"Fuck!" Mills yelled as a bolt of greenish magical energy blazed past his ear. He paused to turn around and fired at the direction of the shaman who cast the spell. In the dark, he doubted he was able to hit anything but it should make the goblin duck for cover, he hoped.

"Come on!" Someone yelled, and a barrage of machine gun fire erupted from somewhere in front of Mills, the bright tracers leaving after strobes of light in his eyes. The machine gun appeared to suppress the chasing goblins as Mills heard the shrieks and cries of goblins fading behind him as he ran.

Hoping over a tree trunk, Mills leaned against the tree and took a breather, before yelling, "Report! Section 1 and 2?"

Shouts slowly drifted from the forest, as men shouted to each other, passing words along the strung-out Marines. The machine gunner kept up the fire in short briefs, keeping the goblins at bay while word traveled back up to Mills.

"Section 1 and 2 both have two men missing each, fuck!" Mills cursed under his breath, meaning now he has only 13 men, including him. "The lieutenant is one of the missing?"

Mills gave out a deep breath and looked at his spent men. They had been running for several hours in the night while being chased by goblins. "We hole up here! We are on a slight raise terrain and have nice lines of fire here. And with the ruckus we are making, I am sure search parties from HQ should have heard us by then. Once they get into contact with us, we regroup, resupply and return back for the fallen."

The men most of them veterans fighting in the Pass nodded, "Take this time to quickly clean your weapons too!" Mills added. "and rotate the MG gunner!"

Mills peered over the root, but in the pitch dark of the forest, he barely could make out anything. "Shit, and here I was so fucking proud I made Sergeant, should have stayed a corporal and remained at Camp as a trainer... fucking hell."

Shrieks, yelps, and giggles were soon heard again as the goblins regrouped, Mills checked his watch, barely an hour has passed, "Watch your front, boys!"







Goblin Coast, Shipwreck

"Watch your step!" One of the techs warned as Chief Engineer Matt gripped the rope ladder and pulled his way up, grunting as he made his way up. Hands gripped his body and pulled in over the railing and onboard the deck of the ship. He stood carefully on the slanted deck, as the ship was tilted to the side at an angle.

A massive groan came from the ship as a wave slammed into it, and Matt felt the whole ship shifting slightly. He ran his hand along the wooden hull of the sailing ship, observing the lines and workmanship while taking a tour of the top deck. The main mast of the two-masted ship had two third of its length snapped away, most likely caused by the storm.

"Chief! Good to see you!" A tech came up and started to report their progress. "This ship is quite similar to a Terran brig, judging by the number of mast and type of square rigging they use. We cleared away the remains of the rest of the sails to prevent winds from toppling or shifting the wreck more."

"That mast must have broken off in the storm and dragged the ship towards land before the sailors could cut it off and the Captain must have ordered the men to abandon ship," The tech said, "We searched the Captain's quarters for maps and any intel, only finding some dairies and personal efforts. Most likely thrown overboard or carried away by the Captain."

"Most of the ship's store is missing, and so are the weapons like swords and crossbows," The tech continued as they toured the Captain's room, "We suspected they took all the food, water. and weapons before abandoning the ship."

The Captain's Quarters were quite spacious, with a large work desk and high back chair, with the back facing large shuttered window openings. A couple of sea chest took up a corner of the room next to a messy bed against the wall. A wet moldy smell came off from the sad looking animal skin serving as a carpet while wall mounted cupboards covered the remaining wall.

"Anything of interest here?" Matt asked as he pushed out the shutters of the window, letting in fresh air to air the cabin and light flooded in.

"We cleared every item and swept the entire cabin for hidden compartments, using metal detectors, echo sounding and even with magic. We did find a hidden compartment magically locked under the animal skin, but it was empty." The tech used his booted feet to peel the skin back and tapped at a spot on the wooden plank. "Students from the Academy spent a couple of hours cracking the magic lock, well they were pretty excited at first but turns out to be empty."

"I see, the students are still here?" Matt asked as he looked into the small compartment roughly the size of a shoe box.

"Yes Chief, they are casting a ritual to create fog to hide the wreck from the Isles' ships," The tech gestured to the outside of the ship.

"Good, make sure they have everything they need, the Isles' fleet should be less than a day away. They most probably won't come within sight of land, but it pays to be safe," Matt straightened up and walked out of the Captain's Quarters, "Show me the damages to the hull."

