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Outskirts of Norshelm, UN Forward Command

Marine Captain James stood on the top of an earthen berm built around the sprawling camp of the Battalion, his eyes glued to the pair of binoculars as he scanned the city in the distance. The camp consisted of several tents now turned into a proper base, with ammunition bunkers and even an earthen and sandbagged berms as perimeter defenses.

Magister Thorn had spent the next half of the day working his magic, creating a ward of protection over the camp and with the help of Liz and other magic capable Marines, they etched protective spells onto the helmets of the Marines.

The camp was barely even a day old and already scores of fugitives that managed to escape from the city and its surrounding villages had approached his camp asking for refuge. Even the nearby fishing villages and farms had some of its original inhabitants returning and they even boldly came up to the gates to offer a trade.

It felt surreal, thought James as he watched a party of fishermen and their wives trying to sell their catch at the gates to the Marines guards who were trying to be polite and rejected their offers and turning them away. He turned to his aide and asked, "What is the situation with Apache and Bronco Company?"

"They encountered serious resistance before they reached the fourth avenue," His aide reported. "After which the crazies seemed to be just staying out of sight of their advance."

James frowned as he looked at the tablet which showed the lines of advance of both A and B companies. "Don't let them push too forward, they might get cut off from the gate if the crazies surround them."

He was given a high priority mission by High Command, rescue all UN members, destroy all traces of their technology if possible, and save Titanna Rothschild if she is still alive. And a direct order given by him from Captain Blake was to destroy all cult members if it meant burning the city down.

"The river convoy down to the Nobles' private docks had encountered more crazies and they are clearing them as of half an hour ago," The aide continued. "Their next report in while be in half an hour. Also, we have roughly a twenty minute communication lag with the River Recon Force."

James nodded, "Update me of any changes and push the refugees back another kilometer. I don't want them so near us nor the city when the shit comes."

"Yes, Sir!" The aide replied and disappeared off to carry out his orders.

"Cap," Master Sergeant Pike appeared at James's elbow, "Got the SRMs dug in and sited. Just waiting for the word."

"Thanks, Top," James replied in a respectful manner, after all, he used to be under the Master Sergeant. "Bad business we have here."

"Hell, I still pick this over fighting the damn bugs," Pike replied grumpily. "At least you don't see your men and friends getting torn into bits and eaten before your eyes."

James ceded the point to Pike, "Still killing cives? It's a career ending move..."

"You see any UN Senators out here?" Pike gestured around their surroundings. "Any press? Nope!"

"Fuckers trying to kill us, and they already did to some of our boys!" Pike growled aggressively. "So fuck them! It's just a fucking target rich environment."

James nodded, "Fucking cults... I wonder why the fuck are there so many cults out there. I mean it fucking seemed the whole continent is crawling with them after the damn goblins!"

"Fuck if I know?" Pike took out a rolled up smoke leaf and lit it up, taking a long drag before he blew out a puff of bluish smoke. "Fucking things taste like ass. We are in a fucking alien world... How the fuck do we know how these alien elves fuckers think?"

"Just follow your training," Pike took another drag of the smoke leaf cig and gave a piece of advice. "Who tries to kill us, we just have to kill them first!"

"Hoorah!" James whispered.

"Hoorah!" Pike echoed as he continued puffing blue smoke out.

-----

Norshelm, Underground Palace

Hedone was playing around with the strange weapons brought back by her followers. She peered into the pipe opening that had a strange foreign scent of oil and some sort of burnt medicinal smell. She flipped the strange weapon over and settle her hands over the crossbow like grips and squeezed the trigger but nothing happened.

She wondered if some kind of spell was needed to trigger the weapon or like a crossbow, it needed to be winded back but she did not see any way to wind it. In the end, she gave up and tossed it to the pile of equipment and gear that was stripped from the strange soldiers.

Turning her attention to the half conscious human tied to the pillar, she was about to wake him up when she noticed one of her lead followers frantically threading his way through the sea of bodies.

"My Queen!" Qiem prostrated himself before his Goddess. "There comes a new enemy army!"

He looked up and used one hand to point at the tied up short eared which his Goddess called it as a hooman and said, "More of his unknown faction! They come with thunder and fire, killing many of our converts!"

Hedone gracefully spun her body around before sitting down on her throne in a single smooth motion. She blinked her large almond shaped eyes in mock fear, "Oh dear! My people! We have to make them see reason! If they kill our people, how can we live free of our shackles?"

"Yes! My queen is right!" Qiem cried out fervently. "We must stop them! I shall lead the converts to show them the error of their boring lives!"

"Go, my brave knight!" Hedone dramatically waved her loose sleeves at Qiem who puffed up his chest in bravo. "If they choose not to join us... We could only release their souls to be free!"

Qiem quickly retreated and turned to the sea of converts and called out, "Come! We must show those people how great our Mistress is!"

"The Mistress rewards!!!" The sea of bodies cried out excitedly.

