Northern Forest, Hydro Dam Power Station

A small convoy of jeeps rumbled in through the double gates and sentry posts, stopping before a blocky structure sitting next to a roaring man controlled waterfall. A concrete dam had blocked off the original waterfall and water was released by outflow gates which created the waterfalls. The skies were hazy and smelled of burning wood and ashes.

Captain Blake stepped down from one of the jeeps and nodded to Major Frank who was accompanied by Master Sergeant Pike. Both of them were waiting at the entrance of the building for Blake's arrival and saluted Blake as he exited the jeep. "Sir!"

"At ease," Blake replied, "So they are inside?"

"Oh no, Sir," Major Frank replied. "We actually placed them outdoors under a shed, with armed guards, twenty four seven."

"And the Marine who broke regs?" Blake asked again as he followed the two Marines into the building. "What happened actually?"

"Well, the Marine is one of ours," Frank explained, "Seems like he spotted some wolf puppies being carried by the two female wolves and being chased by goblins, he decided to save them instead of shooting them."

"So he managed to save the wolves," Blake stopped and turned to look at the two officers. "What's the issue now?"

"Sir," Pike answered for the Major, "The Marine abandoned his post during a combat situation and also disobeyed a direct order from his commanding officer."

"I see," Blake nodded, "So what are you guys gonna do about it?"

Frank frowned, "I don't really want to give a very harsh punishment, but if I don't, it might give off the impression that we are cuddling our own people and also that abandoning of duty posts and insubordination will not get one into much trouble, which will undermine the officers' authority and also lead to more issues in the future."

"Go by the book then," Blake replied, "We can't show favoritism."

"Sir, insubordination during times of war is a death penalty..." Frank looked at Blake seriously.

"Put him up for court-martial," Blake sighed, "Let the court judge him then."

"Now let's see the wolves," Blake continued walking through the corridors to the elevator that will bring them up to the top side of the dam.

Both the Marines looked at each other and nodded, "Yes, Sir," Frank replied with a heavy heart as he knew that the Marine will get a death penalty.


Goblin Coast, Far Harbour, Special Projects Workshop

"Easy... easy..." Senior Spaceman Mason called out as he stood under a newly developed inline four engine that was secured to chains from the workshop roof crane. "Lower it slowly..."

He held on to the side of the brand new engine and with the help of another engineer, they carefully slot it into place in the hull of the sleek looking experimental speed boat built by the ship carpenter Amar and a team of engineers and craftsmen.

The next hour was spent carefully connecting the drive shafts, cranks, chains, and bolting the engine into place. The experiment speed boat had a 'V' shaped bow, sharp lines and a simple wheelhouse. It was 10 meters long, and four meters wide, powered by a four cylinder water cooled inline piston engine of 102 horsepower. After several model kit sized prototypes, they finally built a smaller scaled working prototype to test before they start working on the actual design.

The whole team double checked the motorboat to ensure every bolt, nut, and screws was properly tightened and in place before they pushed out the sliding doors that led out to sea. A sluice gate was opened and seawater started to flood the dry dock of the experimental motorboat.

As the water started flooding the dock, the motorboat gently floated up on the surface of the water and the team of amateur shipwrights cheered. "Let's start the engine and test out our new toy!" Mason yelled excitedly. Even Amar was excited as he stood on the side watching the boat he helped design and built.

Mason grabbed a bright yellow personnel flotation device and tossed it over to Amar, "Come on! Let's go for a test drive!"

Amar eagerly wore the life vest with the help of one of the hooman engineers and they all climbed aboard the motorboat. Mason turned the ignition and the engine roared slowly to life, sending out a small cloud of grey smoke from its exhaust. "Woooo!"

The rest of the team removed the lines from the moorings and Mason gently gave power to the boat, easing it out of the workshop. As it appeared out of the workshop and into the sun, the workers around Far Harbor stopped and stared, wondering what kind of boat is that.

"Engine temperature looks good, just as we trial ran them before!" One of the engineering guys on board called out.

"Great, let's clear the stone pier and see what this baby can do!" Mason grinned, and pushed the throttle up, sending the motor craft charging through the waves. "Oh my god, this is awesome!"

The sea wind and spray hit them as they bounced across the waves, running at over 20 knots per hour. Amar gripped the hand rails of the motorboat and started laughing wildly, "This is amazing, I never gone so fast before in the sea! Amazing!"

The motorboat hit a surging wave and bounced up, sending whitish 'V' shaped waves out. Mason drove the motorboat around the pier, charging pass The Floating Wreck still moored at the pier and showing off his boat. Soon the pier was lined up with workers and staff as they "Oooh and Ahh" at the trials Mason was putting the boat through.

After an hour of playing around with the motor craft, they finally happily returned to the workshop leaving the cheering crowd behind.


Northern Forest, Hydro Dam Power Station

Blake leaned over the railing and observed the two giant wolves licking their pups from the roof of the Dam. "So how aggressive are they?"

"Well, as long you don't try to take their kids away," Pike replied, "They seem okay so far with us next to them."

"What happened exactly?" Blake asked as he watched one of the pups trying to snuggle up to its mother but failed and did a cute tumbling cartwheel instead.

"We think that due to the forest fire, they were trying to escape from it," Frank said, "And we think almost all the monsters were driven away from the forest. And these two were carrying their kids with them, so the rest of monsters most probably perceived the puppies as an easy meal."

"So what are we gonna do with them, Sir?" Pike asked as he frowned. "We don't know if we can train them to be mounts or even work animals, provided if they are willing to listen to us."

"Could we make them our next best friend like dogs?" Blake asked. "The Orcs do use them as mounts."

"Not sure, but I did send out a message to all the Orcs in the Marines," Pike said, "see if any Orcs have any knowledge of rearing a giant wolf."

Blake nodded, "Let's go closer." And they climbed down the stairs and walked towards the vehicle shed which they gave the wolves to use.

As Blake and his party approached the shed, both the wolves sat up and looked at them walking over with cautious and curious eyes but they did not growl nor any other signs of aggression.

Blake stopped before the nearest wolf and saw the streaks of dirt and blood on its matted fur. "Are they provided with medical care and adequate food and water?"

"Food and water yes," Pike scratched his head, "Medical? We don't have veterinaries here."

Blake turned and looked at Pike, "We don't? How about those looking after the Muffalos or Peco pecos?"

"Well, we are not sure if they are willing to even come close to a giant wolf," Pike replied, "and the scent of the wolves might spook the animals when they return. Plus the wolves don't allow us to touch them. We have tried, trust us."

"How about that Marine who got close to them?" Blake asked.

"Sir, he's placed in confinement now," Pike replied. "In one of the staff rooms here."

"Well, bring him here and see if he can do some good," Blake ordered.

"Yes, Sir!" Pike turned away and spoke into his communicator while Blake turned and watched the puppies play, the corner of his mouth lifting up.

Not long, a large build male accompanied by a trio of Marines arrived. They saluted the Major and Blake, "Sir! The prisoner is here, sir!"

"Remove the restrains," Blake nodded towards the handcuffs.

"Yes, sir!" The Marine escorts quickly removed Bartley's handcuffs, which Bartley rubbed his sore wrists once they were removed.

"Corporal Bartley, front and center!" Pike roared.

Bartley quickly marched up and stood in parade attention before Blake, "Corporal Bartley reporting, Sir!"

"Corporal, I heard the wolves are friendly with you," Blake asked, "Is that correct?"

"Sir, Yes, sir!" Bartley replied in a serious manner.

"Ok, Corporal, I got a job for you, I heard that the wolves only allows you to get close to them," Blake gestured at the wolves who were all looking at them with curious expressions, "I'm putting you in charge of looking after them. You will be let out from your confinement once per day to look after them, after which you will be returned to your cell."

"Corporal, while you did a good deed here, but you disobey direct orders and even abandoned your post which is a serious offense in times of war," Blake said, "Redeem yourself with hard work, and we will see what we can do about your court-martial."

"Sir! Thank you, Sir!" Bartley replied without a change of expression.

"Alright, show me what you can do!" Blake nodded, "Clean them up, and see if you patch them up as well."

Bartley walked up to the wolves who licked and poke their noses against him, allowing him to touch their fur and pat them. "Sir, I will need some brushes, a first aid kit and eh, buckets?"

Blake turned to Pike and nodded, who started talking into his communicator again. Blake gestured to Frank and they walked to the side away from hearing of the rest.

"Well, if we can tame these wolves, I think we can sorta have some kind of wolf cavalry?" Blake suggested. "Mobile infantry tactics and all."

"Wolf cavalry?" Frank repeated and laughed, "Well, it will be better if we had bears..."


Northern Forest

A plume of flames rose up from the center of a massive ash field. The red dragon yawned and puffed out another plume of flames from its nostrils while scratching its tummy. It looked around in surprise at the land around it, unable to recall why the lush forest had instead turned into a land of scorched earth.

Its tummy rumbled in hunger and it looked around, trying to see if it can spot some prey, but all it saw was just scorched land and blackened trees stumps. Giving a huge sigh, it flapped its wings and rose into the air, and started looking around to see if it can find something big and yummy to cook.

As it rose up higher, it saw the area around was all burnt land, and flames and smoke were even seen in the forest all around it. It scratched its head in embarrassment as it finally realized that the cause of the destroyed land was caused by it.

Oh well, it thought to itself, nature will always find a way to grow back and it flapped its wings lazily, catching the heat air draft coming from the forest fire and started gliding in a circular motion as it climbed higher and higher into the air before flying away from the scorched land and headed for the distance blue-green forest that has not been affected by the forest fire yet.

A note from neo Koh

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