UNS Singapore, Conference Room

The room quickly filled up with both physical and virtual presence with the top brass and Heads of Departments. Once everyone had settled down, Commander Ford started the meeting. "As you know the agenda for today's meeting, will be about our future prospects here."

"We have landed here for almost a year and a half and had made substantial progress on all fields," Ford continued. "Be it agriculture, mining, manufacture, construction, science, magic, or defense."

"Now, we have surpassed our initial basic needs and has come to the stage where we have to decide what will be our long term goals and plans," Ford said.

Captain Blake stood up and took over, "As what the XO has said, we now have reached the stage where we need to decide what we want to do here."

"As your commander and highest ranking officer, I have the authority to give an absolute order and everyone follows along," Blake said. "But I kind of am wearing a double hat here. One as your commanding officer, the other as a civil governor."

"The military will always follow the orders of the civilian democratic government," Blake continued. "So here, we will push forward some proposals and these will be decided by majority vote, as these will affect our future and even our future generations to come."

"As of now, we still do not have any technology and means of construction an FTL or even a sublight drive to take us out of this planet," Blake said. "R & D gave an estimate that in another three years or less if we are not interrupted, we should have the capabilities to conduct orbit launches out of the planet to low orbit."

"Provided we can get the advanced materials needed for space rockets and our population knowledge boosted to a certain literacy level," Blake added. "Or than that, trying to build a space drive to bring us home, R & D estimates at least twenty years to even develop a basic sublight engine."

Everyone's expressions in the meeting turned disappointed. "Sir, twenty years?" One of the officers asked. "Why so long? We have the tech manuals and Engineering practically knows the inside out of a basic space thruster and engines!"

"Let me explain," Chief Engineer Matt stood up and Blake nodded for him to continue. "Knowing the inside out of a space engine and having a manual on it is difficult from building one from scratch."

"Take the materials needed," Matt said. "We need high grade advanced alloys and composites just for basic engine body, not to mention advanced micro electronics for the computer systems needed to control the whole damn thing."

"The locals have limited knowledge of science and even our people aren't full time engineers or specialists with years of space engineering experience," Matt explained. "Other than some old hands and instructors here, every one of the original crew is just kids. Freshly graduated from schools or universities!"

"And not everyone holds an engineering degree," Matt added. "Hell, I even got a couple of social media designers in my department!"

"Even if we have the knowledge," Matt continued. "We do not have the resources nor the manufacturing capabilities. Our fabricators are just for normal non shipyard graded repairs and replacements."

"Already we are stressing out the fabricators by brute forcing them to make things that are not originally designed to be making!"

"Thank you, Chief," Blake gestured Matt to stop. "I think this is enough of an idea of what we can do or not do to get home, yes?"

"So now, since we most likely will be stuck here for many years, I think it is fair that we start to plan a more permanent mentality that we will be here for good," Blake declared.

"We got a few choices," Blake started to list out points. "We can continue to dig in and expand our manufacturing and tech abilities. Who comes to attack us, we remain passive and just defend. We keep a close door policy to all foreign influence."

"Next, we take a pure military stance and force the Empire to capitulate," Blake's eyes glittered. "We take control of this whole continent."

"Lastly, we carve a niche for ourselves," Blake looked around. "We hold off the Empire with military strength and diplomacy, and ally with whoever that is willing to be our allies."

"What do all of you think?" Blake asked everyone presented both physically and virtually.

"Captain," Dr. Sharon's image spoke up. "While closing ourselves off away from the whole world and minding our own business doesn't mean that others will not come and find trouble with us. Hence the first option is not viable."

"Not to mention the native population is pretty aggressive," Dr. Sharon added. "We can't turtle up and close our borders and expect others to not come knocking on our doors."

"And without a source of manpower from the natives, it is almost impossible to create a workforce and improve our tech base either," Chief Engineer Matt chipped in. "We need the most here is manpower, which we are seriously lacking."

"Sir," Major Frank spoke next. "Chief Matt is right, without manpower, closing our doors to the locals will not only affect our workforce but also our military strength."

"We need manpower to draw our recruits from," Frank continued. "And without a high tech workforce, we can't even produce combat drones or replace any losses we sustained from combat."

"It is close to impossible to invade and take control over the whole continent due to those reasons," Frank commented. "Even if we have the manpower to draw from, holding the whole continent without the local having a certain level of education and proper governance, it will lead to an uprising among the nobility here."

"The culture and how life goes on has too deeply seeped into the bones of the population here," Frank said. "We can't just waltz in and force everyone to follow our laws and rules, there will be massive outbreaks of revolts and unrest."

