05:27 PM Hours, April 6th, 2018 (UNSC – 2536)
Alnus Base

"Ladies and gentlemen, good to have all of you here." Captain Cutter began as he looked at the officers within the command room of the Alnus base HQ.

The captain saw UNSC, Japanese, American, British, French, Russian, Chinese, Korean, and few other nationalities within the room – several of them had to be quickly transported by air to Fantasia to take part in their duty as Task Force Rei's command staff. The UNSC captain could feel some tensions in the room between few of the officers; the Japanese, American, and a few others glancing at the Chinese and Russian officers with suspicion.

Cutter just knew this was going to be difficult reigning in the 21st century national politics from plaguing the task force and future operations. Many national entities would be scrambling to gain a sample of UNSC hardware or weapons, whether insignificant or not, to gain an advantage over others to ensure their supremacy at the expense of the unity of the world. Especially in this period of time in human history which had lasting effects for many years to come until the formation of the UEG. No doubt a number of officers were intent on smuggling data on UNSC technology.

Which was why Serina was heavily observing their guests and keeping an eye on any unauthorised attempts to smuggle out UNSC tech. Along with standing orders to all UNSC personnel to keep a lookout for any spies or suspicious activities. Cutter wasn't too comfortable on spying on their allies, but in order to have humanity united and prepared, they needed them to work together as equals rather than feuding over one another.

Though he still wouldn't be easy with the political, social, and economic situation back on the 21st century Earth. Conspiracy theories from the nutjobs that the UNSC was proof of the UN succeeded in taking over the world as a one-government dictatorship; massive panic and fear over the existence of the Covenant and the possibility of alien life trying to commit genocide on the human species, along with some idiots calling the entire war with the Covenant fake. Times like this made Cutter wish that he should've paid more attention in his history class on 21st century Earth history and the formation of the UEG.

On the bright side, they were making progress in the negotiation of steady release of UNSC technologies to the public, mainly medical and energy technologies. Various medical organisations were delighted to know they were about to receive samples of medical techniques and technology of the 26th century: many more were stupefied of how cancer was now easily treatable to the point that it was nearly unheard of. While groups investing or advocating for renewable energies were highly interested in the hydrogen engine many UNSC vehicles were using, seeing it as superior alternative to oil-based engines, along with other materials. Though that didn't stop several medical companies focusing on profits or several oil tycoons trying to oppose and obstruct any attempts of the proliferation of such tech.

Then there was the proposed joint-construction of advanced space shuttles and further development in space exploration and space mining. But that was another though for later time.

"Welcome to Task Force Rei, a joint-taskforce between the UNSC and the UN in charge of all operation within the world of Fantasia. Whether handling the war between Japan and the Empire, rescuing enslaved citizens from Earth, keeping the peace in the countryside, or investigating the Gate phenomenon itself." Cutter announced to the various officers given the honours of working in the international task force.

"And besides military operations in Fantasia." Cutter continued on. "Task Force Rei will be also handling exploratory missions of the world, providing resources and security for scientific teams. Along with working on shared technological initiatives and distributions."

"Which brings us to our first order of business. The war between Japan and the Sadera Empire, General Hazama will explain the plan regarding the war's end." Captain Cutter motioned the senior Japanese general to get off his seat and approach the holographic table to present the plan to everybody else.

"With the town of Italica under our control, we control the empire's most vital agricultural land and key trade route which will affect their ability to resist in a long-term manner without facing serious economic and food crisis. Controlling Italica indirectly and earning their gratefulness gives us a PR victory and more aid from locals for further support and intelligence –." Hazma continued on with the plan of action in ending the war decisively along with the possible peace plan they made in motion after talks with Princess Pina Co Lada.

