Rough Draft: “After the Flood”

After the Flood: Chronicles Of The Future Empire


Steven Gamella

This series is the product of more than 8 years spent taking 17,285 “selfies” from more than 16,000 women off the Internet, from their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to create the female characters in this story. What I did was go online and hoard thousands of these pictures, placing them into my Photoshop account and twisting, distorting, and contorting their pictures into hideous, anguished shapes, and then simply writing about what came to mind from looking at these hideous, depraved images. The result were the women of the Ordo Rosarius Thelima Cult Of Love, the perfect pagan warlords of the Hyperborean Empire, in the far future world. Here is the story, I hope you all enjoy.

Appendix I: Toni-Medici Fecchiera

She is 7 feet, 5 inches tall, but looks a good bit taller than she actually is because of her outfit. Her face is chalk-white because of 4 layers of makeup, as well as thick black eyeshadow that forms the Eye of Ra symbol around her eyes, one is green, the other is blue; she has her pupils dilated specifically to look like mako shark eyes, like blue and green iridescent lumps of coal. The blank, empty expression on her face never changes, no matter what her mood is when she was in combat form, the Mithras Energy coursing through her veins. Her hair is brown, but styled like a Qing Dynasty empress, with diamond, platinum and gold-encrusted hairpieces that kept her hair in 6 pigtails, three on each side of her head, each covered in diamond, platinum and gold-encrusted armor that also kept the braid from becoming frizzy; the adornments made her hair look like insect legs, especially when she walked, causing the 6 pigtails to move like insect legs. She also had a crown made out of solid crystal, in shape of a three-headed crane with six wings on her head, adding 2 feet to her height, and behind that, a huge, peacock-fan headdress that changed color based on her mood, it was the only way to tell her emotions, as she had become so powerful with the ancient magic of Mithras that she was able to disable her physical reactions to emotion if she so desired. The peacock feather eyes changed expression and color in place of her real ones; she had a huge feather ruff around her neck made of Count Raggi’s Bird of Paradise plumes as a scarf, with pennants and silky cloth scarves that resembled the Standard Winged and Twelve-Wired Birds of Paradise plumage at the same time, and a train-like veil and cape made of Chinese silk dyed with human blood. Her dress was woven from spider silk infused with silkworm fibers, and woven on a microscopic level so that every hem of the dress was in the shape of an organism, every known organism on Earth. Covering the dress were hundreds of iridescent precious stones, each one reflecting light in such a way that viewed from a certain angle, it made her look almost invisible, just a shimmering outline of her figure was barely seen. The dress itself was red and black, with huge, yellow eyespots in the black parts of the dress and black eyespots in the red parts of the dress that seemed to blink when sunlight hit it at certain angles or shine with an ethereal, calming glow when the moonlight hit it at night. The whole dress shined an eerie, fluorescent purple in ultraviolet light, and had large roaring dragon designs embroidered on it, each with a microscopic picture of an organism consisting of each individual hem. The dress was enormous and supported by the bones of her Mithras ritual sacrifice victims, much like whalebones were used to make a corset. The part of the dress that covered her torso and chest was the most heavily decorated, with huge dragonfly wings made of woven yarn and glittered with sea salt dust and sand coming out of her back, these were folded under her cape and veil and could be spread at will, even though Toni can’t fly. Her necklace was more like an Egyptian queen’s brooch, made of solid gold with a huge sapphire in the center, just visible under the bird-of-paradise feather scarves. Her gloves, lacy white dress gloves that were veiled by delicate, red silken sleeves from her dress, each had a 56-karat gemstone covering each one of her fingernails; sharpened into a dagger-like claw, these gemstone gauntlet gloves were used to carve enemies like a tiger slashing its prey, and the rest of the glove surface were covered in razor-sharp, solid diamond blades that could slice through almost any surface. She also wore a tiara of autumn leaves on her head, on the crown of the three-headed crane helmet, whose three heads are arranged in such a way that they defy the Euclidean geometric form, therefore making her dress impossible to create without immense, physics-bending telekinetic attacks. Her shoes were huge black-velvet Gothic Lolita platform shoes, with razor-sharp dagger-high heels, but these were not visible under her huge dress. She had various dresses, and each one was an equally-elaborate Elegant Gothic Aristocracy dress, so elaborate that Toni needed to use her physics-bending powers to make them appear just right. She shows no empathy at all to her opponents, and takes pleasure in making her victims suffer as much as possible before they die…painfully.

The Italian Peninsula was considered to be cradle of Western civilization, and therefore, has a very large population of Mithras practitioners, often called “vampires” by the uninitiated, they are far more sophisticated and cultured than most typical people, and are far from mindless monsters. To call a Mithras Sage a “vampire” is taken as the same thing as calling a black man a “nigger.” One of the most attractive and colorful members of the global Mithras Order, a secret cult of sorcerers that worship the ancient sun-god Mithras, and gain their magic and immortality through consuming, bathing in and channeling energies found in human blood to harness the power of the universe itself, is an Italian socialite named Toni Medici-Fecchiera. To the untrained eye, she looks like a typical, modern, high-class beauty on the old streets of Tuscany; she has long, silky black hair, stunning green eyes, pale blue eyes and a long, skin-tight black dress with a diamond necklace and two curious-looking earrings that resemble solar helixes, she often has elegantly-styled black eye makeup and a gentle, soft, warm, sweet gaze, and beautiful, crimson-red lipstick. Her voice is sweet and relaxing to hear, however, she is best known for her unusually large breasts, which she claims are real, but most people doubt it. She has a 6’3” figure that could not look more perfect. Outwardly, she seemed to have everything to offer, money, beauty, intelligence and creativity, as well as independence and determination and was an inspiration to everyone who met her. This, however, was just what the Mithras sages referred to as the “public shape,” to conceal their true identity. Nobody, save other Mithras sages, will know that “Toni” is really Countess Toni de Medici-Fecchiera, the Arch-Sage of Tuscany and the 5th Line of the Phantasmagoria-Haidnur Hird, one of the most revered and feared Mithras Sage hirds, or clans, in the world. Her ritual gown is so elaborate and complicated that it seems to defy the laws of Euclidean geometry, only possible because of Toni’s immense, physics-bending telekinesis that is constantly radiating electromagnetic pulse signals from her brain, whose activity reaches close to 320,000 units; she cannot be around anything electronic without it frying completely. Her psychic attacks are so powerful that they can level a city with a minimum of effort. Toni is perhaps the most terrifying thing on the face of the Earth, and a good reason why you should never go into a tavern on the wrong side of a town you’ve never been to, especially if a stunning young Italian woman approaches you and tries to flirt. People say if you want to find her, look for the nearest tavern or lying topless on a white-sand beach in the Mediterranean, with the crowd of young men bringing her everything she wants like a bunch of brainwashed toadies. Rather than going over the top, she takes a carefree, laid-back, lap-of-luxury approach to everything she does, but at the same time, coldly, calmly, coolly and emotionlessly, methodically and diabolically plots her enemies’ demise. She had a particular penchant for taking women’s unborn babies, she’ll often disguise herself as a lost young woman whose vehicle breaks down, and comes into the house of a pregnant woman to “use the phone,” or some other form of communication, to call authorities. Needless to say, she does not need to use the phone, and she keeps calmly engineering situations where she can stay at the house for longer…until she gets the mother and her unborn baby. She wants that baby, she really, really does. She does not let her Mithras sorcery powers, irrational thought or desire get in the way of what needs to be done to get the baby. She wants it, she feels it belongs to her, so she takes it, and she truly believes that the baby is hers, like a sick motherly instinct taken to the extreme, for her own childhood was so wracked with horror and torment before she became an immortal sorceress with horrific body and mental distortion powers, known as Phantasmagoria, that she only wants to give the baby a loving, motherly caring home…unfortunately, her own duties to Mithraism and the need to kill and consume infant blood prevents her from ever being a safe mother, so therefore her insanity perpetuates as a result of her own power and desire. But still, she never lets this tortured psyche get in the way of her goals in government or in finding her victims…until she gets her victim right where she wants it, that is.

Countess Medici, is in one word, insane. Toni is not content with rival Germanic Wewelsburg Hird Grand Master Eisner von Richtofen’s vision of a German-Mithras Europe and has 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. Medici, despite her elegance and beauty; she was 6 feet, 3 inches tall, wore stunning outfits and had long, silky black hair, pale, alabaster skin and haunting green eyes, was one of the most feared individuals in Europe. Most other Mithras sages who knew her personally were in conclusion that she was gizquya, or 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 190,000 units, while her active function was close to 320,000 units. Leonardo Da Vinci’s activity was only at 765 units, and a level of 400 units was considered “genius.” Even in the modern era, doctors were still clueless as to how Toni 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 Rome, was decorated with her own original bizarre, abstract, surrealist, often volkisch 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, ancient European paganism that overlapped with Nazi symbolism in many cases 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 Latin: “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 lice and ticks, 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, plus several volkicsh paintings by the artists Hipper and Jung, late 19th century German and Austrian painters who focused on art that reflected ancient, pre-Christian European culture as an expression of nationalism and pride, 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 Mithras rug and Solar Helix 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 her penthouse apartment for experimentation. As a Mithras Sage, Toni had a religious fascination with blood, not just for the DNA and sampling properties of it, but also in a much more metaphysical sense and as the source of her power. One of her greatest projects includes being able to cheat death by using computers; this is possible, but illegal under most circumstances, Toni creates backups of her mind on computer disks, so that even if she can no longer maintain the body she’ s lived in for 800 years, 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 Toni thinks that it’s a joke. The third domain of insanity, humorous insanity, is represented here. Many of Toni’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 Toni suffered as a little girl in the 1380s, with her abusive oligarch father in Italy selling her into prostitution as a teenager to cover a bad deal as collateral with another noble family, 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 a dungeon for the mentally ill. 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 Toni 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 2013 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, circling the sun. 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 Toni. 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 Toni during her ancient Mithras sorcery spells; Toni abducted a North African immigrant mother, 9 months pregnant, and impaled her on a spit, slowly roasting her over a fire like a rotisserie cooker while she slowly died, her womb acted as a natural oven for the baby, cooked to a golden-brown perfection.

16. Nymphomania, but in a very sadistic, pain-inducing way. For example, she’ll take a heavy sledgehammer to a victim’s penis and masturbate the mangled, crushed genitalia until it ejaculates blood and semen in her face, which she enjoys like a warm, summer rain. She also engages in self-pleasuring behaviors that include shoving a crucifix from a Southern, Bible-Belt American church into her clitoris like a vibrator and breaking it in half with her own hands, just to show how much she despises traditional, conservative, American Christianity as well as to satiate her own “sexual interpretation” of Mithraism and blood sorcery, she gloats about how she “fucked Jesus so hard it broke his cock in half” after this episode.

17. Extreme hatred of “backward religion,” namely Christianity. She targets American and European Christians with a horrific ferocity, burning churches, defacing Christian symbolism and Nativity scenes on Christmas, and saving her worst torments for people like American “televangelists,” pro-lifers, creationists, whom she calls “Holocaust-deniers,” because denying something like evolution is akin to denying the Holocaust; the evidence saying that it does exist is so overwhelming that the Christians who deny it are “invalid lunatics without excuse;” and anyone who calls themselves “born-again.”

These 16 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. This individual, however, is beyond any and every line imaginable. She takes a nuclear-powered bulldozer to sanity and the very mention of her name is enough to give people the chills.

The sixth domain of insanity, insanity in dress, is very much a factor here as well. Toni 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 European-Vedic-Indo-Aryan paganism that tries to pass itself off as Christianity, which is symbolized by the dragon consuming its own tail, and the Mithras wheel, 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…as the storm grows in Europe, Toni has used her position as the Supreme Praetor, the absolute authority on law enforcement in the Mithras Order, to protect Mithras sages everywhere, but she approaches this protection with the philosophy that she keeps everyone safe, as long as nobody questions or challenges her for any reason. Her biggest rival is Wotankult Hird Emperor Gustavus Adolphus von Nordheim, who is the Emperor of the Scandinavian Wotankult Hird and is a polar opposite from Toni on how the Mithras Codex is interpreted, Toni focuses more on the sexual, pleasure-seeking aspect of the religion, given her personality and tendency to just enjoy every second of the A-list lifestyle that she’s lived in for 800 years, whereas Nordheim focuses more on the conservative, militaristic, racial interpretation of the Codex; Toni is extreme left, Nordheim is extreme right, to place it in political context. Much like the rivalry between Hitler and Stalin leading up to WWII, Toni stands as the de facto leader of the Leftist factions, and Nordheim stands as the unquestioned voice and authoritarian presence on the right-wing, or Volkisch factions. The majority of Mithras Sages reject the racial interpretations, but a strong portion of them see Nordheim and his ally, as well as Toni’s other rival Eisner von Richtofen of the Wewelsburg Hird’s message of a Mithras-dominated human race, and that Mithras Sages are naturally superior to non-initiated “invalid” humans, in Nordheim’s racial lexicon, as inspiring. Most of the traditional Mithras Sages, most notably the Slovak-Hungarian Bathory-Kozak Hird and the Romanian Draculesti-Branu Hird, led by Andreii Bathory-Groznyy and Alin Draculesti-Cesucescu, respectively, see Nordheim and Richtofen as rogues and their ideology as certain to bring a three-way war between Leftists, Volkisch, and normal, un-initiated human militaries, which would, even in the case of victory by Toni’s Leftist Coalition, spell the undoubted end of the success and grand culture that the Mithras Order had built in secret for thousands of years. There hadn’t been a need for Mithras Sages to get involved in any war or interaction with the non-Mithras world for more than 400 years, not since the 30 Years’ War, which ended in 1648, did any Mithras Sages fight in any typical human war. Even during the darkest hours of WWI and WWII, Mithras actions were minimal. The previous, full-scale mobilization of Mithras Sages for war was during the Crusades, when legendary Mithras Sage Vidiun Lusankara led his army to its final sacrifice at the Battle of Manzikert, in 1076. Vidiun’s entire Hird was killed in the battle, when Vidiun was forced to detonate a “nightmare bomb” underneath the main fortress to bring the aggressive Byzantine Empire to its knees. The bomb was triggered by implanting a telekinetic charge into a sleeping person’s brain, in this case the Byzantine Emperor, the detonation causes colossal destruction that quite often kills the Sage who planted it, because of the effort needed to maintain the charge, the caster usually dies of sheer exhaustion. It is seen as the equivalent of a kamikaze attack and is the most powerful attack that any Sage can perform, but it is usually their final act. Toni, however, is so powerful that she is only mildly fatigued by the attack. With her leading the Leftists, most Mithras Sages believe that Leftist victory is certain in the event of war, but everyone hopes that war is avoided. After the Flood, however, the Mithraic Order went public with the rise of the Hyperborean Empire, and Toni made her presence known as the matriarch of the Ordo Rosarius Cult of Love…she lives in the luxury of the Midnight Sun Resort Spa, commanding her minions and manipulating galactic events with her phenomenal Sunslinger abilities.

Book 1: Hyperborea

Prologue: Mother, Tell Your Children Not To Walk Our Path

Mother, tell your children not to walk our path, tell them not to listen to what we mean or say, dear mother, of thy firstborn Son or Daughter. Can you keep them safe forever, from the truth, from the lies? Can you hide them from our reach, hide them from our eyes? For if they want to find Paradise with us, we can show them what it feels like, the sun on their skin, the cool ocean water on their face, the vast serenity of space, and the Colony Worlds of Mars, Venus, Pandora, Umbria and the Jovian Moons. We can show them the Asteroid Mines of Ceres and Vesta, the Storm Riders of Jupiter and Neptune, and the ashen, waterlogged surface of the Moon…but tonight, your children are safe in your arms…Mother, tell your children not to follow us, for they shall see the Light.”

Foreward: Welcome to Hyperborea

No one saw it coming. NASA scientists in the summer of 2015 during a routine sweep of the night sky saw it appear from a sunward direction, explaining why the thousand-mile wide comet hurtling directly at the Moon was never visible. Rather than fall directly into the Sun, like most comets that approached the inner Solar System did, this one, originating from far beyond the orbit of Neptune, had skipped over the Sun like a rock on a summer pond, careening directly for the Moon. The icy body, nearly the size of Pluto, slammed ferociously into the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility, obliterating the silent Tranquility Base and completely obscuring the moon behind a cloud of ice and dust accretion. As the world looked spaceward in wonder, gawking at what had just been a very near miss for Earth, global governments breathed a sigh of relief, realizing that human society would survive to live another day, but serving as a wake-up call that more space-based telescopes were needed to spot these large “trans-Neptunian objects,” or TNOs, lest one actually hit the Earth, driving humanity to extinction…no one realized that such an object need not hit the Earth to be deadly.

The first warning sign that something was amiss came from scattered reports three weeks after the TNO’s lunar impact. Various weather stations, from Siberia to Scandinavia, were reporting record rates of rainfall. Some of these downpours could scarcely be believed, Oslo and Omsk received more than 10 inches of rain in two hours. Soon, even the driest deserts on Earth, from the Sahara to the Atacatama, where some places had gone more than 500 years without a drop of rain, were reporting buckets of rain falling in extremely short periods of time. Flash floods unlike any seen in human history suddenly submerged what had hitherto been the driest places on Earth. Soon Tokyo, Beijing, Melbourne, Moscow, and Wellington were reporting the same extraordinary rainfall rates, and after just one week, every city on Earth. As meteorologists struggled to understand what was wrong with Earth’s weather, astronomers noticed an ominous development in the accretion cloud, formed when the massive icy lump collided with the Moon. The cloud had become caught in Earth’s gravitational pull, panning out into a vast accretion disk, encircling the Earth, much like the rings of Saturn…immediately, the astronomers realized where all this rain was coming from, and the amount of water frozen in the accretion disk was staggering: enough to fill the Earth’s oceans 3 times over…and it was all slowly falling to Earth. Human society had only decades to live.

As the sea levels began to rise, inundating the coastal cities, the scale of the disaster became apparent. Soon, the world’s sewage systems began to fail, killing millions with outbreaks of cholera, dysentery and other illnesses, and displacing untold billions of people living in low-lying areas…and this was a flood that would never recede. The rain was forecast to fall nonstop for more than 700 years, raising sea levels by a staggering 25,000 feet. Only the tops of the highest mountains would remain dry. As humanity’s darkest hour unfolded all around it, a group of young, forward-thinking individuals, hitherto so absent from the modern world, from the world over decided to resist, to not just survive the new Deluge, but thrive. Using the miraculous power of nanotechnology and genetic engineering, these youth, all between the ages of 20-30, augmented every cell in their body to enhance every aspect of their humanity to God-like levels; they physical height, muscle mass and weight increased by 300%, making them capable of running faster, jumping higher and giving them more stamina than any human before them. Standing more than 15 feet tall, they wore immensely-elaborate regalia, termed Jungsturm-Nordsterne, and emblazoned with symbols of Pagan power, pride and purity, from the Nordic, Germanic, Slavic and Japanese Shinto pantheons. Their nanoscale augmentations to their brain, cells and even DNA molecules made them immune to aging, all forms of infectious diseases, weightlessness, gravity, cold and radiation, they could even breathe water, a skill extraordinarily useful for the coming tribulation. Their augmented brains used 100% of their capacity, allowing them to perform maneuvers that would seem in an earlier age like sorcery…they could even survive in the vacuum of space. Dressed in their regalia and armed with nanoscale weaponry that made atomic weaponry look like child’s play, they formed a new nation out of the crumbling ruins of the old society, rapidly being submerged by the rising floodwaters or disappearing into vast sinkholes in the ground…this nation, Hyperborea, was to be a paradise…no Gods…no Kings…only Man, and the Hyperborean Overlords, the 25 young men and women immortalized by technology and granted eternal life by their own ingenuity; they had become the true Sons of God, not some illiterate Hebrew peasant from Roman Palestine, crudely slaughtered on a cross. They were, themselves, a new species, one infinitely superior to modern man, a true Master Race. They were Homo sapiens imperia ultima, the Hyperborean Gods, and this was their world now…when the skies finally cleared, the Universe would be theirs for the taking, and the survivors of this Deluge, those the Hyperboreans deemed worthy of life, would survive to conquer the Galaxy.

                    1. The Eternal Sunshine of the Global Sea

Light, glorious Light…shine thy radiance upon the Sea of Life, and all those who call our Metropolis home…Our Empire is a true Paradise, expanding ever outward to the stars, our enormous Space Arks departing Mars, Venus, Earth and the Jovian Moons daily for new planets, discovered by our vast orbital telescopes, scanning the heavens ever-vigilantly for new worlds to colonize…some of the worlds we have found defy belief, On the warm, tropical world of Blue Aurelia, a vast, shallow sea covers the entire planet, with three large continents cloaked in tropical forest from end to end; the world has an orbiting ring of silica grains around it, gently raining down upon the planet, and staining its atmosphere a deep, navy blue color, creating the illusion of a gigantic blue sapphire orbiting its parent star, a yellow star much like our own Sun…this is a world of astounding biodiversity. Huge airborne creatures, such as Wingwhales, Skyrays, Bladewraiths, the colonial Daggerwings and the Velvet Impalers dominate the skies, with an atmosphere more than 3 times denser than Earth’s. On the land, kilometer-high Fortress Forests cover every inch of habitable landmass, supporting an ecosystem more diverse than any rainforest once was on Earth, supporting species such as the Deathstalkers, gigantic, tree-dwelling squids that use their sticky tentacles to trap creatures flying through the Fortress understory, enormous Raptorial Kitegliders, hovering over the forest on the gentle breezes, anchoring themselves to the Fortress Trees with a tether, flying suspended like a kite, using their tentacles to fish for small creatures living in the Fortress Tree’s sky-ponds, modified leaves with which the trees collect water, rather than absorb it through their vast, interconnected root systems. In the oceans, some truly enormous creatures lurk, such as the 200-foot long Krakens, giant squid-like creatures that prey upon the thousands of different species of Sylphswimmers, pelagic crustaceans as diverse as fish are on Earth, and the gigantic gliding Festoon Rays, huge, beaked manta-ray like creatures that jump out of the water and fly with a wing-in-ground effect. On this world, the atmosphere is so thick that normal, unaugmented humans could not survive here. Another world located by our telescopes is Mysterial, a green, verdant world of vast plains, high mountain peaks and deep, dark forests, with two huge oceans. Our colonists are currently settling on the Cantabrian Plains in the North, and our colonial overseers report a flora like no other. Plants are by far the dominant form of life on this world, with far more plant diversity here than on Earth. Any animal life is adapted to exploit this, including millions of species of insects, bird-like creatures and tiny, nectar-feeding Bat Swallows, vital to the entire biosphere, in addition to the vast, pollinating swarms of Thorn-Flies. The predators, including the large, gliding Bird-Mantis, Falconwasp and Raptorial Flower Beetle, all all evolved to prey on the herbivores…but nothing can survive without the plants…however, this is not the planet’s most noteworthy feature. The planet orbited a blue, extremely hot star, releasing far more heat and energy to the planet’s surface, generating weather systems unlike anywhere else in the galaxy. Tornadoes regularly grew to 6 miles wide, with winds approaching 600 miles per hour. Hurricanes grew to the size of continents, lashing the coastline with 500 mile per hour winds and 200-foot storm surges, scouring and shaping the coastline each time a storm made landfall. Because of the extreme weather, our colonists can only live on the relatively stable Cantabrian Plain, were vast, beautiful cities have sprung up, powered by wind and solar energy. Finally, the beautiful planet of Nara III, the third planet in a system orbiting a red dwarf star of the same name, is one of the most extraordinary of all. It is a tidally-locked world, on side of the planet is in frozen darkness, the other in perpetual light. At the planet’s perihelion, a gigantic cyclone rages, undying and eternal spreading vast rivers across the planet’s habitable zone, a wide tropical band between the storm zone and the dark zone…here, evolution has run riot, producing a profusion of life so incredible that it makes even the coral reefs of Earth’s Global Sea look puny and dull by comparison. From the Doki-Doki Forest to the intelligent, pack-hunting Shinigami Birds, life takes every conceivable form on Nara III, and ever in forms we could not even imagine in an earlier age…such are the miracles of the Hyperborean Age, After the Flood…won’t you join us?

Kokkoro Aoyama, Hyperborean Knight and Director of Colonial Expansion and Administration, Metropolis

Welcome to Metropolis…so said the sign on Metropolis’ vast harbor entrance, welcoming both spacecraft and ships of the sea with open arms…and what a glorious city it was. A gleaming white monument of art and edifice floating on the surface of the warm Global Sea, Metropolis was the largest city in the entire Hyperborean Empire, the unified human government, emerging from the Deluge as a supreme power in the Milky Way Galaxy. In the 700 years since the Great Collision that changed the Earth forever, humans had spread to every habitable body in the Solar System in vast, wormhole-traversable Space Arks, colossal interstellar and interplanetary colony ships that could take humans to any point in the galaxy in a matter of hours…just one of the many technological wonders of the post-Flood Hyperborean Age. In the skies above the massive, floating city, anchored to the top of the Matterhorn far below the surface, were huge, magnificent Pteropteryx creatures, animals genetically-engineered by the Hyperborean overlords to repopulate the diminished biosphere following the Deluge. That year was a momentous one for the Hyperborean Empire. The 700th anniversary of the lunar impact that served as the genesis of the New Order was approaching, August 18, 2715 A.D…and the rain has only recently come to a permanent stop. Aside from the occasional hurricane or meteor impact into the oceans, every day in Metropolis was a day spent in paradise…the city was spotless, sun-drenched and an absolute delight to live in, the 35 million denizens of this floating city truly had the entire Galaxy in their hands…all under the watchful eye of the Hyperborean Gods, those 25 men and women who made all of this possible…and standing at the epicenter of this splendor was 23-year old University of Metropolis student Andrew Wallace. He had much on his mind that day, for in a week, he would depart to Venus for a month-long course in nanoscale bioengineering and terraforming, for the vast jungles, oceans and rivers of Venus during the Hyperborean Age were a product of these miraculous forms of engineering, one of the many wonders of the New Order. Venus had become a Second Earth, a place where inhabitants of Metropolis could go to find something that only their distant forefathers had any knowledge of: dry land…and Wallace was studying to become a member of the Imperial Planetary Engineers, those responsible for colonizing and developing new worlds for human habitation. This was to be his first trip off-world, and he couldn’t wait. For now, however, he was content to stroll through the Canyon of the Gods, the huge, 6-lane wide boulevard leading through the center of the city, surrounded on all sides by enormous, ostentatious architecture, meant to evoke a memory of Ancient Rome, just with a modern twist. The city’s design was actually based off of Albert Speer’s designs for Berlin in the event of a Nazi victory in WWII, with many of the same building designs, sculptures, murals and facades, just even grander and more imperial that the Germans could have ever imagined them to be. Andrew had much to accomplish that day, starting with a visit to the Imperial Ministry of Science, which directed the Planetary Corps of Engineers.

As Wallace walked down the spotless, gleaming-white streets, he thought about his future, and the future of his society. In the past 500 years, thousands of new worlds had been located, visited and claimed in the name of the Hyperborean Empire, and the Hyperborean overlords had even gone so far as to declare the entire known Universe as Imperial territory…and it was the PCE’s job to locate and settle these new planets…it was a truly astounding time to be alive. As Wallace passed an enormous fountain in the center of Excelsior Square, he turned and faced his destination. The Ministry of Science’s headquarters was truly enormous, a massive, gleaming-white building with a colossal stone facade, adorned with murals of human triumph, exploration and conquest on the outer walls. Statues by the great National Socialist sculptor Arno Breker stood on either side of the colossal white staircases leading up to the entrance, behind a row of massive, Doric style columns. Atop the facade, a massive, white marble stag-skull carving sat, with its huge, curving antlers arching towards the sparkling blue, tropical sky, high above the vast Global Sea and Metropolis, The City of Emperors. This was the famous Shinigami Staghorn Rune, an ancient symbol of Japanese imperial power, used as the personal insignia of Shen Ryujin and Silver Arronax, the two Hyperborean leaders of the Ministry of Science. These two were impossible to ignore and some of the most brilliant scientists…and military commanders, in the entire Empire. They stood 15 feet tall, like all other Hyperboreans, and dressed in regalia that reflected medieval Japanese shogun outfits, carrying their unique Hallucination Nano-Swords, extraordinarily powerful, intelligent sword weapons made entirely of nanoparticles, allowing the weapon to transform into any object, living or inanimate, honorably at their left sides. Shen was known for his crimson red, shoulder-length hair, his black cape emblazoned with the same Staghorn Rune, and his incredible, fiery oration skills, regularly speaking to the public on behalf of the Overlords, who occupied the enormous Imperial Pantheon in the center of Metropolis, a gigantic dome-shaped building more than 100 times the size of St. Peter’s Basilica before the Flood, along with most of the other Hyperboreans, though now, in the Hyperborean Age, far more Hyperboreans existed than the original 25 Overlords.

