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Chapter 7 - One-Year War

Don't let the suspense kill you, if my update rate is anything to go by.

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Chapter 8 (FINALE) ->

                                                                                                                                                                       

"Status report, immediately!"

"Well, sir, we've destroyed the enemy entirely. All of our troops held POW have been saved. All...except..."

"...no. It can't be possible..."

"Wait, sir! I'm picking up a reading! It's your son! He's adrift in space!"

"He is?! Hurry! Get him back here!"

"Roger! Activate warship thrusters in 3-"

"Wait, private. It's too late. He's too far into space. Looks like someone found him, too. Sir, I wouldn't recommend any further actions, either. He seems to be from an armed group."

"...fine. But let's at least get some information of his home planet."

"...it appears the scout is from 'Earth.' If I may ask, sir, why do you ask?"

"Bring this intel back to the emperor. We're invading Earth."

"Got it, sir."

"(This is just what I need. We'll add another planet to the empire, and my son will be rescued. The emperor will finally grant me retirement, and my son and I will never have to worry about this again...I hope.)"

                                                                                                                                                                        

(All of Hyper Tech's remaining soldiers report outside the destroyed remains of Zyon. The carriers have all stopped near them, and several soldiers exit them.)

Soldier: Sorry, sir. We can't locate Fugo anywhere.

Genghis: But it's only been a few minutes, he couldn't have possibly gone that far...

Victor: Actually, sir, I've noticed that the Evoluzione's shape had become much thinner since we last saw him. I have a theory as to how the suit works.

Genghis: Well, there's nothing else we can do while we wait for orders. Go ahead.

Victor: I've been reviewing the data that Wayne had inputted about Fugo and the Evoluzione. You may remember that the suit was originally rather slow and blocky. As time had passed, the suit became thinner and more aerodynamic. Also, Fugo was only able to heat his hands to dangerous temperatures before, but now he's capable of releasing heat beams. You may also remember that the suit's power increases when Fugo's emotions turn extreme, at the cost of his rationale. From all of this evidence, I therefore conclude that the Evoluzione responds to its pilot's emotions and morphs to accommodate for that and their preferred fighting style.

Genghis: Emotions, hm? I guess I should've trained Fugo to use his emotions rather than suppress them...but it's too late for "what if's" now. Everyone, return to your carrier units.

(Every soldier returns to their carriers. Minutes pass with no activity, until the ships begin auto-flying towards Earth.)

Jennifer: Hey, sir, what the heck is going on?

Genghis: The U.E.F. must be sending us back. That's the only reason the ships would be flying itself...but why?

(A transmission appears from the Chariot's main projector, revealing the president of the U.E.F.)

Genghis: M-Mr. President, sir!

President: Greetings, general. You've noticed by now, but Hyper Tech's cruisers are returning to Earth. We're pulling the Hyper Tech project.

Genghis: You're ending it? But why?

Jennifer: You know the Hundred Empire's still out there!

Natalie: Yeah! Without us, they'd be running rampant down there! This is our thanks?!

President: Please, remain calm. Our decision was not based on defense. No, the truth is, you've all done well at your objective...until recently.

Genghis: ...sir, we realize that the loss of Zyon was indeed costly, but I don't think that constitutes a proper reason to-

President: Also allow me to remind you that the destruction of Zyon was the responsibility of one "Fugo." An undocumented soldier of yours, mind you. We had some fear that there may have been more double agents in the project, but the more important reason is...

Wayne: Sir, it looks like the Hundred Empire is...headed for Earth.

Genghis: What?!

(Genghis and the rest of the soldiers on the Chariot look outside to see some Hundred Empire warships headed for Earth.)

President: Ah yes, the leader of the Hundred Empire had finally agreed on negotiations. And especially after such a loss, it would be much less risky to talk than to keep fighting.

Victor: Mr. President, if I may interject, I fear that this is not the best choice you're making. The Hundred Empire is notorious for deception.

President: Perhaps, but the both of us have agreed that we will not bring weapons to this negotiation at all. It will just be our best minds together, discussing a solution to our situation.

Genghis: Sir, I'm afraid I'll have to agree with Victor. This is even more of a risk than letting us

fight! Please, sir, at least let us defend you as bodyguards!

President: General, that's enough. Our negotiations begin soon. Do as you like once your ships land back on Earth. Goodbye.

Genghis: Wait, sir-

(The transmission disconnects.)

Soldier: No more having to fight? Well, thank Gildedguy! We're all tired of having death pointed at our faces!

Jennifer: Something's obviously not right here.

Natalie: "Obviously" is a good word. To think, this project was all in vain...

