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A massive wolf, with a streak of silver fur on its back and ivory tusks spanning over two meters long, walked out of the tree line, sniffing the air. It stood upright, towering over four meters high, and shook its self, displaying its impressive silver blue mane. Walking over to a spot of trampled and torn grass, it lowered its snout and sniffed the ground, before looking up at a trail leading towards the other side of the field.

The next few days at the base, the higher-ups ran several unexpected drills, some in the day, others in the middle of the night or just before dawn. A typical day at Blake's World lasted 27 earth hours, and the crew kept the days, weeks, months and time similar to Earth. The drills differ from an attack to the base, to biological outbreaks.

"They are starting to shape up properly," Marine Staff Sergeant Pike said, as he stood before the tactical screen in the bridge watching the hive of activity at the base with the ship's cameras. He glanced at his wristwatch timer, 9 mins 11 seconds. "Better than before, Sirs. Before, they took over 19 mins to get into action." SSGT Pike said to Blake and Ford watching the action next to him.

"Good work Staff." Blakes watched in approval. "Making sure the men know what to do in an event of an attack." He watched the crew in the base drawing weapons and getting to their assigned positions. Simulated explosions popped here and there within the base compound. "Alright. End the exercise, and let the men stand down." He looks at the clock displaying the local time, 0446 hours.

"Thank you, Sir!" SSGT Pike did a parade ground salute and turn before exiting the bridge.

As the day started, work was divided into construction, foraging, security, production, and surveying. Constructions teams worked on building the infrastructure of the base, like the perimeter wall, or digging the newly approved 8km long trench to lay a water pipe to deliver fresh water to the base. Other teams foraged for food like carr-atos, patrol the perimeter, creating cement, farming and exploring their surroundings.

Communication officer Clara sniffed a yawn as she sat at her console monitoring all communications in the base with the different teams work out in the fields. So far, all the communications traffic mostly involves mundane reports. She looked at the time, another two hours more to shift change. She sighed and leaned back in her seat, wishing time could pass by faster.

Her console suddenly flashed an incoming transmission. "Base over." She tapped the connect icon.
"Dog 4 to Base over, we ah, found something here." Clara leaned over her console and waved to the XO, getting his attention.

"Dog 4, please report your current location and status." Clara continued, she pulled up the operation chart of the day, finding out who was Dog 4 and his team.

"Sir, it's Cpl James's team. They are supposed to be surveying the North sector, grid H4." Clara said as XO Ford stood beside her.

"Base, Dog 4, eh we are at grid H4-B-3, over."
"Dog 4, Base, what is the situation, over."
"Base, Dog 4. We found some ruins of some kind over. Requesting orders over."
"Dog 4, this is Base, standby over." Clara looks up at XO Ford, waiting for his reply.

"Tell them to hold, we will dispatch more support his way," Ford said after deciding a moment.

"Dog 4, Base. Hold your position, back up and support on your way. Over." Clara replied to the team out in the field.
"Roger Base, Dog 4 out."

"Get the Captain," Ford said to Clara.

Cpl James ended the call with Base and looked at the moss-covered ruins. A four stories tall tower-like structure made of stone, with the local flying creatures flying in and out of the crumbled roof. Several other collapsed structures surround the tower but nature has reclaimed most of it with only a few remaining walls remained standing. The techies were looking over the entire site, trying to determine how large the structure was, while the rest of his team were on alert, watching their surroundings of any danger.

He removed his gloves and touched the surface of the structure, feeling the rough stone surface. Who built these, he wondered, and if are they still around.

Suddenly yelling and sounds of gunfire erupted from the ruins. James turns and rushes towards the direction of gunfire, speaking into his comms as he ran. "What's going on? Who's firing!"

He saw two of the techies scrambling out from a lichen-covered building with a collapsed roof, next to the tower, one of them was firing his pistol wildly behind him. James quickly ran towards them, shouting. "What is going on?"

The techie yelled something incoherent while continuing to firing into the depths of the ruins. James, losing his patience, jerked the techie's weapon away from him and slapped him. "Calm down!"

The wide-eyed techie blinked several times before saying "Monsters, little green monsters! They got Kristine!"

James quickly ordered the security team to stay on alert and waved to one of the security guys in his black riot gear over. "Karl right?" James confirmed his name, "You know how to do an entry?"

Karl nodded, he checked his shotgun was loaded and followed James to the entrance of the ruins. James directed Karl to enter first with his shotgun, while he slung his M7A1 assault rifle and drew his Glock 88 out.

With his left hand on Karl's shoulder, he gripped Karl's shoulder to indicate Kal to advance. Both of them entered in step into the building with their weapons at the ready.

Even with part of the roof collapsed inwards, the shadows cast by the overgrowth and partially standing walls blocked most of the sunlight. A strong smell of rot and wet mud greeted both of them as they shone their flashlights left and right. Several empty bullet casings shattered all over the moss-covered stone floor glittered from their flashlights. Signs of struggle could be seen from the clumps of dirt and moss torn from the stone slabs.

"Corporal," Karl called out. He directed his light to a small opening at the back of the building where a pile of stones sat. "Looks like a way in."

James crouched down and shone his light in, he couldn't see all the way in but the ground clearly showed signs of something heavy being dragged and other prints trampled all over.

"Damn," James reported his situation to Base and quickly made a decision. "Let's go in after them."

He ordered the rest to wait for the backup at the entrance of the tunnel while he and Karl will advance into the tunnel to save the techie.

"Let's go!" James told Karl, and the two of them bends down low and entered the tunnel.

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neo Koh

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