Monthly Archives: May 2012

Phoenix Day

Phoenix Day
Darkness surrounds you. It’s a sensation not at all unfamiliar to you, but you still find it disquieting. In darkness, one is unable to respond to visual cues because there are, in fact, no visual cues to which one can respond. It is this singular awareness, however, which allows you to sharpen your other senses. You close your eyes. They are useless to you at this time, so they may as well be rested for when they are needed once more. Right now, you only need your ears.
You hear a disturbance approximately 45 degrees left of your forward position. You turn your head ever so slightly in response, careful not to move so quickly as to make a sound. Your armor may be silent, but the mud in which you hide is full of air pockets which could burst at the slightest motion, causing movement and sound, both of which would be your enemy right now. You increase the sensitivity of your armor’s microphones, listening more intently to the gentle noise of silence.
The noise occurs again. This time, you recognize it. A sneeze. Though the mud muffles most of the sound, it is clear that one of the guards has moved. Your opportunity has arisen. You rise slowly and silently out of the mud which has been hiding you for the past four hours. A thin layer of the mud had dried into a crust atop the mudpool, and you press gently through it, now grateful for the darkness which envelops all of you. You open your eyes, switching your armor’s screen to an ultrasonic reflection display. Now, the field is yours. You reach out slowly toward both guards, unable even to smell you due to the fact that you now smell exactly like the mud surrounding the entrance to this facility. In the final moment before reaching the guards’ bodies, you accelerate, your eyes shining a vibrant green inside your armor, and you see the screen reflect a slight amount of the light back to you inside your helmet as your hands crush the skulls of the guards who find themselves unable to react in any manner due to the fact that you had initially deactivated gross motor control in their brain with a specific electrical signal through your gauntlets. No alarms would go off tonight.
Upon the final reflexive twitches of the guards, you remove one’s identification card and place it inside the card receiver of the door’s entry system. Grabbing the guard’s skull, you hold his eye open, still warm, and place a small electrical impulse across the optic nerves, causing the iris to contract in apparent response to the light produced by the optic scanner. Upon confirmation that the door is unlocked and open, you cast the guard’s corpse aside and enter the building just as you wirelessly create a small loop in the security cam footage showing the door close itself as if the guard had decided not to enter and continuing to show an empty entrance hall. The technology of these primitive people never ceases to baffle you. It’s so ineffective against electrical interference at the appropriate signal strength and wavelength. You continue onward, looping the past four hours of footage, preventing any viewers from noticing some small, repeated detail. Today had been entirely routine, and the second half of every shift was exactly like the first half on such days as this.
You reach the staircase and momentarily simulate a continued short between the sensors on the door as you open and close it, giving the interpreting circuit the impression that the door was never opened, preventing the need for another open/close loop like you had performed earlier and which would be entirely inexplicable right now, since the spaces on both sides of the door were clearly shown on camera as being empty.
As you approach the twentieth floor below entry level, you use your armor’s ultrasonic reflection system to perform a momentary scan through the wall of the adjacent hallway. There are three men in it, conversing with one another in a casual manner. You prepare your armor-mounted railguns to fire small, metallic darts at the men as you enter and wait for them to report normal conditions. This is performed every hour, and they will not be missed for at least twice that time. You bypass the door’s sensors just as you did twenty floors above and execute the men where they stand without even making it through the door. The men fall to the ground with the darts lodged inside their brain stems. You now walk carefully through the hallway, making note to use your armor’s sensors to check around every corner before you approach it and killing every guard you encounter with precise strikes to the medulla oblongata.
After approximately one hundred fourteen seconds of walking through the halls, you reach your destination: a small cell designated with the identification code, 4XT. You quietly knock in a form of code you learned from the Kuli, Jil’Hanr, before departing the Watch several months before. Simply put, your encoded message states, “The door is opening. A friend is waiting. Do not attack.” A small response is picked up only by your sensors in the affirmative. You use a specially made keycard to bypass the door’s security features, and you open the door quickly as alarms emanate through the facility. You toss an explosive charge in the direction from whence you came. It explodes after a short delay, enough for you to protect the room you had just entered from the brunt of the explosion.
Your helmet opens and folds swiftly into the neck of your armor as you reach out to Kahlisa, who recognizes you immediately and grabs your hand with three of her own. Her arms have weakened greatly during her time here, and you find a certain uncomfortable ease in pulling her to her feet. The last time you had seen her, she had weighed more than five times her current weight and had been in prime health. Now, her gaunt eyes looked to you for guidance. You activate your armor’s remote hype commands, a design of Drigondii’s own ingenuity. The TAS Valkyr 53, your beloved ship, hyped directly into the location which only now contained enough space for its presence.
You take Kahlisa inside your ship and close the main entrance hatch. Outside, the hull of Valkyr 53 begins to superheat and melt the metal supports inside the facility’s structure. Kahlisa had been the only non-criminal resident of this facility, and it now houses only the most dangerous of Earth’s men and women.  Every other cell designated with an XT had been emptied of its bodies long ago. Only Kahlisa was trained in the ways of the Deep Sleep which had kept her alive without any nourishment for the past several years. It is a pity even now, as you contemplate the lives of those visitors which had desired only a peaceful contact with this barbaric planet’s people.
The facility begins to collapse, and you activate your ship’s hyping procedures. The drives roar to life as they perform an exit hype to the planet’s thermosphere, and you cringe at Kahlisa’s sickened reaction to the imploding sensation. Upon completion of the procedure, you activate the final charges, which you had placed at the bottom of the mudpool before execution of your mission. The 15 kiloton nonnuclear explosion destroys the entire bioweapon testing facility in moments without a trace of its contained contaminants or occupants. It is the first of many such strikes to be completed this day, but it is the only one with a high-priority rescue involved.

