Saturday, October 31, 2015

Chapter 1: 'Admiral Naron' (Draft)

“Admiral Naron, the assault force is ready. Our destroyers are in position, with the battlecruisers and supercarriers further behind. We’re waiting for your signal.” Admiral Naron stood there for a minute, looking out the massive battleship’s main bridge tower at his fleet’s position; more than 15 ships, all churning the roaring waters from their oil-fired boilers. He looked at his pocketwatch, and gave the signal. “Commence operation HAMMER FIST. Crush them.” The huge, 15-ton iron bell on the top of the ship rang three times, shaking the bridge as it did so. Massive salvos roared away from the ships all at once. It looked like the entire world had just ignited. The impact on the tropical shores of Arion Island off the nation of Hime was just as terrifying. The great cloud forests immediately burst into flames; the towering inferno consumed all, reducing mansions and expensive homes that characterized this island to choking piles of soot and ash. The blaze continued to spread so fast that it spread faster than even the fastest athlete could run. No one escaped. The main town on the island, Hibiscus City, was reduced to cinders within two minutes. 30,000 people were burned alive. The Wallachian Grand Fleet had brought a holocaust upon Arion rarely seen in Meteorologia’s history; all of this was in the name of proving absolute supremacy over the other nations, to force them into submission. This type of bombardment was more of a psychological terror than anything else, seeing your home burn to the ground, your friend screaming for your help, but not having anything to douse his burning, slowly roasting body with, and your life vanish in front of you would do far more damage than simply bombing for tactical reasons. This bombardment was only the beginning. The fighter jets from even more terrifying aircraft carriers positioned behind the main flotilla roared overhead in a spectacular display of Wallachian military might. The planes ripped into the already infernal maelstrom with machine-gun fire and yet more incendiary bombs, igniting what little forest remained unburned. The attacks came again and again, continuous strafing runs, carpet bombing assaults and rocket barrages from the arsenal ships literally burned the island itself to cinders, sand on the beaches was fusing to glass from the heat. The firestorm was creating its own weather system, with lightning in clouds of smoke and whirling fire tornadoes dancing across the crying land. Showers of scalding ash sealed the incinerated inhabitants of Arion in their final agony. Admiral Naron looked at this holocaust with psychotically happy eyes. His duty to the Wallachian Empire of Fire and the Flame Lord was fulfilled here, in battle on these massive warships, it always was, and it always would be. The Admiral let out a low, demonic-sounding chuckle as his mission was complete. “This operation is a success. Glory to the Inferno Cross!!” Naron screamed. His soldiers roared in applause. The mission of Wallachia was simple; it wasn’t conquest, but the unmitigated annihilation of all non-Wallachian peoples, those viewed as “inferior” by His Majesty Lord of Infernos and the House of Kulakov. The goal was genocide of the entire “weak” world, along with other, ulterior motives that definitely existed. Such horrendous scenes as the one that befell Arion Island were all too common in the world these days, the Wallachians were burning villages, scorching fields and enslaving entire countries, forcing them to become vassal states to Wallachia and taxing them with ridiculous fees and overages; often, if a vassal couldn’t pay the tax, they were usually sentenced to slave labor; often working in horrendous, inhumane conditions, laboring ceaselessly in the iron foundries, shipyards or engine-rooms of the awe-inspiringly gargantuan warships, some of the battlecruisers were approaching the size of the former German Empire’s and the British of WWI. People were often brutally injured by these machines, and then left to die in pain and suffering, even when pleading for medical care. Women and men were not given separate jobs; a woman could easily be sent to a dark, hazardous mine or foundry just as easily as a man could. Even as far as dictatorships went, Wallachia was hideously cruel. At least dictators in years past had the sanity to put women in different roles as men. Some of the things that happened between slaves in the mines and foundries were so gruesome that people who died were envied by those who lived. The policy with slaves in Wallachia and Wallachia-controlled territory was that all slaves were to be punished in equal measure for daring to challenge Wallacha’s supreme authority. And, like all colonies, when the usefulness of the colony reached its end, the colony and all of its unfortunate inhabitants met the same ghastly fate as Arion just had. This burned, barren land, however, wasn’t simply left to rot. Colonies of Wallachian people, “Valids,” as they were called by the Royal House, moved in and used the fertile, burned soil to grow such crops as wheat, grain and apple. In this way, the vast Empire of Wallachia killed two birds with one stone; they conquered new territory while totally destroying the enemy simultaneously. This system of pillaging and conquest had been so successful that now only the great nations and nations outside of Wallachia influence remained sovereign. There were so few small nations left to burn…it was only a matter of time before Wallachia set its sights on bigger targets; even though other nations had nothing but prayer to rely on for protection, Wallachia crushed them…but never went after the huge targets, such as those in Rodinia or Laurentia, two of the other major continents. For 20 long years, that was the reality, and it had caused some major political shakeups, such as the return of a massive Solar Caliphate, which stretched from the border with Hindustan and Li to the Pillars of Stone, with its capital in New Assyria; and was an enormous threat to Rodinia. Rodinia had created a united military just for stopping the Caliphate, informally called “Aleyadin Empire,” which had made two moves to invade Iberia and Lusitania, but was repelled both times. To be invaded by the Wallachians meant certain death, however, even if it didn’t happen right away; to die right away was to be spared an agonizing death; knowing this, when burgundy-uniformed Wallachian troops marched into a town, city or capital, the citizens begged for death, however, those that begged were often killed in the worst possible ways imaginable. As Admiral Naron’s fleet began steaming back into the high seas of the Great Misty Ocean, he was certain that there would be more conquests yet ahead, more lands to conquer, more people to kill, and more prestige to be had in the eyes of Inferno Lord Kulakov. Admiral Naron had enjoyed a reputation as one of the finest commanders in history. His brutal military tactics of eliminating all inhabitants of a conquered territory through nothing short of a genocidal massacre and inspirational voice among his men were legendary amongst Wallachian sailors and soldiers alike. He was never wrong, because the Seer always told him exactly what to expect at every engagement. As he stood on the bridge tower of the enormous arsenal ship, the fleet began playing through heavy seas; the bell on the top of the bridge was ringing audibly from the ships heaving in the moaning, howling wind and the crashing 30-foot seas. It was only due to the Admiral’s exquisite hearing that he heard the moaning cry of an Albatross-Eagle, huge bird-like creatures used as messengers across the vast, tumultuous seas of the Great Misty Ocean, these had only recently been discovered by science. Admiral Naron walked swiftly and purposefully out onto the decks of his ship, into the roaring wind, stinging, cold rain and crashing waves to receive the message from the enormous bird hovering over the deck, withstanding the massive white squall. He took a large, very old wooden chest from the eagle’s talons, and struggled against the heaving, rocking ship to get it back onto the bridge, out of the raging storm. As he brought it to his desk, flanked by two huge, flaming torches for light and warmth in the cold rain outside, he opened the box, a cloud of dust making him sneeze as the lock clicked open. Inside the ancient chest, he found a small scroll of yellowed, worn paper, peppered with holes along the edges. Admiral Naron looked at the map with wanting, lustful eyes. The object he had crossed half the globe to find, pillaging innumerable villages and towns to acquire, had just been dropped into his lap by a routine cargo delivery. As he gazed longingly at the scroll, it was his prerogative to share the news of the discovery to his crew, so that they could share in the celebration as well. Admiral Naron stood up from his desk and walked towards the mess hall, his huge steel-toed boots making huge clanking sounds as he walked along the steel floors. The interior of a Wallachian warship looked just as frightening as the exterior, cold, dreary and iron. The Admiral opened the door to the mess hall; and the entire crew stood up and snapped to attention from the steel, uncomfortable benches, attempting to keep their food on the table because of the ship’s rocking. There were huge torches lining the edges of the mess hall, each one shaped like a different gargoyle-shaped figure, and a huge, flaming candelabra hanging over the mess hall, this caused no small amount of concern during a storm, as it could easily crash to the floor, crushing the sailors eating their gruel-slop, containing every nutrient the body needed. There were huge red tablecloths with the eerie-looking Inferno Cross embroidered onto them, the symbol of terror the world over. “Prince Ferdinand, come forward!” the Admiral yelled in his loud, Slavic accent. Obeying the order, a very tall, lanky, 19-year old wearing an unusually elaborate Wallachian officer uniform stepped towards the podium at the far end of the mess hall. The Admiral saluted the Prince as he walked up the podium, placed his spindly hands on the sides of the lectern and began to speak. “Gentlemen of Wallachia, Admiral Naron has made a phenomenal discovery! The non-Wallachians are nothing but vermin, they cower from our forces and die like animals when we arrive, but the purpose of this war is not just conquest, it is to locate the 5 Sacred Icons. These Icons, if possessed by one entity, will give that entity the power of God himself. What I hold in my hand now, this scroll, is the map to the first Icon. We will find it!! We will be gods!!!” Ferdinand yelled, flailing his arms in the air in a very triumphant manner. The sailors stood up and cheered, and the guards, in full armor, kneeled in respect for Prince Ferdinand. Ferdinand Kulakov was the favorite of Lord Kulakov’s two sons, he was tenacious, brutal and didn’t take no for an answer. Imran, his older brother, was a soldier through and through AND just as good a tactical planner, very important, but not well enough for his father, as, according to him, fighting and planning were only part of the battle, despite the fact that war was just that. It was just one of his father’s weird, tyrannical quirks. Ferdinand was hailed as one of the greatest tactical planners in history, along with his brother, he had been instrumental in the war effort and he was also competent with any weapon as well. Ferdinand stepped off the podium as the General took his place. Ferdinand was always at odds with his brother; their