Princess Pina Co Lada stared through the window of the lounge room of Alnus base HQ. Her eyes were greeted with the sight of seemly never-ending tide of troops entering from the gate of various nations; line of troops jogging around the base; and the magical aerial boats of the UNSC dropping in whatever they were bringing from the skies or the stars itself

The UNSC… The princess once thought that the JSDF was the most powerful foe she had ever seen in her life; but after seeing the firepower of the UNSC army and their gargantuan flying fortress of metal descending from the sky as if they were the Gods themselves to enact divine judgement. And witnessing what they were capable in the moving pictures and the magical projections they showed painted a more hopeless picture for her and crushed all hopes of potential victory for the Empire.

For the first time in her life, she truly felt so insignificant and helpless. How can they – a mere pond fish – fight against a realm that controlled over hundreds of worlds and constructed structures and things that only the most powerful mages of Rondel could dream off? Something only the Gods could've achieved with their powers? Furthermore, judging from the similarities between the JSDF soldiers and the armies of the UNSC, the latter seemly of higher quality along with a battle-harden spirit. A grim feeling entered her body as she came to a demoralising conclusion that Japan was some sort of a vassal state to the UNSC, yet different as the country seems to have lot of freedom in doing what they want, and the UNSC being the empire that was answering the smaller kingdom's call for aid along with many others judging by the different flags and countless soldiers different from the men in green.

All of this slammed into her face that peace was simply the only viable option the Empire had at this point if it needed to survive. Continuing this hopeless war was stupidity at its highest against a foe they couldn't even give a small cut.

"Your highness, is something wrong?" Pina turned to head to face Bozes Co Palesti sitting beside her.

Hamilton Uno Ror added in her concern to the princess and friend "You have been looking outside of window ever since we entered the room, princess."

"Nothing is wrong." Pina tried dismissing their concern for her. But she knew that her long-time friends and companions could see right through her facade so there was no point in hiding it.

Letting out a sigh she began. "This entire affair has been overwhelming for me. I was expecting a force that our Empire would have difficulty fighting but ultimately able to triumph over in victory…

So far all I have encountered is a force that sees us as mere insects compared to the titans they are. How else can our people fight against an army that has a massive flying fortress city at their control!?"

Bozes and Hamilton could never forget the sight of the UNSC Spirit of Fire descending upon Alnus hill. The sight of the titanic flying city of metal that had made everything the Empire achieved seem like a worthless pebble. Every night they slept or walking in the day, their mind was occupied by a nightmare where the flying metal fortress was over the capital city: where thousands of soldiers marched out of the ship to conquer the city or utterly destroyed it by whatever powerful magic the flying fortress had.

There was no simple choice other than to suing for peace to the invaders… That is if they were kind enough to accept it. Everybody knew the Empire ignored most attempts from enemies – who didn't submit to them as vassals – so they could conquer, enslave, and slaughter them.

"Though I can say one thing would make things easier is father and the Senate seeing the flying fortress itself. I'd hardly think even several of the hawk senators or generals would be foolish enough to continue the war." Pina mused. "Though I can see Zorzal and others trying to continue the war."

"Even if they managed to get the Empire to continue the war. I doubt they will able to even muster handful of men to fight against them with the army too demoralised. That is if they don't get wiped out before they can even start fighting or a knife suspiciously found buried on their back." Bozes commented.

"That is if the UNSC or its vassals decide to change their mind and wipe us all out or enslave us." Hamilton pointed out, assuming they would act similar to the empire.

"Thank you for reminding me that." Pina exasperated at the possible fate they might end up in. "For now, let's plan how we could negotiate with the UNSC and Japan, and how to prevent the Empire from being reduced to fire and rubble.

"Princess, as long as the Rose-Order of Knights stand. Our blades and shields are yours to command till our last breath." Bozes declared.

"Do not worry Pina. Whatever decision you make, we'll understand that it's for the good of the empire and the people. We'll stand by you every step of the way." Hamilton proclaimed.

"Thank you, you two." Pina gave a sincere smile to her long-time friends.

"Galdys, good to see you here." Vaughan shook hands with his nominal second-in-command of Boomerang Company and 6th Battalion, Captain Saili Galdys.

"Like wise, major." The middle-aged ODST captain shook hands with Vaughan.

