United Nations, Sawtooth Mountains, Haven Armament Works

A sharp clatter echoed out and was swallowed almost immediately by the massive underground hangar and the mix of other bustling sounds. Irisval Von Aston slumped against the unarmoured leg of a spider tank as she stared at the soldier who came delivering a piece of news to her asked in concern at seeing her state. "Madam? Are you alright?"

Irisval looked down at the message note and crumpled it into a ball in her fist. "I, I am alright... Thank you for delivering the note..."

The soldier gave a salute before he left and Irisval leaned against the side of the spider tank and slid down to the ground. She uncrumpled the note and reread the message inside before she pushed herself up with a determined expression and ran off towards the office area of the underground hangar.

She ran past rows and rows of unassembled spider tanks sittings silently with their internal structure made of smooth stone exposed, waiting to be outfitted with weapons and armour. She ignored the safety supervisor cry of warning as she weaved between the tanks and workers before stomping up the steps leading into the offices was situated on the third level.

"Manager!" She called out at the portly looking hooman seated behind a desk with his back towards a window that overlooked the entire hangar. "I want to take leave!"

"Leave?" The portly hooman, once a junior engineering crew onboard the UNS Singapore, now the weapons plant manager, looked up in surprise at the sudden appearance of his 'one woman production line'. "Why? What happened?"

"Family matters!" Irisval curtly replied. "Yes or no?"

"Of... course!" The hooman bobbed his head hurriedly as he felt the chilly death stare given by Irisval. "But... there's still ten units of the MAW Mark Three still unfinished..."

"I will finish them when I return!" Irisval growled as she left the office in a hurry.

"Wait!" The hooman manager scrambled out from behind his desk as he chased after the Elementalist. "Wait! When are you returning?"

"When I finish my matters!"


United Nations, Haven, Fortress Singapore, XO's Quarters

Ford scrolled through the backlogged reports, pausing at each report that had a title marked with 'Urgent - Immediate Attention Required' and carefully reading them. The UN was flourishing and growing rapidly despite the abrupt ceasing of trade with the Isles.

He broke into a cold smile at the reports of smugglers and free traders that still came flooding into Far Harbour to do trade with the UN. If the Isles, especially that bitch Megan could force the UN into a disadvantage situation with the looming food crisis, she definitely with be very disappointed!

Six canning factories were already up and running, each churning out thousands of cans of seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables daily. Supporting those canning factories were hundreds of farms and a small fleet of fishing boats, which industry has boomed when investors from the Isles were invited in. Even when some of those investors pulled out from the UN, mostly deal with some underhanded methods made by Megan, enough facilities and knowledge remained behind to kickstart the industry into high gear.

Even the food situation with the refugees camping at the borders of the UN was also slightly solved with giving the refugees seeds and tools to clear the land and grow food to make themselves self sustainable.

But reports of finding camps with hundreds of people starved and frozen to death were still plenty and Intelligence reported the same for the other cities and villages in the fractured Empire. And with the spring already here, monsters will start coming out of hibernation, which will increase the dangers out there.

Ford tapped his finger on the table as he read the next Intel report on the Isles before he shook his head in disappointment. Greed and politics caused the most deaths in human history, and even the elves on this planet were the same as humans, thought Ford.

The several images on the report show highlighted warehouses and grain silos, where Intel found them to be stocked to the brim with food, yet the Isle's excuses in their abrupt stop of food trade were due to the lack of supplies.

For a moment, Ford toyed with the idea of sending in special forces to burn down those warehouses and grain silos, just to teach Megan a lesson. But he gave up the idea, knowing if he did that, it will totally destroy what remaining friendship they have between the two nations. And it might even cause the deaths of thousands of innocents in the long run.

Sighing, he closed the reports of the Isles and switched to another report which involved the development of the City of Hope. Numbers on the report was looking good, with positive growth in all sectors in the fledgeling city.

Crime, on the other hand, had a slight constant growth which was worrying to Ford. Other than the Haven, the capital, crime rate generally was higher in the other cities. "We are taking in too many new immigrants..."

But the situation could not be helped, as the UN required large amount of manpower in all sectors, from the food industry to manufacturing, construction, and even the military and local services, thought Ford.

Two thirds of the current population City of Hope was made up of new immigrants while the remaining one third were UN citizens. Despite the majority of the new immigrants were the very young, elderly and female, some undesirable practices were carried over from their previous lives and culture which will become demerit to the future growth of the city.

"I guess education is the only way to go about this," Ford spoke to himself and he noted down to himself to forward this report to City Hall to handle.

Next, he read the report regarding the progress of the space shuttle, which the planners had estimated another week before the space shuttle trials were to go live. Training for the astronauts was also progressing without any hitches.

