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The New World, Protectorate Camp

Inquisitor General Mathias's expression of shock and fear was concealed under his white featureless mask. He stood underneath the protection of his Protectors' magical barriers as he watched the destruction of his forces. A mighty force that could put a halt to any of the other Seven Great Nations, but now faced with this unknown heretical force which was systemically destroying his forces piece by piece, leaving him greatly alarmed.

He felt that the theory of the previous forces led by Inquisitor Rism was most likely defeated and Rism himself had either retreated or was in hiding. The earthshaking impact of yet another Redemption class air cruiser knocked him out of his thoughts and he quickly turned to face his frightened aides and staff.

"Order the fleet to retreat towards the mountains!" He commanded under the echoes of explosions. "All ground forces are to scatter and head towards the mountains as well!"

He took a last look at the burning fields which could barely even be called a battle, more like a one sided pounding of his forces and ordered. "Send back a squadron of our fastest airships! They must report to the Grand Jury about these heretics' powers!"

-----

The New World, United Nations, Haven, Fortress Singapore, Captain's Quarters

"We arrested fourteen suspected spies working for information brokers and foreign powers," Intelligence Officer Tavor reported. "Six of them suicided by poison when cornered while the rest were taken into custody and being questioned."

"Which location did they spy on?" Blake asked as he did a perfunctory scan through the documents of the suspects.

"Majority within the dry dock perimeters of Hope Naval Base," Tavor replied. "And under questioning on some of the suspects, we arrested the rest in two locations in Hope city."

"What are your orders in regards to the spies?" Tavor looked up from his tablet and asked. "Do-"

"Handle them using your own discretion," Blake replied without interest. "What's next?"

A small voice spoke up from the side, as Kaga made her report, "Sir... The Mecca Administration is overwhelmed by the floods and with major roads flooded, food and other supplies needed by the Meccan people are stalled."

"The common people are already badly affected by the famine and now without food..." Kaga using the document folder to hide her face as she timidly reported. "There... might be an increase in unrest... especially in the Meccan regions that are cut off by the floods..."

"At this rate... Trying to... mor... 'more dernize' Mecca will be even difficult..." Kaga added. "The Mecca Administration is asking for more help... especially on soldiers and means of transportation..."

"Hmmm..." Blake frowned as he supported a finger against his temple as he turned to the screen and asked. "What's the situation with the Protectorate?"

"Elements of the 1st Army Rifles are still en route," General Joseph's tiny image replied on the screen. "I have already split off a third of the 1st Army to assist the local governance in flood control efforts."

"As for Fort Hensink, with the skies and weather cleared," General Joseph continued. "Their artillery and aircraft have been successfully in hammering the Protectorate forces that took up a defensive position north of the fort."

"The Protectorate forces appeared to be scattering their forces and are in force retreat," General Joseph said. "We suspect that they had suffered close to forty per cent casualties under our guns."

"My carrier air wings are being deployed in support of Fort Hensink," Commander Ford's image on the screen added in. "And the UNS Vengeance's guns will be within range in two hours."

Blake nodded before he decided, "General Joseph, send more troops from the 1st Army to support the local government and deploy more air transports to help transport food and supplies to the more heavily affected areas."

"As for the Protectorate," Blake said in a tired voice. "You guys know the drills, do what you all do best. Dismissed!"

"Yes, Sir!" One by one the images on the communication screen flickered away as the meeting came to an end. Lieutenant Tavor gave a salute before he left the cabin with Kaga whose height barely reached his chest followed closely behind, leaving Blake alone in his quarters.

Once the hatch slide closed with a soft hiss, Blake pushed back with a tired sigh on his chair. He rubbed his eyebrows as he felt frustrated at the seemingly slow pace of everything in this world. The flicker of hope of knowing that Sherene and his child might still be alive in this world burned in his heart but yet he, as the leader of a fast growing nation of both technology and magic, was helpless in crossing an ocean that on Earth or any colonized planets, was as easy as boarding a shuttle and done in a matter of minutes.

He wanted so desperately to cross the ocean and find for any news of Sherene's whereabouts but yet, he was not only restraint by the technology limits of this world but also, problems and events that appeared to be working against his plans. Despite the lack of interested in anything other than finding Sherene, a small part of him still called for him to be responsible for his duties and he knew that Sherene wouldn't want it any other way, forcing him to attend to these troublesome matters.

A sharp piercing pain stabbed into his head as a migraine threatened to split his head open. He opened his drawer with shaking hands and took out a pouch of glittering powder and took a pinch of the stuff out of the almost empty pouch.

Instantly after taking the drug, the pain magically vanished and his mood lightened, removing the brooding thoughts and worries away, making him feel optimistic and happy again.

-----

UNS Vengeance, Carrier Hull A, Hangar Deck 2A

It stood on tiptoes as It stared out of a clear wall from inside a small chamber of sorts, staring with curiosity at the ongoing chaos outside. It had tapped hard against the strange clear walls when It first saw them and even bounced with delight at the soft benches and seats that looked different yet familiar at the same time.

