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"Heal!" Glows of radiant lights lit up the interior of the emergency trauma tentage. Medical personnel worked fervently on the wounded as they were brought out from the dungeon in an almost endless stream. Marines carrying stretchers were directed to different tents for different degrees of injuries, with the medics scribbling medical lingo on the foreheads of the wounded.

Dr. Sharon had immediately mobilized all her medical staff from the City to the scene when she saw the disastrous action inside the dungeon, knowing that her standby team of medical staff was not enough to handle all the casualties.

The miners and workers all also stopped their work and help transport the wounded to the medical area set up for treatment, while Dr. Sharon organized the rescue and medical teams. Platoon 2's remaining men fighting the silver mutated dragon had suffered one form of injury or another and most of it severe, while the two sections from Platoon 3 who reinforced the fight against the dragon also suffered heavy casualties.

Platoon 4 of Alpha Company were deployed to help medevac the wounded out of the dungeon while Platoon 1 stayed topside as security for the mining complex. Magister Thorn could be seen running around the medical tents, casting major healing spells on the more critically wounded to stabilize their conditions.

Five half-tracks with two of them painted with a red cross on their sides and the rest in darb navy grey rolled into the mining complex almost an hour later, carrying both medical staff and supplies to help with the wounded and all these activities were watched by hundreds of goblins armed with makeshift spears and bows in the distant forest edge.

-----

UNS Singapore, Captain's Office

"Blake," Commander Ford barged into the Captain's Office with barely a knock.

"What's the problem?" Blake looked up from his computer, knowing that Ford rarely called him by his name unless something serious had happened.

"The Marine's Alpha Company has taken some serious casualties in the dungeon just minutes ago," Ford reported, "And that's not all."

"How bad?" Blake asked back, "Medical support?"

"Platoon 2 and half of Platoon 3 is effectively rendered non-combat capable," Ford replied, "That's almost 40% of the Alpha Company's fighting strength. Dr. Sharon was on site, she had used her authority to mobilized all available medical support over to the mines."

"And you need to see this," Ford gestured Blake to follow him.

"What is it?" Blake followed Ford out of his office and they headed towards the Bridge.

"Just two hours before Alpha Company's incident, recon flight by Dragon One Two picked up movement within the Goblin City," Ford explained as they entered the Bridge. "We launched an Owleye UAV to observe and this just came in."

"Bring the UAV feeds on display 2," Ford told one of the bridge crew who nodded and started tapping some keys.

An overview image of a large volcanic island appeared, "This was imagery from 20 minutes ago," Ford said and he pointed to a crescent shaped cove where dozens of dots could be seen. "Zoom in there."

The image zoomed in displaying a large cluster of ships beating out of the messy harbor, heading towards the exit of the cove. Ford changed the settings of the video to real time, and the image jumped to another view, showing a large flotilla of goblin ships heading towards shore. "The computer analysis estimates they will hit the shore south west of us in nine hours."

"Any reason or intel on where the goblins are acting up?" Blake asked as he mental tried to count the number of ships.

"Intel suspects that this is the annual migration fleet from the records of the elves," Ford said. "The goblins dig in for winter and during spring, they launch fleets to the mainland to keep their population down in Goblin City. Guesses are this is a way for Goblin City to not get overpopulated."

"Damn, what're our forces current deployment?" Blake asked.

"Alpha Company is based at Seacliff Mining Complex, Bravo Company at Sawtooth Pass, Charlie is conducting search and destroy operations along the farms and logging camps north and northeast of the city," Ford read off a list, "And last of all Delta Company is at Camp Alpha, undergoing training with the First National Guard milita and having their rest and recuperation."

"What's the landing zone of those goblin ships?" Blake asked as he rubbed his shaved chin in thought.

"Here," Ford highlighted a location on the tactical map, "The entire goblin fleet will land roughly over a stretch of 10 kilometers along the coast."

"Intel says there are 273 ships of varying sizes, most common of all is the galley-sail configurations, numbering 191 in total," Ford said, showing an image of a long rakish design with a low freeboard with two sails, a catapult at each end of the ship and rowers sitting in rows on each side. "Intel is designating their estimated tonnage as a frigate type and call sign as 'Dagger' class. They also estimate a crew of roughly 180 to 250 manning the ship with cruising speeds of 6 knots per hour using both wind and rowing, and burst speeds up to 10 knots. It also mounts two to three primitive catapults."

"The second most common type of ship observed is this," Ford changed the image to another top view of a larger vessel. It had three sails and a higher freeboard, at least eight catapults could be seen on the top deck and what appeared to be a ram at the bow of the ship as it cleared the waves. "It looks similar to an old Earth sloop of war, except the bow is straight with a ram underneath, it might have a single broadside of ballistas under the deck and Intel thinks it carries roughly 150 to 200 goblins. Intel classed it as a 'Sword' class destroyer. The goblin fleet has roughly 50 of these."

"There is also another less common design seen here," Ford switch the image to another, showing a image of a large twin-hulled galley. It looked like two galleys were clobbered together, with two sets of sails on each hull, and rowers on the side. "This looks like their supply or troop transport. Intel guesses that it could hold roughly 400-600 bodies onboard and its call sign is 'Scabbard' a transport class, which the fleet has 11 of those.