As Wallace ascended the enormous staircase, he observed the many other Ministry employees, both human and Hyperborean, walking to and from the building, Truly massive Odin-class capital ships, gleaming-white, shaped like massive ginkgo leaves and the size of continents, were being constructed in the lunar shipyards of Holmgard, these ships were constructed with the wonders of nanotechnology, and possessed some of the most powerful weaponry ever conceived: devastating nanoscale weapons, gamma-ray burst and X-ray weaponry, cyclonic torpedoes, turbolaser batteries, and a fleet of 100 city-sized Loki-class assault ships, each armed with cyclonic torpedoes and massive turbolaser batteries. Powered by zero-point energy, these ships were the Iron Fist of the Empire, and the Imperial Legions, the Hyperborean military, ruled over its dominion with an iron hand. Each Odin-class ship carried more than 600 million infantry, both naturally-born humans, clone soldiers and Hyperborean Knights, the Hyperborean warriors who made all other soldiers before them pale in comparison. The Odin-class also possessed a massive planetary bombardment weapon that reduced the entire surface of a planet to a ball of glass, worn smooth as a blue marble…this “planet-killer laser” was only to be used as a last resort, as destruction of habitable worlds was not the Empire’s aim. Humanity was now the true Master of the Universe, invincible, immortal and almighty…and his city, Metropolis, was the center of that Universe. Wallace reached the summit of the Ministry’s Grand Staircase, walked through the Column Gate and in though the massive wooden doors, imported from the jungles of Venus. Upon entry into the Ministry’s Grand Concourse, Wallace was greeted by an enormous row of statues, each depicting a famous scientist from human history, everyone from Darwin to Hooke to Newton was represented, as well as others, such as Albert Speer, Einstein and Werner von Braun. All around him, other people, both human and elaborately-dressed Hyperboreans walked aggressively to their destinations, as science waited for no man. Wallace was there to meet Dr. Artemis Rayne, a Hyperborean professor working under Shen Ryujin in locating and developing new worlds. He was greatly respected by all who met him, and young Wallace was greatly honored to be his pupil. Wallace felt extraordinarily lucky to be in this building, because were it not for his student registration status, he would not be out of his house. Throughout the Empire, a 22-hour curfew was in perpetual effect, civilians in Tier 6 or below on the 12-point Imperial Hierarchy system were subject to this curfew, and only allowed two hours a day of recreation time, and only at designated City Recreation Centers, overseen by the Imperial Night Hammer Police Force and the Hyperborean Knights. Other than that, there were no personal freedoms whatsoever for anyone at Tier 6 level, which included all rank-and-file civilians. The upper Tiers, all consisting of Hyperboreans, controlled every aspect of their lives. Babies were no longer born, they were designed, and grown from individual couples’ sperm and egg cells in state-controlled birthing chambers, where the developing fetuses were augmented with nanotechnology inserted into their artificial amniotic fluid, when the baby was delivered by Night Hammer doctors and midwives, it was already fully educated, optimized and conditioned for whatever career it was assigned. All soldiers were cloned from Tier-5 templates, those people elite of mind and body, therefore making the best mass-produced soldiers. They were all perfectly obedient, they did not question orders, and they did not show mercy against dissenters, or enemies of the Empire. Because of the nanoscale augmentations, schools for children were rendered obsolete. University education was mandatory, to perfect the finer arts of the students’ predetermined careers from birth. Aside for educational purposes, the curfew laws applied. Other than that, they were forbidden to be on the streets for 22 hours a day. And for anyone who even thought about breaking the law, the Hyperborean Overlords conducted a daily mind-scan of every citizen in the Empire from within the Pantheon’s Inner Sanctum: the government knew what its people were thinking before they even did, and the majority of human babies were programmed to follow orders and obey authority without question with nanotechnology. As a result of this control, crime rate in the Empire was perpetually zero, everyone knew their place, and nobody questioned the wisdom of the Hyperborean Overlords…a perfect, Fascist utopia. Wallace had been grown from birth in a government birthing chamber to fulfill this purpose as an engineer, and he was honored and proud to be a sovereign citizen of the Universe, laid out before him was the true splendor of the Hyperborean Age, and his destiny was his to embrace. Taking this knowledge to heart, Wallace set out for his professor’s office, on the third floor of the massive Ministry complex, built with an enormous, multi-leveled architecture.

As Wallace entered the elevator, he stepped inside with two female Hyperboreans, dressed in elaborate Japanese themed Jungsturm-Nordsterne outfits. They had long, beautiful, reddish-brown hair, emerald green eyes and stunning, shimmering gowns, which concealed their lethal Hallucination Nano-Swords. They stood on either side of Wallace, with one of them turning and facing him, her neck turning at an unnatural angle. “Hello little one…are you here to see Master Rayne about your assignment?” The massive Hyperborean said, her neck craning and extending like a bird’s in a creepy, distorted, almost possessed way…nanotechnology could do some incredible things to a Hyperborean’s body…they could literally transform into other living creatures, splice their own body parts and detach limbs from their bodies, controlling them remotely with their immensely powerful brains. “Yes I am, Hyperborean…” Wallace said, a bit unnerved about standing in an elevator with these two Overlords, who looked like identical twins. “Very well then, we’re headed to his office as well, allow us to escort you there.” Wallace noticed that each of these women had a strange insigina emblazoned upon their outfits, looking like a German Iron Eagle bearing the Cross of Iron on its plumage, but surrounded by three other symbols, one, a swastika, two, a Tyrwaz rune, and three, a bleeding heart, with a crowned dagger impaled through it, dripping blood. As the elevator doors opened, the two Hyperborean sisters stepped out of the elevator, with Wallace following between the two of them, his Hyperborean companions towering over him. Walking down the spotless corridor, cleaned and disinfected daily by cleaning algorithms programmed into the walls and floor, the twin Hyperboreans and Wallace approached Professor Rayne’s massive, oak-carved doors. Wallace knocked, and immediately, Dr. Rayne answered. “Oh, hello there you three…come in, I’ve been expecting you.” Wallace and the twin Hyperboreans entered the office and sat down in the massive chairs at the foot an enormous bookshelf. “Andrew, I trust you’ve already met Ai and Tsuruka Takada, my assistants and fully-trained Hyperborean Knights of the Ordo Rosarius Cult of Love, a chivalric order of Hyperborean women who worship dark Japanese paganism…and Volkisch sexual religion. They’re absolute delights to talk to, they will tell you many stories, about their dark devotions and passions…I learn much from them, just as I encourage all my students to do, regardless of their Tier.” Wallace knew his professor was testing him, encouraging him to ask these two twins questions and use them as a source of knowledge…though he feared what he would learn. The Ordo Rosarius Thelima was one of the most depraved, violent, deviant Orders of Hyperborean Knights, known for brutal orgies of rape and terror, as well as slaughtering male victims of the lower Tiers like squealing hogs…still, Professor Rayne had always encouraged him to keep an open mind to all ideas and interpretations of Hyperborean Pantheon Doctrine, the New Religion founded on the basis of the Nordic and Japanese myths.

Wallace, taking his professor’s hint, asked Ai and Tsuruka about their Cult, fully expecting them to bombard him with horror stories of dark, sexual deviance. “Oh, I am so glad you asked us about this…Our Cult rituals typically involve a distinct process, but the actual events undertaken in such rituals varies. One of our favorite ritual acts is a re-enactment of Jesus’ crucifixion. We take a sacrifice victim, usually of the lowest possible Tier, a Jew, Muslim, Christian or any nonwhite person, and strip them completely naked. We then force them to carry a heavy wooden cross to the sacrificial altar, where my sister and I stand, giving the sermons at every Ordo Rosarius Convent. We erect the cross, and then begin our ritual by slathering an aphrodisiac oil all over the victim’s body, forcing him or her into an endless state of orgasm, numbing them to any pain that they might feel. Then, every member of the Cult present at the sermon engages in their dark devotions…pure, liberating, truly animal-like sexual deviance…this is the heart and soul of our Order and our Cult. The Pantheon speaks of the Profound Truths…the only Profound Truths we acknowledge are sex, love, control and money. Sex, but not standard, one-on-one sexual intercourse, mind you. The sex we engage in is a form of demented religious catharsis, exuding from every pore in the Cult members’ bodies as pure passion, fervor and ferocity that utterly consumes us as we revel in the throes of orgasm and our victims’ agony. Like rabid, sick animals, we repeatedly ravage the sacrifice over and over again, but he feels no pain, thanks to the aphrodisiac. Love, but not love in personal sense. The love our Cult professes is the true love found in the dark fantasies and devotions held by every Cult member, we shun interpersonal relationships, for we know that our love, true, passionate, unconditional love, will never betray us. It will never disappoint. It will never stab us in the back…and it is eternal. Control, for all life in the Universe is a hierarchy, we see it in our own society with the 12-Tier system, and we see it in nature with predators and prey…the Ordo Rosarius Thelima sees itself as the ultimate predators, we view every other living thing in the Universe as our prey, to be exploited and consumed in some way for the betterment of our own person. Also, pertaining to human society, control is about the master over the slave, the boss over the employee, the Emperor over his subjects, and the Hyperboreans over all. The Hierarchy must be respected and honored, though any given individual must be willing to change roles if the situation requires it, but to never lose control of any situation…Through this philosophy, we are cunning, devious, supremely intelligent, and all-powerful. One minute, we are passive, submissive servants, and the next, we are unchallenged Queens of our dominion…which side of us you see depends on the situation. Money, because, simply put, it is the root of all that drives the lesser Tiers of society. We must acknowledge money’s importance, for its use allows us to control the clamoring, depraved masses of untermensch, furthering our control over them, coercing their conformity and soliciting their submission, keeping the Hyperborean Empire a spotless society. We are a perfect blend of Machiavellian cunning and Petrarchan allure, and we use both sides of that personality to achieve our own ends…we are each a nation, free of all weakness. You cannot even begin to grasp the nature of our existence, Wallace, despite your intelligence. Books can only take you so far. At the conclusion of our devotions, the ritual’s climax reaches its zenith. We take the subdued, bleeding, ravaged victim and proceed to nail him to the cross…and then, only then, do we take our fill. Tsuruka and I engage in our devotions with the man nailed to the cross, forcefully raping him over and over again, while painting our bodies with his blood, gushing grievously from his ravaged flesh…we drink the blood pouring from his wounds, the Aqua Vitae blessing us with eternal life and prosperity, and then, at the terminus point of our devotions, we step down from the cross, and end it, with our Hallucination Nano-Swords impaling directly through the sacrifice’s gut. His body is removed from the cross and ritually cremated, with our entire Cult standing just beyond the fire’s glow, waiting and watching until we may unleash our dark devotions once more…for our lives are eternal…and our devotions undying.”

Ai Takada’s lecture did not disappoint. Here were two of the most dangerous individuals in the Empire, and they were his Professor’s advisers, for whatever reason. “Wow…that is…quite intimidating, to say the least.” “Yes, the ancient Japanese Queen of Death, Izanami-sama, is our God and our Idol. Stand with me, O Izanami-Sama, and let the rays of the Abyssal Sun cast the Light of Ascendant Justice upon this world, purging all those who seek to defile it. Grant us the power to, like an eagle taking flight, spread our wings and bestride the world, beholding everything in our Dominion…Izanami-Sama, Queen of Death, hear our prayer. Ave! Ave!!” Tsuruka Takada recited a prayer from an ancient, 15th-century Japanese Grimoire, devoted to the Queen of Death and the Japanese underworld. However disturbing Ai and Tsuruka Takada’s beliefs were, they were, as Professor Rayne had said, an immense source of knowledge. Wallace and his professor Rayne were more scientific in their interpretations of the Pantheon Codex than esoteric, for the Four Pantheon Pillars, the Paradox of Self-Sufficiency, the Ignorance Complex, the Doctrines of Absurdity and the Ideology Fields, seemed to suggest more of a scientific explanation to the Multiverse, the infinite continuum of Universes where all possible constants were represented, leading to the Paradox of Self-Sufficiency, where all that creates also destroys and vice-versa, the Ignorance Complex, where nothing is certain except uncertainty, therefore truly “knowing” anything is impossible in an ever-changing Multiverse, The Doctrines of Absurdity, the behaviors exhibited by all sentient life that define its sentience, and the Ideology Fields, a concept illustrated by a rolling green field, where each ideology introduced influences all others for an infinite amount of time. However, as the Takada sisters showed, there were many interpretations of this Codex, much as there had been many interpretations of the Bible before the Hyperborean Age and the Second Renaissance. One thing was certain, however. Pantheon Doctrine had washed off the Judeo-Christian taint from the Universe, and wrung out religion inferior to the Hyperborean race, those beliefs of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The Hyperborean Empire was suspiciously empty of mosques, synagogues and churches, and though the official story was that these minorities had been relocated to colony worlds well beyond the Outer Territories, there were persistent rumors that this wasn’t true, and that something truly horrifying was happening…though, in Metropolis, no one dared ask awkward questions. “Aren’t they simply delightful, Andrew? Such a wealth of knowledge surrounds us all…every world we discover produces complete surprises. When the Great Impact triggered the Deluge more than 700 years ago, at that moment, a New Order dawned for humanity, where science, the Nordic and Japanese myths, as well as human will and reason replaced the Christian Bible as the foundation of the New Religion, a new mythos, the Mythos of the Blood…the belief that the godly essence was to be defended through the blood and bloodshed if need be. The whole secret knowledge, of the divine, the demonic and the extraterrestrial was exposed by the rise of the Hyperboreans and the coming of the true Sons of God, and our race has swept the world clean of the Old Order, creating a millennial future, a Universe where the selfish needs of the individual appear as nothing…but enough of this philosophical pondering. I suggest you still wonder why I called the three of you here today.

Wallace and the Takada sisters looked into Rayne’s unnaturally blue eyes, awaiting his instructions. “I require your assistance with a matter on Blue Aurelia, the Earth-sized, habitable moon of the gas-giant Wellingtonia, orbiting a binary star system, Lumis and Umbra in the Cygnus Constellation, some 50 light-years from Earth. About three standard days ago, three Planetary Engineers were flying over the kilometer-high Fortress Forests in an Omnicopter, when they spotted this structure in a forest clearing.” Rayne showed a digital readout of what was found, an enormous dome-shaped structure looming high out of an enormous basin, free of trees, but surrounded by huge, white, lily-like, overgrown Lady-In-Waiting flowers and Skoadeball plants, huge, hot-air balloon-like plants that grew wherever breaks occurred in the Fortress canopy, their enormous, gas-filled “skoades” tethered to the ground by horsehair-thin stems, anchored to the soil by extremely strong root systems. “What is that…wow…” Wallace mumbled, looking at the schematics. “We have no idea. All we know is this…God does not build in straight lines.” Rayne said, implying that this structure was in fact artificial, evidence of a long-lost civilization hidden in the impenetrable jungles of Blue Aurelia. “You three will accompany me on an expedition to Blue Aurelia to investigate this curious ruin…but first, let me prepare you for what we may encounter. The jungles of Blue Aurelia are unlike any in the known Universe. The rainforests of Venus and the mountain pinyons of Mysterial don’t even come close. This is a world where the very air is too thick to breathe or even walk though without a Vratix exoskeleton suit, at least for non-Hyperboreans, humidity hovers at a perpetual 100%, and temperatures hold steady at nearly 95 degrees Fahrenheit from pole to pole. Kilometer-high Fortress Trees and millions of species of plants cover every inch of the planet’s terrestrial surface, and the animal life has evolved to thrive in the dense, fetid, oxygen-rich, humid atmosphere. Terrifying predators, such as the intelligent, colonial Daggerwings and the enormous, solitary Bladewraiths dominate the skies, preying on massive flying herbivores, the Wingwhales and Skyrays, feeding on vast clouds of airborne plankton, which forms a perpetual greenish haze in the troposphere. Huge, jellyfish-like Raptorial Kitegliders anchor themselves like kites to the Fortress Tree canopy, and dangle their tentacles into the trees’ sky-ponds, modified leaves which the trees use to collect rainwater, to catch the countless species of insects that call the ponds home…they glide endlessly over the canopy, fishing for prey. In the understory, the tree limbs are draped with a veil of lethal tentacles…this is the lair of the Deathstalkers, tree-dwelling squids that trap careless prey with their tentacle secretions, perfectly evolved ambush predators. The planet’s high oxygen content feeds colossal wildfires that can burn entire continents, and the Fortress Forest itself, a massive, interconnected super-organism, supports just as staggering a profusion of life as the oceans of Earth do, at all levels of the forest, from the pitch-black forest floor, to the sunlit canopy and understory. It is a dangerous, truly alien world, unlike anything most people on Earth have ever experienced or care to experience, but there is much to be learned from the jungles and the secrets they contain…and you three are perfect for the task that awaits us on this world. Our ship leaves tomorrow. You three will spend the night here, in the staff living quarters, while we prepare for departure. I wish you all the best.” Wallace couldn’t believe it. He was accompanying his professor off-world to investigate a potential alien ruin! He had read all about the jungles of Blue Aurelia, the Fortress Trees were taller than the Imperial Pantheon, and were so-named because the ferocious Daggerwing swarms used them as their fortresses, the homes for their ravenous colonies that terrorized the thick, humid skies of the moon. It was going to be the trip of a lifetime for a Tier-6 like him…with the potential to do what few ordinary civilians were ever able to…travel freely within the Empire. Interplanetary travel was only permitted for Tier-5 or above, no need to give any miscreants any incentive to conspire against the Empire. If Wallace could continue to build his relationship with Rayne and the Takada twins, it might just be his ticket out of an ordinary life. There had always been an “error” in his psychological programming, determined from birth by his government growth-tank, back when he was only an embryo. The nanoscale augmentations to his brain had failed to suppress his individuality, which led to Wallace being rather “malcontent” with his “destiny,” as defined by the Empire’s Ministry of Information. He had been labeled by his peers as an aberrant, an offspring that was not properly programmed from birth and therefore a potential danger, his individuality the result of a careless accident on behalf of the Imperial Ministry of Augmentation, the government department responsible for growing new citizens, and inventing new forms of life to populate human-colonized world in vast embryonic rearing facilities, containing the sons and daughters of those the government saw fit to reproduce, as well as genetically-engineered life forms, designed by the Hyperboreans to fit planetary environments and aid in human colonization and terraforming, building a biosphere fit for human habitation. The Ministry of Augmentation was a true Wonder of the World, having repopulated Earth’s oceans after the Flood to their pre-industrial abundance, as well as re-introducing two of the ocean’s most formidable predators in the history of the planet: Carcharocles megalodon and Levyatan melvelli, the Giant Shark and the mammoth Raptorial Sperm Whale, along with the Uroboros Dragon, a completely new species created by the Hyperboreans to serve as the Guardian of the Global Sea. This mammoth, 60-foot, eel-like shimmering blue sea dragon was, along with Megalodon and the Raptorial Sperm Whale, the top predator in the Global Sea, and all three of these monsters were occasionally seen around Metropolis, coming nervously close to the harbor and the massive bathhouse resorts on the North End of the city, overlooking the vast Global Sea. The appearance of a 67-foot megalodon by the nickname of “Submarine” had become such a regular occurrence near the Midnight Sun Resort Spa that many Hyperboreans questioned the wisdom of reviving one of the sea’s most fearsome predators…one could always tell when Submarine was near, for the ocean, for miles around, would fall eerily silent, sensing the enormous, 100+-ton predator approaching from below. Submarine had caused at least 27 deaths in the past two years, most of the time, the victims had no idea the shark was even in the area…a scream, and then a person would simply vanish…with an enormous shadow silhouetting against the deep blue sea. Wallace, however, did not see the Ministry’s oversight concerning his independence as an “accident.” He saw it as proof that the Empire meant him to be something more…far more than a Tier-6 planetary engineer. He just needed a chance to prove his worth…optimism, just more proof to his peers that he was a dangerous, malcontent aberrant, who would eventually grow to threaten the established New Order. He paid them no mind, however, for he had an open mind…and understood the Pantheon Doctrine far better than any of them ever would. “Professor, it is an honor to accompany you on this voyage. I will learn much from this apprenticeship, and from the Takada sisters. I must prepare myself for the journey ahead. “Very well then…you three are dismissed. I must meet with Masters Ryujin and Arronax about this matter.”

The Takada sisters and Wallace stood up from their chairs and stepped out of Professor Rayne’s office. “Well Andrew, it looks like the three of us are going to be travel partners…this is going to be DELIGHTFUL.” Ai said, her eyes growing wide and sinister. “My sister and I have a few things to teach you…things you can’t learn in a textbook or a classroom, but can only be learned through experience…the experience of blind, furious passion and dark devotion, but don’t worry, there’s nothing to be afraid of…your life is going to change forever, for you were meant for truly great things…” Tsuruka lectured, with great anticipation. Andrew didn’t know what to think. After hearing their stories of grotesque human sacrifices to occult pagan gods, Wallace didn’t know if he could trust his two companions…exactly what did they have planned for him, and how were they going to do it? Ai, Tsuruka and Andrew walked up a flight of staircases past a group of scientists and gazed out a gigantic bay window, across the Canyon of the Gods and overlooking the vast, floating city of art and edifice. On all sides of Metropolis, the depths of the vast Global Sea spread out endlessly, dotted with many other cities and interconnected by vast shipping lanes. In the skies high above, enormous starships, both colony ships outward bound to worlds unknown and massive Odin-class warships loomed high and mighty, the Iron Fist of the Empire, along with the Legions of Hyperborean Knights, commissioned officers and huge armies of cloned soldiers, wearing Class-XII exoskeleton armor in battle, and Jungsturm-Nordsterne formal outfits for military function. They were the most lethal soldiers in human history by far, and they knew no fear. Armed with the cutting edge in weaponry, they made sure that any enemy of the Empire was completely and utterly destroyed. “Look at all that lies before you…what do you see?” Tsuruka asked Andrew. “Metropolis…I see the Global Sea, the ships, and the starships high in the sky. It is all I have ever known.” “And you shall know far more, Andrew. This voyage to Blue Aurelia is only the beginning…for when you see the majesty of the Universe unfold before you, your true worth will be revealed…and you shall do great things for our Empire, far more than any ordinary human…we can assure you of that. The Hyperborean Race is responsible for everything you see before you, everything from the city architecture to the immense biodiversity that once again fills the Earth’s oceans…every creature on this planet owes its existence to the Hyperboreans, the true Sons of God…and our expansion into space is a mission that will never end. From the smallest reef fish to the Uroboros Dragon, Megalodon and Raptorial Sperm Whale, and everything in between, the Hyperboreans protect all…and you, Wallace, shall be one of them.” “What?” Wallace gasped, unsure if he had heard that correctly. “That unusual amount of individuality you possess is no accident…you were engineered from your parent’s gametes by the Ordo Rosarius Thelima Cult of Love, to be the first male member of our chivalric order in history. Everything in your life has been engineered by the Empire, preparing you for this revelation. The enhancements to your creativity, making you cunning, devious, scheming, your extremely high level of intellect, allowing you to pursue a career in planetary engineering, and your iron-willed determination and stubborn resolve to attain all your goals are all intentional…you are destined to be one of us…our mission to Blue Aurelia shall serve as your initiation rite. After that, you shall undergo all the necessary augmentations…and you shall attain eternal life. You shall become a Son of God, a true Hyperborean….and not a force in the Universe will be able to stop you. Embrace your destiny as our leader…future Grand Master of the Ordo Rosarius Thelima, allow us to show you the Path of the Abyssal Sun…Izanami-Sama has blessed this day. This night, we shall perform the ritual, inducting you into the Order…and tomorrow, we depart for the jungle moon, a world of many unknown natural wonders…but tonight, it’s just us three…and the Universe…now come, dear Initiate, for we will miss the nightly festivities in Metropolis…only visible from the Canyon of the Gods…the nightly Sundown Sendoff, where the Legions and the Imperial Coast Guard celebrate the sunset over the Global Sea.” Wallace did not want to miss this. He looked to the Western sky and saw the enormous orange disk of the Sun hanging low over the vast expanse of the Global Sea from the Ministry of Science’s bay windows, high above the facade and the massive Staghorn statue adorning it. One either side of the immense Imperial Pantheon, three garrisons of Imperial Legionnaires, all cloned from a variety of templates for optimal efficiency in combat, stood in neat rows, wearing their full Jungsturm-Nordsterne dress uniforms, and holding their AL-779 Pulse Rifles at the ready. Lining the Boulevard of Heroes, the massive marble staircase leading to the Pantheon’s front gates, were huge howitzer cannons, reflecting Imperial military power and prestige, as did the massive Odin-class capital ships in orbit far above. “ACHTUNG!!! LET AN!! MARSCH!!!” The black-uniformed Imperial Officer barked in German. The platoons of Legionnaires began their goose-step down the Boulevard of Heroes, carrying the Hammer, Cross and Crescent of the Hyperborean Empire on their standards. The enormous howitzer guns fired off a 21-gun salute as the sun dipped towards the Western horizon, as huge pleasure yachts sailed around the city, protected on all sides by enormous, nanoscale-carbon bulwarks. The soldiers began singing cheery marching songs, such as “Unsere Spaten sind Waffen im Frieden” and “Waldtraut ist ein schones Madchen.” A squadron of Shinigami-class starfighters zoomed overhead, making a few low passes over the Pantheon’s massive dome, along with the colossal VTOL F-6 “Wulfhund” gunships, these enormous aircraft were crewed by over 300 people, and were practically combat airships, most were adorned with pinup art of all sorts, the crews were NEVER comprised of clones, and this was something the airmen took great pride in, striving to make their airships the most unique of all…but when it came to function, there was no better weapons platform for reducing large, stationary targets to smoldering rubble than an F-6 Wulfhund. The airship, which used the hull design of a massive 21st-century Russian cargo jet, just modernized with 28th-century technology and VTOL capablities, along with the ability to hover and maneuver on a dime. Four massive howitzers, each armed with static-plasma ammunition, were the plane’s main armament, and these were clearly visible as the massive jets roared overhead. Secondary armaments consisted of just about any weaponry used by the Legions, they were truly all-purpose machines, and a workhorse in the vast Imperial Legion’s arsenal. As the gigantic aircraft rumbled overhead, Wallace and the Takada sisters watched as the sun set over the vast Global Sea, just beyond Metropolis’ South Bulwark, shielding the city from the vastness of the open sea. A vast pod of huge Sperm Whales surfaced on the far side of the city, feeding in the deep seas over what was once Europe, their hunting grounds now consisted of the submerged Swiss and Austrian Alps, where they hunted giant squid and many other deep-sea creatures. These were the standard Sperm Whale species, Physeter macrocephalus, not the colossal, solitary Raptorial Sperm Whales, Levyatan melvelli, which could grow to 120 feet long an weigh up to 150 tons…and unlike the Leviathan whale, these 50-foot long adults were not without their predators. Just then, the whales started acting strangely, disturbed, nervous. They formed a Margurite formation, their heads all facing outwards to face the threat, clicking and calling loudly to try and scare it off…they never saw it coming. Rocketing up from the midwater depths, a colossal force tore into one of the whales on the outer ring of the formation, dragging it under in a massive pool of blood. Storm petrels and albatrosses flocked around the mangled whale kill, and then, a gigantic, 7-foot dorsal fin emerged from the sea, along with the massive head of an adult megalodon shark…Submarine was back, the massive, adult female Meg that frequented the Northeast End of Metropolis’ artificial coastline, and she had just claimed her latest victim. “SHARK!!” Some scientists yelled, observing the kill from the bay window right next to Ai Takada and her sister. “Yes, people, shark…we’re on a city in the middle of the ocean, what did you THINK that was, an elephant?” Tsuruka said, annoyed that the two biologists had yelled in her ear. “Calm down, Tsuruka…just enjoy the sunset. I see Andrew is.” Andrew stood on the observation deck and watched as the military parade marched down the Canyon of the Gods, as it did every evening, as the Sun set. Soon, the Sun would set, and the denizens of Metropolis would go about their nightly business…the recreation hours for Tier-6 and below were between the hours of 8:00 and 10:00 P.M., and already, people were preparing to head to their favored haunts, once the enormous clock tower near the Imperial Pantheon struck eight…however, the Takada sisters had more pressing matters on their mind for this night…their nightly obsessions, devotions and worship of the pagan god Izanami-Sama were brewing, and as the Moon rose high over the ocean, they could feel the rays of the Abyssal Sun raining down upon them, with the Japanese Queen of Death beseeching them to her shrine and altar, in the depths of the Ordo Rosarius Thelima Cult of Love Grand Lodge, on the North End of Metropolis…it was nearly time for Wallace to begin his initiation rite. As the sun finally set on another tranquil day on the Global Sea, the stars came out over the lights of Metropolis, and all other floating cities of the Western Hemisphere. Such cities and towns were everywhere, with the largest ones being Metropolis, the Imperial capital, New Tokyo and Nova Columbia, over what was once Tokyo and New York City, respectively…now, it was time to leave this dreary Ministry building…there was much to accomplish, much to undertake, and much to indulge in…at the Midnight Sun Resort Spa, a massive Imperial bathhouse and oceanfront resort, owned and operated by the Ordo Rosarius Thelima Cult of Love, and served as the Grand Lodge for the chivalric Order of female Hyperborean Knights…and Andrew was to be the first man ever to witness their devotions…and live to tell about it. This was going to be a truly eye-opening experience, Wallace could feel it, though he was a bit anxious…perhaps they were simply using him as a human sacrifice? There was only one way to find out. He would perform his duty to his Professor and his mentors, as he always had. The Takada sisters led Wallace away, towards the elevator to the Ministry of Science building’s exit. That night was to be the end of Wallace’s existence…and the birth of a true Son of God.