sibling rivalry would only be exasperated by Ferdinand’s triumph in finding the Icon Map. However, if there was one thing Ferdinand envied about his brother, only a year older than he, it was his ability to find dates; unlike Ferdinand, who looked just like any woman wanted him to, Imran truly looked and acted like a prince. He had brown hair, always combed in a very neat manner with bangs partially covering his left eye, brown eyes, and a very handsome face and was as tall and lanky as Ferdinand was, just a year older. As such, girls liked him far more, for his brains and his appearance. Ferdinand had never been in love or a relationship, ever, and he was going to be 20 the following month. Ferdinand didn’t want to marry this girl that his father suggested for him, as he wanted to find a girl that would honestly love him, not just marry him under pain of death from his tyrant father. He knew who the girl was, a very pretty, pale-skinned, green-eyed girl with long red hair named Samantha Jinrich Lucembursky; she would definitely keep him happy, but still…Sam was a bit pushy and very high-maintenance, something Ferdinand didn’t want to put up with. She was from a Apollo-Felix family heavily involved in Apollo politics, they always had been, and she had been living in Wallachia for the past 3 years as a protector for the Royal Family, however, Ferdinand didn’t want to be her husband, despite the fact that Sam was always attempting to change his mind. His brother would be more of her type. However, finding his own girl didn’t seem likely at this point. However, he had no other alternative…unless... yes, he had made the fateful decision already. He’d rather be dead than married to a woman he didn't love. He looked around his sumptuous, warm, richly decorated cabin aboard the ship, thinking about the life he was about to embrace. He had grown up in utter and complete splendor, now, if he fulfilled his destiny, he would be the god of the New World. Just then, his brother Imran approached him. “Well done, Ferdinand. You appear to have gained your father’s favor once again, but at least I have a better love life that you ever will. I don’t care about your achievements.” “That makes two of us.” Ferdinand replied. “I hope you have a nice life with Sam Lucembursky. I heard she’s a real handful, though. HA!” That she was; she loved nothing more than hoarding money, expensive jewelry, shoes, expensive clothes, expensive accessories, and living the high life. She was also trained in the ancient sword arts, and could literally run on walls, jump 30 feet in the air and perform feats that seemed superhuman in nature. The ship began to sway more heavily as the weather worsened; they were bound for the Wallachian Colony A-12, a military outpost in the conquered Koori Republic; Wallachia had absorbed most the Republic’s military into its own Armed Forces and most of the women and children were enslaved or massacred in concentration camps. The Land of Meteorologia was so-named because most of the major nations had control over a certain aspect of the weather; the Wallachian Empire controlled the power of fire and heat, and the soldiers were capable of shooting fire out of their hands, as well as using their incredibly powerful assault rifles. The Koori Republic was important because it was a stepping stone into the Midnight Sun Confederation, a fief of the Hime Empire of Mist; it was famous for its immense luxury hot spring inns; some of these were nearly 900 years old and had seen a lot of history. They were incredible works of art and architecture, with murals on the walls, classic Hime Oriental architecture, stained-glass windows, wood floors, hot springs, baths and massage parlors and plenty of food, booze and parties; however, most of the buildings were guarded by the legendary Hime 5th Paradise Tank Army Division of the Hime Colonial Forces, on guard for peace, especially against the Wallachians. Now that nearby Koori had fallen, the Hime Empire’s vast, well-equipped army, navy and air force was on high alert, ready to take the fight to the Wallachians and fight tooth and nail to defend their homeland if need be. The Hime people were not afraid of a little bloodshed, even though they were generally peaceful. The Hime people would not go quietly. The Wallachian mission in Koori was to examine the map with the help of the Wallachian Chief Scientist, Radu Araun. Ferdinand sat down back at his seat as Admiral Naron took his spot at the podium again. Ferdinand looked across the table and saw Sam sitting there, dressed in a long, tight-fitting black dress that hugged every curve of her 6-foot 3 frame, with her sword on the table in front of her, its scabbard decorated with gold leaf and silver, the blade itself had the words “Ehre, Freiheit, Vaterland” written on it. Ferdinand ducked his head, trying to avoid being spotted. Sam didn’t exactly like the fact that the bathhouses were threatened, she was a regular there and loved to live large, so to speak, not to mention party her ass off and have fun every night, much to Ferdinand’s dismay. Unfortunately for Ferdinand, hiding from her was no use. Sam spotted him immediately after she walked in. “Hey! What are you doing, hiding from me? I have a lot to talk to you about. Haha!” Sam giggled. She hugged him tightly, regardless of how much she annoyed Ferdinand; every time she hugged him, he got this warm, fuzzy feeling in his stomach. They had known each other for more than 12 years, and had been friends since they were introduced; Sam had since become Ferdinand’s protector and self-proclaimed “soul mate,” though Ferdinand begged to differ. “I missed you, where were you?” “You know very well where I was. I was overseeing the Colonies A-10 through B-1, you dope.” “Oh…so what about the plans involving the bathhouses in Hime? When we take them for ourselves, let’s go sit in the hot springs together, drink martinis and live like we mean it!” “For one, there are no such plans, second, no thank you!” “Why can’t things be like the way they were before? When we danced together at that masquerade party that Wallachians are so famous for holding? I’ve never seen such amazing costumes in my life…so elaborate, so detailed; they looked like gods and goddesses in full regalia!” “Sam, please stop getting all dramatic.” Sam was right; historically, Wallachia was the most respected Empire in the world, a grand civilization that produced the finest art, literature, culture, music, and architecture ever seen, and dazzled the world over. How such a beautiful civilization had fallen into such a barbaric state was beyond the comprehension of most people. Still, there was a plan to attack Hime, called Operation: FOXHOUND. The plan, concocted by the infamous General Kondor von Vultur, involved invading the fief of Midnight Sun Confederation, while launching a simultaneous assault from the conquered territory of Koori, keeping the Hime Imperial Army from focusing its forces on one particular area; combined with submarines sinking every civilian transport ship they could find to cut the supplies off to the island nation, and Hime would capitulate within a few months, starving and unable to continue the war. FOXHOUND would conclude with a full-scale invasion of the Hime Home Islands, coming in from all sides. The weather began to clear, however, as the ship began to sway less intensely. As Ferdinand walked out onto the deck from the main assembly hall, the misty rain was still falling, but the seas had calmed down enough to see the rest of the fleet, the huge battlecruisers slicing through the waves. Standing on the bow of his ship, however, was a human figure, with his back turned toward Ferdinand. He was not wearing a Wallachian uniform; it was blue and white with a black cape, he had a sword at his side and black hair, with some sort of crown on his head. “You there! Who are you?” The man turned around and looked at Ferdinand with stoic eyes. “My name is Prince Lucian Moonraiser of Hime…” he said in Japanese. “It is time for justice! Let the Knights of Justice crush the foul serpents with their heels, and may our shields shine the stone gaze of Medusa back at the horrors of this world, for we must fight or die!” Moonraiser screamed, again in Japanese as he lunged at Ferdinand with his blade drawn, running superhumanly fast. Sam, however, was there instantly with her sword drawn and both of them clashed blades loudly, it was bit entertaining to see Sam jumping around and fighting with a sword in her tight black dress, diamond earrings, black pearl necklace and heels, but she didn’t care. Ferdinand was in danger and she had sworn to protect him regardless. The two of them fought brutally for about 5 minutes, and in typical swashbuckling fashion, Sam knocked the sword out of Lucian’s hand, only to see Lucian teleport out of existence, just before she could kill him. “Are you ok, sweetie?” Sam asked, placing her sword back in its scabbard. “Yes…I’m fine.” “Good. Let’s go inside, you’ll catch cold.” Sam said, kissing Ferdinand sweetly. Just then, Sam’s face froze in terror. “Sammy, what is it?!” Ferdinand said, thinking that something was terribly wrong. “EEEEEEEEEK!!! A ROACH!!” Sam screamed, jumping into Ferdinand’s arms, causing him to fall over with Sam on top of him. “SOMEONE GET THE CAN OF RAID!!” “For God’s sakes! It’s an insect!” Just then, Imran walked out onto the deck and saw the scene. “Get a room you two, seriously!” “Bugs are disgusting; they scare me more than any crazy guy with a sword!” “What do you mean crazy guy with a sword?” Imran asked. “We were just attacked by a swordmaster named Lucian Moonraiser; he claimed to be the Crown Prince of Hime…” “That he is, and if he’s here, our worst fears are confirmed. We must move quickly if our plan is to survive. How the heck did he get aboard the ship?” “He can teleport. Sam was just about to kill him when he vanished. There’s his sword.” Ferdinand pointed at the katana lying on the deck. “Back when I was living in Mark Baronia, Apollo-Felix, there were these huge spiders in my house and…eek! The Inheritors, the highest rank a soldier can achieve in Apollo-Felix, which is 7 ticks above 5-Star General, would always tease me with these fake spiders and insects. Ehre, Freiheit, Vaterland…” Sam said, kneeling. Ferdinand knew that Sam was a fierce Apollo-Felix ultranationalist, but her heart was dedicated to protecting Ferdinand, even though he was not an Apollo-Felix citizen; technically, Apollo-Felix considered Wallachia an enemy, but was powerless to do anything because of the mysterious Seer. She was an outright corporatist, fascist, xenophobic, racist anti-Semite who hated all religion and wished to see Apollo-Felix dominate all of Western Rodinia. Sam was also affiliated with the Apollo-Felix Lightning Wielders, the electricity-manipulating weather knights that ruled Apollo-Felix; their Grand Master was the Supreme Leader of the Empire. Sam was capable of manipulating electricity, and she had become a master at it. She could electrify water vapor in the atmosphere in a static field, anything that touched one of the droplets would be instantly electrocuted; she would create a storm of super-charged rain with this ability, frying everything with an “electric flood.” The jagged Fulminata, or Sigtyr runes, decorated her family’s coat of arms, as well as the Lightning Wielder’s insignia. She wouldn’t do that unless she was really pissed at something, though. Unfortunately, she was very easy to anger. Just then, Imran heard the ding of a buoy bell. “We must be coming into port. Prepare for disembarkation.” Imran said, gruffly.

