Vol. 82: O-Boys- The state of the nation
O-Boys: The state of the nation
The O-boys are an interesting anomaly in the multiverse. Born from the Oblivion they did not exist before the First Crush, and now at the top of the Panic they are one of the most populous people in all of reality. Like the CFOB they seem to blur the lines between class and race. Their relatively short history is one punctuated with extremes of all kinds.
They exist as a sort of gang or mafia, that has done nothing but grow stronger over time. Holding allegiance to no one they have been hired muscle for hero and villain alike. They live lives of anarchy being loyal only to themselves. But lately things have begun to change.
We have said before that really the only reason the O-Boys “work” is their almost supernatural love they feel for each other. As beings of pure selfishness without this trait they almost definitely would have long since died out. But this absolute loyalty they share with each other has allowed them to become one of the most powerful forces anywhere. But there is one other rule the O-Boys have always seemed to follow. It also has allowed them to go further than they probably would have been able to otherwise. And this other rule, perhaps the only one they follow, is never screw a client.
The O-Boys bread and butter is as hired muscle. Yes, they do other things, like launder money, steal, and other heinous crimes, but they have always made most of their income being paid by others to do “jobs.” These jobs range from protection, kidnapping, vandalism, murder and more. And unerringly they will give their lives for these jobs. Shockingly to many people O-Boys take their jobs very seriously. To fail at a job is the most dishonorable thing an O-Boy can do. If they are charged with protecting someone, they will fight to the death for them. If they are charged with stealing some precious relic, they will do whatever it takes to get it, even it means getting beaten badly while others escape with it. This shocking drive to fulfill their commitments in the field has surprised many who have hired them in the past. When not on the job they seem to care about nothing other than their own pleasure. Most would think they would abandon any job as soon as it got to hard or too dangerous. But their reputation for completing jobs no matter the cost is what has kept them in business, being hired by desperate people of every alignment for countless lifetimes.
But as the Panic began, things began to change. Change in ways the O-Boys did not care for. Leading them to make choices they might otherwise not make. As mentioned, the O-Boys are known to take jobs from anyone. This sort of absolute neutrality has led them to take jobs from some of the darkest figures in the multiverse. Among these have been the Dark Dwarves. The Dark Dwarves have been avid employers of the O-Boys for years. Their total lack of morals, and willingness to take on almost any jobs has made them a valuable tool. They have been used to sew discord, steal important plans, kidnaps senators and other important people and more. Its all the same to the O-Boys.
As the Panic began it could be said the O-Boys were at the top of their game. The turmoil and unrest caused by the Panic has sent a near unending stream of new customers their way. People looking for protection from all manner of evil, both real and perceived. They also had no qualms about kidnaping and enslaving the very few members of the Trinity that still existed after their great disappearance. Giving them access to the creation of T-Traxts, which could not be obtained anywhere else in the multiverse. Senators, Royalty, and those in positions of power were paying astronomical prices for T-Traxts and the O-Boys where happy to provide them when they could. Life was good.
But the Panic began causing other things. Hard political lines began to be drawn. Most emphatically between the Dark Dwarves and their forces and the allied forces that opposed them. It was well known throughout the multiverse that the O-Boys took jobs from the Dark Dwarves, but now it had become a breaking point. The allied forces who had long tolerated the O-Boys nefarious neutrality began to demand they choose sides. Jobs began to be canceled and even evil people who existed among the allied forces started to turn the O-Boys away. Their presence brought new and unwelcomed scrutiny wherever they went and now it seemed most people didn’t think the O-Boys were worth it.
This of course enraged the O-Boys, but besides rampant vandalism (which they would do anyway…) what could they do about it? So, they began to turn more and more to the Dark Dwarves for work. Something they would come to regret.
The Dark Dwarves were happy to oblige. They felt they knew how to “handle” the O-Boys, so they began hiring them in mass for all sorts of nefarious deeds. And for a time, it was good. Or at least ok. Dark Dwarf jobs always tended to be heavy, with lots of killing and destruction. Sure, I mean totally fun, but O-Boys died on Dark Dwarf missions more than any others. Still a jobs a jobs so the O-Boys complied.
