Volume 68: The Panic continues
“Things are looking bleak, and they are bound to get worse.” The Psi News report began. In cities across the multiverse people from every walk of life gathered in town centers to hear the latest happenings. One of the largest problems being faced was overcrowding. This may seem impossible when there were still so many universes to choose from. But people were scared. Sure, they could go to some less populated universe to build new homes on new worlds, but what would they do when the Dark Dwarves arrived? The Techno Empire? The Xerxes? What would they do if the O-Boys showed up in huge numbers to plunder a world? What if others showed up that wanted to take this world for themselves? Many found they would rather be where everyone else was. Protection in numbers was the prevailing attitude and mega cities started to become the norm.
And the refugees flooded into them. It seemed new races were showing up every day. Fairies and Fairy folk began arriving, Goblins and Goblinkin, Gnomes, Halflings, and to many more to list. And then came the Dragons. Since the earliest days of the Elysium and before many wondered how long it would take for the dragons to make an appearance. A very long time it would seem. But now they came in large numbers: Red Dragons, Gold Dragons, Luck Dragons, Water Dragons, every type you can think of.
Dragons in general are not known to be “people friendly.” Even the kindest of dragons generally like to be on their own. Many were happy to settle outside the mega cities, in caves or forests nearby. Some came to conquer the mega cities and make them their own. Sometimes they would prevail, decimating a mega city and enslaving its people. But more often than not they just did a lot of damage and were killed. Mega cities by their very nature hold powerful magic users, psionic users, and adventurers of all types. When rogue dragons arrived, they were usually quickly dispatched.
Some of the more civil dragon groups approached The Council, or other large governments, usually in humanoid form, as most dragons are adept shapeshifters. It seemed between the Oblivion and war on every front they had finally been disturbed enough to awaken from their various slumbers across the multiverse. A few were given seats on The Council; others were given positions in various other governments. But overall the dragons promised very little. Even the good aligned dragons tend to be… aloof… as such many said they would defend a place if they were there when it was attacked, but across the board most refused to go on missions of any kind, nor would they turn their powerful magics, psionics, or considerable intellects towards the problem of the Oblivion. They understood it was a problem for all of them but couldn’t be bothered to do much about it. There are some who say if you want to understand dragons you just have to understand cats. Their attitudes and desires were strikingly similar. This prevailing attitude of aloofness did not sit well with most races and many of them considered the dragons more of a nuisance than anything else. It would take time to see what these reluctant allies might actually do.
But there was another reason the Dragon had decided to come now. A secret reason they only trusted a few people to tell. Unfortunately, a few of the people were in The Council and as we all know The Council are not known for keeping secrets when they can profit from them. Regardless it soon came to light that the real reason the Dragons had started appearing was they were being hunted, by who else but the Dark Dwarves. Several of the dragons who spoke about this wore scars or had missing eyes and horns that were slow to heal, truly frightening given a dragon’s incredible regenerative abilities. Many of these injured dragons claimed to have escaped from the nightmare worlds of the Dark Dwarves where they had been the victims of cruel experiments. They said the Dark Dwarves were using their blood and skins to create various means of resurrection. They were working on ways to stop the Traxting process that occurred with death, and ways to allow resurrection magic to work again. Some of the dragons thought they were close to achieving this goal. The members of The Council found this very interesting indeed…
Reports began to come in on Psi News that the Dark Dwarves had conscripted the Fungaloid people into their army. But not the normal kind of Fungaloids. They began feeding them brains again and soon after began unleashing battalions of them on rebel worlds. Backed by the Dark Dwarves magic they became as terrifying as any legend about them and they again became a force to be feared throughout the multiverse. What Fungaloids could escape did and sought refuge with the Trementians and the Elves who had been kind to them in the past.
But this new addition to the Dark Dwarf forces only increased the panic that pulsated throughout the multiverse. They already had the incredible robotic might of the Techno Empire on their side, now they had the Fungaloids and their terrifying zombies. On top of this they had soldiers they had conscripted from various other races they had conquered. Some found it impossible that any would side with the Dark Dwarves regardless of being conquered but when your family, your very world is being threatened with annihilation or worse, torture on nightmare worlds, many did what they thought they had to do.
During this time the O-Boys held no real alliance with anyone other than themselves. They continued to grow in power and ran a tight organization in the mafia style. People began turning to them in the same way they would turn to The Council, for favors. And most of the time, like The Council, the O-Boys were willing to help, for a price. This helped them to increase their power and they began putting themselves into important position throughout the multiverse. The Council at first thought little of this. They considered the O-Boys to be ruffians, simple gangsters, and fools. But now as they began to flex their power, they began to see the O-Boys as a real threat. There was only room for one mafia in this multiverse and The Council was determined it be them.
