Rough Draft: “Eta Carinae: Reich of the Black Sun”

ETA CARINAE: REICH OF THE BLACK SUN

Mithras Sages and Bloodlines, a global directory:

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

EUROPE

1. ITALY-Phantasmagoria-Haidnur Hird

Countess Toni de Medici-Fecchiera, Mistress of Tuscany and Supreme Praetor of the Mithras Order Magistrate:

Calendar Age: born in 1387, she underwent Mithras Initiation at age 22, her real age is closer to 9,000, but still appears to be 22

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.

SLOVAKIA-Bathory-Kozak Hird

2. Prince Andreii Bathory-Groznyy, Prince of the Nightrider Cossacks

Apparent age: 27, Calendar age: 457

The Bathory-Kozak Hird is, along with the Draculesti-Brani Hird, the most well-known of the Mithras Hirds, and probably the most powerful and influential Hirds in Europe and the world. They are the celebrities, the top 1% of the Mithras sages, after all, the most well-known followers of Mithras, Vlad III Dracula and Countess Elizabeth Bathory, were former high-ranking officials within their respective Hirds, but met with unfortunate ends on the battlefield during the Renaissance Era. The current patriarch of the Bathory-Kozak Hird is actually Elizabeth’s son, Andreii, who reached age 27 after being taken in by what was left of his mother’s guard forces, before being initiated into the Mithras Order himself as a Sage. Since then, Andreii has become a very handsome, brutal warrior, with his mother’s ghostly white skin and deep blue eyes, as well as dark brown hair. He is mild-mannered, quiet and usually doesn’t say much, except this is exactly why most of the other young women who meet him find him so attractive. He wears a typical black Cossack uniform with a huge, black fur topcoat, as well as a black fur hat and a dyed ostrich feather in it; his black, steel-toed boots are also one of his trademarks. Not to mention, his smile and his ability to negotiate his way out of almost any situation usually precludes the need for him to use his sage magic; he has many young, beautiful women that want to get close with him, some of them very powerful Sages in their own right, but the one woman he truly feels that he belongs with is Countess Toni of the Phantasmagoria-Haidnur Hird in Italy. She, however, unlike most others, is not impressed, which just goes to show how unrealistic her standards for a husband or boyfriend are. If the patriarch of one of the most famous, influential and wealthiest Hirds in history isn’t good enough for you, who is? Toni claims that his style of magic is “too crude, he looks like a lumberjack chopping down a tree,” referencing the Shaak-ra style of Mithras Sage combat that he and every other member of his family were experts at. Rather than using the power of the Mithras magic itself as a weapon, as the other style. Ezkra-el, specializes in, Andreii uses his power to make him almost invincible with a sword in his hand. The reason why Toni views Andreii as a “palace-pampered, tiara-boy snooze fest” is because the ability to fight on even a basic level using just magic alone, without a weapon, is beyond the ability of 99% of all Mithras Sages; almost every Sage uses a mix of Ezkra-el and Shaak-ra. The list of Sages that can use their magic so immaculately that they can effortlessly create a Dyson sphere around a VEI-Magnitude 8 super-eruption and use the force of that explosion as a concentrated laser pulse of energy from their fingertips is a very, very short one. Toni makes this feat look easy; she claims it’s as easy as painting her fingernails. Toni is, quite possibly, the most talented Sage ever, and she has let it go to her head in every way possible. She claims that there is not a man on Earth that she sees as good enough to date her…few question her on that, based on her looks, level of insanity and sadism, intelligence and sheer power, her Phantasmagoria-Haidnur soldiers are devotedly loyal to her and her will…however, as a wise Sage once said: “Everyone has a weakness…” that also applies to Andreii as well, and his is the reason why he doesn’t talk to most people that much, especially members of the opposite sex, despite the fact that any other woman not named Countess Toni Medici tries to throw herself at him. He, in his long, half-millennium existence, has seen much glory, but also the same pain and suffering that harms even typical, non-Mithras followers. There was one girl that he genuinely loved, a stunning Polish-Russian girl named Alexandra Miel, an extremely lethal assassin who was an expert marksman, she could read minds and turn herself invisible, and hunted people for sport, she stood up for other young women, usually, by sniping unfaithful, cruel, or egocentric men that were unkind to their girlfriends or wives. She was a Mithras Sage and one of his followers in his Nightrider Cossack army; she had long, silky brown hair, and a carnation in her hair, blue eyes and a pale, alabaster complexion, as well as a stunning, white-silky, red-flower painted dress, she loved to garden and plant flowers in her spare time, when she wasn’t killing “idiotic, meatheaded Neanderthals.” Andreii trained her personally; he always said it was only temporary and that his relationship with her was strictly professional, but girls, even non-Mithras girls, have a sixth sense. She knew through her telekinesis and just by the way he looked at her and how he became tongue-tied around her at the sound of her soft, cooing voice; that Andreii was undeniably in love with her. He tried to hide it, but he was doing such a poor job of it that it made Alexandra giggle, and that just made Andreii even more awkward. Eventually, they confessed their affection for one another, and Alexandra, a master of musical composition and singing, sang to Andreii, probably one of the most famous love songs in Mithras culture on their first anniversary of them officially becoming an item:

“I’m thinking of you, in my sleepless love tonight, if it’s wrong to love you, then my heart just won’t let me be right, because I’m drowned in you, and I won’t pull through, without you next to me. I give my all, my heart and soul, to have just one more night with you, I’d risk my life and love to feel you next to me, I just want happiness, love and peace, and it’s just too much, because I can’t go on, living in the memory of a summer rain, but when we’re together, I feel like I’m at home…I will never be cold, because you keep me warm, I will never cry, because you catch my tears, I will never hurt, because you dull my pain, and my senses are drowned in perpetual bliss. I give my all, my heart and soul, to have just one more night with you, I’d risk my life, and love to feel you next to me, I just want happiness, love and peace, and it’s just too much, because I can’t go on, living in the memory of a summer rain, but when we’re together, I feel like I’m at home. In the name of all things, the spring, summer, fall and winter, the sun and the moon in the sky, we will live together, and become one with nature itself, because I gave my all, my heart and soul, to forever be with you, I risked my life and love to have you next to me, because now we both can go on, living in the blissful paradise of a summer rain, and when we’re together, I feel loved and at home…”

Sadly, this was short-lived. Six months later, Alexandra vanished without a trace on a routine trip to get water for the Houska Castle fortress garden in Bohemia. She was never seen again. That was 304 years ago. Even today, Andreii still gets visibly depressed on August 9, the anniversary of Alexandra singing that song to him. He keeps the ancient, dried carnation that she wore in her hair pressed in a book, as well as the original scrap of parchment that the song was written on. Andreii still thinks about her every day, and has never truly moved on, even after three centuries. He only wants to know what happened to her, as no Mithras spell or incantation can bring someone back from the dead, it can only preserve existing life. Sages can still die, just not from aging. Eventually, however, the story had a happy ending. Andreii eventually found evidence in Paris that rekindled the long-faded hope that Alexandra had survived, and that, as a Mithras Sage, would still be alive and unchanged. A file full of police documents, dated from August 9, 2012, reported the sighting of a beautiful, but very sad and lonely young woman, wandering the streets of Paris in a beautiful white dress, with a mink-fur Polish-Lithuanian scarf, with red flowers on the dress, she sat on a bench on the famous Seine River Bridge, watching, heartbroken, as the sun set and tears streamed down her face. She cried softly and wiped the tears from her stunning, “squinty” blue eyes with a white napkin. When the police officers, accompanied a doctor, approached her to see if she was okay, she turned and gave what the police officers and the doctor called “hard to listen to without choking up.”

“I am physically just fine, but I am not well. I have felt empty and lonely for far too long…this day, this day was supposed to be a happy one, one that I would remember as the day my life finally became everything I thought it would ever be. That was all taken from me, so abruptly, unfairly and cruelly, so though my body is well, my heart is so thoroughly broken that I wonder how much more I can stand, and I wonder why I’m crying, because I thought I had no tears left to cry. My mind cannot relax as it is constantly trapped in a tormenting cage of thoughts, like a hurricane, I cannot feel anything except sadness or tragedy. I am a failure, a failure as a person; I can’t even accomplish a simple task when I am asked to perform one. I loved someone once; he meant the world to me, but now, I doubt he even knows if I’m alive or dead. It probably doesn’t matter anymore. He probably gave up looking for me and probably didn’t care if I died at all…he and the world, is better off without me. I think I was only a burden on him, and if he knew I was dead, at least he’d know what happened to me, and he wouldn’t have to worry about me. As someone who still cares for him, I only wish that my final action be to make his life better. I have seen a lot in my life, far more than my outwardly delicate appearance suggests…and if I have figured out one thing, it is this. Keep those you love closest to your heart…for they are like the summer rain…one minute they are here, then next…they’re gone…Treasure each moment, and always make them feel like they’ll never let go, go outside, see the summer breeze, hear the birds, the cicadas, the crickets at night, the patter of the rain on the windows in the morning, and take a deep breath…and tell them you love them…for all you know, you might never get tomorrow.”

The doctors offered to take her to the local hospital, where she was treated for severe depression and anxiety. She did have one request before she went to sleep that night, however, that the doctors contact Andreii Bathory-Groznyy, who was in Boston at the time to meet with the Terra Novaenglia Hird patriarch at the annual “Mithras Wizards are People Too” convention, which everyone else though was just one of those weird comic-cons. He had just gotten into the Council Sanctum when his cell phone rang. “Hello?” “Is this Andreii?” “Yes, this is he, who am I speaking to?” “I’m Doctor Pierre Chalfont, Chair of Psychiatry from Paris Metro Hospital, we picked someone up who claims she knows you last night, she was really sad, so we didn’t get much out of her except that she might have been suicidal. As per hospital protocol with suicidal patients, she’s here for 30 days to observe her behavior, but I can assure you she is safe and sound here, she’s very talkative, loves to discuss her garden and her outfit collection and feels a lot better. She appears to know that we’re trying to help her, which is always a good sign. Let me ask you something. She worried that you would be mad at her for incompetence, because you sent her to get water a long time ago and she never came back.” It was at this point that Andreii almost dropped the phone. “What is this woman’s name?” “Her name is Alexandra Miel, and she is, if I may point out, absolutely beautiful. She’s very well taken care of and she’s anxious to see you again. May we arrange living quarters for her while she’s being observed? “No need, I’ll be there tomorrow, and make sure she’s waiting for me, I come from a very old Slovak family and we like to make an entrance!!” “About that, you’re not related to those Mithras freaks from the 16th century, are you?” “That’s not important. The important part is that you found Alexandra, and she’s safe. This is a happy moment…the happiest moment of my life.” After Andreii jubilantly hung up the phone, the rest of the Terra Novaenglia Hird smiled. “Ok, back to business.” “No need. She’s waiting for you. She’s waited for 304 years; you’d best not keep her waiting a day longer.”

The next day, Andreii landed in Paris and proceeded directly to the hospital; he was unmistakable walking into the hospital on that chilly November day, in his huge black topcoat, fur hat with a black ostrich plume in it, as well as his black hair and blue eyes. “Where is Alexandra?” Andreii asked the doctor, filling out the paperwork to visit the patient. “She’s this way.” As Andreii walked down the hallway, he could barely contain himself; all those years of searching for her were coming to an end. Sure enough, Andreii approached a small hospital café room for patients, and there stood Alexandra, wearing her exotic, flowery Eastern Slovak gown, looking sweetly at him, tears of joy streaming down her face. Alexandra looked at Andreii and said a few simple words: “Andreii…I’m sorry for being so incompetent, I got lost on the way back from getting water and…” Alexandra couldn’t finish her sentence, but she didn’t need to. Andreii hugged her so tightly that she could barely move, and for the first time in his four-and-a-half century life of power and control, he felt a twinge of humanity creep into his iron resolve, enough for him to cry a few tears too…but only a few. “It’s fine…it’s just water…it wasn’t part of any test or training for you…I’m just happy to have you back.”

3. SCANDINAVIA- WOTAN-KULT HIRD

Emperor Gustavus Adolphus von Nordheim, the Bloody Dragon of the North

If the Bathory-Kozak Hird is known for its wealth, pomp and extravagance, than the Wotan-Kult Hird is known for its extreme violence and horrific experimentation with “Volkisch Mithraism,” a controversial denomination of Mithraism that is only practiced in Scandinavia, the nations of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. They have different chapters in each Scandinavian country, but the Chapters are all under the control of Wotankult, based in Oslo, Norway, under the Emperor Gustavus Adolphus von Nordheim, a “beast in the shape of a man” who stands more than 6’11” tall, weighing 311 lbs, with blonde hair and glaring red eyes. He is more than 1,500 years old and appears to be around 24, but all who see his huge blue and white robe, black cape and black tri-cornered hat with the capercallie feather in it know immediately who he is. He is truly vicious, even the psychotically-egocentric Countess Toni of the Tuscan Phantasmagoria-Haidnur Hird admits that he is an “impressive sight,” not just to see walking past his Hirdsmen carrying his dragon-head cane, but because of his brutality in battle, it matches and sometimes even exceeds Toni’s. He is known for terrorizing his victims with illusions and visions, hallucinations and phantasms, before he impales them on the end of his sword, called the “Bane of All Fools.” The sword forces them to endure the most extreme physical and psychological pain imaginable while they slowly die, surrounded by illusory phantasms of demons and hideously-deformed apparitions of the people that the victim loves or cares about, often attacking them or pleading for help, but they aren’t really there, they’re just projections created by Emperor Adolphus’ terrifying magic. His form of Mithraism is at the extreme, far-right interpretation of the Mithras Codex, the holy text of the Order written down more than 9,000 years before, although primitive Mithras proto-Hirds may have existed even before then, it was not until the end of the last Ice Age that Mithras Sages could settle down and form Hird clans. The passage that Adolphus focuses on is in Phantasms 11:9, the Gospel of Fidus, one of the Seven Gospels of the Mithras Codex:

“And verily, unto all kind, you will seek the blood of purity, which sanctified the race of life that built the Hirds of the Earth and Servant of Mithras, only they have the power to wield those forces bestowed upon us…”

This passage, barely 3 lines long, seemed to imply, at least in Emperor Adolphus’ interpretation of the Gospel of Fidus in his conversation with his fellow Hirdsman Bacillus, that certain races of humans were naturally better than others, even though most modern Mithras Hirds completely reject any racial connotations to their religion, dismissing anyone who incorporates race into their religion as a “short-sighted, close-minded fool.” This is only the result of the Mithras Order dealing with WWII, from the years of 1933-1945, Germany, led by Adolph Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, became unusually enthralled by rumors of persistent Mithras Order Hirds, and incorporated Mithras symbolism into many of their heraldry and Nazi medals and propaganda, such as the crooked swastika, the Wolfsangel, the Pinwheel Swastika, the Sigtyr Runes, and, most notably, the symbol of Mithras itself, the Black Sun Rune. Almost every Mithras Hird saw this glorification as voorea, the Mithras word for “sacrilege.” It was considered insulting and dishonorable for anyone not initiated into the Mithras Order to display Mithras symbolism in any form, and Hitler and Himmler were not Mithras, nor were they even related to a Mithras Sage, but Himmler’s great-uncle, twice-removed, was the half-brother of the second cousin of one of Prince Andreii Bathory-Groznyy’s Nightrider Cossacks, but still not closely related enough to be trained in full Mithras Sage initiation. As such, the Nazis were not seen as true Mithras Sages and also heretics, they were beneath the contempt of nearly every Hird…except for one. Adolphus believed that Hitler was right, and showed no remorse for those murdered in the Holocaust under the false Mithraism tag fabricated by the Nazis, using Phantasms 11:9 as justification for “Volkisch Mithraism, and even posthumously initiated Hitler and Himmler into his Hird, the Wotankult, which is, incidentally, the one Hird that Himmler and Hitler both had definitive evidence actually existed, even though hundreds exist worldwide. This initiation quickly made Adolphus’ name synonymous with racial bigotry, hatred and bastardized Mithraism; Andreii Bathory-Groznyy, the de facto Arch-Sage of Europe, even considered placing him on trial for apostasy, the consequence of a guilty verdict being exile and eternal ostracism, if not execution. A trial for any Mithras Sage must be agreed upon by a majority of the global Hird leaders, let alone a Hird leader with such a massive following that Adolphus had achieved, so, despite Andreii’s best efforts, he could not even assemble a grand jury to decide whether the case would even go to trial or not. As such, no case was ever presented to the Magistrate of Justice, a group of 6 Judges, representing Mithras Sages from all 6 habitable continents, responsible for Mithras Order law and law enforcement, led by Countess Toni of the Phantasmagoria-Haidnur Hird. As a result, Adolphus has continued to be an extremely controversial figure in European Mithraism, his Hird is responsible for hundreds of hateful attacks on Jews, Muslims and anyone non-Aryan. Some see his brutality as “revolutionary,” others see his attacks as pure, rank, naked hate with no real justification, other than a passage in Fidus quoted woefully out of context. Many Mithras Sages believe that a Fihk, or Mithras Holy War, is brewing, one that will pit the Volkisch Mithras Sages against the traditional Mithras Sages. Everyone hopes that this does not happen, especially with Andreii Bathory Groznyy having just been reunited with his beloved Alexandra after more than 300 years. It was a miracle that she survived so long, a war might genuinely make their celebration short-lived.

GERMANY: Wewelsburg Hird, Grand Master Eisner von Richtofen and his wife, Mistress Elsa Laura von Wolzhogen,

Germany is a very ancient country, with a long history of Mithras activity, but it is here that most Mithras Sages have a very bad reputation. Germany first became aware of the native Wewelsburg Hird in the 1600s, with the Brothers Ernst and Jacob Grimm collecting tales of the strange and horrid goings-on in the deep Bavarian woodlands, and the terrifying leaders of the Wewelsburg Hird, based in the ancient castle of the same name. Eisner is a truly terrifying individual, he has a huge, black, wide-brimmed hat, a steel mask, a black hood and cape, a black trench coat and robe with a leather belt and razor-sharp meat hooks hanging off of it around his waist, spiked gauntlet gloves, spiked, wickedly sharp blade and steel-toed boots, as well as a devastating twin-bladed tremor sword. He focuses mostly on using his Sage powers rather than his weapon, which includes the gruesome Sheera-Ko attack, which telekinetically rips its victims to bloody fragments of meat. He has such knowledge of the Mithras Arts that he can not only prevent his own death, he can save others he cares about and even create life through Mithras alchemy. Combined with his potion concoctions, curses, spells, and incantations, he is probably the most feared sorcerer in Europe. His wife is just plain creepy, she dresses like an extraordinary, elaborate, bizarre porcelain doll and talks like a little girl in a giggling, staccato, high-pitched, echoing voice, even though she looks like the Evil Queen from “Snow White,” because of the porcelain mask she wears over her face. Very few people have seen the Grand Couple, as they are known, and actually given any reliable reports of their appearance, because very often, they are the last things their victims see before they are slaughtered like squealing hogs. The only non-Mithras Sages ever to gain audience with them and not be tortured and killed were the Brothers Grimm, because Mistress Elsa thought their goal was “happy…and…fun…I…love…little…children…” in her own staccato voice. They spoke about their goals for Europe, in building a New German Order, where all of Europe would fall under a Mithras Reich, using sorcery and technology for a new era of prosperity and peace. Such a Reich very nearly materialized in 1940 with Hitler at his height, and many Germans suspect that the Wewelsburg Hird had something to do with this. For now, Richtofen and his followers want to rebuild the Greater German Reich to its 1944 borders and not conquer all of Europe, led by the Mithras Sages, but he has since been seen collaborating with the Wotankult Hird in Scandinavia, deeply worrying the Magistrate of Justice and the Leftist Hirds, led by Countess Toni.

