Empire's End

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Disclaimer: Star Ocean and related ideas, characters, etc. are the legal property of Square-Enix/tri-Ace. Characters, etc. are only borrowed for what I hope will be entertainment purposes. Also, I'm really not making any money off this – honest! This disclaimer applies to the entire work. Insert more legal jargon here if it will keep me from facing a lawsuit. For great justice.


"...declaring this so-called 'Creator' the leader of a terrorist cell of unknown origins, known only by their self-titled name "The Executioners." Federation officials have confirmed at this hour that the rash of brutal attacks by the 'Executioners' across the Milky Way were both achieved by the use of an OPA from an undeveloped planet. Officials are still refusing to comment which system this all originated from, beyond saying that the area has been secured by several battle and combat explorer class ships. Speculation has centered on the restricted planet Styx, which is known to be near the area where the Federation's flagship—the Aquaelie—was lost, but we are unable to corroborate any hard facts.

We also have confirmation at this hour by Federation officials that the rumors of dozens of planets, calling themselves the Neutral Powers, officially breaking away from the Federation are true. As has been reported for the past few days, talks have been continuing late every night for the past week at the temporary congressional building set up behind me, here in the center of Clatos, with Federation negotiators attempting to keep the survivors of the Federation united, but this latest report confirms the rumors that the negotiations seem to have taken a bad turn—"

Lieutenant General Claude Schilling, Jr. snorted in contempt and angrily snapped off the screen. "Negotiations seem to have taken a bad turn," he mimicked savagely. After a moment, he started laughing hysterically. "You have absolutely no idea..." he choked out between coughing laughter. After a moment, he settled again. He threw an arm over his eyes. "The negotiations," he began, carrying on a conversation with imaginary news reporters, "have been an unmitigated disaster," he said levelly. "In fact, I would venture," he continued energetically, "that this constitutes an even greater calamity than the Executioners did."

He dragged himself off his bunk, scowling openly and reaching for the open bottle of scotch on his desk. His uniform –sans uniform jacket, which had been carefully thrown over the back of his desk chair some time before – was wrinkled from long hours of wear. His eyes looked bleary (he had been working on that bottle of scotch for the past two hours) and he rubbed a hand through his sandy hair in an overly aggravated manner.

With a refreshed shot of scotch, he turned back to the blank screen. "But how, you may ask, could this have happened? Isn't the Federation the preeminent power in the galaxy?"

He tossed back another shot of scotch. "How? Simple. The majority of the Federation negotiators," he explained patiently, "are pathetic, toothless old men, too frightened to ply the use of force the way they should."

His mocking tone shifted, more of his own bitter voice intermingling into it. "Because they 'want to avoid war' and 'maintain friendships' with the traitorous bastards breaking off from the Federation – the very Federation that humanity shed sweat and tears and bled white to make – they won't treat the traitors for what they really are!" He grimaced, looking as if he wanted to spit in disgust. "Neutral Powers," he muttered.

He twisted rapidly, his voice rising, as if shouting at an unseen crowd in his quarters. "It's the cowards in power, who are too scared to fight to preserve our order against the bastards stabbing us in the back right when we need unity the most!"

Schilling stumbled over to the view port again, holding his half-depleted glass of scotch against his head. "But that's okay… I mean, this isn't a surprise – I knew that was going to happen the first day I sat down to those negotiations."

He drunkenly turned towards the blank view screen. "And that, Mr. News-castor, to give you an exclusive scoop," he explained, jutting the drink toward the screen, "is why a certain Lieutenant General Schilling skipped the rest of the talks."

He started to grin. His gaze was fixed on his view port, which offered a clear view of devastated Earth, the sun rising behind it. "Because thanks to a 'gift' from a long departed friend, I can fix the errors of those bloated fools. I, at least, have every confidence that the Federation's going to be fine. Earth's going to be fine. Yes… All thanks to you, Dr. Leingod – the Federation's very own martyred saint."

He started to chuckle – he rather liked the sound of that. "With your help, I'll drag the Federation back from the brink – traitors be damned." He drained off the last of his scotch, then tossed the glass away.

He clenched his fist, a reddish glow surrounding it. It was weak, but its presence was unmistakable. "Everything's going to be just fine…" His low laughter reverberated through the small cabin.