Chapter 14: Welcome the War
He sank deeper and deeper into an indescribable and fear inducing darkness. The feeling on his skin was as heavy as the oceanic water weighing him down. There was no air, and no feeling of suffocation. There was no light and only darkness. There was no one here but him. Why am I here? He wondered gently opening his eyes. Everywhere was just a dark void. But his senses could tell that he was slowly falling. Falling to where? No one knew but the darkness itself.
After some minutes of endless drifting, he found himself finding a sparkle of light amidst the disorientating world he inhabited. The light outlined a hard rocky surface for him to land safely and perfectly on. Where am I? He wondered looking all around. He froze at what was before his eyes. He was looking at himself, it was like his reflection, but at the same time not exactly so. In the reflection was Equal looking at himself.
He was surrounded by Pure, Truth, Justice and Locus, some of the people closest to him. None of them held any weapons of any sorts, and the background was a stark comparison to what really stood behind Equal. All of them stood on a calm, peaceful and fertile land surrounded by much natural growth, vegetation and small villages. What is this?
He looked behind himself and unlike the reflection he found only death and destruction. By his feet were the bodies of his three trusted friends, Pure, Truth and Locus. He jerked away in reaction to their mutilated corpses, but quickly regained his senses and bent downwards towards them. "L- Locus?"
There was no response.
There was no response.
There was no response.
In the distance he could see a fire burning brightly and the screams of many invading his ears. Several explosions initiated causing Equal to feel the kickback of each one. But what got him the most was up above the fire. There were pieces of the space station silently floating in one spot. It was the 'Rise of Justice' space colony torn up into several pieces. Equal fell to his knees at seeing his product of hard work all torn apart. No, what is this? Why am I seeing all these things?!
"Isn't it obvious?" asked a voice. That's my voice! Equal looked behind him at his reflection walking closer to the mirror. This isn't a reflection? The Equal on the happy side pointed towards the one on the dark and lonely side and said. "This is what you wanted."
"What are you talking about?"
"You push away people, even Justice who seemed to care the most about you. Is she anywhere to be found on your side? No. But here she stands proudly and happily by my side. You have nothing. You are nothing."
"You say that like you are perfect!"
"I'm not perfect, but I'm not alone either," said the happier Equal. He motioned back to his allies and smiled. "I chose them over my desires."
"What the hell are you saying?"
"I chose them over revenge," he replied walking back to his friends. They all began to smile together looking towards Equal. For unknown reasons it infuriated him. How can you be so happy when I sit here alone?! The happy Equal noticed the anger directed his way and smirked. "Feeling jealous or perhaps confused?"
The enraged Equal looked away from the happy picture painted before him. I know that this is a dream, but why am I having it in the first place? The happy Equal shook his shoulders with a light laugh and said. "You never could be honest with your feelings. You want happiness to don't you?"
"Of course," Equal replied calming down a little. "I want happiness for us all!"
"And yet you are surrounded by death, destruction and failure. What do you think that says about your current lifestyle?"
Equal bit his lips and looked away from those pure eyes that stared at him. The happy Equal crossed his arms studying the destruction and death all around Equal and said. "I would say that you aren't close to achieving that happiness you spoke of. In fact it's the opposite. You drive away Justice from yourself even after all the efforts she makes to stay close to you. You send three battleships to purge a village of harmless people all in the name of your own righteous sense of justice. You are nowhere near happiness, no you chose revenge."
"So what if I did? That will lead me to happiness in the end!"
"I chose happiness, and you chose revenge," the happy Equal again said walking towards the barrier that separates them from one another. "Happiness is a choice. But you have clearly chosen to be completely alone."
No, he is wrong! Equal stormed towards the barrier and smashed his fist onto it. "You are wrong, absolutely wrong!"
"And yet you react so violently whenever I bring up happiness, and laugh with my friends happily."
Equal angrily punched the barrier again. This time he caused a crack to appear and a strong pressure escaped the barrier. The barrier began to crack completely with the peaceful side becoming tainted by the void. The happy Equal looked all around and his once pure eyes turned dark. "You are so alone that you can't even help but drag others down with you."
What is going on? Equal wondered as he saw the darkness absorb his image completely. Out of the darkness, he could begin to see an outline. Horns formed on what was once Equal's head. Wings began to spread out of his back. Claws extended from both his hands and feet. Dark purple scales covered his whole body with a red shroud of fog. But the most disturbing aspect of this new being before him was the creature's eyes. The eyes were one to easily instill fear and fracture one's mind easily. Those eyes were filled with unending hate.
Is this what I have become? Equal wondered suddenly feeling some supernatural gravity acting on his body. It drew him closer to this satanic beast against his will. Like a puppet attached to a string, no matter how hard it would fight it must still obey the will of its master, Equal had to obey the will of his unknown and mysterious puppeteer as it raised his arm up towards the beast. What the hell? Let go of me! Equal pondered struggling so very hard against this force.