EAST ASIA:

JAPAN-Tomomori-no-Shinigami Hird: General Taira-no-Tomomori (Spectrus Forme, 6,000 years old)

The Asian Mithras Sages are the oldest of the global bloodlines, because Mithraism as a religion emerged in Asia during the last Ice Age; the earliest Bloodline records of Mithras Sages in Japan come from Jomon pottery in 4,500 B.C.E., with an image of three Japanese sorcerers consuming blood in a classic séance to channel the Sun’s energy. This is most likely the Tomomori-no-Shinigami Hird (Death God Tomomori Clan, in English); they are the earliest known Hird to appear in the modern sense that Hirds are organized, and it is still led by General Taira-no-Tomomori, albeit in a Spectrus Forme, the Asian Mithras Sages have found a way to persist even after their body has been destroyed, Tomomori lost his body in a battle in the Gempei Wars, during the medieval Warring States period of Japan. He died an honorable death, charging into battle and killing 50 enemies before succumbing to 35 arrows in his abdomen and legs, but a Mithras Sage as powerful as he is cannot be stopped by death in battle. Taira-no-Tomomori has become an entity of pure solar energy, appearing just as he did in life, but in a more powerful form. He cannot die again, but if he so chooses, he can create another body for himself from pure alchemy. The power it grants Taira, however, is so vast that he would become considerably less powerful if he became mortal again. Therefore, he chooses to remain in the Spectrus Forme, because, as powerful as Italian Sage Countess Toni is, she is still mortal in battle, and only his Hird has mastered the art of TRUE immortality, the ability to cycle infinitely between a body immune to aging and a Spectrus Forme is unique to the Japanese Hird, Taira-no-Tomomori has become, quite literally, a shinigami, or immortal god of death and war, capable of appearing to whomever he sees fit and either flaying him or her alive or offering to assist those he sees as honorable or worthy. His appearance is demented enough, he has a great, shaggy mane of black, fur-like hair on his head, a painted-white face with yellow, bloodshot eyes that look like they’re about to bug out of his head, a freakish, demented, crooked, yellowing, jagged, demonic grin, no visible eyelids, eyebrows or eyelashes, and dark furrows around his eyes that make them appear sunken and bulging at the same time, but one cannot see them unless one is literally face to face, otherwise, his eyes looks like black voids. He has huge spikes on his armor for impaling his enemies, and his katana is superhumanly sharp and glows deep red with the souls of those it has taken. His armor is traditional samurai armor with a huge, red and black kama battle dress underneath it, with the horrific staring faces of Nobhu, a white, moaning demon from Japanese mythology on it, the demon pretends to be a person’s shadow, only to eat them alive in their sleep and suck them into a vast wasteland where they wander through total darkness and a river full of horrific monsters for eternity. He also has gigantic wooden sandals. His Hird is mostly hidden, but only likes to appear at the most unexpected moment, he is the master of “jump-scare” and “Surprise, motherfucker!!” type attacks. He likes to prey on young, beautiful women, as their blood channels his magic best; for example, there will be this wild bathhouse party in tropical Japan where one girl invites all of her friends over for a party, and, when everyone least expects it, he’ll be staring through the window with his big, freakish yellow eyes, or he’ll suddenly appear in the mirror behind a girl when he wasn’t there before, and she’ll turn around and be face to face with him. Japanese NPA police authorities are always baffled by these types of murders, they’ve linked hundreds of death to a mystery “slasher” who drains all the blood from his mutilated victims’ bodies and distorts their bones and skin into “artistically demented” positions, his most infamous tactic is rape. He rapes his victims, rips their skin off and hangs it on his Hird lair’s walls like hunting trophies, but he has never been caught…for obvious reasons…sleep tight, girls, and don’t leave the windows open on certain nights of the year, because he is almost certain to pay you a visit…he often frequents the southern “Emerald Coast” of Japan, where huge hotels, night clubs and bars line the beachfront properties and plenty of sacrifice targets gather for summer break…but not all of the women there are victims. A group of elegant young women, called “Seers,” are often used as scouts, because they do not look anything like the equally horrific Hirdsmen that follow Taira-no-Tomomori into battle, each one of his 100 or so warriors looks unique in almost every way possible, they make their own armor and battle dress, as well as their own weapons, but they all find uniquely horrendous ways to kill their victims and use their blood for séances and sun-control, a type of spell that allows the Sage to brainwash his or her victims by using the Sun as an extension of his own will and controlling the target as if it was his or her own body. These four girls, Kiore, Takada, Rui and Setsuki are all stunning, twenty-something assassins that have been chosen by the Hird to find and invite victims to their private resort spa, which is really a gigantic trick to capture victims for the slaughter. Kiore, widely said to be the prettiest of the four, has sunglasses that allow her to see things transparently, the fabled “X-ray eyes.” They are armed with innocuous-looking items such as lipstick rolls, which were really small pistol guns that could stun or be made to fire extremely toxic darts, loaded with TTX puffer-toxin. Takada has a pair of diamond earrings and comes from an extremely high-class, upper-end upbringing and is 6 feet, 3 inches tall, and these earrings, huge hoop diamond earrings, actually act as focusing rings for small, lethal, silenced laser shots. Rui likes to use a mirror to create illusory copies of herself, and Setsuki is the most…suggestive member of the group, she is stunning like the rest of them, but likes to party, drink, and sin like the world is ending tomorrow. No one knows, however, that they are highly-paid assassins that make the equivalent of $550,000 U.S. per hit, and they are not bound to the Hird at all. They are sweet to those they care about, but their loyalty…and love, cannot be bought. They work for whoever pays them the most, and the Hird pays quite handsomely. They see the Hird, however, and the global Mithras Order, for that matter, as “exceedingly creepy, but, they pay well…” How they were eventually called to assist the Hird was via a simple encrypted e-mail sent to Miss Takada while she was on a date with another young man at a high-class, 5-star restaurant called “Solar Helix,” just as the man was flattering Takada on how “exceedingly soothing and beautiful” her stunning green eyes were. She was wearing her skin-tight black dress that revealed everything from her thighs down, and even then, the dress had diamond-shaped patterning on the side of it, but kept a long, light jacket over it with a feather ruff around the hood, her hoop earrings and her hair let down to its full length, all the way down to her lower back. She promptly pulled her lipstick roll out of her bag and put some of the crimson-red makeup on her lips, and kissed him sweetly. Shortly after that, her smartphone beeped with an encrypted message. Miss Takada continued her date with her date, and then he walked her back to her beachfront mansion, but the moment she walked into her house, she accessed the message, addressed to her and her three friends, Rui, Setsuki and Kiore, from one “Master Tomomori.” It was describing a hit directed at 3 other young women, but it did not specify why they were marked. Usually, the assassin jobs they were given were from government agencies around the world and from private contracts, who often gave details on who the targets were and other necessary information, like warrants, wants or rap sheets, as well as any specific details that varied from job to job. To a seasoned, talented assassin like Takada, who at 23 and with the help of her three equally-talented…and attractive colleagues, had established themselves as the best assassins on Earth, this was odd, to say the least, and most likely a setup. She quickly suspected that the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia, was trying to eliminate them for interfering with their organized crime operations, the Yakuza bosses were getting a little sick of these four “pests” taking out their gang soldiers, and Takada knew that the Yakuza would likely kill them or sell all four of them on the black market slave trade, girls like them would fetch a very high price from other Yakuza bosses or Korean, Chinese and American brothels in Seoul, Shanghai or Las Vegas. The message, however, seemed too vague even for the Yakuza, so she had a hunch that this was a real job…little did she know exactly what this message implied. There are four factions that the Hibiscus Guild, as the four hunters are known, must be aware of, the Yakuza soldiers, the elite Japanese NPA SWAT cops, as bounty hunting is illegal in Japan, the United Nations peacekeeping forces, who often act as a paramilitary force in Japan, as well as the Virium Corporation, a pharmaceutical mega-conglomerate that has its own corporate army, as well as a 25-year old, handsome, Machiavellian genius CEO named Seta Morimata, who has a huge crush on Miss Takada and has made it a personal mission to get her to love him. He does not see why she is not interested; he has handsome brown hair, soft brown eyes, a black suit and red tie with the corporate logo on it, as well as a tall, ectomorph figure and a diabolically-clever mind, not to mention a cunning, quiet voice that screams “handsome, evil genius,” that sees the world in a twisted, moral dichotomy where the only justice is money and that he has the authority to pass judgment on those he sees as unfit to live because he is rich. Miss Takada sees him as “weird and a bit…unnerving, even if he wasn’t constantly harping after me…I personally think he’s a murderer, but that’s just my instinct.”

“Summer time…and the living’s easy…”

Miss Kiore, sitting by her pool by her huge beachfront house in her tiny bikini swimsuit

REICH OF THE BLACK SUN: Legal Files and Laws, Propaganda Archives, Minister of Information Aku Mikami, Former Procurator of Justice and Magister of Imperial Prison System, promoted for his expertise in censorship and patriotic broadcasting; jurisdiction A-12, Imperial Military Code 7-5-1-2-0, Lawbook 7, Section 1, Paragraph 12:

All women between the ages of 19 and 28, meeting Appeal Rating of 10 or higher as defined in Lawbook 7, Section 1-a, Paragraph 11, living in typical, unrestrained society, are in violation of the law and are subjected to penalties of enslavement, imprisonment or execution as the Mithras Order sees fit, the High Courts’ interpretation of the Mithras Codex is final, unless the Emperor or any persons acting on His Majesty’s orders overturns it or any rulings therein. There are mysteries on both Heaven and Earth beyond Man’s wildest dreams or science…God Sun Mithras, make me an eagle…an eagle…stand atop the world, transcend the physical constraints, and enter the state of Phantasmagoria.”

Oh, but if only they knew how truly complicated, yet astoundingly simple the universe’s machinations are. We are all sisters, brothers and comrades in time. The Mithras Sages may appear to be magic, but what we use is plain and simple science, just like any human scientist. My mother Elizabeth was one of the ancient pioneers of the Mithras Order, but the blind, narrow, dogmatic views of the Church and the illiterate peasantry did her in, as did the will of your filthy Pope. Quite frankly, I did not expect me to be able to let you into the system; I really outdid myself…HAHAHA! The only reason you and your friends managed to land here was because I allowed you to. The only reason I allowed Cindy Wallensper to land here is because I wanted her to. It has nothing to do with your assassin skills, so don’t flatter yourself. The Mithras Order has many proverbs and legends, but the one that I see the most relevant is the “Dragon Paradox.” The symbol on the wall of the Sanctum behind me is the ancient Slavic dragon eating its own tail. All energies, and therefore beings, are born of dark matter, that is, darkness. Through the laws of thermodynamics, energy changes form, and eventually, after changing form a finite number of times, it takes a form that can survive and replicate, that is, life, without being annihilated. Through evolution, it becomes, over millions of years, an advanced, successful species, but eventually, like all species, it meets its end. Usually, the forces that destroy a species are also a product of what created the species in the first place, a comet strike that carries ice water and nutrients to a planet, or perhaps a volcanic eruption that fertilizes the soil with ash and lava to grow the next generation of plants. Because of thermodynamics, the energy of something that has no tangible form or previously had some tangible form is not destroyed, it is just re-absorbed into the universal background noise…if the energy is strong enough, however, it may persist, giving rise to what most normal people would call “paranormal activity;” that is a grievous misnomer, as the energy is not supernatural at all; infinity is a concept very few people outside the Mithras Order can grasp. We are all destroyed by the very same energies and forces that create us, hence the Dragon Paradox. Even fewer Mithras Sages, however, are aware that the paradox can also work in reverse, something I like to call the “Know-Nothing Complex.” It has nothing to do with ignorance and everything to do with ignorance at the same time, there are no constants, in many ways it is similar to chaos theory, but it allows for expansion into other universal constraints and constants. I’m sure all of you are aware of the multiverse and the Standard Model of Physics. There are an infinite number of universes where all possible constants are represented, and every individual universe is infinite in longevity but finite in size, constantly expanding and contracting over a period of 10035 years, on average, from Big Bang to Big Crunch, and then repeating itself. “Time” has no beginning or any real meaning, as everything that has ever happened, everything that will ever happen, and everything happening now is happening all at once. That’s not to say all universes are life-giving, ours, by pure chaos, just happened to arrange perfectly for life as we know it. The mass of a molecule, the density of dark matter, all just a cosmic roll of the dice. A star, burning brightly in the night sky, is powered by a simple nuclear reaction on a grand scale, two hydrogen atoms fusing into deuterium, releasing extreme heat and radiation…the same reaction that powers a hydrogen-based nuclear explosive. If the mass of the hydrogen atom changed even by a 1% margin, this reaction would be impossible, and stars would not exist. Not every universe has these constants, but the ones that do all support life, and there are only a finite number of ways that particles can arrange themselves to produce matter and objects, albeit that number is in the googolplex range. Since the universal continuum is infinite, with no beginning and no end, anything that can be proven to exist, almost certainly exists. This of course, begs a question. How can we prove something exists when we don’t know it exists in the first place? This is the “Know-Nothing Complex.” The fact that nothing is constant means that we cannot ever “know” anything, and this cycle of ignorance and complacency, realization, adaptation and more ignorance and complacency is THE driving force behind all functions in any universe, anywhere. Change, evolution, anything that happens anywhere, falls under my jurisdiction and Mithras wizardry. I claim not a monopoly on knowledge, only the use of this knowledge. So, Stina and co-ops, I just explained the universe to you in two principles, The Dragon Paradox and the Know-Nothing Complex. Everything in the universe falls under this umbrella, whether or not it is confirmed is irrelevant. The Mithras Sages are not Fascist monsters. We seek knowledge just as you do, we only seized control of the Milky Way Galaxy to keep the typical, vulgar, weak, licentious crows from impeding our progress, like you did with my mother Elizabeth, 4,922 years ago…

Andreii Bathory-Groznyy’s lecture on universal philosophy, Mithraism and science

Imperial Navy Informational Film, L.C.P.F. #7, 6500 A.D.

“TRIUMPH OF THE EMPIRE AND RAITO ASOKA KANAGASHIMA III, THE SAMA”

Westand on the edge, of a New Era. With the founding of this, our new Mithras Reich in the Milky Way Galaxy, we have rewritten the course of human history. The old United Democratic Federation, ruled by the outdated, backward, United Nations-dominated government from Manhattan on Earth, has fallen, its Starfleet, formerly the forward arm of humanity in exploration and military operation, lies in ruins; a pathetic, crumbling wreck. From the ashes of that Old Order, the Empire has risen, showing that democracy and freedom is utterly inferior to a strong, galactic alliance ruled by direct control, and fear of retribution should anyone dare question our resolve. Across more than 300,000 star systems, our presence is felt, and from our sacred homeland of Japan on Earth, and the Imperial political capital of Kisame-Tennu in the Sakura-Jima System, all held together by the might of the Imperial Navy, formed from the remnants of the old UDF Starfleet, now built solely for combat, war and subjugation duties, rather than exploration and police work. If we are to explore, it is to conquer, and if we are to attack, it will be to annihilate and enforce, not serve and protect, for the latter is the way of the old order, the way of the death-worshippers that brought themselves to ruin. We must stand strong, stand firm, hold true, and fear neither death nor injury. For we all pledge an oath to His Lordship, Emperor Raito Asoka Kanagashima III, The Sama and The Shinigami. Those who would break this oath are at the Tenth Level, the lowest forms of life. The Ten Levels of Superiority in the human race are unchanging and unforgiving; everyone must know their place in the universe. And so goes the legend of Raito…he is an immortal Mithras Sage of the Tomomori-no-Shinigami Hird, born more than 12,000 years ago on the Old Earth, but, for hundreds of years, the global order of Sages, consisting of 200 Hirds scattered across the planet, lived in the shadow, like flies on the wall, too small in number to influence global politics without detection…until Raito, his comrade Taira-no-Tomomori, the leader of the Hird and Raito’s Guild Master, engineered a scenario in 6489 A.D., where a “Red-Plague,” intentionally spread by Tomomori and Kanagashima to infect only young men with a rapid, 100% mortality rate, killed off most of the galaxy’s men. Women became the dominant sex in every respect, and sure enough, one woman, a pharmaceutical baroness named Samantha St. Jean, was elected the United Democratic Federation Chancellor; young, stunning, with pale, alabaster skin, blue eyes, long, silky black hair, 6’ 3” tall, and an incredible sense of fashion and taste in jewelry, not to mention sharp high-heels and a lot of makeup, she was elected in a landslide, but only because a large portion of the UDF Parliament representatives were convinced that she deserved the job for coming up with the vaccine for the plague, but also because they were all under the Mithras Order’s ancient spells; not to mention that “Aunt Sam” was working with the Mithras Sages of the supremely-powerful Shinigami Hird as well as the equally-sinister Phantasmagoria-Haidnur Hird in Italy on Earth, led by probably the most demented individual in human history, Countess Toni Medici-Fecchiera, all along, along with all 200 global Hirds backing this massive, glorious plot. Under the secret orders of Miss Toni, Lord Tomomori and Sage Kanagashima, Sam became an extremist-feminist dictator after a series of artificially-generated political crises; the War of the Sexes was intentionally started to raise female awareness to the fact that men were trying to regain their supremacy, Samantha promised that she would not yield to the “old ways” of male chauvinism. As such, she began consolidating power in female hands and using what men remained after the Plague as nothing more than drones, similar to an ant colony or bee colony. She started by designing the first Dreadnaught ships since the Unification Wars that created the United Democratic Federation in 2253 A.D.; the Democratic Federation Starfleet capital ships were about 2 kilometers long at most, and designed not solely for combat, but mostly for exploration and advancing the cause of humanity. These huge, squid-shaped Dreadnaughts were 5 km. long and designed for trans-galactic combat missions, an ominous innovation. The UDF was founded after the Alcubierre warp-drive was invented, because cryo-stasis freezing for journeys and exploration was hazardous and took too much time, not to mention the political ramifications of colonization. The United Nations Space Council was the prototype for the Federation, consisting of the original United Nations Security Council of Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France to mediate the wave of space colonizations, but eventually even that could not stop a 30-year unification war as society became Type-I on Kardashev’s scale of societal advancement, where the U.N. declared itself the new and only governing body of humanity. Now, after nearly 4,000 years of peace, war and terror had returned to the galaxy. At the same time, however, Kanagashima organized a rebellion in the guise of a dashing, handsome rogue named “Seta Morimata,” and very quickly, the Milky Way was locked in a galactic-scale civil war, with the Starfleet on one side and the United Rebel Union on the other, but in reality, the Mithras Sage Hirds, led by the Shinigami Hird and the Phantasmagoria-Haidnur Hird, had turned the galaxy into a gigantic puppet show, everything that happened, every shot fired on every planet or in every space battle throughout the 7-year war, was according to the Mithras Order’s design. Such is the power of the solar radiation, as well as the three universal powers, the strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, and gravitational pull, that drive Mithras Sages’ incredible, physics-bending powers. The ancient Sages saw these powers as evidence of an ancient sun god, Mithras, and believed that by channeling these energies through human blood, they could achieve unnatural and supernatural abilities. Now, in the Sixth Millennium A.D., the Post-Religious Age of Scientism is upon us, and it is now understood how this phenomenon works by doctors and scientists, but the name “Mithraism” stuck. However, even in this day and age, the Mithras Sages were seen as suspicious, strange, odd…until the endgame of the war, that is. Sage Kanagashima, in the guise of Seta Morimata, cornered the Federation Grand Fleet above the planet Umbria, a world of perpetual twilight due to its clouding and orientation, and, using his mastery of the gravitational pull that keeps everything in the universe in place, managed to enhance the weapons of his small fleet against the armada of Federation Excelsior-class dreadnaughts, allowing them to smash the fleet of 150 Federation starships with a neutron pulse, created by using the strong nuclear force, a gigantic blast of proton energy from his own mind. With this, the rebellion started to gain the advantage, but Samantha knew that this was all part of the plan. What she did not know, however, was that there was no place for her in the New Order. Once the rebellion seized Manhattan in a cataclysmic final battle in Earth’s atmosphere and low-Earth orbit, Kanagashima, in his guise as the “worthy opponent” Seta, offered to negotiate peace with Sam, and, according to the plan, Sam accepted, being a very good actress by trade, as well as a pharmacist, and played the role of the gracious loser well, until one part of the plan that she was not told of shocked the entire galaxy. Seta, on a galaxy-wide broadcast, dropped his façade, and took the cold, calculating, Machiavellian sorcerer-genius form that had haunted the world in shadows for 12,000 years, all the while appearing to be a young, handsome, brown-haired Japanese man. He incinerated Samantha St. Jean with a blast of cosmic energy from his ceremonial walking cane, which was really a focusing wand, and, shortly after, declared victory over a ruined Federation with a now-legendary speech, the Grand Emperor of the Stars…now, WE are the Masters!!!”