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You strike up your communications system and listen in as your husband, Drigondii Sheii’Cronell, finishes the unprecedentedly peaceful occupation of the planet and his takeover of Earth in the name of the Thorlinthian Empire. Today would not be forgotten. April 1 would never again be known as April Fool’s Day but would rather be known as Phoenix Day, the day the Earth was reborn in its own ashes.



Drigondii Sheii’Cronell slowed his Dragon 52-F and brought it to a stop inside the storm. Its electrical activity would be perfect cover against aerial attacks. “Sir, we’ve arrived. Dragon Riders are in position, and coordinates are set. All conditions are go.” The call went out over the Dragons’ encrypted comm units. It was time to begin.

“Very well,” Drigondii responded. “Remember the plan. No one gets in or out until I’m done. You know what to do. Comm silence is hereby enacted until I declare otherwise. Execute.” He plotted his own set of coordinates and waited. The first stage of the operation would be over in forty-five seconds at most. Dragon Riders were second in skill only to the Valkyries, and they were all busy with vital, solo missions elsewhere onworld.

His greatest concern went out to Terira. She had said that she’d be careful, but she never was, as evidenced by her mission to the Watch. Nonetheless, that had been the most important discovery in Thorlinthian history. His wife always picked the most dangerous missions, though, and he hated it, just as she hated what she knew he was doing now. In fact –

Drigondii looked at the clock just in time. The second stage was ready to begin. “This is going to be an interesting experience,” he said to himself. What he was about to do hadn’t exactly been perfected yet, but he was sure he could do it. Focusing, he activated the internal hype system that he had designed and which resided only in his Dragon. He prayed that his coordinates had been accurate and exhaled completely just as the Hype Driver approached the appropriate level. “Why does this always hurt so much?” His helmet closed, and he imploded.

Drigondii’s legs tensed as he dropped into the UN’s general assembly meeting. The representative of China was speaking, but he came to a stammering halt when he saw a grown man in the fully decorated flight armor of a Sheii’Cronell hype into the room about ten feet above the ground and drop onto his feet as silently and elegantly as the nimblest of felines. Then the helmet opened. He simply back-stepped away when Drigondii began to approach him, Drigondii’s irises shifting in an almost liquid manner from blood red to a gentle mahogany. He stopped only when he realized that Drigondii was approaching not him but the podium.

Everyone in the room had their breath held, waiting for the security and bodyguards that would never arrive. Those men were all dead, carefully eliminated by the other six Dragon Riders, who had been vehemently training for this moment the entire trip to Earth. No help was arriving for these men until Drigondii was finished with them.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of these United Nations of Earth, I come to you on behalf of the Empire of Thorlinthia.” Drigondii spoke these words carefully, allowing the translators to realize that their jobs were now a million times more important than they had ever been before. “I have not come here today to kill you, though you should not feel as if that means I won’t. I am here to declare an occupation, one which is taking place at this very moment.

“I have 20 Spacecraft Ultracarriers in orbit right now. As evidence, I present you this.” Drigondii reached out with his powers, feeling for the subsystems of his Dragon, activating its hyping protocols and engaging the reactor. A moment later, Drigondii’s Dragon 52-F was gently crooning its drives inside the General Assembly Hall, and he smiled devilishly.

The Assembly Members all stood and stifled a yell at this point, maintaining a remarkable composure about them, staying true to the fact that they represented their respective countries. Drigondii was impressed. “My name is Drigondii Sheii’Cronell, and I am your new Monarch. Those of you who do not wish to comply will be destroyed without mercy. If you fail to maintain order in your nations, your police and military will be taken and replaced by our own forces. I want you all to understand that–“

It finally happened. One of the members of the General Assembly began to charge toward Drigondii in an attempt to attack him. The other members looked on, waiting for him to be turned to ash. Surely, something would happen before he reached Drigondii, wouldn’t it? But then, when he was only a foot out of reach of Drigondii, the man who had charged, the representative of China, found himself staring at nothing but air.

He faltered, unsure where Drigondii had gone. The other members watched in terror as Drigondii swooped low, catching the man by his hips and swinging him up and over his head. They stared in awe as a man in full, obviously heavy body armor flip forward such that upon landing, his left heel planted firmly into his attacker’s jaw, and he continued forward, tearing apart the attacker’s mandible and stopping with his other leg on the opposite side of his head. As Drigondii finished the turn, standing straight, still holding his attacker by the hip, he pulled the man’s skull away from his neck, tearing his head in two by the mouth and pulling his spinal cord out of his neck, killing the attacker in what was possibly the most gruesome moment of each remaining General Assembly Member’s life.

“Do not mistake my position as a sign that I am some weak politician!” Drigondii shouted at the men, who had almost all gone into shock. “I am not a weak or senseless man who will be assassinated and overthrown! However, nor am I God, who comes before all things and will undoubtedly judge me for what I do today. I am Drigondii Sheii’Cronell, and I am your present and future Monarch. You will not kneel before me for I am a man and not a god, but you will understand that you are all of you beneath me. This is not a lesson I am unwilling to teach.”

His eyes had returned in that moment of fury to the shining blood red unique to a Sheii’Cronell. It was a look of sheer, unadulterated, unfaltering power that he now cast over the General Assembly, and it was met with the appropriate reaction: raw, unimaginable fear. This was a new day, and the world would come to know the man known as Drigondii Sheii’Cronell.