Victor: I would disagree. There is still a window of opportunity left to save our planet. Sir?

Genghis: ...he said to do as we like once we land. Here's hoping he won't mind us bringing unauthorized protection...

(Meanwhile, in the emperor's warship...)

Emperor: I have to admit, Carn, using Symphonus to "persuade" the president of this planet to talk with us was an ingenious idea.

Carn: I do my best sir. But I must admit, I feel a bit terrible now that this war's over.

Emperor: Oh, don't fret, general. Universal conquest never ends, does it? But before we continue, I have to "talk negotiation" with this planet...and let me assure you: it will be the last negotiation either of us will ever partake... (Cut to Symphonus and a squad of Servians behind the emperor.)

                                                                                                                                                                        

(An hour later, Genghis and the Chariot's soldiers land on Earth and head for the negotiation. The rest of Hyper Tech stay back, ready to give up and return home, never having to fight again.)

Wayne: Well, sir, I'm glad that you wanted to stop the Hundred Empire from gaining total rule of Earth, but don't you think we should be heading in with a plan?

Genghis: Our objective is simple - to stop the negotiation. So far, I don't see any complications that could get in the way.

Victor: "So far" are not the words of a confident man.

Natalie: The AI's right. We're gonna need more than just an intrusion to make sure we can save the president in time. He is going to have guards waiting to stop us, right?

Genghis: True. We may have to split off. One group will scout ahead and find a way through, while the other will prepare to stop the emperor.

                                                                                                                                                                        

(The president of the U.E.F. and the emperor of the Hundred Empire have sat down. They are now ready to discuss peace.)

President: First, I must express my deepest gratitude for accepting our terms to discussion.

Emperor: No, I should be the one expressing gratitude. Out of all the planets I've ever went to war with, yours may well be the most intelligent and clever. If not, you would not have figured to stop fighting, and we'd destroy your entire species entirely! That would be most unfortunate, wouldn't it?

President: ...yes. It would. Um, anyways, shall we begin with our terms for peace?

Emperor: A good start. Allow me to be generous by letting you begin...

                                                                                                                                                                       

(The Chariot's unit has split up, Genghis and Jennifer taking half the soldiers to hide and prepare to stop the emperor while Wayne and Natalie are left to scout. Wayne and Natalie's group have advanced to the building of discussion, which is heavily surrounded by guards.)

Natalie: Sure is a lot of 'em, huh?

Wayne: Looks like convincing is out of the question. They don't look friendly.

Natalie: So someone's going to have to scout for areas we can break through.

Wayne: Leave that to me. Victor, activate the cloaking component.

Victor: Affirmative.

(Wayne and Victor become transparent, then launch towards the sky to begin viewing around the building area.)

                                                                                                                                                                         

(Genghis, Jennifer, and the rest of the Chariot unit wait further down from the building and Natalie as they wait for a transmission.)

Natalie: (Over communicator) Wayne has just begun scouting the building. Over.

Jennifer: Heh, you sound like an airplane pilot.

Genghis: Technically, we're all pilots. (Speaks into communicator) Let us know if Wayne finds anything.

Natalie: (Over communicator) Got it.

(As Genghis cuts a transmission, a battered and dying guard crawls towards Genghis's group.)

Soldier: Sir, is that?-

Jennifer: A guard? What's he doing here?

(Genghis approaches the guard.)

Genghis: What happened to you? Why are you here?

Guard: (While coughing and wheezing) Th...the Hundred Empire...the e-emperor and president...they came in the building...seconds later they...they came and killed us...said...they would force this planet...into their pow...e...r...

(The guard dies.)

Jennifer: Hang on a sec, if he said the guards were killed, then are those guys out there Hundred Empire soldiers?

Genghis: ...correct. All of us, Wayne, Natalie, the president, we're all in more danger than we think.                                                                                                                                                                       

President: ...and in conclusion, we only ask that you leave our planet be as much as you possibly can.

Emperor: So, all you want is your species to be left alone, and you'll do anything that I ask?

President: Well, it's not like we're pledging allegiance to your empire...

(The emperor glares at the president rather threateningly.)

President: B-but enough about our side of the negotiation. How about your conditions?

(A Servian approaches the emperor.)

Servian: (Whispers to Emperor) I don't think these beings like glares...

Emperor: (Whispers back) Of course they don't. But at least now I can start testing their limits. (Normal) Alright, now to my terms...

                                                                                                                                                                      

(After a period of flight, Wayne and Victor land on a nearby rooftop. They temporarily uncloak to send a transmission to Natalie.)

Wayne: Looks like there's about a hundred of them surrounding the area.