Equal's eyes opened wide, his senses became clear. He looked at the beeping noise to his right. He was in his bed, and his alarm was going off. He turned over to reach for the alarm and turn it off. It was all a dream? He cupped his mouth in one hand still feeling the realism of the dream. Was it a lucid nightmare?
He slowly got out of bed and looked outside his window. The colony still operated as it always did. So it thankfully was a dream. He bent down to pick up a few pillows he had knocked away in his sleep and threw them back onto the bed. Equal let out a relieved sigh as he went into the washroom and cleaned his face. He quickly got ready as soon as he heard the bell to his door. "Coming!"
He unlocked the door, and it slid open automatically. He looked at the woman standing before him. His face quickly tensed up as he remembered back to his dream. Justice studied his facial movements, nothing escaped her notice. She also took note of the ruffled up bed sheets and asked. "Is everything alright?"
Her tone was indifferent. Equal was very surprised to hear this type of tone out of her mouth. I don't think I have ever heard her be indifferent before. And the words he heard in his nightmare echoed in his ears. That he is pushing her away and pretty soon he would be all alone. She usually is kind and caring, but I guess I have done things to deserve this lately. What else can I do when I am afraid Justice? He walked through the small gap between the door and Justice. Equal closed shut the door and ensured that it was locked up safely. He had no intention of bringing emotions into this however and wanted to keep things professional. "I'm fine Justice. Just worry about your own work."
Justice was evidently frustrated and angry at the response. Equal however stopped midway as he called up the elevator. He looked back and smiled a little, even if a little forced. "Thank you for your concern."
Justice punched the wall in irritation just as the elevator doors closed. Her threshold of patience was slowly being torn apart by Equal's distant and hostile behavior. I'm growing sick and tired of this Equal. Why do you choose to think that the best way of conducting yourself is by distancing yourself from others? Why do you think that a lack of communication with me will protect you from grief?!
Justice trudges towards the elevators and hits the call button. She rests her shoulder against the wall and ponders deeply. I don't want to be indifferent towards you Equal, but you aren't doing a great job of showing me that you still want me around. From the look of things right now, it is more like you want to keep on pushing me away no matter what words I say to you. The elevator light blinks and the doors open. She steps inside and picks her floor with consideration. As the doors close, she lets out a fatigued sigh. If my words won't have an effect, then maybe may actions will. Who knows, who really knows at this point?
Justice exited the building and stepped into a company car. She was then driven away to the Sector-C dock where she boarded the ship all ready for her. She studied the mission report on board. So you are finally getting started on our final phase of the plan. She shut off the report display and sat back to simply enjoy the ride down to the planet. At least we are making progress on some things, more so than others. I just wish it wasn't done like this…Equal.
"Sir, they are ready for your planet wide announcement."
A New Order employee made way for Equal to proceed into a room filled with cameras, crew and other technical operators. He looked all around at the set prepared for this presentation and proclaimed it to be a good job. "Good, let's get the cameras rolling. I want to get this over with as soon as possible."
Equal sat down comfortably into the leather seat. In front of him was a war room type table that was finished with a neat glossy look. Atop the table were several red and blue flags fixated onto a galaxy map. A perfect setting for a war hungry commander. The camera operator looked at Equal who folded up his helmet and gave a nod. "Okay, quiet on the set everyone. I'm about to begin!"
The light was green on the set. The cameras were rolling and all attention was focused on Equal. The big man cleared his throat and looked directly into the camera. He took a moment to consider his words before letting them out into public domain. "Hello planet inhabitants. You should all be familiar with me, but for those of you that don't know me. I am Equal, the head of the New Order and your employer."
"Mam," one of the pilots of the recently departed space ship called out towards the passenger area. "Equal is making his announcement, would you like to watch?"
I may as well. The key bearer that was Justice looked towards the cockpit and said. "Yes, please bring up the display. Thank you."
A digital display activated on her window and began to slowly model together a clear picture. Equal was raising his fist into the air as he spoke. "For years we have worked hard, we have strived for great things all with one end goal. Well we are close to that end goal. As we speak, the key bearer to grant passage to that goal is now on their way to the planet. They will open the doors to our future, one that we have dreamt of for so long."
"Speak for yourselves," said an elderly man as he brushed his grey moustache. The Blood Gulch crew looked around at the dissatisfied faces. The elderly man was the village chief of the one they landed down on as per Ben's instructions. Equal lowered his arm and rested his chin on his hands. "Take comfort knowing that every one of you has helped us to this step of our hopeful realizations of the future. With your continued help, we will succeed!"
