The City of Hope was the second largest populated city of the UN. The majority of the inhabitants were refugees from the surrounding kingdoms that flooded into the UN for safety. Those same homeless refugees were also the ones that built up an entire city from the ground up and now living in high rise apartments or houses.
The refugees who were mostly farmers was once unskilled and uneducated, had under a forced program of teaching and learning, became literate and skilled in various industries, especially with working with heavy machinery and construction. Hence many heavy industries were zoned out around the city and the industries superseding the factories of Haven.
Almost everything needed by the people of the UN was produced here, or some of its parts. With the mega shipyard that was used to build and assemble the Vengeance, it also became the primary production of naval and merchant ships of the UN, over taking the yards of Far Harbor. These industries furthered increased the popularity boom for the city as more and more new immigrants that were granted citizenship sought to move into the city for its wealth and opportunities.
Captain Blake stood at the airport VIP terminal looking out of the glass walls at the blustering city as he waited for his plane that was taxiing towards the passenger boarding bridge. For a moment, the thought of Sherene's smile upon seeing the flourishing city flashed across his mind and his eyes misted, only quickly to snap out of his thoughts when his aide informed him that the plane was ready for boarding.
He rubbed his eyes and gave the city one last glance before he boarded his flight back to Haven where some matters needed to be addressed before he could set off to find Sherene.
United Nations, Hope Naval Station, UNS Vengeance, Flight Deck A
"Attention!" A drill instructor in navy blues yelled across the flight deck at the squares of newly signed up recruits for the navy academy. Over seven hundred recruits mostly young adults except for one small girl stood at attention that was taught and drilled into them a couple of days ago.
The basic navy training was for the first time, strangely conducted onboard the UNS Vengeance and the recruits were given berths to stay inside the ship, instead of having the training course on the base itself. The new recruits were both excited and in awe of the great ship that they now stood upon while the Instructors were having a headache trying to coordinate the course's curriculum using the shipboard facilities.
Thankfully, most of the crew were granted shore leave nor were many Marines onboard as they mostly dispatched to the Isles. This allowed the Naval Academy's instructors to make use of the Marines' facilities onboard the Vengeance. But the true headache was the small girl who the instructors knew was an actual god. It was like a landmine as no one knew whether would Plee be about to handle the stress of being ordered around, verbally abused, and physical training during the course.
In the end, the captain of the Vengeance and Plee herself had assured the instructors that she was willing to take the course and would not be offended in any way. The captain of the Vengeance, later on, had explained the circumstances of her situation which did not make the instructors any more happier.
The captain had also warned Plee not to use her powers at any cost and she needed to complete the entire course without her powers. Plee without knowing any other options, agreed to the conditions and did her best to blend in with the rest of the recruits. Now, she stood with her feet slightly apart in a crisp uniform and her hair neatly cropped and tucked into a jockey cap with her tiny fists clenched to her sides.
The morning parade continued on as the CO of the Navy Academy made a speech and after it was over, the instructors dismissed the recruits to their lessons for the day. Plee rubbed her growling belly as she still felt hungry despite having a large breakfast of buns, eggs and sausages. She sighed as she followed behind her new friends, her short legs jogging to catch up with them as they went down the hatch to their next class.
"I want some offerings..."
United Nations, Haven, Fortress Singapore
"Attention On Deck!" The Marine guard called out at the door as Captain Blake entered the conference room.
"At ease," Blake waved the gathered officers and civilians back to their seats. "Alright, let's get this meeting started."
"Now, as you all know, my next plan is to send the UNS Vengeance across the End Zone and into the Old World," Blake said. "We all have been planning for this day for a very long time!"
The people inside the room nodded and mumbled their approval. Blake looked around the room and continued. "The Vengeance has docked for a week and is now undergoing refits and some upgrades to its systems. Estimated time for the ship in dock would be three weeks to finish all the repairs and refits."
"So baring any hiccups or incidents," Blake said. "The Vengeance will depart for the Old World."
"Sir, the Icarus still needs more time..." Chief Matt frowned as he replied. "We can't complete ship trials within three weeks."
"Than it will not join the Vengeance," Blake simply replied. "Anything else?"
"Yes, Sir," Chief Matt added. "We came up with a plan for a balloon assisted low orbit satellite communications array for long distance communications between the two continents."
"We planned to use the helium which we had collected from our mines of natural gas and petroleum, to float high altitude balloons up to the stratosphere," Chief Matt said. "After which a small booster rocket will boost the communications satellite into orbit."
"If successful, we can create a network of satellites for communications," Chief Matt said. "And maybe even having cameras for a real time surveillance system to replace our single probe in orbit."
"But, it would need time and resources for tests and trials..." Chief Matt listed out the needs of the project. "It would take months to implement the whole array in orbit."
"Do it," Blake nodded as he gave his approval. "If we can have some comms between the New World and the Vengeance, it would greatly help in many ways."
