United Nations, Haven
The market square was packed with shoppers and roadside stores. Everywhere people were buying food or browsing wares at the stalls. Hitsu gave a disgruntled sigh as he carried several paper bags of stuff purchased by Billie who now looked so different from her tomboyish look after she had grown her hair long.
"Look!" Billie excitedly tugged Hitsu's arm as she dragged him towards another stall selling some grilled skewers. She happily sniffed the aromantic grilled meat and pointed to the skewers she wanted. "I want four wyvern, four muffalo, and two cheese potatoes!"
Hitsu shook his head in defeat, wondering how much more can she eat and shop. He found an empty bench and placed all the shopping down on the side and waited for Billie and her friends. He shouldn't have agreed to her request to go out. He thought it will be a date, but it turned out he was asked to be a porter for Billie and her friends.
"Didn't you hear that the ship carrying our Princess was sunk?"
"Yes! That is why we haven't seen the Princess for over two weeks! And even our Lord Blake is missing... No one has seen him for some time!"
"Wow? How did you know?"
"I heard it from a cousin of mine who has a cousin living in the Isles. His cousin's friend has a friend working as a sailor in the Isles' Fleet..."
Hitsu was lounging away when he heard the people behind him talking about Captain Blake and the Princess. He remained in his relaxed pose but he focused on the conversation behind him, wondering how did this news had gotten leaked out.
As a member of the Hundred and First Arcane Tactics and Intervention, he was privy to certain top secret information. One of them was the missing Princess and Captain Blake on medical leave. The Hundred and First had been briefed on the situation and today was actually Hitsu's last day off before he has to report back to camp to prepare for the rescue mission.
"No... I heard that the Princess was kidnapped by others!"
"So is she dead or a prisoner?"
"Are we going to have another war?"
"Hey!" Hitsu jumped as Billie suddenly appeared in his face. She straightened up and frowned at the weird expression on Hitsu's face. "Are you... thinking of something inappropriate?"
"Huh?" Hitsu blinked his eyes in confused and seeing the disgusted looked on Billie and her friends, he tried to explain. "Wait... No! What are you talking about?"
"You must be sneaking looks at girls and thinking lewd things!" Billie backed off from Hitsu, holding up the meat skewers like some kind of talisman. "Pervert!"
"What? No! Wait!"
The Isles, Port Sanctuary, UN Naval Base
Commander Ford looked at the plans and proposal of the goblins' crazy idea of a massive carrier/floating base. He shook his head, "This project will empty our treasury..."
"Not really..." Chief Matt grinned. "True be, I was sceptic at first, but after considering the design, it could work. But we need time."
"But the cost, materials, and man hours needed for this project..." Ford pushed the plans away from him. "Impossible."
"Commander," Chief Matt pushed the plans back in front of Ford. "Listen to my proposal first before deciding, okay?"
"Make it quick," Commander Ford gave in and nodded. "You got ten minutes to convince me."
"First, we don't have to worry about labour," Chief Matt said. "We got a small army of refugees at our border willing to work as long they have enough to eat. We can settle them along the coastal region, have them build up a new shipyard and city."
"It will boost our shipbuilding capabilities in the long run and also create jobs for thousands of people," Chief Matt said. "Next, it will reduce the pressure on Customs and the Police with the reduction of refugees at our borders, especially now that we know the source of those drugs are being carried illegally across our borders by the refugees."
"As for food, with canning factories being set up now," Chief Matt pointed out. "In another two months, we can expect our food supplies to increase by 50% if not double. And we do need workers for those factories too and the new fishing industries."
"And the construction for the floating base," Chief Matt said. "Since we plan to be using labour drawn from the refugees, we can even use women to help construct it. It will built in several stages and parts and assembled together once everything is ready."
"You want to build a ship that is over 600 meters in length with a beam of 440 meters..." Ford shook head his head. "You know that is almost the size of a Zeus class space battle carrier..."
Chief Matt grinned, "Yea... I know. But... hell... we are in a fucked up world with fucking magic! We can even use magic to help solve some construction issues. So why not something the size of fucking battle carrier?"
"Crew size? Support? Power?" Ford asked. "How are we gonna crew and support such a beast?"
"We will make it self sufficient," Chief Matt replied. "Hydroponics and indoor farms for food. We got desalination plants for water. For the crew, we will definitely need to recruit more."
"As for power, I planning on stripping our W.T.S generators and installing them onboard," Chief Matt said. "The boys will come out with a hybrid engine that uses electricity generated by the Wind Tide and Solar generators and the new fuel oil being produced now."
"It will have three hulls, each hull will have its own set of three propulsion screws, which allows us to have redundancy should any engine fails," Chief Matt said. "It will not be fast and probably a bitch to change directions. Hence, I will also install the still functioning compressed air thrusters from the Singapore to aid in manoeuvring, I will convert them into water jet thrusters."
"Due to its trimaran design, it will be faster than monohulls, and with its wider beam, the ship will also be more stable in strong weather," explained Chief Matt. "And it does not require to have any ballast to balance the ship. To prevent sinking from damages, we will have water tight bulkheads should prevent sinking if the hulls fail."