—END FILM—

  1. Fireship Down

“I’d be willing to clear this up…for a one-time discount, sweetheart.” Grand Marshal Keiichiro Mogi said with a lustful look in his telescopic monocle-enhanced gaze. “What would that be, sir?” Miss Stina Ermelo, a stunning young Polish-Norwegian brunette with long, silky brown hair, deep, blue eyes, pale, alabaster skin, a tight-fitting white dress that showed every curve of her 6’ 3” figure, a black belt around her waist and an impressive bust, said, sarcastically, with Keiichiro glancing casually at her chest. “I might overlook the fact that you are in violation of Code 7, IMPJAG 94. All women with your…characteristics, high-levels of intellect, stunning beauty and connections with the Old Order and the Death Worshipping United Democratic Federation are forbidden to be free. You are, by law, a slave girl, and the fact that you escaped, killed your Master with the same chains that bound you to him means that I have every right in the Imperial law books to kill you right now…unless, you spend the night with me, then I might waive the charges. I cannot ignore you, and you cannot ignore me. You are subservient; I can see your thoughts…” Keiichiro scanned her brain with his telescopic monocle, extending like an inverted telescope. “Oh, so then you probably saw this coming.” Faster than Keiichiro could react, Stina knee-kicked him in the groin and grabbed his D-71 plasma pistol, holding it to his head. “Listen, you may be one of the Grand Marshal Council on Kisame-Tennu, but right now, right here, this is my house, and you follow my rules. First of all, please, apologize for what you said to me earlier, you don’t want to hurt a girl’s feelings, do you?” “Screw you, you Tenth Tier FILTH!!” Keiichiro threw Stina off of him and jumped to his feet, brushing off his cape and placing his huge, black, wide-brimmed hat on his head that marked him as a member of the Grand Marshals, the very highest-ranked Admirals in the Imperial Navy. “Don’t try that again…” Keiichiro said, snidely. “Umm…you don’t listen, do you?” Keiichiro fell to the ground, dying of a sudden asphyxiation attack. “That’s Fugu toxin. You should know that, you used it to kill my family at the end of the war and sold me into slavery on Styx VIII. One day, the Earth will be the capital of the human race again, and democracy will be restored. Sleep tight, Admiral.” Too late, Keiichiro noticed that Stina’s lipstick was actually a silenced toxic dart gun. He died on the floor of his intended victim’s 30,000 square-foot house on the tropical world Nara VII, in the city of Emerald Hammock, formerly called “Kepler 33c,” the first-ever “Second Earth” planet discovered. Since then, it had become exactly what people saw it as for the millennia since its discovery in 2013, back when Earth was humanity’s only home. Carl Sagan once said that the “Pale Blue Dot” would herald a new era in human space travel. If only Sagan could see now what humanity had become…a galactic, totalitarian nightmare state ruled by an ancient, global and now galactic cult of sorcerers that kept the smartest, most beautiful young women as slaves and mass-murdered thousands for horrid blood-rituals and sacrifices, he would be shaking his head and bawling in anguish, like every mother forced by the government to give their daughters up to execution for the government once the black-armored Night Hammer shock troopers showed up at the door, or worse, the occasional mother who killed her stunning, smart girl on her sweet 16, because starting at age 16, their blood runs hot with dreams of adulthood, success and avarice…and, according to the sorcerers, it channels energy best from the ages of 16-28. Once they get older than that, they are nothing more than Tenth Tier garbage. Their mothers killed them to save them from a truly gruesome end. Better their death be quick and in their own home than some altar in a Ritual Temple on Earth, which had become nothing more than a gigantic temple to Mithraism. There were 200 Hirds on Earth, and now, there were closer to 700, with thousands of Sages all over the galaxy, but the three Supreme Lords were Raito, Taira-no-Tomomori and Toni Medici-Fecchiera. Stina, however, had so much money because she was a top tier…just not in the way that the Mithras Order or their Empire saw it. She was a top tier assassin for hire, she and her three co-ops, Claire Cordova, Elizabeth Klein, and Rebecca Rijin were all slaves to the same master, whom they killed and became elite with any weapon they were given…as well as their own unique weapons, such as Stina’s lipstick assassin gun. It was a bit cliché, yes, but if it hurts, it works, as Stina liked to say. They were all stunning, super-smart and dead sexy with their personality, actions and cunning lethality. As such, their services did not come cheap. Mercenary work was illegal in the Empire and one could be executed if they were caught, but most of the Night Hammers were too distracted by their high-class or otherwise beautiful outfits and figures to pay attention enough that they were about to be stabbed with a toxic dart. Needless to say, the Emperor would definitely hear about the death of one of his Grand Marshals, if he didn’t already sense his death, even though Kisame-Tennu was deep in the Cygnus Constellation, near the Wotan’s Wings cluster. He was an extraordinarily powerful Mithras Sage, and handsome to boot, with his longer-than-usual brown hair, soft, bespectacled eyes, but his purposely-sharpened fangs revealed his true personality, as did his huge Japanese Imperial crest and his nobility robe and cape. During the “good old days” of the Federation, Kisame was the tropical paradise, famous for its opulent, sprawling, cathedral-like hot spring spas that were famous for two things: hospitality and the beautiful young women that were hired and paid handsomely by the wealthy landowners that opened the bathhouses, pools, beaches, black-sand heat pits and restaurants, all under roofs with such legendary, high-class names as Moonlight Euphoria, Golden Dawn, Midnight Sunder, and Paradise Falls on the LED advertisement signs along the “Ethereal Mile,” the biggest collection of ultra-rich homes and stores in the galaxy. So much for that. Ever since the Empire made its political capital on Kisame, renaming the planet Kisame-Tennu, Japanese for “Imperial Kisame,” the sunsets of the blood-red-dwarf parent star Amaterasu and the silver moonlight from the shimmering moon, Heike, creating the most brilliant sunset and moonlight in the galaxy were constantly obscured by Imperial Navy starships, star docks and huge squadrons of Imperial fighter craft, the great hot spring spas are silent, save for Emperor Raito Asoka Kanagashima III and his barons, counts, countesses and nobility living in the mansions as private homes now. All the women were probably slaughtered by the Mithras Order long ago. Now, Kisame was no playground. It was the Imperial Capital, and the symbol of the New Order, with huge marching columns of Night Hammers, or the Imperial Marine Corps, symbolized by a smirking human skull with deer antlers, the shinigami death’s head. This eerie, grinning symbol was on every soldier’s black, curved helmet, as well as exoskeleton armor that was powered by the wearer’s own biological activity, allowing the soldiers to scuttle around like fiddler crabs, fly with jump-pack attachments, and survive any environmental hazard or condition with ease, as well as run, jump, and move faster and lift heavier things than any other soldiers in history. More than 70 weapons were used by the Night Hammers, sniper rifles, shotguns, assault rifles, SMGs, light blaster cannons, heavy blaster cannons, pistols and disintegrator weapons, as well as various melee weapons and 12 types of grenade and other offensive and defensive equipment were all represented in the Night Hammer arsenal, and Stina and her friends were perhaps the only people in the galaxy that knew how to use them all, and also the only ones with any sense anymore. The Emperor was a horrid tyrant, but he was too powerful, so powerful that by and large, the average Imperial citizen knew almost nothing about the ancient Mithras Order that controlled every aspect of their daily lives, despite the Empire not being shy at all about letting its subjects know what Mithraism was, but still, it was in a propagandistic way, many macabre details, such as the ability for Countess Toni Medici-Fechierra to create sinister, shadowy Phantasm Soldiers that appeared as gigantic black human shadows with staring, stark-white saucers for eyes that shone like headlights in the night, they moved in extremely unnatural, hideous, distorted, anguished, painful, spooky, almost dance-like attack swarms, Toni referred to her shadowy minions, who served as her honor guard force, their movements and their blood-curdling shrieks as the “Dance Macabre.” Seeing her standing in her impossibly complex dress, her long silky black hair arranged in a bizarre way, that violated Euclidean geometry to such an extent that it alone defied physics without Mithras energy bending it was disturbing enough, but seeing her in her Spectris Forme, where she was usually naked and moving in the same hideous way that her Phantasms were right behind her like a crabwalk or spider-walk, with her head extended on a snake-like neck like a sauropod dinosaur and clawed, sickle-talon feet and hands was truly disgusting and a dreadful experience for those unfortunate enough to witness it. Combined with her habits of cooking pregnant women as a ready-made oven for a late-term fetus for the degenerate Countess to consume in this same Forme, surrounded by her Phantasms and usually being showered by corpses hanging from meat hooks on the ceiling so that they vomited blood on her head, using ironic, twisted, sexually-sick, childish games, abusive tortures, and gruesome weapons on her victims, as well as performing such grievous violations of normalcy such as smashing a man’s penis with a spiked sledgehammer and masturbating it until it ejaculated blood on her face like a warm shower, or jamming a crucifix into her vagina and using it as a vibrator, snapping it in half and bragging about how “Jesus was a filthy whore-monger, he laid with me, a sorceress, no less, last night so hard that I broke his penis in half, and all other Christians that I have not slaughtered will soon know the pain of all the lives of MY people that they have ended,” making reference to the Christians’ habit of persecuting witches. Her anti-Christian, hierarchical, Machiavellian and Petrarchan outlook on life, her intellect, her “Seven Levels of Insanity” doctrine of government, and her extreme sadism and unpleasant backstory of how she became a Mithras Sage, after herself being horrifically abused by a Catholic priest in 14th-century Tuscany for her “satanic” powers, made her a truly horrific individual. Her own mother wasn’t much better, a degenerate Italian Medici baroness who was a lesbian pedophile and adopted Toni from the Catholic orphanage only to abuse her; Toni called herself a victim, rather than a killer, combined with her cosmic, destructive powers and extreme sexual perversion towards both men and women, made her worthy of the title of “Most Psychotic Fuck-Up in the Universe,” according to Stina and her co-ops. It was her job to make sure that Toni and the rest of her Order pay for their crimes. Still, aside from the occasional Imperial meddlers, it was summertime on Stina’s planet…and the living was easy, as the classical piece from the 20th century famously described. The planet she lived on, Nara IV, was the Sin City of the galaxy in the Sixth Millennium, full of cantinas, bars, casinos, bathhouses, huge resorts, brothels and year-round tropical temperatures and beaches, vast tropical forests, equatorial mountain ranges, islands and warm, shallow seas, much like Las Vegas was on Old Earth, before Earth was turned into a holy world of colossal temples and Mithras Order blood-altars and shrines. Nara IV was one of the most biodiverse planets in the Milky Way Galaxy, the atmosphere was much thicker than on Earth, with 30% more oxygen, the planet was hot, sticky, humid and wet, residents joked that when a grocery store was out of deodorant, you could smell it. However, this abundance of warmth and water allowed evolution to run riot. The shallow seas and Tethys Ultima Ocean of Nara IV, fourth planet in a binary blue-star system called Nara, were home to some extraordinary colonial organisms, the largest one being the Ocean Specter, a 35-foot long colonial jellyfish that sailed along using huge sail-like organs on its dorsal side. On the organism’s underside, a lethal veil of stinging tentacles trolled the reefs for prey, with specialized organs to house an extraordinary symbiotic relationship with a social arthropod called a Prawitzer, these shrimp-like creatures with electric-battery claws, similar to an electric eel on Earth, fed on the Specter’s food, in return, they viciously defended the Specter from its chief predator, the Hysteria, a colonial organism comprised of billions of inch-long crustaceans, their swarms were akin to an underwater plague of locusts; when food on the reef was scarce, they would occasionally swarm in numbers topping the tens of billions, closing beaches because any organic matter in the water was immediately consumed, including humans. Normally, however, the Hysteria was a plain, red amphipod, swimming through the water and eating algae. “Hysteria” was only the name for their ravenous swarms. In the open oceans, where fish dominated on Earth, Nara IV was dominated by a type of crustacean called a “Sylphswimmer” of which the Hysteria were just one species, there were as many species of Sylphswimmers on Nara IV as there were fish on Earth, and they filled every conceivable niche, but all were prey to the fantastic Festoon Rays, gigantic gliding creatures with 100-foot wingspans, they used the wing-in-ground effect to soar over the oceans non-stop, with their cavernous maws filtering the surface of the water through their gill rakers, capturing any prey in their gills like a net, these animals only stopped soaring to breathe by going back underwater, they could soar for 5 hours before they needed more oxygen. Deep in the oceans, gigantic squid-like creatures called Krakens were the top oceanic predators on Nara IV, the largest species, the Titan Kraken, could grow to 150 feet long, live for 2000 years and weigh 500,000 lbs, Krakens were also highly intelligent, they were Nara IV’s extraordinary equivalent of whales on Earth, and far more ferocious. On land, the diversity of life was just as spectacular, the vast tropical plains and savannahs on the interior of the continents were just as dynamic as the Serengeti Plain on Earth, 15-ton Tusked Snouters, huge, reptilian herbivores with lordly, curling tusks and lived in herds like elephants on Earth, bellowed loudly through dorsal spiracles on their flanks, manipulating food items with their long, dexterous trunks. Accompanying the Snouters were Bellow Bison and Zephyrsprinters, both were nectar-feeding, bioluminescent nocturnal herbivores that traveled in huge herds across the plains, Bellow Bison were named for the sounds they made during the breeding season, and had a distinctive hammer-head, and used it to locate fresh grazing in the darkest of nights, and Zephyrsprinters were extraordinary two-legged animals that could gallop at high speeds and corner on a dime, their forelimbs and hindlimbs had fused into two huge feet, allowing them to run faster than any animal on Nara IV. In the vast river systems which snaked across the planet, huge Luffalumps basked in the sun, these huge turtle-like creatures were the reptilian equivalent of hippos on Earth, so named for their lumping gait. They bellowed like giant frogs in the lakes and rivers to establish dominance, and were extremely aggressive, snapping at and attacking anything that trespassed on their territory. With so much game, it was not surprising that there were also predators..very, very powerful ones. The largest terrestrial predator was the Sailfin Whiprex, a bipedal ambush predator about the size of a T-rex that pegged its prey with sonar to stun it, and then impaled it on a radula, or harpoon-like tooth, injecting a powerful neurotoxin and draining the prey of body fluids. Bioluminescent patches and a sail-like fin covered the creature’s back, these were used for display purposes and attracting mates. In the air, no creature was safe from the almighty lance of the Caped Spiderwing, a huge, pterosaur-like animal with a 50-foot wingspan and a spade-like tail, with twin bioluminescent patches to signal to its hunting partners. Using a combination of 8 hypersensitive eyes and sonar pings, a “squadron” of Spiderwings would lock onto a prey item and ignite methane gas in four chambers on their tailwings, they did not use their wings to fly, they were jet-propulsed! Swooping down on its prey at speeds of close to 500 mph, the Spiderwing would impale its prey on a hollow lance as hard as titanium, and drain the prey of body fluids, much like a spider. In the mountains, two extraordinary large animals were found, one, the Luminous Sack-horn, was a bipedal animal with bioluminescent horns, used to display and compete for dominance and territory, and the other was the only known intelligent life form in the galaxy besides humans. Called Octosapien, these bizarre creatures looked part octopus, part jellyfish, part balloon, they had four tentacles fused into hands, floated around in the dense atmosphere with an inflatable bag of hydrogen on their heads, had a bioluminescent patch on their forehead, two antennae with pink tendrils on their ends, and what looked like a frightening mask on their very front, they had no visible eyes, and navigated via sonar pings, maneuvering through the air by expelling hydrogen gas through natural thrusters on their bodies. They were about as intelligent as an early human, and roughly on par with a modern human, minus the Black Sun Reich’s technology. The Octosapien were still locked in a Stone Age culture, and tried desperately to avoid humans if they could, for they correctly saw the Black Sun Reich and the entire human species as a mortal threat. Another mountain predator was the Ramspike, a pack hunter that resembled a velociraptor in the way it hunted and looked, except for three huge prong-like horns on its head, the males’ horns were always larger than the females’. The most diverse places on Nara IV, however, were the vast tropical forests. Hundreds of species of flying crustaceans, descended from the same ones in the oceans and called “Sylphflutter,” were the planet’s extraordinary equivalent of birds, filling every niche that birds occupied on Earth. Gliding from tree to tree were lethal predatory Bladewings, praying-mantis-like invertebrates that glided like flying squirrels from tree to tree, preying on Sap Suckers, small reptilian gliders that fed on tree sap oozing from the holes made by the blades of climbing Bladewings. The largest predator in the forest, on the pitch-black forest floor was the giant, blind, flightless Reaper, a huge, bird-like crustacean Sylphflutter more than 4.5 meters tall and as heavy as a buffalo on Earth It preyed upon other bizarre organisms living in the pitch blackness at the foot of the interconnected Fortress Forests. The environment on the forest floor was as dark as the depths of the deep oceans, and the creatures that lived there were every bit as wondrous as those deep-sea creatures on Earth and in Nara IV’s deepest seas. In the treetops of the kilometer-high Fortress Forests near the equator, the understory was draped with a matrix of lethal tentacles. These were the feeding tentacles of the Giant Skoades, strange, tree-dwelling squid-like creatures that draped their sticky tentacles across trees and waited for prey to blunder into them, before promptly reeling in their catch and dissolving it in their acidic, bag-like gut. That prey usually included the Daggerwings, huge aerial predators the size of eagles, that hunted like a swarm of hornets, just much larger and far more powerful. These fearsome hunters preyed upon the largest flying creatures on Nara IV, the 100-foot long Wingwhales with a 90-foot wingspan, their ethereal songs filled the summer sky, spending their entire lives on the wing, they filtered out plankton buoyed up by the dense atmosphere. Taking their place at night were the nocturnal Sky Rays, who wheeled and danced about in the moonlight over the forest canopy. The Sky Rays were preyed upon by the nocturnal Thorn Fly swarms, much like the Hysteria in the shallow seas of the Tethys Ultima Ocean, these insects formed immense plagues, consuming all organic matter as a colonial organism. The largest creatures on Nara IV, however, were the 5-story tall Shaker Tortoise and the 6-story tall Imperial Lagoon Walker, which only lived along the vast lagoons near the mouth of the Illyri River, which had been converted into a gelatinous ooze by colonies of bacteria, trapping the seawater in their cell membranes. The Shaker Tortoises were gigantic paradoxes, they lived for more than 10,000 years, but spent much of that time simply buried in the ground, allowing entire forests to grow on their backs, absorbing water through their spongy tissue. Th trees, in turn, provided the giant tortoise with all the nutrients it would ever need. When a Shaker Tortoise decided to move, however, nothing could stand in its way. It walked on two massive legs, with as keel towards the creature’s rear which tilled the soil for new plant growth as the tortoise marched on for new feeding grounds. Even they, however, were not without predators. Often, the hollow shells of Shaker Tortoises would be found, drained of all fluid, lying near a forest of curious pink quills sticking out of the ground. These were the colonies of Quilbarbs, venomous flatworms that injected a potent poison into their prey, even the Shaker Tortoise could not survive thousands of Quilbarbs attacking at once. Quilbarbs, after feeding, would then metamorphose into the next phase of their life cycle, the pink, beautiful, but deadly Quill Flower, which would photosynthesize sunlight like a plant, but still defend itself by firing poison barbs at intruders. The only creatures on Nara IV that had no predators were the giant Lagoon Walkers, the Krakens and the human race. This profusion of life was a relief for Stina, in a galaxy where death was so common. Earth was no longer the homeworld of humanity, but a Mithras monument, much like the Aztec cities, just all over the planet; only Sages of the Mithras Order were allowed to land on Earth or even enter the Mithras System, formerly called the “Solar System” in pre-Imperial times, and it was heavily guarded and shrouded in mystery, even the best smugglers and assassins avoided Earth, even though it was humanity’s ancestral homeworld. Nara IV, however, was the perfect place for an assassin group to lay low and find plenty of work, there were plenty of criminal gangs who needed rivals eliminated and bounties to be had for private contractors, usually casino bookies or managers who were owed a lot of money by stubborn deadbeats because of gambling debts; you should never gamble with what you couldn’t afford to lose. Often, just Stina, Rebecca, Claire or Elizabeth showing up at a target’s house was enough to get most of the dumb, horny guys distracted enough to take out with a clandestine shot from a poison dart or silent plasma shot, but in other cases, they had to get more creative, and there was nothing that these four girls wouldn’t do to get their target, no matter where they went in the galaxy. Stina lived right off the famous Strip on the planet’s northern continent of Laurasia, and her three friends and co-ops lived right down the street in separate houses, all in a very upscale, “Emerald Neighborhood” in a premier area of the suburb called Polaris Hill, which was full of lawyers, doctors and other extremely wealthy people as it was, many with Imperial ties on planets like Ansaati, the main military academy world of the Empire and the headquarters of the Imperial Navy, Morion II, the site of many of the top universities in the galaxy, and even the capital of Kisame-Tennu. This led to occasional Imperial entanglements, but it was usually just some drunken, off-duty customs officer who tried to abuse his authority and drag Stina, Rebecca, Claire or Elizabeth back into slavery in hopes of getting a promotion. Easy enough to deal with, but the fact that a Grand Marshal would show up unannounced at her home was highly unusual and disturbing indeed. The records say that he was on his initiation mission, in order to be fully inducted into the Grand Marshal rank, the highest in the Imperial military, one must complete a very ”unusual, rigorous or challenging mission, task or directive” in the Imperial legalese. Suddenly, it hit Stina like a ton of bricks. That Marshal was sent to kill her because the Emperor was starting to take notice of their exploits. Their fame as bounty hunters had attracted the Empire’s attention, and she just killed a Grand Marshal candidate. Once the 20 Grand Marshals already fully inducted into the rank found out about this, they would request permission from Emperor Raito to attack, Emperor Raito would agree to express his ultimate power, and Nara IV would be atomized by the Imperial Fleet. At that moment, everything started to sink in, her heart racing, her skin beginning to sweat, that feeling that can only happen when you know you’re totally fucked to hell slowly creeping through her body like a decrepit, rotting zombie. All she could hear in her head was the Night Hammers’ boots marching and their chants of “Rats who dare to stand before us, feel the napalm sear your flesh” filling the bombed-out, burning streets and cities of Nara IV, just as the fleet moved into orbital position to permanently destroy the planet…and it would be all her fault. Her own fame as an assassin for hire finally caught up with her, fame was a fickle friend, indeed. She now had only 2 options: Evacuate the planet and set up shop elsewhere, or die there like everyone else was about to. However, if the Emperor himself was looking for her, there was nowhere in the universe, let alone the galaxy, where she could hide. “What are the consequences of what I have just done?” Just then, a message from Rebecca came through on Stina’s communications console. “Stina, hun, you might want to check the broadcast station 12, did you take out an Imperial Grand Marshal candidate by the name of Keiichiro?” “Yes, I did, he was trying to sell me back into slavery, and I had to.” “Well, you darn well miffed the living schnozz out of the Empire, and Count Vladimir Stefanescu’s gettin’ all on his soapbox about how he’s gonna’ make sure that those who committed this “grievous act” pay for their crimes.” “Yes, I’m very well aware of this.” Stina turned on her broadcast console, a Sixth Millennium evolution of the television, and saw Count Stefanescu, the Imperial Procurator of Justice, since the promotion of Aku Mikami to the office of Minister of Information, speaking about “how the Emperor had been informed of Candidate Keiichiro’s death and how the Imperial Office of Intelligence was working to find anything about his murderer.” “Those responsible for this psychotic act of terrorism against one of the brightest rising stars in the Imperial military will be found and eviscerated! Mark my words, damn it!” He was a middle-aged man in his late 50s, and wearing the robes and cape of the Count of Monte Amara, a planet that, thanks to a high level of prism-like silica high in the atmosphere, colored the air itself a perpetually deep, stunning navy blue, with shimmering, indigo, violet and crimson clouds, caused by the refraction of the light from the solar rays hitting the tiny, prism-like shards. The planet’s average temperature was 43 degrees Fahrenheit, making it slightly colder than Earth, but the summer equatorial regions could reach higher than 130 degrees Fahrenheit, thanks to the silica amplifying the equatorial sun like a magnifying glass; because the planet orbited from the same distance away from its parent star, Cristo, as Earth did from the Sun, these temperature extremes caused some of the most ferocious storms on any planet known to humans, “hypercanes” over the shallow, dark, warm seas reached the size of continents with 500 mph winds, tornadoes 6 miles wide shrieked across the verdant plains and caused unimaginable destruction, the “Țipăt diavolului” or “Devil’s Scream,” of 6489 A.D. on the Northern Steppes of Wotan, one of Monte Amara’s 4 continents, was a tornado that reached 6 miles wide and had winds of 666 mph, hence storm’s name. More than 3,000 died in this tornado when it struck the gleaming white, walled citadel of Minas Etherea, on a bluff in the center of a vast network of fields and smaller towns spread out around the base of the bluff, and some of the hypercanes killed over a million people per storm, with 200-foot storm surges, 500 mph sustained winds and cloud tops reaching deep into the stratosphere, 20, sometimes 30 miles up. As such, the coastal regions of the planet were usually barren, devoid of human habitation. The most treasured part of Monte Amaran society, however, were the huge beer gardens and Bauhaus inns, especially in the North, where most