As for the progress of the supercarrier, already the hulls had been laid out. The modular top deck produced separately was also in the final stages of completion. Once the top deck was completed, it will fit over the hulls and be welded in together with the installation of the ship's systems.

"Three more months before the supercarrier's hull is fully completed," Ford mumbled as he read the report. "Another two months of outfitting and another month of sea trials and debugging before the supercarrier can be declared operational..."

"I hope the Princess will still be safe after all this time..." Ford leaned back on his chair. "She better be safe, or... I don't know what the Captain might do to those who harmed her..."

Thinking about the Captain, Ford was feeling helpless. The Captain has been closed up in his room ever since he returned from Port Sanctuary. Dr. Sharon and some of the other officers had been regularly checking up on the Captain who seemed to be slowly getting over the loss of the Princess.

Ford was not sure if the Captain has accepted that the Princess and their child was gone or that he still held some hold that they were still alive. Either way, the only way to find out was to first build the supercarrier and cross the damn ocean and find their whereabouts.

Still even with a workforce of close to nine thousand people working nonstop in shifts, day and night, every day, it would still take a few months to complete the mammoth project. And the military branches had all finished their recruitment and training, preparing for the voyage to cross the ocean.

The main concern for the supercarrier was how to power it. Solar and wind turbines will help to reduce fuel consumption but they can only be relied upon for so much. The supercarrier's fuel bunkers could only carry so much fuel, and once depleted, they would not have a way to refuel on the other side.

Talks of using nuclear power to power the supercarrier had been raised up but without any source of uranium or even knowledge of nuclear physics, it was an impossible task. Even the UNS Singapore's remaining reactor was not viable due to the lack of Helium 3 fuel, which what scarce remains were being diverted to the space shuttle program.

In the end, the idea was to strip off all but a few of the UNS Singapore's capacitors to be installed on board the supercarrier. This will allow the supercarrier's hybrid drive system to run on electricity powered by wind and solar power and also refined fuel.

Part of the UNS Singapore's flight deck will also be stripped down and the launch catapults installed on board the supercarrier. The supercarrier top decks will be divided into three sections, the outer left and right 'wings' of the supercarrier will serve as the launch and recovered decks while the centre deck where the superstructure and bridge of the ship were located will be solely for helicopters usage.

Ford felt amazed by how creative the minds of the goblins which were bloodthirsty and cruel was. Once they get exposed to an idea or concept, they easily came up with ways to make it work by their own methods which seemed crazy at first and still feels crazy to Ford.

Yet, without the goblins' help, the supercarrier will only be a concept on paper rather than a reality that was being constructed in the drydocks right now. And once the goblins get really enthusiastic about the supercarrier, their speed and workmanship greatly reduced the man hours needed to build it.

Ford shook his head as he closed the file. To think he once thought of the goblins as dangerous creatures that could only contribute nothing except death and suffering. But over time, the efforts by the goblins greatly changed his perception of their race.

He scrolled down the lists of reports and paused at another with an Urgent tag. Opening it, he saw it was a report regarding the Dungeon. He felt that the exploration of the Dungeon needed to be shut down totally drained too many valuable resources and manpower away from other critical areas.

The only viable resources that came out of the Dungeon were the raw materials for gunpowder, monster materials, and medical herbs. The few rare pieces of ore and even edible portions of monsters were not at a level that was productive or even profitable for the Government.

Hence a reason why the exploitation of the Dungeon was outsourced to a private military company. This freed up valuable military resources from the Dungeon that could be used somewhere else. And from what he read on the latest report on the Dungeon, the number of deaths involved in the latest dungeon raid only proved his point.

But yet still, he was curious to the final level of the Dungeon, as he recalled Magister Thorn once said that the dungeon was made by the Gods and powered by a magical core. If clearing the final level of the Dungeon revealed the magical core, could we use it as a power source to power the supercarrier and hence solving all its power needs? Ford pondered as he reread the report again.

A dungeon core has the ability to draw in mana from the natural surroundings and constantly create matter out of nothing. Monsters and creatures that were killed will be automatically spawned out again in a matter of days. With a power like this, Ford thought. Powering a ship the size of a city will be a piece of cake!

But, removing the core will destroy the dungeon, he recalled Magister Thorn's words. And the few resources coming out of the Dungeon will be gone forever. Does giving unlimited power to the supercarrier be worth it over losing the resources that came out of the dungeon? Ford wondered to himself.

"Is it worth it?"

A note from neo Koh

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Should they...?
A - Take the Core and forgo the dungeon resources
B - Final an alternative solution for their power needs 

PS. i ran this poll as a 'choose your own adventure' with my patreon supporters already... They had given their choice and the story has already followed their lead.

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neo Koh


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