Haven, UNS Singapore, Conference Room

"Moel Rothschild has been confirmed to be killed in action during the battle of the trenches," Fleet Intelligence officer, Tavor reported at the staff meeting. "We managed to have his next of kin identified his remains before they cemented him."

"We had yet to located the high value target which is the commander of the Black Scorpion Legion," Tavor said next. "I have several analytic teams going over the UAV footage of the battlefield to try to attempt to find out his whereabouts."

"The 2nd Battalion suffered a 9% loss and another 40% wounded," Major Frank gave his report next. "Also they expended 70% of their remaining reserves of munitions in that single battle."

"We need to resupply Orwell's Point ASAP," Major Frank added. "If not, they will be down to sticks and stones if they face another large scale engagement."

"We need more logistical support for Orwell's Point!" Major Frank said. "Just two Mariners running resupply by air is not enough for the military needs!"

"That is true," Commander Tommy injected. "At this constant use of the Mariners, we will run them down before long!"

"We laid out new hulls for Mariners at the plants but it will still be a month before they are completed," Commander Tommy gave his estimate. "After that, we need at least a week of flight and endurance tests before they can be declared operational ready."

"How about the ground routes?" Blake asked. "When can the highway be done?"

"The super highway across the Uncharted Forest is only 60 to 70 percent completed," Chief Engineer Matt said. "The construction teams are already at three working shifts to try to complete the highway linking Haven to Orwell's Point but it will still require at least another month before that is fully completed."

"And we have just laid the beginnings of a railway system at our side," Matt continued. "It will take two to three months to be completed provided there is no obstructions during its construction."

Blake frowned before he said, "All these are not our solutions to our current problems."

"And we have a whole exodus of refugees from the city we bombed on the way over to Orwell's Point," Blake looked at everyone around the table. "We need to create a stable supply line to Orwell's Point."

Blake tapped the keypad before him and the display screens in the conference room lit up. "The surveying teams under Dr. Sharon just recently shared these findings with me."

The screen display showed a topographic map of Orwell's Point, with splashes of color in red, yellow, and orange.

"The local surveying team there has discovered several areas of granitic rock which have large deposits of quartz," Blake explained. "The local artisans mine the quartz to make into goblets and other trinkets but the surveying team had a couple of interesting finds."

"First of all, we found a high concentration of lithium among the granite samples," Blake said.

"Lithium!" Matt jumped up happily. "FINALLY!"

"What is 'lit-dem' for? Sherene asked curiously.

"Oh, it's a very useful resource!" Matt grinned widely. "We can use it to mix with oil to create high temperature lubricants which will help a lot with our industrialization and running of engines."

"Not only that, better performance alloys for aircraft can be made too!" Matt explained to the Princess and anyone that was unaware of the uses of lithium. "But most important of all, we can finally make better batteries!"

"Chill down people!" Blake waved for everyone to calm down in the room. "Now, we also have gotten traces of wolframite amongst the quartz samples they recovered!"

'WOLFRAMITE!" Matt was totally overjoyed at the news. "YESH!"

"Huh?" The expression on Sherene's face almost made Blake want to squeeze her cheeks.

"Tungsten!" Matt's eyes were glowing. "With it, we can make high speed cutting tools to super heavy alloys! And not only, but our armor piercing ammunition can also be upgraded!"

"Our current armor piercing ammunition is just made out of full metal jacketed steel alloys," Matt said. "Their performance wise is just barely acceptable with the current armor capabilities of our enemies."

"But with ammunition made with tungsten cores, our firearms abilities to penetrate tougher armor of creatures or monsters will enable our troops to fight with greater efficiency," Matt explained. "This means riflemen with tungsten upgraded AP rounds will be able to defeat heavily armored monsters without the need of RPGs or heavier weaponry!"

"Yes," Blake nodded. "This is why we need to ensure we hold onto Orwell's Point and the need for a secured road linking to our main production facilities here!"

"With the Rothschild's forces destroyed and shattered, there would be a very high chance of infighting among them over who takes over the leadership of that region," Blake said. "And with the eldest daughter and youngest son in our hands, I am sure we could work out some sort of deal with them that will benefit us in the long run."

"Hell, if we support the eldest daughter onto the seat of the regional lord, we might even get her to be our puppet!" Master Sergeant Pike exclaimed. "Given time we might even annex the whole damn region our to our side!"

"If I may add a word on that, Sirs," Tavor suddenly spoke out. "I think we need to reevaluate the potential of the Rothschilds' children in our hands."

"They can either become something that will greatly help our cause or mire us down into constant war with the Empire," Tavor said. "We must be very careful how we treat them from now on and who to support should we want to put a puppet government in the controlling seat of the region."

"I understand," Blake said. "Find out everything you can on the Rothschild's opponents and who else has claims on the region."

"Yes, Sir!" Tavor nodded.

"Ok, back to the topic," Blake turned his attention back to everyone. "How are we gonna solve our logistical problems here?"

"Sir, we could start trials on our medium lift helicopter prototype," Airforce Commander Tommy suggested. "But it does not have the range to go all the way to Orwell's Point. It will need three resupply trips at least."

"The helicopter is ready?" Matt asked in surprise. "I thought you will need a least a month or two before it can run?"

