Professor Hamlot was feeling mighty fine at the moment as he had a huge stack of books and materials involving all kinds of exciting topics from basic mathematics to sciences and even a couple of novels involving a strange genre called Sci Fic! Ever since that ill fated excursion with his class of students to some old ruins at the edge of the world, he did not expect to have survived and even come to a strange land filled with a trove of strange knowledge and culture!

He had originally taught History and Ruins Delving in the Arcanum of Steamworks and Magics, a prestigious university within the Royal Capital of the Iron Kingdom. Everywhere, thousands of applicants from all over the known world came to apply for a spot in the university as it had the best teachers and professors in both steamworks and magics.

Hamlot was once an adventurer, achieving a mid rank with the guilds and in his interests in the ancient ruins, he managed to make a name in the Historical Society regarding ruins and their histories after spending over thirty years diving into dungeons and ancient ruins.

After his bones got too old and tired to go exploring ruins, he retired from being an adventurer and instead, he started writing several theses on the history of the known world, which gained him some recognition from several universities and intellects. And it was his penned work that caught the attention of the Arcanum of Steamworks and Magics, which he accepted to be a professor teaching history.

Despite his interest in history, he was a person who has a high sense of curiosity which was why ruins interested him so much. Now, sitting in the library of the School of Magic and Science, in the strange New World of a highly interesting kingdom called the United Nations, he felt he has finally found his true place in this world.

He was shocked when he first woke up in the hands of these United Nationers, seeing the strange medical artefacts around him. Even the alien white environment of the healing ward he was in was so out of place, it took him quite some time before he got used to his surroundings.

What further surprised him more was the neat streets and uniformly similar looking squat architecture of the people who saved him. And thankfully he knew some of the archaic languages spoke by the people, allowing easier communication. His saviours, those in the strange coloured and patterned military styled uniform tended to asked questions mostly in regards to weapons and their airships.

The worst questionings came from the strange short eared in a pitch black uniform. He could not remember how many times he had answered the same questions over and over again and at different hours of the day and night. Thankfully, the scary emotionless looking short eared soldier seemed satisfied after questioning him after an unknown period of time which Hamlot was certain it lasted weeks, before being allowed some small measure of freedom which reunited him with his scared students.

What happened next was a mixture of culture shock and wonder as him and his students were exposed to the technology of the United Nations. At first, they felt their rescuers were backwards in steam power as it was barely seen. Only magic seemed to be a lot more prominent and advanced, judging from the magical iron carriages, lights that glowed brightly at night, and the amazing idea of having hot or cold water magically appear out of a pipe and clean latrines that could be magically flushed without having one to clear them regularly!

And the smooth ride of the iron carriages was unlike the big, clunky looking and noisy carriages back home that required one to lit up the boilers and wait for the steam reached certain pressures before they could be driven. Here, one could just hop into an iron carriage and turn a key and it could start moving immediately!

It was a process which he took many observations and notes whenever he could and he would have dismantled the entire contraption if given the chance, just to see how everything works. Even the smooth edges to the almost perfect flush of iron plates were mindblowing as it all looked like the iron carriage was forged by a master, yet he knew it was not true as there not one but many more other similar looking carriages just as identically made as one another!

Compared to the ugly shapes and unaesthetic looking steam carriages back home, it was heaven and earth! But that was not all, Professor Hamlet only noticed there were a few ironclad ships in the harbour of the place which later he found out it was a naval base, that there were no airships of any kind. The only machines or ships that flew were strange looking sausage shaped objects with long flat wings and tails.

He recognized the propellers on the long wings as a kind of aerial screws, but not the contemporary designs of the known world. He and his students were ushered onboard the strange contraption, and his eyes wandered about, the girl, Clarie, had mumbled something about the lack of space for steam boilers and aetherium tanks, making him feel nervous.

Yet, the strange propellers spun up that could barely be heard within the comfortable rows of forward facing seats. The few local people who joined in and took seats in front seemed uncaring of the fact that in Professor Hamlot and his students' minds that a flying machine needs more than just two wings and a few propellers!

He had to calm his panicking students down while keeping his fears down, and the next time he knew, he felt the machine moving and from the view out of the tiny viewport on the side, he could see the landscape flowing past rapidly. A moment later, he felt a slight feeling of weightless before his weight returned and was pressing against the seat and everything returned to normal.

Joining in the surprised stares of his students at the viewport, he saw the ground falling away and the ocean with ships filling up the view. The fear inside disappeared as shock and amazed overwrote his fear, and his curious mind booted up. In the next few hours of flying in the air, he and his students barraged their guards with hundreds of questions about how could a heavy iron machine flying without aetherium.

