The Shadows Chapter 40
By Keith Adams
Thiek watched the arrival of the two newcomers in Truce with a certain amount of interest. They had appeared right where a jet of some kind had crash landed; an epoch class jet. They would mean trouble, They would disrupt everything the High Shadow, with his decades of carefully laid plans set just right, which were fast approaching a culmination, would be unwound.
Thiek smiled. Nothing was quite so satisfying as destroying a man's life work; the only thing that would make it better is if the High Shadow knew it. Twas a marvelous joke; the High Shadow, undone by his own prodigal son. Not killed - but he would lose everything by the time Thiek was done with him, and then, the High Shadow, the supposedly brilliant leader of the Shadows and promoter of a perfect stasis, would be thrown to a wolf with reason enough to wipe him out of existence. The High Shadow had no choice, now. He was finished. The old order will die. Long live the new.
Thiek pored the red colored wine over the Nu sitting underfoot, but the wine did not change the Nu's color, as it was already red.
Janice wandered hand in hand with Crono into the dome. Wires and circuitry, lights of all colors and kinds permeated the city. It was a bit overdone for Janice's taste, but it was nice in it's own way. Crono looked a bit muffed; he looked dizzy and pale.
"What's wrong Crono?" Why did I say that?, Janice wondered; shouldn't I have whipped him for being drunk. No; it was too easy of a shot. Like aiming at Marle's bun from a few feet away. No challenge.
"I feel a bit ... dizzy. My visions sort of ... darker, dimmer, as if a shadow had covered it," Crono leaned over, facing the ground "Must be something in the air. It's nothing. I will survive."
"Are you entirely sure of this?" asked Agemo Guardia, King of Guardia, of his thin, sickly, Prime Minister, Flint. Twas an appropriate name; Flint was cold, gray harsh and unchanging, and could start firess.
"Yes sir. 6 Mystic Jets appeared near Truce and attacked the carrier Xenax. They retreated, but could have done serious damage. We couldn't track them after that. If we wait, Mystic jets will eventually get through and unleash their atomic weapons," replied Flint coldly.
"How do we know that the Mystics have nuclear weapons?" asked Agemo; this was not something to be taken lightly.
"Our best man, Ramalski, failed to stop a shipment of smuggled weapons recently. He has a lead on the other ones, but it will be a few days before he tracks them down again."
"What about Mystic defense systems?"
"I have a plan for that as well, sir. But we must launch."
Crono stopped at a giant screen. A man in the red royal robes of Guardia sat in a red covered gold chair; he was young, perhaps thirty, and had a look of detirmination about him. Crono stopped Janice, showed her the face. A crowd was gathering around the screen.
"Welcome, members of the Alliance. As you know, the Mystics have begun moving against us again. First, there was the Lavos project, but due to our agents, we killed the internal areas-"
"What?" gasped Crono in exasperation; no Guardia agent helped defeat Lavos.
"Calm down Crono," urged Janice.
"but not before the creature unleashed several kilotons of explosive power across the alliance. The death toll is now at twenty thousand. It also destroyed much of our magnetic storage, making it read only."
"This Lavos project could easily be retried. But there is something that worries us far more. A fleet of thirty Mystic jets capable of launching nuclear weapons appeared out of nowhere around where Lavos rose and attacked the pride of our fleet, the Xenax. Nearly half the crew died, and the Xenax is considerably damaged."
"The jets were downed, but our men believe that the Mystics have stolen carriers of our jets and bombers; they now have nuclear weapons. We must strike at them - before every last person on this planet dies. We shall die, all of us, before handing this planet over to the Mystics and their ilk. We are preparing our nuclear arsenals. This is not a bluff or a drill; this is for real. If the Mystics do not provide some indication that they will stop these activities, we shall launch a full nuclear strike against them. We shall not go down with a whimper, but with a bang, if we should go down at all. Death befire slavery. Armageddon before Mystic Rule. We shall perish, but we shall make this place an infereno; no Mystic shall claim this planet after we are gone. Armageddon is rising; how it is played out depends on us."
The High Shadow smiled. Thiek was performing his duties with expert skill. Too bad he would have to be eliminated for his treachery. He will fall, along with the fool Shadows who betrayed me, to the scythe of the reaper.
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