It was a world all dark and grim, a world nothing is real and nothing but despair awaits to those who come to it.
A World of Death.
Factually speaking, everything has its consequences, even doing nothing.
A Balanced Wish.
With deapair comes hope, and hope after despair.
The Cycle of Life.
You can say only God can give people hope without an equal amount of despair.
Just as God gives hope without despair, you can say another entity does the exact opposite.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Homura and The Apocalyptic Rift
"General," an officer was bringing his report to a higher authority, a known general in the US army. It was World War III, but not in a way anyone expected. "Every attempt to explore the area has failed so far. This UFO, it doesn't even seem to listen to our negotiations."
"That thing," The General snuff in some cigarette, sighing at this chain of events. "must be stopped at all costs. To conquer Korea, Japan, Philippines, and half of China in 3 days...we're already cooperating with Russia to send in 47 fusion nukes to its source."
"Eh?" the officer took a step back. "That. is..."
"Sparta, yes I know that," the General held his composure. "We aren't even sure of what happened to the people inside that barrier, but if we don't make a move soon, who knows what'll it'll do next."
The General looked at the flag directly in front of him - the flag of the United States of America. Such a worldwide phenomenon must have its explanation, and such explanation, physics-defying, the General doesn't have such at all.
On the other side of the world, things were just as vague. Hundreds of mahou shoujos have fled to San Francisco, California in a frenzy, escaping the wrath of this new, insanely powerful witch called by many as Kriemhild Gretchen. It's a good thing though, that somehow, only puella magis are seen in the whole city - it seems non-puella magis have fled this city as well. As for Kyubey, he is never to be found, thereby obliberating any chance to make a wish that could end this hell.
"Hey, does anyone of you have any reason why are we led here?" a Japanese puella magi named Hikari asked her fellow Japanese stranger puella magi, named Rika.
"Who knows? I could have fled to the french, but I heard this puella magi was...well...'collecting' puella magis for an attack against Kriemhild Gretchen. I thought I'd be one of those brave heroes, you know."
"Well, we all know that," Hikari sighed. "What I mean to say is why join?"
"...I...I...I want to know if my family...is still there." Hikari bowed her head, ashamed of her feelings which should not have emerged in such a time like this, especially in front of the waiting crowd. With the streets full of puella magis who came here for various reasons, selfish, non-selfish, or by chance. Whatever the reason, these 720 puella magis wait in the crowded streets to wait for someone to take over. Someone who led them here in the first place. Someone with the responsibility to lead the way.
And then someone stepped up to the stage ahead. She had blond hair, with her Soul Gem somewhere around there. her frilly yellowish design cannot probably be distingished from the other puella mqgi around, that is if they actually wore them. Her face clearly that of pure hope, as if they are part of some hellbent movie. It was Mami Tomoe.
"Hello fellow mahou shoujos," Mami started talking in English, her own magic enchancing the volume of her voice. Well, if only Kyubey was around that would be a lot easier. "You all know why we're all here. 3 days ago, a powerful witch was born called Kriemhild Gretchen. As of this time, much of the East-Southeast Asia has been added to her barrier. At this rate, it wouldn't take at least a week for Gretchen to assimilate the world into her barrier, and who knows what'll happen to the people who have entered her barrier. That's where we come in. I'm sure we can do it if our powers would combine."
"So, what happened to Kyubey?" another puella magi separated herself from the crowd. Much noticable are her white cape, blue sleveless suit, and aqua blue hair.
"Well, Ms. Sayaka Miki," Mami recognized her. "The most likely possibility is that Kyubey might have left Earth. We don't know for sure, though."
Mutterings start spreading.
"Kyubey...missing, and this witch appearing? Isn't that a bit coincidental?"
"GASP! W-W-What? I-If that's true, then why would he give us these powers? Err...to clean his mess...or something?"
"Scary...what makes us then?"
"Wait, are you saying...Kyubey deserted us?" another distinct voice enimated from one of the crowd. Almost instantly stripping off her casual clothes in favor of puella magi clothes, her tsundere-like eyes, red suit with near crimson hair, and that human-length spear.
