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UNS Singapore, Prison Deck

First Lieutenant Tavor of Naval Intelligence whistled a tuneless tone as he strolled deep within the bowels of UNS Singapore, clutching a briefcase. His slick polished boots making loud echos down the dim decks as he entered a restricted area. A checkpoint appeared, were five security officers sat behind an armored glass station and Tavor removed his sidearm and dropped it into an opening on the table before he scanned his palms and iris.

The armored hatch slid opened and Tavor gave a nod to the men inside the guard station before he stepped into a short corridor with metal detectors and chemical sniffers. The armored hatch closed and a yellow light blinked, followed by a computerized voice, "Please wait while we scan for any anomalies."

A short minute later, the yellow light switched to green, indicating all scans have been completed, "Please proceed and key in your access details."

Tavor tapped his login and password, and the computer timestamped and recorded his logged in access and verified his identity before the hatch at the end of the corridor opened. He exited the scanning corridor and he walked briskly towards the objective he was here for, as he headed deeper into the prison cell.

He stopped before a cell numbered '4' and keyed in his access codes, the armored door slide open, and 6 meters by 6 meters transparent cube, internally illuminated sat in the middle of the cell, directly below an anti-magic spell formation engraved into the cell floor.

A young girl sat on the bed, the only furniture in the prison cube, curled up like to ball, hugging her knees to her chest tightly as her long bushy brown hair covered her face messily like some horror movie actress. She sat there rocking to herself as Tavor stood there observing her actions.

Tavor walked over to an intercom set on a row of tables and monitor screens and hit the send key, "Hello? Can you hear me?"

The girl jerked up like she was shocked by electricity and she scrambled against the walls of the transparent cell, wrapping the blanket provided around herself and shivering wildly. "G-go go aw-away de... de-demons!"

-----

Goblin Sea

Chief Matt frowned as he looked at the spell formations on his deck, and had a nagging feeling in his head. "Elza!" He called out to the students who chatting away happily with the techs.

"Yes, Sir?" Elza hopped over the spell formation, her eyes shining with pride at her work.

"Can you explain how this works?" Chief Matt frowned as he looked at the formation, feeling he was missing something.

"Erm, the original formation was a three layer formation, the first layer collects heat from the surrounding, and the second layer formed water from the surrounding air, and lastly the last formation holds the gathered cold air and water together," Elza explained as she looked in confusion at Chief Matt's worried face. "The cold air touches the warm water and fog is formed."

"For this formation, we just removed the second layer and some parts of the third layer," Elza explained, "The heated air will be absorbed and cold air will be formed above the formation, thus colding the engines."

"Wait... if you removed the water creation portion, where does all the heat collected go?" Chief Matt looked worriedly at her.

"The heat? OH!" Elza looked up in horror, "The... manastones... they will gather all the heat..."

"SHUT THE SPELL FORMATIONS DOWN NOW!" Chief Matt yelled, "NOW!"

The students looked at Chief Matt in confusion, but luckily Elza jolted awake and she quickly followed Chief Matt's instructions, "Quickly stop the spells formations!" She knelt before the spell formations and pressed both her palms on the formation, channeling her magic into the spell, and cutting the magic conducts from the manastones powering the formation.

The glow of the spell formation faded and the heat slowly returned, but the two manastones used to power the spell formation continued to glow in a red hot manner with air shimmering over it.

"Don't touch that!" Chief Matt yelled, "You go grab some thermal insulation gloves and the laser thermometer." He ordered one of the techs who ran off bidding his order.

"Thank god we shut it down in time," Chief Matt gave a relieved sigh, "If the manastones overheat, it will explode. While the force of the explosion isn't very strong, it will still be deadly in a half enclosed area."

During the initial testings and experiments with mana stones, they had heated one of them till it blew up, destroying cameras and testing equipment with a TNT force of 5 kg for a single 200 grams piece of stone. But the temperatures required for it to go boom was over 750 degrees celsius!

"Alright, I think we need to rethink on this, the spells formation works, but we need some way to cool the manastones," Chief Matt said as he took the laser thermometer from the returned tech. "Wow, it reached almost 200 degrees celsius in like twenty minutes of operation."

"Hey Chief, the timber is burnt black," The tech wore the gloves and picked up the burning hot manastone. "Where do we put this?"

"See if there's a bucket of sand or seawater." Chief Matt replied. "Damn, I think we can jury rig it into some sort of steam engine for ships!"

"It can cool the engines, and at the same time create steam, which in turn can be used to generate electricity for the ship!" Chief Matt muttered to himself excitedly, "Oh my god, near infinite power! But the stones have limited power and have to be replaced. Damn..."

"Ok, boys! We are gonna come out with a way to cool the manastones!" Chief Matt roared at his crew, "Best idea gets one week off!"

"OOOOHHHH!" The techs all yelled and cheered in excitement and started discussing among themselves ways of cooling the stones, leaving the students bewildered.

