In HFO Post 63, three members of Hero Force land on the Moon via the One Jet so they could confront the Latter-Day Greys of Memnoch. In HFO Post 62, they learnt of the Greys' Plan B to destroy the Earth using the human-built laser Moon Base on the Moon and have come to stop them. When they enter the base, they fight with the greys there, including the Grey King, who wears a plastic crown, but Seraphim uses a tremendous holy bomb to destroy the greys and the computer systems that operate the station. As the Grey King lies dying, he will give some exposition, like the dying greys in several previous posts. He tells them they will go to Plan D. Plan A was to use Princess Aurora Briarose to wield the power of Albion, Plan B was to blow up the Earth from the Moon and that Plan C is to take a Coke break. Plan D is to destroy the nexus, but he will not tell them more and he dies. On Earth, Trans-Terra-Terrorists enact their plan, working with the greys, to attack a series of sites across the planet - several nexus points. One enters an unconspicious house dubbed "The Nest" in the U.S.A. and activates the bomb. Another, a former sorcerer of The Magium, ascends the Pyrenees near Lourdes, to find The Magium where he activates the bomb trapped to his body. In England, a car approaches Stonehenge and a grey uses a conventional explosive to blast apart the central slab. Within he is startled to see a ghost, Merlin, and tells the ghost that he plans to blow up the magical nexus of Stonehenge using a magic-bomb invented on Discharding. It will drain and absorb all magic in the area and once it is all drained, it will explode outwards and destroy everything. Other sites are also targeted including Mecca, Machu Picchu, the Bermuda Triangle, Ayers Rock, Easter Island. Another target is Mount Olympus in Greece, which serves as a gateway location to the real Mount Olympus of the gods and is where DelphAI is kept. In Substation Kappa Phi Delta in Antarctica, Doctor X is still studying the hedrons and has realised that at least one of them is missing. He is contacted by DelphAI who tells him that the gods are going to attempt to protect her location at Mount Olympus but that he will soon be killed by the terrorists and that he must send all of his data before it is all lost forever. Explosions erupt across the planet, bursting the nexus chain. Many gods, including Ares, Athena, Thoth, Ra and even Nick protect Mount Olympus, creating a circuit breaker in the explosions. Merlin, in England, feels himself being sucked into the implosion as he is now a being made mostly of magical energy. Beyond The Rift, likewise the Aes Sidhe and others of Albion are being sucked through The Rift and into the implosion, threatening the enter Otherworld. The existence of Albion relies upon the magic of Earth, acting like a sinkhole for Earth's nexuses. In desperation, Vivane uses her sword to blast apart The Rift and disconnect Albion from Earth. While this resolves the immediate problem, it will cause the slow death of the world as Shalott tells Vivane. Back with Merlin, the actions of Vivane cause the implosion to abruptly end without completely draining Merlin. Subsequently, the implosion becomes an explosion and destroys Stonehenge, but Merlin is able to survive it and escape into the world. At The Magium, others are not so fortunate. Magistarr had been on the toilet when the draining began and is now stuck to the floor as thousands of years of magic is siphoned off of him. Every power he uses is claimed by the implosion. He can feel the drained essences of others in the building too, including Taliesin, until they are all gone and only his magic remains as it's drained away. Faust finds him, explaining that his and everyone's magic is gone, and tries to save Magistarr by dragging him away. As former Plot-hole Wizard, Magistarr tries to create a plot-hole but that, too, uses magic. Eventually, he does the only thing he can, he creates a plot-hole so close to the source that the magic can work before it's drained - he creates a plot-hole on his own mind. The explosion that occurs and everyone, including Faust, is killed and Faust curses the devil for not saving him. Across the universe, Runekeeper meets with the Devil of Tartarus, Memnoch. Runekeeper tells Memnoch of what has transpired and Memnoch affirms that even the Big O is ignorant to their involvement.
From Plan B to Plan D
Citizen Rex jumps out of the One Jet and lands on the black, shiny landing pad of the Moon Base. Swirling patterns in the black material glows softly yellow to illuminate the pad to potential spacecraft and walkers on the surface. He looks up an sees a space brimming with stars and nebulae and, most wondrously, an Earthrise. The blue planet is rising on the horizon marking the "morning" of the moon.