"I say the second option is out too," Frank ended his view.

"So the only way is the third option?" Blake asked around and seeing most of the officers and senior staff nodding. "If that is the case, then we need to start a 10 year and a 50 year plan of action on both military and civic matters."

"I want all departments to submit both 10 year and 50 year plans by end of spring," Blake ordered seeing everyone has no objections. "That will give you and your people roughly a month plus to work out the plans for our future."

"Alright, that will be all for today's meeting," Blake stood up. "Good work everyone and let's work towards our future here. Dismissed!"


Ruins of Sin City

"Are you sure there is something useful here?" Taris asked the short eared stranger which he called himself as Long.

Leung nodded and bit into a greasy hunk of meat of some plains creature. He led a couple of wagons and its escorts of his newly made friend away from the ruined city. "We are nearly there, just over that small rise."

Taris frowned and wondered should he really trust this unknown person. He had never seen anyone with ears like his and wondered if it was clipped away from young or was he born that way.

He looked back towards the city ruins, seeing the clusters of tents scattered around the city edge before turning back to try to spot anything usual at the spot that Long had pointed out. He had only brought along a hundred men and a couple of wagons to check out if what this Long had told him was true.

In exchange for food, water, and protection, that stranger promised to lead them to a hidden underground supply store.

Faced without much a choice since the city was totally devastered and barely has of the food they needed, he decided to trust this weird stranger's words and agreed to his terms.

Now after riding over two hours over an endless plain with no end in sight, he started to doubt the words of this stranger.

"Here!" The short ear with his strange accent suddenly yelled out from the wagon. He hopped out and ran towards a slight depression of the land.

Taris stood up on his wagon and surveyed his surroundings before he frowned. There was barely anything here and the ground was covered with swaying knee length grass. His veteran men had automatically taken up a defensive stance and without being told, they spread out and faced away from the wagon on alert of an ambush.

"There's nothing but grass here!" Taris yelled at the stranger who had ran to the middle of the depression.

"Dig here!" The short ear man yelled as he gestured to the ground at his feet. "The supplies are buried underneath."

"You sure, Sir?" Taris's escorts asked him as they eyed the strange man warily. "Something doesn't seem right!"

"Trust him for now, but keep your sword loose," Taris replied to his concerned men. "If he does anything dangerous, kill him!"

His men nodded and they took out some digging tools from the wagons before they went over to where the excited short ear was gesturing. An hour later, they hit something hard and the men worked harder, uncovering what appeared to be some sort of underground building with a wide door capable to fit the wagons they brought through with ample space on the side.

The strange short ear went up to the door and fiddled with it before he gestured Taris and his men to help push the door open. They had to dig more of the soil away as the doors swung outwards.

When the door was fully opened, the strange man went in and Taris and his men followed. Using an illumination spell, the interior was light up clearly and they saw the insides were simple and had no other way other and it was roughly the size of a standard storehouse. A huge object covered in heavy cloth and other crates and barrels stacked on the side.

The strange short ear climbed up the covered object and pulled the heavy cloth away, exposing the object, much to the fascination of Taris and his men.

It was almost as tall as their covered wagon and its width was wider while its body was longer. It had two fat wheels in the front where a glass window covered most of the 'head' while the rear it had a flat cover with many smaller wheels inside of it.

Its body was boxy in appearance and upon closer inspection, the whole thing was seemed to be made out of iron!

There was something hooked up and also covered up behind the strange metal wagon like thing. The strange short ear gestured to the side and said, "Those are food and grain seeds that were stored away as emergency supplies."

"There should be enough to last your people over winter," The strange man said as he appeared to fiddle around with the object at the back of the metal object. Finally, he straightened up and with a satisfied smile on his face.

"What is this thing?" Taris asked as he circled around the strange metal object twice. "A kind of sculpture?"

"Haha, no no no!" The strange man grinned. "This is a vehicle, it's like your wagons but without the need for animals to pull it!"

"Really?" Taris turned his attention to the smiling short ear. "It can move without animals? By magic?"

"Haha, yes yes," Leung grinned wider. "Its kinda like magic."

He reached up and opened the door of the driver's cab and climbed in. He opened the glove compartment and took out the engine key kept inside and started the engine, much to the surprise and fright of the men as the vehicle suddenly started vibrating and making noise.

He smiled and quickly pocketed the amulet that was inside the compartment, making sure those people did not see him do it and leaned out of the door.

"Well, I have delivered my end of the bargain. Can I join you at your settlement?"

A note from neo Koh

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