                    1. The Passion of Dark Devotion

As the Takada sisters and Wallace stepped out into the warm summer air, they passed by lines of armored Night Hammer police force, keeping the crowds of people proceeding to various recreation zones in an orderly queue. The massive clock tower had just struck eight, signaling the start of recreation hours for the lower-Tier citizens of Metropolis, each police officer was armed with heavy plasma repeaters and full military loadouts, a few even carried riot shields and wore full face-masks, standard citizens never saw their faces, only learned to fear their guns and weapons. Imperial propaganda posters hung on every surface authorized to post bills, and huge LED screens displayed news channels operated by the Ministry of Information. Surveillance cameras and motion detectors were positioned at every street corner, in every building, every workplace, even in every public bathroom. Combine that with the Hyperboreans’ ability to conduct mind-sweeps and mind-surveillance on any and all Imperial citizens wherever they were, and there were truly no places in the Universe where one could hide. “It’s nice to see the Night Hammers doing their job…filthy lower-Tier vermin…they’re scarcely better than the Jews, Christians and Muslims, the only difference is that they lack the former groups’ foul stench, the stench of decadence, corruption and genetic impurity. They, along with feminist “hipster-elitists,” homosexuals, transsexuals, agendered persons, impaired persons, Negroes, Hispanics, Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese are the lowest of the low, the races of slaves, those that exist only to serve us, the Master Races of Hyperboreans, Japanese and white, Aryan people…we are the Gods of the New World Order, and we shall know no fear!” Tsuruka said, with Ai acknowledging her. “Do you know what we do with people that do not fit into the Empire’s worldview, Andrew?” Ai asked, her eyes large and evil-looking as she said those words. “They are relocated to colony worlds beyond the Outer Territories, away from Imperial space, correct?” “No…it is time you know the truth about what happens to criminals and undesirables. Once they are identified, they are arrested from their place of residence by Night Hammer police forces and brought to police processing centers on various Imperial worlds designed to process and deal with the question of social hygiene. Once they arrive on these worlds, they are sorted into groups depending on their classification, Jewish, hipster-elitist, Muslim, Christian, whatever, and placed into cell blocks according to classification…where they are utilized for the benefit of the State. Most of the prisoners are used as test guinea pigs for Imperial science experiments, directly overseen by Head Ministers Shen Ryujin and Silver Arronax. The experiments conducted on prisoners varies, for example, the feminist, hipster-elitists are usually forced to have sex with a large machine designed to extract their egg cells, so that they may be fertilized and grown into new Hyperborean Knights…the two of us were products of an experiment like this, our mother, a woman who had allegedly participated in illegal activity, was arrested, raped and terminated after the experiment’s conclusion…more than 35 million experiments like this have been conducted and terminated successfully, creating an entirely new generation of Hyperboreans. What is not born useful, we MAKE useful…the Hyperboreans purposefully breed the lesser races to use as a never-ending source of test subjects for our ever-upward push to the stars…so now, you know the truth…our Lord High Praetor, Countess Toni-Medici Fecchiera, presides over the arrests and the experimentations. She is the purest and most powerful of the Ordo Rosarius Cult, you will learn much from her when you meet her. She is born of a Hyperborean sect known as the Mithras Sages, focusing on defeating inner weakness and achieving eternal life…life beyond the immortality afforded by our augmentations…the Countess can do things that you cannot even imagine…she is unmistakable in her regalia, one of the most elaborate, non-Euclidean outfits you will ever see. Her face is one of true power, when angry, she is like a hellish monster worse than any dream, but when content, she is peaceful, wise and powerful…she is truly one of our greatest assets. She holds sway over the Midnight Sun Resort and Spa, where she presides over our Order. She is Light, the Lady of Luminosity, and her radiance casts its abyssal glow upon all of us…as she will upon you.” Suddenly, Wallace wasn’t too sure that he wanted to enter that bathhouse. He had heard the rumors, of course, but hadn’t believed them, chalking them up to pure urban legend. Those “rumors” concerned Countess Toni’s horrific methods of torture, some so depraved that they made medieval dungeon masters look like child’s play, especially her torture methods directed at women. She reportedly despised most women and men, for that matter, and saw almost every non-Hyperborean as untermensch, regardless of their Tier. “We must submit ourselves to the State, the State that allows us to pursue our passions, in the bounds of Master and Slave…this way, we shall become a utopian people…otherwise, chaos and disorder shall stalk the human race, hiding under the false mask of freedom…” the Countess was known to say, regarding the role of the State and its relationship to its people. “We continuously arm for war, for war is the lifeline of our society, and allows us to extend our reach to the stars above infinitely, always and eternally. The Beauty of Life and Eternal War…that is nothing short of a Law of Nature.” Such words were the bread and butter of the Ordo Rosarius Thelima, known as the only all-female chivalric order within the Empire. All these questions and more ran through Wallace’s head like tornadoes screaming across the open plains of Mysterial, if he was to be the first male member ever, then how would these women react to him? Would they accept him or shun him? He had no way of knowing, but all of this seemed awfully suspicious. He didn’t trust these women; the only Hyperborean he truly trusted was Professor Rayne, for his parents had developed a strong connection with him when Andrew was very young. Such questions would only be answered once Andrew and the Takada sisters arrived at the Midnight Sun Resort Spa. It was one of the famous “Sin Houses,” where all manner of depravity and debauchery were known to occur, the Midnight Sun was famous for its burlesque shows and enormous electronic rave parties…serving as an effective front for the Ordo Rosarius Thelima’s operations…few people noticed that every time a rave was held, some of the ravers never returned from the Midnight Sun, and even if they did, no one would have said anything, for there were a thousand and one ways for a Tier-6 or lower to die in the Hyperborean Empire…ordinary civilians’ lives meant almost nothing to the State, and this was reflected in most of the Imperial laws. Society was essentially a prison for an average person, the Empire was policed like a prison block, maintained like a prison, and kept in order like a prison…the Hyperboreans assumed that anyone below Tier-5 was a criminal unless they proved otherwise, and were treated as such. Because of this assumption, the laws, the constant surveillance and the mass-distribution of nanoscale drugs and augmentations to humanity, the Empire of the Egoist Crown was a perfectly-ordered, flawless, spotless utopia. Everyone knew their place and was happy about it, for they knew that everyone in the Empire shared the same destiny: infinite expansion into space, not as individuals, but as one, united Master Race. It was a world that Andrew was about to join, and he could not wait.

The Takada sisters and Wallace approached the plasma-powered Rothus Engineering X-17 6-wheeled limousine, gleaming black and headed directly for the Midnight Sun. Two Imperial flags flew from the car’s hood, and the Rothus Engineering Triad adored the front grille. This was the standard of luxury transportation in the Empire; Rothus Engineering, the product of a merger between Lockheed-Martin and Northrop-Grumman, two of the largest defense contractors before the Flood and the dawn of the Hyperborean Age, Rothus produced the majority of ground vehicles used by the Imperial Legions, tanks, combat vehicles, artillery vehicles, starfighters, aerial vehicles and even starships were designed by Rothus and the legendary Kraid Shipyard Corporation, a mega-conglomerate based on a planet of the same name and descended from Antonov and Tupolev Corporations, Kraid designed most of the Empire’s space vehicles and weaponry, including the mighty Odin-class capital ships, the largest man-made objects ever. The chauffeur, clad in black Imperial uniform, opened the doors while giving the Roman salute to the three passengers, the Takada sisters and Andrew stepped into the car’s spacious interior, a comfortable ride for the hour-long drive to Metropolis’ North End, near the North Bulwark, facing the Global Sea. The car immediately set off in the direction of the Midnight Sun, which also included a University campus, Hyperborean Knight training Praxeum and a vast, amazingly well-cultivated garden, full of flowers and plants from planets such as Mysterial and Blue Aurelia. Reaching a top speed of 150 miles per hour, the car cruised along the enormous highways through Metropolis’ vast, floating cityscape. It was guided by GPS and a robotic AI brain, the chauffeur was only necessary in case of emergency…the car literally drove itself, and magnetic sensors maintained a safe distance from every other car…in the 28th century, car accidents were a thing of the past. Using plasma-powered superconductors and zero-point energy, vehicles could travel almost infinitely on little to no fuel, and cars were no exception. As Andrew stared out the windows at the enormous cityscape, the Takada sisters sat with their arms folded, their Nano-Swords across their lap. “Are you enjoying the view?” Ai asked Andrew as he observed the massive seaports along Metropolis’ artificial coastline. “Yes, Ai, very much so. Those seaports are colossal, cargo comes in from every other city on the Global Sea, shipped on-world by massive freighters, patrolling the space-lanes of the Universe. Ai, Tsuruka, tell me something. I am aware that the Ministry of Science operates three specially-built Odin-class ships called Spire-class, built solely for exploration, research, and furthering the cause of Mankind and the Empire. Tell me a bit about those ships.” “Well, the three Spire-class ships, the Nuzak Spire, the Imperial Spire and the Izanami Spire use the same hull design as the Odin-class capital ships, and are just as large. However, their vast interiors contain miles and miles of scientific research laboratories, experimentation labs, quarters for millions of scientists and crew and can be custom-fitted for any mission profile. They carry minimal weapons, as they are not dedicated warships, but are still capable of defending themselves if need be and are still fully shielded by 17 massive shield generators. The ships are typically used for various mission profiles, but one of the most noteworthy experiments conducted by a Spire-class ship in recent years was the Enma-O Experiment, conducted aboard the Izanami Spire in the Fata Morgana System, Andromeda Galaxy. This experiment involved taking 600,000 undesirables, mostly those we deemed to be hipster-elitists, Christians, Jews, Muslims and homosexuals, and placing them aboard the Izanami Spire as test subjects. The two of us presided over this experiment, where each of these subjects was placed in a completely artificial environment, the interior of one of the Spire’s vast experimentation halls was tailored to mimic a tropical Pacific paradise, complete with white-sand beaches, palm trees and a lapping, crystal clear shoreline. The 600,000 test subjects were set loose in this “Island of Sin” environment, so-named because they were all given an injection of an experimental nano-drug which would prolong virility and libido for hundreds of years…and we wanted to see what the drug would do to people in their prime of life…the results of the experiment were immensely entertaining. The men reverted to an animal-like, almost chimpanzee-like sexual fervor, tearing womens’ clothing off and raping them with psychotic passion and ferocity, if the women resisted, the men would torture the women and crush their heads with stone, violate them with bamboo stems, rip their fingernails out, and even kill them outright…the women became complete submissives, allowing the men to do whatever they wanted to them, and laughing with orgasmic fervor as they were raped, tortured, torn to shreds and violated in ways so depraved, it made us cackle with delight. Countess Toni was on hand as well, administering the drug to each subject, fully aware that this was going to be the result…this ‘experiment’ was just her way of executing 600,000 untermensch vermin. Eventually, once all the women had been killed, the men turned on each other, slaughtering each other like animals and cannibalizing each other, until not one of them remained…the deed was done, the experiment was a success, and the serum was marketed as the cure for infertility, which, when administered in the proper dose, certainly is…we in the Ordo Rosarius Thelima just wanted to have a little fun with it before it went to market.” “Don’t you ever feel any mercy for them? Those people who you destroy in the name of science and progress? Their lives mean nothing to Hyperboreans? Is that correct?” “Absolutely. Dear child, the ones we use for our experiments are the lowest form of life in the Universe. They are genetically, religiously, culturally, intellectually, physically, mentally, and physiologically inferior in every possible way, and only exist to serve as livestock for the Empire’s science experiments. Untermensch are farmed and kept in pens like livestock on various larder worlds, blacks, Jews, Christians, Muslims and many other forms of social filth are all kept and raised like animals, they are fed, groomed, grazed and eventually slaughtered in our science experiments, and eventually, new untermensch are grown by the Ministry of Augmentation in their vast human growth tanks, meant solely for use in science experiments. It is simply the law of nature. The strong will ALWAYS dominate the weak. Only the strong shall live, and only the strong have the right to live…Darwinism is the Hyperborean law…No mercy is felt for them, just as no mercy is felt for cattle being led to slaughter…it is simply a fact of life in the Hyperborean Age. Such is life in Utopia…the Universe is ours for the taking.” Andrew grew very subdued and quiet with those words. Little did he, formerly a mere Tier-6, know the awful truth about the Hyperborean Empire and the true inner workings of the government. Those people whom the Empire deemed “unworthy” were not being relocated to settlement worlds, but systematically tortured, experimented on and purged in their millions, while countless more were being farmed for the sole purpose of slave labor and being used as guinea pigs for twisted science experiments far worse than any nightmare. True, the Empire was a spotless Utopia…but the price of paradise was a steep one indeed. Andrew had no way of knowing just how many subhumans were slaughtered on a daily basis, but estimates ranged from 1 million to as many as 30 million…per day. Just another day in Paradise, under the eternal sunshine of the Global Sea…and no one had any idea, but then, why would they? The Ministry of Information would never allow for it. Everyone knew their place, and nobody dared ask awkward questions.

As the limousine weaved through the massive, 15-lane autobahn, the huge harbor district gave way to enormous residential complexes, massive, 50-story apartment buildings that covered 12, sometimes as many as 15 city blocks, built to house the millions and millions of Tier-6 residents of Metropolis. Andrew recognized the building on the far left, nearest the highway. That was his home, in Apartment #1187, Fifth Floor, Solar Helix Apartment Block. It was a comfortable life, albeit cramped and sometimes noisy, with all the upstairs and downstairs neighbors all around. The Hyperboreans lived in huge manorial homes closer to the Canyon of the Gods and the Imperial Pantheon, so huge that it could be seen from anywhere in Metropolis, and from nearly 30 miles out to sea…however, this was no longer his life. He was to be one of the rarified upper classes, a true Son of God…and nothing would stop him from achieving that destiny.

After what seemed like much longer than an hour in the limousine, their destination awaited them, gleaming white in the moonlight, the graceful columns of alabaster stone, and an elaborate marble facade, built in the grandiose traditions of Metropolis, but with a decidedly Japanese flair, with a pagoda roof and huge, sliding doors, similar to those found in ages past in Japan, before the Flood. This was the Grand Lodge of the Ordo Rosarius Thelima Cult of Love, where the all-female chivalric Order practiced their dark, pagan devotions, centered around Izanami-sama and the Shinigami, as well as the other dark, Shinto gods and spirits. As the limousine parked in front of the massive building, Ai and Tsuruka stepped out first into the warm night air of the Northern summer, followed by Andrew. The three of them walked up the huge staircase to the front gates, past the statues of Izanami-Sama, the Shinigami, Oni the Lantern-Eyed Shadow, and the anguished visage of the Carved Woman, the vengeful spirit of a murdered bride, symbolizing the power and strength within every member of the Ordo Rosarius. On the massive, cedar front door, a short poem was inscribed: “Sacred nights turn to days, every day fades to gray, unity is meant to be, when you fall, follow me…” Andrew was petrified. He had heard about this place, but liked to believe it didn’t exist…he had not the slightest idea what these women were going to do to him. They were not normal women. They were not even human, by his standards. These were unrelentingly vicious Hyperborean warriors and practitioners of a dark, pagan ritual that had claimed the lives of millions of people, whose only purpose was to be bred for these gruesome human sacrifices. Ai, Tsuruka, their fellow practitioners and their leader, Toni-Medici Fecchiera, were the true daughters of Izanami-Sama herself…and this was their dominion, from which they ruled over all that concerned them. Their souls rendered, twisted, torn asunder by their augmentations and their training, they lived for blood and vengeance, the powerful dark emotions, anger, hatred, fear, lust, passion…these feelings empowered them like nothing else in the Universe…Andrew was little more than an insect in their presence…but one they claimed was destined for greatness. He just had to trust them, a very difficult thing to do. The two massive cedar doors opened, and the Takada sisters walked into the main foyer, decorated with blood-red lily flowers and three elegant marble fountains, spewing crimson-red water, identical to the color of blood. “Ladies, we’re home! We brought the new initiate!” Ai said, shouting into the vast halls of the Midnight Sun. Just then, two other Hyperborean women, one with blonde hair and pigtails wearing an elaborate Wintermaid style Jungsturm-Nordsterne outfit, blue, black and green, decorated with Nordic pagan runes, purple and black frills and a black hood and cape with a white Staghorn Rune on the back of it, as well as one with long green hair and a similar Japanese style outfit to the Takada sisters emerged from a door on the second-floor balcony overlooking the foyer. “Oh! Here’s the little sunspot! Welcome, Andrew, to our lovely little Nordic-Japanese Aryan paradise here at the Midnight Sun. My name is Gwenlynn Stormweaver, and this is Aria Monogatari, we’re two of the Hyperborean Knights who live here and practice our devotions, along with the Takada sisters and many other members of our chivalric Order. Welcome to our home, I’m sure you’ll find our accommodations lovely by your Tier-6 standards. Rest assured, you will be one of us sooner rather than later.” The woman with the blonde hair introduced herself and her companion with a strong Scandinavian accent, with Aria following suit. “Andrew, these are two of the greatest Hyperborean warriors in the known Universe, Gwenlynn is, without doubt, the best star pilot in the Empire, flying a custom-built fighter called the Volant Fantasie, and Aria is one of the greatest swordmasters of all time, capable of truly superhuman feats with her Hallucination Nano-Sword. Both are capable of supernatural achievements in combat, and have seen many battles against various enemies and uprisings, sharpening their skills by hunting large animals on many colony worlds. You should get to know them a bit better.” Just then, another woman entered the main reception area, though this one looked a bit different than the others. She stood just as tall as the other Hyperboreans, but had long, iridescent, golden hair that shimmered in the Immersion power source lights hanging all around. Her eyes were purple and green, quite unlike anything seen in humans, and her limbs were long and graceful, far more than any human. Her hair was in an elegant style, and her outfit was unlike anything the other Hyperboreans were wearing, a stunning, lordly Imperial gown with a miniature solar system orbiting it, an optical illusion created by the folds of the outfit. She carried a Hallucination Nano-Sword, but also had a crescent-moon emblem on her forehead. Andrew looked a bit confused as this strange woman approached him, and offered him her elegantly-gloved hand. “Hello, dear Starseed of the Cosmos. I am Sei Ikkiku, Queen of the Nordic Pleiadeans and Empress of the Seven Sisters’ Imperium, of the Pleiades Star Cluster, more than 500 light-years from Earth. We are just one of the many races that the Empire is in contact with…I am a member of this Order, just as these Hyperboreans are, and I wish to welcome you here.” Andrew couldn’t believe it. Not just Hyperboreans, but aliens? This was truly incredible. He had no idea that the Empire was actually in contact with other civilizations, but he had heard rumors of contact for many years. It turned out that these rumors were true after all. “Allow me to introduce you to some basic facts about my race. We are from a planet called Alcyone, orbiting a blue star of the same name, the brightest star in the Pleiades Star Cluster, visible in the Southern sky of this world in summer. Alcyone is a glorious world of art and edifice, much like the city of Metropolis, the capital city, Kalafina, is spotless and constructed of extraordinarily grand architecture, while surrounded by miles-high snow-capped peaks, the centerpiece of the town is the White Tower, a gigantic fortress where myself and my husband, Lord Svath, rule over the Pleiades Star Cluster with our enormous fleet of elegant War Wyverns and massive sentry guns, using gamma-ray burst weaponry as a deterrent to marauding Reptoid entanglements.” “Reptoids? Can you elaborate?” Andrew asked, curious about the possibility of other alien life besides the Pleiadeans. “Yes, our chief rivals and enemies of the Hyperborean Empire as well, the Sangresaara, or ‘Reptoids’ as we have long called them as a derogatory term, are a massive, close-knit warrior race of reptilian, saurian beings clad in stylized battle armor and using a vast arsenal of weapons and warships. They stand more than 12 feet tall in their armor, shielded and enhanced with nanoscale technology, granting them identical abilities to Hyperboreans and Pleiadeans in their armor, as they lack the biological augmentations and natural abilities that we possess. They have a very strong code of brotherhood and honor, but are nasty, brutish and fixated on war and warfare…their entire culture is based around conquest. Our long history is intricately tied with humanity and the Reptoids,beginning about 4,000 years ago, when the ancient Semites stole the Ark of the Covenant, a Nordic Pleiadean treasure. At first we suspected our ancient rivals, the Sangresaara of such a travesty, but then we realized that one of our Emissaries carelessly left it on Earth while transporting it back to Alcyone, and since then, the Ark has remained in human hands, under our watchful eye. There were several attempts to reclaim the Ark, most notably by my great-ancestor Anset the Great, who convinced a human named Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews and reclaim the Ark; once Hitler turned the Ark over to the Pleiadeans, we would have made him Governor-General of Earth, and incorporated your world into the Seven Sisters’ Imperium…however, that plan didn’t quite work. After that, we decided that the Ark was yours to keep, and it now resides in the Imperial Museum in the Ministry of Science Building. There is another nonhuman woman here…she does not like to show her face during the day. I speak of Queen Saalra Lucifera, Queen of the Sigtyr species and leader of the proud Sigtyr Ascendancy, a race of all-female humanoids who wear extraordinarily elaborate outfits, termed Clowtzu outfits, and share all the inviting charm of a cobra crossed with a sinister young woman. They do not communicate vocally, as their vocal cords have not developed to the extent that humans, Hyperboreans, Sangresaara and Pleiadeans have, instead preferring to communicate via telepathy, bioluminsecence and hand signals. Their movements are extraordinarily slow, as their body temperature hovers at minus-330 degrees Fahrenheit, casting a brutal chill all around them…their bodies are this cold because their entire biological system is not based around liquid water, but liquid hydrocarbons, such as methane and ethane; the planet, Falx, is awash in liquid hydrocarbons, supporting an ecosystem as diverse as Earth’s oceans or Blue Aurelia’s jungles…the Sigtyr civilization is more than 7 billion years old and extraordinarily powerful, on a military scale equal to the Hyperborean Empire, but their loyalty is deeply tied to a profound nationalism to their home planet. They could never live anywhere else. Saalra spends only part of her time here…she should be getting active right about now, as night has fallen.” Just then, a fell chill befell the otherwise warmly-lit foyer, causing the Immersion lights to flicker from the intense cold. A strange murmuring, whispering, almost devilish sounding giggle was heard echoing from a dark corridor leading deeper into the bathhouse, that giggling mixed in with snake-like hisses and whistles, like air being forced past a set of fearsome fangs. Slowly stepping out from the shadows was a chilling, eerie sight. Queen Saalra stood in the direct light, her pale, chalk-white skin seething from the light hitting it, her eyes flashing yellow-orange with bioluminsecnece. Her infrared heat sensing organs in her mouth detected a presence she had never tasted before, her serpent-like tongue flicking out as she tasted Andrew’s presence. She had long brown hair and stood a staggering 15 feet tall in her full Clowtzu regalia. She carried a unique walking cane and had elaborate face paint. As Sei Ikkiku indicated, Saalra could not speak, but she was looking at Andrew like a three-course dinner. She slowly ambled over to Andrew and the other Ordo cult members and craned her neck to such an unnatural extent that her body actually extended out of her clothing slightly, much like a snake’s movement as she walked. Sigtyr were capable of lunging forward like a snake in this manner, striking with their terrifying fangs if need be, they preferred to move via telepathic levitation, rather than walking, or teleportation. “Sisters…who is this outsider? I could certainly use the meat…” Saalra said telepathically, her thoughts being heard by everyone in the room, shivering from her super-cooled body temperature. “No, Queen Saalra, he is our new initiate…he is to be the first male member of our Order in history.” Saalra looked extraordinarily surprised…but then she smiled, and hissed endearingly, if one could call it that. “Welcome to our ranks, delectable morsel. I’m sure you’ll find it quite inviting here…you wouldn’t last a second on Falx, at least until you receive your augmentations. My world is unlike anything you have ever experienced. Falx is dark, frigid and orbits and antimatter star, which emits heat but no light…yet the liquid Water of Life, what you call methane and ethane, supports an ecosystem that rivals even the lushest of water-metabolizing worlds, such as Blue Aurelia and Venus. Shimmergliders and their liquid-dwelling counterparts, Shimmerswimmers, in our tongue Tana-Eka and Taka-Nora, respectively, glide on the frigid winds, their colonial bodies consisting of millions of tiny organisms working in unison to survive. Massive storms of methane and ethane rain drench the Sylph trees, which form massive rainforests in the planet’s wetter regions, supporting millions of species, but our cities are by far the most dominating feature of our world. Some of the cities are more than 5 billion years old, and vaster than anything you have ever conceived. Statues of our Gods and Ancestors are carved from solid methane ice and adorn the artificial canyons between the absolutely gargantuan pyramids, our standard design for any structure. Inside, these pyramids house our people in vast, vertical cities, temples, businesses and military bases, where our soldier caste, the mighty Korvax species, masses for deployment on my orders. The Korvax are a colonial intelligence far superior to any human in every way. Their armor is a biomechanical suit that renders them invulnerable to most weaponry, and their own weapons are among the strongest in the known Universe. Thinking not as individuals but as a collective, they are virtually invincible and the only military force capable of going toe-to-toe with the Imperial Legions of the Hyperborean Empire…and they are something we take great pride in.” Queen Saalra said, lecturing Andrew on the dark beauty of her homeworld, a world of ice and militaristic pride. She was perhaps the most terrifying thing Andrew had ever seen, a true Angel of Death for many small, unprotected worlds. Her Legions rivaled those of the Hyperborean Overlords and in many ways ever surpassed them. An alliance with the Pleiadeans and the Sigtyr had made the Empire invincible. “So, now that everyone is introduced, let’s get to business. Andrew is going to want to meet Countess Toni to discuss his assignment and undergoing the augmentations to his body and mind, for she possessed the means to perform them.” Gwenlynn instructed, twirling her huge sword between her hands. “Where is the Countess?” Andrew asked, nervously. “Oh, she’ll be back…you’ll know her when you see her.” Sei Ikkiku said, her voice cooing ominously. “Until then, feel free to look around the bathhouse, just don’t go in Saalra’s quarters…she doesn’t like anyone in there when she’s not there, and there’s no guarantee she won’t eat you alive…literally.” Ikkiku said of Saalra, whose species had a jaw capable of dislocating itself, extraordinarily toxic venom and a highly expandable stomach. Andrew had already seen her body lunge forward like a snake, and there was little question of the Sigtyr’s predatory abilities and violent tendencies…a planet like Earth, warm and awash with liquid water, or a world like Venus, lush, warm and covered with water and rainforest, would seem awfully inviting for a species living on a dark, frigid, methane and ethane-fueled world orbiting a black antimatter star. Andrew could only imagine if the Korvax Legions invaded Earth or any human-colonized world…absolutely nothing would remain. A similar result would happen if the Pleiadean Sentry Guns, massive gamma-ray burst cannons were to fire at a planet…it would be instantly cooked, wiped clean of all life, and reduced to a radioactive, lifeless desert. In many ways, these other civilizations, the Sigtyr, Sangresaara and Nordic Pleiadeans were just as powerful as the Hyperborean Empire, if not more so. Combined, the Sigtyr, Nordic Pleiadeans and Hyperboreans were the ultimate power in the Universe…and nothing, not even the warrior Sangresaara, could stop them. Andrew was still nervous about meeting Countess Toni, however. She was an entity far more powerful than any of the Hyperboreans he had met thus far, and there was no telling how she’d react to his presence. She was the leader of the Ordo Rosarius Cult of Love, and knew more secrets of the Universe than anyone Andrew had ever encountered…this was going to be quite the learning experience for him…if she didn’t kill him first.

Andrew looked around the bathhouse at the incredible decorations and ornamentations, Statues of Japanese and Nordic pagan gods adorned the walls, as did paintings of many fanciful, often volkisch scenes, drawn in Japanese manga style, along with a message scrawled into the oak paneling, written in Nordic runes: “Forever in love, we search for Eternity’s true meaning through acts of flesh and blood.” There were also Japanese runes and Kanji characters on various tapestries and prayer tags hanging from the Japanese pagan god statues. “Are you enjoying the decorations here? They are ancient symbols of pagan power and purity, that painting you see here is the demon woman Sharaku boiling the Forlorn Lovers in hot oil. Japanese legend holds that Sharaku appeared to a young man in love with a beautiful young maiden, and granted him immortality and omnipotence in exchange for his good soul…she then appeared before the maiden and made a similar deal with her, bringing them together in holy matrimony…however, this was not enough for the young man. Transforming into a hideous entity known as the Black Prince of Sukuru-Na, he spread darkness and chaos across the land with his beloved at his side, and Sharaku’s blessing. Eventually, however, the samurai cornered both the Black Prince and his lover, and slayed them both…damning them to be boiled alive for all eternity in Sharaku’s cauldron in the Underworld, the kingdom of Izanami-Sama and the Abyssal Sun.” Tsuruka said, pointing at a disturbing painting hanging on the walls. There was also a statue of the Black Prince and his Lover standing near the painting with various prayer tags hanging from it, beseeching the Demon Woman Sharaku for guidance in the horror that was life, left by members of the Ordo Rosarius Thelima Cult of Love. In this bathhouse, the whole secret knowledge of nature, of the divine and the demonic had washed off the Christian veneer, and wrung out religion inferior to the Hyperborean Race. The Nordic and Japanese myths had replaced the Christian Bible as the foundation of the New Mythos, the Mythos of the Blood…the Hyperborean Empire and its allied civilizations believed that the godly essence was to be defended through the blood and bloodshed if need be, with the creation of the 12-Tier Society and the Pantheon Doctrine. It was now a truly invincible system, and this bathhouse was a monument to all the Hyperboreans had achieved.

Andrew continued to look around at the marvelous decorations and trappings in the main foyer, while getting to know his new hosts a bit more. He still had yet to meet Countess Toni, and wondered where she was, for she had yet to enter the foyer to meet him. Andrew turned and asked Gwenlynn where Countess Toni was. “She awaits you in the Inner Sanctum…there is much for you to accomplish on this night, the night before your departure to Blue Aurelia on your mission. I can take you to her, if you so desire.” Gwenlynn said, with her Scandinavian accent. “Just follow me through the the Inner Sanctum.” Gwenlynn announced, just as she turned to walk down a dark corridor leading from the foyer. He followed behind Gwenlynn’s jet black cape and hood, adorned with symbols of Nordic-Slavic Heathen Unity, wearing a wondrously-elaborate pagan Jungsturm-Nordsterne outfit, a Wintermaid war regalia, emblazoned with hundreds of pagan themes and runes from Scandinavia and the Slavic Lands, symbolizing a Slavic-Aryan Dream, the Golden Age of the Aryan Race, before the Jewish and Christian corruption of the sacred European pagan arts, dating back to the last Ice Age. Gwenlynn also carried a particularly brutal Hallucination Nano-Sword, called “The Bane of All Fools,” a massive sword with a chainsaw-like blade, the nanoparticles that comprised the blade had a horrific psychological effect on its victims, exposing them to the most horrendous psychological torment imaginable, in addition to inflicting horrendously grievous wounds. Gwenlynn’s victims died in the worst pain imaginable, both physical and psychological, and this wasn’t even taking into account her immense telekinetic abilities, and the physical abilities her nanoscale augmentations provided her…this woman, and all of her comrades in arms, could do the unimaginable, in an earlier era, they would be considered sorcerer-knights, but now, they were the pinnacle of human existence, the Hyperborean Race.

