Chapter 1: Meteor Rising
The year is 2,050 SY (Solarian Year) and civilization is at the pinnacle of its power with the two greatest national superpowers Pandemonia and Azuria unlocking secrets of nature that would give them unpredictable levels of power. In 2,035 the people of Azuria have unearthed a magical ore dubbed Azuron by its discoverer Dr. Joseph Morridon which possesses tremendous amounts of energy, sufficient to solve the energy crisis of a nation that relies entirely on magic power as the backbone of its economy and industry. The civilization of Azuria possesses many advanced technologies such as flying cities, skyscrapers, airships, hover-cars, robots, teleportation, and spell-casting, all of which are powered by the highly polluting ether gas which is running on a limited supply. Azuron has alleviated the need to use ether and provides the framework for a sustainable economy, but the peace and prosperity is not to last for there are those too power hungry to be content with simply using Azuron for peaceful applications.
2,050 SY, 11th Lunar Cycle, Day 26, 10:35pm, at the Morridon National Laboratories:
"No comment on the status of the new Azuron reactor design, this project is classified, as I have told you journalists before." Doctor Morridon declares as he fixes the collars of his lab coat and walks up the entrance stairs of his massive laboratory and walks towards the control room for his secret underground missile silo in Azure, the capital city of Azuria.
"Dr. Morridon, please just give us a few words on the state of the Azuron Industry!" A news reporter says as he tries to follow Dr. Morridon into the lab.
"I am afraid you can't go any further since this area is classified as a level 4 top secret facility we'll have to ask you to turn back sir." Aide de camp and sister of the Queen of Azuria, Mage Airman Lucia Fallonia declares as she accompanies Dr. Morridon along with her head of state sibling into the facility to witness the demonstration of Dr. Morridon's new reactor.
As Lucia along with security mages and bronze enforcer robots motion for the stubborn journalists to leave the laboratory, Dr. Morridon starts some small talk with the Queen as they both walk towards the control room.
"So how goes the pacification of the old ether cartels Queen Althena?" Dr. Morridon asks.
"There is already rioting in the streets as thousands of citizens who used to work for the ether gas companies lose jobs to the Azuron refinement facilities that process the easy to manufacture Azuron fuel rods. The energy crisis may have been solved but labor demand and the stocks of major companies are plummeting. You already know this anyway so why ask? Are you trying to make fun of my administration's incompetence?" The Queen though supposedly beautiful in her black dress robes, red tiara, red poncho and shiny black leather flats looks aged and weak from all the problems occurring under her rule.
"Well, I can understand your anxiety, but look at it this way; our plan to stop the meteor from crushing the Earth would not be possible without the new knowledge uncovered by science. Without these technologies we are doomed to extinction as a species your majesty."
"I know, but still… It's a sad new world we live in, as my theology professor Marl Topper once told me we humans who used to ask for blessings and guidance from the spirits in the hopes of receiving salvation once we die and vanish into the other dimension have discarded such traditions in favor of the magical technologies uncovered by scientists like you who have dug far deeper into the secrets of nature than any religion has ever done. But the powers these new discoveries have granted have also brought untold misery to humans in the form of greed, environmental destruction, and war."
"Well I do apologize for the countless lives wasted in the name of progress but science must march on regardless of this fact. People would have died from natural calamities such as the meteor headed for Earth nonetheless if not for the power of science." Dr. Morridon replies.
Fool! Today is the last day you run this country! Dr. Morridon thinks.
"Well I suppose I offer thanks to your efforts as a scientist Dr. Morridon, at least you have tried to help humanity with your inventions and discoveries. Your continued service to this nation is a blessing to our people. You who have solved the energy crisis even start a disinformation campaign to conceal the fact that our planet is headed for destruction out of consideration for the people who will panic in the midst of such a crisis. You are truly a kind and dutiful man who has placed the value of human life above science."
"Well, I suppose I do what I can to help. After all science exists to make people happy and it is not just an intellectual's hobby horse." Dr. Morridon anxiously scratches his receding hairline as the moment that humanity's fate will be decided draws closer with the ticking of the clocks in the laboratory.
Dr. Morridon enters the laboratory with Queen Althena Fallonia, along with her sister Mage Airman 1st Class Lucia Fallonia and her subordinate Mage Airman 2nd Class Henry Ramius who have managed to get into the control room in time to witness the missile launch after shrugging off all the persistent journalists.