of the Alaska-sized supercell thunderstorms that spawned the shrieking tornadoes formed, as such, every tavern had an underground bunker, just in case the skies darkened on a hot, steamy spring or summer day. Most of this planet’s cities consisted of white, pristine walled citadels to keep out the only native predators on the planet’s flat northern plains, huge mantis-like creatures called Irka, with a patchwork of towns and roads crisscrossing irrigated plains that stretched for hundreds of miles around the citadel, and all human settlements were fenced in and patrolled by Imperial Night Hammer Brigades to keep out the Irka, vicious, insectoid predators that swarmed like hornets, preying upon large game such as Wardrun, large, hog-like creatures, Morna, flying creatures similar to bats on Earth, and the ground-dwelling Culkoos, flightless chicken-like creatures that wandered in small flocks through the vast gardens of topiaries and estates that dotted the landscape. The life-forms that Monte Amara were known for most, however, were plants. More than 15 million species of plants called Monte Amara home, including the largest collection of carnivorous plants in the galaxy. Plants and flowers of all kinds decorated the lavish estates, pollinated by the cornerstone of the entire terrestrial biosphere on Monte Amara, the small, colorful, hummingbird-like Bat-Swallows. In the oceans, the animal that acted as the pollinator for the water plants was the Reef Zephyr, a type of swimming nudibranch with bright red gills. Most of the estates were owned by the corporate barons in charge of Cristo Energy Corporation, which had its headquarters on Monte Amara and assisted the Empire in governing the planet. They operated immense wind farms on the vast plains, and operated a corps of professional storm chasers, the Monte Amara Storm Riders, who would purposely put themselves in the path of a gigantic tornado to harness the energy from the the colossal vortex, one storm could power the city of Minas Etherea, the largest citadel on Monte Amara, for five years. Harnessing the energy from a tornado whose winds approached the speed of sound was no easy task, and the Storm Riders would take their tornado intercept vehicles, or “TIVs” into the path of an approaching storm, and then launch an unmanned aerial vehicle from the back of a truck, the drone would fly in front of the storm and drop a ring of relay stations into the ground, which would anchor themselves against the wind by drilling into the soil. Then, the Storm Riders, swooping into action on their hovering intercept speeders, would string a connecting wire through each of the relay stations on the fly to close the circuit, and then hook the connecting wire onto a truck-mounted energy collector. With luck, the tornado would pass directly over the array, harnessing the tremendous power of the nature for human use. The downside was that this was incredibly risky, and more than 30% of the Storm Riders were expected to die in the line of duty, according to the Cristo Energy Corporation. However, given the nature of the Imperial government and the Corporation’s philosophies regarding profit over all else, these losses were expendable. The hypercanes, the largest one on record being Hypercane Loki, which was the size of North America, were impossible to avoid or chase, however, and trying to build an oceanfront resort on Monte Amara, like on Kisame-Tennu or Nara V was suicide. The beaches were pristine and tread upon by the Imperial citizens of Monte Amara, the high-born nobility, as class and social standing was extremely important to Monte Amarans, often rode tamed Titan Penguins across the sea and the beach for pleasure; these native bird-like creatures were the size of elephant seals on Earth and exuded an oily trail from their feathers on their belly, allowing them to speed across the sand or water, like a turbo-speed slug or snail. The storms, however, made permanent habitation of the beaches impossible. Silica grains moving at close to the speed of sound made the tornadoes and hypercanes gigantic shrapnel blenders as well, something that proved horrifically fatal to most of those who died in the Devil’s Scream. Monte Amara was settled by Romanian migrants from Earth, and had always had a rich sense of history, cultural pride and appreciation for their planet’s natural beauty, the entire planet resembled the Swiss Alps or Tirol countryside, just with mountains 65,000 feet tall, punctuated by rolling, grassy highlands and vast, expansive steppes. The high levels of oxygen ensured that life survived even at that elevation in many strange, weird and wonderful forms that seemed like walking through the pages of a Brothers’ Grimm storybook, filled with imaginary monsters. The real monsters on that planet, however, were Count Stefanescu and his ruling boyar soviet, or “Council.” They were very loyal to their Imperial overlords on Kisame-Tennu for the 20 years that the Empire had been in existence so far, and for this loyalty, Count Stefanescu was appointed the Procurator of Justice and the Magister of the Imperial Prison System. He was as brutal as Vlad III Dracula once was, and killed his victims in the same slow, painful ways. The only difference was that Vlad III Dracula was a Mithras Sage of the Draculesti-Branu Hird, Count Stefanescu was not, though his initiation into the Order was being considered by Emperor Raito, Countess Toni and Master Tomomori. Count Stefanescu was speaking on the broadcast network in his usual black-caped Hussar uniform, with the huge, wide-brimmed black hat, black ostrich feathers in it, and a mink-fur coat, his steel-gray hair and sleek, combed beard reflecting the lights from the broadcast studio, and his steely, horrifically-piercing gaze staring at the camera. “Before you go about your business, let me send a personal reminder to those responsible for taking the life of one of our most promising Grand Marshal candidates, that we are prepared to attack, and will do so when the moment is right.” Count Stefanescu panned the camera down to Infinity Square, formerly called the Ethereal Mile, to show a colossal marching column of Night Hammers, in full battle exoskeleton armor, goose-stepping in perfect formation and cadence, carrying the shinigami-death head emblem flag, complete with the jagged white lightning flashes of the Sigtyr Runes, with the Imperial Marine Corps motto, “Watashi no meiyo wa chūseidesu,” “My Honor is Loyalty,” all emblazoned on the banner, as well as the standard of the Empire, formally called The Reich of the Black Sun, flying alongside it, which was a plain black flag with both the stark-white Schwarze Sonne runic symbol and the Slavonic Kolovrat symbol superimposed over each other, to create a bizarre, hypnotic fractal design that made a person dizzy looking at it too long. Both symbols were deeply sacred to the Mithras Order, the first for being the Sacred Rune of the Sun during prehistoric Nordic-Aryan, or Volkisch times, the second being the Slavic sunburst rune that Countess Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed, the former matriarch of the Bathory-Kozak Hird, used as her personal insignia during the 16th century. Her son, Andreii Bathory-Groznyy, long thought to be dead by the time of his mother’s execution by the Polish-Hungarian authorities that accused her of witchcraft, was now a Mithras Archdeacon on Earth, at Catchice Temple, a massive, 15,900,000 square-foot ritual ground and pyramid complex now standing on the site of his mother’s Catchice Fortress ruin in Slovakia; known as the Bald Mountain Ritual Complex, the largest of its kind on Earth, which was completely wild and depopulated again save for the Mithras Sages and their Temples, and named after the mountain that the original structure was built on. He looked like he was no older than 23 years old, but like all Mithras Sages, he didn’t age, and he still had his coal-black hair, brown eyes, fur hat with ostrich feathers in it, black topcoat and burgundy cape, as well as a lethal saber in its scabbard. His purpose as a High Priest was to channel the Mithras Energies through the vast halls of Catchice Temple on Bald Mountain, where he kept the energies of his murdered victims in crab-like, scuttling combat robots, that rolled around, crab-walked and hovered, and fired murderous, quad-laser blasters at enemies, they were shielded, and came in two models, the Mark I Anima and the horrific Mark II Annihilator Anima; “anima” was the colloquial term for “robot” in the Sixth Millennium, and when one was destroyed, it screamed with the voice of the young woman or, in the case of the Annihilator Mark II, a screaming, moaning baby, that Andreii ritually slaughtered to the Sun God Mithras. The animas were created by building the robot itself, and then having Andreii take the twisted, tormented energy of the murdered woman between his hands and chilling the atoms in the air that the energy occupied to nearly absolute zero through the use of the four Mithras Energies, placing the frozen soul in a crystal power core, and placing the power core into the anima’s CPU, activating the vicious combat robot, transforming the soul of a murdered victim into a cold, calculating killing machine. They were human victims in robot bodies, angry and vicious. There was one platoon commander for the anima brigades that guarded Catchice Temple, Unit CY-119, formerly known as “Cindy Wallensper,” a rich, beautiful young woman who was the Kraid Heavy Engineering CEO’s daughter, one of the legendary baron families from Kraid, the richest planet in the galaxy and home to the ferocious Condor Dragons, the largest aerial predators in the galaxy. She was a tall, gorgeous brunette and was probably the galaxy’s most eligible bachelorette, she had a great personality and loved pistachio ice cream. She loved science, but got a little too curious about the Imperial guard animas on Kisame-Tennu, and traced them to Earth, and attempted to land her star yacht near Catchice Temple to see the Mark I and Mark II…and as Andreii always said, it was wise indeed to be careful what you wished for. All of her friends, who were equally attractive and regularly competed in beach beauty pageants on Kraid, a tropical, highly-desirable world, at Kamijuu Beach Resort in particular for the title of “Ultimate Beach Princess,” were also sacrificed and became robots with Andreii’s dramatic entrance aboard his massive A-2-class battleship, the Abyssal Trinity. He gave a speech by hijacking the beach pageant’s MC broadcast system, in which he demanded loyalty to the Reich and taught a lesson to the misbehaving residents of Kraid…by taking every firstborn girl on Kraid to the sacrificial chambers on Earth, a lesson no one would ever forget. Throughout the temple, a deeply disturbing choir and bizarre, freakish chanting orchestra played solemn vigils to the departed and those soon to be departed, especially during the rituals. The fortress on Bald Mountain had become part temple, part anima foundry, where machines built the destroyer animas around the tormented souls and ghosts of Andreii’s victims; when the anima robots apprehended a trespasser, they often spoke in complete word salad through an echoing, metallic, child-like, creepy robotic voice, such as “Indefatigable tentacles on a moon with a stereoactive pickle!!” instead of “Hands up!! You are under arrest!!” Andreii himself fought with a huge, two-handed broadsword with the insignia of the Cossack cross on the hilt, it deals massive damage to its foes, amplified by Andrew’s channeling of the Mithras Energies, but his most powerful attack was his “Shadow Reaper Marauder,” where he turned the entire world around him pitch-black, became an immortal shadow god with nothing but his shining white, glaring eyes visible, and even making contact with him in this form, even if he doesn’t attack, was instant death for any living thing, human, plant, animal, or even bacteria, fungus, protist, moneran or virus. His rapid jabbing and slashing below the waist and from all sides, not to mention his devastating Shadow Uppercut slashes and Impalement Drive attacks, Andreii Bathory-Groznyy was an unrivalled master of sword combat. Andreii Bathory-Groznyy usually didn’t even use his sword, he usually stood in one place, as still as a statue, with blank, staring, empty, yet extremely handsome brown eyes with tiny, dilated pupils, and brown hair visible under his fur, feathered Polish nobility hat, and attacked using “nightmare shades” and by creating non-lethal hallucinations that terrified his foes into killing themselves or surrendering by playing off of their darkest fears or deepest, painful memories, the hallucinations appeared to be trying to kill the victim, but they could not. The Nightmare Shades, evil, horrid shadows with moaning, glaring faces, were lethal, however. He only needed to move his fingers or his hand to attack, all while standing perfectly still. His normally staccato, monotone, almost computer-like voice became rapid, demented and cackling every now and then; he was disturbingly smart, and disturbingly deep in his thought processes, and unnerved you without it even being clear why; when he was off Earth, he behaved like a typical, extremely tall, handsome young man. Women were often drawn to him, but they usually avoided him after a few conversations. “Creepy” was not usually the word Andreii was used to, because what disturbed most people about his typical “public face” form was not “creepy” per se. It was that his wisdom, freakish intelligence and extremely convoluted and cryptic speech patterns in more than 17 human languages that indicated an extremely high IQ just didn’t match up with his apparent age; he looked no older than 24 or 25. For example, back during UDF times, if a police officer told him that “I cannot guarantee your safety if you do not put a damper on your extremely unusual intellect and mind in general, it makes everyone around you extremely uncomfortable,” he would respond with “Well, I guess that makes two of us. No one is truly ‘safe’ anywhere in this galaxy. Even you, police officers, must realize that every patrol, every stop, every arrest, every breath that you take could be your last, despite your training. No one escapes this life alive, without…special initiation. So, ‘safety’ is nothing more than a lie created by society simply because society is too afraid of its own mortality. ‘Forever’ is a big word, Officer. Anyone who claims to know its meaning without knowing enlightenment is worse than a blind beggar.” When this came from a 24-year old’s mouth…it just, well, no one knew what to think, even police. His talents also included chorus singing, and he and his Bathory-Kozak Hird would often dress in their full regalia, his Hird uniform looked like a Russian KGB uniform, just with a cape and a Slovak cross pin. They would often perform songs like “Ey Ukhmen,” Sokolje,” and “Rota,” several ancient Slavic folk tunes, as they tossed still-living, screaming women into a meat grinder to power the Helios Energy Collector that powered Catchice Temple and gave Andreii the powers of an immortal god of the sun when he was inside. Sages like him were the reason why Earth was a place where even Stina and her co-ops wouldn’t dare go. The Temples all had a colossal Pillar of Alacrity, which was a huge ion-beam “vacuum” generated by a pyramid-shaped structure ten times the size of the 21st-century Chinese World Imperial Center, and that was just the centerpiece of the basic Mithras Temple outline, the beam vacuumed solar radiation from the Sun itself and collected it into the Temple Sanctum, powering the Temple and the global solar shield, which protected Earth from anything hitting it, natural or unnatural, to ensure tranquility and peace. The Archdeacons, within their temples, were gods, completely impervious, immortal and invincible. Outside the temple, they were just really, really hard to kill, and they didn’t age. The whole grid was dependent on a constant supply of young, living women, dropped right into a sacrificial human meat grinder, powering the machine with human blood, generating a colossal Dyson beam. The cosmic radiation was stored in huge focusing mirrors, which could fire the energy back into orbit as an orbital-defense beam if needed. Earth was an invincible fortress world, hands down…or so it seemed. Just as Stina turned away from the television, she heard a familiar knock at the door. “Come in!” Opening the door was a tall, solemn-looking German man, wearing a long black topcoat, black hat with a turkey feather in it, black boots and black pants, as well as the red cape of Nara IV’s mighty upper-class. He had dirty blond hair that covered one of his somber blue eyes and extended to the back of his neck, a blonde mustache and a short brown goatee. “Oh, hello Baron von Saddendorf.” The 31-year old aristocrat walked somberly into the room and sat on the bed. “I…I…am useless to all who meet me. I tried taking this young woman from Oldenburg II on a date last night, she said she’d call me back later and she never did, despite the fact that I waited by the communications console in my bedroom all night, crying, thinking to myself, that she’ll be just like all the others…a lying, no-good piece of cod-liver…I still love her, so I sat in my manor and listened to sad classical music followed by Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, and was tempted to get the razor blades again, but my better judgment stopped me…I just went outside and stood in the rain for an hour…then wrote my own violin piece for this woman, just as I did for the 157 others that rejected me so cruelly in the past year. I called this one “Razor Blades and Tears” It’s a violin piece in the style of Mozart, Tchaikovsky or Bach, most closely-resembling Dies Irae, which is about the end of the world…which I believe may be about to happen to Nara IV.” Baron von Saddendorf sobbed quietly, while Stina looked at him, annoyed. Von Saddendorf was an overly-dramatic, manic-depressant wreck, but was the main contractor for Stina, Rebecca, Claire and Elizabeth’s services as assassins; he lived on Nara IV was originally from Oldenburg II, and, despite his anguish, was a creative genius and a galaxy-wide renowned stage director, stage manager, poet on the scale of Shakespeare or Donne, classical violin composer, writer, actor and musician, his solemn gaze seemed hid many deep psychological wounds, wounds that he never discussed with anyone, claiming that his past was none of their concern. He was, however, very “emo” and the four assassin girls had to talk him off a ledge constantly. He often tried to cut his wrists with a razor blade and wrote music and poetry about very depressing subjects in his gigantic mansions on Nara IV and his estate on Oldenburg II, he was one of the wealthiest men in the galaxy and could field and army under his own resources…if he could stop saying things like “Stab my heart out because I love you…” every now and then. “Wow, Baron, you really are the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen. You’re one of the richest people in the galaxy and you’ve taken 157 women on dates in less than a year, and not one of them has ever wanted to see you again or even called back. They’re just being polite when they say that they will. You’re handsome and a creative genius, rich and powerful, yet I’m really beginning to think that you just aren’t capable of having a relationship with a woman at all, ever. I hate to say this, but if it’s one thing that I’ve seen traveling around the galaxy, it’s that the hippies were wrong. Love is NOT for everyone, the sad truth is that some people just get lucky, and some don’t, and there is no way to know if you’ll be lucky or not until it happens to you. There are no signs, there is no purpose, there is no point to life and existence at all, science has long proven that any kind of design or destiny in the universe is false, and, except for the Mithras Sage Order, no one really believes in a God or religion anymore. And unlike the Sages, we all die eventually, so what is the point of anything in life? We are not here for any purpose. We are here just because the cosmic nuclear forces and gravity arranged a set of atoms in such a way by pure chance that evolved into a living organism, and continued to evolve into human beings. So life itself was born of chance and luck in the vernacular, or better known as chaos theory to scientists, the fact that if all constants occur in the multiverse, the chance of something happening in any universe is 1, that is certain, but the chances in any given universe is so small that it is close to 0. Therefore all life is nothing but luck. We could all die tomorrow, quite reasonably given the Reich of the Black Sun’s Mithras Sage overlords, so just be happy you’re alive every day. Besides, given your brilliance and talents, I’d say you’re already pretty lucky. Some people just aren’t meant to find someone, and to be honest with you, you probably don’t need anyone. Trust me, I know from experience. “Stina, you have seen so much pain and abuse, but you are one of those few people that can walk straight through Hell itself and still come out looking like a supermodel with Satan’s head impaled on your assassin knife. You are incredibly intelligent and wise beyond your years. For that I truly commend and respect you.” “Is it that, or are you just using this poetic rant as an excuse to stare at my chest? Don’t think I didn’t notice that you weren’t looking at my face through that whole speech, though it was very sweet. Thank you.” Stina kissed Baron von Saddendorf on the cheek, leaving a faint lipstick mark. “Now back to business. I think that it’s only a matter of time until the Reich finds out that I killed Candidate Keiichiro. Once that happens, we’re as good as dead, and the four of us are destined for a life of abuse and captivity, until our masters get bored with us or the Reich sends us to the Pillars of Alacrity on Earth. Keep in mind that according to Imperial law, my co-ops and I are fugitive slave girls guilty of killing their master, and there is ridiculously huge price on each of our heads, so I know a thing or two about hiding from authority. So, until we’re off this planet, the four of us are in charge, Baron, got it? They don’t call me the ‘Iceheart’ for nothing.” Baron knew better than to argue with her, anyone who was as pretty as Stina was, dressed in a tight-fitting, white dress with a black dress belt around her waist, stilettos and carried a sniper rifle that fired instantly-lethal, homemade TTX-laced rubber bullets was not to be questioned. She had just been out for a drink at the local bar when the issue with Keiichiro came up, and she was not happy about being interrupted on her day off. She was classy, sassy and lethal, and she had so many assassin tools that she seemed to have something for everything, her most entertaining gadget was her “transparency glasses,” a pair of sunglasses that gave her X-ray vision, a useful tool, that is, when she wasn’t sitting next to a fitness center looking at attractive guys with these glasses on, smiling sweetly and mischievously. Not every job went off without a hitch, however, the most embarrassing snafu to ever befall the “Rainkiss Lilies,” as Stina’s group of assassins was known on the street, was the time when they had to disguise themselves as onsen showgirls, which were young, beautiful women that were used for risqué and often X-rated shows at onsen spas on planets with high levels of thermal activity. After their plan to be recruited worked; they were certainly attractive enough, and they were hired by the man that they were tasked with killing, a corrupt hotel owner that was stealing money from one of the landlords on Nara IV, they were given their costumes to perform in, which left very little to the imagination, to say the least, but after the performance, they went to change back into their usual outfits, only to have their dresses and underwear stolen while they weren’t looking. It turns out, some local teenage boys thought it would be funny to steal some of the girls’ outfits on a dare, and leave them stranded in the hotel changing rooms completely naked. They called for assistance from their target, who promptly found their tight-fitting dresses and underwear from a 13-year old boy with an obnoxious, two-syllable laugh. The owner was a bit puzzled as to how the four girls’ undergarments could even be worn, given that they were extremely skimpy, but as soon as they re-dressed, Stina shot him with her signature weapon, a toxic dart. They got paid a six-figure sum for their trouble, perverts notwithstanding, but it proved that even the best run into unexpected trouble. This, however, was something that was absolutely critical be resolved. Baron had no choice but to accept Stina’s leadership. Just then, the three other Rainkiss Lilies entered, with their long, silky red, black and blonde hair, respectively, all wearing their assassin outfits, black tunics and black pants with red crosses on the sleeves, and jet black hoods to cover their faces. “Get changed, Stina, we’re leaving.” Elizabeth said, preparing her gun for battle. “Not yet, girls…I’ll change on the ship. I can fight in this outfit if need be.” Stina drew her sniper rifle and hung it over her shoulder, and tapped her heels on the floor, and they were all carrying their weapons, Elizabeth was carrying her DN-L99 sniper weapon, a 30x zoom, illegally-modified assassin rifle that had a deuterium-core plasma chamber, firing a concentrated beam of ionic energy that passed through any armor or shielding and burned at the temperature of a Type-A blue hydrogen star, the hottest type of star known. As such, this “Helios Assassin Rifle” was Elizabeth’s one of a kind weapon and an instant kill, with no recoil or trace beam leading back to her location. She was a calm, very quiet, somewhat shy young woman, the type of sharpshooter that tends to excel greatly in the role, but that all changed when she was drunk. They didn’t call her the “Rowdy Redhead ” in the Nara IV pub houses for nothing. Rebecca was the pilot ace; she was descended from a Georgia family in the United States on Old Earth, and spoke with a strong, Southern drawl. She was an ace with the controls of any starship and could slice any computer easily, and was an accomplished marksman with twin pistols, the Disintegrator Mk. VIII models were her weapons of choice, and were highly illegal under Reich law, given that they were capable of firing blaster rounds faster than most Imperial Night Hammer DX-77 standard-issue blaster rifles or DN-175 heavy blaster carbines. They gave enemies of the Reich and advantage and Emperor Raito did not like that one bit, his troops were supposedly the strongest ever seen by any government in the history of mankind, but the Rainkiss Lilies would beg to differ. Finally, there was Claire, a 6’ 3” blonde beauty who was far more visceral in her combat skills. She liked melee combat and used a double-bladed “chainsaw blade” sword, which was strong enough to deflect ranged weapons of any kind and kill instantly upon contact. She was a gymnast as well as an assassin, so a lot of her combat style focused around Japanese martial arts; gymnastics and the good old stiletto-high heel roundhouse kick to the face. She was quite a sight to see doing backflips, leg-spins and lithe, limber movements with her sword, and she often did exhibitions and performed artistic, sometimes highly-sexualized ritual dances and poses, she was a popular photographic subject on Nara IV and knew many profession photographers personally. She didn’t like ranged weapons and thought that it was “too easy,” something Stina greatly admired, as stealth and trickery were her best weapons. “Hey there, Stina, and hi Baron. How about we get off this planet now, shall we?” Rebecca drawled in her Georgia peach accent. “Sounds good…” Baron von Saddendorf said, trying to sound cheerful, not too successfully. And so it was. They still had about 25 minutes before they reached the spaceport, so they had to hide their urgency. The body of Keiichiro was left in Stina’s house, but by the time Reich authorities arrived at her mansion, they would be long gone. The ship that Rebecca flew for the Rainkiss Lilies was a stolen Reich Ilyrria-class stealth infiltrator ship, impossible to detect on radar and could even become invisible to the eye for 5 minutes, before the cloaking needed to be recharged for about an hour. The ship gave no exhaust signature and was armed with concussion missiles, quad blaster cannons and three spy drones capable of operating on land, in the air, underwater and in the vacuum of space; they were small, inconspicuous and could even attach to ships during warp travel, allowing the assassins to track their targets wherever they went. The group of 5 individuals walked out of Stina’s mansion for what was probably the last time, Stina and the others actually felt saddened by this, Nara IV was the closest thing they had ever had to a home, and they were partially the reason why it would soon be destroyed. This was the awful reality of living under the Reich of the Black Sun, and the 700 Mithras Sage baron families, the Hirds, that ruled it. If only there was some way to restore peace and democracy, the glory days of the old United Democratic Federation. Few remained who held any hope that those days would ever return.