But as the Panic continued the jobs from the Dark Dwarves grew heavier. Join us in a battle here, help us route an enemy here. O-Boys had never taken jobs that put them on the frontlines of war. It was just bad for business to let some other faction who might hire you see you fighting against them. It’s so much better to play both sides. But the Dark Dwarves began being… insistent… The allied forces were becoming stronger, resisting them, and occasionally even besting them on the battlefield. This was unacceptable to the Dark Dwarves so their new plan was to add the considerable might of the O-Boys to their ranks.
Problem was the O-Boys weren’t into it. So, they refused. The Dark Dwarves were not pleased. They began hiring O-Boys for fake jobs, then placing them on the battlefield anyway. They would hire a group of O-Boys to say, steal a map from an enemy, but when they O-Boys arrived for the job a Dark Dwarf army would be present in a very active war zone and the O-Boys could either join them and fight their way to the map (which may or may not exist) or fail the job. It caused a great internal conflict for many O-Boys. Failing a job was unforgivable, but how far should they go when they know they job is just a set up?
That’s not to say the O-Boys weren’t paid for this work. Winning battles usually earned the O-Boys incredible wealth from the Dark Dwarves. But people were beginning to notice. The Psi News Corps, determined to bring the truth to all the people, were often on the frontlines of war. Many of the Psi-News press gave their lives to show the atrocities of war to the people. In a particularly heinous battle, an entire Psi-News team was nearly wiped out. The only surviving reporter managed to make it back with the footage but died a day later. It proved to be damning footage for the O-Boys. In it it clearly showed O-Boys of various cycles, fighting shoulder to shoulder with Dark Dwarves, killing Elves in an absolute slaughter.
The Multiverse was appalled. The O-Boys who had barely been tolerated among the allied forces now became pariahs. Riots began in many cities to push the O-Boys out and from every corner of reality the O-Boys were ran out of town like so many snakes.
The O-Boys who ran the business end of their mafia offered statements, claiming it wasn’t a job approved by them, and that these were rogue O-Boys, this alone showed how scared they were because for an O-Boy to give up another O-boy was unheard of. But caught in this pinch they saw no other choice. The O-Boys caught on film gave themselves up without hesitation, also claiming they “went rogue” and were ready to face justice. The allied forces quickly arrested them, but few believed them. It was looking like the O-Boys reputation may be forever tarnished.
Adding to this the Dark Dwarves continued to hassle the O-Boys to take jobs. In some places they began to less hire O-Boys, than conscript them. Large groups of cycle 1 and cycle 2 O-boys began to be forced into fighting for the Dark Dwarf forces or face death. And to be honest now more than ever no one else was hiring, and these low cycle O-boys found it hardest to find jobs. It was all spiraling out of control.
In the upper levels of O-Boy management they were incensed. A reputation they had been polishing since their very beginning now lay tarnished and near ruin, and more than that, their lower cycle brothers and sisters were being drafted into war and killed? It was time to take extreme measures. The O-Boy brass hatched a plan.
They began to secretly order that all their forces pull back from all universes. All jobs were to be postponed until further notice. Those under employment from the Dark Dwarves were given special orders. Orders to gather as much intelligence as possible from the Dark Dwarves and bring it back with them. The few that managed to get away brought some juicy intel back with them.
They learned about the construction of Elysium 12. The Dark Dwarves had been getting intel on the construction of every Elysium as they were built, in order to destroy them. It was their M.O. to wait until each one was almost completed and then swoop in and destroy it, so as to crush as much hope as possible. The attack on this new Elysium was set to take place soon. The O-Boys didn’t have much time.
At first the O-Boys considered trying to thwart the plan themselves. They had decided as a people that their time taking jobs from the Dark Dwarves was now over. There were plenty of people of questionable character among the allied forces who might hire them and most of all it was better to live free taking the jobs they wanted, rather than be forced to be a cog in the Dark Dwarves war machine. But they quickly realized they would never stand a chance fighting the Dark Dwarves on their own. So, they did something totally unexpected. They gave the information to the Multiverse Warriors.
The Multiverse Warriors also had a long-lived reputation. A reputation for being champions of justice and defenders of the weak. Where they led people followed. They would be able to rally the forces necessary to stop this attack.