"Now in this control room I will direct the launch of ballistic missiles powered by Azuron rocket engines that will be used to carry Azuron Energist Bombs into the meteor which will release the Azuron ore's tremendous energy in an instant to generate an explosion powerful enough to vaporize the meteor." Dr. Morridon explains.
"Now, the meteor is nearing the Earth's gravitational field so there is little time to explain how the missiles work any further, so please take your seats your majesty, Airman Fallonia, and Ramius." Dr. Morridon motions the two sisters and the other man to sit in spare chairs provided for them.
"Though I'm a Mage Airman, this is the first time I've ever been so hell a scared in my entire life! What's happening now's just so unthinkable!" Lucia nervously grips her hips as she speaks to her sister.
Queen Althena holds her sisters right hand. "It's alright Lucia nothing was ever made to last for eternity. At least if we are to die, we die together."
"Thank you sis; even though you haven't tasted the brutality and hell of the front lines, you still have the strength to comfort me." Lucia smiles endearingly at her sister.
"Do not forget your best subordinate, Mage Airman 2nd class Henry Ramius will also be here!" Airman Ramius also sits beside Airman Fallonia and comments naughtily.
Lucia pats her subordinate's shoulder and says to him. "I know you've been hitting on me since day one; a lot of the other war-boys think I'm hot so I've dealt with this before. Not a subtle as you think you are, weasel, but it's alright, I appreciate it."
"Well glad to be of service!" Airman Ramius replies.
"All personnel To battle stations! The missile launch procedures are to begin in half an hour!" Dr. Morridon calls out to the launch crew through the intercom and they assemble in their designated control quadrants in the allotted time.
"Preparing for snap count!" One of the crew declares as he activates a computer's trajectory estimator to determine the right time for the missiles to fire.
"Fuelling all thirteen Azuron missile fuel tanks!" Another crew presses a set of buttons that activate the fuel rod insertion mechanisms that thrust the fuel rods into the missiles.
"Arming Azuron Energist Bombs!" Another crew activates the mechanisms that will set off the warheads.
"Opening missile bay doors!" A crew opens the doors that expose the underground missile silos in preparation for the launch.
"Trajectory estimation complete! The Meteor will land in the Indian Ocean ETA 12 minutes and counting!"
"All missiles launch!" Dr. Morridon announces.
"Launching!" A crew starts the missile's rocket engines and deactivates the arrestor claws that hold the missiles in the silos.
In a few minutes, the thundering sound of the rocket motors fill the air as the Azuron rockets thrust the missiles out of the silos. The missiles quickly gain altitude as displayed in the navigational screens that track their movements. The approaching meteor collides with the first missile and a violent explosion causes the meteor to be completely vaporized.
"Target neutralized!" A crewman excitedly announces.
Applause is instantly heard in the room and several personnel as well as the queen and the two airmen stand up in excitement but Queen Althena looks uneasy.
"If you knew firsthand that one missile would be enough to vaporize the meteor then why did you launch thirteen, doctor? What are you going to do with the other 12 that are now climbing higher into the atmosphere?" Queen Althena asks nervously.
Dr. Morridon laughs maniacally and to Queen Althena he declares. "You idiot! The meteor was not the end of the world as you and those other royalty who do nothing but sit on your hands and hold tea parties I led to believe. In fact it was the excuse I was waiting for! Yes, my calculations were correct that one missile was enough to destroy the meteor but those other twelve were not meant for that! They were meant to decimate our enemies and make the world bow to our nation! I have served this country and given it many long years of thankless work! But I have had enough of that! It is time for the world to bow to its new supreme ruler!"
"You hypocritical bastard! I thought you were dedicated in your long years of service to this nation! But I was wrong; you have done everything in your capacity to advance your own agenda! Just think of all the innocent people you'd sacrifice! You think that just because you have unlocked the power of the Azuron Ore that you have the right to play God!" Queen Althena angrily declares as she clenches her fists.
"My God! You're… insane! This is your last straw, you are under arrest! Henry! Alert the guards and put this place under emergency lockdown!" Airman Lucia adds.
"Yes ma'am!" Henry salutes and tries to walk out.
