Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chapter I: Genesis

          For the past few weeks, the sky has been progressively dropping in contrast. It seems the sun is getting lazier and doesn’t feel like brightening up the world anymore. But everyone around knows why the sun wouldn’t want to go to work anymore. The world is supposedly doomed.
          There is a conflict taking place soon. But not just any conflict. This one threatens to rip the world apart as we know it. This conflict is said to be so very fierce, that panic and despair has spread to every corner of the planet. Most have given up on the idea of survival from the incoming warfare, and have almost dubiously turned to God for salvation of their soul. This won’t work. Humans all had their chance to be in Heaven’s good graces, and it won’t accept the hypocrite pagans that wait until the last minute to surrender themselves in “faith.”
          But who is to say they are wrong? Who is to say that they don’t have much choice in the matter? The prophecy is undeniably realizing itself. The whole world doesn’t know what to do. Common sense would dictate that everyone leaves. If only this were possible. The space colonies are already full, and transport shuttles have all been confiscated by the Space War Administration Bureau, suspending all traffic to and from Earth.
Most of the world acts as if they don’t care. This isn’t the first time the Earth has been threatened, and it sure wouldn’t be the last. In times past, single beings have threatened to lunge the world into darkness, enslave it, destroy it, etc. So many threats, and so many times. What makes this one different? By this time, people have become so skeptical, that wouldn’t think twice about the end of everything. Simply a ridiculous thought.
          Humans have been hated before, but not to the likes of this. For much of the Earth’s history, the mass population was all human. They ruled the planet as best they could, and brought themselves to new heights. As soon as they opened their doors to other worlds, they opened their doors to worse enemies than themselves, and were slowly overrun. Eventually, they lost their planet to the many, many visitors that came to visit, and stayed. But this conflict that is happening, they say it’s a human conflict. They say that humans are the cause of the strife, and because of this, the planet will fall into an apocalypse that threatens everyone…human or otherwise.
          But even if the humans are responsible, they are virtually powerless to do anything about it. They have no choice but to watch, wait, and hope. The leaders of the planet have done everything they could to try and either postpone, or prevent the prophecy from happening. The thing is, the Earth has been drained of many of its natural, rich resources, leaving little left. It seems that Earth is the one planet that excels in remaking itself and its resources by recycling the dead. So, as a conflict that involves many combatants would make for a great harvest in time, it isn’t the case this time. The combatants of this particular conflict have no nutritional value to Earth’s soil.
          Heaven and Hell…the final battle is at hand. The prophecy has long foretold of the time when Heaven would fall, and Hell would rise to determine the fate of the land of Humans. However, the concept of God and the Devil, Heaven and Hell, is all a religion for humans. What about the majority of creatures that live on Earth that aren’t human? It matters not. They will be caught in the midst of it all as well.
          The prophecy says that Heaven and hell serve the same purpose, but opposite each other. The concept of where one’s soul goes based on your deeds in your physical life is really a matter of storage. Simply, Heaven and Hell is not what everyone assumed it would be. They are not the eternal resting places, nor do they offer suffering, or pleasure for the soul. In reality, they are storage tanks made of either white or black magic for the souls of the living. They are governed by ethereal beings of respective magic, and hold onto the souls, filling them with magic power, until they are needed. Frankly, “Heaven” and “Hell” are nothing more than housing for warriors that will be used for this specific conflict.
          The aspect of this that scares people the most is the inevitable fate that they face. Knowledge of this conflict has been known for the last ten years at least, and it only threatens the Earth inhabitants. By the time the world was aware, you had either one of two decisions, in which you could either: die and let your soul go to Heaven of Hell (in which you would only have to fight in the Holy War), or stay alive afraid of death and run the slim, slim chance of surviving the conflict. Of course, if you survived, you could either be slaves to the demons that may rule, or be saved by the angels. The thing was the demons outnumber the angels almost one hundred to one. This makes the angels’ chance of winning too low to logically consider. 
          It’s a shame to think that is should end like this. In last million years, the Earth has grown four times its normal size. The population has grown, but it is no longer overpopulated. The overall economy of the entire planet is at an all time high. Earth is experiencing its best era yet, and is at the height of its civilization. But this will all fall soon…very soon.
