Sethe stood on the porch of the house at 124 Bluestone. A harsh wind was blowing; that was a sign that rain was coming. More rain, pounding down on her sanity like so many tiny nails from above. Rain that poured down from the Great Spigot, an eternally harsh master of her destiny. Always rain. Always and forever.
Denver came outside and asked her when they were going to have supper. But there was no supper tonight. Paul D had gone out to try and find something for them to eat; but he was just kidding himself if he thought he was getting anything. Times had been tough on all of them… since the Britannians came into town.
On August 10, 1856 of the Imperial calendar the Holy Empire of Britannia overpowered American forces and conquered the United States of America with their steam-powered robotic weapons, the Knightmare Frames. In the aftermath of Britannia's invasion, the United States lost its freedom, its rights, and even its name. The state of Ohio was renamed as Area 11 of the Britannian Empire. The citizens of Ohio, renamed as "Elevens", are forced to survive in poor neighborhoods, while Britannians live in first-class settlements. Rebel elements persist, however, as pockets of American organizations struggle against the Empire for the independence of the United States.
It was over so quickly. They captured Washington before President Buchanan had fled; following his execution, nearly the entire army had surrendered. They just couldn't stand up to the raw power of the Britannian forces.
A loud rumbling faded into Sethe's consciousness from down the dirt road known as Bluestone. That could only mean one thing; trouble. She hurried Denver back inside and shut the door. She didn't want her daughter to have to see this.
The rumbling reached its peak as three Knightmare frames came into view, their chimneys pouring out steam as they moved slowly forward. They stood nearly as tall as four people; Sethe didn't know how tall that was, and she didn't need to know. They were machines made for killing.
All three stopped directly in front of 124 Bluestone, and Sethe cringed. She knew that this had been coming, but she wanted to deny it all the same. She watched as the pilot hatch on the center robot opened up to reveal a young man with green hair, wearing a Britannian army uniform. So it was him again.
"You, eleven!" he shouted, from atop his Knightmare. "It has been three weeks!"
Sethe said nothing. She couldn't speak over the noise the machine was making anyway.
The man squinted. "Did you hear me?! Your taxes are due! The viceroy commands it!"
Sethe still made no response. She didn't have the money and she wouldn't ever have the amount they wanted.
"FINE!" the man shouted, gesturing to the pilots of the two other Knightmares. "Take her away! We'll see how stubborn she is when she's rotting in the dungeon."
The two pilots removed themselves from their Knightmares and came down to apprehend Sethe. She had resigned herself to her fate; at least this way, Denver and Baby Suggs would have a chance to get out. She got on her knees and prepared herself to be taken away…
At that moment, the cry of clashing steel rent the air. "WHAT?!" shouted the man on the first Knightmare, as a mysterious new Knightmare plowed its fist into one of the currently unoccupied ones beside him. It was followed soon thereafter by two other Knightmares of much the same build; and together, they eliminated the other unoccupied Knightmare. The pilots looked back in shock… Who would dare challenge the great Britannian Empire, unrivaled by any on the planet?
"We are the Black Knights, sworn enemies of injustice and oppression!" came out a voice from somewhere up high. Sethe looked up to see that there was a man in a mask and what looked to be a ridiculous cape on her roof. That was just great, now she was going to have to get someone to reshingle it.
"NOOOOO!" shouted the green-haired pilot, who had gotten back in his Knightmare and was attempting to fight off the other three. He was doing pretty well, too; he knocked one of them to the side and was just about to turn to take on another when the third got him from behind with its rifle bayonet. For an instant, his Knightmare stood frozen in mid-action, as if time itself had stopped… Then it slumped over, giant robotic arms sagging in despair.
"Damn you, auto-eject," shouted the pilot from his cockpit. "Don't you DARE activate!!!"
It did, regardless of his melancholic cry. The cockpit flew from the Knightmare off into the sky, its trail shining as that of the radiant morning dew.
"Yeah, take that, Britannians!" came a voice from one of the new Knightmares. "Score another victory for the resistance!"
The man in the mask did a flip off of the roof and landed just before Sethe, who was having some real trouble taking all of this in. It WAS pretty ridiculous.
"Let all of those with power know," said the masked man, turning around and facing no one in particular, "that we, the Black Knights, are protectors of justice! Where the strong oppress the weak, we shall appear!"
Then Sethe threw up on his shoes.