"I am also going to strip out most of the UNS Singapore's capacitors and install them onboard," Chief Matt added. "Also it will have fabricators, mini factories to a dry dock for day to day items, maintenance parts, ammunition production, and small ship repairs."
"How large a crew are we talking about?" Ford asked.
"I am thinking around seven thousand," Chief Matt said. "Not including, the Marines, the aircrew, and the crew of the parasite ships we planned to have onboard."
"Seven thousand?" Ford gasped. "You know that roughly the total number of the entire UN Navy now, including the clerks and administrators!"
"Well... we got time to do recruitment and training while the ship is being constructed..." Chief Matt grinned. "Didn't the Navy budget got increased?"
"Even if the budget for the Navy has gone up, doesn't mean we have to burn it away on some... super project!" Ford grumbled. "This is like putting all your eggs in one basket... If the basket drops..."
Chief Matt gave a shrug. "Well... you did ask for ideas..."
"Oh... Fu-" Ford rolled his eyes. "Nevermind... just... continue..."
"The Marines will have enough space for an entire battalion and all their support weapons and vehicles," Chief Matted grinned. "Which includes the spider tanks."
"It will have enough hangar space for six squadrons of Super Cobras or Vipers, a single squadron of attack helicopters, two squadrons of heavy lifters and four C - 1 Sky Freighters," Chief Matt tapped on the drawings. "At the well deck, it will have enough berth space for either three Goblin class corvettes and ten mosquito boats or four transports."
"For defensive weapons, it will have the usual arrays of 20 mm or 50 caliber point defence turrets," Chief continued. "For offence power, we have the 3" guns as secondaries and the newly developed 8" guns for the main guns."
"And... the goblins proposed that we put the railgun right in the middle of the ship," Chief Matt laughed. "In case we need to kill a god or two."
"Seriously?" Ford shook his head in defeat and asked, "You really think this will work?"
"Either this or we can find some way to acquire a large of those Aetherium," Chief Matt stated. "Going over by air is far less risker than by sea. But the goblins did get one thing right... If it's big enough... nothing else matters..."
The Isles, Port Sanctuary, UN Naval Base, Officer Quarters
Dr. Sharon removed the blood pressure cuff from Blake's arm and shook her head. "You need to stop drinking!"
"How did you still get alcohol when I had cleared every bottle away!" Dr. Sharon scolded Blake who ignored her. "I have given word to everyone to stop providing you with any drink!"
"Your blood pressure is 160 / 110!" Dr. Sharon sighed. "Did you even take your medication?"
"I will like more sleeping pills," Blake mumbled. "Can't sleep."
"No!" Dr. Sharon snapped. "You have been taking too much of those! You need to stop drinking, for god's sake, Captain!"
"If you don't take your blood pressure meds," Dr. Sharon cautioned in a stern tone. "You sooner or later will get a stroke! Even dumping you in the tank will not heal you back!"
Blake nodded in silence, and Dr. Sharon sighed before speaking in a softer tone. "Richard, please! She won't want to see you in this manner!"
"She... won't..." Blake whispered. "She... They are gone... It's more the two weeks... We won't be able to catch up with her anymore..."
"You need to give people time to find a solution to save them!" Dr. Sharon patted Blake's hand. "Ford, Tavor, Matt and everyone else is working their hardest to find a way to get to her and bring her back safely."
"You need to keep yourself together," Dr. Sharon comforted Blake. "I know its hard... but... everyone is counting on you..."
Blake let out a deep tired breath and closed his eyes. "I'm tired... There's constantly always a crisis popping up one after another. We solved one, and another pops up and in doing so, people die."
"She... she was the support that I needed," Blake whispered. "She kept me sane and going. I wanted to build a better world for her, but... It feels like the gods are playing us."
"Or is it karma?" Blake asked. "Many have died under my command and many others have died by my command..."
He opened his eyes and gripped Dr. Sharon's arm. "There are magic and gods in this world, right? Is it because of my karma that she has to bear all my consequences?"
Dr. Sharon shook her head, "No! You can't think of it this way!"
Blake stared deeply into Dr. Sharon's eyes and he slumped back down. "You don't even believe in your own words... This must be my fate..."
"Richard..." Dr. Sharon sighed, looking at the despair in Blake's eyes. "Do not give up. She is still waiting for you!"
"How do we know if she and my child are even alive?" Blake whispered as he stared blindly to the ceiling. "For all, we know they might have perished inside the End Zone..."
Dr. Sharon felt sad for the Captain. She dug into her doctor's bag and removed a syringe of tranqshot and pressed the needle against Blake's arm and released the chemicals into his bloodstream.
She watched Blake's eyelids flutter before closing as he slowly drifted off into a drug induced sleep. She leaned over and whispered into his ear. "Richard, you need to have hope... Just like we all placed our hope on you when we first crashed here."
"Hold on to that hope, and I am sure Sherene is hoping for you save her and your child..."