During this time a few attempts were made to rebuild the Elysium but they all met with failure. Somehow the Dark Dwarves or their forces would always manage to find out where they were and would attack. The Animus had suffered unbelievable losses with the destruction of the first Elysium and the PAWS were still licking their wounds. But then a most peculiar thing happened…
In a very dark corner of a universe that was supposed to be hidden another attempt was being made to construct a new Elysium. A small contingent of PAWS forces circled the construction zone. They were bolstered by the ships from several other races, but in truth they were not a force to be feared. They had a full battalion of Light Finders on board as well but If an attack came their orders were to rescue who they could and run. They did not believe they had any real chance against an armada of Dark Dwarf warships.
This small force represented the last vestiges of the former Elysium. In truth most considered this to be the very last attempt at restoring the Elysium. They simply did not have the resources, or endurance to try again. This would be their last shot. Surprisingly to all construction continued unhampered for quite some time. They had already progressed further than they had on almost any other attempt. Hopes were high. Things were going so well they began to take the extra time to make this Elysium stronger than ever before. They upgraded the security systems both offensively and defensively. At this rate they would be fully operational again in just a few months. This time they might actually do it.
But of course, things change in an instant. One morning as construction continued the PAWS forces sent out a warning that Dark Dwarf and TE ships were entering this universe. They were approaching the edge of the galaxy and would arrive in a few short hours. Deep despair spread through everyone there.
“This is it then.” A representative from the Swaft said looking at the screen before him. He pressed a button on the panel before him and spoke. “Have all of the workers begin a retreat. We will all jump out of here in exactly one hour.” The PAWS captain replied that it would be so.
“We were so close this time.” A Slider said looking at the others in the room. “Damn it! Without the Elysium the people have only corruption of the O-Boys and The Council to turn too! Is this what we will be left with until the end of our days?!” The Slider fumed with a clenched jaw.
“We will have to go back to our own people and attempt to unite the races from there. We cannot give up hope!” The Elven delegate pleaded. But her words seemed to be overwhelmed by the cloud of hopelessness that surrounded them.
Preparations were made quickly, and they set the nearly finished Elysium to self-destruct. “We jump in 15 mins.” The PAWS captain’s voice rang out through the Elysium and to all the ships nearby. It was close enough; the enemy ships would be there in 20 mins. Just then the sensors of the Elysium and other ships began to ring out. “There are other ships arriving! They appear to be O-Boy ships!” there was a short pause. “But they are unlike any O-Boy ships I’ve seen before!” the captain said.
“O-Boys? They’ve never taken an interest in the Elysium before.” The Merfolk Representative said turning to his colleagues.
“No but they are always interested in power and wealth…” the Trementian representative offered dryly. “They probably heard about the new tech we were installing here and came like vultures to scavenge what they could.”
“How did they even find us?! We were so careful this time!” The Elven delegate spoke again.
A hologram of the PAWS captain appeared among them. “It looks like they were using some kind of cloaking technology we have not seen before. That’s how they got so close undetected. They will arrive just a few minutes before the Dark Dwarf forces do.”
“Well the joke is on them.” The Slider smiled. “The Dark Dwarves have no love for the O-Boys, they will be wiped out just the same.”
A chime echoed and the hologram of the PAWS captain shifted. “We are… We are being hailed…” the Captain said his voice tinted with shock.
“By whom?!” The Mer rep asked equally shocked.
“The O-Boys!” The Captain said. And suddenly on screen before them was the bridge of an O-Boy ship. Several different cycles of O-Boy could be seen. An extremely rare Cycle 6 O-Boy stood up and looked at the delegates.
“What do you-“ The Swaft rep began but was cut off as the O-Boy began to speak.
“Prepare to fight! We have come to aid you!” The O-Boy said in a strong deep voice.
“You’ve what?!” The Swaft said, him and those around him slack jawed in disbelief.
The O-Boy on screen smiled a small smile and said, “I’ll be happy to explain everything to you once we are done here but believe me when I tell you we can win this fight!”
The entire delegation on board the Elysium seemed unable to speak for long moments until one of the finally said, “Why should we trust you? The O=Boys have never aligned themselves with anyone before!”
Just then a Light Finder walked onto screen and looked towards the delegates. “I know this seems out of the norm but believe ME. You can trust these O-Boys!” the Light Finder shimmered with light as she turned to face the O-Boy beside her.
“Oh and don’t call us O-Boys. We prefer to be known as, “The Grinders!” and with that the O-Boy, or should we say, the Grinder’s ships arrived at the edge of the solar system and began powering up their weapons.
About the Illustration: In todays batch we have a bunch of doodles on one page but on the far right we do see a Graze. In another we have some Multidimensional beings fighting in an infinity loop, and OF COURSE Bastion 😊 I have also included a couple of bonus drawing for fun!
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