Gwenlynn and Andrew walked down the enormous Grand Concourse, which was set up like a dark church, meant to host the gigantic rave parties, operating as a front for the Dark Devotions that occurred in the Inner Sanctum. In place of church pews, there were hot spring baths and places to hang clothing and towels, with potted plants lining the walls, creating the illusion of an artificial jungle. The “altar” was a place where musicians could come and play music, and on the walls behind them, there were three pagan runes, a Mjolnir rune from Nordic mythology, a Kolovrat from Slavic mythology, and a Shinto power stave from Japanese mythology, arranged in a way mocking the Trinity of Christianity. The windows contained stained-glass pagan art, with images of legendary heroes and gods, such as Perun, Thor, Loki, Alexander Nevsky and Taira-no-Tomomori, as well as Izanami-Sama, the patron god of the Midnight Sun Bathhouse and Resort. Near the hot springs, there were immense koi ponds filled with a red liquid that appeared to be human blood, but this couldn’t be, as there were fish living in the ponds, ornamentally decorating the bathhouse in grand style, complementing the huge Doric-style columns on either side of the enormous room. “This is the Grand Concourse, where we entertain our guests on the long, hot, summer nights during the season…we practice our Devotions from safely behind the scenes, away from the prying eyes of the mortal, deprived citizens of the Universe, fumbling in ignorance, incapable of understanding. Let the lights overtake you, love is our salvation, intoxicating our souls, we spread it like a plague across the Universe, so let the light overtake, every day fades to gray, our unity is meant to be, so when you fall, follow me, and experience what eternal life truly means. There is a realm of existence so far beyond your own that you cannot even imagine it. I am beyond any Tier-6’s comprehension. I am the embodiment of Nordic-Slavic Aryan Pride, power, purity and paganism. Rudimentary creatures of mortal, deprived blood and bone, you touch my mind and violate my body, trembling with childish naivete, incapable of understanding our true purpose. “Pagan,” a label given by the Christian Untermensch to give voice to their destruction, in the end, what they chose to call us is irrelevant. We simply ARE. Life is but a genetic mutation, a lucky accident as a result of an inevitability of probability, the laws of physics mandated that life would form under the right conditions, with organic materials seeding countless worlds scattered across the Universe, made from the remnants of dead stars, having long since gone supernova. The concept of an all-powerful God and a Savior is as dead as the stars that seed life on planets across the Universe, and all those who still follow this dead idea will be treated accordingly. Still, however, we believe there is a purpose to every organism’s evolution, each organism serves a role in any environment. This hierarchy is as universal as the laws of gravity, physics and Darwinian evolution. There will always be inferior forms of life, and there will always be superior forms that prey upon the weak. Our race, the Hyperborean Race, occupies the very pinnacle of that hierarchy. We are each a nation, free of all weakness. The Tier-6’s cannot even begin to grasp the nature of our existence. We are Legion, and we shall spread our iron, pagan wings across the Universe, with the history of the legendary heroes Perun, Alexander Nevsky, Taira-no-Tomomori, Thor, Odin, Loki and Izanami-Sama standing behind us. Together we face the unknown, and we will ALWAYS triumph, Andrew. It is the law of nature, the strong over the weak…and you shall soon be one of us, a true Son of the Gods. Race is far, far more than skin color, true racial purity requires Aryan traits in every aspect of one’s being, family heritage, skin color, eye color, hair color, personality, nationality, mental ability, sexual orientation, cultural superiority, religious superiority, scientific superiority, intelligence quotient, education level and drive to succeed and conquer. Only those who fulfill those categories exceptionally well are worthy of the title ‘Hyperborean’ or even ‘Aryan,’ that is, worthy of being augmented into the Hyperborean Race. You, Andrew, are the epitome of Aryan purity…and tonight, you shall become one of us. Just follow me…Countess Toni shall grant you your Initiation Rite. It is an experience you shall never forget.” Gwenlynn explained, with a very sinister look on her face, her two pigtails bobbing cutely on her head as she walked through the door, into a huge hallway, lined with statues of Nordic, Japanese and Slavic pagan gods. On the far wall was a gigantic painting of Izanami-Sama, surrounded by her Shinigami minions, one looking like a giant, winged scarecrow, another like a gigantic, demonic crow-man, the other an elaborately-patterned “Mothman.” Izanami towered over all, her sinister, seductive face, carved with a permanent, bleeding smile, her devil horns protruding from her long, velvet black hair, draping over her pale, white skin.

Andrew began to sweat, his heart racing. He could sense an immense evil presence in the room ahead of him, and it filled him with a sickening sense of dread, the kind you feel when you are certain you are about to die. There was no terror quite as primal and visceral as the fight-or-flight response…bu Andrew knew there was no fighting or fleeing. His fate had already been decided. There was no going back now. These women of the Ordo Rosarius Thelima Cult of Love were the ultimate Spakonas, or female practitioners of pagan arts, allowed through their nanoscale augmentations. The Nanotech Revolution during the Flood triggered a revival of pagan culture, rising out of the ruins of the Old Society, and flowering across vast sections of the known Universe…and this bathhouse was far more than place of relaxation…it was a temple of pagan worship. The pagan culture of the Hyperboreans emphasized racial and cultural purity above all else, and were intent on eradicating all social filth from the face of the Universe, and reducing blacks, atheists, homosexuals, Muslims, Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Christians and Jews, as well as those with physical and psychological disabilities to livestock for the eternal progression of Aryan-Hyperborean power and society…and their system was working better than any other system in human history. The world only caught a glimpse of humanity’s true potential under Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime…under the Hyperborean Empire, humanity had reached its zenith. In just 700 years, the Hyperboreans had accomplished what was long thought to be impossible: colonization of space, and the construction of a vast, intergalactic community, ruled by the Hyperboreans, the Sigtyr and the Nordic Pleiadeans. The Hyperboreans were truly the greatest leaders humanity had ever known. Perhaps it was fear and envy of those so great that made them vilified by other civilizations, such as the Sangresaara, and those scattered pockets that still promoted the archaic, decadent ideas of democracy and individual human rights. Sure, they made difficult decisions, as all great leaders did, but every decision the Hyperboreans made was in the best interest of humanity as a whole. History was written by the victors, and now, no one questioned the wisdom of men hitherto vilified under the democratic system, such as Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini, in their vision of a perfect, orderly Utopia, a vision that was now the Hyperborean reality. And Metropolis was the center, the Axis which the entire human race revolved around, the one true nexus of the Empire.

At that moment, Andrew had an epiphany. This bathhouse, this city, these women, this ideology…this was his destiny. Suddenly, any fear he felt about entering the chamber of Countess Toni was replaced by pride…and anticipation. He was a member of the Aryan Race, and would soon be a member of the Hyperborean one. Power, Pride and Purity…the Imperial motto rang loud in his ears as he followed Gwenlynn up a flight of staircases, past scenes of massive Odin-class warships laying waste to resistance lying before them, and mass pagan prayer scenes on religious holidays, such as Yule, Samhain, Janus and Eatsara, with the mass sacrifice of the Untermensch on Yule, and the Great Harvest Feast on Samhain in Metropolis, in front of the Imperial Pantheon. Holidays were always a joyous time, as the government actually encouraged the Tier-6 masses to leave their homes and go down to the festivals. Andrew had very fond memories of watching the mass human sacrifices with his mother when he was a little boy, and enjoyed feasting on fresh-hunted game from the jungles of Venus and Blue Aurelia on Samhain, known as ‘Halloween’ before the Flood. As Andrew reached the top of the staircase, Gwenlynn stood in the entrance of a beautiful, oak-paneled master suite, and called for Countess Toni to answer the door. “Milady, I have the new initiate. You’re going to love working with him, he’s the perfect little Aryan sunspot!” For about 5 seconds, there was no answer…until the door opened by itself, as if beckoning Andrew inside. “You must enter alone…she will perform the initiation rites and the augmentations here. Fare thee well, comrade in arms, my Brother and Equal.” Gwenlynn closed the door and left Andrew alone in the dark, warm room. Suddenly, a dark, seductive voice echoed in his ear. “Come in, my dear child…you’re standing in the dark…but don’t worry, there’s nothing to be afraid of…” Andrew calmly walked towards the source of the voice, straining to see Countess Toni in the darkness, but then, she stepped forward to meet him. She was clad in her immense, non-Euclidean Jungsturm-Nordsterne outfit, and her face, her eyes…were like black, iridescent lumps of coal, like shark’s eyes, only worse. Her outfit reeked of utter insanity, so complicated and so impossible that wearing such an outfit would only be possible with immense, physics-bending telekinesis and nanoscale augmentation, something that Countess Toni possessed in boundless quantity. She was a monster, more terrifying than any dream, but she meant Andrew no harm…she would help him fulfill his destiny. “Dear child, Andrew, is it? I have heard all about you from Professor Rayne and the Takada sisters…they have nothing but praise for you.Come…I was just preparing to take a bath…something that you must do with me to complete the Rite of Passage.” Suddenly, Andrew didn’t feel so put off. That didn’t sound too bad, and those hot springs looked very warm and inviting…however, it couldn’t be that simple, could it?

Countess Toni sat down in her chair and faced Andrew, her inhuman, monstrous, shark-like eyes and fang-like teeth bared as she went to speak. “Andrew…I trust you’ve already met my fellow Spakonas…but I am not like them. The devotions I practice in the solitude of this room extend far beyond what they do…I am a follower of the God Sun Mithras, a sun-worshiping Warrior of the Light, and I have found life far beyond even what my augmentations allow me…and now, I would like to show you the true meaning of Eternal Life and Power. Follow me into my bathing chamber…I shall begin the initiation rite there, but first, let us prepare for the bath. Follow me into the changing rooms…we can remove our clothes there…there are some things we must discuss.” Andrew followed Countess Toni down a passageway leading to a large, luxurious bathroom…but instantly, Andrew realized the horror of what he was about to experience. The bathroom reeked of human blood, with bizarre torture instruments and devices all over the walls and the floor. The tub, a huge, luxuriant Jacuzzi tub, was filled to the brim with human blood. “Dear God…she’s a sucreyant…” Andrew thought to himself upon seeing the raw depravity before him. “Vampire” was a very impolite term…invented by the Church in the 16th century to vilify exactly what Countess Toni was about to do with him. The politically correct term was Sucreyant, or “blood-sage.” Andrew stepped behind the changing screen and removed his clothes, preparing for whatever “initiation” Countess Toni had planned. “Andrew, I’m ready…” Andrew stepped out with a towel around him, only to see that Countess Toni had no towel…she was a 12-foot tall, lithe, muscular, completely naked woman stepping into the tub of human blood. The moment she sat in the warm, stinking bloodbath, her eyes dilated, becoming normal, human pupils…she was meditating, chanting an old Mithraic spell to bless her body with radiant light energy. “Take that towel off, you’ll contaminate the blood with foreign substances, only human bodies can touch the Aqua Vitae…Don’t worry, there’s nothing to be afraid of…I won’t bite.” Somehow Andrew doubted that claim. Andrew let the towel fall to the floor, and anxiously placed his toe in the tub of human blood, congealing on the side of the tub…it felt warm and gooey, like hot molasses on a summer day, just the very thought of getting in that tub caused nausea, but Andrew fought it. It had to be done. He stepped into the tub, and quickly immersed himself in the foul-smelling bath, it smelled of copper and fetid sweat, taking all of his effort to not vomit everywhere…but eventually, his body became used to it…and soon, he felt…a presence. It was unlike anything he had ever felt before, he felt as if every cell in his body was becoming supercharged, superhuman and transcendant…and then he saw Toni. She was chanting something under her breath, her long brown hair covering her eyes, further accentuating the feeling of empowerment that Andrew was receiving from the blood-bath, and then, she stopped…placing her hands on Andrew’s forehead, she began an ancient spell, a Mithraic Initiation rite, passing the powers of the Sun itself into Andrew’s cells. “Have mercy on me, Providence and Destiny, as I write these primordial mysteries, in order to communicate with the Only Son, The One that shall become immortal, the initiate that is worthy of these powers of ours…These mysteries that the great God Sun Mithras revealed to me by his Archangel, have mercy on me, so that I alone like an Eagle can bestride the Heavens and behold everything…Sun Mithras…Sun Mithras…alone like an eagle…an eagle…have mercy on me, God Sun Mithras…God Sun Mithras…GOD SUN MITHRAS!!!” At this moment, Andrew began to grow weak, faint, and gaunt. Countess Toni was having an immense effect on his frail, Tier-6 body, he vomited repeatedly into the blood-bath, growing weaker by the second. “Stand still, oh fading human nature, and allow me to separate you from your irreconcilable and urgent needs…I am a Star, who walks with you and lights up from the Abyss. I am a STAR! I am a STAR, who walks with you and lights up from the depths…from the depths…I am a STAR! I am a STAR that lights up from the depths…from the depths…from the depths…from the depths…from the depths…from the depths…from the depths…” At this climax, a miraculous transformation occurred within Andrew Wallace. As silent as the grave and as brilliantly as a lightning flash, a part of Toni’s immense power struck Andrew’s forehead, twisting and contorting the body, taking the torn, tattered life force from Andrew’s body and re-creating it ab imo, a entity of pure Light. This new life force, as hard as diamond and as powerful as lightning, had transformed the mortal and deprived condition into one of pure immortal power. Andrew awoke, being cradled in Toni’s arms.

Wake up, my dearest Son…tell me, how do you feel?” “I feel…powerful, different…strange…like every aspect of my being has been liberated and enhanced…like I could never die. What did you do?” “I replaced your mortal and deprived life force with the power of the Sun itself. You will never die, you will never get sick, you will never age, and you will always be one of us…you are the Only Son of the Ordo Rosarius…now, all that remains is your augmentations…but first…I’d like to show you, my Son, what love-making really is…” Andrew had no time to react. Toni fell on him in the blood-bath with the ferocity of a sex-deprived animal in heat, shaking his body violently against the walls of the tub, tearing and ripping at his genitalia to the point where he screamed in agony, but felt no damage to his body, he really was invincible…Toni had only made him invincible so she could viciously rape him and not kill him. He was confused, scared… was this part of his initiation? Could he truly trust this woman that was viciously stealing his virginity and his innocence? He had no choice…Like Toni had said, he was one of them now…their Brother and Toni’s Son…this was just his first Dark Devotional session…sitting in a tub of congealing human blood, being raped by a Hyperborean Queen Mother…so this is what it truly meant to be Hyperborean. Suddenly, everything he thought he knew about the world was wrong, laid bare before him, just as Toni became more and more ferocious in her advances. At this point, orgasmic fervor was filling Andrew’s immortal body. He smiled, laughed, cheered, exalted in triumph. His screams turned to laughter, maniacal, uninhibited laughter as he unleashed his inhibition. He was now a true Hyperborean, and had the blood of a true Warrior of the Light coursing through his veins…now, all that remained was the physical augmentations…and the combat training that came with being a Hyperborean Knight.

As Countess Toni calmed down, Andrew and the depraved Queen of the Ordo Rosarius emerged from the tub of rapidly congealing blood, covered in the sick concoction of blood, vomit and semen. They both stepped into a decontamination shower, wiping them clean of any contagion or bodily fluids in seconds, and redressed, both Countess Toni and Andrew donned bathrobes, and proceeded to the augmentation chamber, where a large, cryogenic tube awaited Andrew. “Step inside…the augmentations take a full 12 hours to take effect, so get in, go to sleep…and when you wake up in the morning…you shall become a full-fledged Hyperborean, prepared for whatever the Universe can throw at you on Blue Aurelia.” Andrew took his new Queen Mother’s instruction, and stepped into the huge sarcophagus. It was comfortable, making him want to go to sleep quickly…which would trigger the augmentation process, the nanoscale particles entering his body and supercharging his cells, muscles, bones and organs to superhuman levels…Countess Toni closed the chamber, locking him inside, and activated the mechanism, hitting Andrew with a cloud of cryogenic gas, promptly placing him in a deep sleep…in just 12 short hours, he was going to be a true Son of God…and far more of a man than he could ever hope to be otherwise. “Sleep tight, my Only Son…for tomorrow, you shall begin the path towards your Destiny…and I expect truly great things from you.”

                    1. Departure for An Alien World

The next morning, Andrew awoke…feeling strange, empowered, and truly alive. The augmentations were finished…as the sarcophagus opened, Andrew stepped out of the chamber, and looked at himself in the mirror. He now stood as tall as Countess Toni, with radiant, shining, emerald green eyes. His hair was longer and even blonder that it was before…and waiting for him was a new Jungsturm-Nordsterne outfit, as well as a Hallucination Nano-Sword, with instructions from Countess Toni to meet her in the courtyard, in the center of the Midnight Sun complex. Quickly donning the new outfit and taking his sword, Andrew walked with authority, speed and power down the hallway and out of Countess Toni’s chamber, back down the hallway where Gwenlynn had taken him the night before, back when he was just a lowly Tier-6, and back into the Grand Hall, built like a pagan cathedral. The Courtyard was through another doorway on the far end of the room, and as he walked out into the Sun, he could feel his body radiating as the sunlight struck it…his new life-force was reacting to the power of the Sun itself. Out in the courtyard, he saw the entire Ordo Rosarius Thelima, even Saalra was standing in the sun to greet him…and they all bowed before him out of respect. “Welcome to your new home, Only Son of the Ordo Rosarius Thelima…on behalf of Countess Toni and the Dark Goddess Izanami-Sama, I wish to welcome you to the Midnight Sun.” The Takada sisters announced. Also standing with them was Professor Rayne, who looked upon his student with astounded eyes. “Welcome to the Mithraic Order of Knights, Andrew. I myself am a member of Countess Toni’s denomination, which is how I am on such good terms with the Ordo Rosarius. Allow me to introduce you to your new weapon.” Andrew drew his gleaming, shining Hallucination Nano-Sword, and held it in the ready position. The sword was lighter than air, but immensely strong…and could link with his neural interface, becoming a part of his body in combat. “It seems as if the sword is already guiding your movements…the nanoparticles that comprise the blade and hilt are intelligent, and can transform the sword into anything, alive or dead, at your thought’s command. The sword shall train you though its use, and you will soon be a fierce hunter for the Empire. What would you name your blade, Andrew?” “Enoid…Enoid the Reaper’s Blade…a fitting name for such a brilliant, deadly weapon.” “Enoid it is…it will answer only to that name from now on. Now, come with me, Andrew. Our ship awaits at Elysium Spaceport on the South End of Metropolis…the limousine awaits out front. We have much to accomplish on Blue Aurelia, assisting the Ministry of Science with their research on the planet, orbiting a binary star system, the twin suns Lumis and Umbra. Blue Aurelia is unlike any world you have ever encountered. Prepare yourself for a truly alien world, a world of massive jungles, deep blue seas and more biodiversity than at any time on Earth. Great creatures, such as the Hover Squid, Crested Shrieker and the Pyrovenator await in the depths of the forest floor, and small ones, such as Featherwhisps, Flutterwings, Hover Gnats and Butterbeetles add vibrant color to the blue jungles of Fortress Trees and Skoadeball Plants…and all the life the kilometer-high forests support, from the predatory Giant Kitegliders, Daggerwings Bladewraiths, the arboreal squids called Deathstalkers, and the gargantuan flying Wingwhales and Skyrays. The oceans contain an equal level of biodiversity, with vibrant reefs of red and green algae supporting a massive profusion of life, all dominated by the Giant Krakens and Leviathan Whales, the largest organisms known to science. The air is so thick that standard Tier-6 humans could not survive there…but we Hyperboreans are a different breed, infinitely superior to modern Man…and you are now truly one of us. You have evolved, just as our society has evolved, and now, you occupy the pinnacle of existence, a Hyperborean, and a member of the Mithras Order. Take great pride in that, for it is something that will last for as long as the stars burn in the sky. The Empire views Blue Aurelia as a second Earth, much like the terraformed Venus and Mars, and an immense effort is being made to study and catalog the myriad life-forms that call Blue Aurelia home…so named for the beautiful, deep blue aura that covers the planet’s upper atmosphere from a ring of silica orbiting the planet…it is identical to the Earth, except with three times the atmospheric density as the Earth.” “That sounds incredible, Professor. I would personally like to study the ecology of this world, comparing Blue Aurelia to the Earth, and also contrasting the differences…I am particularly intrigued by the size of the flying creatures you described. In order for that to happen, the levels of oxygen would have be many times that of the Earth, far greater than even during the Mesozoic Era, when gigantic flying reptiles ruled the skies. Such life is impossible on Earth now, even the Hyperborean-engineered flying creatures are no larger than eagles. I want to know exactly how much pressure such life would require for a whale to literally jump out of the ocean and evolve into a creature that spent its entire life on the wing.” “Well, we are to meet Head Minister Shen Ryujin at Pinnacle Base, so-named for its position near Mt. Umbria, Blue Aurelia’s tallest mountain, in its southern continent’s Lunara Mountains. Umbria makes Everest look like a mere foothill. The spaceport on Blue Aurelia is situated near the boundary of one of the immense Fortress Forests…the trees dwarf even the Imperial Pantheon in height. Umbria is also the site of the Aurelian Colonization Project, which is constructing a city within the mountain itself. When completed, Mt. Umbria will be home to more than 50 million Tier-6 members of the Aryan Race and Hyperborean overseers, as the first permanent city on the planet. This is what we have been dispatched to oversee the final stages of, and Head Ministers Ryujin and Arronax will be there as well, along with a sizable garrison of Imperial Legionnaires, to prepare for the influx of Imperial settlers, once the city is opened for habitation. There is, however, an obstacle to the Empire’s aims on Blue Aurelia. The Savages. They stand 8 feet tall, with very long limbs, as to look like gigantic children’s drawings. Clad in animal hides and wielding crude, Stone-Age weaponry, they live in small family clans in the jungles and will occasionally ambush our patrols…and they are not afraid of Hyperboreans, even fully-trained Hyperborean Knights have been attacked by these “reptoid-monkeys,” capable of changing their skin color to match their environment precisely. They must be eradicated, every last one of them, if our plan is to succeed, yet their guerrilla tactics and their ability to steal and use Imperial weaponry against us makes them a particularly problematic foe, and our mission is such that we cannot simply level the forest to find them…they must be destroyed at their source, wherever that may be. Only once the Savages are eliminated can our settlers move in. The Legions have been making some headway against them in the past few months, and a troop surge is being considered by the Hyperborean Overlords to further repel them deeper into the forest.” “Very well then. I look forward to meeting the Head Ministers, Professor.”

Andrew and Professor Rayne conversed about the wild, untamed world of Blue Aurelia and the Empire’s efforts to tame it, including its native inhabitants, a Stone-Age culture of “reptoid-monkeys” that saw humanity as a grave threat, and rightly so. The Hyperborean Empire would not cease in its persecution of the natives until every single one of them lay dead in a pool of their own alien blood. Blue Aurelia was theirs for the taking, it no longer belonged to the native peoples who had lived there for thousands of years. “Ai and Tsuruka Takada will accompany us to Blue Aurelia, their combat skills will be very useful in our missions into the jungle.” The two Takada sisters stepped forward, their Nano-Swords drawn. Professor Rayne, Andrew and the Takada sisters bid the rest of the Ordo Rosarius a farewell, and departed for the sleek, black, six-wheeled limousine, the one that would take them to their waiting starship, the ILS Legacy, a sleek, gleaming-white Imperial diplomatic transport, clad in a chromium finish. As the four of them stepped into the limousine after a brief walk through the bathhouse, Professor Rayne directed the chauffeur to Elysium Spaceport, on Metropolis’ South End. As the four Hyperboreans sat in the back of the limousine, bunched up together rather uncomfortably, Andrew looked out the window with a newfound outlook on his home. This was no longer just his home, his shelter and his life…this was his Dominion. He was now a member of the almighty ruling class, and had all the rights, privileges and powers associated with that distinction. As the limousine merged onto the 15-lane highway, a group of Shinigami-class starfighters made a flyover, along with a squadron of F-6 Wulfhund gunships. They were practicing maneuvers from Elysium Naval Station, the massive military base at Elysium Spaceport, which regularly hosted the arrival of colossal Odin-class capital ships in orbit, as well as huge Pleiadean War Wyverns and Sigtyr assault carriers, the main capital ships of the Empire’s closest allies. One would occasionally see their massive hulls in orbit, the enormous, continent-sized Odin-class were shaped like gigantic ginkgo leaves, and the War Wyverns looked more like gigantic, gleaming-white sharks swimming through space than starships. The Sigtyr ships resembled large whales, colored a deep purple and black. The vast Hyperborean Colonial Empire, overseen by the Nordic Pleiadeans, the Hyperboreans and the Sigtyr, was unimaginably vast, more than half the known Universe was claimed by the Empire, but less than 1% of that territory was actually permanently settled. Much like the 19th century British, French and German Empires, most of that territory belonged to Earth, Alcyone and Falx in name only, as the presence of the Savages on Blue Aurelia showed. The Hyperborean Empire was ruled in a similar manner to the Roman Empire, with an oligarchy of Hyperboreans at the top, and a Pantheon, a Senate, ruling the Empire from the Grand Rotunda in Metropolis. The Pleiadean and Sigtyr arms of the government were run from their respective homeworlds, and the current Caesar was Emperor Raito Asoka Claudius Juventus I, one of the original Hyperborean Overlords and a truly transcendent being. Each colonized world was its own Province, ruled by a Planetary Governor-General and garrisoned with a large contingent of cloned Imperial Legionnaires. Blue Aurelia was the latest planet to be permanently settled in the name of the Empire, and these Savages were only a minor inconvenience. The Empire would burn the planet to the ground if they needed to. The Hyperboreans would make sure that every trace of those blueskin devil Savages would be completely and utterly destroyed.

As the limousine passed through the colossal harbor district, a contingent of Imperial Legionnaires was assisting with the offloading of an enormous cargo airship, docking with a huge mooring mast, hovering over three gigantic, solar-powered container ships. The airship was marked with the flying insignia of New Tokyo just behind its four massive engines, one of the largest floating cities on Earth and second in size only to Metropolis. Earth was a vast network of sea and skylanes, with ships, both at sea and in the air, ferrying cargo from one floating city to another, with the enormous spacecraft flying far overhead. Such was everyday life in the Hyperborean Colonial Empire, on one of the three Core Worlds, Earth, Alcyone and Falx. As Andrew watched the enormous palates of cargo being unloaded by the Metropolis Port Authority, he thought to himself…perhaps he really was meant for something far more. If the events of the past 12 hours had proven anything to him, it was this: One’s life could change in an instant, and opportunity could arise at a moment’s notice…what one did with that opportunity was entirely up to them. Just then, the limousine passed the enormous Tier-6 housing blocks again…his former home. His mother was probably worried sick about him, but that was another life, another time. She would soon see what had happened to her son, and be thankful for the opportunities which the State had afforded him. He was now a Master of Mankind, a true Son of God…and the first ever male member of the Ordo Rosarius Cult of Love. The two women, Ai and Tsuruka Takada sitting beside him, were part of his new family, and this family was eternal. They would never die, and would continue to rule for as long as the stars burned in the sky, their bodies coursing with the very essence of solar purity, the ancient Mithraic Energy, in addition to their physical and mental augmentations. They were invincible and legendary, as the old Russian song described, and would live forevermore.

As the limousine neared the center of the city, the colossal dome of the Imperial Pantheon loomed dead ahead, silhouetted against the rising sun, as was the enormous Arena of Heroes, a stadium for sporting and ceremonial events more than 5 times the size of the Roman Colosseum. Emperor Raito himself was known to attend the various events held here, which ranged from ball games to gladiatorial combat, where various classes of untermensch were cloned and bred to fight to the death in the arena. The Arena lay at the far end of the Canyon of the Gods, along this legendary boulevard were the gargantuan government buildings, such as the Ministry of Science Headquarters, the Imperial Treasury, the Grand Armory and the Library of the Empire, each with massive, ostentatious architecture and various elements of Japanese and Roman-Neoclassical structure, with hundreds of sculptures, statues and fountain displays calling attention to the glorious human past, and the milennial human future. At the far end of the Canyon of the Gods, was a gigantic arch, the Gate of Hyperborea, adorned with the entire history of the Hyperborean Age upon the arch, told through enormous engraved scenes of Aryan conquests and Hyperborean domination of the stars, along with the the Pillar of Alacrity, a gigantic tower directly between the Gate and the Arena of Heroes, topped with a personification of the Aryan Race, a tall, slender blonde virgin with pale blue eyes, clad in a Jungsturm-Nordsterne outfit, with a traffic circle around it. As the limousine took a turn onto an autobahn exit, it became clear that the limousine was taking the most direct route to Elysium Spaceport…directly down the Canyon of the Gods, and onto Exit 9-A, the route leading directly to the spaceport. Just then, the car slowed down from its cruising speed of 100 miles per hour. “Sorry, My Lords, it appears we’ve hit rush-hour traffic.” “Lovely…all the Tier-6s have to go to work NOW…why couldn’t Emperor Raito just create some new traffic ordinance to lessen the congestion near the Pantheon on weekday mornings?!” Tsuruka complained as the car’s forward progress slowed to a crawl. “It’s not that simple, Tsuruka. The Emperor has to consider the overall efficiency of Metropolis’ roadway system, making one change that would sacrifice efficiency as a whole would not be very efficient, would it?” Andrew corrected Tsuruka’s complaint.

The exit onto the Canyon of the Gods was congested as usual, with hundreds of vehicles slowed to a crawl just as the exit turned past the massive Ministry of Augmentation building. The sculptures adorning the Ministry building, imitating the National Socialist art of Arno Breker, stood proudly in the morning sun, shining down upon the Canyon of the Gods with a truly saintly glory, shining over the endless depths of the Global Sea. The thousands of dolphins and hundreds of whales that frequented the North Bulwark were moving into their feeding positions off the Eastern Wall, and the three top predators in the ocean, megalodon, the Raptorial Sperm Whale and the Uroboros Dragon doubtlessly lurking below to prey on a whale that lagged behind the rest of the pod. It was just another summer morning in Metropolis, with the Tier-6 masses racing to get to work on time before the Clock Tower near the Pantheon struck ten: the signal for everyone to be at their jobs or in their homes until Recreation Time at eight o’ clock later that night. The limousine slowly made its way down the Canyon of the Gods, past the might and splendor of the government buildings, the majestic fountains and the statues of famous figures from Nordic and Japanese mythology. Andrew looked out the windows as the various buildings and monuments passed by, and then looked forward at the Gate of Hyperborea and the Aryan Pinnacle, with the famous traffic circle surrounding it, just before the Arena of Heroes. The buildings were all gleaming-white with massive marble facades and granite structures, they were veritable fortresses, adorned with symbols of Hyperborean pride and power. The Hyperborean Colonial Empire was the Nova Roma, the modern incarnate of the Roman Empire, but on a grander scale than any had ever thought possible, displaying the true might of uninhibited human will and the effect it had on a civilization. Huge cargo airships and plasma-powered airplanes flew overhead, transporting passengers and cargo all over the flooded Earth, from one floating city to the next, with enormous starships flying far above. It was a scene as old as the Hyperborean Age itself. Andrew took great pride in the fact that he was now a genuine part of his Empire’s future, not just a Tier-6 peon of the Hyperborean Race…and that future promised to be even more glorious.

As the black limousine passed under the Gate of Hyperborea and entered the traffic circle, Ai Takada commented on the traffic pattern that morning to Andrew and Professor Rayne. “I have noticed that a great many people are on the roads later than usual…perhaps their alarm clocks weren’t working properly, most Tier-6s are at work by now…that will never do, I’ll have to report any tardiness to the Night Hammers, and let them straighten this out…” Ai said of the unusually congested roads at 9:15 A.M. Most workers were at their jobs by now, and if any tardiness to their jobs was reported, there would be hell to pay from the Imperial Night Hammers, the armed police force that ensured that proper order was maintained. The Takada sisters had officially put the masses on notice. The limousine then passed by the famous gates of the Arena of Heroes, marked with the slogan “WOTANSVOLK ERWACHE” on the main gates, a tribute to the Nordic, Slavic-Aryan and Japanese myths that had replaced the Christian Bible as the foundation of the New Religion, the Pantheon Doctrine, containing various lessons from the Nordic and Japanese mythos, deriving beliefs, doctrines and ideals from various sects of Shintoism, Slavic-Aryan paganism and Atsaru, or Norse Odinism. The Arena symbolized Nordic-Japanese-Slavic Heathen Unity, and an Aryan triumph over the Judeo-Christian traditions of old…it was ironic, as it was said in the Bible that a great Flood destroyed the world to preserve the Judeo-Christian traditions in the story of Noah, only to have the same thing happen again, only this time, to bring about a new Golden Age of paganism…and these waters never receded. Andrew looked atop the Arena of Heroes and saw the statue of Sakura Morgendorfer standing on the edge of the Arena, making the place where she tragically sacrificed herself in gladiatorial combat out of a star-crossed romance, her story was so moving that Emperor Raito had transformed the account into a part of the Imperial mythos, and her Martyrdom was celebrated as an Imperial holiday every year. Andrew looked up at the marble statue of the tragic young woman, standing with a heavy head and tears in her eyes, dressed in her finest outfit for her own death, so that she would finally be reunited with the one that had done her wrong, out of a desperate loyalty and desire to be loved. Her long blonde hair was accurately reflected by Imperial sculptor Imran Lukashenkov, who commissioned the statue on Martyrdom Day three years prior.

