Hitsu quietly replaced the sewage grate and grabbed a handful of wet silage on the dabbed on the cracks of the grate where it had been carefully dug out. He crawled his way through the narrow sloping drain and exited out at a waste area near one of the poorer districts of the city.
He glanced around the darkness, making sure there was no one wanting to ambush him before he scurried over to a small hut which they had secured for their own usage. Using the rain barrel outside, he stripped and took a bar of coarse soap to wash the smell off and cleaned himself up as best as he could before entering the hut in clean clothes.
"Damn, you smell like shit," Altied commented as he sat on the rafters next to a roof slit where he kept watch of their surroundings.
Hitsu ignored the gib and instead struck a vulgar gesture at Altied and poured himself a mug of tepid water. "Phew, wetwork is tough!"
"Anything new to update?" Tyrier asked as he removed a notepad from his pocket.
"Well, same as usual. Guards rotate on a half hour basis, random patrols on the streets. The palace is almost impossible to infiltrate," Hitsu replied. "Still can't find out what those covered things are on the walls. Ballistas?"
"Maybe a cannon of sorts?" Wolf said. "I tried to get near to one of those covered things but the Orc guards shooed me away before I could even get closer."
"Sarge, I think we got what we needed," Loke said. "We know where their factories are, who is running what and where the deserters are hiding now!"
"Yea," Young joined in. "We should get out, find a nice spot and call it in, and wait to watch fireworks from the Air Force!"
Tyrier frowned as he weighed the intel he has now on the inner city and the deserters. "Let's go over one more time, I feel like we are missing something here."
He unrolled out a crude hand drawn map which had annotation here and there scribbled on. The inner city was a ring around the Palace where non slaves lived. On the northern side of the inner city sat a large walled compound where several large sheds sat which they had identified as the factory.
They eavesdropped on the slave workers and heard that it was the place where they were making and assembling the Boomsticks of the Orcs. Another point of interest was a three storey building that functions as a treasury building of sorts where the Orcs transport the taxes and goods.
Most of the rumors they heard from the slaves said of several strange beings that had short ears lived inside the Palace and those working inside rarely comes out to the outer city.
"We got four locations to hit," Tyrier pointed to the map. "The Factory where they make the guns and ammo. The Treasury where two confirmed deserters are sighted regularly, the Palace, where most likely the rest of the deserters are at and the Barracks where stockpiles of weapons are kept."
Everyone nodded, "But how are we gonna hit all four locations with just seven of us?" Loke asked.
"I plan to have Hitsu and Young leave the city and call it in," Tyrier laid out his plan. "Call in the Airforce to hit the Factory, Barracks, and Treasury."
"And in the midst of confusion, we sneak into the Palace and take out the high profile targets," Tyrier explained. "But I still have a strange feeling here that we are missing something."
The rest shrugged as they couldn't answer Tyrier's unease. "I think it's better we find out what those covered weapons are, I don't want any surprises."
Corporal Clove gently eased the twin joy sticks of the MAW forward as its six legs climbed over several tree roots that blocked their way. The rhythmic stomping of the legs made him dozy as the scenery before him were never changing, just trees and more trees.
The golem mech slipped but quickly recovered as one of its fore legs stepped against the side of a root. Thankfully, the mech was stable enough that a slip barely made it fall, while a gyro stabilizer kept the main hull of the mech level with the uneven terrain.
Clove jolted awake as his Sergeant at the back compartment cursed, "What was that?"
"Nothing, Sarge! Just uneven terrain..." Clove quickly replied.
They had made good time over the course of a single day due to a trail already being made by construction crews that were making a highway to link to the town of Falledge and with further plans to branch off the highway towards Orwell's Point.
Work had stopped temporarily on the road works due to heightened goblin and monster activity as they came out of hibernation. Clove glanced at his monitor which displayed his rear view, seeing two other MAWs behind him and a line of armored vehicles and trucks following.
The turrets of the MAWs were each covering a sector as they plowed through the forest. Clove's Unit 02 was leading the way, followed by Unit 01 and 03 brought up the rear. His mech had its 3" stub cannon facing forward while 01 had its cannon covering the right and the 03's cannon was covering the left.
The stub cannons allowed the turrets to rotate freely within the forest without hitting the trees unlike if they used a long barrel. The velocity of the cannon was lowered and range and accuracy reduced but it allowed the turret to fight in a more enclosed area.
He stifled a yawn and grinned as he returned his attention back to the forest ahead, making sure not to repeat the same mistakes and slip again. Soon, another five days or so, they will reach Orwell's Point and Clove could not wait to get into a fight and test this baby out in real combat!