  1. Shadow Paradox

Creeping from the Warp Space tunnel, the colossal, 17-km.-long Abyssal Trinity, the Bathory-Kozak Hird’s family flagship, slipped into realspace after a 6-hour transit from Earth over the emerald surface of Kisame-Tennu, which had now been heavily built up as the Reich political capital. Like all Reich ships, it was equipped with a warp-bubble Quantum Drive that allowed a ship to teleport to any location in the known Universe, after accelerating for 3 hours to “warp speed,” the ship would drop its shields and simultaneously activate the warp-bubble, teleporting the ship to the destination, or exit point, programmed into the navicomputers on the bridge. Then, the ship would decelerate for 3 more hours, until it reached its destination…a wonder of human engineering. On the Trinity’s bridge, Admiral Hunyadi Ciçek, commanding officer of the Trinity’s 350,000-man crew and 500,000 Night Hammer soldiers, communicated with Dock Station Alpha, a huge, orbital space station in geo-synch orbit for ships too large to enter the atmosphere; despite the Trinity’s atmospheric stabilizing fins, it was too huge to enter Kisame-Tennu’s atmosphere. “This is November-November-Sierra-Foxtrot, Abyssal Trinity, requesting permission to dock with Station Alpha.” “You are cleared for docking on Bay Alpha-Ten, Hangar B-7. Welcome to Kisame-Tennu, My Lords.” “Is the ship docking soon?” Admiral Hunyadi’s skin crawled with the sound of that voice. “Yes, Lord Bathory-Groznyy. We are here.” “Fine…the Hird grows weary of waiting. Patience is a frail thing; it can be lost quite easily in the moment and anticipation…just like sanity and life itself…” Andreii’s staccato, monotone voice echoed through the bridge. He was purposely using his sage powers to suppress his emotions, so much so that he looked like an expressionless, emotionless zombie, with his wide eyes and tiny, dilated pupils. He did occasionally release his inhibitions, and the result was never attractive, to say the very least…even his own men were terrified of him. “Now, it is time…I, as does the Reich, know that the fugitive slave girls are responsible for the death of the most promising Grand Marshal candidate in the galaxy, I have felt it in the Mithras Energies…my Hirdsmen are about to meet with the Emperor to seek those responsible…though I do have other matters to attend to. But then again, what am I but just one facet in the universal continuum?” Andreii mused to himself. “Izak, Ravenzvool, Latos, Sleip, and Maeheel…as well as you, Miss Aleksandra, I summon thee to Council.” Just then, 6 more Mithras Sages, members of Andreii’s 30-man Bathory-Kozak Hird, his “Bloodline Brothers,” as they were known in Mithras Sage jargon, appeared, quite literally, out of thin air, the energy in the air itself congealed to form their bodies and minds. The six other Sages stood around their Master, the five male Sages all had Renaissance-era nobility outfits, and the woman, Miss Aleksandra Miel, was the only woman that Andreii cared about in a compassionate way. Her long, reddish-brown hair was silky and had purple pearls in it as a headband, as well as an aloof, snobbish look on her face. She wore an excessive amount of eyeshadow, pale, white face paint that accentuated her haunting, almost disturbing blue eyes and tiny, dilated pupils. Her dress was crimson-red with black flame designs all over it; her lipstick was blood-red, and she had gold earrings with huge emerald stones in the center, as well as a diamond-studded Slovak cross necklace. “Hello, Miss Alexandra. I have been expecting you.” Suddenly, Andreii’s voice became very soft, deep and soothing, he was letting his emotions seep through upon the sight of Alexandra, a master composer, singer, stage actress and stage manager, her specialty attack was hypnosis; as was the special attack for his entire Hird, each Hird specialized in a separate sorcery technique, and a Hird leader could summon allies to his side at any time by communicating through the quantum string-field, from anywhere in the universe…Andreii was never truly alone, wherever he was. “Welcome to Kisame-Tennu, loyal members of the Bathory-Kozak Hird…there is much talk, much gossip, and much rumor to be heard. A little bird told me that a certain escaped slave girl group masquerading as ‘assassins’ killed a Reich Grand Marshal candidate…” Andreii said, returning to his monotone, staccato, echoing, emotionless voice. “Perhaps he wasn’t quite up to snuff, if he couldn’t kill an escaped slave…” Izak said, his frightening, cat-like eyes bulging from his head as he spoke in an eerie, echoing voice, in the old Creole language. He was the top huntsman in the Bathory-Kozak Hird, and was responsible for the massacre of more than 600,000 young women in the past 4,500 years, more than any other Mithras Sage. Most of them were Turkish; he never seemed to understand that the Muslim-Cossack Wars of the 1580s were long over. Izak was a Cossack huntsman for Andreii’s mother Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed, who made his name as a hunter of Turkish children in Andreii’s father’s Cossack brigade, Count Nazasady, despite his birth in the Spanish colony of Hispaniola. Demented, sadistic and torturous, he preferred to bring the 28-year old Elizabeth her victims in various states of dismemberment, something she took great pleasure in seeing. He was wounded mortally, however, in the Battle of Mohacs against the forces of Suleiman the Magnificent, but fortunately, a Mithras Sage, named Latos Blagojevic, initiated him as he was slowly bleeding to death on the battlefield. He rose from his wounds, after healing in a matter of seconds from the ancient energies flowing in his veins, fell back, and later massacred the Turks at the Siege of Vienna. Now, more than four and a half millennia later, Latos and Izak were Blood Brothers, united as nobility in a massive, Mithras-controlled Galactic Reich…and he thirsted for fresh blood. Andreii would not be rushed, however, he liked to savor the moments of anticipation, ones where he knew that something was about to happen. Just then, a group of Imperial Night Hammers walked onto the bridge in full armor and DN-175 blaster carbines, their armor looked like a cross between a modern exoskeleton and a Nazi SS trooper, just shielded and with a black cape for the commander, as well as a steel face mask that contained a HUD, revealing the world to the soldier through electronic eyes that could see in ultraviolet, infrared, and in total darkness or obscure conditions. The shinigami death-head, a goat-horned demon skull with deer antlers, was emblazoned proudly on their helmets. The commander saluted by crossing his arms sharply in front of him. “Sir, we are pulling into the docking bay, suggest that you continue your meeting on the planet’s surface.” “Agreed…Hirdsmen, meet me in the Shrine of the Seven-Year Thunder, we will continue our meeting at the Altar of the Sun.” The six other Mithras Sages vanished from sight for the moment, melding with the universal energies once again. Andreii was a master at this technique as well; he just travelled on a massive A-2 class battleship for face, but he preferred not to make an entrance…there was a distinct purpose to everything he did, everything always happened the way he wanted it to, and this time would be no different. As the ship shuddered faintly, docking with the airlock and allowing troops and weapons to be unloaded onto the station, Andreii walked slowly towards the airlock, with his 6 most trusted Hirdsmen now standing behind him, flanked by Night Hammer Honor Guards, that wielded force pikes, more likely to be lethal than blasters or plasma weaponry down the bridge lift stairs, into the lift, and onto the airlock floor, the Imperial Night Hammer soldiers, as well as the mechanics working on the huge Indricothere-class main battle tanks and huge VTOL troopships in the Trinity’s vast hangar bay, saluted via an arm-cross in unison, as Night on Bald Mountain, Mussorgsky’s famous piece about Catchice Fortress, now Catchice Temple, playing over the intercom, in the same way that “Hail to the Chief” was once played for the President of the United States. As Bathory and his entourage stepped onto the station out of the airlock gate, the Imperial station crew saluted and bowed in reverence. “Rise…” Andreii ordered, with his 6 Hirdsmen standing behind him. “Take us down to the planet’s surface, we must meet with Emperor Raito about a very pressing matter.” “The shuttle to the surface is waiting down the hall; it will descend as soon as your party boards.” Andreii and his Hirdsmen, guards and soldiers walked towards the shuttle bay door, without a word to the Reich station officer, they were Tier 3, therefore 1000 times less significant than the Tier 1, the Mithras Sage nobility and the Emperor himself. The Ten-Tiers of Existence system of societal hierarchy was logarithmic, each number higher represented a tenfold increase in value to society over the number before it, so Tier 1 was considered 10! times higher than the lowest vermin classes, the sacrificial maids, Christians, Jews and Muslims. “10!” representing “ten-factorial,” or 10 times itself 10 times in expanded notation. Those Reich officers knew their place, as well. Stepping into the shuttle bay, the shuttle unfolded its flight wings and descended into Kisame-Tennu’s atmosphere, headed for Bakura Spaceport, the biggest commercial spaceport on the planet, in the shadow of the Reich Pinnacle, a gargantuan government complex more than 50 times the size of the old Sydney Opera House on the Old Earth, and second in size only to Catchice Temple on Earth, the Bathory-Kozak Hird’s home. The building was surrounded by colossal Imperial Japanese-style gardens with flowers, cherry trees, water lilies, dotted with statues of all 700 Hird leaders in courtyards within the gardens, including such vicious warriors as Praetor Theresa Umbara, the beautiful but horrifically cunning leader of the Vermaethicnis-Mormoria Hird based in Austria, she was the ultimate Black Widow killer, seducing young, handsome, rich men with her long, silky black hair, blue eyes, delicate figure, extremely seductive outfits and harmonious, soft, melodic voice, her Hird was all female and they were just as attractive as she was…she stayed with the men until they married, when she killed her newlywed husband on their honeymoon to claim their money…she was the richest woman in the galaxy and loved to drink, party, and was the master at playing hard to get and teasing. She never let her passions get in the way of her goals, however; Miss Ariel Wiesel, the horrific Israeli leader of the Judas-Phantasmus Hird, she was born into a Hasidic family, but quickly began terrorizing her closed-off Jewish bungalow community every night in the summer, killing the other Hasidic girls and consuming their blood with such abandon that she was already rumored to be the “Supreme Mithras Gestalt,” a sort of Messiah for the Mithras Sages, THE ONE, Sun Goddess Mithras herself, rejected the Hasidic religion and formed the Judas-Phantasmus Hird only three years before, and if anyone could succeed Emperor Raito, it was this 7’3” tall, sinister, willowy blonde Israeli vampire-witch, with the stunning blue eyes and deep, blood-red lips, perfect body and shapely, hourglass figure. There was the “Grimm Couple;” the leaders of the notorious Wewelsburg Hird in Germany, which had piqued the curiosity of Heinrich Himmler during WWII and sparked the long, 4,500-year return of the Mithras Sages, back from ancient obscurity, to being the supreme leaders of the Milky Way Galaxy, Eisner von Richtofen and his wife, the porcelain-doll-like Elsa Laura von Wolzhogen, made famous when the Brothers Grimm were granted audience by Elsa because she “loved…little…children…” and saw the collection of children’s books as “an…honorable…pursuit…,” the Fascio-Odinist Gustavus Adolphus von Nordheim of the Wotankult Hird, based in Scandinavia, and many other leaders of the Reich, all centered around three huge statues of Emperor Raito Asoka Kanagashima III, Master Taira-no-Tomomori and the sick, twisted and demented Countess Toni Medici-Fecchiera. The Wewelsburg Hird in particular was extremely cruel and twisted to those women it killed and the various torture instruments and weapons in Tempel Wewelsburg, the Mithras Temple built on the old Wewelsburg Fortress in Germany, reflected the “Grimm Couple’s” cruelty. Various rumors and propaganda images of the two Wewelsburg Hird leaders, showing Eisner’s eerie, beady eyes and Elsa’s creepy, living porcelain-doll style, taunted the young women of the galaxy, the lowest-of-the-low Teir-10 maids, with phrases such as “Where are those girls?” and “Love is temporary. Death is eternal.” All 700 Hird leaders gathered in Yasukuni-Ultima, the Shrine of the Reich Guardians, every year on Empire Day, and that was a sight to see, to say the least. As the Bathory shuttle landed, Andreii and his Hirdsmen stepped out onto the landing pad, in front of the Shrine of the Seven-Year Thunder, the monument to the creation of the Reich from the 7-year Federation Civil War, he was greeted by the sinister visage of Emperor Raito and his 30-man Shinigami Hird and Master Tomomori, dressed in their traditional Japanese royal uniforms. Raito had his stylized brown hair arranged in its usual way, his monocle glinted in front of his Black Sun-rune shaped pupils, and his fang-like teeth made him look like a monster, as usual. As Bathory and his entourage stepped out of the shuttle, Andreii and Raito bowed out of respect for each other. “Welcome to Kisame-Tennu, Lord Andreii, I believe you will find the accommodations here most enjoyable, the tropical climate is far more pleasant that Slovakia on Earth…” “There is no place like home, there is no place like home…hahaha…like Judy Garland in that 20th-century movie, I cannot agree with that statement, Emperor Kanagashima.” Andreii said, in his montone, expressionless voice. “You may or may not be aware that a group of 4 escaped slaves calling themselves ‘assassins’ killed one of your Imperial Grand Marshal candidates on Nara IV.” “Yes, I know; I have sensed it through the quantum strings; Nara IV is a place where dignity goes to die, where the desperate and destitute find refuge from their inevitable death. Unless you are one of the Tier One, death is inevitable, so it is not whether or not you die, it is how you die. The choice is yours, do you die a coward, or do you die standing? The Night Hammers know this, and they choose the latter, hence the Shinigami Death-Head on their helmets…tell me, Lord Andreii, do you ever experience nostalgia, the memories and fondness of the past?” “I choose not to…emotions only impede my focus…therefore I suppress them 100%. I do, however, have memories of the past, having lived 4,500 years, it would be illogical to think that I do not remember. One cannot control how their feel, only their reactions.” “Oh, but, don’t you remember that time on Nara IV just before the Seven-Year Thunder?” Andreii’s stoic, emotionless face suddenly became far more sinister and demonic. “Ahh, yes, looking that the destitute brothel in the seedy part of the main capital, those women, just as you said, go there to sacrifice their dignity to pay for their drug habits and the rest of their short, miserable lives. The amount of suffering I saw in that brothel was far more telling of the state of society in the galaxy than any progress…so much, yet so little, so few, yet so many, life is paradoxical and self-sustaining, yet self-destructive. The Know-Nothing Complex and the Dragon Paradox guarantees suffering, all manner of delectable…delicious suffering…Oh, sorry, I appear to letting my emotions get the best of me again…you really should be more careful with your words.” Andreii said, returning to his expressionless, emotionless state. “Archdeacon Andreii Bathory-Groznyy, you must remember who you are, you are your mother’s son, and you have her same haunting blue eyes and black hair, and your father’s iron gaze. They were not shy about hiding their emotions, why must you be? I can see into your thoughts, Andreii…she needed you, more than you know…part of being a Mithras Sage is accepting emotions and using them as a tool, not suppressing them. That is your flaw, all species have one, that drives them extinct via the natural selection process and evolution. I can see every aspect of any person, animal or plant by reading the Mithras Energies. You are flawless, that explains why you survive, but your mother, father and three siblings died, but for your one flaw. It is exactly what your family’s philosophy of ‘Know Nothing-Complex’ and ‘Dragon Paradox’ speaks of. What exists cannot exist without dooming itself, therefore it cannot know anything, based on the laws of science and the ever-changing nature of the universal continuum. Humanity is doomed; anyone who claims to know what ‘forever’ truly means is a Tier-10 vermin. Fortunately, we, as Mithras Sages, are a blessed group. We have been chosen by the Sun and Saturn to lead the desperate masses of mankind and we will do just that. Anyone who dares oppose us is beneath our contempt, and shall be punished severely. Love dies. Hate dies. We survive. And Nara IV shall meet its end, its dregs buried in the graves they’ve so happily been digging for themselves. I have sent the Grand Marshal Council to deliberate on a plan for disciplining these misbehaving children on that planet and it is high time that they see the consequences of opposing the Reich’s laws and orders. My laws are the only certainty in this galaxy, as are the consequences of disobedience. I will have my revenge for Keiichiro’s death. You may proceed to the Midnight Sun Imperial Resort Complex, Lord Andreii. Your presence at the Shrine is no longer necessary.” “And so it is…” Andreii and his Hirdsmen turned and walked away from Emperor Raito and his Hird, proceeding to the huge hotel resorts, now owned by the various Reich barons, counts, countesses and lords, but still used occasionally as hotels, just as they were during Federation times. Andreii remembered what Raito said to him, silently and stoically. He was Emperor for a reason, his wisdom, knowledge, insight and power were unparalleled, even his teacher, Taira-no-Tomomori, who existed now as an immortal spirit of Mithras Energies, was awed by his apprentice’s mastery of the Mithras Arts. He had come a long way from that headstrong, supremely intelligent and handsome young man, the son of a prominent Japanese businessman in the early 21st century, who became very curious about medieval Japanese history during his time at Tokyo University, he had scored the highest in the country, 100% in every subject, on the national entrance exams; he had majored in history to become a lawyer, with the intent on going to law school, but the Mithras Sages intervened by placing an ancient scroll in his bookbag, leading the curious Raito directly to the Aokigahara Forest, the dark, haunted woods at the foot of Mt. Fuji, after a tennis meet. There, Raito encountered the Shade Forme of Taira-no-Tomomori, offering him a position in his Shinigami Hird, after thinking about his future and this offer; he decided to take Tomomori up on the deal, provided he could remain on course to get his law degree. Tomomori promised that he would achieve far more than a law degree. In the 4,500 years since that day, Raito graduated college, and had more than 50 wives, each one of whom he killed after he saw no use for her anymore, making Henry VIII look like a pacifist in comparison. His most recent mistress, Kiore Manaka, was just as pretty and smart as the rest of them, but she met the same horrible fate, despite the fact that she genuinely loved him, not just his power and money. He was very kind to her and enjoyed her company, but only as long as it was convenient for him. He was immortal as per the Mithras Energies, and looked eternally 23 years old, but the magic he possessed was so strong that he had begun to take the form of the Mithras Gestalt itself, his front canine teeth had developed into fangs, his eyes had taken the shape of the Black Sun rune, and his blood was gradually being replaced by pure energy. Eventually, his body would be destroyed if he became too powerful, and be left unable to rule the Reich he created in practice, but that day was probably thousands of years away. He was still very much learning new techniques, the purest example of Mithras Sage craft, there could be no other Sage fitter to rule over humanity…except for, perhaps, Ariel Wiesel. She was already more powerful than the Emperor, and had only been a Mithras Sage for 250 years. All the other Sages were thousands of years old. She was wiser, more knowledgeable and performed cosmos-bending feats so incredible that she could only be the Mithras Gestalt, the embodiment of the Supreme Sun Goddess itself. She looked identical to the ancient pictures of Mithras, the Ancient Aryan sun-goddess, and she was from the right area, her ancestors were the Levantine-Semitic-Aryan blood stock; and she seemed to fit the description of the “Great Shape” in the Pannykhaninda, the final prayer in any Mithras Sage blood-ritual, just as the sacrificial victims were thrown into the Pillar of Alacrity, which was such a deep, beautiful hymn, that those who head it said it “could make the stones weep and bow in reverence” to its majesty, the bells, gongs and somber, mighty Sage Choir singers. The prayer was conducted in whatever language the Hird conducting it spoke, but the original Pannykhaninda language, written in roughly 8000 B.C.E. on the Old Earth, had been lost. Seeing the sorcerers conduct the final stanza of the ancient ritual, all surrounding their Hird leader in the depths of their Temple’s Sanctuary, surrounding the blazing Pillar of Alacrity, with the burning runes on every inch of the wall glowing with a blood-red, crimson glow, their faces, illuminated by the Pillar and covered in virgin blood, all singing and praying in their deep, bellowing voices with the choir and the bells, gongs and flutes playing in the background at the height of the ritual, a state called “Porphyriata,” was probably one of the most emotion-rousing scenes in the galaxy. The state of Porphyriata was a moment where the sage’s blood became pure energy, granting them the power to bend their bodies into unnatural positions, such as extending their necks as long as giraffes and twisting it into snake-like contortions, crab-like scuttling, transforming into Shade Formes, ghostly images, hallucinations and ravenous, rabid behavior…often all at once. Andreii had performed the ritual thousands of times, but no one, no one, did the ritual with more passion, more devout fervor, than Countess Toni Medici-Fecchiera. Andreii had never met her, ever, and that was somewhat intentional, but his luck was about to run out. Suddenly, a man wearing a suit with a cartoonish face, strolled out from behind a bush and then fell over, tripping over his own two feet. Then, things started to get weird…really, REALLY weird. A gigantic, walking banana slipped on the man on the ground, destroying his body in a shattered, glassy storm of blood, then, the banana unpeeled itself, and none other than Countess Toni herself stepped out of the banana peel. “Well, well, well…if it isn’t Andreii Bathory-Groznyy himself, I’m impressed…I’ve never seen a man like you…I…want to burrow into your blood like a parasite, make our souls one, like one, colonial organism…and…” Toni pressed her body up against Andreii’s, and suddenly pulled an lethal, steel finger scalpel out of thin air and placed it over her middle finger, and flipped “The Bird” at Andreii, just pointing the scalpel directly at his Adam’s apple, and winked. “Don’t think I don’t think you think I know you think I’m beautiful…After all, why trust me, a delicate, upper-class Italian woman, after all, you can’t trust Italians, hun…There is no God, there is no Devil, and I am His bane, and His only squeeeezzzeeee…” “Are you the most INSANE individual in the galaxy?!?!” Andreii said, visibly disturbed by Countess Toni’s complete lack of subtlety and sanity. “Oh, silly little prince, you’re in my world, not yours, and I, I am the Goddess of Insanity, I can either be your best friend or your WORST NIGHTMARE!! But I am, in reality, everything and anything you want me to be…” Andreii was very much aware of Toni’s eccentricity, and her sick tortures. As he thought about this, Toni just…just…exploded with bizarre outbursts. “Well, I can show you a little song I wrote about…about, nothing in particular.” Toni stood in front of Andreii, wearing her long, crimson-red dress that somehow made her look 8 feet tall with flowers and black flames all over it, she had blood-red lipstick, sinister, seductive blue eyes, way too much eyeshadow and a red hood with blue lamb wool surrounding it. “It’s love, only love, sweet love, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” A covered wagon that meowed like a sick cat rolled over to Andreii, except it was dragging two bloated, dead horses with massive erections, being beaten by giant, bloody baby dolls walking and wielding spiked whips. “Step right up to the Irony Wagon, full of my most ironic little musings, silly jokes and most HA-HA worthy puns, plays and experiences…” Before Andreii could even answer Toni’s bizarre display of insanity, she opened the “Irony Wagon,” and a cloud of clothing irons, each one with a screaming child’s voice flapping broken, bleeding, bony, twisted bird’s wings, flew out in place of dust. What followed was a blood-curdling display of Toni’s memories and thoughts, playing inside Andreii’s head. “While I probe your memories, enjoy the show, HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” In his mind’s eye, he saw Toni spinning people on torture wheels made from bicycle spokes and tractor tires and being ripped apart by a bladed spinner, like a human prize wheel, only with each spin, the victim was shredded even more by the degenerate, sadistic Countess, with blood flying all over her face like a warm summer shower, images of Toni smashing a naked man’s penis with a sledgehammer and masturbating the shattered, bleeding organ until it ejaculated blood and semen into Toni’s mouth, and then placing the man’s shattered penis in a shark-skin condom, so he had to perform a self-amputation to get the thing off, and then making the man’s two children, naked and tied to a post like dogs, chew on Daddy’s amputated penis like dogs shredding a sausage or be thrown into the Pillar of Alacrity, which, of course, Toni did anyway, there were images of Toni pretending to be an innocent young mother needing to use the communications console, only to engineer scenarios where she could stay and eventually impaled the mother and her unborn fetus alive on a spit and slowly roasted them over an open fire, until she was cooked to a golden-brown perfection and the fetus likewise, a post-mortem Cesarean section was performed by other members of Toni’s Phantasmagoria-Haidnur Hird, and the cooked, alien-looking, burned fetus was given to Toni, which she cradled as if it were her own newborn baby, but, realizing that it was dead, threw the cooked fetus into the human meat grinder as an offering to the Pillar of Alacrity, and then splashing human blood on her face from the torture that the mother endured before she was cooked, like a child playing in the mud after a summer rain, laughing like a little girl. She trapped women in cages so they had to let her violate them sexually to remove metal spikes from their vaginas, she jammed crucifixes up her own clitoris and used them as vibrators, gloated about how Jesus was a “whore-monger” for “fucking a witch” and then shoved the vibrator-cross down her victim’s throat before shredding him in a barrel full of spikes 88 times, 88 for Heil Hitler, one of Toni’s idols, until he drowned and gagged in a pool of his own blood. She also forced Muslims to eat rancid pig excrement out of a deep hatred for Christians, Jews and Muslims, or anyone from Middle Eastern descent, even from places like Turkey or Syria, largely secularized Muslim populations, there were also images of necrophilia. “Oh, let’s see, you had your family murdered, your heart broken, your 4,500 years in this universe have been eventful, but nothing spectacular. BORING!!!” Toni’s voice, punctuating the horrors of her own memories, echoed in Andreii’s head, causing him to shiver, shake and visibly panic, his stoic, cool head breaking down, sweating and panicking…eventually, the images and sounds became too much, and Andreii fell to the ground, clutching his head in agony, shrieking. “Oh, sorry, I guess I got carried away…Hehehehe…oops. Come, pick yourself up…I must confess my intentions to you. I saw…your thoughts…you are much tormented, your own ideology serves to blind you to your own emotions…for example, what would you say if I knew what happened to your little sweetheart, your little…Magda Karenina?” Andreii’s face suddenly softened and became very, very manipulated by Toni’s sadistic tone. “What if I told you that my Phantasmagoria-Haidnur Hird killed her?” Andreii’s face flew into a rage, his eyes dilated, his voice became hollow and dry and he began to cackle like a freakish banshee, drawing his sword for the first time in many years, but Toni unleashed her full force on Andreii’s attack, with the simple flick of her scalpel-finger glove, sent her assailant flying against a tree, crumpling him against the wall. “Down. Bad dog.” “Go to Hell…Go to Hell, you filthy, utterly disgusting harlot!!” “Oh, I am so flattered, and I am so right. I hit you with a subtle truth about your past that I read through a simple mind-infiltration spell, and your little façade dropped like the sack of burning feces on the unsuspecting fat, redneck, Christian-conservative neighbor down the street. I killed them. I killed Jews, I killed Muslims, I killed a traumatized woman who had been held captive by a man for 11 years simply for saying that Hell and Heaven exist, the moment she returned home from the courtroom in front of reporters, police and a priest. She wasn’t a virgin. She was wearing a short skirt, so she was a “bad” victim. “Bad” because she was Christian and, like all Christians are, a pack of Tier-10 hypocrites worth less than a stinking puddle of earthworm diarrhea, she asked for it. There are “good” victims, some who don’t deserve their punishments but must be punished anyway because the Mithras Codex demands it, and those that do, those that do deserve what happens to them, for whatever transgressions they produce against the forces that created them…I believe it is what you call ‘The Dragon Paradox-Know-Nothing Complex-Dichotomy.’ Your ‘Dragon Paradox-Know-Nothing Complex-Dichotomy’ is just another interpretation of my Seven Doctrines of Insanity. These seven parts make up the Gestalt, the Head, Arms, Legs, Eyes, Ears, Nose and Voice. I see the world on less of a universal basis, unlike your family and Hird’s esotericism on universal continuums and rambling mumbo-diddly-duggery-jumbo like that, but more on an interpersonal, deep psychological one, but you and I are equally correct in our assumptions about the true nature of the universal continuum…but then, what is ‘right?’ What is ‘wrong?’ I drew this magic wheel when I was first initiated…what do make of it?” Toni showed Andreii the Phantasmagoria Grimoire, Toni’s cover sheet for her massive spell book. It was huge pentagram, drawn in such an eccentric, detailed way that not even a Sixth Millennium supercomputer could accurately re-create it what she drew by hand, with a grotesquely-posed, skinned human corpse with a head, arms, legs, eyes, ears, nose and huge, open mouth, nailed like an insect pinned to a collecting board in the center of the pentagram. The pentagram was covered in ancient Mithras runes and occult symbols, such as the Black Sun rune, Wolfsangel Cross, Sigtyr Runes, swastikas, pinwheel runes, Wotan runes, and huge, dizzying designs that looked…evil, there was no other word to describe it, but for Toni, it was beauty, murdering beauty and passion. “Do you see the point of all this now? The point is that the very bases of Mithras Energies come from emotions…the stronger, darker emotions, anger, hatred, fear, love, lust, desire…passions…they empower us. Passion is the root of all power, and by shutting off yourself to the power of emotions, you suppress your own power…I almost wasn’t able to block your attack when you lunged at me, because you tapped into your latent emotions, which I triggered by mentioning a painful event of your past…and pain, my little prince, is the strongest emotion ever known. If you use that pain as a weapon, you will be unstoppable. You must break free from the cycle; liberate yourself from the self-consuming anguish that binds you to your inhibitions, and create a new reality for yourself…I am the Goddess of Insanity…I know all about false realities, hehehehehe…Oh, and there is one more thing…my Seven Doctrines of Insanity has a tie-in as well, the Chains of Acuity Problem and the Gestalt Fields. This is not so much a problem in the literal as a mathematical sense, it merely states that everything leads to something else; scientists call it the ‘butterfly effect.’ Not just an action leading to another action, but an ideology leading to another ideology. The Gestalt is the ideological fabric of the universe, just as relativity is the physical fabric of the universe. Ideologies produced by society displace the already present ideologies in the Gestalt Field, just as mass in physical space displaces space itself. When ideologies move, the course of humanity is advanced…war, terror, chaos, but just as often, hope, honor, love, passion. It is here that the Chains of Acuity bind my Seven Doctrines with your Dragon Paradox Know-Nothing-Complex-Dichotomy, and I’m certain that we both know the implications of that connection…” “Society is doomed, Madame Toni. It is destroyed by the very forces that drive it, which is its ultimate flaw.” “Yes…I see it, you have thrown off the chains of inhibition. You do not speak with that droning, emotionless, weak voice anymore…as the Goddess of Insanity, I am the ultimate cure for mental illness, that is, your repressed memories, if I so choose to be. Like I said, I can be your worst nightmare, or you best friend. I am whatever you want me to be. By the way, your voice is the most handsome sound I have ever heard…ever…” “Thank you, Miss Toni.” “Oh, you tease me so much…” Oh, and, before I go, the actual purpose of my visit, Emperor Raito has ordered me to lead the invasion of Nara IV. I just thought I’d introduce myself. Ciao!” Miss Toni closed her eyes, startling Andreii one last time as she blinked once, revealing bizarre Japanese anime eyes with red pupils on her eyelids, then blinked again and they were gone, jumped into her giant Irony Wagon and drove away into a cackling, clown-like laughing cloud. Strangely, this was no shock for Andreii. He had heard rumors about Toni, and they were all true. She was the most remarkable, incredible woman in the universe…and she, in that sense, had just made him into what he is today…but, this also implied, through his own ideology, that she would be the one to kill him. It was inevitable. They, as Sages, were part of the infinite cycle of existence, life, death, expansion, contraction, and renewal. It was unavoidable. It was destiny. Andreii walked away, and checked into his Midnight Sun Resort room reserved for Mithras Sage diplomats, and promptly ordered a Bloody Mary, O+, from the bar. Andreii looked up as a huge shadow was cast over the Reich capital, Toni’s Reich fleet division was departing, her own A-2 class flagship, the Lucid Illusion, and 15 F-77 class standard Imperial starships, shaped like huge squid with glowing orange eyes. The destitute, begotten individuals on Nara IV would soon be put out of their misery…after dying in the most traumatic way imaginable. “Izak…” Andreii asked his major domo, with a lively look in his eyes. “Yes, My Lord?” “When you were with the Black Sun Bandits in New Orleans, before you joined my Hird and before the Reich’s ascension, did you ever meet a woman who truly inspired you to be who you are today?” Andreii asked, taking a swig of his fermented blood brew, called, not surprisingly, “Bloody Mary.” “Yes, there was one woman, she was not a Sage, but she had a way with manipulation that really struck me as inspirational. Her name was Delphine LaLaurie, she was a stunning young French woman…reminded me a bit of your mother, just without the thick Polish accent.” “Hmmm…much has changed since then…” “Indeed it has, My Lord. Madame LaLaurie was a socialite who tortured black slaves in the most twisted, yet creative ways. But her cruelty was…subpar, compared to mine, and she said she admired my ability.” “Ha! You knew the Madame LaLaurie?! That’s the most hilarious thing I’ve heard all day…” “I never said I knew her…I said I spoke with her just that once…she was 24 and I took the Black Sun Bandits to her house for dinner…and her cruelty was not what truly inspired me, by the way. Her beauty and her poise, her calm, collected head for one, but her acceptance of death and destiny. She knew what we were, some claimed that she was a sucreyant, but I ran some simple tests on her, and she had no Bloodline potential, therefore she could not be trained as a Mithras Sage. However, she knew what she had done, and she firmly believed that she was going to Hell for it…we now know, in the Sixth Millennium, far more than they understood in the `18th or 19th century, we now know that there are no paradises for the virtuous, no inferno for the damned. There ain’t no rest for the wicked, Lord Bathory. Your mother Elizabeth, whom I had great respect for understood that, as did Madame LaLaurie. She accepted what she had done…she made peace with herself, and she relished in her own life, even though she could never know eternal existence, for that is for a select few, the 700 Mithras Hirds. People talk morality like its black and white…it ain’t. People say ‘good’ and ‘bad’ like they say ‘love’ and ‘hate.’ They use those words without ever truly knowing their meaning. It’s like the kid in the high school class trying to sound smart for the new foreign exchange girl, using words that he read in the dictionary that he really knows nothing about, and just sounds like an idiot trying to be something he’s not. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are strong absolutes, just like ‘love’ and ‘hate.’ Few people live long enough to realize this truth, and we, as Mithras Sages, have the blessing of eternal life. “Well, I do know one thing, Izak, and that this blood in this pitcher isn’t from a high school girl…” All 6 Bathory-Kozak Hirdsmen laughed with their strong, Cossack chuckles and took gigantic swigs from the sub-par blood brew anyway. Hirdsman Latos was getting a bit drunk, and started slurring his words. “Well, this stuff…is a bit strong…” Latos stumbled over his words and sat down awkwardly, his pale, bleached face and carved, “human Jack O’ Lantern” expression looking even more terrifying than usual as he became more inebriated with every swig of Bloody Mary brew…his long black hair, grown out to reflect status, and his red uniform and surcoat and black cape with huge, black Fedora hat staying on his head; Latos was always a heavy drinker and often came back to Catchice Temple drunk as a skunk. “Hey, hey, Andreii, remember that time that we were on Heike, and we stopped at that moon bar in Sunkiss Lover’s Spa?” “Oh, you HAD to bring THIS one up…HA!” Andreii groaned and laughed, getting a bit drunk himself. “Relax…no one cares here; you’re in the Reich capital. I’ve heard some crazy stories from soldiers and Sages alike. Nothing you tell me is going to surprise me.” The bartender joked and laughed along with Andreii. “Now, do tell, Latos, why were we even in that bar?” “Oh, I was thirsty, I hadn’t drank in a long time…and that bartender, this tall, black-haired Japanese woman, you know the type, dancing around drunk at the bathhouse at night like a bitch, like the kind you’d see in those old 21st-century cartoons, she was looking…appetizing. So I walked up to the bar, and ordered a Bloody Mary, and when she turned, dressed in only a tight, black two-piece swimsuit, I pulled my dagger from its scabbard and slit her throat!!” Latos’ face became truly horrendous when recounting tales of his greatest murders, and the “Drunk Bathhouse Barmaid” story was his favorite to bust out, whenever he broke out this gem, he was really, really drunk. “And I poured my own Bloody Mary, and it tasted much better than any preservative-loaded blood brew available.” “What happened next?” “They pointed at a sign that said ‘No Killing the Barmaids,’ and threw me out! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” All 7 Sages laughed and cackled, taking a huge swig all at once. “TO ETERNAL LIFE, TONIGHT WE DRINK TO THEE!!” Andreii and his 6 Hirdsmen celebrated as Amaterasu, the parent star for Kisame-Tennu, set below the horizon, and the lights of the hundreds of ships in orbit crossed in front of the silver moon of Heike. As the day ended on one planet, the End of Days neared for another…

