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The Colony, City Hall

Billy pushed a trolley laden with boxes of documents and rolls of parchment. She stopped at the elevator and pushed the button, and as she waited her eyes drifted to the poster stuck on the noticeboard.

<First Summer Festival! Come with your family and friends!> Was written in bold letters, and lifelike colorful images were displayed. Billy smiled, thinking of asking Kaga along to the festival that was just three more days away.

The lift doors sprung open with a ding, and Billy pushed the trolley in, sighing as she returned to her mundane job, despite missing her free life but in Falledge, she was grateful for having a roof over her head, food on her table and the sense of security of the City.

"Endure three more days!"

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Northern Forest, Hydro Dam Power Station

Corporal Bartley Jackson leaned his thick muscular body over the packed sand barrier and sigh worriedly. He looked at the large swath of blue-greenery of trees and in the fall horizon, a reddish glow and thick grey clouds of smoke could be seen.

The air smelled slightly acidic, as ashes and the haze from the forest fire was carried over by drifts of wind. Even the sun was blotted out from the amount of haze in the air, making the entire area dim. Lightning flashed in the distance among the clouds of smoke.

Bartley frowned slightly as he stood watch from the three storied tall reinforced concrete watchtower next to the Dam, where a large lake was dammed up, and the constant roar of falling water, that turned the turbines of the dam muted the rumble of thunder. He thought he spotted some movement in the far distance.

He picked up his field glasses and scanned the edges of the forest. A perimeter of roughly 500 meters was cleared around the Power Station, giving the defenders clear lines of fire and making it harder for any enemies or monsters to approach. There were also couple layers of remote control claymore mines planted around the Power Station and barbed wired fences ringing the last hundred fifty meters to the station.

A sudden movement caught his attention, and he swept his field glasses over and spotted a blur of white that appeared in his 10x magnification view. Bartley adjusted his focus on the field glasses and saw a wolf half hidden among the forest edge.

Bartley frown grew deeper as he observed another large wolf appearing beside the next. He keyed his comms, "Tower 2, to Aquarium, I got eyes on two wind wolves, north-eastern quadrant, Over."

"Aquarium, Roger, standby, out."

Bartley returned to observing the two wolves, and they both gingerly paused at the edge of the cleared field. By now, remote cameras installed at the Power Station would have picked up the two wolves and he wondered what the new Lieutenant would do.

He checked his MG-1 on the mount, making sure the ammunition belt was not snagged against anything and returned to observing the wolves who seemed to hesitate and kept looking over their shoulders.

"Aquarium to all units, hold your fire. Only fire by my command." The Lieutenant voice came in over the radio set.

Suddenly the wolves seemed to sense something as they stepped out to the cleared land, and faced the forest, their hackles, and tails up in an aggressive stance.

Bartley eyes' went wide as the wolves turned, and saw tiny shapes on the backs of the wolves. "Tower 2 to Aquarium, be advised that the wolves appeared to have pups on them, over."

"Aquarium, Roger."

Just at this time, suddenly a small rain of dark shapes coming from the forest appeared over the two wolves, who leaped and dodged like they were dancing or playing and a small flood of green shapes appeared from the forest edge, rushing towards the wolves.

"Tower 2, I got goblins engaging the wolves over," Bartley reported as he glued his eyes on his field glasses. "Please advice? Over."

"Aquarium, standby over."

Bartley cursed in a soft voice as he rooted for the wolves. "Come on, you can do it."

The goblins encircled the two clearly weaken wolves protecting the pups on their backs, and hidden goblin archers shot arrow after arrow at the snarling wolves. Goblins spearmen kept the snapping jaws and claws at arm's length, constantly giggling and shrieking away.

The wolves barely had much strength left, looked at each other and suddenly they leaped over the heads of the short goblins, breaking out of the encirclement and charged towards the Power Station.

"Aquarium to all units, set your sights at two-fifty meters, make ready!"

"What?" Bartley lowered his field glasses as he listened to the radio chatter. "The Lieutenant wants to shoot the wolves with the babies?" The wolves were limping towards the perimeter fencing with over a hundred goblins chasing after them.

"Aquarium to all units, target the wolves followed by the goblins."

Bartley gave a conflicted look at his machine gun before he detracted it with a determined look and slung it over his back. He hooked his booted feet to the sides of the ladder and gripped the sides before sliding down rapidly, expertly controlling his rate of descent with his gloved hands and feet.

He sprinted out from the tower and ran towards one of the gates at the perimeter fence, praying that he could make it in time. He glanced over at the Power Station's roof, where several helmeted heads could be seen, manning their weapons.

Reaching the gate, he unholstered his revolver and fired at the lock without coming to a stop, and slammed his whole body weight against the small gate with the shot off lock, sending it swinging opening and squeaking on its hinges.

He saw the wolves were roughly 300 meters away from his position as there were colored markers stuck at measured intervals for the defenders to gauge distances. He ignored the squeaking calls on his comms and just ran with full speed towards the wolves.