Natalie: A lot for one little peace negotiation, huh?

Wayne: "Little" is an understatement. Anyways, we've only got a couple ways to break in.

The first being an aggressive breakthrough, and the other is through the East window-

Victor: WARNING. Incoming fire.

(Wayne ducks just in time to avoid a shot.)

Wayne: ...lemme call you back, we've got company.

(Wayne cuts off the transmission and goes transparent again to avoid fire. Natalie gets

another transmission from Genghis.)

Genghis: Natalie! We've got bad news! Those guards are actually Hundred Empire soldiers!

Natalie: Normally I'd say "Yeah, so?" but I think one of them just tried to shoot Wayne.

Genghis: Perfect, then our suspicions were true! Did Wayne find any way to get through?

Natalie: There's the East window-

(A car explodes nearby. Several shots nearly graze Natalie.)

Servian: Hey, missy! Come over 'ere so we can use ya as target practice!

Natalie: ...but I don't think that's going to be an option any time soon. We're going to have to do this the hard way!

(The transmission cuts as Natalie heads out to fight the Servians.)

Genghis: Natalie? Natalie, respond! Natalie!

Jennifer: Sir, I think she's right. The hard way's our only way now.

                                                                                                                                                                       

Emperor: ...as you can see, we're not asking for much, either. Just that your planet offers us some workers here and there.

President: Workers? The way you phrased that, it sounded more like "slaves!"

Emperor: Are you complaining already, sir? Or does your race prefer to go back into a losing war? After all, I'm only trying to respect your conditions.

President: Sir, I believe you're trying to propagandize me! I'll have you know as a politician, I can identify such attempts and will not allow them in this negotiation!

Emperor: Right, my apologies. After having conquered so many planets, it's hard for me to remember how to establish a fairer approach to their leadership. Please do consider, though, that your only choice is to either establish peace, or lose more lives in a pointless war. I, too, suffer the consequences of war as well, so do not think I'm trying to manipulate your emotions.

President: ...you have a point. I need some time to think...

Emperor: No rush, sir. Either way, the both of us win, right?

President: Yes...He really is right, though...it's a choice between keeping our species alive but dooming them to slavery or dooming them to an immediate death...what do I do...                                                                                                                                                                       

(Wayne is constantly hyperspace warping and creating clones to counter fire from the Servians. Not too far from him, Natalie is fending off Servians on her own, shooting some and knocking down others. While Wayne is having minimal trouble, however, Natalie is slowly weakening.)

Natalie: Hey, I could use a little help here!

Wayne: Consider it done!

(Wayne warps towards Natalie, but gets telekinetically caught by a Skullion.)

Wayne: Well this is just great.

(The Skullion rams Wayne into Natalie, leaving her open for the Servians to attack her. Wayne warps once he regains control and shoots the Skullion. However, as he turns to assist Natalie, the Servians had already begun tearing Natalie's Lancer apart. Wayne tries to shoot off the Servians, but gets sidetracked by a squad of Skullions about to ambush him. Neither Wayne nor the Skullions notice as a cloaked assailant strikes the Servians killing Natalie and slays them. At the same time, Genghis's squad reaches the negotiation building to see the cloaked figure dragging a barely alive Natalie into an alley.)

Jennifer: What the? Is that Natalie?!

Genghis: It must be. We need to save her now-

(A Servian shoots Genghis in the back. The shot merely bounces off his armor. Several Servians then try shooting Genghis at the same time. He hardly flinches.)

Genghis: ...I'll leave that to the rest of you. I have to take care of something...

(The panicked Servians run away as Genghis approaches them, while Jennifer and the other soldiers head off to battle the other Hundred Empire soldiers. In the alley, the cloaked figure helps Natalie out of her damaged Lancer.)

Cloaked figure: It's a good thing I came when I did. This suit of yours is in no condition to work.

Natalie: I guess I should be thankful...but what am I supposed to do now? I'm suitless, and we don't have any idea how much time we have left to save the president.

Cloaked figure: You have but 2 minutes before his demise.

Natalie: Huh? How do you know that?

Cloaked figure: That doesn't matter now. Besides, if you really want to save him, you're going to need a new suit.

Natalie: No duh. Not like there's any lying around...

Cloaked figure: Actually, that's what I'm here for...

(The cloaked figure pulls from his back a new suit. Meanwhile, Genghis's unit and the Hundred Empire soldiers are in a combat lockdown.)

Jennifer: Say, Wayne, you never told us how we could get in, right?

Wayne: At this point, the front door's our only way.

Jennifer: Oh, and just a stupid question, sir, how do we even know that the emperor's really up to no good? And if he is, how are we going to prove that we're didn't go postal?

