“Some said that the corporations, when they took over, were evil…some said our freedom was in jeopardy, and that progress was not worth the cost…little did we know…they were right. The corporations had roots that went far deeper than anyone could have imagined, EuroCorp was actually the public face of the Teutonic Knights, which put atheists in power just to kill them all and sieze control of Europe when the time was right , looking like heroes for the Christians of the world once again, using ancient artifacts to attain unfathomable powers. Memelland Pharmaceuticals was the public face of the Order of the Dragon, led in reality by a devilish woman named Erzevet Waldheim, and the Guild was actually run by the Order of St. George, a English Christian chivalric order, trying to bring America back under British control as a Holy Theocracy…we found out too late, that chivalry was NOT dead…but we now wish it was…if anyone reads this, let them know that we are alive…and still fighting for freedom…
Arthur Welsburg, guerilla fighter, circa 2070 A.D.
“This is Admiral Jake Haas, the carrier is in position to attack, Chief.” The CO of the huge aircraft carrier U.S.S. Liberty and its battle group, which consisted of 3 Montana-class cruisers, a New York-class AA ship, and 2 Eisenhower-class guided-missile cruisers, radioed on the SATCOM to Hawaii Pacific Command at Pearl Harbor. “Perfect, here’s a little air support in the form of 3 hypersonic aircraft strikes, ETA 5 minutes.” “Ah, the wonders of technology. 125 years before, during WWII, when the last major confrontation took place in the Pacific, it was impossible to call in air strikes from Hawaii when you were about 300 miles from the Philippines. However, in 2065, a golden era for the United States, aircraft, more often than not, were the size of a compact car, unmanned and flew at Mach 35. These planes were launching from their catapults at Pearl Harbor and would strike the Greater Korean Federation positions at Manila; North Korea had unified Korea a few decades prior into a massive Pacific power, it had annexed Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and was now closing in on the Philippines, which had resisted Korean intrusions because of the U.S. presence there. Korean hypersonic aircraft strikes were sinking ship after ship, forcing the U.S. to rely on submarines, which weren’t too effective in invasion scenarios. Admiral Haas was taking a big risk here, they were confident that the Battle Grid in orbit was scanning at 100%, looking for Korean hypersonic launch systems or nuclear weapons silos. The Korean Navy was the premier power in Asia, and Korea was now just as brutal as ever. Most people that Korea conquered were sent to labor camps, brainwashed, tortured and slaughtered outright, it was a thoroughly Stalinist state, a sinister and extremely powerful, but anachronistic state. Having purchased huge stocks of weapons from China, Korea was a major military power. The Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army and Supreme Leader of Korea, Kim Jung-Moon, a descendent of Kim Il-Sung, now controlled a huge communist Empire. However, the rest of the developed world, meaning Europe, Russia, as well as all the former USSR republics, and North America, was under the control of enormous mega-companies, or “Trusts.” Three Trusts ruled over the three regions, Russia and the former USSR states were controlled by Memelland Pharmaceutical Industries, based in St. Petersburg, the European Union, having lost the Baltic States to Russia again, consisted of the entirety of Europe, from Portugal to the border with Ukraine and Belarus, from Denmark to the Balkans, this was under the control of EuroCorp, a huge, German technology and scientific research syndicate that researched and developed any science branch you can think of, from psychology to neurological medicine, and had advanced technology to a ridiculous level, thanks to lack of regulations, virulent suppression of religious objections, and budget constraints. The CEO, Rudolph Von Der Tan, was a 50-year old German technology genius who had many German artifacts in his office, including a Fredrick the Great-era Iron Cross medal, a Teutonic Knight helmet and sword, a Hohenzollern flag, a Nazi-era SS flag, Prussian infantry swords and various cuckoo clocks made in Bavaria, as well as marionettes and beer steins. As Supreme Leader of Europe, his technology was the most advanced ever seen, the continuation of the European tradition from the Middle Ages; what started in 1300 as a stirring in the dark soul of a backwards continent had evolved by 2065 as a unified Imperial state, every country on the European Continent, minus the Baltic States, was under the control of the European Corporate Council in Berlin, Germany. Von Der Tan was not afraid to gloat about his Empire’s technological achievements, he had invented anti-matter engines for spacecraft; which could be used to generate a “dark mass-effect,” allowing faster than light travel, and these were currently in testing stages, room-temp superconductors, starting a Second Industrial Revolution, the Age of Magnetism, and creating the most advanced weaponry ever seen. However, there were other, more persistent and troubling rumors that threatened this supreme power, economy and prestige, such as the rumor that the government