The Isles, First City of the Fleet, City Guard Barracks

The parade square was lined up neatly with hundreds of Isles Guardsmen, each wearing a light blue armband over their left biceps. A raised platform was setup in front of the waiting soldiers and not long, a Un An soldier wearing a mottled uniform climbed up the steps of the platform and addressed the crowd.

"Good morning, gentlemen!" Mills greeted the Isles' Guardsmen. "I am Captain Mills of the UN Marine Corps."

"All of you have gathered here because you chose to remain in service," Mills's voice came over the loudhailer in his hands. "Now, I shall brief you what will be next."

"First, most of you will be sent off to Port Sanctuary to begin eleven weeks of military training!" Mills said and the Guardsmen started mumbling among themselves. "Quiet! You will have a chance to ask questions later!"

"Once you completed your basic military training, you will be posted to different units, depending on your aptitude!" Mills continued. "You will be posted either to the Air Force, Army or Navy, where you will undergo further training to familiarized yourself with your unit and new duties!"

"Now before any answering any questions!" Mills glanced at the confused looks on the soldiers before him. "Look at the pamphlet that was issued out earlier!"

"In case those who cannot read," Mills said as he opened a printed pamphlet. "On page three, there is a section for the most commonly asked questions and their answers!"

"Question One!" Mills started reading from the pamphlet. "I am a seasoned veteran of dozens of battles and campaigned in several wars! Why do I need to go to Basic Military Training?"

"Answer!" Mills barked at the soldiers who were nodding at the question. "The UN military is a fighting force, unlike anything any other nation has! Weapons, tactics, and strategy are all different from what you all had learnt and know! That is why Basic Military Training is required to learn NEW FIGHTING SKILLS!"

"Question Two!" Mills continued down the list of Q and A on the pamphlet. "I am a noble or hold a high rank. Will I retain my rank?"

"And the answer is... NO!" Mills answered. "All former ranks and nobility titles are NOT recognized in the UN! If you want rank, you need to work for it! Everyone starts from the bottom and everyone has equal chances to be promoted!"

"Question Three!" Mills continued on the Q and A until all the commonly asked questions had been answered. Then he proceeded to answer some of the questions and concerns not addressed on the pamphlet. By the time the guardsmen were dismissed, they had all gained a clearer idea of what their future paths would be like.

A tired Mills retreated back into the barracks which they had taken over while the government was in the middle of been handed over to the UN government. Already there were several cases of reported protests that turned violent all over the city. Marines dispatched from Vengeance and local guardsmen had been busy enforcing law and order throughout the city as news spread of the sudden change of governance.

Many confused Islanders went out to the streets to demand answers, which heralds under the employ of the government stood on stands and proclaimed the changes and answered questions to the people. Many accepted the changes helplessly while the merchants were excited about the new areas of commerce and opportunities.

The ones that were unhappy were either Megan's supporters or traditionalist who did not want changes and those unsavoury characters who took the opportunity to loot and pillage during the period of unease within the Isles. As news spread out to the other regions, similar events occurred and the civic order broke down.

When Mills entered the barracks, he saw harried looking staff as they were swamped with reports and requests for support all over the city. The radio station was wild with calls while other units without radio communications resort to using messengers and carrier wyverns. Mills spotted James leaning over a map of the city that was covered with dozens of colourful markers.

"Hey boss," Mills greeted James. "How's the situation?"

"Bad," James sighed as he gestured to the tokens scattered all over the map. "Robbery, protests, fires, looting, murder... Take your pick..."

Mills shook his head as he took a look at the map. "Damn, I thought they would love us."

"Oh, they love us..." James replied sourly. "The merchants to be exact. But the common people? Most of them just want to have a stable and peaceful life..."

"But here," James pointed to the red markers. "Many are uncertain of their future and they just want some reassurance. But we got some troublemakers within the crowd..."

"Megan's supporters?" Mills asked as he looked at the locations of the markers.

"Maybe, or some Islanders that really do not want to lose their independence..." James replied. "I mixed the local Guardsmen with our boys and have them secured key points of the city. Luckily most of the disturbance takes place in the poorer districts of the city..."

"The market districts were not that affected while the wealthier districts had been locked down to prevent looting," James gestured to an empty area on the map. "I have troops holding the major roads in the city open for movement of goods, especially foodstuff. I dread to think what would happen if the markets had no food to sell to the people..."

"Looks like a cluster fuck," Mills grinned. "Well, I guess many aren't taking the change of government that well..."

"Mostly the poor districts," James answered. "Problem now is the lack of manpower to keep the disturbance from spreading to the other parts of the city... And don't let me start on the other regions of the Isles..."

"The Eastern Islands had just been reclaimed from the Cartel," James added. "And they are too busy rebuilding to think of the change of government."

"But the regions not affected by the Cartel," James gave a helpless shrug. "I pray they do not revolt or something..."

"Nah, they won't," Mills replied. "Once they see the money rolling in, every one of them will line up and offer to be a citizen! Ha!"

"I pray you are right..."


