The sea trembled and thousands cheered along the coastline as the USS Spirit of Independence Mobile Offshore Base, the Pacific sister ship of the Atlantic-based Spirit of Freedom, slowly left the bay of Manila under the rising sun of a tranquil thursday morning. The surface area of this unfathomable leviathan with its complement of over 10.000 sailors, aviators and Marines spanned across several football fields and included three advanced catapult runways that matched the capabilities of any ground-based airfield. Independence's naval air wing consisted of nearly 500 aircraft, including advanced fighter jets, transports, helicopters and even a number strategic bombers from the US Air Force. Now, the ship was about to head north together with a fleet of other American vessels - towards Russian territorial waters. Even though the United States had been formally at war with the Russian Federation since the last summer, the Pacific had been deceptively quiet until now. President Bradford hoped that the increased activity in the region would prompt the Russian leadership to redeploy some of its elite combat units away from Europe or, at the very least, provide a credible deterrent against any miscalculated military adventures on the Kremlin's part in a very literal example of gunboat diplomacy.
Meanwhile on the other side of the globe, the Spirit of Freedom was making its own contribution to America's involvement in the Third World War, launching coordinated air and missile strikes across the Scandinavian peninsula and into the Russian homeland. The fact that their gargantuan appearance made the two swimming fortresses a large, seemingly easy target was not an error of their design; it was the very intention. The mere notion that the United States deployed the Freedom and its task force of two dozen support vessels, including drone carriers, arsenal ships, submarines and destroyers, into the most heavily contested waters of the northern Atlantic served as a two-fold statement: That America would stand firm by the side of its former European allies and that Russia's military ambitions would be terminated. The Spirit of Independence was now ready to do the same in the Pacfic in the event that tense standoff between Chinese assault forces and Russian reserve divisions along the ancient Mongolian plain would erupt into an entirely new war by itself. If the ongoing series of ethnic clashes in the Russian Far-East and the ever-escalating rhetorics of the Chinese leadership were any indication of what to expect, the United States wanted to be prepared for the worst as they moved their most powerful pieces into position, for Freedom and Independence were not merely designed to sink other ships or even fleets - they were designed to end entire wars through the sheer gravity of their presence alone or, failing that, simply bombard the enemy into utter submission.
After the crisis years of the late 2020s and the drastic changes within the US military in the early 2030s, the troops stationed onboard this unparalleled class of capital ships often likened them to a 'Death Star': Thousands upon thousands of missiles, including surface-to-air, anti-ship, anti-satellite and high-capacity cruise missiles that carried everything from standard high-explosives over precision-guided intelligent submunitions to tactical nuclear warheads, multiple high-calibre railgun turrets and an entire deck filled with laser defence systems allowed the ship to engage and destroy any type of target multiple times over while its internal storages and housing quarters contained the amphibious vanguard of an invasion force. The sheer size of the flat vessel would help maintain sufficient buoyancy in the event of a hull breach, while the ship itself was constantly protected by a swarm of underwater drones that detected and intercepted enemy submarines and torpedos. With a multi-layered defence like this, the Americans were certain that their new flag ships would not suffer the same tragic fate as the USS Ronald Reagan, which was cut in half by a GLA-hijacked Particle Cannon 2027. As a matter of fact, the Freedom had already survived its own baptism of fire back in October 2048, when its deck withstood a solar burst from an ECA satellite that had been temporarily hacked by Russian commandos.
Now, the Spirit of Independence would be tested as well, for what laid ahead were the home waters of the Russian Pacific Fleet, outnumbered but unharmed by the fighting in Europe - and determined to sink every invading vessel to the bottom of the unforgiving sea...
Officially marketed as the Super-Intensity Chemical Laser Operations Protection System - or SICLOPS - but more sensibly referred to as the Cyclops by American troops, this tactical high-energy laser is widely regarded as the ultimate in anti-air defence systems. Its ability to annihilate enemy aircraft and ballistic missiles in flight is unparalleled, if only limited by its massive power consumption. A special naval version of the Cyclops has largely replaced the aging Phalanx CIWS on the newer generation of American warships while the ground-based version has also been delivered to close American allies such as Japan and Israel, where it cast a figurative shield of protection over major military facilities and cities during the Korean Unification War and the Great Middle Eastern War of the 2030s respectively.
The EAL-3 Guardian Angel entered service as part of the touted Tactical Missile Defense initiative in the early 2040s, which aimed to eliminate the risk of enemy missile systems including ATGMs, SAMs and even ballistic missiles in close coordination with American ground forces. After an extensive series of tests and evaluations, the Department of Defense signalled its approval for a plane whose distinct triple engine setup made it less susceptible to ground-based anti-aircraft fire than its more conventional competitors. The airframe went into serial production with a pinpoint accurate 150kW laser installed on its nose and an advanced sensor radome on its back. The Guardian Angel is also equipped with a sophisticated AI that can detect, identify, prioritise and neutralise missiles more quickly than a team of human operators as well as a large supply of infrared and radar countermeasures to protect itself. Due to its hefty pricetag of roughly 700 million dollars apiece, the EAL-3 can only be called into action by battlefield commanders with a full level 5 clearance.
And as always i would like to remind all of you out there that there will be an other stream on this Sunday (April 27th):
And ofc be sure to checkout last weeks stream with the battle between The_Hunter and Comr4de: on youtube: