UNS Singapore, Conference Room

"Alright, everyone please settle down!" Commander Ford clapped his hands together bring the meeting into order. "Quick summary for those not in the loop, we got possible goblin pirates that will commerce raids within our sphere of influence."

"Now this might not be much of an issue before," Blake spoke up, "But now we are looking to be trading partners with the Isles, therefore we need to combat piracy now to prevent it becoming an issue in the future."

"Now the thing is that we only have a single salvaged ship that's being converted into an armored cruiser or ironclad," Blake continued, "A single warship with mostly new and experimental tech with no support vessels and backup."

"Our fast attack craft concept will not be able to be implemented in time to defend against pirates and raiders," Blake added, "So the core of the fighting will be placed on the single ironclad we have now till we can produce more ships."

"Sir, how about we built some maritime patrol bombers?" Airforce Commander Tommy raised a question. "It can do coastal patrols and reconnaissance too. And if in the future if needed, it can also perform in anti submarine warfare."

"Sounds interesting," Blake replied, "Draw up a proposal for it. Good to have more cards in our hands even if we couldn't produce any of this equipment now."

"What else is happening now?" Blake asked around the table.

"Autumn planting will begin next week, mostly tubers and mushrooms types of crops which can survive over winter and be ready to harvest when spring comes," Princess Sherene gave her report. "The strawberries provided by you hoomans are also doing surprisingly well in the markets and also easy to grow over autumn and winter."

"This year it will be different than usual," Sherene smiled charmingly, "It will be a busy winter!"

"Why is that?" Blake asked.

"Well, previously, the farms could not provide any food during the cold months and most people stay indoors to conserve heat," Sherene explained, "Most people shut themselves in during winter, but with central heating, warm clothes, plenty of food and jobs in the factories and stores, people will be more inclined to work during winter!"

"I see, that is a good sign," Blake replied, "I guess."

"Well, a city that doesn't sleep is a thriving city," Ford said. "Now, since we have food production sorted out, I will the military side to report their progress."

Major Frank nodded and said, "Sir, currently we are preparing for the 3rd batch of Marine recruits to be processed and training will begin soon. But I think this will be the last batch of recruits we can recruit without putting a drain into our manpower resources."

"As of now, our current manning is at 842 combat operation Marines, with another 357 non combat support staff," Frank read out the numbers, "This upcoming batch of recruits will be roughly around 450 men, bringing the total military personnel at around 1,650."

"Our total population is holding at around 10k with the addition of 117 goblins and 268 slaves that joined us," Frank continued, "The Marines take up 1.6k of the total population and that is not counting, the Police, Air Force and the formation of the Navy."

"If we add the rest of the armed forces in, at least 40 % of our total population is allocated to the armed forces," Frank said, "Leaving us what? Less than 6,000 civilians, to support our industry and most of them are females?"

"We have less than 400 children of ages below 16," Dr. Sharon spoke up, "And our current birth rate is low, bloody low in fact."

"We need to introduce measures to increase our population for the next 15 years," Dr. Sharon said, "Or we will be reduced to an aging population in the future will no young adults to support our growing infrastructure in the future."

"Even if we mass recruit other races like orcs and goblins into our ranks, we still require people to make babies if we want to sustain the nation in the future," Dr. Sharon warned. "I will advise we implement measures to encourage people to start making babies soon."

"Got it," Blake nodded, "Major Frank, this will be the last batch of recruits, for the time being, only recruit later on to recover combat loses."

"And as for the population growth and babies," Blake looked at Sherene and Dr. Sharon, "Can both of you work out with Public Health services and City Hall to come out with incentives to entice people to start having families early?"

"Offer them government subsidies, housing, grants, education aid, medical, and what others you can think of without impacting our current industrial needs and workforce," Blake threw out some ideas to the both of them. "Set up a committee to oversee all these?"

"Ok," Sherene replied and nodded to Dr. Sharon.

"Now, baring all that," Blake continued on, "I want Chief Matt to led the project on fully restoring the ship to combat ready status."

"We do not know when the goblins pirates will act nor where will they hit," Blake said, "Commander Ford?"

"Ahem," Ford turned on the display screen which showed a coastal map of the region with icons of varies colors dotting the surface. "This is roughly the range we calculated a typical goblin raiding ship has." He highlights an orange circle around a skull, which had a text, "Goblin City".

"Now, these yellow dots are surface contacts, our radar has picked up over the past couple of days," Ford indicated another group of yellow dots scattered all over the area. "We believe that these are merchant convoys or ships. But it might also be pirates or other things that we do not know of."

"According to our investigations, the goblin sea has only two seasons that are suitable to sail and that is mid-spring to mid-summer and early autumn to end autumn," Ford explained, "Any other times, the sea is rough and covered with ship-killing storms."

"Now, the majority of these yellow contacts do not hug along the coast while the nearest ships still keep roughly a 100 kilometers distance from land," Ford continued, "Therefore we rarely spot any of them unless our recon flights spot them or the radar reports them."

"We estimate that our friends will be conveying the trade agreements to us within the next two weeks," Ford traced a line south along the coast to an icon that said "Far Habour".

"Therefore, to prevent any loss of deliveries, we need to ensure our ship is up and running within two weeks," Ford finished.