That afternoon on Nara IV was just like any other, hot, humid and full of the usual gambling, sin and crime in the seedier parts of the planet, but Baron von Saddendorf and the Rainkiss Lilies were long-gone, some were dimly aware that a grievous crime against the Reich had been committed that morning, thanks to Count Stefanescu’s broadcast, but his broadcast was intentionally vague, in reality, the Reich knew immediately that Candidate Keiichiro had been killed on Nara IV by the Rainkiss Lilies, the Mithras Sages had all sensed it through the cosmic strings, they just wanted to kill as many “dregs” as possible…and the Dies Irae had arrived. The day was hot and human, with the enormous pods of Wingwhales flying high over the ocean and the beach, singing loudly and entertaining a crowd of wildlife watchers on the ground. Others, however, were more preoccupied with activities on the beach than above it. There was currently a beach beauty contest in progress, with lines of contestants in their swimsuits putting on a show for the admiring spectators. Just as judging for the swimsuit modeling contest began on Solar Helix Beach, the tropical sun was blotted out by Countess Toni’s Reich task force, scattering the pod of Wingwhales, who sounded an alarm call and flew away, their grayish-brown bodies contrasted by the steel-gray of the A-2 class battleship in orbit. Their mission was simple. Eradicate the planet of Nara IV from the face of the galaxy. At first, the swimsuit-clad contestants, spectators and judges looked in awe of the Reich fleet; few civilians saw a Reich battlegroup outside of a spaceport or on Ansaati; such that they didn’t realize that the only reason a Reich fleet would arrive in orbit unexpectedly was that it was on an attack run. Their wonder quickly turned to terror when the fleet began an orbital bombardment of the city of Emerald Hammock’s defenses, mostly run by criminal cartels to protect the crime bosses’ mansions. They were utterly obliterated by ion and heavy laser cannons, just as swarms of Reich starfighters entered the atmosphere, launching volleys of photon and electron torpedoes, concussion missiles and seismic bombs, as well as searing pulse-laser blasts at the scattering masses, many being massacred where they stood. Then, the infantry transports landed on the planet, disgorging their contingents of Night Hammer troopers and huge, 180-ton Nazasady-class tanks, these looked like huge, black Hercules beetles on treads with their two “horns” being the twin cannons, the bottom horn being a smaller coaxial cannon, and the top horn being the main 160-mm smoothbore main cannon, as well as the Indricothere-class heavy artillery tanks and Fatalis-class Main Battle Tanks into the already screaming, burning city, directly into the thick of battle and chaos, holding the Shinigami Death’s Head flag high, the Raubtiers, as the Reich’s tank pilots were known, had arrived. Explosions rocked the city all around the troops as buildings collapsed from orbital strikes and starfighters zoomed overhead, but the Night Hammers had nothing to fear, for they were in control. There was no force on Nara IV that could stop the Reich forces from killing everyone on the planet. The soldiers fired their DN-175 blaster carbines into the crowds, killing thousands in droves, but the worst was yet to come.

In orbit, aboard the Lucid Illusion, Countess Toni stood on the bridge in her full EGA-EGL ballroom style battle-dress, an outfit so elaborate that it seemed to defy Euclidean geometry, and needed Mithras Quantum Energies to exist in its current state, with all the makeup, headdresses, hair-pins and elaborate silken cloth that made up her exquisitely complicated outfit, the most complicated and unmistakable dress in the galaxy. She was surrounded by several members of the Phantasmagoria-Haidnur Hird, including her major domo, Gaius Zantis Germanicus “The Sextortionist,” who wore a huge, stone, bird’s head shaped helmet and had no visible arms under his elaborate, green robe and cape, so named for his rape and murder tactics and sense of humor about his work, Lusamgya Serpentis “The Electrocutioner,” so-named for his electrical tortures and frying his enemies alive, and 5 other members of her 30-man Hird, each one just as frightening in their own way as Toni was. “Mistress, the armies are making good progress. I have scans showing that the tanks have overrun all local militia forces. They’re like sheep ripe for the slaughter…” Admiral Saul Irtas Kira, the Illusion’s commanding officer, told Toni and her Hirdsmen, standing in the center of the bridge. “Nonsense. It’s not happening fast enough. You cannot teach the galaxy a lesson with tanks. Let me take over from here…Sanctus esperitus diabolicus,veritas Hexen umbra, lumus non-facit, IMPERIA!” Toni uttered a short, Latin incantation with a blank, expressionless look on her face, and flipped her middle finger with the finger-scalpel blade on it to activate the spell. No sooner had she uttered the incantation, a gigantic Black Sun-Swastika rune shadow was cast over the entire planet of Nara IV, plunging the planet into total darkness. “You might want to activate the ground units’ low-light visor modes…Rise, Phantasms, and show these heathen bathhouse dregs the true meaning of horror…”