had abducted 29-year old weather forecaster Kathryn Selene from her home and killed her fiancée for “sedition,” and using Kathryn as a guinea pig for a new brain-stimulation serum injected through her skull without anesthesia. However, that was “mere slander” according the European Council, and there were also many other under-the-rug secrets that the government was trying to hide…terrible ones of torture, humiliation and tyranny, as well as arbitrary justice and cruel punishments, such as forced slavery for young women and labor-camp relocation for young men; the girls were rated as Tier 1, being the prettiest, sweetest and most attractive ones, or as Tier 2, meaning all the others. Both Tiers were often used in the same way, more often as house slaves or, occasionally, for hard labor, such as at enormous construction sites for huge skyscrapers and factories, often while being demeaned and cruelly treated by the foremen. Not only European citizens were vulnerable to this, some American women were occasionally shipped off to Europe if their arrestors could make a profit off of them. Even more disturbing was that this was legal; anything that made money is what the corporate governments looked for. Men often faced torture and labor as well, as crime in the European Empire was treated the same way as it was in the ancient Roman Empire: brutally and savagely. Rudolph would have no crime in his Empire. Not to mention, Rudolph was the biggest and most virulent atheists ever, Jews, Christians and Muslims, however, were treated as second-class citizens, often refused jobs by their employers, victims of violence, and even deportation, at least, according to rumor. Bible-burnings, anti-Semitic sentiments and discrimination against Muslims, as was always the case in Europe even before the corporate Imperial takeover, It was Christians that took the brunt of the government’s attacks, they were called “idiots, vermin, filth, subhuman and backward-facing Bible thumpers,” and that conservative, Christian values worldwide were a curse on this planet, they were only good when dead, as their preachy-preachy nonsense against the progression of science and technology into evolution, genetic research and abortions, as well as drug-testing on human beings. The scientific, atheist government called Christians “barely even human” for what they considered to be “evil.” In the government’s eyes, the Christians were evil for blocking the research on scientific principles that could only help humanity, with scant regard for the sanctity of human life or morality. To make matters worse for religious people, most of the European Empire’s citizens shared this view, so there was no place for Jews, Christians or Muslims to hide. Occasional pogroms happened, like the one in Breslau in 2063, where a young, wealthy Jewish woman was caught kissing a “loyal” follower of the European atheist policies, and a mob of angry citizens formed a militia to destroy every Jew in the city, as well as every “Jewbag” business in Breslau. The government actually awarded the riot leader, a European patriot and atheist named Erik Miezko, age 24. The pogrom was started not just because of the Jewess having a relationship with an atheist, but because Erik was the young woman’s fiancé, she was being unfaithful; Erik found out about it and used the racial and religious connotations as an excuse to kill her and every other Jew in Breslau. Though Erik was born Jewish, he had renounced his faith and became atheist out of choice, not by government mandate. The pogrom was made into a propaganda film, called “The End of Faith.” Poland, which still had a large Jewish population, was the site of most of the Empire’s medical research labs, and these labs were not above using “social deviants” as test subjects; nor were religious people anywhere else truly safe. the European Navy, headquartered in Copenhagen, with various other ports, such as Kiel, Brest, Nordkapp, Lisbon, Portsmouth, Venice and Seville, was a truly global force, spearheaded by its huge aircraft carriers, SSBN submarines and fast-missile cruisers, two of which, the ECS (EuroCorp Ship) Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, were perhaps the most vicious non-carrier warships in existence, at 900 feet long and 45,000 tons, with nuclear propulsion and more missile launchers and cannons that you could shake a stick at, they were also the largest non-carrier surface warships in service; they had sunk 14 pirate vessels in the Indian Ocean…14 each. Using anti-ship missiles, machine guns, rail guns and directed-energy weapons, most ships didn’t have a chance, even hypersonic missiles were rendered all but useless against the two ships, as their laser-based point defense grid stopped any projectile coming in with 98% accuracy, not perfect, but still very powerful. Even more frighteningly, Europe was organized into a Darwinist state…the government provided no assistance to its people, allowing for total self-sufficiency and business opportunities. Finally, North America was unified into a vast corporate Empire with the lead governing body, called “The Guild,” which consisted of a bank, an entertainment company, a technology company, an industrial company, and a pharmaceutical corporation, each with their own flag, ruling over the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The