"Not so fast you patriotic twits!" Dr. Morridon shouts as he summons the bronze enforcer robots with a wave of his hand, robots that he programmed to follow his every command even to the point that the orders of higher authorities are overridden.
The robots enter the control center and surround Queen Althena and her posse.
"Enforcers! Seize this traitor at once!" Queen Althena commands.
The enforcers do not respond.
"Enforcers! Seize those traitors at once!" Dr. Morridon commands and the robots slowly walk closer to the queen and her posse.
"Impossible! How could you overwrite the command hierarchy for the enforcers!" Lucia asks nervously.
"How did you think I designed Azuron Reactors and Missiles? Just think my dear! I'm way out of your or any other empty headed royals' league for that matter when it comes to intelligence!" Dr. Morridon replies.
"I am afraid you leave us with little choice Dr. Morridon! Airman Lucia Fallonia! Let us summon the sacred heirloom magic that house Fallonia has passed down to us in time of dire circumstance!" Queen Althena draws her black magic mace and prepares to cast a powerful attack spell.
"Yes your majesty!" Airman Fallonia salutes and draws her black magic blaster wand.
"I'll hold the magic in this room so it doesn't leak out and set off the other missiles I'm sure that twisted bastard has kept in here!" Airman Ramius adds.
"Please do that Airman!" Lucia says as she wipes sweat off her brow and prepares to cast magic against the fast approaching enforcers.
"Waveon Solaria!" The two royal sisters shout as they aim their cast magic at the bronze enforcers to shoot them down.
Waves of small solar flares then instantly erupt from their magical weapons and fly towards the enforcers.
"Cancelleon Destrudo!" Dr. Morridon shouts and the enforcers then shoot invisible energy waves that ripple through the space-time continuum and neutralize the effect of the royal sister's magic.
"But how could you cast magic remotely through robots? It's impossible to cast spells without directly holding the magical medium! What are you!" Queen Althena cries out to Dr. Morridon.
"As I've said, you puny little ants are way out of my league! You did not think I spent all of those years conducting scientific research for no reason did you? And to answer your question, what I am soon to be is the master of this world! Enforcers! Take these lowly filths and place them in the holding cells! We'll see if we can use them for ransom and make the royal house submit to my rule! If not… they die!" Dr. Morridon commands and the enforcers disarm and grab the two royal sisters.
"What shall be done with the other airman?" One of the enforcers asks.
"Take him to the royal palace, so that those royal idiots will know of my actions and my demands!" Dr. Morridon replies and the enforcer drags Airman Henry out of the laboratory.
"Please Dr. Morridon! This is not like you! Millions of innocents will die from your actions! Please stop what you are doing!" Queen Althena begs of the doctor as she is carried away to the holding cell.
"Millions have already died in the wars, famines, and calamities of ages past! So what does it matter? I never once cared for all those puny little ants and their puny little minds! They mean nothing compared to the glorious new future I am going to build!" Dr. Morridon excitedly declares.
"Now take them away! I will hear no more of this incessant bleeding heart patriotism! I am sick and tired of it!" Dr. Morridon commands and the enforcers carry the two royal sisters out of the control room.
A few minutes later, unsuspecting citizens from various cities around the world go about their daily lives, completely unaware of the great destruction that is about to befall them. The toweringly massive Azuron missiles turn downwards to face their targets after climbing thousands of meters into the air. They hurdle quickly into the ground like spears hurled by a mighty deity about to visit his wrath upon the human race. One by one chosen cities are vaporized by blast waves of bluish purple Azuron energy that devour the cities and its citizenry whole leaving nothing but giant mushroom clouds and blast craters in their wake.
The navigator who has observed the missiles' trajectories on the navigation screen gives his report to Dr. Morridon. "Doctor! All cities have been completely vaporized, data analysis of the cities show no life force signatures! All signs of life have been completely eradicated!"
"Excellent! Now I think it is about time I make my demands to the governments of the world!" Dr. Morridon jeers.
"Dr. Morridon I have some bad news!" The navigator calls out.
"What is it?" Dr. Morridon anxiously replies.
"Behind the dust cloud of the meteor sir! A… another meteor is headed for Earth!"
"What!" A tinge of panic crawls up Dr. Morridon's spine as dealing with the world's leaders has become the least of his current problems.