Vol. 114: Meanwhile...

Vol. 114: Meanwhile...

Meanwhile…

Meanwhile, while the Cosmic Architects were chasing ships across the multiverse, negotiations were continuing in the Multiversal Senate.

Negotiations may be to strong a word. Certainly, discussions were taking place. But it was hard to tell if progress of any kind was being made. Kryxflixtx was eventually released from confinement and from that point on was followed by an escort of Several Grinders and/or Animus. Kryxflixtx was not pleased by this.

Kryxflixtx continued to make outrageous and often ludicrous demands on the senate floor. Pckxly tried his best to temper these tantrums but was rarely successful. On top of this more and more Xerxes began showing up at Elysium 12, claiming to be part of Kryxflixtx’ or Pckxly’s entourage. It made more than a few of the senators uneasy. Anyone entering or leaving Elysium 12 was screened for Xerxes possession, and so far, no one had tested positive, but the threat of possession gave trepidation to all.

The senate continued to ply the Xerxes for information on their slave planets and what other concessions they were willing to make to truly enter the senate as an allied race. Kryxflixtx often replied with, frankly insulting answers like, “For the glory of the Xerses people! You will be allowed to serve and die for us!” Usually followed by a violent fit when he noticed the other senators laughing at him. Kryxflixtx was placed in several “time out” sessions following these outbursts.

Pckxly faired a bit better when he was the one addressing the senate, but he also seemed to lack any social graces. He left a constant trail of green vinegary liquid wherever he went. It constantly dripped from his large eyes, and often when speaking he would casually blow these liquids, with some force, from the many orifices on his body. Some senators, pitying him, tried to explain to him that that sort of thing was not considered polite but Pckxly seemed unable to grasp the concept. “But how else will I know where I’ve been?” he would ask genuinely perplexed. The ECC(Elysium Civilian Corp) where like a silent and angry parade that followed him with mops and buckets wherever he went.

Despite all of this Pckxly did seem to make at least some headway with the senate. He was willing to give up nearly everything they had to bargain with immediately, which pleased the senate. But two things kept holding him back from doing so. Pckxly seem genuinely TERRIFIED that they would not be accepted into the senate even if they gave up all of this information, so he seemed very hesitant to say much with out repeated reassurance from the senate as a whole that they would not abandon them. And the second, perhaps worse problem, was of course Kryxflixtx.

Promises Pckxly made in the morning were sundered by Kryxflixtx at night. He just seemed unwilling to concede anything. And his violent outbursts were escalating as were the duration of his “time outs.” The Animus and Grinders readied to imprison him again.

The additional Xerxes on board also seemed split. Half seemed to side with Kryxflixtx, becoming boisterous when he was addressing the senate, while the other half supported Pckxly, and seemed to be doing their best to interact with the other senators in a friendly manner.

Their dynamic opposition to each other led many senators to start respecting Pckxly over Kryxflixtx. Much of the senate longed to back Pckxly and start making real progress. A Trementian Wind Warrior Mage even fashioned him a bracelet to wear that would turn his bodily fluids to air. Pckxly had started becoming more and more self-conscious about his leaking so he welcomed the bracelet, as did the ECC. Now instead of a constant trail of liquids he simply smelled, almost pleasantly, like pickles.

Kryxflixtx was eventually imprisoned a second time, this time with some of his followers, for assaulting a group of senators who were praising Pckxly. At this point many began to wonder if negotiations should even continue. It seemed like the chasm between the Xerxes and the rest of the senate may be uncrossable.

But things would soon go from bad to worse.

The days following Kryxflixtx’ second imprisonment showed actual progress in negotiations. Pckxly made real concessions and was able to ratify them quite quickly without Kryxflixtx there to negate them. And even after Kryxflixtx was released things continued smoothly for several days as Kryxflixtx seemed no longer interested in dealing with anyone. He instead was now interested in eating.

While Pckxly continued negotiations Kryxflixtx and his minions began eating everything they could get their appendages on. They even began digging in the recycling bins and some senators reported seeing them entering the sewage systems.

For the next few weeks progress continued with Pckxly. Things were going so well that some senators thought about trying to contact Raine and his team to tell them their mission would not be necessary. If anything, Pckxly retarded his own progress with his chronic nervousness. But the more time he spent with the senators the more at ease he felt. Was this what these people call “friendship” he pondered.

But then things broke, and they broke hard. One morning a commotion broke out on the senate floor. Several Animus and Grinders ran in to address the floor leaders. As what they told them echoed around the room and uneasy murmur began to grow. Kryxflixtx and his entourage had disappeared during the night. And what’s worse, 6 senators were now dead or missing. Panic began to set in.

Order was called for and the Animus Captain present told them all what they had found. It appeared that Kryxflixtx and his posse had entered the elaborate maze that was the Elysium 12 Sewage system and had begun assassinating from it. 3 senators were found half crushed sitting on toilets. It looked like huge, barbed tentacles had reached out below them and attempted to pull them through the toilets. They were all crushed from the waist down with intestines and visera splayed everywhere. A few shrill screams rose from the senators upon hearing this news.

Pckxly became so nervous that a cloud of greenish pickle air started forming around him.

A centaursenator called out, “Place Elysium 12 on lockdown! They must not be allowed to escape!” This motion quickly passed and within minutes Elysium 12 transformed into complete lockdown mode. Magic circles and glyphswhirled up and glowed in a myriad of colors on nearly every floor, door, and wall. The Animus and Grinders geared up in Cyber Armor and took up arms.

The Sewage systems of Elysium 12 stretched on for many many kilometers in all directions. People often took the size of E12 for granted. But now the fact that it was the size of a small moon became painfully obvious.

Pckxly and his coterie were eager to help but the senators found them hard to trust. Instead they asked Pckxly and his people to go willingly with the Animus to a “think tank” where they could perhaps give information that would be helpful in finding Kryxflixtx and his followers. Pckxly acquiesced.

But for the others, it was time to battle. Plans were quickly drawn up. 3 dozen teams of Animus and Grinders made ready to enter the sewers at various points around E12. Their teams were bolstered by several powerful members of the senate. These senators too put on their best armor and many carried potent magical weaponry.

Technology based communication would be unreliable in the sewers but luckily there were enough Destiny Elves and Psionic Humans available that one could accompany each team. This is how they would stay in contact with each other. A few of the psionics chosen were from Psi News and they brought their Psi Camswith them. This allowed several constant feeds to be displayed to those remaining on the senate floor, and in turn, throughout the multiverse, VIA Psion Orb.

The rest of the senators, guests, and personnel would remain in the massive main senate chambers. But there were no Animus or Grinders to spare, and even most of the powerful senators were conscripted into one of the teams charged with assaulting the sewers. So, the protection of these people fell to the ECC. Most of whom had never seen battle before. Nevertheless, they geared up as best they could and took up what weapons were to be had. This was their time to shine. The ECC would not let them down. The Animus and Grinders encouraged them before leaving.

During this short gear up phase more and more reports had come in of missing or dead senators from around E12. This could not continue. The battle to retake Elysium 12 had begun! The Siege of the Sewers was underway!

About the Illustrations: Here we have one of the original designs for Arc. This one is closer to the final result but still needed some work. Standing behind him is a member of the CFOB.

And then some baby elementals to make you smile 😊

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