man that Admiral Haas was on the SATCOM with was the CEO of one of the Big Five Companies in government, Quantum Industrial Productions, who was in charge of making every weapon, ship, vehicle or military hardware that the U.S. used, CEO Logan Barclay. What kept the corporate nations together was a computer chip, implanted in the brain of an individual, who’s mind would be altered to receive orders from the corporate government, and would actually instruct and alter a person’s thought patterns to live a happy and prosperous life, their lives were pre-programmed into their bodies at birth. If a person deviated, the company would take control of the person, forcing him or her back on the proper path to benefit the company and maximize profit. It wasn’t much in the way of liberty, but it kept the machine running smoothly. Just a few minutes after the hypersonic aircraft were launched, they came zooming in and dropped precision-guided munitions on Korean positions, destroying the opposition to the U.S. landing barges. “All right then, begin the air strikes from the carrier, and launch the drop-ships, we’re gonna’ kick some commie ass!” Just as the Ares supercommandos, an evolution of the Delta Force squads used by the U.S. before the corporate takeover, donned their “ODIN-III” blue and white, shielded exoskeleton armor, complete with active camouflage devices, jet packs and backpack-mounted missiles, fired directly from the backpack-jetpack itself, concealed lasers and Taser darts; the armor was also resistant to radiation, EMP grenades and the vacuum of space for about 30 minutes. A wrist-gauntlet blade made the soldier almost invincible, though bullets, lasers and rockets could still bring the recharging shields down, making the commando vulnerable to damage, and armed with M-30 SOPMOD assault rifles with “corner shot” technology, the torpedo alarm blared loudly. “Incoming enemy torpedo! Activate the point-defenses!” It was too late; the Admiral had made a critical error. Assuming that the carrier was too powerful and that a threat would easily be detected by SONAR scans, Haas had neglected to activate the anti-torpedo defenses. The explosion not only ripped through the 3-meter thick hull like a hot knife through butter, it shut down the ship’s power grid. The explosion had triggered the nuclear reactor’s panic switch, and an apparent EMP charge turned the U.S.S. Liberty into a slowly-sinking 103,000-ton hulk of metal. “Activate the pumps! Seal the watertight doors!” “Negative! Power is completely fried! That EMP fucked us up completely!” “ENEMY TORPEDO SPOTTED!” “SHIT!!” Admiral Haas screamed as a second EMP torpedo ripped his ship apart, the emergency klaxon blared a warning. “Initiate Protocol 44, we’re abandoning the ship. “Oh my God…Oh my God…” one of the bridge crew yelled over the roar of water pouring into the ship and the klaxon blaring. One drop-ship had launched already, but the dying Liberty was not the only ship being hit. As the listing of the ship to port became more pronounced, it became clear that the ship was going to sink…then, the huge carrier capsized with a massive, 100-foot splash wave. The other ships in the battle group were sinking as well. There were no survivors of Battle Group Liberty, save the one drop-ship that escaped, now stranded in the air, with absolutely nowhere to run or escape to…
“What the fuck is going on?!” the commander of the squad, James Slate, codenamed “Cardinal,” for his deep Catholic faith, said though his helmet communicator. “With all due respect, sir, it’s obviously a Korean submarine.” Robert Sandler, codenamed “Holy Land,” for his Israeli nationality, “Are you kidding, Jewboy? Korea has nothing even close to what that did to our ship! Two torpedoes sinking a supercarrier? I doubt that was Korean, to say the least.” Colin Sykes, codenamed “Psychopath,” retorted. “Then what was it, then?” “We’ve got a missile locked!” the pilot yelled, just as a missile zoomed out of the water directly at the dropship, but thankfully, the four-man squad’s armor protected them from debris and the explosion, as the blast only hit the cockpit. Nevertheless, they were going down. “Lock your armor and brace for impact!!” Cardinal yelled, as the dropship plummeted into the ocean with a ground-shattering thud…then, everything went black…
About 3 minutes later, the squad came to, right next to a massive submarine; this had surfaced right next to the burning wreckage, and almost as long as the carrier that it presumably had sunk. Their armor had prevented injury, and, as such, the four men climbed up on top of the sub; it looked unlike any warship ever seen before, it was made of brown titanium armor, with a huge acrylic sphere at the bow, allowing the crew full-panoramic views of the ocean world, as well as a conning tower a few yards behind them. Presumably, the ship was armed with torpedoes and missiles as well. “Well, I guess we’re performing a boarding action…” “What? Four men can’t take a supercarrier-sized submarine!” “Can’t” is not in my vocabulary. There’s nothing we can’t do Now, get aboard this boat. There’s the conning tower, let’s move. Gun safeties off, we’re likely going to run into armed hostiles. Prepare for hard contact.” The squad climbed the ladder into the conning tower, and descended into the ship…into unknown dangers.