The strange tall being had brought It here and said something to It and another being before he left with an expression of having his lips turned upwards. It guessed that expression might be of something of assurance and It practised the expression against Its reflection on the strange see through walls.

Out of the clear walls, It saw dozens of other beings of various sizes and races. All of them were moving with urgency and strange massive stubby objects with long flat surfaces were moved onto certain platforms which later rosed up into an opening that clearly showed the outside world.

Excited and curious, It wanted to go on one of the platforms and leave this place to see the outside world, but one of the beings inside the chamber with It stopped It from going out. It decided to wait instead until the being was occupied before It made Its escape.

As It was planning Its escape, It suddenly felt a masculine strand of divine faith gathering around It. The tiny strand of divine faith was easily absorbed by It and to Its surprise, It sensed more and more divine power gathering around It until motes of light were gently circling around It.

It did not notice the cry of shock coming from the beings around It as It happily absorbed each strand of faith and started to refine the faith into divine power. It ignored the chaos It caused with Its flashy appearance as It wholeheartedly went into a deep trance to refine the sudden surge of divine faith that appeared.

-----

UNS Vengeance, Carrier Hull A, Security Station 14A

Three Beast of the Stonepicker Clan was a United Nations Marine Private and was bestowed with a proud new name from Basic. Now he was known as Marine Private Cockeye and stationed onboard the UNS Vengeance which was like a vessel he has never known nor seen before in his whole Oerkin life until recently.

Life has been good for him and the other Oerkin Marines. Food was good and plentiful, there were soft bedding and shelter, no more cold nights under the stars and no more constant wandering in the Ocean Plains ever since he joined up with the Marines.

Even with the tough training, he enjoyed most of his time and even getting paid to kill things with great weapons called guns! Now, he was exchanging some banter with the others in his section as they sat around inside a cabin on standby.

Suddenly, a siren mounted inside the cabin went off which a shriek that momentarily sent a shiver of fear down his spine as his body reflexly recalled some unpleasant memories of training with the siren and the wail jolted him and the others up from their seats. The siren wailed loudly, "Priority One! Priority One!"

A Sergeant rushed in and yelled, "We got a person using some unknown magic at Hangar 2A! Grab your gear now!"

Private Cockeye and the rest had already started pulling their vest on and donning helmets and weapons when the siren wailed. With more information now, once they were ready, they rushed out towards the reported location. Their role as a Quick Reaction Force was to respond immediately to any security incident that might cause damage or harm to the ship and its crew.

In a short five minutes, Private Cockeye and the rest of the QRF reached Hangar 2A and a crew office on one corner of the hangar was glowing brightly. Thankfully the majority of the aircraft inside the Hangar had already been launched or was sitting on the flight deck. Dozens of the hangar crew were watching in confusion and a few officers and NCOs had even broken out the arms locker and were armed, staring tensely at the strange scene before them.

Private Cockeye was not very religious before, despite his clan prays to the sky gods for fair weather. But ever since he joined the Marines, he had found a new calling in his life and even a new belief. As they advanced forward into the office unit, Private Cockeye unconsciously whispered under his breath a small prayer to his new faith.

"May Firepower protect us!"

-----

"Is this ship cursed?" Commander Ford sighed as he followed behind several escorts and aides down the long maze like decks.

"I pray not, Sir!" Captain Nimo replied beside him without any humour. "I am mightily fond of this ship!"

Both senior officers entered the hangar and found a security cordon had been formed around the anomaly. The hangar crew had been hard at work clearing away any hazardous materials and munitions and even the remaining few aircraft had been moved up to the flight deck.

"What is going on?" Commander Ford asked the only person who knew the most about magic onboard the ship.

"I have no idea." Magister Thorn had a deep frown on his face as he answered. "There's a person inside that strange orb of lights... A child in fact, if my eyes did not fail me..."

"If you do not know..." Captain Nimo's expression was dark. "How else can tell us what kind of magic is happening on board my ship?"

"This phenomenon is the first time I am seeing..." Magister Thorn did not take offence at Captain Nimo's impatient tone. "I will need some time to investigate..."

"Do we know who is inside?" Commander Ford asked as he took a close look at the strange scene. He felt like he was in some kind of VR mystery game or interactive movie. "Any eye witness?"

"Sir!" A crew member was ushered over by some aide. The crew member saluted and stood at attention before the crowd of senior officers. "Petty Officer First Class Ryens reporting, Sir!"

"You saw what happened?" Captain Nimo asked as he gestured to the ball of floating lights.

"Yes, Sir!" The sailor replied. "Flight Lieutenant Foy of Skull Squadron brought a child over. A small girl. He said he found the girl lost and told me to watch over her and find out which department's civilian specialist is she. Sir!"

Commander Ford, Captain Nimo and Magister Thorn looked at each other with confused blank looks as they did not recall the ship's crew ever having a child as a civilian specialist onboard.

"A small girl?"

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