"As it seems, yes, Ms. Kyouko," Mami looked up, hoping for some genius to explain all the details. "No one has seen or heard from Kyubey since the incident, so we have to presume that he's gone for reasons even I can't explain. I know this is hard on all of us, even up 'til now we're violating the territories of many of our resident puella magi, but please bear with me, and know that whether we like it or not, we have to work as a team. Thank you."
Mami stepped out of the stage, her legs shaking a bit. It was hard, considering to defeat such a monster, more than 2000 mahou shoujos would be needed, and yet no one's even sure wth those numbers that a victory is possible. But, like she herself said, it was almost like a forced cooperation, something these puella magi might or might not have thought of for the survival of the human race.
"H-Hey, Mami-san," Sayaka directly went to her on the left side of the stage. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, thank you." Mami smiled. "I was just having a little stage fright, that's all."
"Stage fright, huh?" Kyouko was there, eating Pocky while the two were talking. "Doesn't seem like it though."
"You're partially correct, Kyouko." Mami breathed in and out. "I was also a bit excited, and also a bit worried."
"You mean those people, huh?" Kyouko stared at noisy crowd. It's not like they can't avoid it or anything. That threat of disagreement between these mahou shoujos is still there, merely crawling for a place to strike at with maximum damage. They can only minimize that damage.
"US Alpha Air Squad 7 calling to base. We're now entering the East side conquered by the unknown UFO, roger."
"Action authorized. You may now enter the territory. Remember the mission: to send to the base information regarding the territory conquered by the UFO, to recieve information regarding the people that were conquered by this UFO, and to note any changes by the geographical topography of the conquered territories."
"Yes, sir. US Air Alpha Squadron, engage."
Several US jets have made their way to the East section of the barrier, which was still expanding. 8 jets have made their way to China on a recon mission to determine the state of the conquered nations. To much surprise, satellite scans have shown merely a thick dark-stripped mist, as if that territory has been closed from the world. Inside that territory, something terrible is inside, and tht have to know what is it.
The jet planes have scouted half of China and proceeded to Beijing. So far, there has been nothing.
Not even the sight of the people.
Not even a single plane, person, or vehicle exiting the vicinity.
It was utterly wierd, but nothing else was there but to continue. The jet planes proceeded to enter the barrier 50 meters ahead of them, forming a V formation as the planes enter the territory of the witch.
And then it happened. The recon air force team was met with massive distortions of all shapes, sizes, and forms on all sides of the ship, from unexplained stretching and twisting to moody color changes, but, as violent as they are, they haven't even put a single scratch on the ships.
And then they saw it: massively astounding visions on the inside of the barrier. Surreal pictures of flowers, stars, and the sun, quickly pssing through them like an extremely fast forwarded film of arts. Even the laws of physics, such as constant gravity, have been extremely distorted as they enter the territory, screwing their altometers and radars out of control.
"US Air Alpha Squadron 1, calling to base. Do you read...copy!"
There was no response. It seems as though they even distorted ionic radio waves.
"Sigh...US Air Alpha Squadron 2 , do you copy?"
Again, no response. Just how the hell can they contact the other squadrons this way?
"US Alpha Unit 4, do you read?"
"I read you, loud and clear, sir."
"Return to base, and report to the nearest US officer about the state here at the border. If don't return within 0100 hours, we are to be presumed as dead."
"Yes, sir, but isn't this a little too..."
"Orders are orders."
As one of the jet planes leave the squadron to return to the base, the remaining planes further flew through the area, using high-detailed cameras installed in their planes to picture the grounds. They saw it all: people...civilians, and not just civilians, even officials, and strange creatures. They look more like blue-and-black striped stars with creepy masquerade-like faces, spawned all over around the area, some searching in buildings and houses, which, due to distortions, have become zig-zagged and, contrary to any laws of architecture, have no foundations whatsoever. Even the ground bore some kind of kid-sketched mist that seems to keep the people in a strange trance, much like hypnotism but on a large, unusual scale.
But they don't have enough time. Who knows what the enemy has in store for them if they don't leave soon.
"US Air Alpha Squadron 1, return to base at once, we have colected enough."