UNS Vengeance, Flight Deck A

Blue Thunder nervously pawed the flight deck as his flight crew double checked his flight harness and riggings. Finally, the check was completed and one by one they climbed up the rigging and buckled in. Blue Thunder turned his head back and spotted Saphia behind him and gave her a reassuring smiled despite his nervousness.

"Dragon Flight to Venny Control, ready to take off," Stamford said over the radio as he looked over to the Flight Deck A's control tower.

"Dragon One and Black Diamond, you are cleared for launch," The control tower replied. "Good winds!"

"Roger!" Stamford leaned back and made a winding up gesture with his hand at Barkly riding solo over Saphia. "Let's go!"

Blue Thunder took a deep breath before he made a running jump off the edge of the flight deck, his wings flapping strongly and rode the wind into the air. Saphia followed shortly behind, feeling uncustomed to the harness and rigging over her body. The two dragons rosed into the air rapidly and turned towards land with a couple of F/A - 1N Sea Vipers as escorts.

"Do you think... she... is there?" Blue Thunder asked in a timid tone as he tried to peer through the skies at the approaching coastline. "Anyone... see her?"

"Heh," Stamford grinned as he watched Blue Thunder turning his head left and right. "I think there is a high chance she is waiting for you at the docks..."

"R- really?" Blue Thunder felt a chill down his spine. "Er... Do... you think she... is happy to see me?"

"Of course!" Stamford smirked as he imagined what Raztraz would do to Blue Thunder when she found out about certain things. "And your kids too!"

"Oh," Blue Thunder let out a sigh of relief. "I think so too!"

"Look, there's the base!" Stamford pointed forward to the dark smudge on the horizon. Blue Thunder aimed straight at it and he flapped his wings harder, putting on speed. Slowly, the details of Hope Naval Station appeared and the city next to the naval base appeared to have grown even larger.

Large swaths of land had been cleared around the city, pushing back the forest. Much of the cleared land had turned into farms and grazing land for livestock. The city's docks had expanded slightly with many cordoned areas that were under construction as the city's fishery industry grew in the short month.

"Finally! We are back!" Blue Thunder let out a bark of excitement. "CHEESE FRIES! Woo!'

As the dragons came down over the landing strip inside the naval base, a frightening aura burst out from one of the hangars. Blue Thunder sensing the aura, immediately froze on the tarmac as his dinner plate sized eyes widened in panic. "O- oh... Oh... no..."

A dragon with dark crimson red scales just a head shorter than Blue Thunder came hissing out of the hangar. She stared daggers at Blue Thunder who had his head ducked down and stormed over, leaving behind prints of fire on the tarmac. The ground crew stared in both dismay and mirth at the damaged runway and also at the clearly frightened Blue Thunder who was trying to find a place to hide.

Stamford and the rest of the crew pulled their quick release buckles and hopped off the back of Blue Thunder as Rastraz came storming over. They gave their prayers to him and quickly ran off laughing, "Good luck, Blue!"

"W- Wait!" Blue Thunder stood there in panic as he watched the rest run away. "Y- you all have no camaraderie!"

The ground crew laughed as they watched Blue Thunder scolded his crew and the emergency services even arrived and they too hang back to watch the show. Blue Thunder gulped as he turned to Rastraz with a big smile on his face and said, "H- Hello! I'm b- back!"

Rastraz growled as she stood before Blue Thunder and said in a very cold tone, "So... you are willing to come home already? DID YOU ENJOY YOURSELF?"

"Eh... yea- I mean no... no... I was busy! Busy with... work!" Blue Thunder stammered with trying not to look guilty. "A- After all, it was a mission..."

"Oh, really?" Rastraz raised an eyebrow in a very people like expression. "And who is that behind you?"

"Behind me?" For a moment Blue Thunder was confused before he remembered about Saphia. "Oh... OH!"

"Ah... She... Ah... Is... From the... Old World..." Blue Thunder's eyes were spinning in panic. "She... erm... I... Ah..."

"Who. Is. She?" Rastraz's eyes narrowed dangerously and everyone watching the drama could feel the temperature rising. The fire emergency guys quickly grabbed their hoses and readied themselves for the explosion.

"I am Princess Saphia, Daughter to the Dragon Matriarch of the Domain of Dragons!" She puffed out her chest as she stood up to Rastraz and pushed a surprised Blue Thunder back. "And WHO ARE YOU?"

"I... I am Rastraz the Red! Pride of the Volcanic Dragons!" Rastraz growled back before she glared at Blue Thunder and hissed. "And this thing... is my brood mate!"

"Br- Brood mate?" Saphia was shocked. She turned her serpentine head around and stared with hurt filled eyes at Blue Thunder. "Y- You didn't tell me!"

"Eh?" Blue Thunder scratched his head in confusion. "What does it got to do with anything?"

Stamford and the rest of the crew facepalmed when they heard Blue Thunder's reply. Rastraz growled as she pushed Saphia aside and addressed Blue Thunder directly, "You better explain everything to me properly or once the eggs hatched... You will never get to see your children!"

"Y- You two... even have eggs together!!!"

A note from neo Koh

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