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Haven, Camp Alpha, Commandant's Office

Frank Lee stood by the windows watching the recruits on their daily morning run on the parade ground. On his uniform shoulder sat two golden globes, signifying his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel.

His youthful face mismatched his rank as he just turned twenty three years old this year, yet the steel in his eyes wasn't a lie as the experience he had gone through was a lot more compared to his peers back on Earth.

"Good Morning, Sir," The door opened and Master Sergeant Pike entered with two mugs of hot tea.

"Mornin' Top," He replied the greeting while still watching the recruits. "This batch looks quite tough."

"Yes, sir," Top nodded as he placed the hot tea down. "Good fighters just needed some more familiarization with our society, and they will be good as gold."

"We can squeeze out another two battalions from this batch of recruits," Top joined Frank at the window and sipped his tea. "And will have enough leftovers to recover our combat losses at the North Front."

"With two more battalions in our pocket, will greatly help us in projecting our force outwards to the region," Frank nodded and took his mug of tea. "Especially sending just a single platoon off as a forward party into the enemy."

"Well, it's a risky gamble, but one that will reap us a lot of long term rewards." Top grumbled. "Damn, I should be part of the team!"

"Can't have you running and doing grunt stuff," Frank replied. "I need you here, too many newbies in the staff and I need you to straighten them out!"

"I know, Sir. But..." Top made a grimace, "I can't even trust those little shits to properly tie their bootlaces!"

"Hahaha!" Franks laughed. "Relax, Top, they will do just fine."

"Shit," Top sighed. "I just can't believe a bunch of kids with raging hormones and guns to be able to behave themselves properly!"

Frank smiled and shook his head at the Top, "Don't worry, Intelligence did send someone along to babysit them."

"Talking about the Intel pukes," Top frowned. "Heard a few complaints coming from the North Front about not informing the ground troops about the ploy to lure the enemy in."

"Yes, I heard it too," Frank's expression turned serious. "Can't say I blame the ground troops since they are the ones taking the brunt of the attack and dying for it. But operation command is under Joseph, and he has the call."

"I am not gonna assign blame here," Frank continued, "For I think he did a great job on breaking the enemy. He and his command staff have done a really great job."

"On a higher level, I know all about the need for operational security and stuff," Top replied, "But the ground troops don't really care about all that! What they care for is why isn't there any support that was promised..."

"And now, there is bad blood between the Marines and Intelligence," Frank finished Top's sentence. "Well, some inter department rivalry is always good. Keeps the troops from being too compliance."

"Well, I hope that it is just some minor shit between the two," Top sighed. "As long as they start to cock block each other during actual ops."

"I will speak with Tavor on this," Frank promised. "Make sure everyone knows who the real enemy is."

"It will be great if you could address the troops when you got the time for it," Top added. "Makes them feel appreciated."

"Noted," Frank nodded before he turned back to the window where the recruits were doing calisthenics. "Two more months for this batch to graduate, I hope no new armies start popping up and gunning for us."

"Well, they will grad just before the wedding," Top said. "So what are you planning for the Captain and the Princess?"

"Hmmm," Frank rubbed his chin before answering. "Well, I did have a talk with Tavor the other day..."

"And?" Top's eye narrowed. "On?"

"Was thinking of annexing away the town of Falledge with the newly graduated boots," Frank winked. "Think that will make a great wedding gift?"

-----

Orwell's Point, Airbase

The loud drone of the twin engine helo made all conversation impossible if not for the radio mikes and headsets. Lieutenant Peter, kept an eye on the instrumental panels of the terrible shaking of the first ever helo built in this planet.

The medium lift helo, with a banana shaped hull, the elves do not know what a banana was till pictures of the berry were shown and yes a banana is a berry, not a fruit. The elves shared the same sentiments with the hooman at calling the CH - 1 'Griffin' as The Flying Banana.

Peter wanted to paint his helo bright yellow as a joke but was overruled by Commander Tommy who pointed out that if he wanted his helo shot down, he could ground him right here right now.

So the best he could get his airforce grey helo painted was just a yellow band at the rear half of the helo. Now together with a sister helo at his flank and a cargo full of supplies, he and the newly graduated co pilot took a twelve hour flight, making three stops along the way to refuel and nap before they finally came within sight of Orwell's Point airfield.

The flight characteristics of the Flying Banana were rough, basically, the powerful tandem propeller worked by beating the air into submission and allowing the pig like helo to fly. It won't win any beauty pageants and it wasn't fast, compared to the Mariners but its top speed was higher compared to the Cobras which weigh only a fraction of the helo, nor was it very maneuver.

Its only positive points were that it could carry a lot of cargo in its belly. Peter carefully angled the helo towards the square helipads and reduce his altitude before the beast hovered over the asphalt ground and the rubber slime wheels squeaked when they touched down.

