Prologue - Awakening
Earth had existed in more dignified times. The third rock from the sun may have taken its annual orbit around the angelic, blazing sun, but the looming shadow of doom dimmed the dusty, carbon filled skies, that now suffocated the hazy object that was Earth; the cradle of man.
Global unification had not created the utopia the optimists of the world had once predicted. The founding governments squabbled over the political power of the planet and it’s ever dwindling natural resources, leaving the lesser, decedent countries behind, who were lacking the influence and dominance of the ‘Western’ countries. To ease the tension, each earthly country was represented by an elected minister in the unique, fledgling global council, the adeptly named ‘Global Peace Council’. It was a plan of great ambition and promised swift salvation for humanity, but to the despair of the innocent population, the thirst for power of countries such as America; China; France and the new-born state of Asira could not be quenched, their share never enough. Mutters turned quickly into complaints, complaints created debate, debate caused divisions in the G.P.C.
Politics and war go blissfully hand in hand.
No sooner had the dreams of peace come to place, did the nightmare of conflict consume the Earth. The once worshipped light from the forgiving Sun was snuffed out like a small candle by the nuclear fallout that soon came upon the guilty and innocent alike. War only lasted for three painful, dust-ridden years but the devastation caused by the bloody conflict was unimaginable. The death toll was never completely calculated. It was neither the roaring bullets nor the clumsy warheads from the initial fiery blasts of the conflict that caused the unimaginable death, but the biological pests released into the clean water reserves, and the precious resources that were squandered, which had led to the despairing consequences, a complete and utter power-failure of all terrestrial colonies. Medical equipment slumbered as the gasping, blubbering sick passed away. Humanity’s electric and consumer culture was it’s own undoing, for even the trade roads required the loving hum of electricity. Communications disintegrated, towns disappeared with a silent scream. The vast hole in the upper ozone triumphantly claimed many victims, as the sun reaped its vengeance upon the unprotected beings below, like a farmer reaps the bounty of his tailored lands. There were no official victors during the hardship of war, yet there was an endless presence of defeated beings and crushed countries. War never truly had victors.
The power vacuum still lay unoccupied even after the bloodshed, but the exhausted countries ceased the pointless genocide to lick their brutal wounds. The war of weapons may have come to a stuttering halt, but the war of words accelerated, and it seemed that the hunger for power that ate the beating heart of man would be the death of the species. The ululations of the dead, the cries of the suffering, and the screams of the families that had lost so much were finally heard. The shattered G.P.C. stepped up to try and resolve where years of conflict had failed.
The colossal failure to stop the pointless war that had ruined, and broken the world was the weapon of the G.P.C. required to stop the ramblings of even the most influential hawks of government. The fear of yet more slaughter forced an interesting card to be played, the ace that lasts to the present day. The creation global peacekeeping force of a elite trained, sophistically armed fighting force, theoretically capable of matching more then a quarter of the Earth’s military might was born from the crimson fires of Earth. Even though there numbers were few, a mere fifty thousand handpicked troops, these men and women showed valour that shone greater then any guiding star, resolve and almost inhuman prowess for combat. This military combat force showed great effectiveness and honour during the immediate peacekeeping duties; emergency relief for environmental disasters; and even militant ‘panic’ attacks. The rapidly built repetition of this shockingly successful elite global army seemed to finally have the steel chain to unify the black-blooded world. The “Knights” as they were known as, had brought the peace the people demanded, but only through superior firepower.
Finally the beasts were tamed.
Time would judge if this was the most prudent action, yet if it pacifies the sins of humanity from devouring it’s self, was the creation of the Knights justified? It has been over thirty years since conflict has threatened the world, but could morals and weapons forever pin down the darkness in the light?
The unification of the world solved many shameful problems such as the hole in the guarding Ozone layer and hunger of the less economically developed countries, the outlook was bright, but as the curious nature of humans took the bold to colonise the stars, the balance of power was changing once more, from the lashed hands of the people, to the industrious corporations that cost-effectively harvested the sister planet of Mars. Rivalry grew like a black rose between governments such as the Luna Council and Europa’s Will. Fearful of a sudden strike from the planets, and the irrational thinking of some of the more aggressive military commanders of the neighbouring planets, the G.P.C. mustered combat fleets, readied supply fleets, and braced the people for another dice in the meat-grinder of war. The nightmare of War seemed to of loomed ever closer.
As the influence and power of industry grew like a bacterial colony on the tamed planets, they squabbled over mining and trading rights, which tore divisions between the T.P.I., bringing short, heavily armed stand-offs, and in one regrettable engagement, civilian death as a tourist transport was caught in the crossfire. The T.P.I. s merely waved this off as collateral damage. The Knights flexed military muscle, while the G.P.C. flexed political might to avoid any further escalation. Communication dissipated, as soar companies reached for greater and further forceful methods to express themselves.
The wise men and cynical saw the red haze of space-warfare, but the threat was not from businessmen; nor corporate fleet. The fate of the “Knight’s” seemed to shuffle closer to its climax.