"Think they found us?" Drake whispered as he and Slow huddled down inside a hollow of roots. He had abandoned his bike after running out of fuel, hiding it away as best as he could while he rode shotgun behind Slow on the little ASAG golem.
Slow gave a shrug as he removed the last of their "dung" bombs. He tossed it out from their location and settled in to the hollow where it was quite cramped as both he and Drake were sharing it. Asagi crouched outside, hugging itself, making it look like a block of rock as it blended in to its surroundings.
They could sleep and rest as Asagi did not really require sleep and it would alert them of any approaching dangers. And with the dung bombs made from a high level monster, its scent will scare away the majority of the monsters in the vicinity.
They had been on the run from the pursuing Orcs for two days, barely managing to keep ahead of them most of the time. The wind wolves had an uncanny ability to keep picking up their trail despite their best efforts of at evasion, which was probably negated by the unique noise made by the motorcycle engine.
After ditching the motorcycle, they managed to finally lose their pursers and could settle down to rest. "We need to get somewhere where we can send a signal out," Drake said. "Command needs to know that something is fucked up with all this shit!"
Slow nodded as he sucked on a pack of jello, "Bad magic..."
UNS Singapore, Captain's Quarters
Captain Blake rubbed his face as he ended the voice conference with Joseph at Orwell's Point. "Demons... cultists... slave revolts... deserters...."
He sighed and felt very tired, "And I told we finally have a stable foothold in this place, some sort of peace and stability, but no... More unknown variables and mind blowing shit keep dropping on our laps one by one!"
Commander Ford gave a bark of laughter which made Blake confused, "What's so funny?"
"Well, Sir," Ford smiled. "I'll been thinking and letting my mind go free, you know like what Dr. Sharon would say."
"We cannot force our common sense of our world on to this planet here," Ford explained. "If we keep thinking that the elves are like humans, then we will be in deep shit."
"They are aliens, simple as that," Ford continued. "And aliens won't make sense to us, same as we don't make sense to them as we are aliens to them. But in this case, they have a wide variety of species and... cultures..."
"So you are saying cause I am humanizing them all along?" Blake frowned.
"In a way, yes... I guess," Ford shrugged. "Subconsciously or not, we kinda see them as humans, with human needs. But they are not humans, no matter how genetically alike or they look like us!"
"Well, I guess you are right," Blake sighed. "Well, we now have alien cultists and a potential alien revolt in our hands, not mentioning those criminals still running amok somewhere churning out guns to a bunch of super human green skins..."
"Let's settle one issue at a time for now," Ford grinned. "Look the homefront is stable now, even with the goblins popping out like rabbits here and there, the LDF can take care of them. You have sent out half of Third Battalion and those new toys of yours to reinforce Joseph, so I am pretty sure they too can handle it."
"So what else are you worried about?" Ford asked. "Cultists? Demons? Aren't Joseph doing fine so far? And Magister Thorn, that mage girl and that cat girl aide of the Princess is down there to help handle things, why still so worried?"
"I don't know..." Blake replied. "I just have a bad feeling..."
"Hahaha, could it because of your wedding that's coming soon?" Ford smiled. "Having the jitters?"
"Damn, that's still quite a few more months away!" Blake waved away Ford's teasing. "How about your naval side. Any plans on the Island Whales?"
Ford continued smiling and said, "Well, there's like tons of suggestions on what and how to handle the giant turtles. Some want it to be a floating battery cum air base, others a battleship or some even suggested a submersible base!"
"Well, we did think of all that but after some observations and findings from the wildlife team," Ford explained. "They are not suitable for anything else but maybe as a mining node for those energy crystals."
"Firstly, these creatures are actually pretty shy. The wildlife team speculated that they were willing to allow us contact with them is due to us saving and protecting them from that purple squid." Ford said. "Loud noises also don't go well for these creatures."
"Secondly, the island portion or backs of the turtles are not 100% soil or rocks. It seemed that its an organic mix of living tissues and soil. So no deep drilling or construction on their backs, we probably injured them if we do so," Ford continued saying.
"And as for a submersible base, these creatures appeared not to dive or go underwater at all, the plants on their backs absorb sunlight and it indirectly feeds them too," Ford said. "Also, we have no idea how to control them, so they can't even be a ship to transport anything."
"Wait, what?" Blake was surprised. "So they are like feeding on solar energy?"
"Yea, in a way. Dr. Sharon probably can explain it more in detail, but it absorbs energy from the sun via the plants on its back and at the same time feeding plankton off the surface of the sea." Ford replied.
"The energy crystals are formed from excess energy, sorta like our fats that are stored in our bodies," Ford continued. "Well, I am thinking of some ways to allow the turtles to stay among our waters, but we don't know how to entice them yet!"
"Hell, if we know how to control them, we can use them as a heavy cargo freighter!"