"What incredible energy!" Father exclaimed from his place in the center of the nationwide array. "I can barely contain it! And with this energy, I will open this planet's gate!" The five sacrifices struggled in vain as their bodies were forced into a pentagram that tore the very essence of the world from the gate that contained it. The countrywide array activated, sucking the souls of all Amestrian citizens into the philosopher's stone at Father's core. The planetary Gate opened, and Father activated his other array, ready to ascend to Godhood.
He'd thought that Amestris would give him enough power to absorb the Gate of the world, but somehow his calculations came short. Rebound struck him, shattering his philosopher's stone into millions of souls, scattering across Amestris and growing into 15 meter human-like images of the Truth. The philosopher's stones in Father's homunculi shattered from sympathetic vibrations creating smaller, 5 or 7 meter creatures. These mindless quazi-homunculi, driven by instinct, searched for human souls to consume in order to power the shard of philosopher's stone located in the back of their necks.
The only Amestrians who survived the making of the philosopher's stone and the rebound, the 5 sacrifices, were swallowed by the Gate.
412 years passed, Amestris completely forgotten. The walls Maria, Rose, and Sina were erected in a circular form based imprecisely on the geography of that long-forgotten country. Wall Sina sat mere meters from the place that once held Central Headquarters.
The moon drifted closer to its zenith, as did the sun. Many who observed the sky were convinced that the moon and sun would crash, bringing upon them the end of the world; while the priests insisted the walls would protect them. Titans crowded Wall Rose with an uncharacteristic urgency that only further convinced the people of their doom. Darkness gradually overtook the sky, until it was interrupted by lightning that rose from the ground rather than falling from the sky. A gate appeared flush with Wall Sina, facing out into the lands of Rose. It ominously opened its doors, and black hands with unbelievably long arms reached out in a thick bundle. Just as the people thought a new terror had come to kill them all, the hands deposited a small pile of bodies on the ground and withdrew into the gate. Both Gate and hands vanished from sight.
"Al," a boy called out in desperation, followed by a triumphant cheer. "AL! You got your body back!"
"Blah Blah Blah Blah!" The drill sergeant in front of Ed said. When the alchemist didn't answer, the shouting got louder, angrier. Shut up, Ed thought, trying to keep an eye on Mustang. The Colonel had complained of headaches this morning; they had readjusted the array he and Al used to restore the older man's eyesight without enough time to test it. Ed reflected that it was a pity it had to be tweaked on their first day of training; Ed would need to keep a close eye on him.
The drill sergeant forced his face inches in front of Ed's, and was shouting really loud now,
"BLAH BLAH BLAH TOO SHORT BLA-" Oops, he'd punched the man with his automail arm.
"WHO ARE YOU CALLING SO MINUSCULE THAT AN ANT WOULD STEP ON HIM AND NOT EVEN NOTICE?!" He matched the drill sergeant for volume, if not spittle production. "And stay out of my face," he calmed down (calm for Ed, anyways) after his rant. "I don't need you in my way when I do this 3D maneuver thing."
"DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHO I AM?!" The man screamed. His cheek was already purple, his eyes rolling in the back of his head with unconstrained rage. "I AM YOUR DRILL SERGEANT, SOLDIER! AND UNTIL YOU ARE ASSIGNED TO A LEGION, I AM YOUR COMMANDING OFFICER!"
"What?!" Ed didn't sound disbelieving so much as dismissing. "I don't take orders from anyone but the Colonel Bastard over there," helpfully pointing out the reason for his insubordination. Hmm, why is Mustang cringing? That array must still be bothering him.
Roy Mustang, former Colonel of the Amestrian army, was humiliated to be standing next to so many green recruits. He was twice their age, and several inches taller than most of them. He understood the need for it, though, and he'd already resolved to swallow his pride for the sake of learning how to destroy these giant homunculi.
It was frustrating though: He'd spent his whole life aiming for the fuhrership, dirtying his hands for promotion after promotion, and now he was back to square one. These people still lived on Amestrian soil, even if that isn't what they called it anymore, and he had long ago devoted his life to protecting Amestria and her citizens. Warfare had evolved since he'd been gone, and he needed basic training just to keep up.
3D maneuver gear; it would have been impossible to even think of using it a few weeks ago, until Ed and Al approached him with a pair of glasses. "The lenses are made of crystal, and the wires wrap around your head in a band to connect an array to your occipital lobe." Al had explained when installing the device. Roy had eagerly activated the array to see the shapes of Ed and Al proudly gazing at their handiwork. Ed wrapped his left arm around his brother, and slapped him on the back. The wraith-thin boy barely kept his feet. "Al got the idea when he remembered Feury showing him how his radar machine worked." Their explanation was oversimplified, Roy knew.