"Just call me Vaughan for now here, Galdys." Vaughan reminded him as he moved to the next topic. "So how was 6th Battalion doing in my absence?"

"Oh, the usual Vaughan, we hell-jumpers are in our natural habitat when we're stuck on the ship." Galdys started off. "They were itching to set foot upon the planet and see action. Experience what their major was doing down there while they were up stuck at the Spirit of Fire."

"Well sorry to disappoint them but we're largely doing escort duty for some VIPs and Professor Anders: escorting wherever they need to go and making sure they stay safe from harm." Vaughan said. "Though knowing this world so far, I'm sure the boys and girls will get plenty of action with whatever fantasy crap thrown at us."

"Escort duty huh, well that's a Christmas present if I ever heard one." The Captain sarcastically commented in joy. "Speaking of which, I heard about your rocket launcher you had was able to conjure lighting out of nowhere; rumours are someone's did hocus-pocus magic to juice up that M41."

"Last I heard they're still figuring out the basic science behind it but thanks to our resident sorceress Irisia, we're make some headways into it. But that wouldn't be a major issue anymore once we embark on our next mission and complete our objectives." Vaughan replied.

"Looking forward to that, Vaughan. Can't wait for all of us to have some hocus pocus shooting guns." Galdys said. "Also, Irisia huh, didn't knew you were first name basis with her major. Is she single?" He teased his friend and senior officer.

Vaughan ignored the teasing. "Anyway, did you have the chance meet up with the folks from the JSDF, or US?"

"Yes sir, I did meet up with the Provincial forces. They look good enough to fight alongside us, not surprising considering the UNSC is partially descended from them. Although in comparison, the Japanese forces seems rather lacking to me personally." The captain answered back. "Most of them wouldn't be out of place within the CMA when it got its budget gutted."

Vaughan couldn't find himself disagreeing with the latter statement even if he noted his second-in-command calling their allies "provincials" – the statement could become problematic. As vast majority of the JSDF force's experience despite their training seems to be limited to humanitarian work and shooting up barbarians wielding blades and bows. Nonetheless, as long as they weren't fighting Covenant forces anytime soon, they'd do a relatively competent job at Fantasia.

"Well for now they're all we have to work with. But off course I wouldn't mind throwing them to experience some of our training or working in the simulations." The ODST major responded back.

"Works for me I guess."

"Hello Vaughan, it's good to see you again." A familiar voice called out as both ODST officers saw Irisa approach the two.

"So that's our local sorceress." Galdys muttered. "Huh, guess you're the lucky man major."

"Irisa, what brings you here?" Vaughan questioned the sorceress who was more or less their primary guide concerning Fantasia and magic-related matters.

"Seeing as that your people want a visit to Rondel soon, Vaughan. I've managed to convince some old associates here to volunteer themselves as guides when we enter the city. I've already told your Captain Cutter and Sage Anders about the two who are volunteering, so expect to see them around here tomorrow before we leave." She informed the Major.

So Irisia was informed of the initiative by the UNSC to recruit native guides to help their forces navigate through the fantastical world and its mysterious wonders. The idea of attaching native guides to several UNSC and UN units was proposed by Vaughan and few other officers to help their forces get a better layout of the world they're fighting in.

As the battle with the Manticore and Irisia's abilities caused many to wonder what kind of strange phenomena they would encounter that may not be easily dispatched with bullets or explosives. Then there was the other rough idea of creating an auxiliary force to help reduce workload on their limited manpower, mainly for patrol and guard duty, but that was only a concept idea for now.

"Oh, and one last thing, me and the Captain came to a special agreement concerning a certain issue that came up as Alnus Hill is likely going to be my new home for quite a long time. And considering the distance from my old dwelling, travelling back and forth is going to be a problem even with your Pelican's speed. So, one of your air vessels is transporting something important to me right here."

"What are you talking about?

"Let's just say my pet is going to live nearby for a long time."

"Hey, is that a dinosaur underneath that Albatross!?" A random UNSC marine exclaimed pointing to the sky outside of Alnus base.