Chief Matt frowned, "Within two weeks to ensure everything is running and also completing ship trials? It will take a miracle to do that, Sir!"

"Chief," Ford nodded, "Yes, provided if you handle it only with your department."

"Yea, but who else has the expertise to work on ships here?" Chief Matt raised an eyebrow.

"We have some... people with skills with regards to that," Blake spoke up, "Goblins."

"What? You want to put goblins to work on the ship?" Chief Matt half rose from his chair, "This is obscene!"

"Chief," Commander Tommy injected, "They do quite well so far in my Air Force!"

"Still, we don't know what murderous schemes they might have in their minds!" Chief Matt growled, "We can't fully trust those things!"

"Chief, will I agree with your points," Ford stepped up and said, "But we do believe that with their help, they can vastly cut down the time needed to retrofit the ship since most of them have some sort of technical skills and are into machines."

"And if they proved themselves well," Blake added, "We can integrate them into ship construction work, which will help boost the industry."

"But Sir!" Chief Matt frowned, "I understand that we are lacking skilled work labor, but to use them to construct a warship which under the Military Code is classified as Top Secret and not to mention the same warship will be used against their own kind. Why would they be willing to help?"

"With the chances of sabotage so high, it will take double the time for us to conduct sea and combat trials as we have to double check and ensure everything that the goblins touched is clean!" Chief Matt continued to argue his points.

"I see," Blake frowned, "How about if we limit them to work in modular components?"

"Modular components?" Chief Matt repeated, "You want to install components in modularly?"

"Wouldn't it be faster to repair damages and losses?" Blake asked. "Plus if everything is modular, the ship is easier to upgrade in the future."

"But most of the ship has being nailed or welded down," Chief Matt replied, "Only parts that can be modular will be the superstructures, engines, and weapon systems."

"Than we do that for now," Blake said, "Let the goblins work on non combat systems and have a quality control team to inspect their work."

"Aye," Chief Matt nodded, "I guess we can do that."

"As for the Chief of Naval Operations," Blake grinned, "I am putting Commander Ford in charge."

"Huh?" Ford looked surprised, "You want me to be Chief of Naval Ops?"

"Yup," Blake continued smiling, "You do just fine, all the naval projects are now under your scrutiny."

"I..." Ford looked around the room, where everyone smiled and clapped. "Thank you, Sir! I will not fail you!"

"Good, then Project Ironclad is in your hands, CNO!" Blake smiled.


Northern Forest

Blue Thunder's tummy rumbled as he laid with his nose sniffing before the cook wagon. "I'm hungry," He whined at the cook.

"Please wait!" The poor cook was terrified by the sword sized teeth filled mouth whining next to him. "It will be done soon!"

Blue Thunder sighed and settled down for a long wait, smelling the aroma of roasting potatoes waffling out from the huge specialized tumbler oven that looked like a twentieth century cement mixer.

"What- doing- you?" Rastraz spoke in poor English as she landed next to Blue Thunder who shot up in surprise.

"Ah?" Blue Thunder blinded his eyes rapidly in panic while keeping a safe distance from her, "I... am hungry..."

"Hun-gee?" Rastraz looked at Blue Thunder who shyly rubbed his tummy to mimic hunger. "Oh..."

She turned her head to look at the strange rotating drum where the even more terrified cook sweated under the waved of heat emitting off from her body. "What's that?" She pointed.

"Erm... nothing!" Blue Thunder turned his head away, "Nothing!"

Rastraz frowned and leaned closer to Blue Thunder who tried to edge away from her, "Noth-ing?" She noticed his teeth looked pretty clean and he doesn't have the overwhelming stench of rot coming from his mouth. "Hmmmm..."

"Erm... the potatoes are done!" The cook cried out and stopped the magic heat runes and used a long pryer and unscrewed out the bottom hatch, where a large wide barrel was placed.

Steaming potatoes rolled out from the tumbler and into the barrel, filling it up. Blue Thunder eyes went gooey as he stared at those creamy looking potatoes, a strand of saliva starting to dip from his opened jaws.

The cook and his assistant soon divided the hot potatoes into another barrel and started to mix in sour cream, yellow butter, and bits of fried lard. "Alright, it's done!"

"YAY!" Blue Thunder carefully picked up the hot barrel of potatoes and blew at it, cool it down before he started to feast on the baked potatoes, "Ooooo... will be nicer if it was fried and with cheese sauce!"

Rastraz blinked her golden eyes at Blue Thunder who happily chomped down the strange offerings the meat bags gave him, wondering what is it that made him so happy about. She gracefully stretched her neck over to the barrel offered by the meat bags who quickly made way for her and gave it a sniff.

It doesn't smell too bad. She looked at the presentation of the food which she assumed is something to eat and frowned, finding it lacking in colors and looks. Lumpy bits of cream colored things and bits of fats and oil are mixed in together.

She looked at Blue Thunder who was clutching the barrel with his arms and licking the insides happily and wondered if it really tastes that good. Blue Thunder noticed her hesitating and asked, "You don't want to eat it?" His eyes glowed with expectations.

Rastraz frowned again and carefully picked up the barrel, and closed her eyes before taking a bite of the unappealing food.


A note from neo Koh

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