Great Ocean Plains

The rumble of a motorcycle scattered the herd of plain hoppers from their grazing as Hitsu crested over the gentle slope. He pushed his goggles up and pulled down his bandana before taking a sip of water and radioed in. "One, this is Two Lead, coast is all clear, over."

"One, roger that, keep your eyes peeled. Out."

Hitsu turned around and looked at the dust trail kicked up by the convoy of trucks and turned to Young. "Why do we always get the shittest job ever?"

Young braced his motorcycle and took out his binos and scanned the area before replying. "Well, we are the best out here. And-"

"And we been to Sin City before, right?" Hitsu finished his sentence. "Damn, I am tired. I am gonna take a month's break once this is over!"

"Yea, as if we can take that long break with all the shit that is happening around us," Young lowered his binos. "Well, hopefully, this will be a simple mission."

"They send us out here to make sure that hooman is truly dead," Hitsu grumbled. "If I was that, I would have run far far away if I wasn't dead. Who would still wait around?"

"True," Young gave a shrug, "But still we need to go check it out."

"Damn," Hitsu sighed. "This sucks!"

"Come on," Young kept his binos and gestured towards the approaching convoy. "We need to link up."

"Yea... yea..." Hitsu rev up his bike and they charged back towards the convoy.

Tyrier sat at the cab next to the Marine driver, checking the route they were taking on the map. Behind him in the truck, were another four more others, each armored up with steel plating on the sides where Eagle Company of the 2nd Battalion, Marines, rode shotgun.

Another two covered jeeps drove ahead and they were surrounded by several outrider scouts on motorcycles.

Each armored up truck had a 50. cal machine gun mounted on the cupola on the back to provide some form of defense against any attacks.

Tyrier folded the map back and turned to Eagle Company's CO and said. "Sir, we should be arriving at Sin City in roughly another six hours."

"Got it, Sergeant," Eagle's CO replied. "Tell your men to stay alert for any trouble!"


Orwell's Point, Marine Stronghold, Command Center

"What do you all think?" Joseph asked as he entered the command center. "Think they will make good on their word?"

"No," Dr. Sharon replied as she leaned over the screen studying the Imperials. "Judging by that guy's micro expressions and mannerisms, there is 80% chance he is lying through his teeth."

"Mirco expressions?" Joseph rubbed his head. "More hooman science?"

"Kind of," Dr. Sharon smiled. "It just the study of a person's behavior. For example, when you just touched your head when I said micro expressions. That tells me that you are confused or unsure what that is."

"I see..." Joseph quickly snatched his hand down from scratching his scalp. "So, from the way they move you can tell?"

"Oh, yes," Dr. Sharon replied. "I did take a course before on it but I may not be an expert but it is easily tellable with them."

"There are seven universal micro expressions, disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise and contempt," Dr. Sharon explained. "Each expression can take like a split second to appear which we can use to tell the person's emotions."

"Ohhh..." Magister Thorn exclaimed. "That sounds interesting! You got to teach me!"

"Look here," Dr. Sharon played back the video of the conference. "See that young Lord's face when you mention Lady Titanna?"

"Yea," Joseph and Magister Thorn leaned in to see the zoom in image.

"See that raised upper lid eye?" Dr. Sharon paused the video and pointed to the face of the young lord of Rothschild. "His nose is wrinkled and cheeks raised. This is disgust."

"He doesn't care about his sister," Dr. Sharon said. "Therefore if anything happens to her, he will be happy instead."

"Now when you are finalizing the deal with that knight captain," Dr. Sharon fast forwarded the video and played the video in slow motion. "See his face when he is signing the contract."

She pointed to the side of his mouth which was raised very slightly before returning back to normal. "That is contempt. Basically, he is sneering at the contract but he acted like he was agreeable."

"He will not honor the contract," Dr. Sharon declared. "I hope you are ready for whatever plots they have planned."

"Oh yes, I do have some nasty surprises for them," Joseph smiled. "Then again, I did not fully expect them to honor their words either."


Kage paced nervously outside the entrance of the Marine command center as she waited for the meeting inside to end. The guards looked at her with amusement as she walked up and down the hall and snapped to attention when the doors opened.

"Sir Joseph!" Kage saw the grizzly looking officer walking out with some others and she quickly bounced over. "There is something important to tell you!"

Joseph nodded to the rest of the officers and he gestured Kage into the command center and led her into a side office. "What is it?"

"I recognized two of the knights with the Imperials!" She quickly blurted out. "I saw them when I gave the contract to them. You can't trust them!"

"Which two?" Joseph asked.

"Those two standing at the wall!" Kage felt a surge of indignation. "They destroyed my city!"

"Those two?" Joseph tried to remember how they looked like. "Wait here."

He went out and took a tablet and returned to the office. He played back the recordings and asked Kaga, "Is it this two?"

"YES!" Kaga nodded hurriedly and her eyes watered as she recalled the nightmare. "They killed my friends and all the elders!"

Joseph frowned as he observed the two knights at the back. One of them worn a full enclosed helm while the other stood with folded arms and had a smirk on his handsome face that was marred with a scar on his cheek.

Both of them remained as they were while the others appeared agitated when they thought the Lady Titanna was trapped inside the screen.