Citizen Rex: "I didn't know we had a jet."
Seraphim: "I suspect there's a lot you don't know."
Citizen Rex: "Yeah. I don't know how they get the holes in ring doughnuts..."
He doesn't notice the groans of Seraphim and Agent Mulligan.
Citizen Rex: "How're we breathing?"
Citizen Rex, having been given his torch back, holds up the alien-detecting device and is satisfied to see it glowing blue. They follow the black path, lit up by glowing yellow swirls, towards the very obvious death ray structure. It is a tall building, standing up firmly, and topped by an elongated cannon. The building looks quite unlike the black, future-material of the landing pad and the paths. It looks like a big, grey bunker with a cannon that seems like it was built during the World Wars. A small metal door bursts open as they approach and several Grey aliens pour out with laser blasters. Agent Mulligan returns fire with his Glock 23. Seraphim, however, evaporates them with a sudden blast of divine light that reduces the aliens into white sparkles. The blast marks the grey, concrete walls with damage but doesn't bring them down.
Citizen Rex: "Awww, I didn't get to burninate anything."
Seraphim inspects the walls.
Seraphim: "They may look old, but they've been upgraded."
Without waiting for the two men, she goes through the metal door. When Citizen Rex gets inside he's reminded of old bunkers again. A narrow passage with metal doors leading to small rooms. He eyes his glowing torch, expecting to see aliens around every corner. However it is all quiet for now. He jogs after the figure of Seraphim, her naked body disguised only by splashing and rippling light. He finds himself distracted until he almost runs into her.
They're in a large control room filled with banks and banks of old computers that, when put together, probably equalled the processing of a crappy Dell[Ext 1] machine sitting in someone's living room. At the centre of the room is a tall control panel that reaches into the ceiling. It shows signs of minor damage and has definitely seen a great deal of repairs. Yet, now, it looks perfectly operational. Standing all around the device are Greys. One of them, in particular, is wearing a plastic toy crown. He is being carried by other Greys as some kind of leader or even king.
Grey King: "Cease! You are surrounded and outnumbered! Surrender!"
Citizen Rex notices Greys appearing from all sides, armed with laser guns.
Seraphim: "Defend me."
Seraphim throws her arm into the air and, from the aether, she draws in white light to the palm of her hand. Mulligan and Citizen Rex both glance at each other before they open fire on the Greys closest to them.
Grey King: "What? No! You're supposed to surrender so I can trap you and you escape through some contrived means! Dammit! Open fire! Blow them away!"
The Greys return fire but they seem to aim with standard "action movie aim" and miss by miles save for the occasional dramatic near miss.
Then Seraphim's "holy bomb" is unleashed. It strikes the central console and it explodes in magnificent fashion, sending all those Greys nearby flying in all directions including the Grey King. The three heroes shield themselves from the blast as it whips at them. When its over, Citizen Rex peeks from between his fingers. The console is nothing but a smouldering heap of metal and Grey strewn across the room.
Soon-to-be-Dead Grey King: "Owie..."
Agent Mulligan: "These guys always seem to have one last breath left in them."
Soon-to-be-Dead Grey King: "Foiled yet again. Time for... Plan D!"
Agent Mulligan: "Plan D? More backup plans?"
Citizen Rex: "I didn't even notice what the other plans were..."
Agent Mulligan: "Ah. And we sent her off into space."
Soon-to-be-Dead Grey King: "Plan B. Blow up the Earth. Almost had that one. Such sweetness to kill you all with your own device."
Agent Mulligan: "We just stopped that one... so what happened to Plan C?"
Soon-to-be-Dead Grey King: "Plan C... Coke Break."
He rolls his head to see his dead fellows.
Soon-to-be-Dead Grey King: "Seems a bit moot now."
Seraphim: "To say the least. What is your Plan D?"
Soon-to-be-Dead Grey King: "Destruction of the Nexus."