Upon entering the submarine’s conning tower room, the squad was shocked at the splendor of the technology and decorations on the ship. Unlike the cold, metal interior of a U.S. submarine, built by the ruling companies, this submarine’s conning room was covered with carved red-cedar paneling, illustrating the 4.6 billion years of Earth’s history, from the formation of Earth in the early solar system, to the modern day, the whole Precambrian, Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Holocene and Anthropocene, and all subdivisions of these eras of Earth’s history, were described and inscribed on the walls with a picture of the continents’ position and a statue of the dominant predator of these eras in front of the carving. This extended down a carpeted hallway, lit by elegant lamps, beside each lamp was a door; one was open, revealing a luxurious, romantic stateroom. Needless to say, the armored squad felt slightly out of place. “What the heck is this? Of course, we’re the only crew in the U.S. Navy that gets sunk by a cruise ship. On the door to the stateroom was a map of the submarine, the SRS-Charles Darwin, showed some very un-warship like designations, such as “Grand Hall,” “1st-class staterooms,” “Specimen Storage,” “Science Labs,” “Lifeboat Bay” and “Research Sub Hangar.” The only warship characteristic was “Weapon’s Bay.” “What the heck? An ocean liner-research vessel-warship hybrid?” Also, there was a plaque on the wall of the stateroom that gave the message stating “Mission Statement:”
“The purpose of our Endeavor and Science Academy is to catalog and collect DNA samples all species of the Earth in the name of medicine and evolutionary biology to better the cause of society. Any young woman or man willing to assist is welcome to our cause; just as the god Mercury brought messages to mortal man from Jupiter, we bring medicinal drugs and biotechnology unlike anything the world has ever seen, by mapping the genome, proteome, connectome, metabolome and transcriptome, the Five Pillars of cellular function, we can increase life span to 600 years through genetic replacement, create new species from just the basic building blocks of life, enhance pre-existing ones to be smarter and more adept than even humanity, clone long-extinct species through gene restoration enzymes, modify the human body into a mutant, far smarter and more powerful than any normal human, trace evolution back to the original mutagen and cause of the mutagen that started it, and even defy the ultimate enemy of humanity: death. Evolution had made us God. We are the new masters of the universe, and the companies have done the dirty work for us…we just need time…a Type-III society is our goal, as it Is my desire that this organization shall last for thousands of years. The future is ours, boys and girls, let us change the world!”
Prima Anna Claire.
