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UN Northern Front Command

Joseph nodded to him ask he listened to the coming reports from his staff. He eyed the map, where several red wood blocks listed locations where sizeable pockets of the enemy still resisted.

"Sir, the sallying force has engaged the Imperial camp!" One of the staff reported. "They are facing light resistance and will shortly clear the threat!"

"Good! Tell them to secure the area if possible, if not, raze the whole camp down!" Joseph replied.

"Sir, Angel Flight has rearmed and entered the AO, they are requesting further instructions," Another staffer reported from his station.

"Get them to support the ground units, harass any enemy that is being rallied," Joseph said. "Destroy any large gathering of Imperials they can spot."

The command staff hurried off to carry out his orders while Joseph pondered on the Imperial's next move.

"Sir, Operation Firestorm appears to be successful," The Intel Officer suddenly appeared at his elbow. "We estimate roughly 40% of their forces destroyed and the remaining Imperials leadership too fragmented for them to ever rally any threat to us anymore."

Joseph nodded, "Yes, and at a cost to our Marines."

"Sir, the loses among the Marines can be considered minor," The Intel Officer said. "We managed to defeat a force 20 times our size with the loss of a few troops, why not?"

"I understand," Joseph put on a frown as he replied. "But I am wondering if there are other ways to win this battle."

"Sir, we couldn't bomb the enemy from afar due to our low supplies for the artillery after the battle with the Serpent," The Intel Officer reminded Joseph. "Also, we do not want them to learn more of our capabilities, as this will not be the last battle to be fought with the Empire!"

Letting out a deep sigh, Joseph said, "I know, but not informing the ground units of our plan and letting them bear the brunt of the attack does not sit so well with me."

"Sir, this is all about operational safety," The Intel Officer replied. "We can't allow any word of our plans to be leaked out!"

"Yet, the enemy has no means of breaking our communications!" Joseph pointed out.

"Sir, we can't rule out that they will not be able to listen in to our radio chatter," The Intel Officer said. "There might be spies or even magical scrying spells listening in to our plans!"

"Not to mention we need to start the habit of keeping comms secured!" He added. "Sooner or later, this is a practice we need to enforce strictly!"

Joseph nodded tiredly, "I understand, I better go appease the troops once this is over!"

The Intel Officer gave a salute before he dismissed himself, leaving Joseph alone with his thoughts.

-----

Trism Cott shook his head as he exited the command bunker. He looked up at the dark storm clouds gathering in the skies as if Heaven and Earth were trying to wash the blood away from the battlefield.

The sharp cracks of the mortars were constant in the background while echoing explosives rolled over from the far distance battlefield. He donned his peak cap and quickly made his way to the motor pool.

"Back to port," He ordered his driver who started the engine of the jeep and drove him over to the field rig harbor which was clustered with barges and workers unloading supplies to be delivered to the front.

He got onboard one of the returning barges and after half an hour, he returned to Orwell's Point and took another jeep ride back to HQ. Along the way he watched the different expressions given to him by the locals here, some smiling and waving, others dark and gloomy.

He had originally signed up to be a Marine but in his aptitude test and evaluation, He got picked to be in the Intelligence Division. It might be due to his previous life as a street rat in the old capital of Goldrose, where he dealt with the trading of rumors and news on the streets.

Now, he found a greater calling, he found the ploys, backstabs and politics of the street gangs to be childish in the face of an Empire. Now, using his previous skills, he started the seeds of an information network among the street gangs in the city that regular offer useful tidbits of interesting news.

He passed several checkpoints before returning to his office where he disabled both the arcane and physical security alarms systems. After that, he did a sweep of his office for any listening bugs or spells before he picked up the telephone and dialed to his superior to make his daily report.

A series of beeps and tones sounded on the phone before it connected to the other line. "Tavor here."

"Sir, Lieutenant Trism reporting, sir!" He replied stiffly.

"Yes, Lieutenant?"

"Sir, this is today's report on the situation at the North Front," Trism said and gave a full rundown of his report. "I have also sent the full report that is being delivered by the next resupply flight back to Haven."

He had painstakingly typed out and consolidated everything in a document that was then saved inside a tiny nail sized device that amazed him greatly when he first saw it, as it can't be cracked by anyone unless they have those hooman 'corn pu ers'.

"Good, now, what is the situation with... Evelyn?" Tavor asked from the other side.

"Sir, I had two Claymore Two members watching her every move ever since she has stolen the vial of dragon's blood from Magister Thorn's lab," Trism said. "So far, there is no indication of any plans of what she is planning to do with it, but we did notice something strange with her behavior, especially during the night when she is alone in her room."

"What is wrong?"

"She seems to speak to someone or... something." He replied. "So we did a search of her room when she was not around and found a palm sized occult idol hidden inside her bed frame."

"It appears she has stolen one of the cultists' idols when she was supporting a raid on the cultists," Trism reported. "I have stepped up checks on every item taken and ensured everyone that was involved in any raids did not take any mementos from the cultists."