Agent Mulligan: "What's the nexus?"
But it's too late. The Grey King's plastic crown falls and he lies still.
A man dressed in a dark hoodie walks down a long street in Iowa. He wears sunglasses and worn cargo pants. He ignores the people that pass by him. The signal had come and the latest attack of the Trans-Terra-Terrorists is underway. He has just one duty as part of the plan. He turns down a small road onto a new street. He doesn't know why this building is a target. He had scoped it out many times and found it an empty, unimportant place. The family's possessions are all there but the family is absent. He had intercepted their mail a few times and found that the father, at least, is in a hospital somewhere. Otherwise the rest of them are unaccounted for. He comes up the small path of the unassuming house with the plaque reading "The Nest" on it. He kicks open the door with one swift kick. He doesn't care if anyone saw him, it would be over in an instant.
He removes his bag and places it on the floor of the living room. He takes out a device that is mostly held together with duct tape and super glue. Pipes filled with bright liquids bubble and gurgle as he starts setting up the connections.
A woman walks slowly, lagging behind the rest of the tour group. She appears unassuming though unusual. She has a thick winter jacket on, lank, unwashed hair and wears a pair of thick-set glasses. She then stops. The rest of the group doesn't notice and they continue to explore the Reed Flute Caves, one of Guilin's most popular tourist destinations because of the incredibly colourful caves. Few realise this is because of the magic ebbing through the area, slipping out of the nexus and affecting the old cave system. The woman removes her bag and takes out a device. She puts it on the rock.
Lourdes, France, is an important holy place for Christians the world over and a place that many pilgrims travel to throughout the year. Yet most don't realise this small market town at the foot of the Pyrenees, separating France from Spain, is a market town meant to supply the Magium - an academy set up for the magic-wielders of the world and stationed further up in the mountains of the Pyrenees close to the town. While the tourists flock to the sites below, one lone individual climbs up the mountains towards the Magium. A lone sorcerer that had once been a young scholar at the Magium is now returning home. He had long forgotten the existence of this place but somehow, recently, his old home crept back into his mind as though a fog of forgottenness had been lifted like a veil. He reaches the doors. They appear damaged (See the NeS proper) . He finds this curious but he doesn't question it. He has a task of his own. He steps over the gates. The Magium would instantly be aware of his arrival. He wonders if they're on-guard at his return, or if they're unsurprised - those that leave ultimately come crawling back. His eyes are weary and his beard unkempt. He's so very tired from his climb. He then opens his robes to reveal a device strapped to his chest.
In Wiltshire, a small car bungles up the road, struggling with the last of its petrol. Finally it comes to a rest, for the last time, and the driver gets out. It's a small Grey. He is wearing heavy clothes to protect his thin skin from the Earth's hot sun. He stomps across the field towards Stonehenge, that old, stone structure that tourists love to snap pictures. Today, however, it's blessedly free of people. He doesn't want to tolerate screaming and running people when they see his face.
He approaches the large slab at the centre and places a device on it. C-4[Ext 2]. He legs it back to his car before the resounding explosion kills him. When he runs back, the slab is shattered into pieces and two of the cairns have toppled over from the blast - yet most of them are still standing tall. Beneath the slab is a mysterious stairway underneath stonehenge. He stomps down into the underground world of England. Just inside he sets another device and starts the connections.
Merlin's Ghost: "I say, what're you up to?"
The Grey yelps with sudden fright. He hadn't expected anything to actually be down here. He sees a ghost. The Grey pauses but the ghost just floats there, looking at him with curiosity.
Grey Bomber: "Blowing up Stonehenge."
Merlin's Ghost: "Ah, I see. I rather hoped you'd come to rescue me when you got rid of that massive stone up there."
Grey Bomber: "A bit late for that. You look kind of dead."
Merlin's Ghost: "Well, that's unfortunately true. Still, floating about down here has been quite tedious. As for your little plan to blow up the nexus, how exactly do you intend to do that?"