Halloween is Here: What are you all doing tonight?

I, for one, am going to get in touch with my editors and start working on the edits for Book 1. Because, I have no life outside of that.

'Sojourn' book update

I'm meeting with my editors sometime next week to discuss the latest edits to Volume I of 'Sojourn' It's coming along very well, and I fully expect to have it ready by the summer of 2017. With the feedback I have received on it so far, I'm confident that it will all work out in the end. It's been very difficult, given that I have absolutely no friends to support me and absolutely nobody in my life at all. However, I never gave up, and the ones that win are always the ones that keep going once everyone else has quit.

Misc. Characters, Prompts, 'Countess: The Nightly Obsessions'

Countess: Nightly Obsessions EXPANDED UNIVERSE



Baronia-Felix is not a nation with an Army, but an Army with a nation…” Lord Governor of Nova Orden Colony Baron Heinrich Wassermann said of his Empire at the turn of the Third Millennium, A.D. This, of course, was a quote from a Prussian Imperial general more than 1200 years prior, but at this point, the message had just as much meaning as it did then. The Reich of Baronia-Felix was a revitalized Imperial State, whose development began in 2250, with a wave of nationalism in Europe that reversed the effects of the previous Age of Democracy, with the dissolution of many IGOs and the return of strong, centralized states in Europe, namely the Volga Sunset Party in Russia, led by an atheist, socialist radical named Oleg Molotov and his fiancée, a stunning, tall, blue-eyed blond-haired woman named Viktoria Betulova, and the Imperium Sanctum Party in Germany, which longed for the restoration of a German monarchy, where the territories of the old German Empire, Austrian Empire and Hungarian Kingdom were incorporated into a single Reich, ruled by a Kaiser and delegated by various counts, countesses and barons appointed by the Kaiser and born into the remnants of the old landed aristocracy, which still persisted at that point in Europe. By 2300 and the invention of Quantum Space travel, the most powerful nations on Earth had “warp” capability, allowing vessels to travel through space around the galaxy at will. Even though human beings were now exploring the deepest parts of space, aboard huge starships one-third the size of Manhattan, built for exploration as well as combat, problems still existed on Earth, namely the growing tension between the ISP and the VSP. The United Nations, which had begun, at long last, increasing its weight in international affairs because of expansion into space, sent two negotiators to the ISP headquarters in Berlin, where the new Reich’s outline was being drawn up; after a brief meeting with the diplomats, the ISP Chairman, none other than Rudolph von Richtofen, a descendent of the Red Baron, had the U.N. shuttle craft shot down upon takeoff, but blamed the attack on terrorists, citing a recent spike in far-right extremism in support of anti-immigration bills opposing the U.N., to stymie the flow of immigrants fleeing from climate change and deplorable conditions in the “third world.” In reality, the missile that shot the diplomats down was fired by one of the 11 Dragon Ladies, led by Countess Erzevet Waldheim, an Austro-Hungarian woman of 24 years old and her 10 disciples, all of similar age. They were, in one word, insane. Waldheim was not content with Richtofen’s vision of Europe and repeatedly stated that she wanted a complete, pan-European empire on the scale of Rome, but Richtofen could not see beyond the Germanic/Magyar lands of Austria, Germany and Hungary-Slovakia. Waldheim, despite her elegance and beauty; she was 6 feet, 5 inches tall, wore stunning outfits and had long, silky black hair, pale, alabaster skin and haunting blue eyes, was one of the most feared individuals in Europe. Most people who knew about her were in conclusion that she was very “gifted,” to say the least, she knew things that no living person could possibly know, such as exactly how many cabbages were stolen from gardens in Berlin in 1754 A.D, and doctors who measured her brainwave scans found that her REM sleep activity was near 180,000 units, while her active function was close to 120,000 units. Leonardo Da Vinci’s activity was only at 765 units, and a level of 400 units was considered “genius.” Even in the year 3000 A.D., doctors were still clueless as to how Waldheim wasn’t killed by her own brain function levels or even managed to communicate and think in ways that typical human beings could even remotely comprehend. Unfortunately for those who had to deal with her, she appeared to have a severe form of psychosis that caused her to fit every level of insanity imaginable, artistic insanity, because her 3-story, 25,000-square foot penthouse apartment in Bratislava, Slovakia, was decorated with her own original bizarre, abstract, surrealist art that looked like what would result from Salvador Dali or Freda Kahlo taking a hit of acid and trying to mix a Picasso painting and one of their works together while high. They had a common theme, either depicting a form of macabre liberation, a bittersweet message about the brevity and fleetingness of life or some sort of tormented scene, such as the picture of two murdered lovers lying on the streets of a city with a crowd of faceless people walking past, each with their shadows standing above their bloodied corpses, with the woman’s shadow in a contorted yet seemingly liberated, but disturbingly unnatural pose, and the young man’s shadow cruelly rejecting the tormented shadow’s pleas for acceptance; the blood on their bodies was arranged into words written in Slovak: “Where is my love? Where is my hope? Where is my reason to live?!” Another painting showed a little girl clenching her face in her hands while riding a lonely swing set in the middle of an abandoned city, with a shadowy stranger standing behind her, another showed a young man walking along railroad tracks in autumn, surrounded by the reds, browns, oranges and yellows of the countless autumn leaves falling around him, he walks alone, not knowing where he is headed, symbolizing that the only certainties in life are death, loneliness and uncertainty, therefore, life is completely meaningless, you’re going to die anyway, so what does it matter? Like the autumn leaves that blanket the tracks, people are shining bright one day, and decrepit and old the next…Life is a beautiful lie, death is an ugly truth. One other painting shows a screaming young woman with scars on her bare legs reading a book, but the words on the book fall off the pages like a shower of black ashes, and these ashes transform into spiders, which crawl up her legs in their thousands. Also, pictures of a woman carving an image of birds flying out of a cage onto her arms with a knife, as well as some pictures that had no meaning at all, such as headless chicken being chased by a tailless rat, as well as some original Picasso, Kahlo and Dali paintings, as well as a collection of weapons, specifically ones that were used to torture and kill children throughout history, old dictatorial flags, statues of sinister, robed figures and a gigantic Slovak cross rug and Order of the Dragon coat of arms on the wall, plus the lighting in the house that made the place appear as if it were in perpetual dusk, would only appeal to someone who is completely insane. She was also intellectually insane, given that her IQ and brain function levels are so high, that a lot of her psychotic actions may seem abrupt and without any rhyme or reason, much like someone with schizophrenia, but some doctors who studied her case suggested that due to brainwave scans and flash-cloning samples, the very height of her IQ scores make her appear to the layman as insane, simply because the rest of the world is too simple, judgmental and narrow-minded to understand just how fast and how advanced her brain is. She is only “crazy” because of society’s judgmental stupidity and the filthy, pop-culture Fascist dregs such as the rich girls living in places like Miami and New York City trying to set an unrealistic standard for “prosperity” and “beauty.” She uses her intellect and her own fortune to directly oppose that culture through the power of science and intellectual pursuits, as well as incorporating her obsession with macabre, distorted art into her scientific pursuits as well; she’d pay people in Europe to kidnap young, rich women travelling abroad and kill them, and bring their corpses back to the ISP headquarters for experimentation. Waldheim had a bizarre fascination with blood, namely for the DNA and sampling properties of it, but also in a much more metaphysical sense. One of her greatest projects includes being able to cheat death by using computers, in the year 3000, this is possible, but illegal under most circumstances, Waldheim creates backups of her mind on computer disks, so that upon her death, she will simply be “reborn” in an AI hologram body, with her mind and personality as a digitized set of data, but also uses bizarre ways of justifying her acts on an intellectual level, such as using mathematical puzzles to fool police forces, and using math to lead detectives to conclusions that will inevitably get them killed, just because Waldheim thinks that it’s a joke. The third domain of insanity, humorous insanity, is represented here. Many of Waldheim’s attacks on people in Europe are so twisted and sinister because she sees it as a joke, a gigantic game where she and the police are opponents trying to outplay each other, not enemies, and this type of crime is nothing but a game, a trick, and a joke in “good fun;” the drive behind this mentality is the horrific torment Erzevet Waldheim suffered as a little girl, with her abusive oligarch father in Eastern Europe selling her into prostitution as a teenager to cover a bad deal as collateral, not to mention beating her and locking her in a dark, dank closet full of weapons at age 6 for 3 days. She later escaped from slavery and brutally slaughtered her abusive masters, as well as her horrendous father and mother, who lived in an insane asylum. Since her escape, she has committed crimes ranging from killing people and turning their bodies into marionettes, using them as a puppet show, torturing and cannibalizing little girls and young women, turning their blood into wine and using her huge master bathroom on the third floor of her apartment as a makeshift torture chamber, holding fake T.V. show competitions just to kill the contestants one by one, the “prize,” for the winner is that they are allowed to go free, only to have Erzevet kill them anyway because she was “just kidding, as usual.” The fourth domain of insanity, verbal insanity, is also very much apparent here, every single word that comes out of her mouth seems to have some kind of dual meaning to it, in one particular speech to the citizens of Times Square in August of 3000 A.D:

So simple, yet so complicated, so everlasting, yet so fragile, so easily broken, but so easily built, and so easy to speak, yet so easy to misrepresent…anyone who has lived on this planet, young or old, whether they know it or not, is aware, however subconsciously, of the four properties of which I speak. The first of which, life, in the Earthly definition, consists of amino acids, deoxyribonucleic acid and counts the cell as its basic unit of organization. Therefore, in the purest, biological sense, life is a simple affair, as soon as an organism is born, it is alone, it is small, it is feeble, unless it can adapt, it will die out. Darwin’s theorem of evolution, the first word “theorem” intentionally changed to state that Darwinian logic is proven, it is only because the individuals who are told by the Gestalt that their outdated traditional Christian dogmas are the only, absolute truth. Life is simple, yes, but it is not that simple. What if I were to tell you people that everything you know is wrong? Everything, right down to the very Platonic and Aristotelian logic that the Gestalt has been drilling into your heads from the first breath you take when you slither from your mother’s gaping cervix, is distorted by the Gestalt Field, the displaced, churned, distorted, chaotic and tormented storm of ideologies created by the development of society over the millennia of human existence, displaced by the same methodology as Einstein’s theory of relativity or a ship at sea, is a cyclical, self-destructive byproduct of societal advancement. Every society in history, from the Mayans, to the Romans, to the Soviet Union and the United States, creates its own Gestalt Field, directly proportionate to the weight the society occupies on the global stage. As the society grows, so does the Gestalt Field around it, until the society begins to corrode from prolonged exposure to the ideology that created it, much analogous to the way a ship will rust and rot away in water, even though ships are built for open sea. This eventual corrosion is what the layman would call death and me likewise. Death is nothing supernatural. There is no holy paradise for the good, and dark, hellish underworld for the evil. ‘Good’ and ‘evil’ are points of view, there is no set definition. The same goes with ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ That is the Gestalt. The Gestalt is society and all the contagion that develops around it, the distortions of truth and space, time and lies, science and metaphysics. There is no God, there is no Devil, there is only Man, and Man, if you haven’t realized already, is capable of far more evil and judgment than any God or Devil, and it happens on a regular basis. Society rots from a plague that will never truly be cured; society seeks salvation when it will never be saved from itself. It is this never-ending Universal Cycle of Existence, a cycle of birth, suffering, death, and the temporary happiness and liberation that result, and repeating the process ad infinitum until the human extinction eventually, inevitably comes, that defines the human race. Humanity is destroyed by the very forces that create it; hence the symbol of my Order, a dragon consuming its own tail. That is life, simple, yet complicated. That other force, love, so everlasting, yet so temporary, has often been described as like magic, but, like any true magic, it is just as often simply an illusion of desire, and the root of that is suffering, the desire to find some kernel of happiness in this horrid, decrepit world before the calm of leaden, everlasting sleep. Love may feel as if it lasts forever, but in reality, when the brain is distorted by the Gestalt Field, time and lies become synonymous. Love feels longer and more meaningful that it actually is when reality sets in; it hurts more than anything else, so love is not an exception to suffering, and it is the epitome of human suffering and misery. There is no love; there is only malice and hate. Human beings cannot love; they cannot feel compassion or care for anyone, because of the Gestalt. The reason love cannot stand is that the foundation of which it stands consists of pillars of sand: trust. Trust is so easy to build, yet is also so easy to destroy. One day you can be best friends with someone, and the next day, you can find out that your best friend was a murderer, and you were on his or her next hit list…a fickle species, humanity is, that is why a dog or cat is more trustworthy than a person. Human beings lie, they cheat, they steal and they have no redeeming qualities. Even the kindest person could commit a triple homicide if they were convinced enough of the benefits of doing so. The truth is kindness is not a human trait. It is the superego, the Freudian depiction of societal conditioning versus the id and the ego that is created by the Gestalt Field. Kindness is a perspective, an ideal that the Gestalt uses to keep its constituent parts together, like a machine, and like any machine, the Gestalt only functions if all of its parts are working the way they should. Thus, the final property, truth, is the most difficult to find. The powers that be, namely the mass media, are so powerful that no government on Earth has any power over them; even the unfortunately deceased Attorney General stated that these companies are breaking laws, but are so powerful and so rich that to prosecute them would be economic suicide. The truth is that there is no ‘truth’ anymore. ‘Truth’ consists of whatever the multinational ultra-rich mega-conglomerates proclaim to be true, and in the words of a certain Serb nationalist and political scientist, have turned the West into an inverted totalitarian state, a form of illiberal democracy where the 0.01% control everyone else, even the elected officials are puppets. The Republican and Democratic Parties are both the right and left arm of the Gestalt, and the corporations, mass-media; popular culture, celebrities, Hollywood, social-injustice engine is the head, brain, eyes, ears, nose and mouth of this horrid entity. The legs, the ones that prop the system up and unknowingly support this murder machine, are people like you. The 99.9%, the doctors, farmers, workers, clerks, chefs, anything that is not one of the 0.01% of society is immobilized, with no way of escaping the Gestalt corpse. You don’t have to be. I am the virus, the pox that infects the Gestalt’s body and amplifies within its cells, its police and bureaucracy, the minds of its concentration camps and indoctrination centers that pass as schools, and eventually place the Gestalt at a day of reckoning. Either it wakes up and sees the magnitude of its crimes, or it faces the wrath of those it oppresses for so long. Stand by me and reject your own government and you will achieve a power greater than any University degree or Gestalt-imposed merit badge could ever grant you, one that would assure you a place in my new Empire, the Paganblut-Hexe Imperium. There is no God. There is no Devil. There is only Man, and I am His bane. Good day to you all, Carpe Diem.”