          In a capital building of the largest world powers, a military head is steady in his documents, frantically writing and reading. He is sweating, but not from the work. He is nervous, and it’s obvious to tell. At the end of his desk, is a small glass half full of scotch with the bottle next to it. The man’s green uniform is barely on, with the jacket open, shoes and socks off. Opposite him, at the opposite end of the desk, is another man in a bright red suit. This man is completely relaxed. He leans back in his chair, holds a red drink in his hand, gingerly swirling it. The clothes on him are clean, and crisp. His tie is knotted just right, and the glistening of his watch seems to be one of the only sources of light in the ill-lit room. In an attempt to cut the tension, the calmer man strikes up a conversation.
“You’re starting to make me nervous.”
“You should be.”
“Nervousness does you no good. Whatever is going to happen will happen, wheth-”
“Whether you worry about it or not. I know.”
“If you know, then why whip out the scotch? You barely touched it.”
“Really? You’re welcome to it if you want.”
“You know I don’t do dark liquor.”
“Speaking of liquor, too much of that stuff is real bad for you. I mean, even for you.”
“Heh, keep telling yourself that.”
“Keep telling yourself you’re not worried.”
“I’m not.”
“Just answer me this: what happens when the war makes it to you?”
“I think I can handle myself.”
“I know you’re going to saying to say that, but what if you can’t handle yourself?”
“Then I guess it’s my time. I’m not worried about it.”
“As long as that is in your hand, I’m sure you aren’t.”
“Ataraxia is not won at the end of a glass.”
“Ah, the ol’ ‘Ataraxia’ speech again?”
“If you had it, you would know what I mean.”
“Well those with responsibility will never know that luxury.”
“Don’t be mistaken, it is not always a luxury.”
“By the way you wear it, I couldn’t tell.”
“Ok. Well, tell me. Which responsibility are you fulfilling by being so far in work?”
“I’m trying to save my people.”
“By fighting? You know about seventy-five percent of the board is opposed to this, and told you not to do it.”
“I know.”
“You’ll be tried.”
“I figured.”
“You’ll lose rank.”
“Your hard work will go down the drain.”
“Then why do it?”
“Cause it’s the right thing to do. You used to know what that was all about, didn’t you?”
“I still do. But more than that, I know what smart is all about. This ain’t it.”
“What would you have me do? Hypothetically of course.”
“Take shelter, like everyone else…with everyone else if you want.”
“You know I can’t be with those people for too long. I’ll end up killing myself.”
“Then come with me. You know your chances of survival are better that way, anyway.”
“And if we survive, and there is no one left…what do you suppose I do then?”
“There is always something.”
“Not without my people, no there isn’t.”
“And which ‘people’ do you mean? Surely you’re not doing this just to save the few humans left here.”
“My duty is to the Earthlings under my command, first. Then, comes my race as a human.”
“But you don’t even know who is under your command. You said yourself that the military is all jumbled up. How do you know who will stay, and who won’t?”
“Yammark will stay.”
“And get killed. You know that.”
“So does he.”
“And you still will lead him into conflict against impossible odds?”
Nearly impossible odds.”
“But this makes no sense.”
“Really? Makes plenty of sense to me.”
“How do you figure that?”
“…But I told you already…it’s the right thing to do.”
“You know, I sometimes with I had the faith you do.”
“Faith is such a shaky thing. The type of thing that would ruin my Ataraxia.”
“You’re right. Faith certainly isn’t for you.”
“Hahaha. But seriously, Kaiser. What would you do if you were to survive, and no one was left?”
“Well, I think I will try to find the nearest liquor store, and try some that Ataraxia’ out, haha.”
“You just be sure to give me a call when that happens.”
“Give you a call, Maxwell? Shit, you’ll be driving there!”
          Elsewhere, in Japan, there is a man in an old samurai-esque outfit puts the finishing touches on a set of traditional war armor from thousands of years ago. It was a deep crimson color, and bore design of an age most likely forgotten by this time. After brushing off the lint from the shoulder pads with his hands, he turns and walks outside to his garden.
          It was a vast and beautiful sight. It held such beautiful, vibrant colors. The only sounds that can be heard was that of the water running from pool to pool in the moat, and the few birds chirping that perched themselves in the shrubs. He takes a deep breath in, closes his eyes and has a very slow and calm breath out. He takes a step into the sunlight and looks into the sky. “Will I make it this time? It’s coming back.” he thinks to himself. “Number six.”