The limousine made its way through the traffic and back onto a clearer stretch of road on the far side of the Arena of Heroes, headed for Elysium Spaceport, where their ship, the ILS Legacy, awaited them. Already, ships and aircraft were flying low overhead on their final approach to the spaceport, near the city’s South Bulwark. As the limousine neared the spaceport, Andrew and the others prepared themselves for what awaited them on Blue Aurelia, a hostile jungle planet, wild, untamed and savage…this was to be a battle, a battle between the Hyperborean Empire and the Savages, and the strong would ALWAYS prevail over the weak. It was simply the law of nature, Darwin’s immutable principle of “survival of the fittest.” The Savages’ extinction was only a matter of time. As the limousine pulled up to the colossal spaceport terminal, the Takada sisters, Andrew and Professor Rayne stepped out of the car and onto the curb, bidding their chauffeur farewell. It was time to proceed to their ship. As the four Hyperboreans walked into the terminal, a group of Legionnaires, their 6’3”, blond-haired, blue-eyed, identical frames approached them, carrying their DN-17 heavy blaster rifles. “My Lords, follow us, your ship awaits on a private landing pad.” The lead soldier, wearing the uniform of a Squad Leader, announced as the platoon of cloned soldiers led Andrew and his companions through the huge terminal, filled with many other Hyperboreans and members of the Aryan Race, boarding ships to take them off-world or to another city somewhere on Earth. “Troopers, I hope you understand the significance of our mission and that we cannot be late.” Professor Rayne grumbled, concerned that the the troopers were taking too long to escort them to the ship. “All right everyone! Out of the way! Hyperborean Overlords coming through!!” The Squad Leaders barked, forcing his way though the crowds of people in the terminal, waving his heavy rifle around unnervingly. The crowd wisely parted, allowing the Hyperboreans and the Legionnaires to pass through unhindered. “Was that sufficient, My Lord?” “Yes, trooper, it was. This is our terminal. We thank you for your assistance and your unending service to the Empire.” “Much obliged, sir.” The Squad Leader said, with his strong German accent that all Legionnaires possessed. The four Hyperboreans stood in front of the skybridge, connected with the sleek, gleaming-silver, chromium-plated starship, the Legacy. “This ship is one of the fastest in the Empire…it can take us anywhere in the Universe in just 3 hours, with its updated Quantum Drive, but right now, we are bound for Blue Aurelia, a planet less than 50 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus, orbiting a binary star system, twin stars called Lumis and Umbra. On this world, more than twice the size of Earth with three times the atmospheric density, the only law is survival…this is a world where evolution has run riot, and has produced a profusion of life that dwarfs that of Earth, Mars or Venus, at any time in their respective histories. The ring of silica orbiting the planet and constantly raining down into the atmosphere creates a stunning, deep-blue atmosphere, giving the planet its name. It is unlike anything you have ever experienced before, and the Empire aims to bring Imperial order and civilization to this wild, untamed world. Tier-6 human beings could not survive here…the plan is to turn this planet into a Hyperborean paradise, where Hyperboreans, Nordic Pleiadeans and Sigtyr can come to unwind in the lap of luxury. We are going to oversee the construction of the Mt. Umbria Resort Complex, and assist Minister Ryujin with the pacification of the native population. Now, it is time to leave the comfort of Metropolis, and set out into the unexplored. The life Blue Aurelia harbors is unlike anything on Earth, Mars or Venus, and much of it is intelligent and quite hostile to Imperial personnel. The massive Hoversquids, Pyrovenators and Crested Shriekers are known to attack anyone wandering alone in the forest, and the Hoversquids are as intelligent as a Cro-Magnon man, displaying to each other with enormous bioluminescent horns and loud, metallic bellowing from their siphons, which they use to move through the air and corner on a dime, despite their size. Their cartoonish eyes glow orange in the darkness of the forest floor, and their two long feeding tentacles have evolved into hand-like appendages, allowing them to manipulate objects as easily as a primate with an opposable thumb. They stand as tall as a sapling Fortress Tree and are the unquestioned Lords of the Forest…even the Savages fear them. Something to keep in mind as we progress. Now, let us embark on our journey to the stars.”

The four Hyperboreans proceeded down the skybridge to the Legacy, preparing for what they might see on Blue Aurelia, a truly alien world compared to Earth, Mars and Venus. As they approached the open gangway to the starship, the ship’s crew welcomed them aboard with glasses of red wine, served in elegant wine glasses for them to drink. Taking his glass, Andrew boarded the ship and took a seat in one of the leather lounge sofas aboard the vessel. The ship was as posh as a star yacht, a world like Blue Aurelia was not a place you would usually see a ship like the Legacy, more like one of the hot spring resorts on Venus or Arcana II, a cold, volcanic planet with three silver moons, Luna, Diana and Hecate, with architecture reflecting a Slavic-Aryan fairy tale, ethereally cloaked in snow. However, the ship epitomized everything about the Hyperborean Empire, powerful, elegant and commanding respect wherever it went. As Rayne, Andrew and the Takada sisters made themselves comfortable, the crew began to prepare the ship for departure as the ground crew removed the skybridge and sealed the Legacy’s hatches. The crew went over the pre-flight checks, making sure all systems were go for takeoff. Andrew’s hands shuddered slightly on the sofa’s armrests as the ship’s engines rumbled to life, preparing the passengers and crew for a three-hour flight to Blue Aurelia, involving a twenty-minute Quantum Jump after an hour of accelerating to warp speed. The ship would arrive at the exit point just outside the Lumis-Umbra System and decelerate for more than an hour and a half as it approached its destination. For now, however, Andrew and his companions had 3 hours to relax and unwind, before the real work on Blue Aurelia began.

Andrew took a deep breath as he felt the ship slowly lift off the landing pad, retract its landing struts, and accelerate rapidly, blasting off from Elysium Spaceport and rapidly ascending spaceward, the portholes on either side of the ships showed the city of Metropolis slowly shrinking away, merging with the vast expanse of the Global Sea, until the curvature of the Earth was clearly visible as the ship reached an altitude of 80,000 feet, still climbing at nearly 35,000 miles per hour. After just five minutes, the Earth looked to be the size of an apple held at arm’s length, and directly in front of them was the Moon…and the colossal Kraid Lunar Shipyard and Naval Station, with several massive Pleiadean War Wyverns and Odin-class capital ships hovering in lunar orbit, with several more in dry-dock, held in place by massive magnetic fields around the Moon, still bearing the scar of the impact that flooded the Earth all those years ago. “Look at the size of those ships…my God…those War Wyverns are works of art.” Andrew gawked at the immense hulls passing on the starboard side of the ship. “The Nordic Pleiadean shipyards see shipbuilding as far more than a trade…they see it as an art form. Every War Wyvern is unique to the Pleiadean commanding it, no two ships are built the same, unlike the Hyperborean ships, which are built according to Emperor Raito’s design standards. That ship belongs to Admiral Airsaidh Pradesh, descendent of Admiral Asket Pradesh, the Pleiadean Admiral that led the expeditionary force to meet with Adolph Hitler prior to the start of WWII. The two canards near the bow indicate a Pradesh family lineage in command of that warship.” “Interesting…it appears that the Pleiadean arm of the Empire is ruled by only a few very old family lineages, one of my new Family members, Queen Sei Ikkiku, is the current Queen of the Seven Sisters’ Imperium, ruling along with her husband, Lord Svath. I should ask her about the Pradesh bloodline when I return to the Midnight Sun.” “Indeed…Sei is a wealth of knowledge, there is no more valuable thing in Pleiadean society than education and knowledge, some Pleiadeans are known to study so much that their brains literally become sclerotic and slowly rot, killing the afflicted Pleiadean very quickly. This condition, known as “Overstudy,” afflicts one in 50,000 Pleiadeans, showing just how intellectually driven their race is. The Pleiadean Eta Carinae High Council is one of Emperor Raito’s most trusted advisory boards, headquartered in Kalafina, the capital city on Alcyone, they assist in all aspects of Imperial government affairs with their vast knowledge of the Universe.” Professor Rayne lectured as the Legacy began accelerating out of the Earth-Moon system. “Interesting…perhaps the Sigtyr operate in the same manner?” More or less. Only the Sigtyr Ascendancy, with their vast armada, are more an extension of the Imperial military, with their vast Korvax Legions and starships nearly the size of an Odin-class capital ships. Our three races make the Hyperborean Colonial Empire invincible, even for a foe as formidable as the Sangresaara Imperium, or ‘reptoids’ as the Pleiadeans call them. They are a ruthless Empire of warriors, clad in elaborate, stylized battle armor and stronger, faster and tougher than any standard human. They have a very strong code of honor and a truly valiant history, and see the Hyperborean Empire as their chief rival in intergalactic politics. Their weapon of choice, the Plasma Sword-Staff, can cut through almost any material with ease, but they use many other plasma-based weaponry as well in their vast military. They know to give us a wide berth, however, for they know very well when they are overmatched.” Rayne continued.

The Legacy was now accelerating rapidly to warp speed, the stars outside the ship merging into one blacked-out blur as the ship’s engines fired for maximum power. The Takada sisters helped themselves to a drink at the minibar behind the sofa, Ai liked fruit in hers, Tsuruka, not so much. “Would you like a drink, Andrew?” Tsuruka asked, coyly. “No thank you. I’m not particularly in the mood for it.” All four of them sat on the sofa listening to the hum of the Legacy’s engines, pushing the ship forward at nearly 60% the speed of light and accelerating to 90% before the Quantum Jump. For now, however, it was a boring waiting game within the comfort of the Legacy’s luxury, and Andrew and the others were enjoying every second of their downtime. Andrew stood up and walked past the minibar through a doorway, into an elegant library, complete with a full inventory of classic and contemporary literature. At the head of the lounge, a spiral staircase led down to a dining room, living area and staterooms for passengers, complete with king-sized beds and all the amenities of a 5-star hotel. Sitting down in the leather chair, Andrew picked up a classic, The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri, a favorite of Emperor Raito and many other Hyperborean leaders, for its depictions of symbolic retribution, an ordered universe and a multi-Tiered society, the Nine Circles of Hell and the Nine Spheres of Heaven were akin to the Twelve-Tier Society, at least in Emperor Raito’s eyes, he claimed that the Hyperborean Empire was the Middle Existence, the plane of existence between the Nine Hells and the Nine Heavens, which broadly overlapped with his own Japanese Shinto beliefs, and ancient form of paganism practiced in Japan since time immemorial. Another work of literature on Emperor Raito’s list was Paradise Lost by John Milton, also featured in the Legacy’s library for its depiction of Satan as an admirable literary character…though Christian beliefs were completely subservient to the Hyperborean Empire’s paganism, various Hyperboreans still saw Lucifer as an admirable literary character, in a rather LaVeyan sense.

Andrew opened the Inferno, the first book in the Divine Comedy, and began reading to pass the time aboard the ship, his eyes moving rapidly from one canto to the next. He had analyzed this text many times during his studies at University, but now that he had been inducted into the Hyperborean Race, the text had taken on a whole new meaning for him. There was much he still had to learn, but the Ordo Rosarius would be more than happy to teach it to him, as well as the ancient Mithraic Arts. Surely, John Milton’s books would make more sense to him now as well. As Andrew read his book, he felt the ship jar suddenly, and then…the sound of the engines stopped. He recognized this as the Quantum Jump, and knew that the Legacy was now only an hour from the Lumis/Umbra System. Quantum Drives were one of the many wonders of the Hyperborean Age, a ship could cross vast distances of deep space by first accelerating to more than 90% the speed of light, and, at precisely the right moment, dropping its deflector shield and simultaneously firing its Quantum Drive, converting the ship and all matter associated with it into pure, massless energy, while not harming the occupants inside. This was accomplished via a cocoon of highly-ionized, highly radioactive quantum particles surrounding the vessel, actually warping it out of real space, through a “Quantum Tunnel” and exiting about 300,000 kilometers from the destination point, requiring an hour-long braking maneuver to slow the ship’s approach to the target upon exiting. The invention of this technology was what made the Hyperborean Colonial Empire possible, and allowed the Hyperboreans to create an alliance with the Nordic Pleiadeans and the Sigtyr. Andrew had read about the first contact the Empire had with the Pleiadeans and how unexpected it was. About 300 years prior, the Hyperboreans had unveiled the first-ever Quantum Drive engines in a grand ceremony, finally allowing the human race to travel to any location in the Universe within hours…and that’s when the Pleiadean War Wyvern Joyous Exaltation appeared just beyond the orbit of the Earth’s Moon, commanded by then-Pleiadean Queen Amane Norhein. Everyone on Earth saw it enter the system, the ship was so large that it literally cast a shadow on the entire Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, and then, they broadcast their message to humanity: “Dear brothers and sisters of the Earth, now is the time to open your eyes and minds. We are the Nordic Pleiadeans, born of the star Alcyone and residing in the Pleiades Star Cluster, and we have come on a mission of goodwill to your world. We have seen your technological progress and ingenuity through the crisis that has befallen your world, and have watched you not just survive, but thrive. We now believe you are prepared to face the challenges of interstellar space travel, and are here to offer our hands in partnership. Our allies on Falx will also be interested in joining our Union, so that the three of us may stand strong and resist the brutality of the Sangresaara Empire, one of the greatest military societies the Universe has ever known. Together, we shall bestride the Universe like a colossus, and build an invincible future for all of us, human, Pleiadean and Sigtyr. We look forward to working with you and the Sigtyr to make this a reality.”

From that day forward, the Hyperborean Colonial Empire had been expanding ever-outward into space, ruled by the Hyperboreans, the Sigtyr and the Pleiadeans, invincible and mighty. As Andrew thought about the history of his grand world, the Takada sisters joined Andrew in the library. “Hello there, Andrew. I see you’re keeping up with your studies on our trip, just as Professor Rayne would want you to…we were doing a bit of thinking as well over our drinks. The planet Blue Aurelia, there is far more than just wildlife there, at least according to rumor. Some of the Legionnaires report strange ruins in the jungles that could not have been built by the Savages, they are so large that they rival Pleiadean, Sigtyr and Hyperborean architecture in scale, and they are sealed with an airtight mechanism that not even a thorium charge can blast through. Perhaps the ‘discovery’ that Minister Ryujin is investigating involves these ruins…perhaps that is where he will have us go?” “Quite possibly. If what you tell me is true, Minister Ryujin must be trying to gain entry to the ruins, as well as oversee the construction of the Mt. Umbria Citadel, in addition to clearing out the aboriginal populations that call the planet home.” “All indications suggest that these ruins are millions of years old, they are so large they age like mountains, gigantic, artificial mountains. Whatever built them must have been a truly glorious society in its heyday, one that would put to shame even the Hyperborean Colonial Empire in size and scope…but then again, if it was so powerful, what happened to it?” “That is a question that no one can answer.” Andrew responded, returning to his studies of Dante’s Inferno.

Just then, the Legacy shuddered again, and the hum of the engines resumed…the ship had re-entered real space, and was now beginning its approach burn to the Lumis/Umbra binary system, approaching Blue Aurelia as it passed in front of them. The Takada sisters and Andrew rejoined Professor Rayne back in the main lounge area and looked out the starboard side portholes at the deep, navy-blue planet approaching before them, with its characteristic ring of silica in a neat disk around its equator. “There it is…Blue Aurelia, the biggest biodiversity hot spot known to the Empire.” “It’s beautiful…” Andrew said, looking at the world which glowed like an oasis in the vast emptiness of space. It was cloaked in oceans and continents, with the kilometer-high Fortress Forests visible even from space, and a greenish-blue aura enveloping the planet’s atmosphere from the silica and the vast clouds of airborne plankton buoyed up by the dense atmosphere. Below them on the surface was a truly alien world, one teeming with life on a scale that far surpassed any on Earth, Mars or Venus. It was here that the Ministry of Science was focusing the majority of its efforts for the time being, and making this wild, untamed world fit for Hyperborean, Pleiadean and Sigtyr habitation. The Legacy began its descent into Blue Aurelia’s thick atmosphere, jarring the ship upon entry. As the ship passed through some high stratospheric clouds, the true scope of Blue Aurelia’s wilderness stretched out below them. For as far as the eye could see, there were nothing but kilometer-high forests, colored a dark, purplish blue. The ceiling of the forest was a sea of sky-ponds, highly-modified leaves meant to collect rainwater; these trees were completely unlike any on Earth, Mars or Venus, for those trees used a system of xylem and phloem running through a large, woody stem to draw water up from the ground, therefore imposing a structural limit on how large a tree could grow. To compensate for the weight of the water in the sky-ponds, the trees formed an interconnected root system, as one, massive super-organism. Hanging epiphytes and tree-dwelling ambush predators, such as the Deathstalkers, tree-dwelling squids that trapped prey with a sticky web of slime and their tentacles made their home in the canopy, trying to trap careless flying prey, such as the Daggerwings, possessing a colonial intelligence much like a colony of giant hornets, fearsome predators in their own right. Strange, giant, hovering creatures glided above the sky-ponds, dangling their tentacles into the water to catch small, flying creatures, these massive, kite-like organisms were called Raptorial Kitegliders, a form of flying colonial jellyfish that stayed airborne in the same way an aircraft wing propelled a plane through the air. The Kitegliders anchored themselves to the treetops with their tentacles, and used them to catch Hover Gnats, Featherwhisps and Hummingbird Fish, three of the Kiteglider’s favored prey. Tiny, bioluminescent jellyfish-like creatures hovered just above the sky-ponds as well, but all of this was dwarfed by the massive pod of Wingwhales flying high overhead. A few of the adults, more than 80 feet long with a wingspan of ten meters, moved to investigate the Legacy as it swooped in low over the forest on its approach to Mt. Umbria, uttering long, plaintive, haunting cries as they followed in the Legacy’s slipstream. “Look at that…unbelievable…” Professor Rayne remarked as the whales circled effortlessly on the thermal updrafts, grazing on the vast clouds of airborne plankton with their yawning, cavernous maws. On the horizon, a massive, solitary Skyray was seen, these were very similar to the Wingwhales, except they resembled a gigantic flying manta ray, similar to what was found in Earth’s oceans. They traveled alone, rather than in pods, and this one had a large contingent of Ballonfisks, small, floating fish-like creatures that hitched a ride on the underside of the Skyray’s massive wingspan. The deafening cacophony of the forest’s myriad life forms filled the Legacy’s audiophones, everything from the metallic bellowing of dueling Hoversquids on the forest floor far below to the haunting calls of the Wingwhales in the skies high above, this was a truly special world.

Suddenly, the view outside the porthole was dominated by four huge peaks, one looming large and mighty directly in front of the Legacy, with the other three off in the distance, however, these three were perfect pyramids…those must have been the ruins that the Takada sisters had mentioned. “Directly in front of us is Mt. Umbria, and our base is directly at its foot. Off in the distance is Anomaly A-1, and that is the secondary purpose of our journey to Blue Aurelia, first and foremost to assist Minister Ryujin with the construction of Umbria Citadel, and secondly to investigate those massive ruins deep in the Blue Aurelian rainforest. Well then, prepare for landing, for we are about to disembark.” As the Legacy swooped in over the Fortress Forest, a control tower, towering high above the treetops, tracked the Legacy down to its landing pad in the colonial outpost of Nordsterne, headquarters of the 181st Colonial Legion, based on Blue Aurelia and consisting of nearly 50,000 Legionnaires, 3,000 heavy tanks, 5,000 mobile artillery units and 10,000 support vehicles, as well as an entire squadron of Shinigami-class fighters and a squadron of Wulfhund gunships, based at the nearby jungle airfield, cleared from a huge stretch of forest. Nordsterne was the largest permanent settlement on Blue Aurelia, and already had more than 70,000 residents from Earth living there, in all the comforts of home. When Umbria Citadel opened, more than 50 million more settlers would be brought in, human, Hyperborean, Pleiadean and Sigtyr included. Interestingly enough, the 181st Colonial Legion contained more than 5,000 Savage volunteers, having defected from their jungle existence to assist the Empire in routing their own people from the jungles, usually, these Savages were outcasts from their tribes or fugitives from tribal justice, seeing the Legions as a way out of their fugitive existence.

The Legacy came to rest on a private landing pad at Nordsterne Spaceport, right next to Minister Ryujin’s private starship, a ship very similar to the Legacy, the ILS Saga. As the Nordsterne ground crew moved to secure the ship, Andrew noticed that they were all wearing sophisticated exoskeleton suits, allowing normal humans to breathe and move as normal in this extraordinarily dense, humid atmosphere, which caused machinery to rust at nearly 4 times its usual rate on Earth, it was like living at the bottom of a gas ocean. Hyperboreans didn’t need these, thanks to their augmentations, and neither did Pleiadeans or Sigtyr, because of their more robust physique. As the skybridge into the terminal was extended, Andrew and his companions prepared to disembark, they were to meet Minister Ryujin in Nordsterne Base, the headquarters of the 181st Colonial Legion, only a short transport ride away from the spaceport, through the main city itself. The skybridge was securely fastened to the Legacy’s airlock, which slowly opened. Andrew, the Takada sisters and Professor Rayne walked down the narrow skybridge into the terminal, much smaller than Elysium Spaceport back in Metropolis. As the four of them entered the terminal, they looked around at the small colonial spaceport. It was small and somewhat dirty, as to be expected from a spaceport in the middle of the jungle. Even in the terminal, the heat and humidity were overpowering, with massive air conditioning units running full blast to keep the terminal cool. Members of the 181st Legion and contingents of Night Hammers kept Imperial order on Blue Aurelia, their identical blond-haired, blue eyed faces a permanent fixture on every Imperial world. The terminal was largely empty, as most of the Tier-6 inhabitants of Blue Aurelia were in their homes or at work, as per Imperial legal code at this hour. As Andrew and his companions walked through the terminal, three Imperial Legionnaires approached them, clad in their Type-500 combat exoskeleton armor, making them appear almost as large as the Hyperboreans. “My Lords, Minister Ryujin awaits you at Nordsterne Base, allow us to take you there, follow us.” The soldiers quickly moved towards the exit, an airlock leading directly onto the open streets of Nordsterne, their exoskeletons giving them a considerable speed boost. As they entered the airlock, one of the soldiers shouldered his DN-17 rifle and keyed in the access code for the airlock door, which hissed as it slowly swung open. The four soldiers and Hyperboreans stepped out of the terminal and onto the street. The heat and humidity were nearly unbearable, even for the Hyperboreans, it felt as if the humidity was punching Andrew in the stomach. Sounds of rainforest wildlife filled the air, as did the sounds of vehicles moving through the narrow streets. “I can feel my hair frizzing already…” Tsuruka groaned as the eight of them walked towards a military transport vehicle, hovering on magnetic repulsorlift technology. “Get in you four. It’s not the most comfortable ride, but it’s better than walking in this heat and humidity.” Andrew and his companions piled into the vehicle, with the four soldiers taking their positions, two in the cockpit, and two on the guns, one up top, and one facing backwards.

The vehicle quickly accelerated and moved rapidly through the streets of Nordsterne, with paved, neatly painted streets and modern habitation modules, similar to those found on Earth, Mars and Venus. Life on Blue Aurelia was pleasant for the colonists, aside from the occasional marauding Savages and disease outbreaks, though the city itself was extraordinarily clean and the Savages rarely came close to the human settlements. Most incidents resulted from people venturing too deep into the rainforest, coming into contact with tribes of Savages or strange diseases that humans had no immunity to, though the Hyperboreans didn’t have to worry about either of those threats, they were serious problems for moving large masses of people onto Blue Aurelia permanently. Andrew looked out the small gun turret slat and saw hundreds of exoskeleton-clad soldiers marching through the streets, carrying various weapons, including DN-17 blaster rifles, DN-21 Lightning Guns, huge arc casters that fired more than 300,000 volts of electricity at their targets, DN-20 Heavy Repeating Rifles, DN-19 blaster carbines and DN-18 Plasma Cannons, high-powered, ionized, automatic shotguns designed for close-quarters battle. The DN series of weapons was produced by the Eisenheim Illusions Corporation, based on Lilliana V, a planet of warm, tropical lakes, hot springs and balmy temperatures all year round. Eisenheim was one of the premier defense contractors in the Empire, and proudly produced most of the gear used by the Legions for nearly all of their missions. These weapons were used to great effect against the hordes of Savages, waiting in the jungle to strike, and banging their bongo drums as a warning to any Imperial incursion into their territory…however, in a direct confrontation, the Empire would always win, simply because the Savages were armed with bows and arrows, and the Empire was armed with plasma cannons, gunships, tanks and spacecraft.

The infantry transport turned at an intersection and proceeded down a much wider street, this one built for large military vehicles; this was Imperator Boulevard, the street leading directly to Nordsterne Base. All along the boulevard, armored Night Hammers and Legionnaires stood at their posts, and huge guard towers stood watch around the base’s periphery, watching for any signs of the Savages or other threats to human existence on Blue Aurelia. A trio of colossal Kabuto-class main battle tanks were parked near the base’s front gates, these 200-ton tanks were shaped exactly like a gigantic Hercules beetle on tank treads, with the two “horns” being the tank’s main cannons. These were the largest mass-produced tanks ever built, constructed by Rothus Heavy Engineering, a descendent of Porsche Motor Company, founded in Germany during the early 20th century. These tanks were part of the Panzer Division Ostrogoth, the armored division of the 181st Colonial Legion. Outfitted for jungle warfare, these massive machines could lay waste to an entire hemisphere of Blue Aurelia if need be, their jungle camouflage painted onto their massive, beetle-like hulls. The APC approached the entry gate, and was immediately granted access by the officers manning the checkpoint. Proceeding up the three-lane road to the base’s main complex, Andrew shuddered with anticipation. He had yet to see the interior of an actual Legion base, and was looking forward to working with Minister Ryujin on assignment here on Blue Aurelia. He clutched the hilt of his weapon, Enoid, folded neatly against his waist…and was itching to try it out in combat against the Savages. As the APC came to a stop, the four Hyperboreans stepped out into the sweltering heat once again, as did the four Legionnaires, unaffected by the atmospheric conditions thanks to their exoskeleton suits. Standing to greet them out in the open, were none other than Shen Ryujin and Emperor Raito himself. He stood tall and mighty in his Jungsturm-Nordsterne regalia, with a black hood adorned with twin Imperial Oryx horns. His outfit recalled those worn by the ancient Japanese emperors, and he carried a special Hallucination Nano-Sword, built like a katana and extra sharp, honed to slice through even diamond. “Welcome to Blue Aurelia, Sons and Daughters of the Ordo Rosarius…” Emperor Raito greeted Andrew and his companions. “I trust your voyage from Earth was uneventful…anyway, to business. You are here to assist Minister Ryujin with the finishing touches on Umbria Citadel…I am here to personally oversee the final stages of this Planetary Development Project, and I also trust that this will come to pass without any aboriginal entanglements. I always disliked the fact that the 181st allowed these blueskin devils to volunteer in my precious Legions, contaminating the Aryan blood with filthy, inhuman flesh. The Savages are below Tier-12. They are not even on our scale, no, these vermin are far lower. Even now I can hear the monkey-men massing in the jungle, just beyond Nordsterne’s borders, whooping and hollering like apes and banging their bongo drums. Well, we’ve built ourselves a fortress here, and we’ll dig ourselves in tight. They come from the jungle, and we’ll pick them off, one…by…one. Our Legions have been taking care of the Savages in this way for more than a year now, and we are on the verge of locating their main citadel in the jungle. Once we find it…that will be the end of the Savages, and the dawn of the Hyperborean Age on Blue Aurelia.” Emperor Raito instructed, his eyes moving independently of one another. “Together, we shall bring the might of our Empire’s Light-culture upon these primitives’ heads. I leave you with this…for I have other matters to attend to.” Emperor Raito walked calmly away, his Imperial Guards escorting him through the overpowering heat of the twin suns, Lumis and Umbra. The soldiers stood at attention as the Emperor walked to converse with some of the higher-ranking officers, but then, the real work began. Minister Ryujin stepped forward, his shoulder-length, crimson-red hair and his distinctive black cape, marked with the Staghorn Rune of Izanami-Sama and the Shinigami clearly visible, no other Hyperborean wore a similar uniform. “Welcome, my friends…I trust Emperor Raito’s instructions have given you a good idea of what our mission is…the Citadel is, by and large, ready for human habitation…there remains the problem of the Savages, however. No one will want to move here with those filthy blueskins running about and every one of those volunteers, contrary to the Emperor’s belief that they are all useless, is valued, because they have given us the location of their stronghold…it is in the center of Anomaly A-1, those massive pyramid-mountains you saw on your way in…however, those pyramids are far, FAR too sophisticated for the Savages to have built them themselves, which leads me to believe that the ruins have some sort of deep religious significance to them. I’d like very well to know what that is, and why they guard it so fiercely against the Empire’s incursion…they choose to fight us even though it is a battle they know they cannot win. We will win, and we will discover the truth behind this remarkable world…it is only a matter of killing every last Savage on this planet. If we have to burn the planet to the ground to achieve that end, so be it. I will knowingly unleash an environmental Holocaust upon Blue Aurelia if the Emperor demands it, for I have the full might of the Legions at my command in this operation. The Shinigami Legions shall cast their radioactive hellfire upon these pitiful Savages’ heads, and our numbers shall darken the skies over every world, for the future of our Aryan kingdom sets forth the glory of Izanami-Sama and the radiance of the Abyssal Sun, rising high above the land and sea…” At that moment, the awful truth of why the Ordo Rosarius had been summoned to Blue Aurelia became clear to Andrew…they were there to conduct a full genocide of a native population, while at the same time claiming the ruins for themselves. This was the reality of the Hyperborean Empire, a reality unseen by the Tier-6 masses, living in a tightly-controlled world of regulations and monitoring stations, tracking their every move, thought and activity…no one knew more than the government wanted them to. “Follow me, ladies and gentlemen, into the Nordsterne War Room, where we are preparing a strike against a Savage enclave near Nordsterne’s southern borders. The force being sent into the jungle consists of 1,000 Savage volunteers, who call themselves the Osiphona people, by the way, and 3,000 Imperial regulars. Emperor Raito is here to directly oversee the final eradication of the Savages and the formal opening of Umbria Citadel. We must not disappoint him. Once we capture this enclave, our path to the Savage stronghold is clear.” “Minister Ryujin, what would convince these Osiphona to defect from their way of life, in order to seek an alliance with the Empire?” “As luck would have it, the Savages recently underwent a major period of tribal warfare, in which many members of warring tribes were cast out of their society…they found refuge with us simply because they had nothing to lose and everything to gain by siding with us. They are intelligent enough to learn human languages and use our weaponry, so the Osiphona volunteers are greatly appreciated for their knowledge of this complex world, despite the Emperor’s disdain for them.” Ryujin explained, leading Andrew and his companions into the main base complex.