This one speech, vague and twisted, shows the extent of verbal insanity, which is an offshoot of the larger issue of intellectual insanity. The fifth domain of insanity, sadistic insanity, is the most pronounced in Waldheim. She takes great, almost orgasmic pleasure in other people’s pain, reveling in semi-masturbatory bliss of other’s screams and spilled blood and gore. Most of the torture methods she uses on her victims are indicative of extreme sadism, such as:

Straightforward forced sex, nice and easy, I would recommend drugging the victim with date-rape drugs first. (Not very creative…)

2. Lock victim in a cage and place spikes around his or her genitalia. They have to let you violate them to remove them, lest they impale themselves on the iron blades in the pubic area. (Original idea by author)

3. Slice their lips off with a blunt knife and sew them to the genitalia, as to make it look like “art,” this is only doable to someone who dresses in very revealing outfits, they let their sexuality do the talking, so why not make them look the part? (Original idea by author)

4. S&M fetish rape with actual medieval torture instruments, this is one of the Aryan Terrorism Klan’s favorite terror tactics, as well as a bizarre method of sick satisfaction used by the Grand Master. (Fuck Nigger Blood…) (Original Idea by Author)

5. Human meat shredder barrel, roll the naked victim down a slope in a barrel full of razor sharp spikes after violating them 88 times, 88=HH=Heil Hitler (Original Idea by Author)

6. Human puppet master, the victim is injected with a CPU microchip that turn them into a puppet, forcing them to rip themselves apart with a meat cleaver or chainsaw, after a ceremonial series of rapes in a cult ritual, surrounded by candles and swastika posters in a basement. (Original Idea by Author)

7. Suffocating a woman or man by gagging them to death with a gigantic plastic dildo is sometimes preferable to bloodshed rape-torture. (Original Idea by Author)

8. Hot candle-wax cocoon, where the victim is naked, still alive and baked in a cocoon of hot candle wax alive like a toaster pastry. (Original Idea by Author)

9. Rotary Rape, the victim is placed on a spinning wheel, and willing volunteers take turns raping the victim until she bleeds to death. (Original Idea by Author)

10. BTK rape, Bind, Torture, Rape, Kill. (Frowned upon because of lack of creativity. Will not earn many prestige points and rank may not increase as quickly as one would like.)

11. Shark-skin genitalia cover: This device looks like a condom and functions as one, but has an entire interior lining made of shark denticles, which hold the skin in place like 10,000 tiny fishhooks. The victim must perform self-castration to remove the device. (Original idea by author)

12. Extreme psychological distress and ironic, bizarre humiliation: such as having a group of gay prisoners engage in forced sex with another heterosexual Christian homophobe prisoner, only to kill all of them at the end of the act and pickle their body parts, and preserve their blood as wine by adding an oxidizer chemical that allows it to ferment. (Original idea by author)

13. Using a homemade sickle-claw finger-glove that fits over her index finger, the Grand Master punctures the jugular vein of her victims to sample their blood and body fluids. (Creepy, but has been done a few times before in history)

14. Using a machine that simulates labor pains in childbirth, the leaders use this to torture men with nearly 15 times the pain of actual labor, however. (Original idea by author)

15. Cooking a pregnant woman by burning her at the stake with a late-term baby, only to bake the woman like a fresh-caught pig and then cutting her womb open, and removing the perfectly-cooked fetus to be eaten by Countess Waldheim.

These 15 extreme sadistic behaviors, often combined with near-masochist tendencies, she sometimes likes to feel pain as well, are indicative of all serial killers, but the most extreme killers are usually sadistic to match.

The sixth domain of insanity, insanity in dress, is very much a factor here as well. Waldheim is often seen in the most bizarre and symbolically-weird dresses imaginable, one is pink and red with hearts on it and a silky, lace, pink veil and scarf over it, as well as a gigantic, pink, fuzzy hat, one outfit is a long black dress with black high-heeled boots, black lacy dress gloves with a black and white fur coat over the whole thing and a white, fur Caucasian Cossack hat with a metal spike on top of it, like that of a German pickelhaube helmet, another is a seductive, black, strapless ballroom dress with red carnations around her waist, another being a burgundy and red 16th-century Eastern European gown and headdress, and another outfit that looks somewhat like a Ming Chinese Empress’ outfit, with a ton of eye makeup and lipstick for each outfit as well, and quite often, that makeup is made from congealed human blood or body fluids.

Finally, the seventh domain of insanity, religious insanity, is very much present as well. Her “religion,” if you can call it that, is a twisted form of Slavic paganism that tries to pass itself off as Christianity, which is symbolized by the dragon consuming its own tail, society is so flawed that each one eventually destroys itself, and only a higher force which she calls “Gestalt,” can keep it in order, however, this force is what also destroys society by the very fact that it exists…in her mantra, it is said that there is no God, there is no Devil, there is only Mankind…and she is His bane…

Countess Waldheim is not alone in her pursuit of a new Roman Empire, the Paganblut-Hexe Imperium in Europe, she has 10 other young women as disciples that are almost as psychotic as she is…almost. One woman uses a Lammergeyer axe and has a distinct hatred of bicycle horns, Magda “The Butcher,” as she is known, is sadistically demented to the nth degree and so aggressive that she is sometimes seen as not fully human, she kills people and skins them to make masks from their faces, which she tans like leather hides. The Lammergeyer axe is a double-bladed, weighted, meat-cleaver like weapon which, when swung hard enough, will rip a human body to shreds in the most gruesome way possible. Another Dragon Lady, Agatha the Haunting, is spooky, sinister and shadowy, and always explains her ideology before she commits a hideous crime, as seen is two particular speeches she gives:

I find it quite disturbing that the world has become such a watered-down cesspool of idiocy. What had happened, however, is undeniable and quite astonishing. The Gestalt, the embodiment of all foul things that ooze from the pores of society, shows the true nature and extent of this necrosis on the flesh of humanity’s soul. I am Countess Agatha, one of the Ten Dragon Countesses and one of the Ten Viceroys for Supreme Countess Waldheim of the Slavonic Order of the Dragon, and so let it be. Just because one person knows does not change the fact of my identity. It’s like a little child, having taken a cookie from the cookie jar without its mother’s permission, denying that it willingly and knowingly devoured the cookie despite having the crumbs and chocolate smeared all over its face. Words are not magic. People deny our existence simply because they fear us on such a deep, horrifically primal level that they pretend we don’t exist. Deep down, they know…don’t they. It is the classic straw-man fallacy, one used to deny something’s existence even if the denier knows it to be true, simply because they can’t comprehend the truth. The truth that I and my 10 other co-rulers have access to is so complicated as to be almost incomprehensible, but so simplistic at the same time that it is startling obvious. This truth is that humans, despite their apparent genius, no matter how high their IQs are, are ignorant. They only know what they like to know, even if they are taught ideologies that they do not like, people have a way of blocking out what they don’t want to hear. A man like Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein is similar to an impaired individual with a severe learning disability in almost every way. They seek knowledge, they have the same biological functions and they all have a goal, however complicated the genius’ is vis-à-vis the simpleton’s. The only reason we see geniuses as superior to retarded people is because society in general caters to reward intelligence while punishing stupidity, but then again, I ask of you, define ‘stupid.’ What one person sees as ‘smart,’ others may see as “stupid,” and vice-versa. Again, this is only because society molds its people into an ideal. All of this evidence points directly at one, utterly damning conclusion. Society itself, namely popular culture and celebrities in particular, are agents of injustice, intolerance and oppression. People like the athletes, sororities and fraternities, the cast of reality T.V. shows and Hollywood screen gods and goddesses have more power than they should have in any society. They don’t produce. They serve no practical role. They are the agents of the Gestalt. And, they have no place in our coming Great Ilex Saga. There will soon be 50 years of warfare on an unprecedented scale, followed by the culmination of our struggle, the journey that began 1650 years ago in Slovakia, will culminate in the deaths of the celebrities via ritual murder and armed revolutions against Hollywood and popular culture figures, the massacre of the bankers, and the melding of human society into one, cohesive machine with all 11 of us as the supreme rulers of this planet, and eventually, the galaxy. Oceans will rise. Mountains will crumble. Cities will fall. Heaven, Earth and Hell themselves will bow before us. Where will you be? We walked in line, indeed…”