Genghis: His life and the lives of our planet are more important than our alibi! All that matters is that we get through that door! If only we can get close enough!

(Genghis strikes down another Servian, but gets a chokehold from a Skullion. As he begins to run out of air, he is suddenly released, looking back to see that the Skullion has been frozen solid. A white and light-blue suit with a somewhat bulky design and a Valkyrie helmet-shaped head shatters the Skullion with its fist. Natalie speaks from the suit.)

Natalie: We've got a minute and a half until the president is killed. Let's hurry!

(Natalie begins dashing through the battleground, freezing Hundred Empire soldiers and shattering them. This gives Genghis and Jennifer enough time to advance towards the building door. A couple Skullions stop them in their tracks, but not before Natalie slices through them with an ice sword, slicing them in half and freezing them. Eventually, all of the Hundred Empire soldiers begin swarming around Genghis and Jennifer to keep them from reaching the door.)                                                                                                                                                                       

Emperor: You seem a lot more confident now. Have you made your decision yet?

President: ...I have.                                                                                                                                                                       

Natalie: Yeah, even with my help, there seems to be too many of these guys to fend off. And we've only got 15 seconds!

Genghis: 15 seconds to fend off a swarm this huge...even I'm drawing a blank.

Natalie: Well, don't, sir! Who's the markswoman here?!                                                                                                                                                                        

President: What you're forcing us to choose here is nothing short of slavery. As the representative of my race, I choose to follow the ideals my kind's forefathers had established: live free or die!

Emperor: ...a poor choice, I must say. But I will be able to fulfill the latter to that credo. Men! Take aim.                                                                                                                                                                         

(While being constantly attacked by Hundred Empire soldiers, Jennifer begins to take aim. Each hit destabilizes her targeting sight, and the pressure increases as time runs out.)

                                                                                                                                                                        

Emperor: I'm still a generous man, however. I'll give you 3 seconds to reconsider your brash decision. One...

                                                                                                                                                                      

(Jennifer begins to get pulled back by a Skullion. Her target moves farther away from her, but by the time Natalie freezes the Skullion, she's too far to take aim again.)

                                                                                                                                                                      

Emperor: Will you or will you not surrender? Two...

                                                                                                                                                                      

(With no option left, Jennifer fires.)

                                                                                                                                                                      

Emperor: Three. It's been nice talking with you. Kill him.

(A shot breaks down the door. A few more shoot down all of the Servians present in the building. Jennifer steps in and points a laser rifle at the emperor's head. In response, Symphonus dives in front of him.)

Emperor: ...unable to shoot? It's okay, only but a binding emotion from inferior beings. Come, Symphonus, the secret weapon's our only choice.

(The emperor and Symphonus escape into their warship, which takes off and exits Earth. Genghis, Natalie, Wayne, and the rest of the Chariot's unit arrive having defeated all of the Hundred Empire soldiers.)

Jennifer: The cold-hearted...to use Symphonus as a shield!

Genghis: It's okay, Jennifer. I don't know how, but it felt like Symphonus herself did not like her situation either. Maybe there's still some good in her.

President: I...I don't know what to say. I'm sorry for doubting your troops. You were right, the emperor was going to have his way no matter what I said. I should also thank you for saving me, but...how did you know?

Genghis: How we knew is not important right now. The emperor no doubt has one last card up his sleeve. Sir, I need to ask you permission for one last thing: to take back command of the Hyper Tech project.

Victor: WARNING. Sensors indicate a large object entering Earth's atmosphere.

Wayne: How big are we talking here? A meteor?

Victor: ...exact parameters unknown. A rough estimate says that it can and will consume all of Earth in 2 hours.

President: ...permission granted.

                                                                                                                                                                       

(The Chariot begins launching from its landing spot towards the atmosphere.)

Natalie: I know it's a new suit, but this thing really comes with a ton of surprises. Take this for example. Victor, could you play this video clip I found in the suit?

Wayne: Go right ahead, Vic. Scan that suit, too. Is that okay, Nat?

Natalie: Fine.

(Victor detaches from Wayne and enters Natalie's suit, playing a video recording of Hundred Empire soldiers killing the Earth guards and taking their suits.)

Victor: Playback complete. I find it strange how this video clip has only been recorded minutes ago. Chances are that it was recorded at the time the negotiation began. There was clearly no time to doctor it. And you say it was just in the suit?

Natalie: Exactly! I guess whoever gave me that suit installed a recorder into it or something like that.

Wayne: You have even an idea who that was?

Natalie: ...nope. Though there was a strange aura to him, almost like he was an avatar of God or something.