Nobody but the Elrics would have been able to create such a thing. He definitely appreciated their gift; though he couldn't see color, his vision already extended past the range of an ordinary person's. The brothers explained that, as his mind learned to adjust to the widened field of view, they could alter his glasses until he had nearly a full sphere of sight around himself. Roy smirked; Though he still wished he could regain his sight, to be able to see colors and read books, this was in some ways better.
The drill sergeant was glaring at him...
And Fullmetal was pointing at him...
He cringed. Something incriminating had just happened to him while he was woolgathering (a rookie mistake, Roy scolded himself, I really should know better!).
He may not be able to see the red on the drill sergeant's face, but he knew that expression only too well. It was the 'that damn kid ignored the rules of the military again and it's all your fault!' look.
"Is there something amusing about what he just said, colonel?" The angry man asked derisively.
Roy lifted his hand halfway to the salute that had been ingrained in him for nearly a decade, before he returned it to the strange new salute these people had. "I am very sorry. What did Fullmetal-" Oops, getting caught up in old habits, again. "What did Major -Ah,er... Edward do this time?" The Sargent made a fish face that led Roy to believe the man was about to lose consciousness. Ed's antics could be like that, sometimes.
"According to him, you're his 'commanding officer', so why don't you tell me?" The drill sergeant demanded.
"Sir, you may have noticed that I have recently been demoted. I'm not complaining!" He was sure to add quickly. "It is completely justifiable for an absence of that length." The man's eye twitched.
"Look at me when I'm talking to you!" He demanded. Mustang was nearly a head taller than him, thus when standing at attention his blind eyes habitually settled into the forward gaze trained into him.
"I am, Sargent." He replied calmly.
"Your eyes are staring above me!" He shouted, spittle landing on Roy's chin.
"Sargent, I am blind. I see using radar/sonar wavelengths received through my glasses, and as such I do not need to move my eyes to see in your direction."
"HOW IN THE HELL DID A BLIND MAN GET ADMITTED INTO MILITARY TRAINING?!"
"I'm sorry, Sargent. I wasn't aware we had preceded the urgent message sent to brief you on Fullme- Edward Elric, Alphonse Elric, Izumi Curtis, and my circumstances." From his posture, the sergeant was aware of a message that he hadn't yet read."If you would like," he offered. "I could brief you on it."
"Don't take such a casual tone with me!" he demanded. "And LOOK AT ME WHEN I AM TALKING TO YOU!" Roy resentfully aimed his eyes where eye contact would have been."Permission to Speak. Sir!" He held his posture and tried to remember he no longer outranked a sargent.
"Once a military dog, always a military dog," a woman drawled. He disappeared from Roy's view so fast, he earned the former colonel's grudging respect.
"AND WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, CRITICIZING ME?!"
"Izumi Curtis, housewife." She replied with a smirk.
"IF YOU EXPECT TO JOIN THE MILITARY WITH THAT ATTITUDE-"
"I expect to do no such thing," she replied, her voice even and reasonable, but the aura of threat heavy enough to weigh down on him, survivor of several Titan missions.
"What I expect to do," she continued, "is protect my boys from the likes of dogs like you." She stifled a coughing fit, then intentionally spit blood on his shoe.
"INSUBORDINATION!" He howled. "So those," he pointed back to Ed and Roy, "are your boys?"
"No," She corrected. "Edward and Alphonse are. That other one is just a pet dog who followed them home. They pleaded and cajoled with me until I allowed them to keep it." She smiled at him like the housewife she claimed to be.
"This is no place for a housewife," the Sargent accused. "Go home."
"Not unless my boys come with me." she demanded, after a pause, adding "You can keep the dog." The drill sergeant shook his head, and decided to move onto something he understood.
"And you," he pointed to the emaciated child that Curtis had pointed out.
"Yes, sir?" Al asked politely.
"With a body like that, you're just wasting my time!"
"Sir, I do apologize for the state of my body, but I have already gained 150% muscle mass in the two weeks I've had it. I'm determined to keep up with the rest of the recruits." The sergeant stared at him, considering. He was the last of the four mentioned by the 'colonel', and the only one with the right mindset for recruitment.
"Recruit Alphonse Elric, why are you here?" He fell back into his role of intimidation, ready to quash the idealistic reason the boy had ford joining.
"I was involved in the original alchemical rebound that created the Titans, and since alchemy has been forgotten since that time, the four of us that the Col- -i mean Recruit Mustang listed earlier, have the most knowledge about, and the best chance at eliminating, the source of the Titans.
Goddamn, the drill sergeant realized. I really need to read that message!