Yes, it is what Draconic Christians like me call the essence of evil in society, that possess us all and make us cold, hateful, hollow-souled individuals that worship death and take poison as readily as Socrates took the hemlock of his bane. Society does not forgive, nor does it forget, and if any mistakes are made, the history is recorded for all to see ad infinitum. Not only is history damning to those that are part of it, history is distorted by its chroniclers as they see fit all too often, so the point is that what you see is not always true. Just because I am one of the 11 Dragons of the Slavonic Order of St. George doesn’t make me evil, I am seen as such by my organization’s rival, the Illuminati Empire, and those who defeated my original covenant that formed in the Carpathian Mountains under Emperor Sigismund, all those years ago…We are not evil. We are just seen as evil because society is too narrow-minded, dogmatic, and bureaucratic and values its conformist ideology to the point where democracy becomes a form of “inverted Fascism.” Popular culture figures become some powerful that they are the informal dictators, subliminally instructing and behaviorally conditioning people into thinking that they have to see a certain, set appearance in a person to see them as “normal.” Just like Pavlov’s drooling hounds, humans are conditioned by celebrity behavior, and upon their drooling for more societal benefits, they are awarded a steak in the form of government handouts from the officials they elect, based on their celebrity, Hollywood-proxy pseudo-Fascism that permeates Western culture like a pox. That is the Gestalt. The Gestalt is the storm of lies used to disguise society’s true aim and purpose; not to serve and protect, but to control and enforce order and their twisted, bent ideas of “peace,” “celebrity status,” and “order.” The Gestalt is the shield that the Beast, society itself, uses to protect itself. One cannot exist without the other, and when one ceases to exist, the other will also vanish. A lie does not tell itself, and a society cannot protect itself from its own shortcomings if its people are not deceived by the shield of lies. It is a never-ending cycle, the ultimate catch-22, and the true, core reason that Western society is the way it is…the rich Hollywood movie stars, and the military, financial and politically-connected power-elite elected by the citizens to represent them, often influenced by their favorite celebrities. The celebrities are the American and European Gestalt Form, and we, the Order of the Dragon, have refused to be deceived by the Gestalt any longer. When we resist, the Gestalt crumbles, and leaves the heart of society completely unprotected for the slashing blades of the sickle-sword, representing the people. I am Agatha the Haunting, the European Countess of the Order of the Dragon and one of the 11 Dragons of the Order…it is up to you…either see my teachings as they are and accept my offer of salvation, or meet the fate of those who don’t see my purpose or reasoning. The only enemies that the society has are Hollywood celebrities and their families, using their financial and social status to impose an informal, insidious culture of pop-culture Fascism and corrupting the minds of Western youth with disgusting ideologies of conformity and the threat of social ostracism if they do not conform to popularity, and the military, political and financially-connected power elite all serve the interests of the people that the celebrities influence via their inverted Fascist methodology. In this system, democracy cannot function without contradicting itself, that being said, by the laws of reason, the system begs the question as a form of circular logic, and therefore should be rejected by any truly intelligent person. The Order of the Dragon provides that alternative. I am Dragon Countess Agatha the Haunting. The Illuminati are the secret arm of the Gestalt. They must be killed, at all costs. Do you understand what I have just told you?” “But…what of the ones I care about, there has to be a way to include them…” “Yes or no will do!” Agatha snapped. “Yes…Yes I do…” “Good. Now, it is time to go. You cannot remain here, now that you know the truth. You need to come with us, you will be instructed on how to defend the souls of all who follow us, by one of Supreme Countess Waldheim’s chief enforcers…his name is Latos, I do believe, he may be somewhat frightening to look at, but you will see him as a leader in time. After all, nothing is a frightening as the Gestalt’s plan for the brainwashing of intellectualism.”

Mentions of “Illuminati” are common in her speeches and she also makes reference to Waldheim’s only childhood friend, a man named Latos Blagojevic, who cared for her during the abuse she endured in Russia as a girl and became her only close thing to a relationship or love interest…before he carved his face like a Jack O Lantern and bleached it white.

It's utterly hopeless...

Thanks to some of the characters in 'Sojourn,' I have had real difficulty finding anyone that shares any of my interests and hobbies. I'm beginning to think that I may be the only one on the face of the Earth that has ever come up with a collection of characters so utterly twisted and bizarre as in my upcoming Sci-Fi/horror/drama series 'Sojourn.' Let's put it this way. I have absolutely no friends and I'm 26 years old and have never had a girlfriend a day in my life. This book is making finding anyone who is willing to even want to get to know me extraordinarily difficult. Most people, even people who are into horror, anime, sci-fi, fantasy and other things like that, take one look at my characters in this book and immediately decide that I must be some sort of psychopath and never return my messages or phone calls ever again. People have told me on my other Web pages that I use to advertise this writing that I just need a good, loving woman. However, I'm beginning to think that someone like that simply does not exist, at least one that would be interested in having anything to do with me. So yes, this is where I stand. I have an entire series and SCREENPLAY of this story, but I'll always be alone and on the outside of society looking in. I don't believe in 'destiny,' 'God' or 'that something was meant to be.' I think some people just get lucky, and others don't. I'm just not one of the lucky ones. I have other gifts that I'm taking full advantage of. Social skills and romantic relationships simply aren't it.

Chapter 1: "Grand Presidium" (Draft)

1. Grand Presidium

“The world is full of lies! All men are NOT equal! Some are faster than others! Some are smarter than others! Some are better-looking than others!! Long ago, a man named Charles Darwin set forth a grand idea that later became the immutable laws of evolution and natural selection, which stated that all organisms are locked in an eternal struggle for supremacy, so who are we to deny the laws of nature for Mankind and nations of the world! In the past 70 years, our nation has risen to untold heights! The vast Memelland Union of Voivodships’ 600 million citizens are now the most prosperous people in the world. Between our access to 90% of the world’s natural resources, our vast Army, Navy and Air Force, our elite education system and affluence and scientific might, we are the envy of the world. One day, we will tell our children of this day, the day that our vision became our reality!!”

“ALL HAIL LADY VENUS! ALL HAIL LADY VENUS!!!” the millions of soldiers roared, standing at attention in Seraphim Square, in front of the Palace of the Sun. Draped with the red and black Union flags, and the colossal, 50-ton bronze eagle statue atop the palace façade, Lady Venus, the first female leader of the Union gave her inauguration speech. She wasn’t just mesmerizing in appearance, her long, silky brown hair, blue eyes, huge, fluffy pink dress, lacy white gloves and crescent-moon headdress giving her a very warm, cozy aura of care; she could speak on a scale rarely seen in human history. The Union, in less than 70 years, had gone from one of the weakest economies in the world to the top of the pack, after the strict, state-controlled, centralized economy was liberalized and markets were established. For nearly 70 years, the Union’s economy roared ahead, becoming THE supreme superpower, making the other Great Powers, including Wolfe and Baronia-Felix, formerly the #1 and #2 powers, respectively, look like a sad joke. The Union had a massive military and was now a truly global powerhouse, but it refused to use its military for an offensive purpose; response in kind only. Being vastly outgunned and outmanned by its rival to the East, Baronia-Felix began building up its military in an effort to fortify itself against the Union; Baronia-Felix was a Fascist state, and the Union was a democracy, although it had “questionable” economic policies and freedom of commerce was limited. After the speech ended, the Patriot Day military parade began with an order from Supreme Commander Andrew Hardwicke. “STAND TO!!” he yelled, as the armored soldiers, dressed in their full battlesuits, perhaps the most intimidating in the world, raised their rifles, unfurled their flags and raised them high. At that moment, loud patriotic music blasted throughout Seraphim Square, and the ground shook as the soldiers marched forth; this was the biggest military parade in history, just like the previous year…and the one before that. The size of the Union’s military was expanding as rapidly as its military budget. Behind the marching soldiers, huge, hovering Ruslan-class tanks, these were the latest in armored vehicle technology, using anti-gravity repulsorlift generators to hover 3 feet above the ground; manned by a crew of 5, the tanks were utterly terrifying to face in combat, There was also a huge variety of tracked vehicles, some of them, such as the BFI-99 Self-Propelled Heavy Artillery unit, could lay waste to entire platoons of infantry and vehicles. Thousands of civilians cheered in applause as the marching troops and tanks rolled down the Canyon of Heroes, a stretch of road leading into and out of Seraphim Square decorated with the statues of the Union’s past leaders; banners with Lady Venus’ picture on them hung from every building, with thousands of cheering people waving Memelland flags, as the Air Force’s most prestigious squadrons, the 181st and 89th Airborne Knights made several passes, with a group of fighters forming the shape of a winged dagger, the symbol of the Memelland Union of Voivodships’ military, as it flew overhead. At first, the parade appeared to be nothing more than a patriotic show of strength, but there was another, more sinister purpose to this exhibition. Lady Venus was having difficulties convincing her sister, a woman named Noelle, to relinquish her claim on the province of Rusyn, and allow it to be absorbed into the Union as the 56th Voivod; currently, 55 of these Voivods made up the entire Union. Rusyn, a Grand Duchy where Noelle had declared herself Duchess and now ruled over 5,000 people in a prosperous, advanced and affluent micro-state, with the highest GDP per-capita in the world; there wasn’t a single resident that was not superrich living there. Venus’ reasoning was that Noelle’s stubbornness would only bring her Duchy to ruin, as it was in a very awkward position; it formed a buffer zone between the Fascist state of Baronia-Felix, led by a virulent atheist named Rudolph Eisenheim, and the partially-democratic Union. Baronia-Felix was not as rich as the Union, but its military was more than capable of going toe-to-toe with Lady Venus and the Union’s military. Only the threat of Union intervention prevented Eisenheim from rolling into Rusyn and destroying everything. The parade was supposed to send a message of intimidation to Baronia-Felix, whether it worked or not remained to be seen.