But the meeting to exchange the information was a tense one. The O-Boys were nearly blown out of the sky as they approached one of the Multiverse Warriors “hidden academies.” But after much deliberation and a healthy dose of skepticism the Multiverse Warriors took this information as truth and began to act on it. The Multiverse Warriors were still stunned. The O-Boys had NEVER been known to give anything away. Even more dubious was the O-Boys showing up with this information in a time when they were most disgraced. What did they want in exchange for this information? The O-boys told them. They price was high but in the end the Multiverse Warriors agreed. Both sides were interested to see what would happen when it came time to pay…
The O-Boys left the Warrior’s academy but also left parting gift. A fleet of their own ships for the Multiverse Warriors and their allies to use. The Multiverse Warriors wasted no time fitting these ships with there own tech and more importantly began planning their counterattack. They had so little time to prepare…
As we know from our reading about the Grinders the counterattack worked. Elysium 12 was saved. The public blow to the Dark Dwarves emboldened the people and at last an Elysium stood again. A new day was dawning.
Fast-forward to the official opening of Elysium 12. From across the multiverse people of every race came. When everything was finally set the first new Multiversal Senate was about to meet for the first time in a long time, and the Multiverse Warriors had asked to speak. Being that they had orchestrated the salvation of Elysium 12 this request was readily granted.
There was a joyous air about the senate chamber as the meeting began. There was so much to discuss and decide but now at least they had a place to do it. Finally, true change would and could begin. Most of those gathered knew that the Multiverse Warriors had asked to speak at the opening of this first meeting. Most expected it to be some sort of pep talk to rally them and get them excited for this new time. This was not to be the case.
As the meeting began a small group of Multiverse Warriors took to the main stage in the center of the senate floor. One of them began to speak.
“People from across the Multiverse. We welcome you. A new time has begun here today. A time of understanding. A time for all people to gather in the hopes of ending not only the Dark Dwarves’ war, but in opposition of the Oblivion. I have a feeling that some of you may believe we have asked to speak here today to celebrate the successful completion of this amazing structure, Elysium 12. Constructed by the people and for the people, it will surely be the beacon of hope it was designed to be, for all the people of the multiverse. But unfortunately, that is not why we have asked to speak to you today. We have come to talk to you about something hard. That something being, will the Elysium 12 really be a place for all people to come when they are in need?” The Warriors gaze swept the room.
The stares he received back were a mix of emotions. Confusion chief among them. A Swaft spoke, “That has always been our mission noble warrior. The Elysium 12 stands as a place for all people to gather, work out their differences, and get help in their time of need.” There was light applause to this and some cheering. The Multiverse Warrior smiled and nodded.
The warrior spoke again, “Well said senator well said. Help them in their time of need. And that is the crux of it isn’t it? We have pledged to be a place for any people displaced by the Dark Dwarves’ holy war and the Oblivion. And overall, I say we have done well. Even without the Elysium we Multiverse Warriors have seen you in action in every universe we visit. Helping refugees, offering healing and help to the poor, and so much more. But now has come the true test. Will we really help anyone? Anyone who asks? Now is the time to see what we are really willing to do.” The Warrior paused clearing his throat, perhaps for effect. Perhaps to elicit a response.
One came. “Who has been turned away?” a Lizard man asked. “I am sure some have fallen thru the cracks with the absence of an Elysium and a formal senate, but we are eager to hear! If the Multiverse Warriors knows of some people in need then speak plainly and let us know who they are so that we may provide aid!” a slightly louder round of cheers and applause followed. The Multiverse warriors turned to each other stifling what seemed to be smiles for the briefest of moments.
“So you have asked and we shall comply. We do know of a people and we have brought them here today so that they may speak for themselves. If it pleases the senate, I will see them in now.” The Warrior said as a quiet murmur rippled across the room.
At that exact moment the main doors swung open and in walked a group of O-Boys. One from every cycle was present. The room immediately erupted in disharmony. The Lizard man who spoke before spit on the floor upon seeing them. The O-Boys strode forward and much to everyone’s shock the Multiverse Warriors shook hands with them. The senate was beside itself.
Statements of every kind were shouted. How dare they come here? Is this a joke? Have the Multiverse Warriors gone crazy? And many more. But surprisingly when the Multiverse Warrior raised his hand the senate fell silent. “You asked to hear their plea, so hear it. They have something to say worth hearing and we warriors will back them when appropriate. This is not something we decided to do lightly. The Multiverse Warriors have never asked for anything from the people because we serve out of duty. But now we are asking. Listen and then make your decision.” The Warrior’s gaze swept the room and the senate could not deny the request. And so, the O-Boys took centerstage and began to speak.