Upon entry to the base, Ryujin looked around at the veritable fortress constructed deep in the jungle. Armored Legionnaires were everywhere, as were uniformed Osiphona volunteers, receiving instruction and weapons training from non-clone Legion officers. This force was preparing to advance into the jungle, to eradicate and conquer the Savage enclave about 35 miles to the northeast of Nordsterne. Large vehicles, including Kabuto-class MBTs, Kamakiri-class APCs and Okha-class self-propelled heavy artillery units were in maintenance hangars, as were Shinigami-class fighters and Mjolnir-class gunships. Near one of the hangars, a pair of blonde-bearded Pleiadean men stood and conversed with a Hyperborean, one of the two Pleiadeans carried a large hammer-like weapon, capable of conjuring massive lightning bolts as weaponry, much like Thor from Norse mythology…the Nordic gods were really just folk memory of encounters with Pleiadean emissaries on the primordial Earth, during the early days of human civilization after the last Ice Age. In a corner, two Sigtyr stood and watched the Takada sisters move past, recognizing them from their Queen’s affiliation with the Ordo Rosarius. This was the heart of the Imperial presence on Blue Aurelia, and the base of operations for the colonization of the planet. Andrew and his companions followed Minister Ryujin into an elevator, taking them up three levels above the main hangar bay. Upon exiting the elevator, the five of them were greeted by a platoon of heavily-armored Legionnaires, including 5 armed with the Type-88 “Longshot,” a high-powered sniper rifle that was considered one of the most lethal weapons in the Imperial arsenal, also manufactured by Eisenheim Illusions Corporation. “Welcome back, Lord Ryujin. The war room awaits through these doors.” Ryujin and his allies walked through the sliding, automatic doors and into a well-lit, well-equipped planning room, with holographic images of the base, the surrounding jungle, and the status of every unit on-base or off of it. Computers and monitoring stations lined the walls, and officers sat diligently at their stations, monitoring Blue Aurelia for any sign of hostile activity. “This is Nordsterne Base’s main strategic planning room, the control center for our entire operation on Blue Aurelia. It is here that we command the Legions across this jungle world, and from here that we shall direct the eradication of the Savages.” Ryujin explained, as three Pleiadeans appeared behind him, looking at the holographic, 3-D images of the base and the surrounding jungles appearing on the holoprojectors. “It appears that there is some sort of activity near Anomaly A-1, Minister Ryujin.” One of the Pleiadeans announced, pointing at a small tracking arrow that had appeared over the three massive pyramids in the distance. “Zoom in on that…I want to have a closer look.” The Pleiadean touched the holographic readout, zooming in on the point of interest…and indeed, a telltale signature of a large Savage military force was present…the Osiphona were on the move, and they were headed directly for Nordsterne Base’s West End. “Well, THIS is new…they’ve never launched a direct attack on our base before…they’re certainly getting bolder. Alert the guard towers, tell them to arm the base defense turrets. They won’t get within 300 yards of our boundary without being vaporized.” Ryujin ordered, as the Pleiadeans went to carry out the directive. “Emperor Raito is going to get quite a shock when the defense turrets suddenly go loud in about 5 minutes.” Ryujin sat down in the commander’s seat, and pressed a series of buttons on the control screen: “Attention all personnel, to your stations, this is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill!” Ryujin ordered, as a flurry of footsteps outside marked every soldier, Pleiadean, Sigtyr and Hyperborean running to their stations…sure enough, Emperor Raito’s staccato voice came in over the SATCOM. “Ryujin, what in DEATH’s name is this about?!” “There is a large group of Savages moving directly towards the North End of the airfield, the defense turrets should go loud right…about…NOW!” Suddenly, a deafening roar of heavy turbolaser cannons echoed across the base, blasting an area the size of 4 football fields with heavy cannon fire, setting vast tracts of rainforest ablaze as the Osiphona raiding party approached the base radius…and then, there was nothing moving anymore on the motion tracker. “Hostiles neutralized. Problem solved, Your Majesty.” “Well, THAT was certainly unexpected…the Savages are indeed growing bolder. We must strike now, otherwise these raids will continue and get worse.” the Emperor urged, still a bit shocked by the sudden action coming from Nordsterne Base. Even the townspeople living in Nordsterne quickly donned their survival suits and ran outside, anxious to see the military activity, but were quickly herded back into their homes by the Night Hammer platoons, claiming that it was “military business” and that there was “nothing to see.” Minister Ryujin sighed…he knew the attack on the Savage stronghold was going to have to come sooner rather than later, though he was devoutly loyal to his Emperor, as a scientist, he wanted to study the Osiphona people more, perhaps learn a bit about their culture and habits, rather than savagely exterminating them…however, the Emperor’s word was law. “Very well then, your Majesty. The 12th Expeditionary Force shall depart for the marked outpost at once. Once that outpost is seized, we have their main citadel surrounded on all sides. We shall soon see the end of this insignificant rabble, and Mt. Umbria Citadel will open on schedule. It is time to bring Imperial order upon this world. I shall give the word at once.” “Good. See to it that EVERY blueskin Savage is dead. I want none left, total extinction. If you have to burn the planet to the ground with radioactive hellfire, so be it. Perform nothing short of an environmental Holocaust upon this world. Make it fit for Imperial habitation. Raito out.”

Within five minutes, the 12th Expeditionary Force had been assembled, more than 2,000 Legionnaires, 1,000 Osiphona volunteers, 35 Kabuto-class tanks, 20 Kamakiri-class APCs, and 7 Okha-class SPHA units were massed on the tarmac, waiting for the signal to advance into the jungle. Three Wulfhund gunships would fly overhead, ready to napalm the jungles if need be. They were to make for a point known as Village A-2, a fortress enclave in the jungle built to fortify the jungle stronghold around Anomaly A-1. The Osiphona manned their fortress well, more than 3,000 Osiphona warriors guarded the enclave, which sheltered a large contingent of women and children…however, to the 12th Expeditionary, it would be as simple as cutting grass. Plow into the enclave, guns blazing, and kill every last alien son of a bitch dumb enough to stand in the way of the tanks and armored troopers. None would be spared…Thy Emperor’s will be done. The Legions exhibited a complete lack of subtlety in their combat techniques, they feared no one, and the only thing better than a big gun was a big gun that shot faster or made a louder noise. The 12th Expeditionary Force quickly set off into the jungle, the huge vehicles leading the way along a jungle trail. It was going to be a tough slog, and Minister Ryujin would be in touch with them throughout the mission. Back on base, Andrew, Professor Rayne,, and the Takada sisters stood in the war room, watching the progress of the Legions on the holoprojector screens. “Interesting…The Empire seems to have a database on this planet’s remarkable wildlife, take a look at these.” Professor Rayne said, generating holographic images of every animal known to the Empire living on Blue Aurelia, from the Wingwhales and Skyrays flying high above, to the massive, bioluminescent, intelligent Hoversquids, the saurian, fire-breathing Pyrovenators, using chemicals to create a nitro-napalm effect in their mouths, the huge, bird-like Crested Shriekers that ran on two massive legs, and the genuinely alien Aquaraptor, a massive, 50-foot reptilian predator with webbed feet like a duck, the snout of a crocodile as long as a person, massive hooked claws, dense bones like a penguin and a massive sail on its back that spent most of its life in the water, feeding on the huge, river-dwelling Stalkfish and enormous, crocodile-like Slimenewt. The jungles of Blue Aurelia were some of the most dangerous places for an human in the known Universe, between the massive creatures living on the forest floor, the Daggerwings and Bladewraiths flying high overhead, the thick, fetid atmosphere and pressure, the kilometer-high trees and impenetrable forests and the millions and millions of species that called this world home, it seemed highly unlikely that humans could ever survive permanently on this world, but that was exactly what the Empire had planned. They believed that humans and this planet’s remarkable biota could coexist, once the Savages were eliminated.

Minister Ryujin, a query, if I might be so bold. What is your genuine opinion of the Savages? Do you truly believe they deserve to be exterminated?” Professor Rayne asked, as Ryujin monitored the 12th Expeditionary Force’s progress through the forest. “To be perfectly truthful, no. I am a loyal servant of the Emperor and will do my duty to the end. However, as a scientist, I cannot say that exterminating an entire race of people, no matter how primitive or different, is the best course of action, at least without studying their culture first, and understanding why they are so inferior. If we simply knew more about the Savages, I could better judge whether they were fit to live in our Empire…but the Emperor’s will be done.” “I see. Unfortunately, that is the reality of our existence. Academia is no exception to the Emperor’s rule. The pursuit of knowledge must always be in the Empire’s best interest, even if the facts become hideously distorted through the Ministry of Information’s spin doctoring. As a member of the Mithraic Order, I have a greater understanding of the Universe than most Hyperboreans could ever hope to achieve. The Four Pillars of the Pantheon Doctrine in the Mithraic sense are as follows: the Paradox of Self-Sufficency, in which the very forces that create in the Universe also destroy and vice-versa, the Ignorance Complex, in that the only certainty is uncertainty and chaos, so that truly “knowing” anything is impossible, the Seven Doctrines of Absurdity, the seven traits that define humanity, and the Ideology Fields, the doctrine that states that the sum of the Universe’s knowledge is greater than its parts, and that every ideology contributes something to it. These Four Pillars have allowed me to achieve life and power far beyond what my augmentations have allowed me, as they have with the members of the Ordo Rosarius Cult of Love. We are the pinnacle of existence, with the energy of the stars themselves in every cell of our bodies, Ryujin. Our search for knowledge is not bound to Imperial orders…it comes from within.” “So, you are saying that you can know things without the Emperor’s knowledge or consent, as members of the Mithraic Order? That’s treason, knowledge is the greatest commodity in our Empire, your abilities undermine the very foundation of our Imperial state, the Ministry of Information would never allow for it!” “Nonsense! The Emperor knows very well what we are capable of. It is not knowledge itself that is a threat to the Empire, it is its misuse. You should stop being such a goody-goody, Shen. There is room for exceptions.” “I am not a ‘goody-goody!’ I shall have you reprimanded at once for that remark!” “Lighten up, seriously, Ryujin. You’re far too easily offended.” Shen said nothing to Artemis as he walked away. He knew Artemis was right, and this deeply offended him. Though Shen was technically Artemis’ superior in the Ministry of Science, Emperor Raito had a particular soft spot for the Mithraic Order, and tended to take their side on any issue that arose between the Mithraic Order and any other branch of the Imperial government. Rayne’s words were insubordination, no doubt about it, but there was no chance that Emperor Raito would penalize a member of the Mithraic Order at the recommendation of the Head Minister of Science. Ryujin had a deep disdain for the Mithraic Order, claiming that they were a threat to the Hyperborean Overlords’ authority and existed as a separate, secret society, not fully loyal to Emperor Raito and following their own code of ethics and morals, something that simply wouldn’t do under Shen’s watch. Shen watched angrily as Rayne conversed with the Takada sisters and Andrew, all three of them members of the Mithraic Order as well…but then he simply let the issue go…for there was nothing he could do…for the moment, that is.

This is getting rather dull…can I have a drink? Does anyone have any alcohol around here? I’m craving a Lilliana Burgundy right now…” Ai Takada said, having not had her fill of liquor aboard the Legacy. Easy on the liquor, Ai. You don’t want to make a spectacle of yourself in public again, do you?” Her sister Tsuruka cautioned, hinting at Ai’s tendency to drink too much. “And what if I do, Tsuruka? You should go hang out with that Ryujin character more often, you’re just as much of a goody-two shoes as he is!” “Oh, come off it! You know I like to drink as much as you do AND I become far more immolated by my dark devotions than you do. You’re just the wine-o crazy bitch, I’m the more refined sister, remember?” “Whatever you, say, sis. Whatever…” Ai and Tsuruka bickered in the background, bored from simply sitting in the war room observing Ryujin and Rayne argue over the purpose of knowledge, and Andrew focusing on practicing his sword stance with Enoid. This was life at the top of the heap in the Hyperborean Colonial Empire…boring, elitist and dull. At least the Pleiadeans had grand festivals on Alcyone and the Sigtyr had a warriors’ sense of pride, their Korvax Legions were invincible and invulnerable to most small-arms weaponry with their biomechanical battlesuits, these never came off and effectively became fused to their bodies. The Hyperboreans did nothing but sit around and bark orders all day, every day. Andrew walked over to where Ryujin was sitting and observing his units, making steady progress through the jungle down the large game trails used by the Savages to conduct their raids. The only issue so far was that some of the massive, 200-ton tanks were getting stuck in the mud, and required the mobile repulsorlift support vehicles to get them out of the quagmire. This was not necessarily a good thing, because the sound of a tank engine thundering as it was pulled from the mud made an awful amount of noise; the Osiphona likely knew that the 12th Expeditionary was coming long before they would actually see them. “Minister Ryujin, the Legions are advancing well…tell me, what would you have me and my companions do, once that citadel has fallen?” “I’m glad you asked. Your team is to lead the Legions for the final push to the Osiphona stronghold. I had strict orders not to inform you of your true mission until you arrived. Soon, you will get a chance to prove yourself on the battlefield in this most unforgiving of environments, the jungles of Blue Aurelia. Prepare yourselves for combat, for once the jungle outpost falls, you will move your force into position for the final strike on Anomaly A-1…and then, we shall finally see what the Osiphona have been guarding so ferociously in the rainforest. I felt that only the Ordo Rosarius and the Mithraic Order possessed the cunning and ferocity to lead such a mission, and now you shall fulfill your purpose in this endeavor.”

Minister Ryujin explained the true purpose of their mission on Blue Aurelia…so this is what it meant to be Hyperborean. He was being thrown directly into combat against a ferocious aboriginal enemy, leading an army of Legionnaires and armed with nothing but his Nano-Sword and the abilities afforded to him via his augmentations and Mithraic Energies. Andrew was a bit nervous, who wouldn’t be? But he knew that this was his destiny…he would face his enemies with honor and distinction. Andrew walked back over to the Takada sisters and Professor Rayne and told them what Shen had just told him. “Oh goody!! Finally, some action to break up this dull, dull existence we lead! I can’t wait to crack some skulls with my blade!” Ai Takada said, with her sister agreeing with a nod. “It was getting rather dull around here, I must admit…” Professor Rayne added. Just then, a message came in on the SATCOM from the 12th Expeditionary Division: “We have made contact with the enemy and are engaging hostile forces! There are hundreds of them!” To the Legions, the Savages’ numbers were meaningless. There were just more to kill for the heavily-armored Imperial troops, armed with the latest, state of the art weaponry. “The Lightning Guns of the heavy assault troopers should strike fear into the Savages’ hearts and minds, and their heavy repeating blasters will mow them down as easily as a lawnmower cutting grass. The Savages’ primitive, Stone-Age weaponry will be unable to even dent the exoskeleton armor worn by the Legions, and the Legions’ weapons shall drive our enemies into oblivion.” Ryujin announced these words with a tone of apprehension, apprehension noticed by Professor Rayne. Clearly, Ryujin questioned the validity of exterminating a people they knew almost nothing about, so it was very clear that Ryujin was simply being a good soldier and following orders, despite his moral objections to it…and Shen had the nerve to accuse him of disloyalty? Ryujin’s hypocrisy would not be forgotten by the unusually-attentive Rayne, who had a photographic memory and remembered everything that was ever said to him, ad verbatim. It became clear that Ryujin had his doubts about the Empire’s trajectory, and was very quick to blame the Mithraic Order for anything that went wrong, simply because he didn’t like the fact that the Order and its Grand Lodges received special treatment by the Hyperborean Overlords and Emperor Raito…he was not the stalwart he appeared to be. However, here on Blue Aurelia, none of this mattered. Orders were orders, and they had a job to do, one they would accomplish with extreme prejudice.

Ryujin watched on the holographic monitors as the Legions plowed their way into the Osiphona stronghold, demolishing the ramparts easily with the tanks and shelling the fortress with barrages of artillery fire. The Empire’s armored infantry stormed into the fortress, guns blazing, killing every Savage they could find with their blaster rifles, Lightning Guns and heavy repeating blasters, as well as grenades and rockets of various types. Some of the troops were combat engineers, carrying blast cannons as their primary weapons and outfitted with special gear, such as portable energy shield generators, active camouflage devices, battlefield kits to assemble mobile defense turrets and other support weapons, recon drones and orbital beacons, used to paint targets for fleets in orbit for a bombardment. These engineer classes were vital to any ground operation, providing the Legions with a Swiss Army knife of options for combating and defeating any enemy. Against such primitive foes, however, it really didn’t matter. The war against the Savages was nearing its endgame…the Legions were preparing for the final push into the jungle, and the final eradication of the Osiphona. At this point, it became clear that the Hyperboreans were thirsty for Savage blood, the two Takada sisters were busy sparring with their Hallucination Nano-Swords in preparation for the battle with the Savages, sparks flying as their two massive blades clashed. Professor Rayne was instructing Andrew on the finer points of using Enoid, his new weapon, and channeling his Mithraic Energies in combat, making him truly invincible. Ryujin watched, like an omnipotent God, as his Legions squashed the life from the Osiphona jungle outpost, securing the various points inside and wiping it clean of life, not just the men, but the women and children as well…Thy Emperor’s will be done. None shall live. Victory on Blue Aurelia loomed ahead, and there was nothing that the Savages could do to prevent it…then, the planet would finally be fit for human occupation, and the Empire could begin to learn about the planet’s remarkable biodiversity without the threat of primitives killing civilians and soldiers alike. Elsewhere throughout Nordsterne Base, the rest of the 181st Colonial Legion prepared for action. The 12th Expeditionary Force would occupy the Osiphona fortress and wait for Andrew’s Legions to link up with it, joining them for the final push to the Osiphona stronghold, about a day’s march away through some of the densest forest imaginable, an enormous sea of kilometer-high Fortress Trees stood between Nordsterne Base and Anomaly A-1, the Osiphona holy site and the capital of their civilization. Their march would not be easy, the climate was hot, clammy, humid and extremely uncomfortable to be outside in, the soldiers wore environment suits and exoskeleton armor to protect them from not just the enemy, but the weather, just as formidable a foe on Blue Aurelia as the Savages. The weather outside the war room window was quickly turning foul, as a massive mesoscale convective complex moved in, drenching the base in a sudden downpour. Lightning flashed and thunder roared as Ryujin stood over his computer console, keying in commands to his Legions, still securing the Osiphona fortress; clearing out the last stragglers, hiding in the most remote corners of their former stronghold. Every time the lightning flashed, it illuminated the eerie Staghorn Rune on the back of Ryujin’s jet-black cape. His back turned to the window, focused on the task at hand, he was a truly imposing sight, much like the Japanese gods of death that he embodied. These men were his Legions, and they would know no fear. He would soon win this war, and make Blue Aurelia safe for all Imperial citizens to live on forevermore. Such was his only purpose for existing, thy Emperor’s will be done. They were the Gods of the New World Order, the Soldiers, the Legions of Light and Light-culture, and they stood as a united front, Hyperboreans, Aryans, Pleiadeans and Sigtyr. Together, they would celebrate their ultimate victory over the savage primitives of the Universe. Regardless of his hidden objections to the extermination mission, Ryujin and the Mithraic Order would lead the 181st Legion to the Osiphona capital city, rumored to be a grand city of pyramids, temples and buildings to house the thousands of residents believed to live there. The capital city, built around the much larger, older pyramid structures looming as large as Mt. Umbria, was a large and opulent as the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan once was on Earth…and like Cortes’s conquistadores, Ryujin’s Legions would oversee its capture and plunder. In many ways, the Osiphona society was much like the Aztecs or Mayans, they constructed pyramids, lived in a highly-organized society, and though they used Stone-Age technology, possessed an advanced knowledge of the natural world and medicine. Like the Inca, they built complex systems of roads through the Fortress Forest and worshiped Blue Aurelia’s twin Suns, Lumis and Umbra, as deities…however, that was the extent of the Empire’s knowledge of these people, other than the fact that they were tall, lanky, had long, monkey-like tails and blue, scaly skin with cat-like eyes and teeth. To the Empire, they were nothing but Savages, inhuman animals that did nothing except get in the Empire’s way…and for that, they were to be exterminated…and the time had nearly arrived.

Just then, the commanding officer of the 12th Expeditionary responded to Ryujin’s directives: “Affirmative, My Lord. Perimeter is secure, fortress subjugated, all hostiles terminated. You are free to move your forces in at your discretion.” Ryujin stood up from his desk, just as a massive lightning bolt struck one of the base defense towers. He turned to the Mithraic Order standing behind him and uttered one, simple phrase: “Rally the Legions, comrades…it is time.”

                    1. Deus Es Machina

They assembled on the tarmac outside the main compound in the pouring rain, the Hyperboreans piloting small, fast, hovering ground vehicles called Swallows, built for speed and power, leading the way into the dense forest and protecting them from the harsh elements outside. Massed behind them were thousands of armored Legionnaires, all carrying full assault loadouts and equipment kits, ready for war. More than 300 tanks from the Panzer Division Ostrogoth accompanied the 181st Legion, along with a squadron of Shinigami-class fighters, two Wulfhund-class gunships and 100 heavy artillery vehicles. It was overkill, for sure, but this was an extermination mission; the objective was absolutely no survivors. The jungle took no prisoners, and neither would the Legions. Ryujin stood in front of the tanks, beside his Swallow vehicle, giving a rallying speech to his troops in the driving rain. “Gentlemen!! It’s lovely weather today, is it not?” Shen roared, sarcastically. “The Emperor has given us his personal blessing on this day, so pay no mind to the weather! Let the driving rain mask our approach to the Savage stronghold, and take no prisoners when you arrive! Do not fear the thunder, do not shrink from the enemy hordes, confront them with the courage that defines the Imperial Legions and all we stand for…and if you feel the heat of the Sun on your face while fighting, do not fear, for it means you are already in Elysium…and you are dead.” Ryujin joked, inciting a chuckle from the armored Legionnaires. “We shall lead the way into the fight this day, and remember…No quarter, no prisoners, no mercy! Onward and upward!” The Legions cheered as Ryujin jumped into his Swallow vehicle and started the zero-point engine, whining to life under plasma power. The Takada sisters, Andrew and Professor Rayne did the same thing with their vehicles, and prepared to lead the sizable Army behind them to their waypoint, the recently-captured fortress in the jungle. The first leg of the journey was likely to progress without incident, as the 12th Expeditionary had already cleared out most of the aboriginal resistance, but once the full force of the Legion pressed onward, they would likely run into the ferocity of the Osiphona warriors, who would be cut to pieces by the ferocious plasma cannons used by the Legions. However, it was a long, grueling, 12-hour march through the jungle along Osiphona hunting trails to the objective, through a dark, little-known jungle where even the wildlife was hostile. The Osiphona had dug their heels into the muck of this alien hellhole and dared the Empire to come in after them…so they were. The Hyperboreans would fly in on their Swallows first and strafe the city’s defenses, knocking out guard towers and vantage points where the Osiphona would have the advantage over the advancing Legions…not as if height would give archers any advantage over armored infantry in powered exoskeletons and tanks. This was just to make things interesting. Andrew punched the controls on his fighter, and to his amazement, it lifted into the air with ease, despite the torrential rain pounding the windscreen. Fortunately, Andrew had been briefed on how to operate a Swallow before the mission; he switched on the plasma windscreen cleaner, creating an energy shield over the glass…his field of view was immediately crystal-clear. Andrew watched on his console as Ryujin, Ai and Tsuruka, as well as Professor Rayne lifted into the air alongside him. The squadron was set for its first strafing run, just as the ground Legion began its march into the jungle. The countdown to engagement had begun. Andrew pulled back on his fighter’s throttle and felt his stomach shoot into his throat as the fighter accelerated through the raging storm, with rain battering the plasma shield on the windscreen. He had never seen rain on this scale before, even during a hurricane in Metropolis. This thunderstorm complex covered an entire continent with savage flooding and ferocious lightning…flying in such conditions was far more dangerous than anything the Osiphona could muster. The real enemy in this operation would be the weather conditions, worsening by the second. Lightning danced all around the Swallow squadron, arcing between the fighters and dissipating around the vehicle. The Swallows were insulated against the massive electric shocks, as were their instruments and pilots, but the rate at which lightning was striking the Sparrows was frightening. The wind, howling at more than 100 miles per hour, buffeted the Swallows left and right, making flying in formation very difficult. “Deploying stabilizers, recommend all pilots do the same, it’s really windy up here.” Andrew keyed a command into his control console, erecting three stabilizer fins from the Swallow’s twin-pronged bow. This lessened the lateral turbulence, but the ride was still incredibly bumpy, especially when a lightning bolt struck the side of the fighter. “This is Ryujin to all fighters. The storm is intensifying, it appears on atmospheric scans that the entire system is metamorphosing into a gigantic cyclone, much like a hurricane over water…only this one is more than 2,000 miles across.” “Why so large?!” “The atmosphere is denser, hotter and more humid. There’s more energy available, the CAPE values on Blue Aurelia are higher than they have ever been at any time in Earth’s history, the atmosphere is so unstable that flying in anything other than a Sparrow or above the storm in a fighter or gunship is tantamount to suicide. I hope the Legions make it through this all right!” Ryujin yelled over the roar of the storm pounding his fighter. “Are we going to be able to make an airstrike in this weather?!” Ai Takada yelled. “Yes. Our fighters can operate with their stabilizers active in winds of up to 200 knots, this storm should be no problem. The lightning is getting a little dicey though. Just keep flying, we’re about 3 hours from the target, at least in this storm, they won’t see us coming.” Ryujin was doing his best to pilot his fighter through the driving storm, but he was clearly unused to flying in this weather. On most Imperial worlds, machinery had been put in place to control the weather, directing hurricanes, tornadoes and rainstorms away from populated areas and even strategically directing them into areas of drought for their beneficial effects. Systems of lasers directed deep in the ground on Imperial worlds controlled earthquakes and volcanoes, as well as tsunamis and other geological hazards, keeping them at a regular, predictable rate. Such systems had not yet been installed on Blue Aurelia, and the Legions were still at the mercy of the planet’s extreme weather…if only Emperor Raito knew what his soldiers experienced on the battlefields of a hundred worlds…perhaps he was too busy with his dark, macabre, artistic pursuits…Raito Juventus was one of the greatest artists in human history. A true Renaissance man, he excelled in all forms of art and culture, and was perhaps the most erudite of Emperors the Hyperborean Empire had lived under thus far…and the most sadistic, demented and dark. His paintings were immense murals…painted in congealed human blood and effluence. Emperor Raito’s creative process involved taking more than 300 blacks, Jews, Christians or Muslim women from their livestock pens and crucifying them to the walls of the Imperial Pantheon chamber, performing autopsies on them while they were still alive, dipping his paintbrush in their bleeding body cavities, painting truly incredible artwork with the blood of the Untermensch as a never-ending supply of material…for these women were only Imperial livestock…their only purpose was to serve Emperor Raito’s personal artistic passions. What he did to Untermensch children was even more disturbing, he would sexually abuse them, and film himself in orgasmic throes with dozens of screaming, crying, black, Muslim or Jewish children, often posing in ostentatious, overly-exalted positions of pure catharsis as he violated these children again, and again, and again…sometimes the child would scream, and then he’d silence its anguished cries for its mother by shoving a stopper in its mouth, often suffocating the child in the process. Once he had collected the pictures of his macabre fantasies made real, he would return the children to their holding chambers, and create massive sculptures based off the pictures, using his depraved acts as inspiration…a consummate artist of the highest order, Emperor Raito was as dark a man who had ever lived…and one of the most powerful rulers Mankind had ever known. “We must subordinate ourselves…our passions, our pride…for the boldness of national interest. This way, we shall be a truly enlightened, orderly people…otherwise, anarchy and indecency shall reign over us, under the false mask of freedom…” The wise Emperor was known to say. Andrew felt honored to be a part of the Hyperborean Age, as its first spear into the heart of the Osiphona civilization.

As the squadron zoomed through the raging storm, reports on the ground legion’s progress were being radioed into Andrew’s headset from the Legion commanders, who were reporting a slow but steady progression through the storm to the rendezvous point in the jungle. Even they were amazed at the size and ferocity of the storm, and just how resilient the Fortress Trees were, even in the face of 100-knot winds. These trees were living skyscrapers, just as strong and sturdy as their man-made counterparts, using the same system of buttress roots that many skyscrapers emulated to resist high winds. The trees were so massive that the soldiers marching on the forest floor barely got wet, even though the rain fell at a rate of nearly 4 inches an hour. They did admit one thing…the sound of the lightning and thunder, with the massive moaning from the trees swaying in the wind, combined with the total darkness of the forest floor, fetid, crushing humidity and the sounds and cries of millions of jungle creatures created the most unnerving, spooky environment imaginable to march through. Though they were clad in Class XII exoskeleton combat skins and armed to the teeth, even these super-soldiers admitted that they were somewhat disturbed by the environment. They had all heard the stories of the monstrous predators stalking the forest floor, such as the Hoversquid, Pyrovenator, Aquaraptor and Crested Shrieker, as well as a thousand other terrible things just waiting to snatch a careless Legionnaire the strayed too far from the marching column…and then there were the Daggerwings, Bladewraiths and Raptorial Kitegliders to contend with in the air, and the massive Leviathan Whales and Krakens in the deep oceans of Blue Aurelia…this was a world where literally EVERYTHING wanted to kill you, including the weather. Taming this planet without destroying it was going to be a very difficult task. However, they were the Legions, the Emperor’s finest, and they would know no fear.