"As for Liz, she checks out clean so far," He added. "For Evelyn, we are still keeping her in the dark that we know what she has done."

"Good, continue to keep tabs on her," Tavor replied. "If she attempts any ritual or dangerous activities, take her out immediately."

"Yes, Sir!" Trism acknowledged the order. "Sir, do we need to inform the Magister and Captain Joseph in regards to these incidents?"

"No, they have enough on their plate," Tavor said. "They handle the external threats while we handle internal threats, it's easier for us that way."

"Yes, Sir!"

-----

Orwell's Point, Docks

The high power engine of the PT boat gave a final cough before it died as the navy grey hull with the bold white painted letters '010' on the bow. The dock workers and military personnel had gathered at the docks ever since the first sighting of the PT boat was reported coming downriver.

Behind the FAC - 10 'Havoc', the FAC - 09 'Daisy' was being towed along towards the dockside. The remaining crew of the Daisy stood proudly onboard the battered hulk of the Daisy as they saluted the light blue UN flag fluttering in the wind.

Rips, tears, burn marks, and even two ballista bolts stuck out of its deck and wheelhouse, covered the battered hull of the Daisy which attested to the fierce battle it had been through ever since it had gone missing a few days ago.

The military personnel on the docks return a salute of respect to the Daisy crew while some of the workers applauded for their return as they heard the rumor of the missing boat and crew.

Soon everyone was cheering away at the docks for the safe return of the Daisy despite it being almost destroyed.

Joseph and his command staff had hurried over from the front lines when the report came in that the two PT boats were docking. He saluted the fatigued yet exultant crew who returned his salute with pride.

Teams of paramedics stood on standby and when the crew disembarked, they were swarmed by the medical personnel who quickly saw to their injuries.

Joseph came up to the skipper of the Daisy and patted shoulder, "Good to have you back, sailor!"

"Sir!" Quartz tried to stand up but Joseph waved him back down.

"See to your wounds first," Joseph replied. "Once you're healed up, report to me. For now, just concentrate on recovering first!"

The skipper of the Daisy nodded before the paramedics carried him off towards the field hospital.

Joseph sighed as he watched the two black body black being carried off the PT boat. The skipper of the Havoc came up to Joseph and report, "Sir, we managed to find them just shortly before noon."

"They had run out of ammunition and were still bravely attempting to breakthrough the enemy blockade," The skipper said. "But they took critical damage at the last part before they could make it through the blockade."

"Luckily we managed to get to them before they scuttled the Daisy," The skipper shook his head at their craziness. "We managed to clear out the enemy blockade and dropped a tow line to them and brought them home."

"Good work," Joseph nodded absentmindedly as he glanced at the battered hulk of the Daisy.

Currently, 32 confirmed Marine Killed In Actions and another 19 Missing In Actions, while another 83 Wounded In Actions. Joseph took a deep breath in as the short afternoon battle had crippled his fighting strength by almost two thirds!

Luckily they had managed to break the morale of the enemy forces and even captured all their supplies. Even now as he stood here, dozens of transport vehicles were moving the supplies back while the barges docked at the temporarily berths at the Source Sea where being torched by his troops.

Even if the enemy has the chance to rally and regroup up, without supplies, they could not last long in the field. Now they are trying to sort out among those who had surrendered, who are the commanders and even see if they could find Moel Rothschild.

At least now, without any leadership, the remaining Imperials were just a rabble, like a wyvern without a head. He just needed his Marines to mop up the remaining threat and the Northen Front could be considered pacified.

Now, he has the young lord and daughter of the Rothschilds to contend to. He wondered how he could leverage them to the interest of the UN now that their army has been totally destroyed.

With the standing army of the Rothschild's destroyed, Joseph was very certain that the news and rumors of unrest within the county would have the Land Barons breaking away from the control of the Rothschild.

Maybe he could 'lend' a helping hand to the surviving members of the Rothschilds under his care? Help them pacify the Land Barons as a helpful neighbor?

Joseph rubbed his chin as thoughts of how to solve the problem of the North ran through his mind. In the end, he gave a long sigh, how he wished he had another battalion or two of Marines and all these problems would be easily solved!

He returned his attention back to the floating hulk being dragged towards the repair berths by the dock workers to be asserted if it could be repaired or if it is to be scrapped.

His original plan was to have the PT boats travel up the river and towards the inland sea, but without sufficient force, it will be hard for the boats to break through the Imperial blockades.

"I should really ask for a couple more of these PT boats from Haven!"

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A note from neo Koh

Advance chapters are available on Pat-reon

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Interesting review given recently about the ease of killing things and winning. I did try to tone down on the easiness of killing things which is actually what most modern armies do by just pressing a red button.

Not to mention there were a lot of ppl asking for nukes and even some readers/reviews saying that the Hoomans appeared to have everything against them.

Well, cant keep everyone happy I guess. But i do hope you guys still enjoy the story! =D


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neo Koh

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