          Just at that moment, he notices a flame falling from the sky. It looks like a meteorite or something, but that would be impossible. The Inner Sphere would have intercepted any invading particles from outside the planet’s atmosphere. Did this one get past them? If so, it means the Inner Ring is slipping a little bit. But who can blame them? Earth is in turmoil, and plenty of members of the inner Ring have families on Earth. No one would say much if they didn’t go to work. That would only mean that the remaining workers would have to pick up that slack, making the Sphere not as tight as it could be. With such stretched security, it could be feasible that someone or someone can slip through the cracks. But who would want to? Didn’t they do their homework before coming to Earth? Don’t they know the situation? It makes no logical sense to come here now. This planet is doomed.
          But what should the man care? He watches as the flame falls. It can’t be a meteorite. Not looking like that. Meteorites are a more natural occurrence. If there is anything this man knew, it was what is natural. He knew this was wrong. This was deliberate. Someone came here, and they came here on purpose. For whatever they are here, better hope they can leave just as easy as they came in. Chances are they won’t survive the next few days.
          The police aren’t having much luck on their end. The head department of the Khanen County Police District were having an especially rough time with everything. Their area was projected as the epicenter for the impending doom approaching them, and thing have gotten out of control. Rioting, polluting, and pillaging have been only some of the examples of the civil unrest and downright anarchy that has presented itself. The police are left virtually powerless. A large portion of their staff has deserted their posts, and for good reason. No one wants to be here. Those that have stayed loyal either have no other place to go, and/or don’t know what else to do. One person has taken the reigns in the stead of Captain Renner, who had just recently abandoned his position. Young Lieutenant Surea Katsuragi, who was Japanese born, took it upon herself to try and lead this police station as best she could, for better or worse. She only commanded a small team, but it is all she could muster. There were no more than 12 people, in a building that once supported over 200.
          No one knew why Surea had such determination. Most of her co-workers assumed she was just putting on a front to be promoted. Other say it has to do with the idea that she is Japanese, and she has a shady background that she doesn’t want to remember or forget. Whatever it was, it didn’t make much sense that she is doing what she is doing now. There are no superiors to impress therefore, there are no real promotions. Nevertheless, Surea was not giving up. Most others just watched her work as she put together paperwork, answered phone call after phone call, and ravaged through computer screens with seemingly little effort. But her efforts were not in vain. Eventually, the others in the office migrated to desks, and started putting in work. Soon, it was the only scene of order on that entire province. They may not have known what good they could do at this moment in time, but they were going to do what they can, all thanks to Surea Katsuragi.
          Back in Japan, in a northern district, the Hiryu Dynasty is finishing their plans for survival of the conflict. The Hiryu’s have been a very strong military power for Japan for the past few millennia. It has been know as Japan’s savior during the Japanese Crusades roughly four centuries ago. Most of the country has looked at the Hiryu’s for guidance on government, although they never officially accepted a position of governmental authority.
          Mistuomi Li and Ayuri are the current Hiryu Emperor and Empress. They are the 24th generation heirs, and are masters in their field. It is well known that the Hiryu’s are the most elite force Japan has to offer, and possibly the world. What is also known, is that you must be of Japanese descent to even qualify to work within the Hiryu Dynasty, and that you are trained become ninja. In fact, the Hiryu are the only known ninja left in the world. The last of their kind.
          But what isn’t common knowledge is the process to become part of the Hiryu. No one knows the training regimen. What people do know is that only death awaits those who fail so to not compromise the confidentiality of Hiryu law. It is not known how outsiders are recruited and brought in. Family members usually just are abducted from their homes in the dead of the night, never to return. This has made the Hiryu membership at a monumental low, until the approaching of the impending conflict, in which the Hiryu’s have grown in number.
          The Hiryu’s responsibility of survival is huge. Japan, by now, is the oldest surviving nation and oldest culture in the world. Japan also has only humans living in its country, and does not condone the use of organ and body selling. It is the richest and most aristocratic country in the world, and its citizens are treated with highest dignity. All natural Japanese born that travel abroad are instantly treated as diplomatic status. It is the highest concentration of human beings on the planet. Human beings are already treated with highest dignity as is, but the Japanese are higher than most. In fact, because the conflict is Earth exclusive, and a human problem, some people think that it will take place on Japanese soil. Who is to say they will be wrong?