Wayne: That was probably your deliriousness from your injuries.

Natalie: Ha! Probably.

Victor: Scan complete. This suit does not match any within my database. Process of elimination would dictate that it is brand new.

Wayne: So it's custom. That only raises more questions.

Natalie: You know, for however mysterious this thing is, I still feel connected to it...almost like this Valkyria was made for me. You know what I'm saying?

Wayne: "Valkyria?"

Natalie: What? I like the name. I'm sticking with it.

(The Chariot stops. Jennifer runs in hysterically.)

Jennifer: Guys...you're not gonna believe this.

(Wayne and Natalie follow Jennifer to the launching port, where they launch with Genghis and the rest of the Chariot's soldiers, who remain silent until stopping not too far. They see before them an armless and legless giant maw of scrap metal, bigger than all the planets of the solar system combined, with a fleet of Hundred Empire warships. Strapped to the top of the behemoth is the lead warship.)

Wayne: What..is...that.

                                                                                                                                                                       

(The remaining soldiers of Hyper Tech prepare to take their leave from the landed carriers. Before they take even one step, a signal flares from the ships.)

Voice: HUNDRED EMPIRE INCOMING. ALL PERSONNEL REPORT FOR DUTY.

Soldier: What?! I thought all this fighting was over!

Soldier: Yeah, screw that! I'm not putting my life on the line anymore!

???: Gentlemen, perhaps I can help you reconsider?

(The president of the U.E.F. appears before the soldiers from his limousine. A couple bodyguards stand with him.)

Soldier: M-Mr. President, sir! What are you here for?

President: I'm here to command you to return to your duty. General Genghis needs you more than ever to protect this Earth.

Soldier: Yeah, like he could even protect us! We've had enough fighting! And besides, didn't you seal the deal with that emperor?!

'President: The emperor of Hundred Empire almost killed me. One way or another, he thought he was going to win. Now he's resorted to his last means of eliminating us. And unless we give Genghis all the help we can, that will happen.

(A bodyguard pulls from the limousine a screen, which shows Natalie's perspective from the Valkyria. The scrap metal behemoth stares before them.)

Soldier: Wh-what's that?!

President: That is our final enemy in this war.

Soldier: No. No! You can't make me fight that thing! We were as good as dead this war started!

President: Don't lose hope now, soldier. Do you think Genghis and his men are going to any second now?

(From the screen, Genghis, Jennifer, and Wayne begin charging at the Hundred Empire fleet.)

President: They won't. They know that as long as they still have the will to fight for freedom, they will fight. "Defeat" has no meaning to these soldiers, and the only outcome they see is their success. I may not have direct control on you like Genghis does, but I will tell you that the best choice you will make today, nay, your life, is if you see success as the only outcome as well.

(The screen shows the Chariot's soldiers fighting Hundred Empire soldiers.)

Soldier: ...sir...please forgive me for my insolence...all of it.

(The soldier runs back to his carrier. Soon, each soldier follows suit and pilots their carriers toward the atmosphere.)

President: Never before had we faced such a powerful enemy in our history. But Genghis and his men can, and will, be the ones who will save our future. They must believe.

                                                                                                                                                                        

(The emperor of the Hundred Empire finally reaches the control deck of the lead warship. General Brave Blue sits in place of the captain.)

Emperor: I trust that you're familiar with the Scrap Iron Giant's controls, yes?

Brave Blue: Affirmative, sir. What should we do about those troops, sir?

(Brave Blue and the emperor notice the Hyper Tech carriers arriving on the battlefield from Earth's atmosphere.)

Emperor: Leave them to our own troops. We have a quicker way towards Earth.

Brave Blue: (Over communicator) Attention ALL warships: summon every possible soldier to battle! We will make our way to Earth, so hold off the Hyper Tech soldiers until then!

(Each Hundred Empire warship empties out its soldiers, among them Carn, Killer Joker, Symphonus, several mass produced Skullions, Yvettes, and Zorros, and a strange silhouette that immediately charges toward Jennifer.)

Bridge Controller: Sir! Our radars have just caught another soldier out in the asteroid belt! It appears to be one of ours in an Earth suit!

Brave Blue: R-really? Quick, send a squad to investigate! If that's okay with you, sir?

Emperor: Fine. We've got plenty of time. But if I may ask, general, why are you so interested in a soldier like that?

Brave Blue: ...it could be him. It could be my son, Rego, who I risked his life to keep him away from the constant danger of war. At last I can finally save him from the mess that I made, and from his life on misfortune. But, maybe now, he may only respond to the Earth name they gave him...Fugo.

                                                                                                                                                                         

- End -

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