UN, Fortress Singapore

Captain Blake slammed his clenched fist angrily against the table as he glared at his officers' images on the display. "Stealing from other departments? What the fuck are you thinking?"

Colonel Frank stood at attention and kept his eyes staring straight over Blake's head in the video call, "Sir, securing our supply lines were of utmost importance, Sir!"

"Don't give me this shit!" Blake sighed. "Here, I am trying to wipe out corruption among the ranks and you... the Commandant of the whole GODDAMN MARINE CORPS goes off and steal from the Navy!"

"What fucking kind of message are you trying to send down to the rest? Huh?" Blake glared at Frank. "Did you think of the consequences when you pulled this stunt?"

"Yes, Sir!" Frank replied stiffly.

"Then?" Blake scowled. "I am having officers from the SDF court martialed and punished! And my own officers go and do this... and I have to go court martial one of my own who is suppose to set a standard! "

"Sir?" Commander Ford stepped in. "Maybe we should just cover this up..."

"Cover it up?" Blake rubbed his face tiredly. "And play favorites?"

"No Sir," Ford said. "We can say there was a cock up with the supply orders and court martialing a high ranking officer and the Commandant of the Marines might have negative effect on the Marines, the people's confidence in the military and our war efforts!"

"Despite Colonel Frank's young age," Ford looked off screen. "He is well liked by the Marines. Procusicating him might get some backlash from the Marines and especially from the people in the Military Logistic Department since he came up with an idea that ups their rate of survival out there."

"Next, public confidence will drop, since Frank is one of the humans and senior one to boot," Ford pointed out next. "Already the public is unhappy with the SDF's antics and corruption and with the arrests, the public is only just gaining back trust in us. So if we air our dirty laundry out, its gonna be bad..."

"Lastly, Frank is the lynchpin to our current strategies against the Imperials," Ford said. "Removing him from command and placing a new commander in place might cause confusion and a change of our current grand strategy already in place."

Intel Officer Tavor also stepped in and said, "I concur with Commander Ford's advice. If we were to do this publicly, it will be bad for all of us. I will advice we settle this issue after the Imperials are defeated and in a closed door setting."

Blake pondered for a while before he nodded and jabbed a finger at Frank's image, "You! I will deal with you after we settle the Imperials! Master Sergeant Pike will babysit over your actions from now on!"

Next, in a milder tone, Blake said, "I know at the start we all are desperate for any measures to survive in our situation! The ideas and initiatives are good! But there is still a chain of command here! I know we had been slack in our discipline among the senior officers here, but this is not an excuse nor a joke to steal."

"From now on, any new projects or ideas must be approved by either the Committee or personally by myself! I do not want any private pet projects going on behind my back with my approval!" Blake glared at the gathered officers through the display. "Is that clear, gentlemen?"


"Good, now what is our current situation?" Blake asked.

"Sir, Operation Mousetrap has begun," Frank reported. "A and B Battalions had fallen back to a defensive line and are just waiting for the First Imperial Army to take the bait."

"On the middle Front," Frank continued. "Three forts are being constructed by the engineers, these forts will be the distraction lure to the Second and Third Imperial Army in the center."

"As for our right," said Frank. "Commander Tommy has all his bombers redirected to focus on the Imperial fleet that seriously took us by surprise."

"Sir, this intelligence is a fault on my department," Intel Officer Tavor spoke up. "There was no indication of any fleet nor news. This is either the Imperial counterintelligence is better than our intelligence collection, or the Imperials had already planned to sneak their ships in, which they kept it a secret till the fleet has launched."

"And with the slow speed of messaging currently that is out of our area of influence," Tavor shook his head. "This news of an Imperial fleet will probably be picked up by us in another week or so."

"We stepped up patrols around the area and Commander Ford has also kindly dispatched a few more PT boats to operate in the area," Frank gave a nod to Ford. "But it will take a couple of days to arrive by land and another day before the PT boats are operational."

"Why wasn't the area around the floating dock patrolled?" Blake asked.

"Sir, we only have three UAVs left, and those three are already on their last legs," Commander Tommy explained. "And we have a stretch of over 40 000 km2 of land and sea to cover with four dragons, three ailing UAVS, and a dozen Cobras on recon duties..."

"We can only do so much," Commander Tommy said. "We don't have eyes everywhere."

Blake nodded, accepting the limitations of their abilities. "Alright, how about the Navy?"

"We are down to five boats operating in shifts around the Goblin Sea," Commander Ford replied. "Two down for maintenance and four PT boats are en route to Orwell's Point to support the three PT boats there and provide security for the floating service dock."

"Our supposed two corvettes should be up and running weeks ago are still delaying in their slips," Ford did not need to mention who delayed the ships' completion. "But I got assurance from the techs that the two ships will be ready for trials by end of this week and I promised them a bonus if they can do so."