The cycle 6 O-Boy who spoke was eloquent and convincing, but that is something his kind was known for. He spoke of their recent conscription into the Dark Dwarf forces. He spoke of the O-Boys who died trying to escape and how the ones who survived provided the very information that allowed Elysium 12 to survive. At this there was again an outburst of emotion among the people gathered there but the Multiverse Warriors spoke up and let it know that this was true. If not for the efforts of the O-Boys, the Elysium 12 would have been destroyed like all the Elysium’s before it. The realization of this truth was a bitter pill for many there to swallow.
The O-Boys continued and told many hard truths to the people there. They admitted to many heinous crimes and asked for forgiveness. The Multiverse Warriors looked on uneasy. But then the O-Boys made their plea. They told about their outright opposition to the Dark Dwarves, and how this opposition had gained them the Dark Dwarves’ ire. Even as they were here speaking, they were receiving reports of O-Boy home worlds being captured by Dark Dwarf forces. In short order these attacks were confirmed, and the senate looked back to the O-Boys much more interested.
The talks went on for some time. The O-Boys offered detailed plans about how they could assist the alliance, about intel and supplies they could provide in their continuing battle. They even offered to come under the purview of both the senate and the Multiverse Warriors. If they were allowed to join the senate.
Intense emotional debate followed. Could the O-Boys even be considered a race? They had been a thorn in the side of the multiverse since the 1st Crush why should they be helped. But on the other side how could they be turned away. They were now in the crosshairs of the Dark Dwarf forces and they needed help. Debate went on for many many hours.
In the end it was agreed that the O-Boys would be helped but a seat on the senate? That was too far. But this was a deal breaker for the O-Boys. They demanded to be recognized as an independent race in order to receive the full protections of the Multiversal Senate. They were at a stalemate. The biggest stumbling block to them becoming members was any new race who wanted to join the senate had to have a sponsor. Normally the Trementians or Elves were quick to sponsor any race, tending to see the best in all people. But when it came to the O-Boys no one, (especially the Elves) were willing to take the plunge. Then finally, the Multiverse Warriors came forward to speak again.
“None of you will sponsor the O-Boys?” the Warrior spoke. “They have come here and been absolutely honest with you. They have admitted to many of their crimes and offered what reparations they can. You have seen with your own eyes that their home worlds are even now being ravaged but Dark Dwarf forces and still nothing? You would let the first meeting of this new Elysium be tarnished with the turning away of a race in need?!” The Warrior could not hide the anger in their voice. The people around the room looked uneasy but none spoke readily.
Finally, a Human spoke saying, “We have offered to defend them but allowing them to be on the senate is to much to fast. We can’t even agree they ARE a race. With no one to sponsor them our hands are tied.” Some agreement could be heard throughout the room, but most remained silent.
“Then so be it.” The Warrior said standing erect and facing the people. “The Multiverse Warriors have served the senate and the peoples of the Multiverse since before the 1st Crush. And now we ask you to remember that service.” And over the next hour or more the Warriors one by one recounted their history. How their ancestors had come to the aid of nearly every race present. In some cases, hundreds of multiverse warriors at a time had laid down their lives fighting in battles in universe after universe. And one by one the hearts of the people there began to turn. They remembered their own histories and how it was true that in so many cases it was the Multiverse Warriors who turned the tide of battle and brought hope and peace where there was once only conflict and misery. The Multiverse Warriors words inspired the people there, so much so that more than one of the O-boys present had tears in their eyes. If the Multiverse Warriors were willing to support the O-Boys who could disagree? When they finished speaking the senate was completely silent. And then…
“The Elves offer to sponsor the O-Boys.” The Elven senator stood and said clearly.
“As will the Tremetians!”
“And the Swaft!”
And one by one across the room race after race stood up. In the end the O-Boys would become the most sponsored race ever to enter the senate. A truly historic moment.
In the end even the O-Boys were taken aback by the display. O-Boys were not accustomed to these emotions, they lived lives of total selfishness. But as the senate left their seats and came down to embrace their newest members it was clear that some of the O-Boys really felt the magnitude of what had happened here. And maybe, just maybe, some of the O-Boys would change for the better in the days that followed. Only time would tell…
About the Illustrations: Here we have a cool robot from the Technorganic Conglomerate. A cool pic of Raine the Younger, and a bonus drawing of some smashing guys lol