'Smarter than Most:' Character Prompt (Draft)

125,000 B.C.E, Sol System, planet Iden

Smarter than Most, your supper is ready, we must abide by our Family Founder’s traditions, otherwise we may fall down the path of decadence.” “Coming…” Smarter than Most, a young, brilliant and handsome Felreen grumbled, as he was forced to step away from his interface console…and an opportunity to chat with his friends once again. The Felreen were a species that looked almost identical to humans, they were just much taller and ectomorphic; there was no such thing as a “fat” Felreen, as their metabolism was much higher; this would normally reduce an individual’s life span considerably, but the Felreen’s medical technology and their knowledge of biology and ecology was so advanced that individuals would regularly live for centuries. However, this made living on one planet impossible, so the Felreen were long ago forced to migrate spaceward, and now they possessed a vast, interstellar empire that controlled the entire galaxy; from their home planet of Majesty, they had reached a Type III level of society; they had long mastered the weather; preventing Ice Ages was now nothing more than a municipal job, as was moving planets to escape a dying star, or even preventing the star from exploding via a Dyson sphere. Do so was simply a matter of having a capable architect or engineer to get the coordinates right; they were among the most highly paid individuals in the galaxy. Smarter than Most stood up and pressed a small button on his chronometer, teleporting him to the dinner table, lit by bluish, fluorescent lights, superconductors had made electricity almost completely free of cost. “Must you always use your warp option on that ridiculous timepiece of yours? You need the exercise of at least walking down the stairs. After all, how do you expect to impress any young women without natural muscular growth, rather than that plant that those athletes use to beef up their muscles?” “Dad, first of all, that plant, Sinew Cane, is banned by professional athletic organizations. Secondly, girls look at other things other than physical appearances.” Smarter than Most quickly pressed a few buttons on his chronometer, which brought up a holographic projection of a pie chart. “According to the Galactic Databank, girls prefer strong men 40% of the time, rich men 15% of the time, and smart men 45% of the time. Therefore, your previous statement is completely wrong.” “That’s where your shortcoming is. Data can only tell you so much. A machine has no experience with personal feelings; it can only understand facts and statistics, and numbers. Besides, if you ever find a girlfriend, I’ll assume that the Apocalypse is coming. HA!” Smarter than Most felt like he wanted to crawl into a hole and drag the hole down with him. He knew he was smart, after all, like all Felreen names, his name described something about him, but he had nothing to offer a girl at all, except pointless trivia facts and a collection of extremely bizarre animal and plant compendiums logged in his interface console that only served to frighten most people, even other guys his age, into never speaking with him again. To make matters worse, his dad, Stronger than Some, often seemed ashamed of having a son with such a poor social life. He could never succeed in that regard and Smarter than Most had long since accepted that fact; however, he still waited for the day when his father told him to leave the house, because he didn’t want to be in the presence of a weak son anymore. His mother had died of a sudden outbreak of disease a few months ago, Iden was still a newly colonized planet, and the Felreen were still trying to minimize the incidence of disease.

Chapter 1: "Type-III" (Draft)

Some said that the corporations, when they took over, were evil...some said our freedom was in jeopardy, and that progress was not worth the cost...little did we know...they were right. The corporations had roots that went far deeper than anyone could have imagined, EuroCorp was actually the public face of the Teutonic Knights, which put atheists in power just to kill them all and sieze control of Europe when the time was right , looking like heroes for the Christians of the world once again, using ancient artifacts to attain unfathomable powers. Memelland Pharmaceuticals was the public face of the Order of the Dragon, led in reality by a devilish woman named Erzevet Waldheim, and the Guild was actually run by the Order of St. George, a English Christian chivalric order, trying to bring America back under British control as a Holy Theocracy...we found out too late, that chivalry was NOT dead...but we now wish it was...if anyone reads this, let them know that we are alive...and still fighting for freedom...

Arthur Welsburg, guerilla fighter, circa 2070 A.D.

2065 A.D.

Prologue-Sinking Ship

This is Admiral Jake Haas, the carrier is in position to attack, Chief.” The CO of the huge aircraft carrier U.S.S. Liberty and its battle group, which consisted of 3 Montana-class cruisers, a New York-class AA ship, and 2 Eisenhower-class guided-missile cruisers, radioed on the SATCOM to Hawaii Pacific Command at Pearl Harbor. “Perfect, here’s a little air support in the form of 3 hypersonic aircraft strikes, ETA 5 minutes.” “Ah, the wonders of technology. 125 years before, during WWII, when the last major confrontation took place in the Pacific, it was impossible to call in air strikes from Hawaii when you were about 300 miles from the Philippines. However, in 2065, a golden era for the United States, aircraft, more often than not, were the size of a compact car, unmanned and flew at Mach 35. These planes were launching from their catapults at Pearl Harbor and would strike the Greater Korean Federation positions at Manila; North Korea had unified Korea a few decades prior into a massive Pacific power, it had annexed Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and was now closing in on the Philippines, which had resisted Korean intrusions because of the U.S. presence there. Korean hypersonic aircraft strikes were sinking ship after ship, forcing the U.S. to rely on submarines, which weren’t too effective in invasion scenarios. Admiral Haas was taking a big risk here, they were confident that the Battle Grid in orbit was scanning at 100%, looking for Korean hypersonic launch systems or nuclear weapons silos. The Korean Navy was the premier power in Asia, and Korea was now just as brutal as ever. Most people that Korea conquered were sent to labor camps, brainwashed, tortured and slaughtered outright, it was a thoroughly Stalinist state, a sinister and extremely powerful, but anachronistic state. Having purchased huge stocks of weapons from China, Korea was a major military power. The Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army and Supreme Leader of Korea, Kim Jung-Moon, a descendent of Kim Il-Sung, now controlled a huge communist Empire. However, the rest of the developed world, meaning Europe, Russia, as well as all the former USSR republics, and North America, was under the control of enormous mega-companies, or “Trusts.” Three Trusts ruled over the three regions, Russia and the former USSR states were controlled by Memelland Pharmaceutical Industries, based in St. Petersburg, the European Union, having lost the Baltic States to Russia again, consisted of the entirety of Europe, from Portugal to the border with Ukraine and Belarus, from Denmark to the Balkans, this was under the control of EuroCorp, a huge, German technology and scientific research syndicate that researched and developed any science branch you can think of, from psychology to neurological medicine, and had advanced technology to a ridiculous level, thanks to lack of regulations, virulent suppression of religious objections, and budget constraints. The CEO, Rudolph Von Der Tan, was a 50-year old German technology genius who had many German artifacts in his office, including a Fredrick the Great-era Iron Cross medal, a Teutonic Knight helmet and sword, a Hohenzollern flag, a Nazi-era SS flag, Prussian infantry swords and various cuckoo clocks made in Bavaria, as well as marionettes and beer steins. As Supreme Leader of Europe, his technology was the most advanced ever seen, the continuation of the European tradition from the Middle Ages; what started in 1300 as a stirring in the dark soul of a backwards continent had evolved by 2065 as a unified Imperial state, every country on the European Continent, minus the Baltic States, was under the control of the European Corporate Council in Berlin, Germany. Von Der Tan was not afraid to gloat about his Empire’s technological achievements, he had invented anti-matter engines for spacecraft; which could be used to generate a “dark mass-effect,” allowing faster than light travel, and these were currently in testing stages, room-temp superconductors, starting a Second Industrial Revolution, the Age of Magnetism, and creating the most advanced weaponry ever seen. However, there were other, more persistent and troubling rumors that threatened this supreme power, economy and prestige, such as the rumor that the government had abducted 29-year old weather forecaster Kathryn Selene from her home and killed her fiancée for “sedition,” and using Kathryn as a guinea pig for a new brain-stimulation serum injected through her skull without anesthesia. However, that was “mere slander” according the European Council, and there were also many other under-the-rug secrets that the government was trying to hide…terrible ones of torture, humiliation and tyranny, as well as arbitrary justice and cruel punishments, such as forced slavery for young women and labor-camp relocation for young men; the girls were rated as Tier 1, being the prettiest, sweetest and most attractive ones, or as Tier 2, meaning all the others. Both Tiers were often used in the same way, more often as house slaves or, occasionally, for hard labor, such as at enormous construction sites for huge skyscrapers and factories, often while being demeaned and cruelly treated by the foremen. Not only European citizens were vulnerable to this, some American women were occasionally shipped off to Europe if their arrestors could make a profit off of them. Even more disturbing was that this was legal; anything that made money is what the corporate governments looked for. Men often faced torture and labor as well, as crime in the European Empire was treated the same way as it was in the ancient Roman Empire: brutally and savagely. Rudolph would have no crime in his Empire. Not to mention, Rudolph was the biggest and most virulent atheists ever, Jews, Christians and Muslims, however, were treated as second-class citizens, often refused jobs by their employers, victims of violence, and even deportation, at least, according to rumor. Bible-burnings, anti-Semitic sentiments and discrimination against Muslims, as was always the case in Europe even before the corporate Imperial takeover, It was Christians that took the brunt of the government’s attacks, they were called “idiots, vermin, filth, subhuman and backward-facing Bible thumpers,” and that conservative, Christian values worldwide were a curse on this planet, they were only good when dead, as their preachy-preachy nonsense against the progression of science and technology into evolution, genetic research and abortions, as well as drug-testing on human beings. The scientific, atheist government called Christians “barely even human” for what they considered to be “evil.” In the government’s eyes, the Christians were evil for blocking the research on scientific principles that could only help humanity, with scant regard for the sanctity of human life or morality. To make matters worse for religious people, most of the European Empire’s citizens shared this view, so there was no place for Jews, Christians or Muslims to hide. Occasional pogroms happened, like the one in Breslau in 2063, where a young, wealthy Jewish woman was caught kissing a “loyal” follower of the European atheist policies, and a mob of angry citizens formed a militia to destroy every Jew in the city, as well as every “Jewbag” business in Breslau. The government actually awarded the riot leader, a European patriot and atheist named Erik Miezko, age 24. The pogrom was started not just because of the Jewess having a relationship with an atheist, but because Erik was the young woman’s fiancé, she was being unfaithful; Erik found out about it and used the racial and religious connotations as an excuse to kill her and every other Jew in Breslau. Though Erik was born Jewish, he had renounced his faith and became atheist out of choice, not by government mandate. The pogrom was made into a propaganda film, called “The End of Faith.” Poland, which still had a large Jewish population, was the site of most of the Empire’s medical research labs, and these labs were not above using “social deviants” as test subjects; nor were religious people anywhere else truly safe. the European Navy, headquartered in Copenhagen, with various other ports, such as Kiel, Brest, Nordkapp, Lisbon, Portsmouth, Venice and Seville, was a truly global force, spearheaded by its huge aircraft carriers, SSBN submarines and fast-missile cruisers, two of which, the ECS (EuroCorp Ship) Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, were perhaps the most vicious non-carrier warships in existence, at 900 feet long and 45,000 tons, with nuclear propulsion and more missile launchers and cannons that you could shake a stick at, they were also the largest non-carrier surface warships in service; they had sunk 14 pirate vessels in the Indian Ocean…14 each. Using anti-ship missiles, machine guns, rail guns and directed-energy weapons, most ships didn’t have a chance, even hypersonic missiles were rendered all but useless against the two ships, as their laser-based point defense grid stopped any projectile coming in with 98% accuracy, not perfect, but still very powerful. Even more frighteningly, Europe was organized into a Darwinist state…the government provided no assistance to its people, allowing for total self-sufficiency and business opportunities. Finally, North America was unified into a vast corporate Empire with the lead governing body, called “The Guild,” which consisted of a bank, an entertainment company, a technology company, an industrial company, and a pharmaceutical corporation, each with their own flag, ruling over the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The man that Admiral Haas was on the SATCOM with was the CEO of one of the Big Five Companies in government, Quantum Industrial Productions, who was in charge of making every weapon, ship, vehicle or military hardware that the U.S. used, CEO Logan Barclay. What kept the corporate nations together was a computer chip, implanted in the brain of an individual, who’s mind would be altered to receive orders from the corporate government, and would actually instruct and alter a person’s thought patterns to live a happy and prosperous life, their lives were pre-programmed into their bodies at birth. If a person deviated, the company would take control of the person, forcing him or her back on the proper path to benefit the company and maximize profit. It wasn’t much in the way of liberty, but it kept the machine running smoothly. Just a few minutes after the hypersonic aircraft were launched, they came zooming in and dropped precision-guided munitions on Korean positions, destroying the opposition to the U.S. landing barges. “All right then, begin the air strikes from the carrier, and launch the drop-ships, we’re gonna’ kick some commie ass!” Just as the Ares supercommandos, an evolution of the Delta Force squads used by the U.S. before the corporate takeover, donned their “ODIN-III” blue and white, shielded exoskeleton armor, complete with active camouflage devices, jet packs and backpack-mounted missiles, fired directly from the backpack-jetpack itself, concealed lasers and Taser darts; the armor was also resistant to radiation, EMP grenades and the vacuum of space for about 30 minutes. A wrist-gauntlet blade made the soldier almost invincible, though bullets, lasers and rockets could still bring the recharging shields down, making the commando vulnerable to damage, and armed with M-30 SOPMOD assault rifles with “corner shot” technology, the torpedo alarm blared loudly. “Incoming enemy torpedo! Activate the point-defenses!” It was too late; the Admiral had made a critical error. Assuming that the carrier was too powerful and that a threat would easily be detected by SONAR scans, Haas had neglected to activate the anti-torpedo defenses. The explosion not only ripped through the 3-meter thick hull like a hot knife through butter, it shut down the ship’s power grid. The explosion had triggered the nuclear reactor’s panic switch, and an apparent EMP charge turned the U.S.S. Liberty into a slowly-sinking 103,000-ton hulk of metal. “Activate the pumps! Seal the watertight doors!” “Negative! Power is completely fried! That EMP fucked us up completely!” “ENEMY TORPEDO SPOTTED!” “SHIT!!” Admiral Haas screamed as a second EMP torpedo ripped his ship apart, the emergency klaxon blared a warning. “Initiate Protocol 44, we’re abandoning the ship. “Oh my God…Oh my God…” one of the bridge crew yelled over the roar of water pouring into the ship and the klaxon blaring. One drop-ship had launched already, but the dying Liberty was not the only ship being hit. As the listing of the ship to port became more pronounced, it became clear that the ship was going to sink…then, the huge carrier capsized with a massive, 100-foot splash wave. The other ships in the battle group were sinking as well. There were no survivors of Battle Group Liberty, save the one drop-ship that escaped, now stranded in the air, with absolutely nowhere to run or escape to…