And then something wierd happens. Of the 8 jet planes, only 4 followed the order. The remaining 4, however, started losing altitude.
"Alpha Units 3, 5, 7, and 8 what are you doing?"
"Kriemhild Gretchen wants us to die for intruding her dreamland. We must fulfill it."
"Snap out of it! All other teams, retreat at once!"
The remaining 3 jet planes quickly turned around, running for their lives. And then, another weird thing, happens. Several planes show up, and they seem to emanate black mist like the ground was. Their logo...is of the Chinese!
"The...Chinese? Just what's happening?"
Several Chinese planes statred firing ballistic bullets [machine guns] towards their enemy US jet planes, who were trying to escape the barrier. Only a few hundred meters more, they thought.
Or so they think.
Suddenly, from the ground, several of those creatures started spewing black mist to the planes. Units 1 and 2 were hit, unfortunately.
"Alpha Units 1 and 2? Please tell me your okay?"
"Oh...we've never been better...thanks to Kriemhild Gretchen."
With that, only one jet plane remain. With no time to lose and with so many enemies pursuing him, the remaining failsafe must be executed.
"I-I'm sorry, USA, I have failed you."
With that, the plane fired a cannon, sending all information and logs of the remaining ship towards a long projectile path to The Pentagon, probably not taking 3 hours to do so.
Ultimately, they have failed to survive.
Mami's speech was over, and for the remaining puella magi in the area, there's nothing left to do than to hope, chat, and always prepare for the worse.
(The chat is in English)
"...and that's why I always have at least 15 Grief Seeds to spare...just in case," a casual-suited American puella magi was talking to her fellow friend / team member, who is Filipino-American, and to 2 other teamates, one is Chinese and the other is Korean. Just who the hell came up with such a team-up?
"15 Grief Seeds?" Marcella, the Filipino-American responded with surpise. "How do you do it?"
"With the help of my other companions, of couse. We make quite a team, you know." Alicia, the American, made a thumbs up expression as they walk towards the nearest vacant apartment.
"Ha. Ha. Ha." Jeong, the Korean, laugh as if to make a fool out of Alicia's claim. "That's impossible. How can you do it when at max I can only get 5 a week alone?"
"You don't underestimate any mahou shoujo, dear Jeong," Lin, the Chinese, patted Jeong at the back as they proceeded inside the red, old building at her left, where several mahou shoujos are also chatting each other.
"She's right, you know," Alicia proudly declared. "As you can see, I have the ability to detect Soul Gems and Grief Seeds, even as far as 30 miles!"
"Wow, that's quite amazing..." Marcella left the group for a few seconds to get some drinks from a glass-broken vending machine. "No wonder they put you and our team in charge of collecting Grief Seeds."
To know how Soul Gems become Grief Seeds is one hell of a secret I can't tell anyone. Am I being selfish, or am I being protective of what other puella magi think? - Alicia
"Well," Jeong said to her teamates as she opens the fourth door (forcefully) from the stairs where they came from, revealing a 2-bed family-size room with flowery designs. "I'm just glad I'm on a team that could be so cooperative, you know."
True of that fact, compared to this team of mahou shoujos, several of the formed teams, formed by mostly Mami and friends, are quite uncooperative with each other. They know there's very little time for that.
Just be thankful, you know... - Lin
Somewhere, in a tall skyscraper, somewhere along the streets of San Francisco, California, was a girl, lazily viewing the mahou shoujos passing by, as if to look at what they're doing. It was Mami, looking towards the crowd from the roof. It's not like mere falling through roofs will kill her, right?
"To lead...more than 500 mahou shoujos." Mami muttered to herself, as if somone's hearing her. "It's...quite overwhelming. And to think we're gonna need more than that."
"Sorry, I had to make you do it for me," a cold voice eminated from an open door. She had dark, long hair, with a grey suit much like mahou shoujos, but with a shield as weapon, however she does it...
"Oh, saying sorry?" Mami raised an eyebrow. "It seems I've never heard of you before saying that. Just who are you again?"
The girl took a step forwards towards Mami, as if reconfirming her identity.
"Like I said before, I am Homura Akemi."
『To Be Continued...』