The Legions and squadrons pressed on through the roaring storm, which was now a full-scale “tornadocane,” a thunderstorm complex so huge that it began to take the shape of a hurricane, with an eye in the center of the complex. Such a storm had only been seen a few times on Earth, and all of those happened before the Flood. On hot, humid worlds such as Blue Aurelia, where the day-night temperature differences were extremely pronounced, such storms were very common, and would pose a constant hazard to Imperial habitation until the weather-control systems could be installed. As Andrew and his squadron struggled through the driving rain and wind, waypoint markers appeared on their screens, indicating that their targets were coming within range…and as if on cue, the weather began to clear, but not because the storm was dissipating. Andrew looked up and saw a colossal amphitheater of clouds swirling overhead, with entire pods of Wingwhales, Skyrays and Daggerwings caught inside of it, trapped within the clouds like a cage. This was the eye of the tornadocane, a 20-mile wide area of calm at the center of the circulation…and it offered a perfect opportunity to strike the target, now visible on the horizon. “Holy Sun high above…those pyramids are enormous.” Andrew said, awestruck at the ruins’ size…and the complexity of their target. A massive city, built at the foot of the pyramids, lay sprawling before them. Their fighters’ waypoint markers painted their targets, five huge guard towers positioned around the city like ramparts, meant to protect the city from harm…however, there was no protection from the 181st Colonial Legion. “This is Shinigami Squadron B-14, we have you on our scopes, My Lords. We are preparing our assault right now.” The two massive Wulfhund gunships were already swooping in, fast and low, preparing to drop their heavy munitions on the city in preparation for the Legions’ arrival. “Roger that, B-14. We’re moving in on the ramparts now, make this quick, we don’t have much time before the other side of the storm starts to hit us.” Andrew and the rest of the Hyperboreans took an offensive formation and swept in low, just above the treetops, and armed their Swallow fighters’ weapons systems, consisting of concussion missiles and heavy repeating laser cannons: more than enough to topple the standing ramparts. As the fighters swooped in, massive clouds of smoke and fire rose from the interior of the city as the Wulfhund gunships conducted carpet bombing raids, firing their howitzers and dropping proton bombs on hard targets within the city, doubtlessly killing thousands of Osiphona civilians. The Shinigami-class fighters followed suit, firing cyclonic torpedoes at various targets, obliterating a very wide area with the torpedoes’ area-effect explosions…all that remained were the ramparts. The Hyperboreans broke off as they approached their targets, each of them targeting an individual rampart, and at precisely the right moment, they fired their missiles and laser cannons simultaneously, and then regrouped their formation, all in one smooth maneuver. The Hyperboreans watched as the towering ramparts collapsed, crumbling into the city and crushing many Osiphona flat…and these strikes, as devastating as they were, were only the beginning. The ground Legions had linked up in the riverside fortress that had just been captured a few hours earlier, and were now moving double-time through the jungle, to squash the Osiphona from existence once and for all. Andrew sighed with satisfaction, knowing that his phase of the mission was complete. Now, the airborne squadrons would return to Nordsterne Base to command the ground Legions remotely as they progressed with their phase of the assault. Back through the roaring storm the squadrons flew, headed directly towards Nordsterne Base. For the Hyperboreans, this was just the beginning. They would stay on Blue Aurelia for some time, overseeing the final construction of Mt. Umbria Citadel, the masterpiece of the Emperor Raito’s Reichsarbeitdienst, the Imperial Corps of Engineers. This vast army of engineers and construction workers, under the directorship of Herr Ludwig von Bayern, a Hyperborean engineering genius and CEO of the state-owned Kraid Drive Yards, had been hard at work for the past 3 years hollowing out Mt. Umbria and constructing a luxurious, 5-star apartment complex and resort for 50 million people, and now it was nearly finished and ready to open. All that remained was the matter of the Savages…and their day of reckoning had arrived. On Blue Aurelia, the Empire’s Sun was rising…a Sun that would never set…the Empire, a vast, intergalactic Reich of the Black Sun, would bring the force of its Massenmordmaschine upon the Savages’ heads, and purify the untamed world of Blue Aurelia evermore, making it fit for humanity to occupy. Not a single Savage would remain. Andrew relaxed behind the stick of his warbird, knowing that his job was done…it was time for the Hyperboreans to continue the battle from the war room, directing their Legions to final victory.

After a two-hour flight through the driving rain, the Swallow squadron landed back at the base, and flew safely into Nordsterne Base’s main hangar bays. Quickly dismounting their vehicles, the five Hyperboreans ascended the staircase to the war room to check on the main Legion’s progress. Aside from the muck and rain from the storm, they were progressing with few obstacles, perhaps the initial airstrikes were all that was needed to cripple the city…perhaps the Legions would be able to enter without a fight. On the monitors, the huge Kabuto-class tank’s cockpit cameras revealed that the Legions faced no opposition along the Osiphona trails…nary a Savage to be seen on any unit’s camera monitor. “This is Nordsterne Base to all units…it’s been awfully quiet since we hit the city with airstrikes, hasn’t it?” “Perhaps they’ve surrendered already…and are just accepting their fate, finally.” One of the Legionnaires said through his helmet’s communications system. “We’ve still got about 8 hours left to march before we reach the city, so we’re hanging tight. The storm seems like it’s dying down, which is good, the mud has been hell to drive the tanks through. A couple platoons got stuck in quicksand earlier, we had to literally pull them out using vehicles, the weather has been nightmarish.” The Legionnaire said over the SATCOM. He was not exaggerating. The rainfall rates with this mesoscale arc storm were staggering. More than 2 feet of rain had fallen in just 6 hours, and it was still coming down. The water levels in the jungle were rising fast, because the ground was too saturated to hold any more water. Such storms were unheard of on Earth, Mars or Venus, thanks to the systems of weather control installed on those holy worlds, so sacred to humanity and the Hyperborean Overlords. “Just keep moving. Perseverance and determination…the only things that will make our conquest of this planet a reality.” “Yes My Lord.” The Legionnaire signed off. Andrew stood up and walked over to where Shen Ryujin was standing, near the SATCOM receiver. “Minister Ryujin, I could not help but overhear your feud with Professor Rayne earlier…what did you mean by ‘treason,’ in the sense that Rayne betrayed someone or something? I fail to understand how simply questioning the validity of exterminating the Osiphona without studying them first constitutes an act of sedition.” “Andrew…his words were not treasonous in the sense that they betrayed the Empire, they were treasonous in the fact that they betrayed my trust in him. It was not an act of sedition, but one of insubordination. He cannot simply say such things in my presence.” “Why, because it ‘offends’ you? Minister Ryujin, surely you understand the value of scientific discourse, I observed even you had reservations about mass-murdering the Osiphona with precious little being known about the Savages’ culture, for someone who claims to be operating on the right side of Imperial law, you certainly seem to take liberties with your position as Head Minister of Science. I’ve only been a member of the Hyperborean Race for a mere 48 hours, and already I see inconsistencies that I believe need to be corrected.” “WHAT DO YOU MEAN?!” Ryujin roared, startling everyone in the room. Andrew didn’t even flinch. “What I mean is that the Hyperborean stratifications are filled with inefficient bureaucracy, Hyperboreans having attained their positions simply via fortune of birth, and some not qualified to do their jobs properly. Emperor Raito needs to conduct a full inquiry into the efficiency of his upper classes, something I will make sure he hears. And, as a member of the Mithraic Order, I know he will trust my judgment over anyone else’s.” The Takada sisters watched Andrew lecture Minister Ryujin, spellbound by his candor and inner strength. Ryujin couldn’t take it anymore. He flew into a rage and flipped a desk on its side startling everyone in the room with a crash. “NO….You will do NO such thing! If you EVER tell the Emperor or ANYONE else of this conversation, I will make SURE that EVERY MEMBER OF THE MITHRAIC ORDER IS PURGED FROM EXISTENCE!! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?!” Clear as crystal…” Andrew said, snidely as he walked away. It was very clear that Ryujin had it in for the Mithraic Order and Emperor Raito’s favoritism for the Order, something that WOULD be considered treason by Emperor Raito…Andrew now had just what he needed to make a power grab withing the Imperial Pantheon.

You are learning well, Andrew…you are the quintessential Ordo Rosarius Cult member, manipulative, cunning and diabolical, and a true member of the Mithraic Order. I think we’re going to enjoy our stay here on Blue Aurelia.” Tsuruka said, moving her hand through her long black hair. “We’re really bored here…but we enjoy watching you torment others with your innate cunning and cleverness. Countess Toni was right when she initiated you into our Order…you truly are the Only Son.” Ai added. Andrew stared into his two female companions’ sinister, seductive eyes. The two of them were stunningly beautiful, yet truly diabolical and maniacal all the same, as were the rest of the Ordo Rosarius Cult of Love. He thought about Gwenlynn, the woman with the long, silky blonde hair, the odd hairstyle and the pagan Wintermaid-style Jungsturm-Nordsterne dress, and what she was doing right now, probably sitting in the hot springs back at the Midnight Sun. She was Andrew’s favorite, by far. He was enthralled by every aspect of her form, from her deep, navy-blue eyes to her 12-foot, tall, slender, muscular figure, and how her war dress fit so perfectly to the curves of her body. Her hair, long and willowy, was blonde and silky, just like his, and her two pigtails gave her a somewhat “cute” appearance, just to tease her companions…the Takada sisters were beautiful too, but Gwenlynn was just too perfect for him. Andrew looked forward to the day when he would see her again. For now, however, they had a job to do on this remote jungle planet, 50 light-years from the Midnight Sun and Metropolis.

Andrew watched on the monitors as the Legions marched ever closer to the bombed-out Osiphona city, severely damaged by the Imperial airstrikes conducted by the airborne Legions. The Kabuto-class tanks of the Panzer Division Ostrogoth had taken an offensive formation, with the Okha-class artillery vehicles moving close behind. The thousands of marching Legionnaires, carrying their weapons at the ready moved with a single-minded determination, a ferocious engine of destruction with the singular goal of carrying out their orders: Not one Osiphona survives, Thy Emperor’s Will be done. As the Legions marched, the Hyperboreans kept a close eye on their progress, the changing weather conditions, and the storm outside, making sure that the entire operation went off without a hitch. The Takada sisters, bored as they were, took an active part in the mission’s oversight, working with Andrew and Professor Rayne with managing the different platoons…but no one could take their minds off of Shen Ryujin’s outburst. Was he really serious when he said that he would have the entire Mithraic Order purged if Andrew criticized him to the Emperor? Was this man truly that full of himself? Or was he just completely demented, having taken on the persona of a Shinigami in real life, an almighty god of death looking for any excuse to kill something at any chance he got? If so, the question of whether he was truly fit for the position of Head Minister of Science was definitely a valid one, at least in Andrew’s mind. However, if Ryujin was not bluffing, he would formally accuse the entire Mithraic Order of libelous acts against the Empire, a crime punishable by death or hard labor…though Andrew doubted that Emperor Raito would uphold such a punishment for the Order, as he favored it more than any other group in the Empire and Ryujin knew it. Therefore, his words amounted to little more than an empty threat. Still, Andrew did not want to test a man with a reputation of being “the living embodiment of death,” for he could very well kill Andrew or one of the Takada sisters if he so desired. Andrew would have to wait until the time was right to make his move…for now, the task at hand dominated the minds and agendas of the Hyperboreans on Blue Aurelia. The Legions continued their march, like a perfectly-oiled mass-murder machine, under direct orders from the Hyperboreans to continue straight through. They were now nearly to the city’s outer ramparts, incredibly, they had made it to the city in nearly half the time it would normally take…the soldiers’ Class-XII combat exoskeletons endowed them with truly supernatural strength and stamina…a new dawn was rising on Blue Aurelia…one of Imperial order and peace.

                    1. Massenmordmaschine

After nearly 8 hours marching through the jungle, the 181st Colonial Legion’s forward garrison finally reached the outer ramparts of the Osiphona capital, shattered and ruined from the Hyperborean airstrikes several hours earlier. Massive granite block lay scattered about, with some of the jungle foliage still smoldering from the fires wrought by the Wulfhund-class gunships and Shinigami-class fighters…the city was eerily silent…not a war cry to be heard, not a single Osiphona warrior running out to greet them, fangs and spears bared…nothing. The Legionnaires, puzzled, activated their helmet’s SATCOM, and communicated with Ryujin and the Mithraic Order back in Nordsterne Base: They had arrived…and there was no resistance to greet them. This was going to be an outright slaughter. The Legionnaires took offensive formation as the Panzers moved into position around the city walls. One of the artillery vehicles moved into firing position and fired a massive plasma burst at the crumbling city wall, more than 50 meters high. The wall crumbled in an instant, vaporized by the superheated plasma as the Legions poured in, guns blazing. The Osiphona had already surrendered. The broken people offered no resistance as the Legionnaires cut them down in their hundreds, women screamed their last goodbyes to their children and husbands as the warriors fled into the jungle. Babies screamed and cried, watching as their mothers and fathers were mercilessly executed by the 181st Colonial Legion, before they themselves were put out of their screaming, wailing agony. The Panzers began firing at the walls, blowing huge holes in the city’s defenses and allowing more soldiers and vehicles to rush in and take the city by storm. The rain and sopping wet mud mixed with the blood of thousands of dead Osiphona in a stinking, seething witches’ brew of contagion draining into the city’s primitive storm drains, as the dead bodies began to pile up…bodies of women, children and civilian men, victims of an Imperial genocide operation.

Once the Osiphona in the main city square were killed off, the Legions began breaking into buildings, temples and houses, and slaughtering every inhabitant they came across with extreme prejudice. Entire families were being wiped out in seconds, their last screaming, terrified moments being captured on the Legion commanders’ helmet cameras, beaming images of the genocide to Nordsterne Base in real time, for the entire Empire to see, the Death of the Foul, Subhuman Creatures. Every Pleiadean, Hyperborean and Sigtyr in the entire Empire was watching as the Legions mowed their way though thousands of unarmed Osiphona civilians, all watching with triumphant eyes, another planet would soon be conquered for the Hyperborean Colonial Empire. Their DN-17 blaster rifles, Lightning Guns, Blast Cannons and Heavy Repeating Blasters made short work of the unarmed Osiphona, they did not fight, they did not resist…they had accepted their fate. The Legions carved a bloody swath through the cowering masses of Osiphona, destroying homes, sacking temples and defacing sacred objects with ion blaster fire. Nothing in the city was safe, especially once the tanks began rolling into the city square through the massive holes in the wall. Their heavy plasma cannons made short work of any Osiphona caught out in the open, and targeted buildings in the city, eliminating the last of the Osiphona inhabitants of their jungle stronghold.

Back in Nordsterne Base’s war room, the Hyperboreans watched as the Legions made quick work of the remaining Osiphona. Even more disturbing was the ferocity at which the Osiphona volunteers in the Legions slaughtered and pillaged their former home…they no longer considered themselves part of the Osiphona civilization. Wearing Imperial military uniforms and carrying the same weapons as their armored comrades, they massacred their former neighbors, friends and family, and sacked the treasures of the Osiphona temples, making off with vast hordes of gold, platinum, silver and other precious stones and metals. Most of the Osiphona who had volunteered in the 181st Colonial Legion were criminals, outcasts and other miscreants that the Osiphona leadership wanted nothing to do with, and thus exiled them under pain of death…they found refuge…and revenge, amongst the Imperial invaders. Soon, the only Osiphona voices to be heard were the triumphant shouts of the Osiphona volunteers, raising the DN-17 blaster rifles and AL-779 three-shot Watchman Rifles into the air in triumph. Some of them carried hordes of treasure from the three Pyramids in the center of the city, the mighty Temples of the Sun, Moon and Stars…now thoroughly conquered by the 181st Legion. “This is the 181st Colonial Troop to Nordsterne Base…the deed is done. The Empire is victorious this day.” “Excellent. Nice work gentlemen. Set up camp in the city ruin and secure a perimeter around Anomaly A-1. Force entry to the ruins tomorrow at dawn. I shall inform Emperor Raito of you success.” Ryujin announced over the SATCOM to his triumphant Legions. The Legions got to work setting up residence in the ruins of the Osiphona stronghold. Some of the Legionnaires sang an old German song, “Heia Safari,” as they marched through the jungle, erecting a perimeter and claiming the city’s ruins as a part of the Empire, in the shadow of the colossal, mountain-sized pyramids less than 800 meters behind the city’s outer walls.

The Empire knew nothing of what could be inside those pyramids, the structures having been so heavily guarded by the Osiphona for so long. However, from the Osiphona volunteers, they had heard that the three ancient Pyramids were constructed by the Osiphona God-race, which consisted of beings that did not take a physical form, and were truly transcendent, as if formed from pure light itself. They supposedly constructed the pyramids many millions of years before, and they were so large, that they aged and eroded at the same rate as the mountains around them, such as Umbria and the surrounding Onan Mountain Range, containing some of the highest mountains known to mankind, including Umbria, which, thanks to Blue Aurelia’s extraordinary atmospheric density, warmth and extraordinarily high oxygen content, was forested and covered with vegetation all the way up to its 56,000-foot peak. It was a mystery that the Empire was intent on solving, and the Legions and Ministry of Science would go to any extreme to achieve that end.

Back in Nordsterne Base, the Hyperboreans watched as the Legions secured the city and Anomaly A-1, and began the task of burning the thousands of dead Savages’ bodies. The grisly task was made harder by the heat and humidity, which had already started to decompose the bodies, less than an hour after death. To stop the spread of contagion, every body had to be burned as quickly as possible, and soon massive bonfires were roaring, cremating thousands of former inhabitants of the Osiphona capital. The Osiphona volunteers were tasked with cremating the bodies, carrying them from their resting places and burning them in the funeral pyres, something they did with no apprehension. They cared nothing for their former kinfolk…they were Imperial soldiers, through and through. The Legionnaires set up pre-fabricated garrison bases around Anomaly A-1, securing in from any holdout Savages and preparing to effect entry into the ruin come the following morning. At that point, the Legions would simply stand watch as day turned to night on the jungle planet, guarding against any threat approaching the Legion’s garrison. For Minister Ryujin and the Hyperboreans, it was a job well done, and far more than that for Ryujin. He now had a serious rival in the upstart Andrew Wallace, and his domination of the Savages would prove to Emperor Raito his value over the Mithraic Order…but he knew that the Mithraic Order would quickly move against him. They were out for his head and his job, and a true warrior knew how to evade rivals as well as defeat enemies…they didn’t call Minister Ryujin “Shinigami-Kai” for no reason. He would not go down without a fight.

Back in Nordsterne Base, Ryujin looked at a huge plasma screen computer, surveying Anomaly A-9 for any points of ingress. The enormous pyramids looked impermeable; the size of mountains, they looked as sturdy as Mt. Umbria. Whoever had constructed them clearly possessed technology beyond even the Hyperborean Empire’s, and had sealed them to hide their contents forever. If they were anything like pyramids on Earth before the Flood, they were likely burial chambers, built to house some of the greatest leaders of their builders’ civilization…however, given the overgrown jungle that covered the entire landmass of Blue Aurelia, whoever had constructed them was long-gone from the planet’s surface. Now, the Empire was the only authority on this jungle world. Emperor Raito would bring Imperial order to Blue Aurelia, and create a world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governed the conduct of its citizens, and that began with the purge of the Osiphona natives. Those Osiphona that had volunteered in the 181st Colonial Legion would be spared, and granted Imperial citizenship as full regulars in the Legion. Former outcasts from their society, they were now the new masters of their world, under Hyperborean rule. Andrew, Ai and Tsuruka sat in the war room, observing Ryujin’s activity at his computer console. Andrew studied the ruins intensely, looking for any signs of weakness in the superstructure, when suddenly, he spotted something that Ryujin did not. There was a weak spot in the pyramids’ West Wall, presumably a sealed entranceway…and one that could be easily blown open. “Ai, Tsuruka, Professor Rayne…we’re going back out into the jungle…I think I have a way of entering the pyramids.” Andrew whispered, careful not to alert Ryujin of his finding. “Very well then. Meet me in the hangars where the Swallows are stored. We depart at once.” “Where are you headed, Rayne?” Ryujin said, overhearing Rayne’s conversation. “We’re headed out into the jungle to scout Anomaly A-9 for ourselves. If you cannot find a viable entrance to the pyramids from here, perhaps we can on the ground with the Legions’ garrison base.” Ryujin thought about Rayne’s plan for a moment, and then grudgingly let them leave. Perhaps Ryujin would be able to get some peace and quiet in his war room with them running around in the inhospitable jungles of Blue Aurelia at night. “Very well…just be very cautious. The Daggerwings, Bladewraiths, Aquaraptors and Hoversquids become far more active after dark…those are not animals you want to meet.” “Understood. We’ll take the Swallows out again to be safe.” “You are dismissed.”

Rayne, Andrew, Ai and Tsuruka filed out of the war room, leaving Ryujin to his work and walked across the catwalk over the main hangar bay. Below them were hundreds of Legionnaires, armed with all manner of weaponry, from Umbra-11 pulse rifles, DN-25 Lightning Guns, M-9 Minister shotguns, Raythe-12 scattershot rifles, AL-779 assault blasters, Disintegrator-20 molecular bond breakers and DN-17 multi-purpose rifles; every weapon used by the Imperial military was represented in this hangar. Weapons lockers hung on the walls; Swallow-class fighters and Ares-class jumpships hung from ceiling struts with technicians working to repair them, some were installing warp drives on the Ares-class ships, making them capable of visiting any system in the Universe in a matter of hours. Intermingling with the human soldiers were Osiphona volunteers, now full-fledged members of the 181st Colonial Legion, having been absorbed by the Hyperborean Empire. Looking down on all of this activity, Andrew felt a deep sense of power and honor. He was now a leader in this grand Imperial world, a true hero of Hyperborea and the Only Son of the Ordo Rosarius. “Hey, Anders, there are two Ookami-class dreadnaughts inbound from Stronghold to oversee the final stages of the Mt. Umbria project, that’s going to be quite a sight to see.” “So, it’s not worthy of an Odin-class, I see.” The other soldier, Anders, responded to his comrade’s observation. “The Ookami-class is plenty sufficient to defend a jungle hellhole like this. Just one shot from those molecular bond breakers can annihilate an entire enemy fleet if it’s clumped too close together…plus, they carry a huge contingent of Shinigami-class starfighters and Kuro-class drone fighters, making them the perfect tools for what the Empire calls ‘aggressive expansion.’ Andrew listened to this conversation as he walked above the hangar towards the staircase; apparently, the Empire was sending a permanent contingent of capital ships to protect Blue Aurelia, now that the planet was firmly under Imperial control. Things were going just as planned.

Andrew and his companions walked down the stairs onto the hangar bay floor, attracting the attention of every Legionnaire that saw them, both Osiphona and human. “Welcome, My Lords. The Swallows are just about ready for launch again, just sit tight for another ten minutes or so, the techs are just giving their final inspections now.” One of the Legionnaires announced to Andrew and Professor Rayne. “Excellent. Make sure they are ready to depart shortly. How are the jump-ships coming along?” “The Quantum Drives are almost installed, and we still have to attach the weapons systems, once the modifications are complete, these will be the fastest ships in the Universe. You are welcome to use them any time you wish.” “Much appreciated, soldier. Go about your business.” “Yes My Lord.” The four Hyperboreans stood by and watched as the Swallows were prepared for departure…Andrew noticed that Ai Takada was singing to herself to pass the time: “There is a house in Stronghold, they call the Midnight Sun…it’s been the ruin of many a young girl, and God, I know I’m one…Mother, tell your daughters, not to do what I have done, lest they spend their lives in pain and misery, in the House of the Midnight Sun…” “That’s an old 20th-century rock song, Ai. You just changed the lyrics around. Clever.” Professor Rayne chuckled. “Yes, this I know…I sang it because it fits our Cult so well. We are all scorned, bitter and bloodied by the ravages of life and death and seek only pleasure spiked with pain as a result, and we always go back to Stronghold, to wear that ball and chain.” “Yes, but first, into the jungle!” Andrew said, quickly changing the subject. “Great…here we go again…I just hate flying.” Tsuruka groaned. “Well then, you could always walk.” Andrew teased. “No thanks…I’ll stick with the Swallow…” Tsuruka quickly corrected herself as the Swallows were rolled out from the inspection queue. “We’re headed to Anomaly A-9, where the Imperial Legions are garrisoned for the night, hopefully we don’t run into any of this planet’s aggressive wildlife as we’re flying out there, the Daggerwings and Bladewraiths can be deadly, even to an airborne vehicle, not to mention even the Wingwhales and Skyrays can be territorial. Watch your backs out there. In that jungle, you are no longer on top of the food chain.” Professor Rayne lectured as the four Hyperboreans climbed into their fighters’ cockpits. “Keep in mind that the 18th Fleet is going to be here in a few hours, led by 2 Ookami-class dreadnaughts; Emperor Raito is going to want all personnel on base for the opening of the Mt. Umbria Citadel.” One of the vehicle techs said as the Swallows fired up their engines and prepared for liftoff out of one of the hangar’s launch tunnels. Andrew paid heed to the tech’s advice and pulled on his Swallow’s throttle, lifting it into the air and zooming toward a launch tunnel, with his three companions following close behind. Flying through the launch tunnel and out into the viscous, fetid nighttime atmosphere, the vast Fortress Forests loomed more than a kilometer high in the distance. Climbing above the treetops, the Swallows reached a cruising altitude of nearly 7,000 feet, and prepared for a night of flying over an endless, dense jungle, punctuated only by clearings filled with Skoadeball Plants drifting high above the Fortress canopy. Below them, hundreds of forest-dwelling creatures conducted their nightly habits, such as Hoversquids, Aquaraptors, Pyrovenators and Crested Shriekers, the top predators on the forest floor, and their many prey items, such as enormous Angel Rays living the rivers that crisscrossed the jungle and many other smaller animals; though Hoversquids were omnivorous and ate anything they could wrap their remarkably dextrous tentacles around.

Andrew thought about all of this as he flew over the jungle, watching pods of Wingwhales and Skyrays flying in the distance, slowly circling high above the treetops with swarms of Balloonfisks clinging to the undersides of their massive wings. Between the life in the forest, the animals and plants in the skies high above, and the equally-diverse ecosystem in Blue Aurelia’s deep, blue oceans, teeming with creatures just as massive, such as the Leviathan Whales, and just as diverse, such as the Fairy Prawns, this world glowed like an oasis in the vast emptiness of space…a planet so rich in resources was doubtlessly very attractive to many intelligent races, and not just humans and Hyperboreans. Those who had constructed the pyramids at Anomaly A-9 had been drawn to the natural beauty of this world, and humanity had been drawn to it for its vast natural resources…who knew what else had visited this world in the past? As the four fighters soared high over the forests, Ai and Tsuruka conversed with Andrew and Professor Rayne though their comlinks. “So, Andrew, what exactly did you think of Countess Toni?” “She’s unlike any woman I have ever encountered, she is horrifying, truly vicious, but amazing all the same. She draws you into her spell and never lets you go. To be in her embrace is to know the true meaning of catharsis. I am still shaken by what she showed me.” “I could not have described her better myself. Our Order orbits her, just as the Empire orbits Emperor Raito. We would not exist without her; even Queen Ikkiku and Saalra see her as a God-like figure. The Nordic Pleiadeans have many members of the Mithraic Order, as do the Sigtyr. We and the Emperor are One God, One Law, One World Order. The future is ours to win, and win we shall. We work to create a Universe where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of all species, human and otherwise, and we oppose all those who wish to derail those efforts for this and for all future generations.” “Understood…we stand on watch for those who seek to destroy us, and guard the Imperial way of life…from our House of the Midnight Sun.”

Andrew responded as the squadron zoomed through the now crystal-clear night sky, with the large silver moon of Blue Aurelia shining high above. “Have you ever seen a night so serene on Earth?” “Once…I was on a yacht cruising around the Global Sea, and the water was like that of a mill pond…there was not a breath of wind at all…the enormous storms on this planet are short-lived, much like a tornado on Earth or Mars.” “It’s incredible, the natural beauty of this place, too bad the air is so thick here that ordinary humans would suffocate without a space suit after just a few minutes. Even for us, the humidity is overpowering. The climate is like an endless, tropical summer, so humid as to be inhospitable for human life, yet life thrives here in such profusion that it dwarfs Earth, Mars and Venus in sheer biodiversity.” Just then, a loud beeping sound from Andrew’s control console interrupted he and Ai’s conversation, just as a colossal black shadow swooped out of nowhere, barely missing Andrew’s fighter with its massive, praying-mantis like forearms. “What the hell?! It’s coming around again! Evasive maneuvers!” The squadron suddenly found itself in a dogfight with a 55-foot airborne monstrosity, a fully-grown Bladewraith, flashing brilliant bioluminescent eyespots on its spade-like tail. Bladewraiths didn’t flap their wings to fly; they used jets of compressed methane emitting from bladders on their wings to fly at speeds of up to 275 miles per hour, and impaled their prey on clawed forelimbs before sucking it dry with a long, hollow lance as hard as titanium. The Hyperboreans maneuvered deftly, evading the creature’s attacks, but it was so agile and maneuverable that it was actually able to keep up with Andrew’s fighter, as efficiently as a human fighter pilot!” “By God that thing’s agile…” Professor Rayne gasped. “They’re the top aerial predators on Blue Aurelia, we’d better give Andrew some cover, moving to engage!” The Bladewraith was aggressively pegging Andrew’s fighter with sonar pings, its chosen method of locating its prey in the dark of night, when its eight eyes were of little use. Their loud, echoing screeches rang in Andrew’s ear as he continued to evade, hoping that the massive creature would lose interest; however, it continued to pursue Andrew’s fighter, as if trying to tire it out for the slaughter. This thing was not giving up. “He’s still on me, requesting assistance.” Ai Takada zoomed in behind the massive creature and fired three plasma rounds directly at the back of its neck, killing it instantly and sending it plummeting to the treetops far below with a thud. “Thanks for the assist. I certainly hope we don’t run into many more of those…” “They’re actually quite common on this planet, and they tend to travel in groups, so we’d best keep our wits about us.” Professor Rayne said from his cockpit.