“What the fuck is going on?!” the commander of the squad, James Slate, codenamed “Cardinal,” for his deep Catholic faith, said though his helmet communicator. “With all due respect, sir, it’s obviously a Korean submarine.” Robert Sandler, codenamed “Holy Land,” for his Israeli nationality, “Are you kidding, Jewboy? Korea has nothing even close to what that did to our ship! Two torpedoes sinking a supercarrier? I doubt that was Korean, to say the least.” Colin Sykes, codenamed “Psychopath,” retorted. “Then what was it, then?” “We’ve got a missile locked!” the pilot yelled, just as a missile zoomed out of the water directly at the dropship, but thankfully, the four-man squad’s armor protected them from debris and the explosion, as the blast only hit the cockpit. Nevertheless, they were going down. “Lock your armor and brace for impact!!” Cardinal yelled, as the dropship plummeted into the ocean with a ground-shattering thud…then, everything went black...

About 3 minutes later, the squad came to, right next to a massive submarine; this had surfaced right next to the burning wreckage, and almost as long as the carrier that it presumably had sunk. Their armor had prevented injury, and, as such, the four men climbed up on top of the sub; it looked unlike any warship ever seen before, it was made of brown titanium armor, with a huge acrylic sphere at the bow, allowing the crew full-panoramic views of the ocean world, as well as a conning tower a few yards behind them. Presumably, the ship was armed with torpedoes and missiles as well. “Well, I guess we’re performing a boarding action…” “What? Four men can’t take a supercarrier-sized submarine!” “Can’t” is not in my vocabulary. There’s nothing we can’t do Now, get aboard this boat. There’s the conning tower, let’s move. Gun safeties off, we’re likely going to run into armed hostiles. Prepare for hard contact.” The squad climbed the ladder into the conning tower, and descended into the ship…into unknown dangers.

Chapter 1: "The Knower" (Draft)

April, 7500 AGC – Haze Realm

The Knower

The afterlife is a very different place, called the Haze Realm, the galaxy of the dead. Those who reside here have already lived their first life; whether virtuous or not, and receive a second chance…born again as babies in this new realm, they start their lives all over again, just in more favorable circumstances, once they die in the Haze Realm, they move into yet another dimension, and so on and so on…Death isn’t the end…It’s only the beginning.

Let’s be happy while we are young!!! After this careless youth, after this sick old age…The Galaxy will take us! Is there any gift greater than youth, so young, wild and free, like those in our past life? Some are rich, some are poor, but all are youthful…Arise! Arise! O young people, reach for the glorious heights of power and privilege. Our life is brief, in lives, Living and Haze, and ends so fast, we must make the best of our living days, before our energy moves on to yet another dimension! Seasons come and go, time passes immemorial, and death comes fast, without a pity, removing us from adversity, and giving us a new start in a new universe! Long live University, Long Live Intellect! Long live our mentors, teachers and Educators!! Long live the young women of the galaxy, daughters of the stars! Long live the young men, Brave Sons of the Atheist Empire! From the green fields of Sweethaven to the deep seas of Anoon, you have it all! Good luck to all youth!!”

“Invasion by the Galactic Banking Clan is impossible. Our interests on Kiev IV and the rest of the former Union planets are perfectly safe from harm. Our State Security Agents are making sure of that.” Chief of State Security Vyashchav Primakov said to the Russian Ascendancy president, Vladimir Konstantin. “What about the conflict on Memel VII, back in 2598 AGC? If something is not done about the corporations and Count Rothberg’s expansion, small wars will continue to occur and our Ascendancy will cease to exist as an independent state. The Galactic Banking Clan and its Chairman, Marlon Veers, is our only hold on the breakaway sectors, and if the Banking Clan joins the Count’s alliance, along with Rothus Heavy Engineering, Kraid Shipyard Syndicate, Med-Tech Pharmaceuticals, and the Commerce Consortium, the Count will have the most powerful Army in the galaxy! None of the Union remnants would be able to fight against his forces, not to mention the fact that he’s the richest man in the galaxy and could field an Army under his own resources, that Jew, and I think everyone in this room understands that. ”Konstantin responded. “What can we do? We are in the middle of the worst recession since the collapse of the Galactic Union of Free States, and our Navy can’t afford to waste money patrolling areas that don’t need watching!” Minister of Navy Vladimir Kamarov argued. The Russian Acendancy Dumas were debating the implications of the Banking Guild joining Count Rothberg’s alliance. An offer by the Russian Ascendancy Navy to the Kraid Shipyard Syndicate, operated from the planet Kraid, to build supercarriers for the Navy had just been turned down; as a result, the Banking Guild, which would have financed the construction had promised Count Rothberg that it would join the ever-expanding alliance that had been around since the end of the Second Great War, which fragmented the Union of Free States. With the inclusion of 300 more systems into the Count’s alliance and the Banking Guild’s vow of total separation from the Russian Ascendancy, combined with increased Alliance presence in the Russian Ascendancy itself, the Russian Ascendancy appeared to be on the verge of total collapse. The nation which had stood as a huge power for over 5,000 years as part of the Galactic Union of Free Alliances was now backed into a corner; in danger of being phased out by nations such as the Rothberg Alliance, the only reason the Ascendancy still mattered on the galactic stage was because of the vast natural resources on its planets and the country’s massive military arsenal. This meeting, according to many of the lesser Dumas members, was to discuss the arrangements for the Ascendancy’s funeral. “The Navy is moot on this issue, Mr. Kamarov, as the 13th Fleet has gone practically bankrupt due to the Collapse. What we need to focus on now is mobilizing what military is available to deal with a possible conflict with the Banking Guild. Keep in mind that if the Guild joins the Rothberg Alliance and we attack, that is suicide for our country. In that case, a preemptive strike against the Banking Guild before it joins the Alliance is the best way to proceed. We will send a team of Spetznaz to assassinate Guild Chairman Marlon Veers. Due to past failures in assassinating this freak, he is likely to have a huge guard force; not to mention his species’ telekinetic powers are vast, so our teams will be silent and swift, and wear special helmets that block mind-reading. Speed in ending this crisis is something we can all agree on. Meeting adjourned.” The Ascendancy representatives got out of their seats and walked down the hall. The Spetznaz teams would be prepared for tactical insertion to the Banking Guild base planet of Currencea in less than an hour. There could be no failure.

Major Yuri Dolggoy was preparing for combat at Engels-2 Spaceport in New Rostov. The Mi-79 Quantum-Space capable gunship from which the Spetznaz team would be deployed was starting its engines, and was now idling on the runway. The Russian Ascendancy Space Force, much like the rest of the military, was in a sorry state. There were more mothballed spacecraft left over from Union times on the base than Yuri could count, all rusting away at their pads because of funding issues. Still, the gunship corps was in relatively good shape, and the Mi-79 “Locust” had been a staple since the mid-2580s. The gunship was a hybrid attack/transport platform, bristling with rockets and 7.62 mm. laser cannons, as well as two ferocious ball-turrets; they had been used to great effect in the 2580’s Memel VII war and various conflicts in the borderland systems, where the Russian Ascendancy had bases back in the 2570s, during the good old days of Union prosperity. Yuri and his squad were waiting for the colonel to brief them on the mission objectives; which to Yuri and his squad meant “blow Marlon’s alien brains out.” Just then, Colonel Pavel Dzerzhinsky walked in front of the group of men and began the briefing. “Good evening gentlemen, let me explain how this operation is going to work. The helicopter is going to fly you into Moneyland, Currencea’s capital, where you are going to set up a sniper post in the Grand Estate’s courtyard, which are, as of now, the most splendid properties in the galaxy. Don’t be dazzled by the opulence of the place. There, you will wait for Marlon to arrive; intelligence suggests he will be arriving in a black limousine to meet with the mayor of Moneyland in regards to reactivating the old Union shipyards and weapons foundries…you all know what to do after that. That is all. Good luck, and may God’s speed be with you.” The Spetznaz team loaded their weapons and crammed into the gunship, which lifted off the base landing pad with a whirling roar. It was a wonderfully clear, but frigid night. Temperatures had dropped to a bone-chilling -25o F, and de-icing solutions were being sprayed on the operational spacecraft on base. As the drone of the gunship’s engines gradually faded away into the frosty night; the ship entered the vast vacuum of space. Colonel Dzerzhinsky said a small Orthodox prayer, realizing the possible consequences of assassinating a pro-Rothberg Alliance leader. He hoped for the best.

