OOC Fourth Era, Northward Advance 2402, 13 01 It has been a month since my deployment to the northern swamps. The settlement here has grown since its founding five years ago, the garrison's demands for personnel fixing my assignment. South on the plains tensions have risen as Imperial movements stir blight amongst the people living independently there. Regardless, the machine grinds on oblivious to their protestation, a new city will be built here and it is my duty to guard it in this vulnerable hour. To that end, I have been given further orders to train a new squad that has recently arrived from the southern cities. Today is their first day, they will be shown the Empire's work here. Tomorrow, I will let the swamp have them. He stalled in the recording, his mind hanging onto that thought's tail for a long moment. With the recent promotion it was now a requirement that a log of each day's scheduled events, unusual situations and the action taken to their conclusion be thoroughly recorded and filed for posterity. Unfortunately, the act was wholly new to him and the words did not come easily. Sighing heavily, the document was closed, saved for now until something more could be added. Instead he stood, eyes adjusting from the glow of a display to that produced by the structures all around, underscored by the lambent luminescence of natural plant life. On pathways that snaked through them, bodies moved continuously, though their density was hardly that seen in one of the cities. Here, there was room enough to run if one wanted, the canopy above a far cry from low ceilings. Taking the path before him he emerged from a small, shaded cubbyhole that was built for such occasions that required a quiet, closed space and took off at a brisk jog. Another perk of guard duty, exercise in a city required the scheduled use of facilities but here he could weave it into his day. The air too was different now that it had been cleared of spores, the memory of recycled air starkly recent as his quarters. Those had been left quickly behind this morning and over the past month he had found himself and others outside as often as possible. Passing through the settlement's center he stopped before the great black monolith that marked those so far lost in its construction, a great many having fallen to the blight in earlier years. The moment passed and so did he, emerging from residents and continuing on out to the garrison's fourth outpost stationed on the outskirts. Through the perimeter a drone's eye monitored his approach, past the barracks and onto the parade ground. Nearing the group of bodies that were his to lead his pace slowed, finally coming to stand before them.