"Yes, Sir" Chief Matt nodded.
"Next?" Blake looked around.
"Sir, we need more troops in the Isles within the week if the Marines want to make the three week deadline of the Vengeance..." General Frank the Commander of Marines said. "We need Army units to take over my Marines at the Isles before they can be pulled back to man the Vengeance..."
"The unrest in the Isles is growing and we can't pull the Marines out without any replacements," General Frank said as he glanced over to General Joseph. "Three weeks is a very tight schedule to hand over all the duties..."
General Joseph nodded as he said, "My men are boarding the transports as we speak now and some units are already en route over."
"I do not know if it would be enough," General Frank said. "We can hold the capital of the Isles, but overall, the Isles has many, many scattered islands. Islands under the influence of Fleet Master Kose, Dijon and Marshal are generally more orderly compared to the islands of Tediore, Megan and Akron..."
"And with Tediore being the former Merchant Guild's Master... maybe it even more complicated with those Guilds or Houses that still support him..." General Frank let out a deep sigh. "Basically it's a mess there now..."
"The only good news is that we sunk most of Megan's faction's ships and troops..." General Frank said. "Which effectively destroyed their only chance of an uprising."
"You can't rebel if you don't have troops and ships..." General Frank gave a shrug. "And we still need to train the existing Isles Guardsmen into our fighting standards and fold them into our ranks..."
Blake nodded as he considered the time and resources needed before he suggested, "Or I could take Joseph's Army units onboard the Vengeance instead?"
"What?" General Frank had a horrified look on his face. "Let those doggies trample all over the Marine decks? It would be bad for morale..."
General Joseph had a confused look on his face as he glanced at Frank who smiled and explained, "It's a branch thing... Just like we Marines don't shit in your base..."
"Ahh..." General Joseph nodded in understanding. "I think I understand."
"I guess that is not a choice then," Blake shook his head before he continued. "We should still plan on a three week deadline but plan for the worse. In the meantime, expedite the movement of your Army units to the Isles."
"Tavor," Blake turned to the Intel Officer who was seated quietly at one side. "I want your people to work with Commander Ford's staff on best point of entry into the End Zone and a landing spot for the Vengeance on the Old World once we crossed the ocean."
"Also gather all data on what we will encounter or need once we reached the Old World," Blake added. "Work with the Professor on that."
"Yes, Sir," Tavor replied as he noted down his tasks.
"Now, I need to select who will be staying and who will be on these expedition," Blake said to the room. "Commander Ford will be remaining behind and he will be in charge when I am not here!"
Everyone glanced at the Ford who gave a dissatisfied nod. "I understand, Sir."
"He will be fully in charge of running the UN in my absence," Blake gave his order. "And I expect those staying to give him your full support at all times."
"Chief Matt," Blake turned to the Chief Engineer. "You will be staying too."
"What?" Chief Matt was surprised. "If I do not go, who will run the Vengeance's engineering department?"
Blake shook his head. "I need you to work on your communications satellite array and any other projects you have at hand."
"These are more important than being the Vengeance's Chief Engineer!" Blake said. "And besides, the Vengeance's current Chief Engineer is doing well so far..."
"But..." Chief Matt disappointingly protested but was cut off by Blake's shake of his head. "I- I understand, Sir!"
"Tavor, you will stay too," Blake said next. "I need you continue to run Intel and the best place you can it is here..."
"Yes, Sir" Tavor answered without any change in expression as if he had expected the outcome.
Blake turned next to face the three branch commanders of the UN. "General Joseph, General Frank and Commander Tommy, you three will remain behind to command your respective forces."
"Continue on the recruitment, training and the defense of the UN," Blake ordered. "Once a beachhead has been established and we have further means of crossing the End Zone, reinforcements would be greatly appreciated in the future."
"Yes, Sir!" The three commanders replied at the same time.
"Dr. Sharo-" Blake turned to the medical officer who quickly stood up and cut the words Blake was about to say.
"No, I am tagging along and nothing you say will stop me!" Dr. Sharon snapped. "There is no one else more qualified to run the med bay AND, the Gods forbid if anything happens to Sherene... I may be the only one will the medical skills to help her!"
"And I had even learnt some basic healing magic!" Dr. Sharon proudly said. "So, whether you approve or not, I am coming along!"
Blake stared at Dr. Sharon's determined eyes before he sighed and nodded. "Alright, you will be part of the crew."
"Ahem... If I may," Magister Thorn suddenly spoke up, clearing his throat. "I too will like be part of the crew."
"I am will be certain that you will require my expertise in the knowledge of arcane matters," Magister Thorn smiled. "And I am very worried about Lady Sherene."
Blake nodded before he started listing out names of the officers who had volunteered to go but was rejected. When it was over, over half the list of volunteers were rejected as Blake deemed them too vital to the UN to go on a high risk mission.
"Thank you all for volunteering. All of you have received your orders, go do what you need to do... I will see you all again before we depart."