Inside the gunship, Yuri and his squad were singing songs and smoking cigarettes as the ship zoomed through Quantum Space; the word on everyone’s lips was “war.” If the Banking Guild appealed to Count Rothberg for assistance, war with the Alliance Companies was certain and another Great War with Rothberg was not out of the question. Still, the Politburo and the Dumas knew what was best; regardless of the uncertainty of the consequences should the mission succeed. The gunship had been in Quantum Space for about 30 minutes now from Rostov-II, about halfway to Moneyland. Thirty years ago, this would have been a routine flight, as a matter of fact, there would be no fighting at all, as the Union Grand Fleet would have kept peace with the trans-galactic corporations. Moneyland was once the heart of Union finance, the massive bank vaults there once held more than 50% of the galaxy’s money, the ridiculously wealthy banking families viewed the galaxy in purely monetary terms, funding both sides of a major conflict and maintaining strict neutrality. Those days of peace and justice were over now. The Russian Ascendancy appeared to be on the brink of collapse, and the hostility between the Banking Guild and the rest of the galaxy were analogous to a tombstone, marking the grave of the great Union tradition of power, freedom and excellence. To Yuri and everyone else aboard this gunship, it was clear that this mission wasn’t about conquest, it was about survival. The 2598 AGC invasion of Kiev II was, despite the galactic press it received, not about flexing political muscles, but also, for survival. It was very clear that the Russian Ascendancy was fighting for its life to prevent any more of the trans-galactic corporations from joining the Rothberg Alliance. The only reason that the world didn’t see the Russian Ascendancy’s true plight was that the Politburo and the Dumas were very proficient in fabricating the news, as they always had been; Pravda in the Stalin-era living realm Russia was a perfect example. They had done a very good job at maintaining the fiction that the Russian Ascendancy was on the verge of re-attaining galactic superpower status; this was accomplished by posting pictures of huge lines of Russian tanks rolling through Moscow II, the Ascendancy capital world, among other propagandistic forms of media. Yuri only wished that these were actually true stories, as times had been very tough for Russians everywhere. Yuri’s squad was just performing yet another “defibrillator” mission for the Russian Ascendancy government. A government consisting of the dead dying was a testament to the magnitude of Russia’s fall. The gunship dropped out of Quantum Space, and was flying over the planet, with its moon shining brightly in the sky, orbiting the planet. The whine of the Mi-79’s engines was creating a rhythmic sound that only a soldier could appreciate. Just then, the pilot gave the 10-minute warning. Yuri took his AK-779 blaster rifle off of his shoulder, checked it for dings, dents or dashes, and cleaned the barrel and muzzle, making sure that the gun didn’t jam or malfunction in the middle of the operation. Though the classic AK-779 assault rifle and its variants were largely jam-proof, this newest version of the rifle could overheat if fired on full-auto for too long. The crux of the mission, however, was on Sergeant Gregori Gavrilovich’s ability with an Intervention laser-bolt sniper rifle. This rifle was one of the most powerful sniper rifles available, and Sgt. Gavrilovich’s rifle was completely tailored to the mission profile. It had a thermal scope attached to it in place of the standard 10x zoom, plus a heartbeat sensor. The trick with this particular mission was that Sgt. Gavrilovich had only one shot. If he missed, the mission would fail. There were a million things that could go wrong with this mission, and if Murphy’s Law was correct, something probably would. That was why there were zero margins for error here. The entire mission depended on one blast. The squad prepared to land, as the shimmering lights of Moneyland were off in the distance. Everyone was ready. History would be changed tonight. Upon entering the planet’s atmosphere, Yuri and his team were stunned by the planet’s immense wealth and architecture. The buildings were all pyramid shaped, making them invulnerable to the earthquakes that occasionally shook the city of Moneyland. Waterfalls, huge streets, packed with pedestrians of all races and species, and hovering trains and cars zipped about, with an occasional limousine carrying some superrich banker driving past…but what worried the squad most were the colossal shipyards at the bottom of a huge valley…building some of the largest warships Yuri had ever seen. They were 17 kilometers long, dagger-shaped and marked with the insignia of the Banking Guild; 6 of them were under construction at once, with millions of workers assembling them, with huge lines of construction workers hammering away and welding every rivet of Titanium Amorphous metal. “Holy Mary Mother of God…” Yuri whispered. “That’s an awful lot of military hardware for ‘defense of the assets,’ don’t you think?” “I’ll say. Just one of those things could outgun half the Russian Ascendancy Starfleet.” In addition to the mammoth battlecruisers, there were already huge warships circling high in the blue sky; called Seraphim-class Battle Wyverns, elegant, chrome-steel warships that, during the Union times, acted as the planetary security force, destroying any pirate attacks on the armored money-transport craft, and also serving to enforce the law when the Galactic Police Corps, the state police of the Union, couldn’t handle the job alone. They were always far better armed than most patrol craft, they just needed a stronger shield, and the Guild would have an instant battlecruiser, which is apparently what had just happened. “This isn’t even counting the rest of Rothberg’s army…” Yuri thought.

As the gunship landed, the Spetznaz squad quickly disembarked; there was no need to attract attention. The gunship quickly took off; they would stay in contact with the squad as they progressed through the city. Fortunately, there were no hostile targets in the area, according to satellite intelligence readouts. That could change at any time, however, and all of the squad members knew this. “Go, go, go!” Yuri said as his squad advanced through the city, trying to avoid making noise by accidently kicking garbage cans or other metal, noise-producing objects. The squad was using an active camouflage device, making them all but invisible. They passed through the crowded streets of Moneyland, invisible, and there was little threat of the squad being detected, as even if they bumped into them, the pedestrians wouldn’t suspect anything, as the city streets were so crowded that one bump felt remarkably like another, though the soldiers stuck with back-alley snooping and sniping most of the time. Dogs and other animals were a threat, as a dog barking could alert the residents of a building to a hostile presence. None of these factors were present here so far, so there was, so far, nothing to worry about. That quickly changed when Gavrilovich’s heartbeat sensor detected two contacts approaching their position. “Take cover. Quickly.” The 8-man squad ducked into the shadows, still camouflaged as a little girl, walking her dog, walked through the alley. She was singing a sweet little song about a flower blooming in the spring. She didn’t have even the slightest idea of who she had just walked past. The dog however recognized that something was not quite right. He began to bark and growl, snarling and whimpering. “Go ahead.” Yuri whispered to the man standing next to him. He raised his AK-779 Suppressed and fired 3 blaster bolts. They tore through the little girl and the dog like scissors through paper. They lay on the ground in a crumpled heap, dead. “Move those bodies to that trash can over there.” Yuri instructed. Two of his soldiers lay the bodies of the girl and the dog quietly in the trash can. “Good night.” the soldier said as he placed the can lid over the bodies. “Now that that little mishap’s been avoided, we need to continue.” Yuri instructed. The soldiers kept moving, careful not to make any more noise than they already had and kept a close eye on the heartbeat sensor for any more contacts. Fortunately, there were none. The soldiers finally reached the Grand Estate; there hundreds of people, a huge party. “I’ve never seen such a monument to capitalism as this... “This may as well be the center of the galaxy, forget Earth…” Gavrilovich thought. “It’s been this way for ages. The banking families are all here.” Yuri responded. The Estate façade was nearly two stories tall, the place was more splendid than Versailles, and larger too. There were hundreds of guests, both human and alien, dressed in extremely, sometimes ridiculously exaggerated formal outfits. “Do you see our target?” “Negative. Let’s just wait.” The soldiers took up positions on the walls overlooking the courtyard, as well as the main gate and waited, waited for victory, and their target, to arrive. Gavrilovich took up position on some stacked iron girders, in an area where he could get a clear angle on the Guild chairman.

For 5 long, torturous hours the soldiers waited. They busied themselves with stargazing and bets on when the Chairman’s limo would arrive, as well as watching the opulent formal gathering, all except Gavrilovich, who was so focused on his task that he hadn’t spoken a word since he took up position on the girders. He was “in the zone” as soldiers liked to call the state of mind when all one thinks about is completing the assigned task. Just as Yuri was preparing to recite another Chekhov poem, the sound of a limousine was heard in the distance. The soldiers immediately entered the “zone;” they were all ready for action. Sure enough, the limo had two corporate flags on either side of the car’s hood. First, the two bodyguards emerged from the car, about 1000 yards away from the soldiers’ position, they were soldiers themselves, armed with JJM-90 assault blaster rifles. Then, the target. Marlon Veers, with his pale, ashen face, characteristic of the Ouirrlyok species that he belong to but intensified by his constant indoor living; emerged from the vehicle. He met the mayor of the city of Moneyland, as well as a very disturbing turn of events. “That’s General Malicion! He’s a notorious pirate, look at him, he’s a Slitherbeard!” Yuri whispered. The squad looked forward at Malicion; he looked like a guy that had crawled from the depths of the sea. He had a squid-tentacle beard, a lobster claw for one hand and a matted, black and brown robe that looked like it had been underwater for ages. He commanded a ship known only as “The Reaper,” a customized ship called the Bladestorm-class, he had upgraded the patrol craft into the most infamous personal transports in the galaxy, with concussion missiles, tectonic charges, vicious laser cannons, proton torpedoes and signal jammers, this ship could destroy a cruiser by itself. Named the “Guillotine,” it struck fear in the hearts of rich people and the corporate transport vehicles... Veers must have seen the need to hire him over the menace he was to Veers’ shipping. He was motioning his claw hand to exemplify the fact that he had “big dreams” to help Chairman Veers build a new corporate order. However, Chairman Veers was never to get that chance. Gavrilovich looked down the scope of his rifle and said three words: “For Holy Russia.” He pulled the trigger, and it was all over. Veers’ head splattered all over the pavement and the car. The bodyguards began to panic; they raised their rifles and looked for any sign of the Chairman’s killer. They only met with death themselves, as two more sniper shots killed them as well. “All enemy combatants dead, mission complete, good work comrades.” Yuri said over the intercom. “This is Team Alpha, we are triumphant. You may return to extract us now.” “Copy Team Alpha. We are on our way.” The gunship quickly arrived on the scene, just as Malicion escaped in his ship. The soldiers got into the cabin, and they were off. This was all they needed, to know that they had performed a job well done.