          In the central region of Daesovin, the Council Summit has been debating back and forth about how to handle the situation. The Council Summit is a meeting of all Councilmen across the world. Summits are rarely called, but when they are, the top executive from every single continent converge on a topic. One hasn’t been called in over several centuries, not since the Japanese Crusades started a global spread. They have now come to discuss actions on the impending conflict. There are 12 regions, each with a member of the Council: Councilman Stills of Lal’Come, Councilman Schtauffenguard of Ettard, Councilman Rozen of Syrow, Councilman Dookall of Ozai, Councilman Meilteif of Gnis Rupa’a, Councilman Rell of Brukenhail, Councilman Jaku of Makovia, Councilman Hause of New Sangli, Councilman Ephram of Lorelei IV, Councilman Gwanpil of Daesovin, Councilman Yan of Mar-Suchio, and Councilman Delbray of the Talpan Empire.
          There has been no decisive conclusion amongst them in several days. So far, all that has really been discussed is how the different Councilmen are dealing with the situation for their own continents. Councilman Schtauffenguard was well known as a peacemaker and philanthropist in his political rise to power. He suggested that they try to take shelter close to the center of the Earth. This would have them avoid the surface that would surely be devastated. Councilman Rell added that they could make use of the many underground tunnels and cities left over from the Arctic Age a few thousand years ago. Councilmen Ephram, Hause, and Stills all feared this was an even worse fate for them, as demons would rise from within the Earth, and attack them within the ground, and there would be no efficient and timely means of egress to the surface if needed. The summit started to grow restless and chaotic banter raged among them. All Councilmen seemed to be stressed out to maximum level, all except for two. Councilman Meilteif and Councilman Rozen were quiet…very quiet. They sat there letting everyone else talk. Eventually, Councilmen Gwanpil and Dookall pick up on their silence, and try to question them.
          It was no secret to the rest of the Council that both Councilmen Meilteif and Rozen were secretive. All were aware of a project that the two had been working on for a few years that had so far, not come to fruition. In fact, many conferences have been post postponed, some even cancelled because of either one or both of them not being able to attend. They were too wrapped up in their “project” to attend Council matters. Some were so hard pressed to say that the two have no place in Council seats, if not for leading their region. Everyone knew that they would be the ones that wanted to leave. After Councilman Dookall challenged their silence, Councilman Rozen broke it.
Do – “Councilman Rozen. You haven’t spoken in a while. I can only assume you are confident about something.”
Ro – “Only that you aren’t confident at all.”
Do – “Is that a joke? This is hardly the time for levity.”
Ro – “Nor for sarcasm. I’m sure you really thought that all that money you put into your bunker wouldn’t hold us all, right?”
Do – ::cough, cough:: “I don’t see what that has to do with anything. I was just taking precautions.”
G – “You were looking out for yourself. Admit it.”
H – “Isn’t much shame in it. We’ve all done it, in one way or another.”
Y – “Be that as it may, we have been avoiding the situation.”
De – “Agreed, Yan. We are the Council of Leaders. The world is looking to us for an answer.”
J – “Half of the world, at best. The other half is either too scared, or too confused to accept anything from us.”
Y – “But that doesn’t make us any less responsible for what happens to this world.”
G – “The problem is, just like everyone else…we don’t know what to do.”
H – “Because there isn’t much we can do. A war is coming.”
S – “And we have to let it happen?”
De – “Are you suggesting we can prevent it? I would love to know how.”
S – “Not prevent it entirely, just prevent it from killing too many people.”
Do – “Kaiser’s approach? You will only get those men and women killed.”
E – “And to sit here and do nothing is better?”
S – “Well, how else do you deal with a war that you can’t stop?”
J – “Hide. Isn’t that always an option?”
Ro – “No, Jaku. Not this time.”
          Silence fills the table for a few moments…
E – “I’m not sure we all follow you, Rozen.”
Ro – “Where do you propose we hide? You all know just as well as I do, what is coming.”
S – “The end of the world.”