On the ground, the Night Hammers did what they were told from the orbital command signals on the bridge, activating their low-light visor mode, as a creepy, moaning shadow covered the burning world in a darkness as black as the darkest, moonless night on Earth. This was it. Toni’s occult, Nazi magic was about to be unleashed upon the cowering residents of Nara IV, with the Reich Night Hammer platoons and their huge, 180-ton-tanks and panzer battalions leading the charge…through total darkness. “Commence genocide…” one of the Night Hammers said through his visor comlink as the Phantasm Army rose from the malevolent shadows dancing across the ground, their tortured, twisting, “Dance Macabre” march punctuated by their inhuman, blood-curdling screams. They followed the Reich’s tank brigades and Night Hammer platoons as a reinforcement army of Nazi shadow hallucinations, Toni was using her own mind as a weapon, she was turning her sick, twisted fantasies into reality through Mithras-Black Sun-Aryan occult magic. The hallucinations, as they shredded victims to bloody ribbons with their giant, rake-like sickle claws, Toni’s Latin chanting echoed as a disembodied voice from their huge, white, staring, glowing, saucer-like eyes… “Never-ending agony…never-ending agony!! NEVER-ENDING AGONY!!!!!” the Phantasms screamed in Toni’s voice as they drenched their faces and claws in human blood. What the Panzers and the Night Hammers didn’t kill, the Phantasms found and left rivers of blood in their tracks. The Day of Wrath had arrived for Nara VII. The eternal darkness of the Black Sun cast its shadow of silence over the planet, punctuated by flashes of occult lightning. Occasionally, the lightning would illuminate the battlefield, showing the horror that the Reich’s Army and the Phantasms were causing, but only for a split second. Then, it was back to total darkness, save the glowing, howling white eyes of the Phantasms. The true horror of Countess Toni’s powers, between her horrid upbringing, her complete insanity and sadism, as well as her mastery of the occult, was now blatantly apparent, if it wasn’t before. Many Mithras Sages doubted the official stories that Toni was a member of the legendary Medici family of Italy, born in the 14th century, because of earlier Roman, Minoan and even Egyptian mosaics and hieroglyphs depicting a sinister, yet beautiful young woman that looked an awful lot like Countess Toni torturing and sacrificing Minoan, Roman and Egyptian maids and slave girls to the Sun God Mithras, these stories were doubtful. Even the Polynesian Kingdom in the Pacific and the Japanese Ryukyu Kingdom, both highly-advanced seafaring societies which reached their zenith around the same time as the Minoans and the Egyptians, had paintings of someone resembling Countess Toni to the letter, doing the same thing, slaughtering Hawaiian and Japanese maiden girls. Though the official story was what it was, there was much about Countess Toni that was unknown, and probably best left undisturbed. Some Sages believed that it was Countess Toni that destroyed the Minoans, Polynesian Kingdoms and the Japanese Ryukyu Kingdom, but made it look like the Santorini eruption in the late Bronze Age wiped those three ancient societies out…it went without saying that some of her pagan, Nazi-occult spells produced an effect identical to the Ten Plagues of Egypt, which destroyed Ramses III’s Empire in the Bible. Toni had very little to say on the subject, except that she felt horrible for Ramses in having a pack of Jews topple him and that the Hebrew Exodus was an “unforeseen consequence;” and wondered why the Hebrews didn’t die from whatever struck the Mediterranean coast that year. Her hatred of religion knew know bounds, she often lamented about being too busy killing Byzantine Catholics to kill Mohammed’s wives, those “filthy, raghead whores,” whom Mohammed “probably raped and infected with STDs,” in Countess Toni’s own words. No one knew the details except Toni herself, and she kept quiet on such things…like as she stood on the bridge, silent as the grave, staring with unblinking, dilated, shark-like eyes at the shadow-cloaked, burning planet from orbit. She had allowed the Mithras magic to course through her veins, transforming her into an even greater monster than she already was. “Milady, I’m reading a complete destruction of all habitations on Nara VII, most life on the planet is dead from our forces or the corrupting effects of the darkness.” Countess Toni stood motionless, commanding her Phantasms and mumbling an ancient occult chant to continue the attack, her eyes staring blankly forward at the stars and the planet below, with the smaller fleet cruisers surrounding the Illusion’s bridge. She was holding a sword handle that had a huge, limply-writhing squid tentacle for a blade, that suddenly changed into a razor-sharp sword every time she reached an action syllable in the mumbled incantation, she raised her finger-scalpel at the same time by flipping her middle finger…clearly, she was too engrossed in her own power to even hear Admiral Kira’s report on the planet’s surface. She clearly was not satisfied with the destruction yet, and neither were her 7 most trusted Hirdsmen, they hummed a meditation chant along with Toni’s spells. The attack was over when she said it was over. Toni continued to chant her ancient, funereal-sounding spell, with dark, shadowy shapes surrounding her, each one sobbing like a dying young woman. She had been killing virgin girls to maintain her own beauty for thousands of years; the Mithras Sage magic, as powerful as it was, prevented death from aging, but the magic was so powerful, that is slowly overpowered the body’s ability to contain it, which is why Sages eventually became too powerful for their bodies, as Master Taira-no-Tomomori had already become. The virgin blood, when applied to the skin, prevented the necrotic, deforming effects of the magic on the sage’s flesh; without a regular, immersing bath in fresh blood, Toni’s face would be gray, veiny, wrinkled and haggish, with yellow, bloodshot, sallow, reptilian eyes. Her graceful, silky brown hair color and her collagen, what gave her face its graceful shape, was unaffected, as the sage magic prevented the physiological and psychological effects of aging. Andreii Bathory-Groznyy sometimes purposely neglected to pour blood on his head every day, just so that his true, terrifying, ghoulish face would terrify his enemies even more than his war tactics and magic did. Countess Toni was a COLOSSAL drama-queen and would pitch a truly frightening rage-fit if she didn’t look stunning every day, however. To Toni, there was only passion, magic, love, beauty, darkness, insanity, and her side arm, her primary weapon being her magic, not her Hallucination Nano-Sword, which was changing from a squid tentacle to a murderous chainsaw blade to a lit stick of TNT and back to a squid tentacle every three seconds, giving everyone on the bridge a severe case of anxiety every time the blade transformed into a stick of dynamite. The Hallucination Nano-Sword would become whatever Toni wanted it to be, anything she could think of at all, the sword would become instantaneously. She just kept the sword in its sickly, slimy, writhing tentacle form, it activated the moment the hilt was removed from its scabbard, which looked just like a ceremonial Roman sword scabbard. Hallucination Nano Swords were extremely rare weapons and Toni was one of the only Sages with the required mental state to use it correctly; only a true psychopath with sick, demented, utterly freakish hallucinations and visions could use this weapon, their delusions activating nano-bots which comprised the sword’s frame and structure, and she was an unparalleled master with the weapon and conjured things such as a rocket launcher that fired a 500-mph maglev bullet train out of its double-tube launch system, only to have the maglev train explode into a colossal wreck and fireball at her enemies, or a machine gun that fired adhesive energy grenades at 700 grenades per minute. She had also transformed the sword into a giant fan for smacking people upside the head that annoyed her to stun them, and then transformed the sword into a chainsaw for sawing them in half, splattering her face with blood and gore, a gavel that had a random, lethal effect when it hit an enemy, generating a scenario that always killed its victim in some weird, bizarre way, a huge, black parasol-parachute hybrid that allowed Toni to fly like a feather on the wind, and her favorite, an Lipstick Immolation Cannon, a small, binary-core super-plasma rifle that was about the same size as a roll of lipstick, and looked like one too, but fired a blood-red beam of energy that vaporized its target to glowing, dusty cinders instantaneously, no matter how big it was, even a planet or a star would be completely destroyed by her psychotic “makeup gun.” She’d laugh and cackle like a classic Halloween witch afterwards too, and make some catchy, sadistic, bitchy pun after she killed the enemy. Just then, the behexen haze shrouding Nara VII began to clear, as the humanity returned to Toni’s sinister blue eyes, Admiral Kira turned around and stated that his Reich tanks and Night Hammers had obliterated the enemy, confident that Toni would hear him this time, but this time, Toni had a few choice words for the 25-year old tactical genius, who had been the valedictorian at the Ansaati Starfleet Officer’s Academy by a 20% GPA margin. “Admiral Saul Irtas Kira, I understand that you are the youngest Admiral and Grand Marshal Candidate in Reich history, but this, this, hahahahaha…This is my ship. You were assigned to command of this ship because I requested you. What, did you think it was by sheer coincidence that you gained command of an A-2 flagship, let alone my A-2 flagship, at age 25? If that is the case than you truly don’t deserve the prestige that the Academy officers have given you. You clearly know nothing about the nature of the universe, and that nothing is coincidental. In the grand scheme of things, even I, a Mithras Sage, am very little. Nothing is coincidental. The Third Insanity Doctrine, of the Seven Doctrines of Insanity, Chaos, states that everything happens all at once, thanks to the nature of the Multiverse, and therefore, everything happens just because it happens. However, thanks to the Gestalt Field Principles, I can influence the chaos in the universe by creating ideologies, and using the Mithras Energies, gained because of the chaotic, universal winds of chance and the forces of chaos itself, I can make those ideologies a reality. That makes me an agent of chaos, a Goddess of Insanity…in simple terms that a Tier-2 like you can understand, I placed a call to Reich High Command and requested that you be assigned command of my ship and its battlegroup…what more could a short-sighted commander like you possibly want…you are satiated like a vulture at a carcass, and I forever want more…just observe your victory, while I revel in mine, ok? In other words…I KNOW, THE BATTLE IS OVER. I ENDED IT.” “Yes milady…” Admiral Kira grumbled, startled by Countess Toni’s complete mood instability, but not surprised by it in the least bit. There was a time when Countess Toni walked out onto the bridge dressed in her Japanese-style bathrobe once and asked: “Ok, the curling iron says, ‘for external use only…’ Which one of you sick people made that necessary? Whoever it is…I commend you. I have to remember that for later…” She promptly walked back into her stateroom on the ship after that, leaving her crew with confused, disturbed looks on their faces…it was something the Admiral Kira had to keep in mind when dealing with Toni, for certain. She was the most psychotic individual in the galaxy, and if she found you, you were three letters: S-O-L. If you went along with it, you would die quickly, resisting or running would only make her thirst for pain and blood even more, and your death would be slow and painful. She was the kind of killer that you just had to take solace in the fact that the severity of your death was up to you, it didn’t matter if she “took you to the second location” or not. If she found you, it equaled certain death. Such was the nature of the Mithras Black Sun Reich’s hard law.

On the planet, the skies had cleared to reveal the utter devastation of Nara VII, and Countess Toni’s Night Hammer Legions goose-stepped through the ruined bathhouses, bars and mansions, singing a famous Reich war march, “Unsere Spaten sind Waffen im Freiden, das ist der Weg auf Onan V,” after the planet Onan V, the planet where Toni had her personal estate, Dark Sunrise Manor. They carried the Reich’s Black Sun Roundel flag, the white goat-horned Shinigami Death’s Head-demon skull of the Night Hammer Legions was emblazoned on each of their black sallet helmets, with pictures of orcs, goblins and a demonic creature known as “Großmann” or “Tall-Man,” on their steel-black face masks, this did not affect their computerized vision through which they saw their world. One soldier carried the personal coat of arms of the Phantasmagoria-Haidnur Hird, a screaming, black, two-headed skeletal raven with Mithras heraldry on its wings, and the Black Sun and swastika on either side of the raven design. All around them lay the ruins of what had just hours ago been a bustling tropical city. One Night Hammer walked over to the charred bodies of two young lovers, holding hands in their last embrace before they succumbed to the assault. “Brethren, it is easier to decry a thousand sins of another, than it is to mortify one sin of ourselves. Let this be a lesson to all those who oppose us. We will not tolerate dissent.” The Night Hammer harshly kicked the two charred bodies and returned to the marching column. “Much ado about the Angel of Death, now?” one Night Hammer asked. He was referring to the rumors that Ariel Wiesel was metamorphosing into another form, which would prove that she was the Sun Goddess incarnate. She was playing her violin, which she used to command the weather and the storms, when her dress, a brilliant orange and black ballroom gown, became a Euclidean nightmare from the power that coursed through her body, with it billowing into a massive, 3-D fractal shape with huge, iridescent orange and black ghost moth wings with feathers and eyespots; allowing her to fly; looking at her from above, she looked like a gaudy fulgorid bug with billowing, silky hair in flight, her eyes and hair changing color based on her mood, but still maintaining the same level of stunning, savage beauty as Countess Toni. Ariel’s spellcasting wand, which looked a bit like a curved dragon’s tooth, was now capable of performing more and more new, original spells every day. She had long renounced her Hasidic upbringing in Israel during the UDF days, and became the stunning, uninhibited beauty that she was known for, in addition to her cruelty, power and creativity; she was everything Countess Toni was, just even more ferocious and dangerous. Still, even though she had renounced her Hasidic faith and played a huge role in exterminating every Jew from the face of the galaxy; their ancient religion was largely extinct, thanks to her, she still acted like a spoiled Jewish princess every now and then. She was Mithras, however, through and through, and had acquired a new name, “Angel of Death.” “Yes, she’s growing into a far greater Sage than even Miss Toni…I fear that Toni may soon be upstaged if Miss Wiesel’s powers continue to grow…the Great Salvation may soon begin.” The Night Hammers were discussing an event, one that was of deep religious significance to the Mithras Sage Order and the Reich of the Black Sun’s esoteric mysticism, which passed for religion within the Reich and was the only legal belief, other than secular, scientific beliefs. According to the Mithras Sage Order, in the ancient times, there were two Suns, a White Sun, now known as the Sun that the Earth and all 8 planets in the Mithras System orbited, and a Black Sun, of which there were two, one called “Mithras,” which died in the supernova that created the Crab Nebula, and one which was now known as Eta Carinae, a ultra-colossal, dying, red-giant star that appeared black from a certain angle, but was, in reality, a deep, beautiful red color, surrounded by cosmic flares and static ion discharges. 12,000 years before the Rise of the Reich, the Black Sun convulsed, firing a pulse of energy at the White Sun, causing it to convulse and fire a pulse of energy at the Black Sun; the two Suns were at war! “Rise! Rise! Rise!!” called the Black Sun to its ancient priests on Earth, the primordial, Neolithic Mithras Sages from around 6171 B.C.E. on Earth. “Go forth and fight!” called the White Sun to its followers, the primordial Semites, Indo-Aryan peoples and Asiatic peoples. The Great Solar War; fought on Earth for 7 long years, between the Mithras Sages, Priests of the Black Sun, and the White Sun’s followers, which later became Christians, Jews and Muslims. Eventually, the White Sun was victorious, and the Black Sun, Eta Carinae, suffered a tremendous blow, causing the star to partially collapse and expand into the state that existed in 6,500 A.D. The original Mithras Sages and their Neolithic Empire, with its hubs in the tropical Pacific, off of southern, sub-tropical Japan, and Crete, with the Minoan Civilization, defeated and scattered, formed Hirds, small clans to preserve their ancient ways of life, each led by a Hird Master, avoiding the Christians, Jews and Muslims who vilified them as “Vampyrs,” “heretics” and “sorcerers” , until such time came that the Black Sun called them to war once again…that time came during the last days of the United Democratic Federation, with the toppling of Samantha St. Jean by now Mithras Emperor Raito Asoka Kanagashima III, the direct heir to the original Mithras Empire on Earth, and the creation of the Galactic Reich of the Black Sun, ruled by the 700 Mithras Hirds. The special thing about Ariel Wiesel was that she was supposedly the Mithras Gestalt, the controller of Eta Carinae and the only Sage with enough telekinetic powers to control the output of stars. If the rumors were true, Miss Wiesel, once her powers developed to their full force, could literally control the universe with a wave of her hand…and bring about the “Great Salvation,” where Miss Wiesel would purge all enemies of the Reich by causing Eta Carinae to go hypernova, launching a massive gamma-ray burst in all directions, sweeping the universe clean of all others, aside from those who had achieved Mithras Immortality, the basic ability of any Mithras Sage. The Night Hammers knew that they would be destroyed by the Salvation, but they knew that their purpose was only temporary. They, as well as any non-Mithras individual, were just pawns in the galactic chess game, a game where the 700 Hirds held all the pieces. They had returned for revenge, and 20 years had passed since the destruction of the UDF and the rise of the Immortal Reich. The Night Hammers were just along for the ride. Just then, as the Night Hammers were mentioning Miss Wiesel, a little black doll, with brown hair and glowing white eyes, appeared in the road. One of the Night Hammers picked it up, only to have it blink its eyes and say “Daddy?” in a very startling, moaning tone. The Night Hammers watched in horror as a small army of these strange dolls began sliding and skidding like an avalanche across the ground towards their platoon, all screaming like panicking little children, with the same, strange, expressionless look on their faces, and, just like that, the dolls swarmed all over the lead Night Hammer, killing him by smothering him under hundreds of dolls, that were reproducing in their hundreds by budding every second. The dolls stopped moving as the Night Hammer died, but then started shuddering again, but as if something was pushing them out of the way…soaring out of the pile of dolls was a tall, slender sorceress with silky brown hair, sinister blue eyes and an orange and black dress, which had spread out wide like ornate birdwing butterfly wings with fulgorid-bug eyespots in a fractal design, with the dress spread like hang-glider wings. Her long brown hair trained behind her as she flew like a huge moth or butterfly; the sorceress landed right behind the Night Hammers, her dress returning to normal as she pulled out her violin. “Miss Wiesel…to what do we owe this visit?” Miss Wiesel, who looked a lot like her former teacher, Countess Toni, just with longer brown hair and changing-color eyes, depending on her mood, and her battle dress was not nearly as elaborate…it just had a function and melded with her own body, hence the wings on her dress, something that no other Mithras Sage was able to do since the Great Solar War. “What were you saying about me?! I do not appreciate any Tier-3 pawns speaking about my dress behind my back! It’s rude and inconsiderate and completely uncalled for, so that’s why I smothered this cretin, because he insulted my dress!!” Ariel screamed, with the inhuman rage of a thousand angry hornets. “Calm down, Ariel…they are not worth your time.” Countess Toni had teleported down to the ruined surface of Nara VII and appeared right behind the tyrant young sorceress, wearing her geometrically-impossible dress, it was so elaborate; she hovered in midair and had three little flying smirk-demons carrying the long veils that flowed from the back of the dress. “Look, Ariel, I’m wearing my Elegant Gothic Aristocracy war gown, and no one judges me…You need to learn to be proud of your superiority, you have the potential to be the Mithras Gestalt, and when you become that, these men will perish, they all know that, and have accepted their place. You must know yours as their leader, just as they know theirs as your followers.” “But…they have no fashion sense at all!! Eek…” Ariel groaned, in her typical spoiled, Jew-princess way. “The Hirds stand behind you, and the Emperor has named you as his successor, if a time comes when he cannot rule…the Grimm Couple of the Wewelsburg Hird has even built a monument in your name and drawn you your own Black Sun insignia.” Countess Toni transformed her Hallucination Nano-Sword into a spellcasting wand and conjured the burning, fiery, supernova burst with a pentagram and an All-Seeing Eye in the center of the Black Sun rune. “Well…it is very flattering…” Ariel cooed, very coyly. “You have much to learn yet, but you will reach that pinnacle, and when you do, nothing will stop us…not even the Rainkiss Lilies and Baron Saddendorf. The targets who killed Candidate Keiichiro escaped, only after we bombard this planet to bloody ruins do we realize this…but they will die, just like every other non-Mithras life form, when the Great Salvation begins. Five and a half millennia ago, the Sun Mithras went supernova, creating the Holy System now known as the Crab Nebula to science, but as Mithras Ultima to us. Now, in a few years, the culmination of our purpose will be realized as Eta Carinae, the new Black Sun, is destroyed…the hopes of the Mithras Order of Sages rest on your shoulders, Ariel.” “I will be worthy of my post, Miss Toni. I always was. When I destroyed the Jewish camp under your orders to prove my loyalty to the Mithras Order, when I built my own Hird, and as I lead the galaxy to salvation, I will only grow in poise, grace and power. Allow me to demonstrate.” Ariel drew her violin and began to play an ancient hymn on the strings: “Nearer My God to Thee.” As she began playing the song, the heavens twisted, thunder roared, and the wind howled, torrential rain battered the broken land, extinguishing the fires that the armies had left in their wake. As she hit the high notes, lightning struck the ground, tornadoes and typhoons began to form all over the planet, and by the mid-point of the piece, the entire northern hemisphere of Nara IV, a tropical planet, was covered in colossal, hurricane-like blizzards. The Night Hammers were not affected by the extreme cold because of their armor, and the Sages protected themselves with their own energy…as the song ended, the skies cleared suddenly, and the temperatures rose to 85 degrees Fahrenheit again. The 6 feet of snow that had fallen across the entire Northern Hemisphere of Nara IV began to melt, and massive floods began to rush across the surface. “I just cleansed the atmosphere with my Superstorm Song, and now the floods will wash the ruins away, leaving Nara IV a pristine, virgin planet once again. What destroys also creates, and vice-versa.” “You were listening to Andreii Bathory-Groznyy’s lectures on universal esotericism, weren’t you?” “Yes, I was.” “I met him just before the invasion here…he is a very interesting, talented Sage, just like his mother…” Countess Toni muttered, her spider-leg pigtails bouncing like tentacles as she hovered. “Tell me, Ariel, have you ever been to one my Yule, Samhain, All-Hollow’s Day, Freeg, Janus or Equinox celebrations?” “When I was very young, yes, I remember you showing me the burning Yule log and your rituals you gave around the ancient oak tree in the Woods of Haidnur, where you formed your Hird…unfortunately that foundation occurred nearly 10,000 years ago and the woods were now, last time I checked, occupied by a baseball field.” “Yes the pitcher’s mound doesn’t have quite the serenity of a 1,500-year old oak tree and the bleachers aren’t exactly the best podiums for your congregation, not to mention a pentagram has 5 sides, and the ball field has just 4 bases, but the Reich has planted more trees there and bulldozed that obnoxious sports arena and the lousy fast-food restaurant that was built next to it.” “Oh, that’s good. I see Emperor Raito gives his sermons under the Jomon Sugi in Japan as well; some of his lesser Hirdsmen speak under the largest cypresses and camphor trees on Earth. “Yes…the largest trees on the home world of Earth still speak to us; each of the 700 Hird leaders has their own tree that they conduct Yule celebrations and all other rituals under…we know the truth, the non-Mithras Sages do not. I slaughter the young virgin Tier-10s for their blood and burn their bodies upon the Yule log every December, as I have for the past 10,000 years…going by many different identities and names, I have only been ‘Countess Toni’ since the 1300s…my original name is my business alone.” Toni and Ariel were going on about the esotericism involving Mithras Sage holidays, such as Yule, which was replaced by Christmas with the victory of the White Sun followers’ descendants, the Romans in their conquest of Europe during the Ancient Roman period. Other holidays, including All-Hollow’s Day, where Toni and Ariel gave a galaxy-wide political rally in their All-Hollow’s Day Gothic Aristocracy dresses, even more elaborate than the Gothic war dress Toni was wearing now, after they spoke, the colossal masses of galactic citizens, who knew the ancient holiday as “Halloween,” in their Halloween costumes, roared and saluted in thunderous applause for two of their Black Sun Reich leaders, just before the military parade and civilian costume parade began. Their Yule dresses, however, defied all explanation, so complex, so elaborate and so dizzyingly odd that they made any non-Mithras Sage extremely uncomfortable just looking at them. The yearly Halloween military march and festival on Kisame-Tennu was perhaps the most elaborate festival in the Reich. However, some of the Hirds got a little too carried away on Samhain, the night before Halloween. One of the members of the Bathory-Kozak Hird, Latos Blagojevic, a Serbian Mithras Sage with a chronic drinking problem and a hideously carved, chalk-white Jack-O’-Lantern face, probably won the eternal Reich award for the most demented Halloween stunts ever, he, using just fishhooks, a dull scalpel, metal wire, a sword and 300 bags of Samhain treats, committed a genocidal rampage at a celebration on Kisame-Tennu, by blowing up a vehicle with a homemade “flare-spiker,” a weapon that fired burning-hot railroad ties to impale targets to throw the entire party into a panic. Latos used his Sage magic to turn the entire building into a burning oven by heating the air to 2,000 degrees, and the water fountains into boiling acidic geysers, charring those inside to bubbling, oozing, boiling lumps of flesh and bone, and the ones outside, he hooked to operating tables with the fishhooks and piano wire, and proceeded to conduct autopsies on the women while they were still alive, and amputate the genitalia of the men with the dull scalpel and sodomize them with their amputated, bloody penises, so that they were literally “fucking themselves” as they had their heads chopped off by Latos’ sword. This was his idea of a Mischief Night prank, Reich of the Black Sun style. He laughed with an inhuman, demented clown-like laugh as he was performing these grisly acts, his eyes wild with lustful desires for suffering. Toni and Ariel recalled bestowing the Honor of Samhain upon Latos for this act, for the blood consumed in this infernal bacchanalia increased his power of mind greatly. Toni closed her eyes, entering a deep, trance-like state called “Hyperspace Meditation.” In this state, Toni stood in the halls of the esoteric Vedic Library, the universal reservoir of all knowledge of every universe…in her long, savage, beautiful and bloody life, Toni had visited hundred of Universes and planes of existence that would make a non-Mithras Sage’s head spin. She had stood amongst the halls of the Vedic Library, visited the Goddess of Death Izanami-sama in the Haze Universe, entered the Realm of Hyperborea, home to the Aryan Energy Lords, had stood in the Realm of Everlasting Purity and the Realm of Eternal Damnation, and reached a form of truly divine transcendence in the Quantum Realm, transforming into a truly regal, angelic form, radiating pure light, blazing with brilliant orange-red hvareno, the immortal life-force, effortlessly traveling between Universes, searching for Mithraic enlightenment forevermore. It was a gift that only the most powerful of Mithras Sages possessed, and Ariel was just beginning to harness her immense powers…and embrace her destiny. She would soon come to lead the Mithras Hirds to ultimate salvation…just then, Toni exited her trance. “I know where the 4 fugitive slave-girls have fled to…I’m here…and I’m hungry…Ariel, won’t you join me for lunch?” “Hahahaha…you haven’t lost any of your ageless charm, my Countess. We shall rejoice as we watch the life flee from their eyes.” “Absolutely, Ariel. There are only a few Profound Truths in this world, and they are sex, love, control, power and money. Sex is a way to achieve far more than temporary pleasure, I see it as pathway to true, Volkisch enlightenment. Not just any sex, mind you, but bloody, dark, depraved, macabre fantasies made real. These creatures, poor, deprived men and women thirsting for sex and passion like dirty animals, they touch my mind and body, fumbling in ignorance and lust, incapable of understanding. “Sage,” a label given by the slaves to give name to their masters…in the end, what they choose to call me is irrelevant. I simply AM. As far as love is concerned, it is the key that leads to truly enlightening passion, but be careful who you fall in love with. Women like me can take you to the furthest reaches of the known Universe, and into the most esoteric realms beyond your wildest dreams…I can kiss you in all the right places, and for as long as you live, you will never be able to rid your mouth of the taste of my lips…I will torment, shred, punish, beat and bloody you beyond recognition, and when you lie in a heap, bleeding, yet still pining for love and lust, you will then realize why the greatest of storms are named after women. Control and power, because the only truth about leadership, from Kisame-Tennu all the way down to an individual relationship, is the strength of one person over the other, the domination of a master over a slave. We as Sages are the Tier-1 Masters of the known Universe, ruling from our position in the Milky Way Galaxy. All life in the Multiverse submits to us. We are the ultimate masters, unquestioned and unchallenged. Money, because it is the very substance that binds the slave classes together, and keeps them in their place. Our system is flawless, the age of Decay and Democracy is now truly over. The galaxy has entered a new Golden Age, where my will is the only law…and you, Ariel, are to be my successor, when myself, Raito and Master Tomomori can no longer rule. It is your destiny…the destruction of these fugitive slaves should be no problem for us. The fleet departs now. Let us return to the ship.” And thus the two most powerful of Mithras witches, Countess Toni and her apprentice, Ariel Weisel, departed for the Illusion, with a new target in their sights. There was no place for the Rainkiss Lilies and their erstwhile companion to hide now. Toni and Ariel would enjoy watching their targets die in the most agonizing pain imaginable…The Tier-10 vermin would know their place, as they died in a pool of their own blood.