"We have already successfully tested a couple of smaller models," Tommy said. "This particular model uses a tandem rotor system, enabling it to carry heavier loads."

"We had some issues at the start with the transmission of the two rotors but its all been fixed now," Tommy said. "As of now, we have three prototypes of the helicopter at the base, but they do not have any hull platings covering their bodies."

"As we wanted to do test runs, hence we did not bother to fully fit the helicopters with any hull plating," Tommy explained. "But with we can easily cover up the whole body of the helicopters within two to three days."

"What is their performance like?" Blake asked.

"Top speed is clocked at 238 km per hour while cruising speed is around 225 km per hour," Tommy started to upload some files onto the display screen for everyone to see. "Range is roughly 1020 km, while it can carry a load of up to 3 tons or an entire platoon of Marines and their gear."

"That is pretty impressive," Matt replied as he looked at the specs of the helo. "If it works, it could help ease the burden on the Mariners."

"Just that we need to clear the forest for refuel bases and also have stores of fuel for the helos..." Matt pondered. "That would stress our limited amount of logistics that we have..."

"We should be able to wing it somehow," Blake smiled. "Have the daily trucks supplying the workers on site to carry extra fuel for future helos operations."

"Yes, Sir," Matt nodded, "I will have the workers start building fuel dumps and helipads in advance."

"Ok, let's stop for the day," Blake said. "Keep up the good work everyone!"



North Front, Rear Mess Tentage

"Hey Mills!" Blue Thunder greeted the Marine at the bivouac area cheerfully. "How's my man!"

"Hey..." Mills muttered a simple reply as he kept walking.

"Are you alright?" Blue Thunder snaked his serpentine head around and stopped Mill in his tracks. "You not well?"

"Ah... Blue," Mills seemed to notice the dragon for the first time. "What is it?"

"Are you okay?" Blue Thunder asked in a concerned tone, "You don't look so good."

"Oh, I'm fine, just thinking of some things," Mills replied and brushed off Blue Thunder's concerns.

"Hmmm..." Blue Thunder wasn't a dragon that was easily brushed off. He used his head and corralled Mills. "Tell me what's wrong! Maybe I could help!"

"I... Ahh... Alright..." Mills gave up under Blue Thunder's constantly insistence. "It's like this..."

Mills filled Blue Thunder in on the situation with the Rothschild's Princess and how she was so depressed that she barely ate anything since she found out her father has passed away.

Blue Thunder bobbed his head and sighed, "Oh well, war is like that, friends and families die."

"But wait a minute!" Blue Thunder scratched his head with one claw. "She's the enemy! Why are you show concern for the enemy!?"

"See, that's one part of the problem!" Mills sighed. "Despite we are on different sides, it's hard to... hate her, you know?"

"You mean because she's pretty and totally your type?" Blue Thunder gave a sly grin. "And you want to console her?"

"Ye- I mean, no not that way!" Mills quicked corrected himself and rolled his eyes. "I mean, you take away the armor and sword, she's just a girl."

"Hmmm..." Blue Thunder gave a side eye at Mills. "You sure?"

"Yes!" Mills's face turned slightly red as he blushed. "And we are kinda... like friends, you know?"

"Hmmm... this is tough!" Blue Thunder gave a frown before his expression changed to one of delight. "But I know just the thing!"

Blue Thunder thumped his chest proudly and said, "Don't worry, leave it to me! I will lend you a hand in getting the Princess!"

"Wha- wait, what?" Mills looked at the smug expression on Blue Thunder's face. "What are you going to do?"

"Wait here!" Blue Thunder waddled off to an open space before he took off into the skies.

After a short moment, Blue Thunder returned with one of his claws clutching a pile of foliage. "Here!"

"What is this for?" Mills asked as he dusted off clumps of leaves off his uniform. "What the hell?"

"Flowers!" Blue Thunder gave a triumphant smile. "I watched all the dramas and girls like this stuff!"

"You want me to give her flowers?" Mills blinked his eyes rapidly in surprise. "Are you nuts?"

"Well, give her flowers, have dinner than make her happy in bed," Blue Thunder ticked off his claws. "Its works all the time! I have seen it in the shows!"

"Oh, my gods!" Mills rubbed his eyes tiredly. "Blue... stop watching all those dramas! I really need to talk to your handler about your choice of shows!"

"Well, just try!" Blue Thunder urged Mills, "I gave Raz some of her favorite food and she no longer ignores me now!"

"Dragon logic..." Mills sighed. "I can't win it..."

"Alright, alright," Mills sighed again as Blue Thunder pushed him with his snout at the pile of ripped bushes covered with wild blossoms. Mills picked a few nicer looking blossoms and used a piece of a vine to tie it up into a bouquet.

"Good luck!" Blue Thunder thumped his tail excitedly against the ground while Mills rolled his eye again and he headed towards the tent where Titanna was in.

He glared at the two Marines guarding the tent who automatically retreated away while he entered the tent clutching the bouquet of flowers nervously.

"Ahem! Titanna? Hey, are you sleeping?" He asked the figure laying on the safari bed.

"Don't be sad," Mills cleared his throat anxiously. "Here, something for you."

He placed the bouquet of flowers beside Titanna and before he left her alone, he said, "If you need someone to talk to, you can always find me."

"Or if you need a shoulder to cry on, I'm available too!"

A note from neo Koh

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