De – “When Heaven and Hell confront one another on neutral soil…the End of Days.”
Ro – “And if demons rise from the Earth itself, you think it would be a good idea to be under its crust? We would only be food for them.”
Y – “What if they don’t? We would be able to hide from them then, right?”
Ro – “The fate of the world…would be decided on the chance that they don’t do what we hope they don’t? We can’t do things like that.”
S – “I still think General Kaiser has the right idea. If we want to survive, we should show it. Put up a fight!”
J – “Wage war against them? From you? Never thought I’d see the day.”
S – “This isn’t a time for diplomacy, we all know that.”
Ro – “And you plan to take the armies of Angels and Demons? You plan to fight Heaven and Hell itself?”
S – “Only defend ourselves against whoever comes.”
Y – “Can’t fake the funk. ‘Defending against them’ is the same as fighting them.”
De – “But what else can we do?”
H – “Councilman Meiltef. You are an expert on warfare. What do you think we should do, as a neutral party?”
          Again, the room falls silent. Councilman Meilteif is the oldest of the group, in more ways than one. The rarity it is that they see him they make sure to listen intently to him. This entire time, his head has been drooped, his eyes hidden behind his interlaced fingers. Slowly, he raises his head, and slides his fingers apart, resting them on the table.
M – “What you all fail to understand is that the world isn’t wrong.”
De – “Isn’t wrong?”
M – “No one knows what to do, but barely anyone is looking for answers. It’s because we all know the answer…”
H – “Which is?”
Ro – “There is nothing we can do.”
M – “Precisely.”
          A sigh of despair falls over the other ten Councilmen. Rozen and Meilteif sit, unchanged and nonchalant.
De – “So, what do you do when you can’t do something, and there is nothing you can do about it?”
Ro – “You do what you can.”
G – “Which would be?”
Ro – “Umm…‘Hope’ I think is what they call it. You can just hope for whatever you want to happen. Best bet.”
Y – “So, is that what we are going to tell the world?”
M – “Tell them whatever you need. I have work to do.” ::Stands up, and turns toward the door. Rozen follows suit::
Do – “Where in the hell do you think you’re going!?”
Ro – “He just told you. There is work to be done.”
Do – “And what work is this? That ‘project’ of yours? What is so important about it!?”
Ro – “Do not violate the agreement. If we do not jeopardize--”
Do – “Then we don’t ask, I know. Well, now I’m asking! What the hell is going on? You’re holding out on us, aren’t you?”
Ro – “Do not overstep your boundary, Dookall. We would never--”
Do –“Save it, Rozen!! You and this withered old man have probably--”
          Councilman Dookall is interrupted by Councilman Meilteif’s hand around his neck. Meilteif doesn’t make a sound, but merely tilts his head slowly, and narrows his eyes. Councilman Dookall is totally taken unawares, and so is the majority of the Councilmen in the room, save for three. Councilmen Ephram, Gwanpil, and of course Rozen were not surprised at all. They have known Meilteif for quite some time. They knew the score when Dookall had opened his mouth. After a few gasps, small chatter could be heard in that room. No one saw Meilteif move, but then again, no one ever does. Being a former Thane Alystair, it really isn’t surprising at all.
          Meilteif holds Dookall for a few moments and Dookall is kicking and twitching, doing everything he can to shake free. It makes no difference. Meilteif is no stranger to this type of thing and everyone knew. Meilteif closes the deal with gripping his hand enough to snap Dookall’s neck. Dookall’s body goes limp and a thin stream of blood comes out of his mouth. The snap was loud enough to make some of the Councilmen cringe. After Dookall’s blood reaches Meilteif’s hand, Meilteif drops him, and lets his body crash over the chair he stood up from. “Hmph, that mouth…Ozai looses more Councilmen that way.” comments Rozen.
          After sucking his teeth, Meilteif reaches inside his blazer, pulls out a handkerchief, and wipes his hand of Dookall’s blood, and drops the handkerchief on Dookall’s body, landing on his face, covering his eye. Councilmen Ephram and Gwanpil look at each other for a second, and simultaneously roll their eyes, smiling at the event that just took place. Meilteif lifts his eyes to look at the rest of the nervous Council. “No one will ask me about my work.” he says. He and Rozen swiftly make their leave after Meilteif speaks.

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