"This way Chief," The tech led Chief Matt down into the cargo hold and portable lights set up at fixed intervals lit the interior up. An engine roar grew louder as they passed by a couple of ballistas on their mounts, the shuttered gunports tightly closed to prevent sprays from the waves from getting into the main deck. A V9 radial engine rumbled on a stand attached with to a capacitor with cables snaking off to various locations onboard of the ship, provide power to the lights and water pumps that hummed and sucked out the seawater flooding the ship through two areas, the hold, and the crew quarters at the bow.

"Here, Chief, this is the hold," The tech stood before a hatch cordoned off with yellow warning tape. "Ware the steps, they are slippery!" He bent under the tape and carefully climbed down the wet slimy wooden stairs.

The hold had several rotting barrels and crates sitting on ankle-deep seawater and the smell of the sea and rot was very thick. Sounds of crashing waves and the groaning of the ship like it were in pain could be constantly be heard over the power generator upstairs.

"It was almost at chest height when we first came," The tech explained as he pointed to a gaping hole at the side where glistering seaweed and barnacles covered rocks could clearly see jutting in. The rigged lights showed the damage clearly, the splintered hull with a hole roughly a meter wide and 30 cm tall, had seawater splashing in every few seconds. "Now its almost low tide, if its high tide, this area will be chest height in water."

"We cover up that hole with space foam once its low tide, "The tech added, "And we will continue to pump out the remaining water, after that we will attach the floats and deploy them. The stab resistant material of the floats will be more than able to handle the reefs and rocks here. Once high tide comes, the ship will be able to float out."

"This way," The tech continued on, "We checked the crates and barrels, all of them either biscuits of some sort or salted fish, meat and fresh water. Most of them are already contaminated with seawater, not sure if we can still use them. We are removing everything that is not bolted down to lighten the ship now."

The tech led Matt through to another hatch and into the forward crew quarters at the bow. Light from outside flood through from the hull as another tear in the hull, large enough for a fully grown man to climb through.

Spray from the waves splashed in and flowed down towards them as the bow of the ship was actually slightly angled towards the sky, allowing Matt to see the horizon through the hole. "If it's high tide, the water comes in more," The tech explained, "oh, the guys are here to fix the hole."

A couple of techs carrying what appeared to be red cylinders on their backs entered the crew cabin and saluted Chief Matt, who nodded and gestured them to continue their work. They started spraying the quick-drying space foam over the hole with a nozzle attached to the tanks of space foam used to quickly patch holes in spaceships.

They sprayed both the outside of the hull as well, to create as much of a perfect seal as possible and within 10 minutes they were done, after spraying two coatings of foam to ensure that the foam sticks to the wet hull.

Matt tapped the dried foam that hardened into a rigid substance, and nodded, "Good work, now we wait for the Isles's ships to pass by us before we float this baby home."

"Sir, how are we gonna float it to Far Harbor?" One of the techs with the space foam asked. "We got nothing to tow it back. Are we gonna sail it back?"

"Yea, Chief, I know we all did a basic sailing course back on Earth but I doubt anyone remembers anything from that course any more." The other tech spoke up.

"Oh that's easy," Matt grinned, "You saw those V9 radial engines I bought along with me?"

The men nodded, remembering the pile of equipment the Valkyries airlifted in earlier.

"When we float this lady out, we are gonna jury rig the engines on the side of the hull, most likely from the gunports and attach the two paddle wheels I had them specially made," Matt winked at his astonished men. "We are gonna paddle back and we don't need sails!"


When the search platoon came into contact with 1st Battalion, Bravo Company Platoon 1, they found dozens and dozens of dead goblins littering around the last stand of the lost platoon. "Thunder!" The point man of the search party yelled from the cover a tree.

"Flash!" A tired yelled replied the point man and he cautiously came out of cover and climbed over the bodies of the dead goblins. "Hey, glad you guys are here to join the party!" A soot-covered Marine Sergeant covered in wounds called out from a small mound of dead goblins.

"Sarge?" The point man looked at the terrifying face of the three striped hooman covered in blood, gore, and black powder residue. He looked around the area and found several more wounded Marines, all covered in wounds and surrounded with dead goblins on all sides.

"Help is on its way!" The point man turned an yelled out, "Medic! We need medics here! You guys alright?"

"Just peachy, private," Mills grinned tiredly, as he used his broken M1 rifle, breaking it when he ran out of ammo and swung it around like a baseball bat after his sword bayonet snapped off. He braced himself up from the dead goblins he laid on after exhausting all his strength fighting off waves after waves of goblins

He looked at the rest of the surviving lost platoon and laughed, those that survived joined him and started laughing and cheering too, as they saw dozens of Marines emerged from the undergrowth.

"Nothing beats starting the day killing goblins, sleeping on their bodies and the smell of fresh blood!"

A note from neo Koh

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