The full helm knight remained still like a statue while the smile on the other knight stayed the same as he leaned lazily against the wall.

Joseph could tell that they were very dangerous and mentally marked them to be the first to die if they tried anything funny.

"Are the measures in place?" He asked Kaga.

Kaga nodded and rubbed the tears forming in her eyes off with her sleeves. "Yes, I worked with Liz and Magister Thorn on it."

"Good, don't cry anymore," Joseph rubbed her head. "We will take revenge for you."


Orwell's Point, Merchant District, Golden Shoe Inn

Judis carefully honed the blade of his sword with a whetstone while the young lord Tidus paced angrily around the guest room.

"You keep that up," Judis lazily commented as he checked for any nicks on his blade. "You will burn a hole in the carpet."

"This is infuriating!" Tidus stopped his paced and spun around. "How dare they! How dare they treat us like this!"

"Calm down!" Judis sheathed his sword after he finished its maintenance. "There is no point getting worked up over nothing!"

"Nothing? Nothing!?" Tidus yelled. "That attitude! He thinks he is some noble? He is just a barbarian!"

"Ten thousand slaves! The gall he has to demand ten thousand slaves just for ransom!" Tidus continued to rant on. "If it is up to my choice, they can have her. I won't even pay a single coin for that bitch!"

"Enough!" Judis snapped. "Your father wants you to learn and to bring your sister back home in one piece!"

Tidus sneered and sat down on the sofa before pouring a goblet of wine and drowning it down in one go. "That bitch is all father cares about!"

"He is even willing to pay ten thousand slaves for her release!" Tidus poured another cup of wine and drank it. "I will destroy these low lives!"

Judis walked over and stopped Tidus from pouring another cup of wine. "That is enough, you will need a clear head later."

"For?" Tidus shook Judis's hand off. "The dinner party is going to be a bore with all these peasants and barbarians who think they can match us!"

"Oh, I can assure you, young master," Judis gave a chilling smile. "It will not be a bore to you!"

"Really?" Tidus leaned back on the sofa and placed his goblet down. "Tell me more about our plans tonight!"


Orwell's Point, Ballroom

A small army of servants had transformed the once ballroom turned storage back to its prime state. Tables with white cloth and fresh flowers decorated the interior while crystal chandeliers hang from the high ceiling.

Mills dressed in his best dress uniform watched the ongoings at the side with Drake who was too in his dress uniform with all the medals polished and shiny.

"Damn, no dance date tonight!" Mills sighed. "Maybe I should ask the good Doctor to be my date?"

"Seriously?" Drake gave a what the hell look at Mills. "Are you that desperate?"

"Hey, she has seen me naked before..." Mills grinned. "And she is quite pretty too, just a little short and nerdy... but height doesn't matter when you in the bed..."

"Dude... No fraternizing with the officers," Drake shook his head. "And spare me the details!"

"Hey, the Cap had dropped those rules!" Mills winked. "Oh well, maybe not the Doc. How about the cat girl? She's pretty cute!"

"And risk the Jap crews' wrath?" Drake questioned. "Good luck!"

"Oh, shit..." Mills rubbed his face dramatically. "How can I forget about those weeaboos!"

"Ask the Lady Titanna!" Drake suggested coyly. "You two make a good match!"

"Hell no!" Mills shrugged. "All she talks about is the... Glory of the family! Glory to this, glory to that!"

"Hey, at least she talks to you!" Drake grinned. "No only girl speaks to you at all!"

"Ouch, that hurts, you son of a bitch!" Mills cursed. "Alright! Enough of me! Where's your date you piece of shit?"

"Don't be jealous," Drake winked. "She's coming."

"That's what she said!" Mills rolled his eyes at Drake's smug expression. "Gees! I can't stand you! I going to check the perimeter and the guys on duty. Remember to use protection!"

Mills laughed and walked off as Drake flipped him the finger. He knocked on a side door and looked up at the hidden camera before a click of the door behind unlocked sounded and he entered.

Two Marines sat behind a steel gate unlocked the gate for him and he walked down the dimly lit corridor and entered the security bunker where several Marines had gathered behind a bank of monitors.

"All good?" He asked the men as he checked each monitor display.

"Yes Sarge," One of the Marines replied. "We have one platoon of Marines on the grounds and another on standby next to the ballroom."

"The secret passages will allow the platoon to enter the ballroom should anything happens," the Marine reported. "Good, keep it up. Seen Lieutenant Silverstar?"

"Yes, Sarge!" The Marine gestured to one of the screens. "He is at the main hallway to the ballroom."

"Alright, I am going to find him," Mills nodded. "Watch our asses, these blue boys must have a plan to save the princess."

He left the security checkpoint and found Lt Silverstar together with other officers at the entrance of the ballroom. "Sir!"

"How's everything?" Lt Silverstar asked. He was decked out in his dress uniform too but did not have as many medals as Mills on his 'fruit salad bar'.

"Everyone is in position and ready to rumble, Sir!" Mills grinned. "You are looking dashing, Sir!"

"Save the compliments, soldier," Lt Silverstar grinned back. "I know I am handsome."

Mills coughed into his hand and winked. "Well, its almost time for the party and the guests are starting to arrive."

"Yes, its almost time for the party to start..."

A note from neo Koh

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