“Hold on, I’ve got movement on my motion tracker, engage active camouflage, and don’t move.” Cardinal said, as the rest of his squad tried to grapple with what they had just read. Sure enough, three young women, each one very pretty and well-taken care of, walked down the hallway, which was the First-Class Suites. “Don’t…shoot…Don’t…move…” Cardinal messaged through the Ares suit’s Heads up Display (HUD.) The girls, dressed in pretty crimson dresses and expensive jewelry were talking about the carrier that they had just sunk, and how “there were no survivors; I thought the U.S. Corporate Navy was supposed to be tough.” Bishop, the fourth member of the squad, was on the verge of firing his weapon at that point. “Don’t shoot…” the message came through again. The squad listened to the chatter, claiming that “those Eastern and Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes are tough to get venom out of…” “Well, maybe you need to study more, and stop chatting on the phone with everyone.” “Well, I did master the Gaboon Viper.” “Oh, come on, that’s an easy one. They aren’t aggressive. Try a Cantil Moccasin, then we’ll talk, but I still support you choice of majoring in Snake Venom Extraction, all we need is a DNA sample from every known organism.” The three of them walked into the open room, not noticing the supercommandos standing, camouflaged, less than 4 feet away. “Coast is clear, move up.” Cardinal whispered, deactivating their Active Camouflage. The soldiers moved silently, thanks to their armor’s sound-dampening boots, and placed the snake-cam under the door at the end of the warm hallway. “I’ve got no hostiles; the coast is clear, activate active camouflage.” The squad went stealth again, and slowly opened the door; thankfully, no one saw the door open either. “Holy Mary Mother of God…” Cardinal said, upon crossing himself, He might as well have been looking at the scientific equivalent of a medieval cathedral. A huge chandelier, the size of the blue whale in the AMNH in New York, hung over a two-floor Grand Hall, arranged as a grandiose, 5-star version of the Hall of Biodiversity at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. On the ceiling, a massive fresco of the K-T extinction, with the comet striking the Gulf of Mexico was depicted in a fashion that rivaled the Sistine Chapel in Florence, Italy. On the cherry, red cedar and chestnut wood paneling were mounted hundreds of specimens of fish, birds and other impressive organisms, such as a 6-foot Coelacanth, a 25-foot King of the Herrings, a 40-foot Giant Squid, a 35-foot Colossal Squid, an Andean Condor and a huge Kamchatka Brown Bear, plus hundreds of other bizarre species, some extinct, such as the Great Auk specimen and the Steller’s Cormorant, as well as a 20-foot Chinese Paddlefish and colossal Beluga Sturgeon, now found only in captivity, as well as a bizarre 190-lb albino Wels Catfish. Hundreds of bizarre deep-sea fish and crustaceans were mounted as well, such as the Giant Japanese Spider Crab, and a huge wall covered in nothing but preserved insects, spiders, scorpions and other arthropods from all phyla, classes, orders, families, genera and species, with some enormous and very rare species, such as huge stag, scarab and longhorn beetles of various species, including some of the very large ones from South America and Asia, as well as moths, butterflies, true bugs, wasps, bees, ants dragonflies, grasshoppers, praying mantises and any other critter you could think of. Glass displays gave information about the specimens, and statues of famous scientists were all around the periphery, and Oriental rugs covered the floor…and this was just the radiant second floor. The first floor looked like the first-class dining room on the Titanic, with hundreds of young men and women sitting, dressed in formal outfits, at the tables. On the walls hung the words: “BLIND IS THE MAN WHO FOLLOWS HIS FAITH.” “Who the hell are these people?” Just then, the submarine shuddered: they were diving again. Just then, the squad watched as a blonde-haired girl, about 23 years old, stand up on a podium in the center of the Grand Hall, the chandelier shining brilliantly in her diamond necklace.
“Sisters of Evolution and the Intellectualists, we stand at a crossroads and our Type III dream is within our grasp. By sinking the USS Liberty, we have shifted the balance of power in the Pacific, that carrier will take 9 years to replace, and now, the vast Russian Empire of Memelland Pharmacy Industries’ Pacific Fleet is the supreme naval power in the Pacific, with the Russian government under the control of my dear sister Viktoria Lynn, we have taken precedence from the U.S.A. in the fight against Korea’s Empire. It’s about time the U.S. plague be removed from the Pacific, as the Koreans simply couldn’t do it themselves. The Russian Navy is currently pounding the Korean positions in Japan with hypersonic aircraft strikes, as is the U.S., but without that carrier, the U.S. Corporate Navy will be crippled. China remains neutral, but I believe that we could persuade it to join Russia’s side…and ours, however, that isn’t likely, as China has supplied Korea with weapons in the past. When the war ends, and the Russian, U.S. European, and Sisters of Evolution and Intellectualists flags are raised over Pyongyang, we will have peace and prosperity…only with a new balance of power. This is the new world in the making, one of science, technology and gender equality, with women on the same level as men, where we become masters of nature and as powerful as the gods of mythology, but not with wands or magic, with the powers of science and technology. The three corporate nations, America, Europe and Russia have already developed most of these technologies, with nano-chips in our brains, superconductor-powered cars that drive themselves and run on little or no fuel, hovering on a cushion of air, a completely computerized global system with Internet access in out walls, doors, clothing and anything we can think of. The Age of Magnetism is already underway, and the very structure of economics is changing, with the companies ruling entire continents, as in Europe’s case. Biological technology for our research, the mapping of the genome, proteome, metabolome, transcriptome and connectome and the pharmacists and doctors creating world-changing drugs on a regular basis, one may think that we can advance no further. That is where they are wrong. If we tap the true power of science, we can be gods. We can read minds with computer brain scans; increase our life spans, and far more. It is written on the mission statement in each of your staterooms. All scientific progress will dominate all other ideologies, corporations and research will be the bywords of the New Order. We are the future! We will change the world!!”