-----

Lieutenant Starven stood up from his chair from surprise inside the security control room and stared incredulously at the large Marine charging out to the killing zone. "What is that Marine doing?" He asked the roomful of personnel who also stared in surprise at the camera displays.

"Call him back now!" Starven roared, "Who is that mad man? What is he trying to do?"

"Sir, that should be Corporal Bartley from Tower 2!" One of the operators replied, "He was the one that called in the sightings."

"Call him back!" Lieutenant Starven roared angrily. He stared with anger at the moving figure on the display screens. It was not even two weeks he took over command of Battalion 1, Charlie Company, Platoon 4 and those hoomans in his command were disregarding him!

"Sir, he is not responding to our hails!" The operator replied. "The wolves are approaching the 250 mark! Do we still fire? We might hit him."

"Goddamnit!" Starven cursed, "Warn him off now!"

The operator turned back to his radio set and desperately tried to call the Marine that went rogue.

-----

"Corporal Bartley, cease your actions and return to your station immediately!" Bartley's comms squeaked, which he ignored as he pumped his arms while sprinting towards the wolves. The two wolves slowed and glared at him as he approached, while also keeping an eye behind them at the horde of goblins at their tails.

"Steady!" Bartley stood before the two wolves who towered over him with at least twice his height. Bloody foam could be seen on the sides of their jaws, while their massive tongues lobbed out and their sides heaved with each pant. Wounds and bloody marks could be seen all over both the wolves when Bartley was up close to them.

One of the wolves suddenly collapsed as its rear legs gave out, and the three dog sized pups cried out in fear, meowing for their mother. The remaining standing wolf positioned itself before Bartley and growled, baring its dagger sized teeth at him.

"Easy! Friend!" Bartley gently said while spreading his hands to the side to show he meant no harm. He slowly moved his hand to his communicator and keyed the mike, "Aquarium, do not fire, repeat, all units do not fire on the wolves!"

"What the thirteen hells are you playing at, Marine!" Lieutenant Starven's voice screamed into his ear. "You will return to the Control Room now and place your self under arrest for the abandonment of your post and total disregard for orders and your superiors!"

"Sir, the wolves are just trying to protect their young," Blake explained slowly and calmly like he was talking to a child which infuriated the Lieutenant more. "They meant no harm to us. We have no need to fire on them."

As they were talking the cries of the goblins grew louder and standing wolf panicked, it tried to protect its fallen sister and at the same time having to be on guard against Bartley and the approaching Goblins.

"Corporal, I don't care if the Gods themselves are out there, you disobey direct orders and abandoned your post!" Lieutenant Starven screamed, "Get your ass back here now!"

"Sorry Sir," Bartley stoically replied, "Since I have already disobeyed orders, I might as well continue."

"What? Get back here n-!" Bartley disconnected his communicator and unslung his MG-1 from his back. He turned and faced the coming goblins and braced himself and fired.

The wolves and pups jumped in shock at the loud buzzing roars coming from the strange two legged creature. They cowed on the spot and covered their sensitive ears from the loud roars, whimpering in fright.

The MG-1 spewed bright tracers out towards the coming goblins, the high powered 8.5 mm rounds torn through their makeshift armor and naked bodies like paper targets, dropping them in scores.

Bartley grunted and fired in a long burst at each cluster of goblins he saw still standing. The heavy recoil made controlling the weapon difficult for most people but not for him and the Orcs as he had a naturally larger build and stronger upper body strength.

Less than five minutes, the remains of the goblin force retreated in fear, screaming and crying in their tribal languages as they ran back to into the cover of the forest.

Bartley lowered his weapon and looked at the very scared wolf standing over its sister. Its tail and ears were lowered and plastered against its skull. It gave a growl of warning at Bartley who gently put his weapon down on the grass, and raised his hands up, "Easy, I am a friend."

The wolf looked at him with suspicion and at the weapon he placed on the floor and decided to trust him, for both she and her sister were totally spent, having been on the run non stop and attacked by monsters for over five days.

It flopped down on the ground and panted, her strength leaving her body and laid there with half opened eyes watching the two leg approach her slowly.

Bartley slowly made his way towards the giant wolf and patted it gently on its head, letting the wolf lick his hands. "Good girl. Friends."

He looked at the frightened pups trying to hide under their mother's belly and smiled. He walked slowly over to the other fallen wolf and found it still alive, but badly injured and weak. A wolf pup the size of a German Shepherd, growled at him, baring its fangs as it tried to protect its mother.

Bartley kneeled down and held out the back of his hand, which the wolf pup cautiously sniffed his hand, before giving it a lick and allowing Bartley to rub and scratch its head and floppy ears.

When the security team of Marines led by Lieutenant Starven came up, they found Bartley surrounded by several wolf puppies, happily licking and playing with him between two giant wolves watching over them.

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A note from neo Koh

Advance chapters are available on Patreon (Book 1 completed)

 

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Enjoy~

 

 


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