Dr. Sharon hummed the theme song from Starwars as she shook a test tube filled with a thick red liquid. She carefully slotted the test tube in a centrifuge tube and inserted into the centrifuge lab machine before hitting the start button. The machine hummed and started spinning rapidly while she replaced the sample of the healing potion back into the lab fridge.

"Dum dum dum da da dum da da dum..." She hummed as she waited for the machine to finish separating the particles from the healing potion. A short while later, the countdown on the machine reached zero and the machine gave beep to indicate the sample is safe and ready to be removed. She took the tube out from the centrifuge machine and placed it onto a stand. The liquid had separated into what appears to be four different layers.

The topmost layer appeared to be a clear looking liquid, while the second layer had a tint of orange. The third layer was a thin layer of cloudy white substance while the final layer was a thick slurpy red in color.

She took a pipette and carefully separated the four different substances into other test tubes for testing and research. "Interesting..." The red substance was like a thick jelly. "I wonder what is this made out of."

"sercë... salquë..."

"What?" Dr. Sharon spun around in surprise as she heard someone speaking to her. "Who is there?" She looked around the empty and brightly lit lab, where she was the only one working.

She looked at the clock showing the shipboard time, "Damn, its almost 3 am. I must be exhausted and hearing things." She turned back to the table and started to pack the test tubes into different containers. Picking up the test tube with the clear fluid, she gave it a little shake and held it up against the light to observe it.

"welel... tuilë... laiquë..."

She nearly dropped the test tube as a voice spoke again. She felt goosebumps appearing all over her body and she shivered. "Whos ... there?" She craned her head, looking left and right in the lab, "Anyone? Ok, no, please don't answer back, thank you!"

She quickly packed up everything and secured the samples into the fridge and practically ran out of the lab. Her footsteps storming down the deck as she headed towards the ship's canteen. As she entered the canteen, she felt better as several late shift crew members were gathered here for either their break or for a late night meal or snack.

She collapsed on one of the benches and slumped over the table. "I must be overworked lately till I am hearing voices..." She sighed and rubbed her temples. "Too much stress lately."

"Dr. Sharon?" Sherene appeared beside her with a tray and a stack of documents. "Are you alright?"

"Princess?" Dr. Sharon pushed her self up from the table. "I'm okay, just tired and overworked I guess? What about you? It's late and you are still awake?"

"Oh, I was reviewing and studying some files," Sherene replied, setting her pile of documents and tray on the table. "I am trying to understand what this 'sep-tick' tank does and also sustainable sanitation for City hall to review next." She took the plate of cookies and a mug of tea from her tray and placed it next to Sharon. "Would you like some?"

"Oh, thank you," Dr. Sharon took the mug of tea and generously pour several teaspoons of sugar into the drink and stirred it vigorously before taking a long sip and sighed contently. "That hit the spot."

Sherene stared at the amount of sugar used and smiled awkwardly. "You like sweet things a lot?"

"I needed the sugar rush, I have low blood pressure," Sharon replied as she took a cookie and dunked it in the tea. "Helps keep me awake and active."

"Ha ha... I see," Sherene was not too sure what she meant by sugar rush and blood pressure. She took a cookie and happily nibbled away at the chocolate chip cookie, savoring the taste.

"So," Dr. Sharon grinned slyly at the princess munching away at the cookie, "How's the progress with you and the Captain?"

rene paused with the cookie in her mouth, "Aaa- tain- not-in!" She coughed and choked on the cookie and Dr. Sharon hurriedly handed her the mug of tea which she drank and nearly spit out the overly sweet tea. "I mean... there's nothing going on with me and the Captain!" Her face was red.

"Fufufu, are you sure?" Dr. Sharon gave her a sly look. "Well, he's not a bad match for you, but he's too rigid. You need to take the initiative!"

"In-initiative?" Sherene blurt out, "What?"

"Oh my gods," Dr. Sharon shook her head, and giggled, "You really are clueless about dating and relationships?"

Sherene blushed and took a nibble of her cookie saying in a small voice, "There was the war and all that..."

"Excuses!" Dr. Sharon brushed off her explanations. "Now you must be active! Take the first step boldly! Attack! Attack! ATTACK!"

The whole canteen paused and stared at the two women, with Dr. Sharon bouncing up with one leg on the bench and shaking a clenched fist. Sherene blushed even deeper and lowered her head, and acted like she did not hear anything while chewing her chocolate chip cookie. "What? Never seen a pretty lady?" Dr. Sharon rebuked her surroundings and the people quickly returned to their own matters, avoiding the Doctor's evil eye

"Come let me tell you more!" Dr. Sharon hugged the shoulder of Sherene excitedly and started plotting out her plan for Sherene whose ears turned as pink as her hair till the sun rose into the sky.


"Niélë... -o... alda..."

"undumë... alma..."

"húmë.. loa... golodh... sulca..."

Sharon hugged her pillow covering her ears as a mysterious voice keep saying names of stuff that she has no idea what they were. She plugged her earpiece into her ears and blasted some pop songs to drown out the voice coming from her head.

Professionally, she suspected that she probably was suffering from some sort of psychological stress and her mind is playing tricks on herself. She could self-medicate but she knew the risks of overmedication, therefore she decided it to be the last resort.