                    1. Blood and Iron

As the paradise world of Nara IV was wiped clean of human settlement, five individuals zoomed through space in a stolen Infiltrator ship with heavy hearts, knowing that millions of people died that day. The Reich propaganda channels were abuzz with the “heroism” of “Dear Leader” Countess Toni’s fleets “punishing” the “miscreants” who killed Candidate Keiichiro, the “brightest star” at the Reich military academy…Stina, having changed into her assassin outfit, laughed derisively. “Check again, you Nazi creeps…” Stina sneered, turning off the broadcast screen in the cockpit. “Geez, I can’t stand them…They walk around thinkin’ they can treat us all like slaves…we’re absolutely nothin’ to them…It makes me sick.” Rebecca drawled, twirling a blaster clip between her fingers before handing to Elizabeth, who promptly locked it into her sniper rifle. “In the name of all things holy, I’d love to put a fucking blaster bolt through Toni’s sick cranium. That witch killed my family for no reason at all…other than the fact that my father said her outfit looked “demented.” He thought she’d take it as a compliment, but…she responded by sending a platoon of Night Hammers to my house one day on Eoli II. They arrested my father, mother, brother and myself for “crimes against the State.” We were placed in the Night Hammer transport vehicle, and told that were were going to be detained at a Reich detention center on Kisame-Tennu before our trial before a Reich court-martial…but they lied. Instead, they took us to a place Countess Toni called “The Toybox,” which was a huge, secret-prison complex on her home planet of Onan V. Upon our arrival, were were brought into a dark, lightless room that stank of blood and death, made to take off all our clothes, and stand there, naked, in the utter darkness with the nauseating stench of death all around us. We couldn’t see anything, but we could feel something wet and mushy at our feet, and occasionally a large, soft object that stank horrendously…only then did we know that these things were dead bodies, and the wet, mushy goo on the floor was blood and human effluence. For an hour, we stood in the darkness, vomiting repeatedly because of the horrendous stench and sickening ‘squish…squish…squish…’ every time we took a step. You could smell Toni’s vicims’ bowels and organs spilled out on the ground, rotting on the floor…this was not a detention center. This was a concentration camp. I thought to myself at that moment, ‘what did my family do to deserve this? Could this Countess Toni be such a depraved, cruel, inhuman monster as to subject our family to this torment for something as minor as a miscommunication? All my father did was post something on a GalaxyNet channel calling Toni’s outfit ‘demented,’ but meant it as a complement, for he was interested in the dark, existential arts practiced by the Mithras Sages, and though she would appreciate it…perhaps she was simply in a foul mood that day, because at that moment, she opened the door into our waiting chamber, dressed in her full, porcelain-doll-like regalia, holding a red-hot branding iron. She had a truly monstrous look in her eyes, like a rabid animal, just before the attack…she didn’t look human…she looked…like a being from a Hell worse than any dream…when we entered the lair of the Dark Queen. Her livid eyes were like dark, iridescent lumps of coal, like shark’s eyes, but worse. Her fangs were bared in a sick, twisted smile, just barely visible beneath her insanely-elaborate regalia, like a creature from Dr. Seuss’s worst nightmare on acid. She first made us kowtow naked in front of her, laying in pools of blood, excrement and feces to remove any sense of dignity that we had left, she only let us stand when she felt that we were sufficiently submissive. She then marched us down a hallway after shackling us together like cattle, past prison cells, and in these cells were emaciated people, naked, potbellied and living in their own filth…I later learned that these were the “sorrow cages,” where people were stripped naked, chained to a wall and just left there in total darkness to slowly starve in extreme pain…death took about 5 weeks, and it was never pleasant with Countess Toni…she likes death. She likes pain, and seeing suffering all around her, she is not content unless someone is lying in agony in her presence…she exists as a wound in the Universe, only existing to harm others…and she holds sway over our entire galaxy as Emperor Raito’s enforcer. We were not placed into a sorrow cage, no, she had something far different planned for us. We were taken into a white room, just four walls and hole in the floor, unlike the darkness of the previous chambers in this horrid place, so our eyes stung when we were thrown, naked and covered with blood and effluence of other dead bodies, into this room. We were all still a family, however, so whatever was being done to us, we would withstand together. We held hands as we heard Toni’s voice mumbling something in a control room on the other side of what looked like a police interrogation screen…perhaps this wasn’t going to be so bad…perhaps they really were just going to interrogate us and place us in a detention facility…oh, how wrong and naïve we were…we were ordered to step away from the walls of the room by Toni’s sick, demented voice, and as we did so, she activated hundreds of heat lamps, searing our bare bodies with barrages of ultraviolet radiation…she was trying to cook us alive, like a human oven. We howled in pain as we receive unrelenting 3rd-degree burns over every inch of our bodies…I vomited from the pain, I had never felt such agony in my entire life…even the Nazis had the decency to kill their victims before sending them to the crematorium, at least in most cases. Toni had absolutely no subtlety to her at all…she laughed maniacally as we baked alive, until my father mustered the courage to yell. “STAND DOWN, YOU FUCKING MANIAC!!!!! IF YOU’RE GOING TO KILL US, JUST DO IT!!” And thus, the heat lamps were turned off, and our barely-living bodies were dragged out of the room by other prisoners, who were forced to handle the dead bodies as part of their punishment for whatever crime they were imprisoned in the Toybox for. I could smell my own charred flesh, and feel the throbbing screams of every nerve ending in my body, Toni had instructed the other prisoners to handle my burnt skin as roughly as possible, so that I was in agonizing pain the whole time. We screamed like dying animals as we were carried to our execution chamber, and our screams were like a “brilliant symphony” to Toni’s ears…those were her exact words to describe our moans and howls. My father was first to die. The other prisoners placed his burned, charred body on a table face down, and Toni, walking into the room brandishing her hot branding iron, rammed the prod up my father’s anal cavity, twisting it violently as he vomited blood, and yanked the prod out forcefully. His body was thrown onto the floor, where Toni licked the blood oozing from his rectum like a cat licking milk…such was the calling card of a Mithras Sage. Next, my mother received the same ghastly procedure, and she too was thrown atop her husband to bleed to death. Toni collected her blood into a cup for safe-keeping, presumably to ferment into wine, as she is known to do. Then, my 7-year old brother got the iron, and then, afterwards, his genitalia were chopped off with huge surgical scissors as he bled to death. His neck was placed in a cone, like those things your put around a dog’s head when it has surgery, and then unceremoniously dumped into a heap, with the remainder of my family…then, just when I had accepted my fate, Toni threw me another cruel curve…she didn’t kill me, but gave me the most soul-destroying task of all…I was to carry the bodies of my family down the hallway to the crematorium, and burn every last one of them…I did…even my little brother…perhaps now Toni would do the decent thing and kill me…but she did not. She took me into a medical room, and used some sort of restorative energy on me, healing all my wounds and making me 100%, as If I was never taken to that awful place…given a fresh set of Reich garments…and then sent on my way as if nothing had ever happened…Toni was kind, sweet, almost loving, like a mother to me in the way she spoke, but I knew it was phony. She was the most sadistic, horrific individual ever to live, and the only reason she was sparing me was because she thought that I would be too traumatized to continue on with my life and probably kill myself…no harm, no foul to Countess Toni…I didn’t. I trained day in and day out, after I met my three sisters in the manor on Kisame-Tennu after I was enslaved… with every weapon I could find…in hopes of one day avenging my poor family…by burning Toni’s putrid corpse in the same human oven where she cooked my family ALIVE. And I will not rest until that foul witch lies dead.” The other three Rainkiss Lilies sighed in respect to their de facto leader, Baron Saddendorf could say nothing. This young warrior had survived one of the most horrific concentration camps in the galaxy, the Onan V Detention Center, more commonly known by Countess Toni’s name for it, “The Toybox.” This was a prison that, officially, did not exist, and any mention of Onan V on the Reich propaganda networks only displayed the positive aspects of Onan V, often depicting the enormous, breathtaking mountain ranges, massive lichen forests and grass trees, deep blue oceans and rivers, and Countess Toni’s massive estate, always depicted in a noble, lordly light…it reality, the world was anything but “happy.” This planet was Toni’s personal property and she treated the residents of the planet, settled by Norwegian settlers during the time of the United Democratic Federation, as her slaves, to whom she did anything she wanted to…Toni was a dark, malevolent cloud, eternally hanging over an otherwise majestic, beautiful world rich in plant and animal life. “It is a noble pursuit…we have all suffered greatly under the yoke of the Black Sun Reich…slaughtered like animals, treated like vermin, locked in cages, raped, tortured, hated and vilified as subhuman creatures…these sorcerers are from the pit of Hell itself, and Mithra must be the Devil, for only Lucifer himself would be so cruel a god…I truly hope that one day, Elizabeth’s goal is achieved, for it would prove that the Reich is not invincible, and give humanity reason to hope again…you have to have hope, otherwise, the Reich has already won.” “How did this happen, though…” Stina wondered, sighing. “How did the United Democratic Federation, a government with deep democratic roots and long having been the guardian of peace, justice and human exploration of the Universe, fall into such a nightmare?” “That’s a difficult question to answer.” Saddendorf mumbled, morosely. “Some might say it was the Red Plague destabilizing the Federation, some might blame Emperor Raito and the Mithras Order, and some might blame the ignorant masses, desperately grappling for the stability that they had known for so long…but the real reason behind the UDF’s fall was not any of these things. Rather, it was the result of the grievous mistake on behalf of the Federation’s most vulnerable population to the Reich’s toxic propaganda: its youngest: They believed that the galaxy “owed” them something just by the very virtue of their existence…they failed to understand that respect is earned, not given, and the galaxy’s population of young women, burning for opportunities vacated by men who died from the Red Plague, unknowingly allowed the Mithras Order a direct path into absolute power…these women were the types that identified themselves as “womyn,” often shaved their heads in protest of patriarchy and blamed men for every problem they faced…such blind, extremist ideology is easy prey for those looking to manipulate others for their own ends…those radical feminists’ inability to see past their own narcissistic viewpoints gave the Mithras Order exactly the pawns they needed to engineer the downfall of the Federation…The Mithras Sages and the radical feminists…the two greatest villains the human race has ever known…for they were responsible for the death of democracy. That woman who tortured and killed your family, Countess Toni Medici-Fecchiera, she is a monster created by this sense of entitlement taken to an extreme. Nothing good can come of anyone expecting praise, respect and admiration without first doing something to earn it. Every action Countess Toni takes is a result of her sick craving for praise, attention, recognition and power…and she will stop at nothing to achieve her own ends, the ultimate destination of modern feminism and radical feminist thought realized…Samantha St. Jean’s policies of feminine empowerment were just the beginning…that was Toni’s plot all along. Sam was only a puppet for Toni and the Mithras Order, as were all the feminists who supported poor ‘Aunt Sam.’ Now, everyone pays the price for their naivete. A true tragedy, if there ever was one…it is at times like that I realize that Hell must exist, and the Mithras Order comes straight from its fiery pits of brimstone…it is for this reason that I am so morose and sorrowful…I feel everyone’s pain and suffering as if it were my own.” “And that, Baron, is why we enjoy spending time around you, and working for you. You are not blinded by false hopes, you are a stark realist, seeing the savagery of the human race as a very real thing, and you feel the pain of our existence with every cell of your body. You are depressed because you are not fooled by the lies and false promises of the Mithras Order, you see their propaganda campaigns and shudder with anguish, you cry along with every mother forced to give her daughter up for the Pillars of Alacrity on Earth, you share the torment of everyone who has every witnessed a Mithras Sage ritual, in all its heartless, mindless savagery, and that has destroyed you more times than you can count…yet still you persist, because above all the pain, the discourse, the suffering and the brutality of our time, you still believe in one thing, the one thing that has sustained us and elevated our species far above its origins, and that is the power of the human will. All four of us share the same burden as you do, only we know what it is like to be kept in bondage, and held as slave-girls against our will…our master was not a Mithras Sage, but a high-ranking official on Kraid, working for the Kraid Shipyard Corporation. He used us as his personal house slaves, were were nothing but maids and domestic servants for him, and often forced to entertain his guests with sexually-explicit acts. He did everything he could to humiliate and punish us, make us feel less than human, like we were his property, which, according to Reich law…we were…so we killed him. Killed him, killed his guests, and killed everyone who kept us caged like animals in his massive estate on Kraid…and we’ve been making a killing ever since…Baron, you’re a good guy. People like us need to stick together.” Stina explained, twirling her fingers around a combat knife. “Yeah, you seem to really connect with Elizabeth, too, hun.” Rebecca interjected, polishing her swords with a damp dishtowel, carried specifically for that purpose. Elizabeth smiled, her black hair just visible underneath her hood. “Stina, where exactly are we headed?” Baron Saddendorf said, his voice wavering a bit when he saw the ship, the Luminous Arrow’s computers beep. “This planet is called Hari II, second planet from a red-dwarf star called Hari. It is a lot like Earth, except for one big difference: Hari II doesn’t rotate on its axis, one side is always day, the other an everlasting night…though the planet’s thick atmosphere makes temperatures on the day side a steamy 88 degrees Fahrenheit on average, and the night side of the planet a refreshing 60 degrees Fahrenheit. We have a connection on this planet by the name of Andrew Wallace…he claims to have found a way to evade the Mithras Orders’ Hyperspace abilities…and besides, there are plenty of places for us to lie low here, it is much like Nara IV…you never know who you might meet on these Outer Colony worlds…” No one disagreed with Stina’s judgment. The Mithras Order was truly omnipotent over the entire Universe, there was literally no place to hide if they were after you. Emperor Raito would have the blood of his fugitives…unless they found a way to evade his constant “mind-sweeps” of the Universe, detecting and observing all life from Kisame-Tennu at will. Not much of what Emperor Raito did was understandable to non-Mithras Sages, he always claimed to be waging an “endless mind-war” with the forces of Chaos and Fear, but no one outside of his inner circle could ever understand what that meant. What Stina did know, however, was that his psychological and psychic abilities were truly vast, and he had a way of knowing about anything happening ANYWHERE in the Universe. The odds were almost certain that he knew precisely where the Arrow was, and was just waiting for the right moment to strike back…unless, however, they found a way to hide from his constant surveillance. The Arrow silently approached the shining day side of the warm, tidally-locked world, Hari II, which glowed like an oasis in the vast abyss of space. Hari II was another extraordinarily biodiverse planet, with many small towns and cities far removed from the prying eyes of the Mithras Order and the Black Sun Reich. Reich warships were rarely seen out here, largely because of the presence of one particular individual…this was the reason for the Rainkiss Lilies’ arrival here; it was the one place in the Universe where they could hide, and the one place in the Universe largely free of Mithras Order and Reich taint. Suddenly, the docking officials for a small town called Illyria chimed into Stina’s cockpit communications suite. “This is Illyria Docking Authority, you are clear to land on Pad A-12 of Elysium Spaceport. Hari II welcomes you, Luminous Arrow.” “See? What did I tell you? No problems.” “For now…” Rebecca responded to Stina’s comment as the Arrow descended through Hari II’s atmosphere. Far below them, the rolling green fields of Hari II spread out beneath them, like an oasis in the vast emptiness of space, populated by hostile Reich warships and patrol vessels. Emperor Raito’s reach had no power here, thanks to one particular man who had discovered a way to protect himself and those he cared about from the Emperor’s mind-scans: Andrew Wallace. He lived in the planet’s northern capital, and campaigned with local politicians to keep the old UDF traditions alive, as the Reich would be unable to detect their presence and dissent, thus sparing them the horrors of Onan V or some other horrid concentration camp on a formerly peaceful world. The Luminous Arrow swooped in low over a stand of huge conifer trees as it approached Elysium Spaceport, in the planetary capital of Illyria. It was a pleasant, sunny day in the capital, just like every day, on this world where the small, blood-red star in the sky, Hari, never set. The Luminous Arrow touched down on the landing pad, scattering a small flock of Featherwhisps, small flying creatures that occupied most of Hari II’s cities, like pigeons once did on Earth. A group of children stood near the entrance to the shipyard with their parents, watching as the Luminous Arrow landed and the Rainkiss Lilies disembarked, still wearing their hoods and outfits, along with Baron Saddendorf. The parents paid no mind to the five of them as they walked silently past them and their children, for they moved with a purpose, as time was not on their side. Though Hari II was not particularly loyal to the Reich’s ideals, there were many Reich loyalists in Illyria, and the Rainkiss Lilies were now galaxy-wide fugitives for their actions on Nara IV and their ensuing escape…thankfully, none of those parents appeared to recognize the four young women as they stepped into a waiting private transport vehicle, hired by Wallace himself to pick them up. “Sea Cliff Manor, please.” Stina announced to the driver. “I already know…Welcome to Hari II, Rainkiss Lilies and Baron Saddendorf. Let me just start by saying you’ve really done it this time. The Reich Ministry of Propaganda’s been at it non-stop for the past 15 hours, they’ve officially branded you four as “Public Enemy Number One, Eliminate At Any Cost.” This means that they would even destroy an entire star system with one of their superweapons just to kill the four of you…you must have royally pissed that witch Countess Toni off to no end.” “That’s the plan, sir.” Elizabeth said, tapping her finger on her thigh. “Well, you might want to be careful. They don’t know where you are as long as you’re here, but our planet is the only one that Emperor Raito cannot scan with his mind-sweeps…it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the most likely place where you five went to hide…your time here must be short for this reason, for they will eventually find you.” “I’m sure we can handle them, but thank you for your concern.”

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