Powering down the engines and shutting off all systems, Peter climbed out of the cockpit with his co pilot while the chief crewman dropped the ramps of the Flying Banana down and a small army of airforce personnel welcomed them with clapping and cheers.

Feeling smug, Peter waved and bowed to the crowd before one of the ground crew told him to report in to the Wing Commander of the base. He nodded and gave another bow to the applause of the ground crew before he and his co pilot headed over to the terminal building.

"Welcome to Orwell's Point," A stocky medium aged male elf dressed in a dark green flight suit greeted the four pilots with a smile when they entered the office with the sign "Wing Commander" hang on the door. "I am Lieutenant Goldan, and I'm the Wing Commander here."

"Good to meet you all," He gestured for the newly arrived pilots to their seats after shaking their hands, a custom learned from the hoomans. "Now, we are all very thankful for the supplies you carried over and I know everyone is tired after half a day of flight in the cramped cockpit, so I'm going to keep this short and sweet."

"High Command has just sent word that you four and your helos will be stationed here for the unseen future till given further orders," Goldan informed the four pilots. "As of such, you will be assisting the local logistics and also rapid troop deployments should there be a need."

"Now, you all know we had sent off a platoon of Marines and delegates towards one of the main cities of the Empire," Goldan continued briefing the pilots. "You will also help in making supply runs or when the Embassy is secured, one helo will be stationed there to support the men on the ground."

"Questions?" Goldan asked the pilots.

"Wing Com, we will be deploying to the enemy lines without any onboard weapons?" Peter asked. "I don't want to be a sitting duck here..."

"Don't worry about that," Goldan smiled. "We will be doing some modifications to the helos, like extra fuel tanks and machine gun mounts."

"Great!" Peter smiled. "Now where do we bunk in?"

-----

Source Sea, Outskirts of the City of Norshelm

The city loomed out from the mists like an apparition as on the second day on the water, the returning Titanna and her Army finally approached the city's numerous harbors.

A half dozen galleys bearing banners and flags of the Rothschild's house came paddling out to greet her and they formed up protectively around the fleet of barges.

Mills stood next to the gunwale of the barge together with the Claymore One team members who had observed the harbor city in the distance quietly. "So what do you think of all this?"

"This is shit," Hitsu spat over the side of the barge. "We just reached back to Orwell's Point from bringing home all those people and nooo... Not a word of appreciation or thanks!"

"It was just new orders!" Hitsu mimicked the tone of the Intel Officer. "You go do escort! No rest!"

"Alright, you been grumbling about this the whole damn trip!" Young complained. "My ears are dying!"

"Fark! We didn't even get a chance to rest!" Hitsu retorted back. "Every since we came here, its been this mission here and that mission there!"

"Enough," Tyrier suddenly spoke up. "You are soldiers, suck it up!"

"Well, I can relate to this shit," Mills grinned. "Anyway, what can we soldiers do but grumble and complaint?"

"At least do it at a place when no one could hear us!" Tyrier nodded his head towards the group of Imperial Knights who glared at them with fear and hostile looks. "Don't wanna spoil our good image in their minds!"

"Ha!" Mills laughed. "Well, we are surely fucked when we get in that city!"

"Mills!" A strong female voice called out from the barge's castle and Mills turned and saw Titanna dressed up in her armor. "We are reaching the city soon!"

"Yup, I can tell!" Mills gave a quick roll of his eye. "Big... nice... city!"

"Thank you," Titanna didn't get the message Mills was trying to imply, and instead thought he was complimenting the city. "I grew up here since I was a baby!"

"Oh, nice!" Mills looked around and found the rest of the Claymore One members giving space to them and winking at him. "Hey..."

"Enjoy your chat," Tyrier winked. "We gonna check on our gear and on the rest!"

"You... bas..." Mills sighed and turned his attention back to Titanna who gave him a questioning smile. "Ah... nothing..."

"Are you nervous coming back?" Mills asked to break the awkward silence between them. "All your enemies are waiting for you there, right?"

"I do not know," Titanna pouted. "I guess I am more of anticipating their looks now."

"Why is that so?" Mills raised an eyebrow at her words.

"Well, many did not want to succeed," Titanna explained. "Even my brothers see me as unfitting to be the heir of the family and schemed many times to take over the position from me."

"At least, now, I have some means of fighting back," Titanna smiled.

"You do know that I and my men would not take part in any plans to help you defeat or kill your enemies, right?" Mills narrowed his eyes at the wicked smile. "We only can protect you and that is all!"

Titanna nodded, "Of course, if I asked for your help, the people will think I am weak and unfit to be the ruler, but... it is nice to know you are here."

"Ahem..." Mills turned back to look at the city, his face slightly blushing. "Well, I did say you could find me if you need a shoulder..."

"I know..." Titanna sighed softly as she stood shoulder to shoulder with Mills, watching the city as the barge slowly approached the harbor.

"Thank you..."

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Piasecki H-21 'Flying Banana' as reference for the new helo~


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