Confusing and unclear reports trickled through to the inner-circle planets of the solar system, as rumours of unimaginable carnage and massive magnitudes of misery of the systematic eradication of Triton’s colony population reached common-folk. In an attempt to filter fact and fiction, the state of New-Europe released a small expedition towards Triton. No confirmed sightings of this force have been logged since contact was lost.
Like an invisible angel of violence, there was another stunning strike against one of the sons of war, Diemos. Events on the Red planet’s moon had shown the possible fate of the population of Earth, painted with innocent blood. Half of the Diemos’s recorded population disappeared in mere hours. It is feared to be a ruthless extermination by a mystery militia force, as no government or company has claimed responsibility for these horrific acts. The events at Diemos echoed that of Triton, five years previous in which a detachment of Knights was assigned to assist the local security combat from ever-increasing and bold raids from pirate factions. There had been no confirmed readings from this far-flung detachment to-date; these men and women are presumed to have fallen to cold steel or ballistic. All eyes fell on the shaken Knights to stand guard, and be the pillar of strength to the weary G.P.C., the deep wounds still fresh from the last bout of carnage.
The Knights have been pitted against a foe that can never be seen from afar, that cannot be intimidated by reputation or sanctions, and are as seemingly as well equipped with almost limitless funds. This group of unknown size has no grand history, only two mortified witnesses, and the priceless advantage of having no known static position. The wise men of the Knights pondered. How can they strike at an enemy that seems to have no true form?
* * * * *
On the minor satellite Triton.
“Unacceptable! Unforgivable!” the voice trembled.
“The blood of these poor fools will make this moon bountiful, my dear father” the cloaked man unleashed a sadistic smile; his lips were pale and lifeless. The cloaked man advanced, raising his short, military standard issue blade to the withering, old man who was draped in plain deathly white robes that had been discoloured by dust and dirt. “Just think, father, it will surely bring those fools to seek vengeance”, he stopped and coldly placed the blade to his father’s chest, “but I am clever, as you once were. I shall strike fear and uncertainly into the masses! I shall bring the Knights to its bruised knees!” the cloaked man chuckled, stroking the blade vertically, starching his terrified father’s breast.
“You’ve lost your mind!” the old man stuttered, he was panicking, as he was certain his son had thrown all reason to the wind. The cloaked son embraced his father with a firm grip, thrusting the steel blade deep piecing through his lung, impaling his father’s heavy heart. The old man gasped desperately for life bringing air, as the cloak figure released his cool grip, allowing the man to tumble to rest. The cloak man walked briskly away, hardly noticing the expensive furnishings of the square room, but no amount of wealth will spare his father from his cruel fate.
“I wished you could see the universe I will create, but you are of no use to me old man. May at least you enjoy the strange situation you have been thrown into” the cloaked man halted, and glared into his dying father’s eyes with his dead, grey eyes “and have the honour of falling to my blade. Those bumbling fools will soon accompany you in your eternal slumber”.
The cloaked figure held his head up high, killing his father had given him a joy like no other could feel; a strong comforting blaze engulfed his body, a forbidden feeling. The feeling of things to come, the feeling of victory! He could barely control himself from giggling like an innocent schoolgirl. At long last my ambition will take form, he thought to himself, as he trampled over the corpses of the local inhabitancies, who were now oblivious to the carnage. The stench of rotting flesh danced on his long, slender nose, and he ran his hand through his thick black hair, as the weak wind whispered past his small ears, and lapped at his attractive features. He stopped to admire his legion’s work, and smirked as he remembered the soothing screams of the victims, but the land was silent now. Silent except for the wind, gently stroking the space aged cylinder buildings, and gently pushing empty cartages down the blood stained streets. The cloaked man stared deep into the black sky, pasted the sullen poisonous clouds to the distance stars, which burned as bright as the man wanted to become.
Footsteps broke the unsettling quiet, as two massive soldiers dragged a limp Knight towards the cloaked man, his armour scrapping across the stone pathway. “We found one. He is a Knight,” the brutish voice said in a child’s English, throwing the battered Knight to the crimson ground, the man gasped at the pain of the landing. “He is Major”.
The cloaked man shrugged only catching a short glimpse of his hated enemy. The man was a sight for sore eyes; his uniform was tattered by the violent conflict that had covered the moon. The soldier was bleeding; his face was wincing from the suffering his body was enduring. The cloaked figure kneeled beside the young Knight, grabbing a tuff of stained hair and stared deep into the Knight’s soul, smirking once again. “Let the man live. He will need to deliver my declaration of extermination to Earth, and it’s bastard governments”.
The giant monster of a soldier tugged at the weakened Knight, almost dragging him across the frozen dusty street to a holding cell, where he would soon be transported like mere cattle, back to his masters on Earth. The cloaked man unleashed a face of resolve, and looked to the stars.
My time draws ever closer, but so many places to cleanse in my name, so little life span! The cloak man thought. He pointed to the distance dot of light. There, the sun of war, you will be the first to fall, and a new page to be turned, to create a noble future!