The fighters regained their course and continued onward towards Anomaly A-9, which loomed high in the distance over the forest. “This is Squadron F-5 to 181st Colonial Legion Garrison, we are en route to your location and requesting entry into the ruins. Have you secured the perimeter around the anomaly?” “Affirmative. We have eliminated all hostile targets and have secured our position. The Panzer Division Ostrogoth has entered our vicinity and is currently hunting any Savage holdouts. They will not escape us.” “Continue with your duties, Commander. We will arrive in a few hours.” “Over and out.” As the fighters continued on their course, the Takada sisters pointed skyward as a Quantum Space tunnel opened, and out crawled the massive bulk of the 18th Fleet, led by the twin Ookami-class dreadnaughts, the INS Higurashi and the INS Mesaba. Accompanying these massive starships were six Amane-class assault carriers, three Crucible-class cruisers and five Archer-class destroyers, along with many smaller support ships. The four molecular bond breakers on each of the Ookami-class dreadnaughts were clearly visible, those weapons could annihilate an entire fleet with a single shot by starting a chain reaction, jumping from one ship to the next and vaporizing them by destroying them at a molecular level. Combined with the thousands of fighters stored aboard the massive assault carriers and the sheer force of the cruisers and destroyers, the 18th Fleet was one of the most formidable fighting forces in the Emperor Raito’s arsenal. It was just one of many such fleets in the Hyperborean Navy, patrolling the vastness of Imperial space, along with the Nordic Pleiadean and Sigtyr allies. “Attention all Imperial ground personnel, this is Admiral Josef Hackett the 18th Fleet, inbound from Stronghold. We are here to oversee Emperor Raito’s commissioning of Mt. Umbria Citadel and will be here until further notice. Admiral Hackett out.” “Well, the cavalry has arrived…” Tsuruka remarked, dryly. “I don’t understand why they would need that many ships to guard a complete jungle hellhole, I guess this place means a LOT to the Emperor.” “Or maybe he knows something about this planet that we don’t.” Andrew added. “I’ve heard that there are lots of species that value this planet’s resources, according to Imperial intelligence sources. Now that we occupy it on a full-time basis, that means that any other society that uses the resources here must go through us to get to them…perhaps this is what Emperor Raito fears. Nothing’s getting through Admiral Hackett’s fleet in one piece, let me tell you that much.” “But what would any intelligent society want with this planet? I don’t even think the Empire needs this world. Sure, it has plenty of natural resources and a native population to conscript, but don’t most planets that support life already have these resources?” Ai asked. “I can’t say that I know that for certain. I know that the majority of life requires liquid water and energy in the form of proteins and amino acids, but as to how much is needed for life to survive is open to speculation.” Professor Rayne lectured from behind the stick of his fighter. “Probably not much. Just think of what survives in even the driest deserts, and you have a good idea of the hardiness of life. This planet would seem like a paradise to many species living in dry, arid climates; a race of beings may come here from a very dry planet looking for greener pastures.” Andrew replied. No sooner had Andrew spoken those words that he overheard transmissions coming from the 18th Fleet about “something” that had just appeared on the far side of Blue Aurelia’s moon…something was happening up in orbit.

“Admiral, what exactly am I looking at?” Master Chief Petty Officer Reinhardt Scheer said to Admiral Hackett, standing on his bridge platform surrounded by a vast array of consoles and readouts. Hackett stood aboard the Mesaba, watching curiously as the large, brown, streamlined objects moved slowly in the direction of Blue Aurelia. “They look like asteroids, sir.” Officer Scheer said to his CO, as three uniformed clone Legionnaires walked past him. “Yes, but why are they flying in formation like starships…I’ve never seen asteroids fly like that before, it’s almost as if they’re under some form of propulsion.” As the objects grew closer, it became clear that these were indeed asteroids, but asteroids that had been heavily modified by something external, as if they were carved by some sort of industrial machine…and they were enormous, each asteroid was nearly 25 miles long, nearly the size of the Ookami-class battlecruiser. The crew watched ominously as the gigantic space rocks silently passed in front of their fleet, headed directly for the planet far below, but then, just as suddenly as they had appeared, they stopped moving. “They are being piloted…Navigator Henrik, hail those ships! Something’s not right!” Navigator Anders Henrik pressed a few buttons on his console, bringing the Mesaba’s communications suite online. “This is Admiral Josef Hackett of the INS Mesaba and the 18th Fleet. You are trespassing on Imperial territory, turn your ships around at once and leave this system immediately!” Admiral Hackett barked into his ship’s microphones. For a few tense seconds, there was no response, but then, the message came through loud and clear, and it did not sound pleasant. It sounded like an angry swarm of bees. Hackett and Officer Scheer looked at each other with puzzled expressions. What was this response? Was it static? Or was it a form of communication? The 18th Fleet soon received its answer. Out of the asteroids poured thousands of brown fighter craft all swarming around the asteroids in an enormous cloud, in much the same way as angry hornets swarmed around their nest if it was disturbed. Their flight patterns were completely random, there were no formations, no echelons, nothing, just a chaotic, brown mass of fighters…and then they started shooting. Massive bolts of electricity began blasting out of the fighter craft at Admiral Hackett’s ships, bouncing effortlessly off the ship’s shields, but a sustained hail from that many fighter craft could destroy even an Odin-class capital ship. The fleet needed to thin their numbers…and fast. “All carriers, launch drone fighters and form a defensive perimeter around the Fleet, weapons techs, charge the M-Double-B, if they’re anything like hornets, it’ll be their instinct to clump together in a gigantic swarm, making them vulnerable to our Molecular Bond Breakers!” Hundreds of Kuro-class robotic drone fighters swarmed out of the Amane-class assault carriers and followed pre-programmed commands, firing back at the alien swarm and taking the brunt of their assault. The 18th Fleet now found itself in a huge space battle with an unknown enemy, one that seemed to be a sentient form of hornet that made its hives in hollowed-out asteroids. “MBB at 50% and charging, so far so good, Admiral.” The shields held fast in the face of the swarm’s bombardment, with the drone fighters thinning the swarm’s numbers considerably with concentrated pulses of plasma energy. “75%…guns warming up!” The swarm appeared to be growing frustrated with the 18th Fleet’s defenses, only increasing their anger. The gigantic asteroids started moving again, only this time, they were on a direct collision course with the Mesaba. “They’re going to ram us clean through!” Admiral Hackett yelled. “Guns at 100%! GOING LOUD!” The weapons techs pressed a button on their consoles, and instantly the entire ship shuddered, firing four massive, radioactive plasma beams at the center of the massive alien swarm. The moment these beams struck the asteroid, they began to destroy it on a molecular level, with the rock vaporizing and melting away to nothing in space; the chain reaction triggered by the plasma arcs struck every single individual fighter swarming around the asteroids, vaporizing them instantly. In a matter of seconds, the entire alien fleet was reduced to cinders. “Someone order the bug zapper?” The weapons tech joked. “Indeed…Dengen Oyobi Meiyo…Emperor Raito’s Will Be Done. This is Imperial territory now. No one lands here without our permission.” Just then, a communications channel opened, and Emperor Raito’s lordly visage appeared on the screen. “Admiral, status report. Our sensors registered an explosion in orbit.” “Affirmative, Your Majesty. Blue Aurelia’s airspace was just violated by a swarm of alien creatures that behave much like hornets, they apparently hollow out asteroids and use them as gigantic interstellar hives, apparently, there’s something on this planet that they want.” Emperor Raito let out an ominous sigh. “Why in the nine hells do these insipid flesh bags trouble me and my Empire so frequently? We seek to build an immortal galactic imperium, but these vermin’s only thoughts are to amuse themselves by tearing it down! No sooner to we eradicate the Osiphona that this “Swarm” arrives to cause us more trouble…Admiral, locate that swarm’s homeworld and wipe them out…all of them. I never want to see one of those insects ever again.” “It will be done, My Lord. All right, men, direct orders from the top, we are to conduct a full sector scan of this part of the galaxy in an effort to locate the Swarm’s homeworld. Once we find it, we shall burn it to a cinder. Thy Emperor’s Will be done.” “Yes sir…” The officers on the bridge acknowledged their order. “Conducting scan of nearby systems for any signs of life now, sir.” One of the bridge crew activated the Mesaba’s radio transponders, in an effort to detect any electromagnetic radiation from the Swarm’s civilization within 12 light-years of their position. “Bingo…Sir, I’m getting a very strong electromagnetic signal from a planet 4.5 light-years away from our current position, in the same direction as the asteroids were coming from.” “That’s it. The Swarm is there. The 18th Fleet is insufficient to conquer an entire planet by itself; I’m transmitting a message to any nearby Imperial, Pleiadean or Sigtyr forces patrolling nearby Imperial space for assistance. We must assemble a task force.” Admiral Hackett sent a message to any nearby allied forces requesting additional reinforcements…just then, he received a message from one Andrew Wallace, currently making his approach to Anomaly A-9 down on the planet’s surface. “Admiral, what the hell just went on up there? We saw shooting from down here, and Emperor Raito just contacted you. Situation?” “An unknown hostile force violated Blue Aurelian space; all hostiles were neutralized, but the Emperor has given us orders to find that Swarm’s homeworld and eradicate them. We have located that planet and are calling for reinforcements to prepare for the invasion. Make sure Minister Ryujin is also informed of these events, he’s going to want to know more about the Swarm.” “Will do. In the meantime, we’re investigating these ruins down here, by the remains of the Osiphona city. These things are truly massive; they look as if they’re carved from asteroid rock brought down from space. We are affecting entry by any means necessary.” Andrew’s voice cut out as Admiral Hackett returned to his shipboard duties. This was going to be very interesting indeed.

What in the name of all things sacred is that?” Professor Rayne said, standing directly in front of the massive pyramid, surrounded by the men of the 181st Colonial Legion. Suddenly, one of the Osiphona volunteers stepped forward with information about the pyramids. “These are the home of the Stingfolk, My Lords.” The blue-skinned alien said, quietly. “For many years, my people lived under the yoke of the Stingfolk’s power; they arrived in vast colonies, coming from the sky with little warning, and occupying vast tracts of our world. They would take our children aboard their ships, presumably to work in their society’s foundries as slaves…those enemies your fleets just destroyed in space were likely the Stingfolk returning.” “So, you mean to say that these pyramids were built by the Swarm?!” Ai Takada said. “I hate bugs…ew.” Tsuruka added. “They appear to be similar to the Polyergus ants on Earth in the fact that they take other species to be their slaves…they are hornets that have evolved a collective consciousness and intelligence…this makes it all the more vital that we destroy them before they can menace us.” Andrew said, definitively. “I believe that these pyramids are gigantic hives built here on this planet, and if we destroy them, we can cleanse this world of Swarm taint. Men of the 181st Legion, you know what to do. Rig these things for demolition. I want these pyramids gone by morning.” “Sir, a structure of this size is nearly impossible to demolish without an orbital bombardment. We’re best served destroying it from the inside out.” One of the Legionnaires said, giving orders to the combat engineers within the Legion’s ranks.

Within minutes, the entire contingent of clone combat engineers traveling with the 181st Legion had shouldered their Scattershot rifles and had begun unpacking their demolitions equipment. Demolishing a structure of this size was going to be nearly impossible, especially because it was built in a pyramid shape out of iron and nickel asteroid rock. However, the engineers realized that there were weak points within the structure itself; most prevalent around the base, which could indicate sealed entrances into the structure, allowing the Legions to gain access to the hives. The Legionnaires began placing the demolition charges around the bases of the weak points, so that neat, angular holes would be blown clear through the pyramid’s structure. The engineers moved from one point to another, placing explosives in a matter of minutes; they were supremely trained from birth in the cloning vats of Stronghold, the main military base planet of the Hyperborean Empire; the Ministry of Augmentation had transformed them into some of the most genius battlefield engineers in human history. Trained to find the most creative solutions to any problem, they were specialists in making the impossible, possible. Effecting entry to a gigantic ancient pyramid on a jungle planet was a very small task for them. After just 35 minutes, all the explosive charges were set on the pyramid’s critical weak points. “The charges are set and ready to detonate, sir.” The combat engineers gave the signal to Andrew and his companions. “Everyone get clear, we’re going to blast this open!” The Legionnaires dashed away from the base of the pyramid as Andrew approached the blasting console and prepared to detonate the charges. Taking the stylus in his hand, he raised it from the console and tapped the first icon on the screen. Immediately, a massive explosion rocked the entire complex as tons and tons of rock were vaporized in a colossal, extraordinarily loud explosion which echoed across the pitch-black Fortress Forest, upsetting the nocturnal wildlife in a cacophony of cries and calls. Andrew tapped the second icon, triggering another explosion…then another…then another. Andrew’s eyes widened as he conducted the orchestra of explosions like a maestro at orchestra…this was true catharsis for him. His face drooped noticeably when he had detonated all the charges. “Having fun, Andrew?” Tsuruka teased. “I was, but then I ran out of explosive charges…” Andrew lamented. “My God, you and Gwenlynn are perfect for each other, she’s more of a pyromaniac though, and she has a bit of a fetish when it comes to fire…she’s sexually attracted to it.” “That’s…bizarre.” Andrew remarked. “Oh please…that’s not the half of what we do in the Midnight Sun…you will see once we get back to Metropolis.” Somehow, Andrew wasn’t sure how to interpret that. “Well, at least we can get inside the pyramids now.” The smoke from the explosions cleared, revealing six gaping holes in the side of the pyramids, which the Legionnaires quickly gathered around. “We’ll go inside first.” Professor Rayne said, drawing his Nano-Sword to generate light in the inky blackness of the pyramid. A platoon of Legionnaires formed up behind the Hyperboreans as they entered the pyramid, unsure of what they would find inside. Ai, Tsuruka and Rayne quickly began radiating a blazing aura, as did Andrew. This startled him; perhaps this was a result of his augmentations?” “Tsuruka, what’s happening?” The Mithraic energies are coursing through your veins…there are some fires that even the bleakest darkness cannot extinguish. Learn to channel those energies, and you shall become a Sunslinger, like us.” All right then…note taken.” Andrew said, feeling the energy flowing through every cell of his body. He took his sword, Enoid, and held it in the ready position. The Sunslingers were the Hyperborean master sorcerers, capable of using their augmentations, as well as other energies such as “The Void” and the Mithraic solar energy to launch devastating telekinetic attacks; as a Mithraic Order member, Andrew was now one of the most powerful Sunslingers in the Empire. The Voidbenders, the subclass of Hyperborean that channeled the Void energy, were also extraordinarily powerful, but channeled a different kind of energy, producing a different type of attack. Emperor Raito was a master Voidbender, but favored the Sunslingers over Voidbenders for their more aggressive fighting style. Andrew would try his best to live up to that reputation in case of enemy contact.

As the squad progressed deeper into the pyramid, it grew dark, damp and cool, the light from the Nano-Swords, the Legionnaires’ helmet spot lamps and the Hyperboreans’ Mithraic energy created a brilliant light in the utter blackness of the pyramid, allowing the squad to see the vast, cathedral-like interior of the structure. It looked as if the rock had been chewed into a sort of cement and allowed to harden; hollowed out by millions of digging mouths and claws…much like the interior of a hornet’s nest. It looked as if the Swarm was definitely responsible for these pyramids’ construction. Andrew and Professor Rayne led the way, anxious to catch a glimpse of the Swarm up close and personal. If they were inside these hives, they certainly didn’t realize that the Empire had broken in, because they weren’t swarming angrily out to meet the Legions. “Looks like nobody’s home…” Tsuruka said, anxiously. “No…listen…you hear that? They’re under us…there’s a chamber beneath this one.” “Oh God…” Tsuruka said, upon hearing a loud, crawling, slithering sound directly underneath them, one that sounded like millions of insects crawling nearby…it was enough to make anyone’s skin crawl, especially Tsuruka and Ai Takada, who hated insects. “This place is swarming with giant bugs…” Tsuruka groaned. “Come now, I doubt Countess Toni would fear these insects…she would want us to press onward.” “That is because Countess Toni is the epitome of sophistication and savagery molded into one. Without a proper plan to approach her and speak with her, she will get inside your head, toy with you and then turn to stone, before killing you and cooking your remains as a gourmet meal, if you happen to be an untermensch. She has lived for thousands of years, unchanging and unwavering in her convictions from the Mithraic energies coursing through her veins. She will only speak to those she finds worthy of life. These insects would be beneath her contempt, for they are not even human and must be exterminated. Countess Toni is one of the most powerful Sunslingers in existence. She would see these insects as mere parasites, weak, subhuman vermin, just like the lesser races of Mankind.” “Then what are we waiting for. Let us exterminate these filthy parasites from the face of the galaxy.” Andrew encouraged.

The Hyperboreans and the Legionnaires proceeded deeper into the pyramids, towards the sound of the insects crawling beneath them. Condensation coated the damp cavern walls, carved and scarred from millions of biting mandibles. As the Legion entered the next chamber, they saw huge honeycomb structures, each one sealed with cement-like paste. “This looks like some sort of Swarm birthing chamber…men, you know what to do. Kill every single one of those maggots in those cells.” “Yes sir!” The Legionnaires immediately opened fire with their heavy repeating blasters and Lightning Guns, setting the honeycomb structures ablaze and incinerating every last Swarm larva where they lay, defenseless in their cells…within 30 seconds, every single one of them was dead. “Ugh…just when I thought they couldn’t get any more disgusting…” Ai groaned, preparing for retaliation by the rest of the hive now that their offspring were murdered. Sure enough, the steady crawling noise on the floor below them was replaced by a deafening buzzing sound, like a gigantic, angry swarm of hornets. “I think we just kicked the hornet’s nest…” Professor Rayne said, ominously. In an instant, the rustling of the Swarm’s millions of legs rose to a deafening din as they all prepared for battle. The Legionnaires raised their weapons in the air and prepared to kill as many of these gigantic insects as possible, as did the Hyperboreans, who prepared their Sunslinging abilities for combat.

The first wave of Swarm soldiers came crawling out of tunnels in the floor, and were immediately met with vicious volleys of plasma fire from the Legions, in addition to huge pulses of white-hot energy from the Hyperboreans, including Andrew, who set several Swarm soldiers ablaze with his newfound abilities. “Good shot, Andrew, you are learning fast.” Professor Rayne said, swinging his massive sword and chopping a Swarm soldier clean in half at the thorax. The trickle of Swarm soldiers became ever more steady; the vicious insect soldiers started coming out of more tunnels, forcing the Legions to take strategic positions against the incoming Swarm. Sooner or later there were going to be too many of them to fend off, forcing a retreat; however, the Hyperboreans and the Legionnaires would do their best to thin the Swarm’s numbers while they could. “Ugh, just when I thought they couldn’t get any more disgusting!” Tsuruka groaned, slicing a Swarm soldier’s head off, only to have its guts spill out all over the stony floor. The Swarm continued to pour from its holding chamber, with more and more angry soldiers darting towards the Legions, only to be fried by the heavy plasma fire and arcs from the Lightning Guns. The Legions were single-handedly wiping out the entire hive as they fell back towards the entrance, preparing for the inevitable swarm outside the pyramids, directly in the crosshairs of the entire 181st Colonial Legion. “Legion, this is Andrew Wallace. We have awoken the Swarm and are luring them to the surface in defense of their hive. Be ready to eliminate all targets with extreme prejudice.” Andrew barked into the comlink as he continued to vaporize Swarm soldiers with his Sunslinging attacks. He could see the light from the entrance to the pyramid, and the Swarm wasn’t relenting its assault. They were only growing angrier by the second.

The Hyperboreans and Legionnaires dashed out of the pyramid, just as the colossal swarm of alien hornets buzzed angrily around their massive hive, moving as one solid wave of soldiers at the 181st Legion, who promptly raised their weapons to fire. “HANG EM’ HIGH!!” Andrew Wallace yelled. A colossal storm of plasma was fired into the sky, frying hundreds of Swarm soldiers, but the sheer numbers of Swarm warriors swarming out of the hive were so great that many of them survived the initial retaliation from the Legions. The Swarm warriors attacked by physically latching onto the Legionnaires’ armored bodies and trying to crunch through their armor with their mandibles, but to no avail. Their exoskeleton armor was too strong. The Legionnaires simply ripped the huge insects off of their bodies and shot them dead with their pulse rifles, static-plasma rifles, Lightning Guns, heavy repeating blasters, Scattershots and sniper rifles, the most powerful of which, the SRS-800 “Ferra,” fired a brutally powerful iridium-potassium sabot round that often reacted with a target’s body chemically, igniting the body and charring it. The sight of Swarm soldiers being literally sheared in half by sniper rounds and set ablaze by chemical reactions was intimidating, to say the least. The Swarm, try as it might, had no defense against the Legionnaires, especially once they started firing their molecular bond breaking rifles, eliminating entire swarms of enemies with one shot, thanks to the weapon’s chain-reaction effect. Even the massive Kabuto-class MBTs fired their massive main cannons, vaporizing entire platoons of Swarm warriors. Within 25 minutes, the battle was over, and the Legions had emerged victorious, eliminating every last foul pest swarming out of their hive. Andrew looked skyward and saw a Quantum Space tunnel open on the far side of Blue Aurelia’s moon…the final blow against the Swarm was about to be dealt. Thy Emperor’s Will be done.

This is Pleiadean Battlegroup Ascendant Pride, we have received your call and are here to provide reinforcements. Thy Emperor’s Will be done!” Three colossal Pleiadean War Wyverns, enough firepower to capture three star systems, had arrived to reinforce the 18th Fleet for the final assault on the Swarm’s home planet, less than 10 light-years away. Admiral Hackett watched as the three colossal, gleaming-white warships crawled out of their warp tunnels and maneuvered around Blue Aurelia’s moon. Hundreds of small starfighters, powered by zero-point energy sources such as mercury gyroscopes flew in formation around the massive bow of the lead ship, the Ascendant Pride, under the command of Pleiadean Warmaster Ingran Orlismord, a Pleiadean man who looked like the embodiment of Thor himself. “It’s good to see you, Warmaster Orlismord. Let us proceed to the Swarm homeworld…exterminate these vermin from the face of the Universe.” “Agreed. Set coordinates to Serpentis Cluster A-2, Star 846-B, 10-light years away. The target is the third planet from its parent star. From our intelligence it is much like Earth or Alcyone, just inhabited by gigantic swarms of insects. Let us rectify that, and bring this world under Imperial control.” “Understood. Moving to coordinates. We shall arrive at our destination within the hour.”

In an instant, the Pleiadean ships and the 18th Fleet fired up their warp drives and zoomed off in the direction of the Swarm homeworld, ten light-years from Blue Aurelia. As the 18th Fleet entered Quantum Space, Admiral Hackett thought to himself about how long it must have took the Swarm to fly from their home planet to Blue Aurelia in an asteroid, traveling at sublight speeds. Unless they too had a unified field theory that allowed their interstellar beehives to traverse wormholes, it would have taken millennia for the interstellar colonies to make the trip. Clearly, they did possess highly sophisticated technology, but it was unlike any technology that the Empire or the Sangresaara used, the two other technologically advanced societies known in the Universe. There was much to learn about this remarkable species; however, the Emperor had ordered their destruction, just as he had ordered the destruction of the Osiphona species. The Osiphona’s vast resources on Blue Aurelia were now being harvested by the Empire, and soon, the Swarm’s homeworld would follow suit. The Empire’s mass-murder machine was firing on all cylinders across the stars. These genocides, according to Imperial philosophy, were necessary to ensure the survival of the Hyperborean Age. There would be no survivors. The plan was simple. Introduce a highly-infectious virus to the planet, one that the Swarm had no resistance to, and simply wait until every single one of these insects was dead in a matter of days. The Pleiadeans would dispense the virus onto the planet in food canisters, which the Swarm workers would almost certainly bring into their colossal hives…and then it was only a matter of time. As the fleet blazed through Quantum Space, Admiral Hackett knew that in order to dispense the virus, they would have to fight their way through the Swarm’s planetary defense, which would likely be considerable. The Pleiadeans and the 18th Fleet prepared for a large space battle in orbit around the Swarm homeworld, a place much like Earth, but dominated by giant, sentient insects. In the vast halls of the Ookami-class dreadnaughts and Amane-class supercarriers, the 18th Airborne Legion prepared for combat. Some of the Legionnaires, all cloned from Aryan DNA, sang an old German song called “Weit lasst die Fahnen wehen” as they prepared for combat against the Swarm. The Pleiadeans prepared for war with traditional prayers to their goddess Oahina, the Goddess of Life, and Urawera, the God of the Hunt. Their starships were true wonders of engineering, just as much works of art as they were warships. Their starfighters, like the Imperial starfighters, were all powered by mercury spinning at a very rapid speed. These craft could not only fly in air and space and maneuver on a dime, but even dive underwater to the very bottom of even the deepest seas. Even the Imperial starfighters couldn’t perform at that capacity. The Pleiadeans were very proud of their technology, having been passed down from generation to generation, steadily advancing and growing ever more complex with every Age that passed on Alcyone and the Pleiades Star Cluster.

The fleet neared the end of the Quantum Space tunnel as the ships approached the exit point, about 500,000 kilometers from the Swarm homeworld. As the fleet dropped out of Quantum Space, they saw the target planet directly in front of them. It was almost identical to Earth before the Flood, with two polar ice caps, a deep ocean of liquid water, and continents cloaked in vegetation. “What a beautiful homeworld…we claim this planet in the name of the Empire, and it shall be named Orpheon.” Admiral Hackett said, claiming the world in the name of the Empire from orbit. However, they still had to eradicate the current occupants of this world, the vicious Swarm hives and their space-based defenses, which were active in geo-synch orbit…and sure enough, the technology they used did not resemble any used by the Empire. The orbital defense grid appeared to consist of massive, honeycombed structures, again carved from asteroid rock, only the size of an Odin-class capital ship and engineered into a very distinctive shape, looking a bit like a carved manta ray just hovering in orbit with millions of Swarm warriors clinging to the interior of the structure, much like hornets clinging to their hive. There were scores of these structures positioned in strategic locations all around the planet, in clusters 4 units strong. Fortunately, they were clumped together close enough to be annihilated by a chain reaction shot from a molecular bond breaker. It was only a matter of picking off the clusters one by one, and the Pleiadean War Wyverns would certainly be of assistance, for they possessed molecular bond breaker cannons as well as various other weapons.

“Take offensive formation, all carriers, deploy both Shinigami and Kuro class fighters, all crewmen to your stations, this is it!” Admiral Hackett ordered as thousands of Imperial fighters zoomed away from the Amane-class carriers and the two Ookami-class dreadnaughts. A kalxon blared throughout the Mesaba’s interior; the pride of Stronghold had entered battle once again. “Deploying fighters, moving to engage!” Warmaster Orlismord barked as his Legions zoomed away from the War Wyverns, joining the enormous cloud of Imperial starfighters making a beeline for the colossal Swarm defense platforms. As soon as the inbound Imperial forces were detected by the Swarm’s perimeter defenses, the millions of Swarm warriors leaped into action, swarming out of their hives in a truly colossal cloud of fightercraft, swarming frantically around their defense platforms as a living wall of soldiers, firing static plasma blasts at the incoming Imperial fighters…however, their purpose was not to engage the Swarm. Sure enough, the massive orbital defense platforms began moving closer and closer together, Swarms and all. The fighters’ purpose was to draw the enemy battlegroup close enough to be annihilated by a chain reaction shot from the fleet’s molecular bond breakers. Within 15 seconds, the three continent-sized hives in space were flying wingtip to wingtip, with countless Swarm warriors zooming like an angry hurricane around their hives, blinded by rage. “All ships fire at will! Burn their mongrel hides!!” Warmaster Orlismord ordered, as the 18th Fleet and the Pleiadean War Wyverns fired their molecular bond breaker cannons directly into the heart of the Swarm. In an instant, the colossal hives melted and vaporized as the chain reaction spread from the capital ships to every single Swarm warrior flying around them, in less than 30 seconds, where once an entire Legion stood, nothing remained. “Hostiles neutralized.” Admiral Hackett said. “First line clear, move up!” The 18th Fleet and War Wyverns moved closer to the planet, encountering yet more Swarm battlegroups orbiting at a lower altitude. “Same drill as before, lure them close together, and we’ll vaporize them!” The Imperial starfighters and Pleiadean fightercraft moved in close to the enemy battlegroup; already, the entire Swarm defense grid was moving towards the Imperial fleet, painfully unaware that they would meet the same fate as their vanguard; they were so blinded by rage. All the Imperial fleet had to do was wait. The continent-sized defense hives and their accompanying swarms clumped together in a massive super-swarm literally trillions strong…just as the Imperial and Pleiadean molecular bond breakers completely recharged. “Fire at will!” Admiral Hackett yelled, as the fleet fired its cannons a second time. In an instant, trillions of Swarm warriors were vaporized in a cataclysmic chain-reaction explosion, hundreds of continent-sized defense hives melted away to nothing, and every last warrior in orbit died, leaving Orpheon far below defenseless against the Imperial assault. The Empire had destroyed the entire Swarm military with just two shots. “18th Airborne Legion, prepare to deploy to the surface, release the plague upon the planet by placing it into the water supply, eliminate all hostiles you encounter, subjugate this planet for the Empire. You have your orders. Get to it!”

The massive Amane-class carriers began deploying their huge Mjolnir-class landing barges, each loaded down with thousands of cloned Legionnaires and hundreds of Kabuto-class MBTs, Kamakiri-class APCs and Okha-class artillery units. Their spaceborne weaponry eliminated, the Swarm stood no chance against the might of the Empire. The Pleiadean War Wyverns deployed their landing barges as well, huge, silver, dagger-shaped craft containing their enormous, hovering ground vehicles, from the Hayan-class main battle tank to the Onani-class landship, a mobile command platform that was bristling with weapons and defense systems. Their mission was simple, Infiltrate the main hive of the Swarm, and deploy the plague into the hive’s food supply. This would kill the Queen, and then the entire planet’s society would collapse. Without her, the Swarm couldn’t think for themselves. As the landing barges descended into the atmosphere, they fired their massive laser cannons to clear an LZ, demolishing acres and acres of land in the process. By this point, every single Swarm warrior on Orpheon was being called into battle, their angry wings sweeping over the crying land like a thousand angry hornets defending their hive with their lives. As soon as the 18th Legion and the Pleiadean warriors disembarked, they were greeted by a thousand angry, beating wings as the insect legions descended upon them with a fury unlike any other. Raising their weapons, the Legions fired their plasma weaponry directly into the Swarm, killing hundreds of enemies with a single salvo. The Pleiadeans drew their Hallucination Nano-Swords, Static-Plasma Launchers and Pulse Hammers, killing yet more enemies with an equal fury. The Pleiadean warriors used a technique they called “Vitrification of the Blood,” which allowed them to focus all of their energies on a single task. This granted them supreme mastery in any endeavor they sought to accomplish. Their long blonde hair flowed elegantly behind them as they carved their way through hundreds of Swarm warriors, using their long, graceful Nano-Swords and strong-armed Pulse Hammer blows to clear a path for the 18th Legion, who were firing their weapons on full auto, moving from cover to cover in the dense stands of trees near the main hive on Orpheon, their target. More and more dropships were landing all around the LZ, their cannons clearing out vast bastions of Swarm warriors. Try as they might to defend their home, the Swarm was utterly powerless to stop the Empire’s advance.

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