The rest of the men and women clapped as the squad stood on in horror. The plan was to undermine the U.S.’ authority in the Pacific, giving its longtime rival Russia the upper hand. Russia was a colossal force, rivaling the U.S. in economic and cultural, not to mention military influence, its mammoth fleet and colossal Army and hypersonic, unmanned Air Force made any weakening of U.S. forces in the Pacific a critical problem. Russia and Europe would continue to fight alongside the U.S. against Korea, but the “balance of power” being shifted, as described in the young woman’s speech, was particularly unnerving. “What do you think of that? Dopey girls trying to re-define world power…how silly.” Bishop grumbled. “Still, don’t shoot unless we’re fired upon…we work as a team, now, keep moving, and communicate with HUD signals only, and use the light fixtures for cover along with the Active Camo. No one will spot us, guaranteed.” The squad continued to stalk and maneuver so silently and swiftly that they passed by a group of girls without them even sensing someone there. “Hey, I wonder if this submarine sunk that ocean liner off the coast of Hawaii a few weeks ago.” Bishop thought as he walked past a billboard covered with photographs of the enormous ocean liner, the MSC Fantasia, the largest liner ever built by a European shipbuilder, just before the corporate takeover in 2050, at 109,000 tons, it was even bigger than the Gerald R. Ford-class, Obama-class and Nimitz-class supercarriers used by the U.S. Corporate Navy. The ship was voted by various travel sites as the most luxurious ocean liner afloat, rivaling that of the Golden Age of ocean travel, during the Edwardian Era in Europe, yet it mysteriously vanished in the Central Pacific on a world cruise about 8 hours away from Hawaii. Also, various other large cargo ships had been reported missing in the region too, all with no distress signals being sent out. “Makes sense, because the EMP torpedoes shut down all electrical systems…and these disappearances were being reported all over the world…” The Pacific was not the only place that ships were going down, though most of these disappearances were being cited as rogue wave losses. The squad now knew better. If the truth about the Fantasia’s disappearance ever went public, and the governments believed them, it could be another Lusitania, and bring about an intensification of the war already happening. Bishop could only imagine the panic of the passengers in the ship’s final moments, knowing that they were all going to die. With water crashing into the ship through its gigantic glass skylight over the Grand Crystal Staircase, the ship would have probably sunk in less than 10 minutes. Why they were sinking civilian passenger ships was baffling to the squad, it was one thing to sink an aircraft carrier, but sinking an ocean liner was completely different. Just then, an orchestra began playing Jean-Baptiste-Lully’s Marche pour le ceremonie de Turcs, as a group of young men and women, dressed in typical baroque-style garb marched into the room from the door on the far left side of the first floor from what appeared to be a brilliantly-lit anteroom. It was just pouring with high-society and luxury. The U.S. fleet had been sunk by a bunch of scientists who are allied with the Russians, based on family ties with 25-year old heiress and CEO Viktoria Claire of the Russian Memelland Pharmacy Corporation, and her second in command CFO Lucy St. Cloud, both beautiful young women who usually wore a slender, tight-fitting black skirt that went down to her knees and a matching, thin button-down shirt with red hems in Viktoria’s case, making her look very pretty with her coal-black hair, pale face, 6-foot frame and pretty, seductive green eyes, she had a gorgeous diamond heart necklace and hoop earrings, just half of the necklace was hers though, and in Lucy’s case, she liked the long, skinny blue dress with black flowers on it, complementing her blonde hair and blue eyes. They were business partners, but still loved to party and loved the night-life, as most 25-year old women their age did, they had developed a friendship with one another, but, when in government, their best interest was for the good of Mother Russia and the Company. Their company’s name came from Viktoria’s hometown of Memel, also known as Klaipeda, in Lithuania, a part of the Russian empire again. Because of their beauty, they had the highest viewer turnout for their speeches of any of the three corporate nations…how bad could life be if your leaders looked like that? They were especially popular when they appeared in the studio with an equally pretty girl named Samantha Van Pelt, who was as tall as Viktoria was, just with reddish-brown hair, and blue eyes, but just as pretty. Sam was Viktoria’s cousin, and she was the Chief News Anchor at the Russian Voice News, a propagandistic, state-run