The corner of Hedone's mouth quirked as she looked at her zealous followers, but soon it turned to a small frown. "Who are you and how did you come to this world?" She asked the tied up human.

Seeing the human not responding to her words, she walked over and ran her slim fingers across his face, making the human moan. "Speak!"

-----

Airforce 1st Lieutenant Peter Mitch had a long fever induced dream. He dreamt that he was in the cockpit of a space supremacy fighter, flying escort for the flight of bombers going in for a preemptive strike against a fleet of Swarm Parasite Cruisers and their Parasite Mothership.

He felt he was riding a rollercoaster ride which he had no control over, watching his fighter ripple firing its chain guns, popping scores of point defense acidic spores as the Swarm responded to the attack.

He watched bomber after bomber gets taken down by the dense clouds of acidic spores, which melted the bombers' armor and cockpits, turning the machines into liquid metal and pilots into bloody goo.

The large squid like body of a Parasite Cruiser loomed up before him while he emptied all his guns and missile pods along its flank, watching balls of fire flaring up briefly before extinguishing in the vacuum just as an acidic spore splashed over his cockpit, making him scream.

Suddenly he found himself flying over a sea of blue forest, and squares and squares of tiny figures clashed at the forest edge. He fired off his rockets at an infantry square filled with tiny blue banners and watched bodies get incinerated by rolling balls of flames.

"YA GoT TheM GRET, BoSE PiLoT!" He heard Greg caroling behind his back and he turned back to smile at Greg only see a bloodied eyeless goblin head still wearing an oversized flight helmet grinning back at him. "GReT joB BoSE! EhEHHEHeH! BuT BoZE pILoT neDs tO WakEY WAkeY!!"

"AAHHHH!" Peter moaned and his eyes opened in shock. Instantly, the world swam before his eyes and it took him a moment to get his bearings, only to find himself unable to move his arms and legs.

As his vision cleared, he saw a female elf standing before him that was so stunningly beautiful that he felt his breath leaving him. "Speak!"

He blinked his eyes wildly, trying to clear his head and tried to move his arms. He saw the beautiful elf reached out with a perfect arm and touch his cheeks, making him feel a tingle like electricity running through his skin, making him moan and strangely aroused.

"Who are you and how did you come here?" The elf asked in a soft voice that was pleasant and charming to his ears. "Tell me which faction do you belong to!"

"I... I..." Peter tried to speak, but his throat was too raw and parched from lack of water. He could only hoarsely whisper, "United... N- Nations... OF... Ma- Man... Spac... Co- mand... Fli- ght... Lieutenant... 1st cl- ss... ID... 2... 9... 1... 1... 2... 0... 1... 9... Pet- er... Mitch..."

The beautiful elf's facial expression changed into a confused frown which was also charmingly beautiful to Peter's eyes. "What?!"

"How did you come here?" She demanded in a stern tone, making Peter think she sound pretty cute.

"Cras- hed... here..." Peter replied slowly, pronouncing each word carefully.

"Crashed?" The elf seemed totally confused. "How?"

"From... out... of... space..." Peter replied before he lost consciousness again.

-----

Norshelm, Outer City, 4th Avenue, Apache Company

One minute all was quiet and peaceful, next minute all hell broke loose as scores and scores of crazies townspeople rushed out from alleys, streets, and buildings, charging straight for the startled Marines of Apache Company.

The 1st Marine Battalion consisted of the most veteran Marines, being the first batch to graduate from Camp Alpha and experience in fighting several battles and skirmishes against the Empire, responded instantly.

The Company's Officers roared out fire orders while the steadfast NCOs ensured that the troops held their lines. Gunfire erupted and cut down the rushing horde like cutting grain while machine gun teams targeted the heaviest clusters of crazies and mowed them down with heavy fire.

Further down another two blocks, Bronco Company experienced the same scenario, hordes of crazies attempted to overrun the Marines, but likewise, they held their lines and fought back bravely. As both Marine companies thought they had the upper hand, suddenly spells started raining down onto their positions.

-----

Private Lorner, who used to be the Platoon's fireman ducked his head down just as an eye searing bolt of arcane energy blew up the masonry over his head. "WHAT THE FARK WAS THAT?" He screamed over the gunfire.

"Take cover!" A Sergeant roared out over the dim of gunfire. "Don't stand in the farking open like a farking new guy!"

Those Marines crouching or proning in the open quickly scattered to cover as magic spells started striking their positions. Cries for medic started down the line as Marines started to take damage from the magic attacks.

"Sarge! How come these crazies still know how to use magic?" Lorner asked as he laid his back against a ruined wall of a shophouse. He rosed to a crouch and fired his newly issued M4 battle rifle which looked similar to the M2 carbine, but with a longer barrel, large magazine size and a higher rate of fire.

The entire Marine 1st Battalion was issued the new weapon weeks ago and they had trained in it before word came down and they were sent here. The new equipment was slated to be issued out to the rest of the Marine Corps in batches, with the 1st Battalion receiving the new toys first.

"Fark, Sarge! We are pinned down here! We need fire support!!!"

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