Grouchy with barely a wink of sleep, Sharon left her bunk and decided to go workout at ship's gym. Dressed in PT attire, she entered the gym and saw some off-duty Marines from the original crew working out with the gym weights.

"I'm telling you, man, those Orcs are batshit crazy," One of the Marines was heard telling the others. "I think it is a bad idea to introduce heavy weapons to them."

"Why is that?" Dr. Sharon joined their conversation as her interest was piqued.

"Mdm!" The group of three Marines leaped to attention in surprise. "We were just discussing for fun! Mdm!"

"At ease, gentlemen, we are in the gym and out of uniform," Dr. Sharon waved them to relax. "Anyway, mind if I join you guys?"

"Eh," The trio looked at each other and nodded, "Yes, Mdm..."

"So what is the issue with the Orcs?" She laid down on the bench and gestured to one of the Marines to support the barbell and started to bench press. "Don't worry, I am a doctor, doctor to patient confidentiality," She winked.

"Well ok, for one, they are huge, I mean, compared to Bartley, one of our largest guys, they still tower over him!" The Marine earlier explained.

The other skinner looking, Marine, added, "Quartermaster Chen is making a big fuss too, about how they keep tearing up the sleeves of their no. 4 uniforms."

"Yea, especially when they started working out in the Camp's gym," The Marine supporting Sharon's barbell said. "Those guys are like gym rats, just racking up their muscles."

"And they started a fight over the use of the gym with another platoon recruits the other day," He replaced the barbell onto its supports and Sharon sat up. "Those on duty had to taser them to put them down."

"The current batch is gonna graduate soon right?" Sharon wiped the sweat off her brow with her towel as she listened to the men gossip.

"Yes, Doc, they gonna form the 2nd Battalion and then the next new batch of recruits will be processed for training again, "But I heard the Orcs will be spread out among all the companies in both 1st and 2nd Battalion."

"But I heard they gonna replace the losses for 1st Battalion, Alpha Company losses first..."

"Shit, platoon 2 and 3 had it bad..."

"Damn, mini Godzilla... what do you think is the level three Boss? A demon? Or maybe an eight-headed hydra?"


"Huh? Oh, sorry, I was... erm... mediating... sorry what were you guys talking about?" Dr. Sharon blinked her eyes rapidly and refocus to the gossips the Marines were chatting about. The voice in her head was saying something and she found that she recognized one of the words.

"Oh, we were just talking about what could be down in the dungeon after level two," The Marines look at her with concern, "Doc, are you ok?"

"Yes, yes!" She smiled at the men, "Just had an inspiration, thanks for the chat and help guys! See ya!" She quickly left the gym and head towards her lab in excitement.

"Weird but ok..." The trio shrugged and returned to their gossip and weightlifting.


Camp Alpha, Commandant Office

Major Frank glared at the three massive orcs towering over him by a good half meter who stood in perfect parade attention after being escorted in by Master Sergeant Pike and two other Marines with a black armband and armed with tasers and revolvers. Frank remained seated in his chair as he observed the muscular built of the Orcs and the way the uniform stretched tightly over their body frames.

"So, what is the cause of the fight, recruits?" Frank finally asked after a while of silence, making the three Orcs sweat.

"Sir, Recruit Gor has no excuses, Sir!" The leftmost Orc spoke up while the other two remained quiet.

"Recruit! I am asking about the cause! Not who's at fault!" Frank snapped angrily. "Under Military Regulations, fighting among fellow Marines is an offense punishable by death! So you better tell the truth!"

"Sir, Recruit Slow, reporting, Sir!" The middle Orc barked, "Sir, Recruit Gor and Recruit Bighead were just sparring among themselves, Sir!"

Pike at the side turn away and swallowed his smile. Frank shook his head and asked, "Sparring? Using dumbbells and barbells? And you? Why do you have a bruised eye then?"

"Eh, Sir, this recruit was.. erm... trying to.. eh.. make sure they fight fairly? Sir!" Recruit Slow resisted the urge to scratch his head as he came out with some nonsense. "Sir, this recruit was unlucky, Sir!"

Frank rapped the table loudly with his knuckles startling the three sweating Orcs while Pike tried to keep a straight face. "This is the first and final warning for you three. I do not want to see you fighting among yourselves, save the fighting with the enemy. Your instructors will deal out the punishment for you three! Dismissed!"

The three Orcs saluted and the two duty Marines escorted them out of the office, leaving Frank alone with Pike who gave out a loud laughter. "Hahahahaha, it's so funny to see something twice your size shaking and sweating in their boots."

Frank sighed, "The Orcs have lots of aggression, I think we need to give them more ventures to vent their energy."

"Hehehe, I know just the thing, sir!" Pike grinned evilly, "It is always a good day for training exercises."

Frank nodded, "Make sure they are still in one piece for the final Crucible."

"Hahaha, no worries, after this, I am sure they won't dare to do anything too excessive," Pike gave a wave and left the office.

"I need a damn break..."

A note from neo Koh

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Leg is better but ankle hurts now =( too much hobbling...

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neo Koh


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