enterprise. As such, Lucy, Viktoria and Sam were considered to be the three leaders of the Company and Russia itself. They were all based as the seat of government in St. Petersburg, ruling over a nation comparable to the size of the North American Continent. Under the three of them, Russia had become a force greater than even the USSR once was. The pharmacy company had created a country even more powerful than the United States or Europe, as their product, medicine and medical supplies were needed by everyone who had ever gotten sick. As such, all the Russians had to do was cut the supply of medicine to a country to cripple it completely, ruining its public health system and usually forcing capitulation after a few weeks, and this submarine, as well as the Academy that operated it, was obviously working under the Russian flag, even though it wasn’t clearly marked. “Great…We have to get off the sub somehow, but our brain chips can’t contact CEO Barclay when we’re submerged. We’re cut off, commandos, and we’re going to take control of it. Keep stealthy, and if you see any targets blocking our way, kill them quietly. We can’t take on a whole ship full of armed hostiles. Use you toxic dart guns, that poison is so lethal that their down before they even know their hit. Use lock breakers to go through the doors, and don’t shoot unless you’re shot at, communicate only through the computer HUD, and don’t make any noise. As far as these kids know, we don’t exist.” The commandos gave the “order acknowledged” signal via HUD, and moved towards the door that the scientists had just exited; the young men and women had begun an exquisite pas de deux, dancing under the massive chandelier. Thankfully, the door was left unguarded and opened; the Ares commandos moved swiftly, silently and invisibly through a door behind them, it was as if they were ghosts…however, ghosts weren’t armed with supremely potent assault rifles. As they rounded a corner, they spotted a program poster on the wall depicting Sam Van Pelt standing in front of her desk, wearing a long white, body-fitting, button-down dress, white, lacy dinner gloves and with her reddish-brown hair let down its full length, her small “squinty,” almost Asian-looking eyes; she was Polish/Russian, not Asian, shining and her picture-perfect smile, with the words: “WATCH SAM AS SHE PERSUADES A MOB OF ANGRY NAZIS TO LEAVE HER ALONE…AMONG OTHER THINGS, ON THE MOTHERLAND TONIGHT SHOW” in Cyrillic. “I didn’t know she did comedy shows…, probably laced with Russian propaganda though. Why do the Russian girls have to be so fucking hot?” Bishop thought as he approached a door at the bottom of the steps. “Activate snake cam.” Cardinal signaled. As the snake-cam looked under the door, there were images of the Russian March to War, with images of enormous, iron-fisted garrisons of infantry marching down the 15-lane highway in Moscow, very similar to Stalin’s pre-WWII military rally, with enormous T-100-H “Orel” tanks, which hovered on a cushion of air, were shielded, and could zip around over any surface, huge SPHA-H hovering, Orlan-class artillery tanks, and various other military vehicles, such as hovering Kolossus-class missile tanks, these fired huge volleys of gigantic, guided cruise missiles, Medusa-class-APCs, which had a cloaking device and also hovered, as well as unimaginably destructive Hades-class Nova Bombs, mounted on top of huge trucks…and there were more than 100 of these parading by. They were parading as a show of strength over the Greater Korean Federation; the Russian Army was on the same level of military technology as Europe, though Russia’s infrastructure still lagged behind, as usual. However, Korean forces in Japan were refusing to capitulate; the Philippines had fallen, and now Korea controlled almost ALL of Southeast Asia and Indonesia, much like Japan once did in WWII. Korean power was at the point where it held the same amount of territory that Japan did in 1942, with Korean influence stretching as far west as the border with Hawaii; the Korean commanders were surprisingly resourceful and had a huge stock of nuclear missiles. Now Australia was in imminent danger of invasion. The city of Darwin, in Queensland, would likely be the first target. If the three superpowers wanted to stop the Korean Empire, they would have to launch everything they had at the GKF, otherwise Hawaii or Alaska was in danger of invasion. The U.S. might have to face the wrath of the Korean People’s Army, and the People’s Military Tribunal rule on its home territory. All of this was depicted in hard truth on the T.V. screen. However, Viktoria had already announced, on a closed-door session of the Corporate Duma that a renewed effort to strike the heart of Korea with thousands of small hypersonic aircraft was being finalized, of which there were three types used by most militaries; “Zoomers,” as the smallest ones were called. There