-----

UNS Singapore, Prison Deck

Liz Regnar wrapped the blanket tightly around her thin frame, as she peered about wildly at the mirrored walls, only seeing her hundreds of her own frightened figure on the bed on all four sides of the walls. The harsh white lights made her crazy, as it was forever brightly lit and she lost all track of time, not knowing when was day or night, alone in this mirrored cell. The only way she could track time was by the meals given to her twice a day.

Now a godlike voice spoke from the ceilings, breaking her already fragile mental state. "Hello? Can you hear me?"

"No!" Liz yelled as she tried to bury herself deeper into the blankets, "It's just a voice in my head!"

"What is your name?" The voice spoke again. "Tell me your name!"

"I don't know anything! Go away!" Liz yelled again, "It's just a bad dream!"

"This is not a dream! You know it isn't! Now tell me your name!"

"It's not a dream?" Liz's eyes went wild with terror, "No! This is heaven or hell? Where am I?" She had tried to gather her magic but failed every time, and this time it was the same, making her feel small and useless, just like a normal person.

"Answer the question!" The lights suddenly went out, turning the cell pitch black and Liz screamed in terror. "ANSWER THE QUESTION!" A spotlight shone directly down at her, as she rolled up in a fetal position crying.

"E-Elizabeth Regnar..." Liz sobbed.

"Elizabeth Regnar, why are you with the Hero Dante?"

"I-I heard h-he was recruiting party members!" Liz replied, "I signed up and was chosen..."

"Who else was in the party with the Hero?"

"There was Stab... and Evelyn..."

-----

Lt Tavor leaned back from the console as he replayed the video of his interrogation of the girl mage. "Hmmm..."

He made some notes on his tablet as he reviewed all the data he has on both the prisoners and felt something was wrong and doesn't tally. Liz the girl mage had said the Hero Dante came here to subjugate the rebels by orders of the Emperor and were after Claymore One for kidnapping kids, while Evelyn the Archer said that the Hero was hired by the Adventurer's Guild to come to investigate Sawtooth Mountain Pass for traces of the rebels.

"So who is telling the truth?" He put both his booted feet up and observed the shaking curled up body of the girl in the cell. "Liz seemed too scared out of her wits to be lying. Or could both of them be telling the truth?"

He played back the video recording he had of Evelyn, and frowned, as he compared both girl's reactions. "Evelyn seemed more calm than Liz, despite the fear and confusion she has."

The way the prisoners were treated, with constant harsh white light, a mirrored cell, isolation, sleep deprivation, were all design to disorientate and confuse the mental state of the prisoners, making it easier for interrogation without the use of violence. Liz had completely broken down, while Evelyn seemed more... detached and confused, which was rather puzzling to Tavor, who thought that if someone were to hold out longer, it will be Liz the Mage as mages are supposed to have stronger will power, according to Magister Thorn.

He looked at the whimpering girl and felt nothing, to be honest. He was scouted straight into Naval Intelligent once he graduated from OCS on Earth. He was an orphan, growing up in one of Israel government-run orphanages before the war came, and the law stated that all males of a certain age group are required to serve the human race against the invaders, and also every one of age and both male and female in the orphanages was sent off to the military.

Tavor fairly well in Officer Cadet School, placing within the top twenty of his class. His instructors commented he was strong with languages including foreign cultures and has the ability to absorb a wide array of information and a great memory. Also, it helped that he has no family or ties to anyone.

He checked the medial reports from Dr. Sharon, going through their medical history, and found something about Evelyn appearing to be in a constant confused state once she regained consciousness. Dr. Sharon wrote that it might be due to the tranq shots given to her over a long period of time, causing her brain to suffer some minor amnesia.

Tavor watched the replay of the interrogation of the Evelyn girl, watching her every gesture and micro-expressions. One said the Hero is recruited by the Empire, the other said by the Adventurer's Guild, so let's say if both are telling the truth, does that means the Adventurer's Guild is under the control of the Empire?

If that is the case, it would actually not be a surprise as if I am in charge of an Intelligence network for a nation or empire, an Adventurer's Guild where people of all types and races gather for work, it will be the best place to gather information. Not to mention, even issuing secret missions to the unknowing adventurers to do dirty jobs under the guise of the Guild will be easy too! Tavor thought to himself, "Shit! There is at least one branch of Adventurer's Guild in every major town and city on this continent! Even the Isles have branches there!"

He frowned, tapping the console, what should we do about the two girls now that he sort of has an answer. The girl mage has power magic power, which will greatly help boost our magic capabilities, even if she does not goes to the front line and just serves as a teacher. As for the archer girl, unless she works as a hunter or trains the Marines in woodcraft, there wasn't much she could contribute to the Colony.

But are they worth the risk to try to recruit them? Or is it better to give them both a bullet in the head and an unmarked grave? What should I recommend to the Captain?

Decisions, decisions...

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A note from neo Koh

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Urgh ... no voice... throat filled with phlegm!!! 


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