Blake frowned as he tapped a few keys on his keypad and the map of the Goblin Sea appeared on his display. "Five small boats to cover our entire western seaboard?"

Ford gave a shrug, "Well, I am seriously low on manpower and hulls, that was one reason why I hired civilians contractors to crew the Dragon's Roost."

"I am focusing the Goblin Sea Fleet to focus on the straits," Ford continued. "That is a high traffic area, lots of Isles merchant ships coming to Far Harbor. Also lots of pirates activity too."

"Isn't it almost time for the goblins' annual invasion?" Blake asked. "They should be sailing across to raid the coastline by now right?"

"Yes," Ford confirmed. "It's about time for that... I am having my planes running recon up and down the coast area to keep an eye out for them goblin raiders."

Blake tapped his fingers on the edge of his table, "Ford, I know you have been getting the short end of the stick constantly, and despite that, you did your best in ensuring the Navy still does its best in protecting our shores and ships."

"I promise to make it up to you," Blake said. "But for now, I still need you to hold the fort with the limited resources you have."

Ford nodded and gave a salute which the rest followed suit and Blake returned their salute proudly. "Go kick some ass!"


United Nations, Far Harbor, UN Naval Base, Dry Dock 'B'

Loud music could be heard coming from inside of the dry dock where one of Navy's newest corvette sat on keel blocks that lined the underside of the ship. Already the ship was fully painted, the bottom half of the hull was coated with an anti foul red paint while the upper hull was painted with a new four color dazzle camouflage paint of flat black, haze gray, haze white and ocean gray colors.

Sparks rained down from the welding tools of the goblin techies as they welded the insides of the ship's hull while other goblins installed interior paneling to cover the piping and wires. The goblins yelled out in tune with their scratchy voices to the lyrics of 'Right Here, Right Now' by Fatboy Slim.

They bobbed their heads to the tune and worked at a speed that was faster than any elf or human could ever manually achieve, while all the way singing along to the song being played at ear bursting volume.

The Chief Shipwright gave up trying to get the goblins to turn down the volume as he watched the performance of the goblins. He and the others non goblins donned ear protection instead and continued with their own work onboard the ship and ignored the goblins' choice of music as long as they perform well.

"Ritz ere, ritz ow! Ritz ere, ritz ow! Ritz ere, ritz ow! Ritz ere, ritz ow!! ere ere er er er!!!"


First Imperial Army

General Kotor observed the stretch of land that his men had bled to take and frowned. The reports that came back from the men at the front were not to his expectations. Firstly, they had found no bodies of the enemy, nor any supplies or camps that usually follows an army. The only baffling items found in large quantities scattered all over the ground were some sort of tiny brass colored metal containers that had some kind of burnt smell.

Next, his men had taken too many casualties from the night attack. He had hoped to make use of the moonless night to advance as close as possible to surprise the enemy with a dawn attack which his scouts had reported spotting.

But the enemy had set up detection spells of some sort which his men triggered and alerted the enemy and the enemy was ingenious to use some sort of illumination spell together with a floating spell to turn the night into day!

And that cursed light spell nearly doomed his men when the cursed rebels used their demonic thunder magic and wreak havoc among his soldiers from afar. He should really try to capture some of the rebels and force them to spill the secrets of their thunder magic.

From a military point of view, those thunder weapons will be a great asset due to their destructive powers. But he couldn't understand how did those rebels were able to constantly cast such destructive spells constantly.

His healers and mages had examined the bodies of the soldiers killed by those demonic thunder spells and found pieces of lead in their bodies. Some of the mages were theorizing that the rebels were using some sort of slingshot and using some kind of magic to imbue the lead balls with thunder magic.

Another group was guessing that the rebels were using some sort of ballista weapon. Lead balls were loaded onto the basket and magic was cast on the ballista before the lead balls were released with the roar of thunder.

As for the tiny brass color metal containers, the consensus was that it must be some kind of demonic potion used by the rebels to give them near limited mana. The mages and healers all said the burnt smell lingering behind has some hint of sulfur which demons were known to smell of.

General Kotor swept his eyes across the untamed land before him, the long grass plains and clumps of forested land had clear signs of an army passing through. He looked to his right where the tall jagged mountain ridges that looked like daggers stabbed into the heavens while on the far distance on his left, the tiny looking town of Falledge that appeared to have fallen into rebel hands stood.

Why did the rebels retreat when clearly they had magic more potent than his. Were the rebels outnumbered and hence frightened off by his soldiers? Or was there some sort of trap lying in wait before him? These thoughts went through his mind as his mind calculated the next course of action.

Should he focus on the running rebels or head straight for the town and liberate it?

A note from neo Koh

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