"Finally the rest of the ships are mix of designs, most likely prizes captured from merchants fleets," Ford highlighted the rest of the seagoing ships. "The total number of goblins are estimated on the numbers of 40,000 to 50,000."

Blake sat down on the command chair and played with the images in the display before saying, "Put me through to Commander Tommy." He told the comms operator.

"What's the readiness of the Airforce?" Blake asked when the call got through to Tommy.

"Our single heavyweight and one medium weight dragon are standing by at the airbase," Tommy said, "The other medium weight is being recalled back to base."

"The Cobras?" Blake asked.

"We only have four of those running, the other two are under servicing, Sir!" Tommy replied, "The pilots are not ready for combat operations nor do they have proper armaments! We can launch the Valkyries instead."

"You have spare rocket pods for the Valkyries, yes?" Blake pressed on, "Load the Cobras up with the rocket pods, and let the pilots learn by a trial of fire!"

"But, Sir," Tommy protested, "We only have these four machines, and the next batch of airframes will still require weeks to be completed and the men are ready yet!"

"Tommy, remember what I said before?" Blake waved away Tommy's protests, "We have enemies knocking on our back door now, we have no time to cuddle the men."

Tommy sighed and nodded, "I will call for volunteers."

Blake gave a nod and ended the comms, "Ford, maintain and UAV flight over the goblin fleet and bring the alert level up to Condition Yellow. Contact Major Frank, Delta Company is to cease all training and recall anyone who is on leave back to active servicing, they will be our main force."

"Yes, Sir!" Ford replied before going off to carry out his orders.

"Damn it, why now?" Blake spoke to himself, as he leaned back on his chair watching the approaching fleet.

-----

Goblin Sea

Goblin Master Jiak the Skull Krusher, flexed his greenish toned muscular biceps at the cowling goblins before his clawed feet. He sat on a throne made of skulls of various creatures and species. He topped over the tallest goblin by a good head, his body twice the size and muscular instead of the thin weak looking bodies of the goblin race.

A spray of seawater rained over the quarterdeck where the skull throne sat, and Jiak the Skull Krusher, a Hobgoblin, rubbed off the seawater off his bluish hair done in a mohawk style. His squarish jaw chewed constantly on a piece of tough gristle and he spat it out to the side of the prize ship he captured many moons before, naming it as the Skull Taker.

"So you meant the delay of the ships was due to the tides and wind, and not your faults?" He questioned the kneeling goblins whimpering before him in goblish.

The whimpering goblins cried out, "Yesss, my Master! We no meant for delays! It was the winds and sea!"

"If that's the case," Jiak waved his hand to his personal guards, which were hobgoblins too, armored in a thick leather with small plates of metal sewed onto the armor, picked up the terrified goblins, one in each hand. "Feed them to the sea to appease the Gods, since they blame the gods for the delay. We need to give the Gods some offerings, yes?"

Cries of terror came from the goblins held by the guards, they bit and scratched at the armored hands holding them but to no avail, they were tossed over the side of the ship like unwanted rubbish, wailing in fear as till they hit the water.

"Any more excuses about the wind and sea?" Jiak roared from his throne to his crew,"No? Good, that's what I thought." He said satisfied, "I want to reach landfall before the sun sets!"

And the crew hurriedly went above their tasks, while the goblin shamans cast more wind spells to fill the sails, pushing the ship faster.

----

Sawtooth Mountain, Marine Support Base, Temporary AirBase

Four F/A-1 Cobras taxied slowly to the runway with their rear propeller engines revving up while Blue Thunder and the other medium weight called Quick Silver waited on a large square concrete tarmac with a yellow circle and an 'H' in the circle painted in yellow. Besides them, two of the blocky Valkyries rested on similar squares.

Commander Tommy, tugged his harness straps, making sure they are properly secured and tighten and grabbed his helmet under his arm and quickly jogged towards Blue Thunder. As he neared the dragon, Chief Gale stopped Tommy before the dragon and yelled loudly to be heard over the dim of the aircraft engines. "Sir, are you sure you are going? You are the CO of the Airforce you know?"

"That's the thing," Tommy gestured towards the four Cobras standing by on the runway, loaded for bear. "I can't call for volunteers and expect to sit in a safe cozy room directing the men!"

"Does the Captain knows?" Gale asked, shaking his head at Tommy's foolhardiness.

"Nah, he doesn't," Tommy grinned and put on his helmet, "But I did say I will ask for volunteers, and I volunteered!"

Gale shook his head again, "You better watch yourself up there!" He said to Tommy before smacking Blue Thunder's hindquarters and yelling, "Blue, make you no heroics! You are to make sure our Boss comes back in one piece, alive!"

Blue nodded solemnly and promised, "I promised." He stretched flat onto the landing pad, allowing the crew to board his back where from the side, it looked like the dragon was wearing a backpack.

The crew of seven including Commander Tommy entered the hatch into the self-pressured cabin secured onto the back of Blue Thunder. The oolong cabin was previously a lifeboat from UNS Singapore converted into a Command and Control module, with sensors, comms and all the whistles and bangs for a modern-day battlefield command and control.

"I will just be doing battle management up there, what could go wrong?"

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neo Koh

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