Many of the people within the main gathering building began to leave with a look of disapproval on their faces. Washington thanked his lucky stars to have been recommended to such an anti-New Order village. Equal held up a piece of paper and signed it on camera. "This document officially states that everyone on the planet is required to serve under the military. In the coming times, we will need all the hands we can get. Even children will be sent into the military. They shall serve basic purposes such as keeping the ships clean, the soldiers fed and any other minor tasks ordered by the chain of command. As for the elderly, they will be sent out alongside everyone else. I'm sure they will serve some purpose in the long run."
Everyone leaving the hall froze in their tracks. They looked back with shock and disgust on their faces. Justice was equally shocked. I never heard of this before. Equal, just what do you think you are doing? But she also just as quickly remembered her place within the New Order. No, I have to calm down. This is for the betterment of New Order. Plus if I try to do anything now, he will just brand me a traitor and have me killed.
"For the purposes of this war, I also had you all set the construction of the battleships as the primary responsibility," said Equal motioning towards a display behind him of the ships. "Soon we shall usher in a new era with our battle fleet, an era of justice."
Everyone in the meeting hall heard the rumblings of the ground, and the unusual thundering sounds in the sky. Many of them rushed outside only to see hell literally rise into the air. The battleships once in their factories were slowly rising up into the sky. They were all in some sort of a formation from what Washington could determine. Simmons looked up with his mouth parted. The enormity of these giant ships hit him hard on the face. But he still decided to stand strong, to hold back that trembling in his limbs. He had to be strong, for Edward's and Elsie's sake. He had to be strong for the others as well. He thought such things as he gripped the mobile phone tightly.
Carolina gritted her teeth and balled her fists. She felt her rage rise with every bit of altitude the ships gained. I will stop all of you. Epsilon suddenly appeared behind her advising her to calm down. "Don't tell me what to do Epsilon. You also know that they need to pay. I will make sure that they actually do pay for their crimes."
"A sizable fleet, truly built for war. And there are supposed to be more of these all across the planet? Lucky us," Washington whispered under his breath. He turned to look back at the TV where Equal finally concluded his speech with the following. "There will be losses. No doubt ranging into the hundreds as the current plans entails to put you all on the front lines, but do not worry. Your sacrifices will create a path for a better future. Your courage is admirable, and I wish all of you the best in the coming times."
"So just going to throw this out there," began Sister as she looked all around the room. "That guy is totally asking for a good ass whooping!"
"Um guys," Donut directed everyone's attentions back up to the ships and asked. "Who is piloting those things?"
"It's probably the additional New Order soldiers that have been landing on the planet under the cover of night recently," said the village chief.
Washington looked at him shaking his head. "And you didn't tell us this before because?"
"Well I'm sorry for not telling you something that even I wasn't sure on," the elder replied sarcastically. "Next time I will be sure to call you up first thing for any news I get in life ever."
"Leave the sarcastic smart ass remarks to the trained German ja."
The ships slowly began to increase speed and flew out of visual range. Everyone looked shaken at the tremendous pressure the ships left behind all around them. Donut stood somewhat clueless as usual and slumped his shoulders in slight defeat. "So, that just happened."
"We are going to fucking die!" shouted Grif and quickly received a blow to the helmet from Wash. "Ow, what was that for dude?"
"Too soon!" shouted the grey soldier. He looked back to the others and said. "So, while I think I know what you guys may want to do. I just want to ask everyone one of you again what you intend to do after hearing that message."
"We go kick Equal in the keister, cop dude!" Sis exclaimed waving her fist up in the air. The others around her agreed like an angry mob. Good to see our time here hasn't changed her raging insanity one bit. Washington looked towards Simmons and Carolina who gazed off far into the distance. He approached the two gently patting them on the shoulders. "You two okay?"
Carolina shoved off his hand and walked away. "I'm fine Wash. But more than anything else that I want right now, I want to see Equal's head in front of my feet. He deserves no fucking mercy."
Washington was surprised to hear Carolina cuss. It wasn't all that often he would hear her say the F word. Simmons gently loosened Wash's grip and walked away himself. He stopped to look up at the moon by the planet and agreed with Carolina. He flipped open the phone and closed it again. "Equal dug his own grave, and now it's time he fills it as well."
They were all in agreement. Their target was clear. It wasn't necessarily the New Order, but the people high up the corporate ladder in the organization. Namely speaking Equal, the man has committed some very unforgivable and cruel crime against the people of this planet. Now it was time he finally learned the consequences of such crimes. It was time that he paid.
The whole of Blood Gulch crew looked up determined to be the ones to make Equal see the price he has to pay. The price was big, very big and they were willing to carry it together until the time came to dump it onto Equal's head. In that moment of unity, only one thought went through their heads. You better be ready Equal, because we are coming for you.