Talk:Issue 21

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Issue 21 pre-release Teaser Story

Divided We Fall

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Somewhere in the skies above Sharkhead Isle

Mortimer Kal felt the portal violating this dimension hours before it manifested. His monitoring of the threads of fate and time gave him insight into things of this gravity, especially when the interaction between entire worlds was concerned. The ripples of this event sent a shockwave through his divination spell and he severed the connection before it destroyed his mind. He had seen too many neophytes fail to recognize the peril in time, their potential magnificence destroyed in an instant by their curiosity.

But there were so many others such as he that were not so foolish, and such a violent event would certainly be noticed by his former comrades in the Midnight Squad or the Mu sorcerers in the service of Arachnos. He stroked his beard for a moment and decided it would be wise for him to inform his liege of the situation. Such initiative on his part had been well received in the past and kept him in good standing, thus ensuring that his daughter remained unharmed.

With an utterance of words using syllables that would cause the average civilian's ears to bleed were they to hear them; Mortimer opened a mental link. He waited for acknowledgement before manifesting an image of himself to share the news with his master.

"I would not have contacted you in this way if I did not think this was important, my liege, but in a few hours a dimensional portal is going to open over Sharkhead Isle. Furthermore, this portal is Praetorian in origin" Mortimer began, "I should also inform you that I will not be alone in this revelation. I can assure you that The Midnight Squad and Arachnos will soon be aware of this event as well. I thought it best that you know immediately so that you could use the information as you saw fit."

His liege seemed pleased, so Mortimer felt he had enough favor to press the issue that was really on his mind, "If it pleases you, might I be allowed to see my daughter, if only briefly, my liege?"

The answer was made clear as the mental connection was cut. But Mortimer only smiled, for he had gleaned the briefest of surface thoughts that told him Fiona was alive and well. He would continue to play this game so long as she remained safe, or there would be hell to pay.

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Meanwhile, on Talos Island in Paragon City

Luminary's phased radar array picked up movement in the airspace over Talos Island long before her audio receivers heard the growing distress of screaming citizens fleeing from the area. Talos Island had seen its share of panic lately, what with the failed Praetorian attacks that had hammered King's Row, left Talos Island burning and Skyway City in shambles. Citadel sent a tight burst transmission to her. Their conversation was nearly instantaneous, and it went something like this:

Luminary, a Praetorian Rift has just opened.

Luminary: I detected an unidentified object in the Talos Island airspace. It's not big enough to be another War Walker, do you have visual confirmation?

Nothing in my databanks matches it by shape or visual spectrum, but it appears to be...

Luminary: Organic in nature... could it be?

Devouring Earth... I'm sure of it now.

Luminary: I'm sending a distress call to all civic authorities.

I'm alerting the rest of the Phalanx and all available heroes. Rendezvous with me at grid C2-A1-G8-E7 and we'll try to pen these things in until help can arrive.

Luminary: From all of our reports on Praetoria it sounds like their biggest problem just became our own. What are the Praetorian's thinking!?

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Deep beneath Praetoria's Lambda Sector

Meter thick security doors surged open with a fanfare of flashing hazard lights and a deep throaty hum from the drive mechanisms. A lone figure strode through the door with purposeful steps, the clip-clap of dress shoes on the polished steel floors echoing a stark contrast to the heavy thuds of the feet of Warworks combat robots assuming a stance of attention as their Emperor approached. At the end of the corridor a man's voice issued orders with practiced authority, but when the Emperor of Praetoria stepped into the room, the voice fell silent and an entire company of elite Imperial Defense Force soldiers snapped to attention.

"Troops dismissed" barked Colonel Duray as he turned and offered a crisp salute to his Emperor, "If I had known you were coming I would have..." but he was cut off before he could finish his thought.

"Belay that order and stay where you are" Cole said to the soldiers who were in mid stride. "I want my army to see and remember this moment." The soldiers returned to attention and waited to see what the Emperor was here to show them.

Cole locked eyes with Duray's good one for a few seconds, letting his displeasure fully percolate in the Colonel's mind before he spoke, "Colonel. Are you a moron?"

Duray started to respond, but thought better of it as Cole's nostrils flared, daring him to speak.

Cole laid it out for him, "You've gone WAY above your authority this time, Duray. I told you that Primal Earth's civilians are not to be harmed. Hell, our Warworks are programmed to repeatedly tell their civilians that we aren't there to hurt them. Do you think I'm playing a game here?" He didn't wait for an answer, but kept right on going. "You defy my orders to target only military targets, demolish half of Paragon City, expend our only allies on that world in a tragically failed attack, lose the warworks factory and our dimensional portal technology to the enemy, and now... Now you pull this!" Cole asked, "What the hell are you thinking?!"

Duray spoke calmly, "Our engagement protocols have done nothing but hamstring our efforts in -pacifying- Primal Earth. I have taken steps to remove those restrictions which prevent us from achieving total victory and have carried on with your decree to eliminate the threat of Primal Earth to Praetoria. As you have alluded to me being a moron, what appears to be the problem now, your Eminence?"

Cole touched his finger just below his own right eye and stared into the cybernetic replacement that Duray sported, "You remember the Hamidon Wars, don't you Colonel? That's how you lost your eye, fighting our eternal enemy, right?"

Duray's good eye twitched at the memory and he nodded, "That is correct."

Cole calmly folded his hands behind his back, inhaled slowly, and then continued, "Then you'll recall, I assume, the great difficulty in removing the Devouring Earth from built up urban environments, the tremendous loss of life that accompanies any and all Devouring Earth incursions into highly populated areas, and the nuclear response that is the generally accepted method to deal with said incursions? You remember that, yes?"

Duray again nodded.

"Then why would you think it was a good idea to capture Hamidon Seedlings and ship them through our dimensional portals to a world that the Fates, in their infinite wisdom, had the common decency to bless without the burden of a fully grown version of this very same monstrosity?" Cole's voice stayed calm.

Duray responded, "Intelligence reports suggested that the Primal Earth forces would be overwhelmed by the attacks of the Devouring Earth and that a few well placed neutron bombs could neutralize the Devouring Earth threat once they did the dirty work for us. Our media specialists at TPN indicate that we could spin the event such that the majority of Primal Earth citizens would be convinced that we did their world a service and that..."

Colonel Duray's words were cut off as his head took the full force of the Emperor's fist. He was dead before he hit the wall 50 meters behind him. Cole removed a cloth handkerchief from the breast pocket of his coat and dabbed the blood off of his fist while he calmly stepped across the room to Duray's twitching body. The IDF soldiers remained silently at attention.

Cole looked down at Duray's crumpled form for a moment and then spoke, "Colonel Virgil Duray. For your crimes, not only against me, your emperor, but all of humanity, your resignation is required. Thank you for your dedication to my great empire, but your services are no longer needed."

Cole knelt down and tapped a key on one of Duray's gauntlets; a distorted voice squawked something about failing life signs and Cole interrupted the man on the other end. "This is Emperor Cole to Portal Command. Colonel Virgil Duray has been killed. Erase the last month of his memories and then carry out reintegration into two new clones. Send the replacements to the location of this transponder signal, and ensure they are fully armed and ready for battle. I need them to lead my armies and save Primal Earth."


Notes

  • This mini story was taken from The Official Website (posted September 07, 2011) and posted here to preserve it due to past instances of data loss when NCsoft has previously had the website overhauled. Please do not change any of the above content to fit with any later retcons .
  • Migrated over by --Sleepykitty 14:19, 10 September 2011 (UTC)