Despite the amazement and excitement of learning that flying was not limited to just requiring the need of heated aetherium, they fell asleep in the long journey and was only shaken awake by their amused guards. Excitedly, the children and even Professor Hamlot, crowded around the viewport and saw the land beneath them, a large city that sprawled out in a star shaped design built next to a ridge of cliffs. Many tall blockish towers covered the city, with a massive angular structure that appeared to grow out from the natural sea cliffs overlooking the city, its massive size almost half as large as the entire city.

The machine bearing them landed smoothly on a long black strip and another large magic wagon took them and their guards off. Professor Hamlet realised as he stared out of the crystal clear windows that the large blocks which he saw in the air were actually some kind of residence for people!

He had assumed them to be some kind of fort walls or even decorative sculptures. Seeing them close up, he found that his sense of scale was wrong as the towering blocks were massive, rising up into the skies as tall as the walls of the Iron Kingdom's Royal Capital and filled with people living inside! Even the hundreds of crystal windows on the surfaces of the housing blocks were stunning as they reflected the sun rays, making him wonder how rich these United Nationers were.

The city was bustling with people dressed in all kinds of colours, and the streets filled with more magical carriages and wagons. The magic carriage they were in brought them to an estate like place where they were informed that it was a school of sorts.

Professor Hamlet met the Headmaster, a similarily aged magister who both of them hit off quickly. Picking up the languages of the locals here was not a problem for Hamlet as he knew some of the archaic tongues they used here from his travels and study of ruins. He learnt from the Headmaster that he will be staying here in the dorms as a guest and still be watched by guards.

And it became the greatest time in his life as the books in the library was things that no one has ever thought possible before! Professor Hamlet spent his time reading and was even invited to give several lectures on the history of the Old World as a guest lecturer. And when he had free time, he conversated with the Headmaster on all sorts of topics that kept both chatting late into the night.

But that all changed today when the dreaded black uniformed short eared officer appeared again. He beared a cold smile as he greeted the Headmaster before gesturing Professor Hamlet onboard the black coloured magical carriage, called a car in their own language.

The black coated officer made some light conversation during the trip, asking about how was he adjusting to life here and other minor topics. Finally, the vehicle came before the massive structure that overlooked the city, which Professor Hamlet had learned that it was a fortress of some kind of the short ears.

His curiosity grew as the vehicle they were in drove up the sloping entrance and into a massive opening at the side of the fortress. He wondered what kind of monsters was this massive fortress supposed to defend against as the vehicle entered a huge cavernous area.

Several similar vehicles sat in a row on one side with more even larger vehicles and machines were parked here and there. The black coated officer called Tavor gestured Professor Hamlet to follow him and they entered a tiny room which hummed slightly and on one side of the wall was red runes that he recognized as numbers used by the locals here, changing rapidly.

Looking at the strange glowing numbers, he realised that he must be inside the very depths of the fortress and as the doors of the tiny room opened, he found himself in another place. Here, dozens of soldiers in their strange coloured dots uniform stood guard behind clear crystal screens which made him wondered what were they guarding behind the windows.

The black coated officer gestured again without a word, and they walked down the brightly lit featureless corridor. The walls and floors were panelled with some kind of grey and white material that did not look nor feel like wood, metal. nor carpeted as their footsteps echoed loudly down the corridor.

Passing another pair of guards seated behind a crystal window, the black coated officer paused before some unknown wall markings and touched the side of the wall which lit up, showing several runes which Professor Hamlot looked on curiously. He was startled when a hole opened up in the wall before them with a soft hiss and revealed a room.

He followed the officer in cautiously as he glanced around the doorway which appeared to be integrated seamlessly into the walls. He followed the officer deeper into the room and to pause before a dark crystal window that covered the entire side of the room.

"What is this place?" He asked the black coated officer curiously as he tried to peer through the dark window.

Suddenly, the window cleared and Professor Hamlot could see through the window where another room was. Another brightly lit crystal like room sat in the middle room in the other side and looked suspiciously like a prison cell from the sparse furniture and the only occupant was curled up in a feral position on the bed dressed in an orange suit.

"That... is our real interrogation room," The black coated officer gave a wink to Professor Hamlet who turned pale at the cold laughter that followed after. He shivered and saw the conditions of the brightly lit cell and realised how lucky he and his students were when they were held by these... United Nationers.

A note from neo Koh

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