were larger ones as well, such as “Screamin’ Mimis,” used for long-range, multiple volley shots, and the largest unmanned hypersonic aircraft type the “Thunder” type, which were the size of full-sized manned aircraft, the largest one, the “Rook” produced by the massive German vehicle factories in Europe was the size of a double-decker airliner. This was a nuclear bomber, and, worrisomely, the Koreans threatened the use of nuclear missiles of Korea itself was hit. However, Viktoria was gambling that Korea was just bluffing, as a nuclear war would bring an immediate nuclear counterattack…therefore, it was expected that Viktoria would attack the Korean launch facilities and nuclear research labs, and remove the nuclear threat, which had prevented the three superpowers from going all-out against the Koreans. Then, the other two powers, America and Europe, would launch their massive Air Forces; an estimated 58,000 unmanned hypersonic aircraft would strike critical targets all over Korea and its conquered territories in just 30 minutes, leaving it militarily helpless and vulnerable to more conventional forms of war. This was going to be the largest air strike in history by far. Korean ships and submarines at the surface would also be destroyed, as would airfields, factories and other critical infrastructure. The rage of the Allied Forces, Europe, Russia and the United States, would exact bloodthirsty vengeance upon Korea, who had been the world headache for 4 years at that point. However, the commandos knew better as what was really going on, that the Russians were planning to bring about a new Russian age through the use of science, and the squad members were the only ones who knew about the plot…but here, they were on their own. “Does anyone know where the heck we’re going?” “No, not a clue.” Psychopath said, just as he turned his head to see someone that provoked an interesting memory. “That’s Jo, Joanna Sinclair!” Psychopath whispered. “The tall one!” he said referring to a gorgeous redhead, her hair was long and silky, she was wearing a very pretty, tight-fitting blue dress and had a diamond, a very rare, blue diamond necklace and ruby earrings. She was Irish, given her pale face and hazel eyes, and she was walking past with 3 other girls, one with medium length, curly blonde hair, one with brown hair, olive skin and brown eyes, and one with black hair and blue eyes. All were dressed in formalwear and headed into the main ballroom to join the festivities. However, there were warrants issued by the European government for their immediate arrest and return to their owner; they had been convicted of treason and taken as government property, and all 4 of these gorgeous young women were sold to a German vehicle and engineering firm known as “ING-CIN” for use as common laborers, often forced to work under cruel or demeaning conditions, they managed to escape from their cells and run away, and probably found refuge in Russia, where the Russians put them on the submarine and the Academy. The European Empire’s vehicle production centers were all in Germany or France, and the girls’ only crime was the fact that one of them, Joanna “Jo-Jo” Sinclair had spoken out of line at a rally in London and her three friends were convicted on collective guilt. ING-CIN designed the shielded anti-gravity tanks for Europe’s military, the company was nationalized by the Imperial corporate government as a subsidy, and many prisoners of the state were used as menial labor there, a company had to have a permit from the government to use prisoners as slaves, but most huge industrial corporations had these. Other than criminals, the only other prisoners used there were political dissidents. “Well, if there’s an international warrant for their arrest, we should go get them, bring them to justice. I’m sure the European Criminal Court can come up with a punishment far severer than anything we can.” “I agree…if we interrogate them, we can figure out where this sub’s headed. Move out squad! Go quietly, and stay frosty.” The squad advanced quietly, slowly following the three women until they reached the back wall, near the huge insect display. Turning, they entered an elevator, and just as the squad was about to follow them, an announcement was made over the PA. “Attention everyone, our submarine will soon arrive at the gates of Black Sun, our underwater sea base. Prepare to disembark.” “It looks like we’re docking.” “Very well then…prepare to exit via the most readily accessible point of egress.” Psychopath said. As the squad moved through the submarine, they felt the sub slowly coming to a stop, and shudder a bit as it docked. What the squad was about to encounter as they sneaked off the submarine was beyond anything that they could ever have imagined, and it had profound implications for the U.S.A. Europe and Russia in particular. They had no idea what they were about to wade into…