the plane’s fuel tanks. There’s no way they’d have enough gas to get to the Dominion. Knowing it was their only hope, the two sailors turn West toward the mysterious kingdom of Pyroma, never to be seen or heard from again.