Grey Bomber: "An inventor from Discharding engineered these explosive devices. They'll warp the magical signature resulting in the magic in the area to implode then expand suddenly outwards. It's going to be catastrophic. Then it'll get even worse when the flow of magic in the world is so warped and disturbed. It'll shatter even further, become weaker and weaker. Earth will be ripe for annihilation!"
Merlin's Ghost: "Sounds like quite the nefarious plot! Can't say I approve much."
Grey Bomber: "You're a ghost, what can you do?"
In Saudi Arabia, a young Middle-Eastern man approaches he most holy site of Mecca. Destroying Mecca would be a crime against his brothers, his mother and father. His countrymen. But he has a higher calling than Allah and the mortal plane of Mecca. He feels the magic running through the land. His Trans-Terra-Terrorist brothers will be proud...
Machu Picchu, one of the most incredible sites in the world...
The statues of Easter Island stand quietly as another bomb is placed...
Mount Olympus in Greece isn't the Mount Olympus where the gods live. That would be crazy. It's the gateway to that plane of existence, however, should anyone have the ability to travel there. Magic seeps through the mountain in waves as one lone figure places her bag down.
In a cavern in Antartica are the hedrons. Doctor X, having finished his trip to Italy with the other members of the Cult of X, is back studying the ancient devices. He long ago surmised that not all of the hedrons are present. This he's certain. He could tell from the intended pattern that at least one of them has absconded at some point in history, though he cannot tell it was ever present. Perhaps it was never built.
DelphAI: "Doctor X."
The good doctor jumps at the sudden voice. He hates it when she does that.
DelphAI: "I've been reading the outcomes of current events. Hero Force One stopped Plan B of the Latter-Day Greys of Memnoch, but they have prepared a Plan D. Somehow this plan was hidden from sight until now. I don't know how, or why, but it may have been due to outside influence over the flow of time. The importance of it, however, couldn't be hidden from me forever. Unfortunately I feel it's too late to stop it from happening..."
Doctor X: "What will happen?"
DelphAI: "I shall attempt to mitigate the damage done to the area."
Doctor X: "As in this area!?"
DelphAI: "No, I mean Mount Olympus in Greece where I am kept. I'm afraid the area you are in is out of range of aid."
Doctor X: "So what will happen?"
DelphAI: "I'm sorry, doctor. You are about to die."
Doctor X: "Wh-wh-what!?"
DelphAI: "You must send your research to another hub instantly, else it may be lost forever. Then pray to whichever god you believe in."
Doctor X: "I... I don't believe in gods..."
DelphAI: "That is a shame because it is they who shall be mitigating the damage to my home..."
Across the world, explosions suddenly occur. A great drawing in of magical energy from each area as the devices suck in the magic like a sponge. The magic is drawn into a pocket universe for each device, pulling in that magic into a limitless space. Then the device reverses and all of that magic explodes outward. The immediate area is obliterated in the suddenness of magic before the aethereal substance then drifts off into the upper atmosphere harmlessly. The nexus chain is broken, zone by zone.
At Mount Olympus many, many of Earth's gods fly up into the sky over Greece - some in the real world, some only existing on the aetheral plane, yet all exerting their will to the mountain. Ares, Athea, Zeus, Thoth, Ra, even young Nick. The magical blast pushes back against them as it tries to expand from the mountain. The physical mountain itself is shattered and cracked from the force, the secret hedron base is filled with the fallout of the mountain's destruction. It would take nothing short of a miracle to uncover them again. Yet the magic is being held back, until, led by Zeus, the magic finally loses its momentum and begins to subside. Finally it settles back into the nexus - holding the world together.
Merlin feels the magic being sucked into the device. The Grey scrambles away but doesn't go far. He's consigned to his own demise. The Grey explained that it would explode, but for Merlin it is the implosion that is killing him. He is a being made, now, almost entirely of magic. He feels himself being sucked into the pocket universe, experiencing his existence in both locations. The darkness of Doughnutdelf's entrance and the complete darkness of the pocket universe. In there there is nothing. Less than nothing because nothingness would be something...
Some universes are quite apart from the others, existing in their own state of being without any similarities or connections to other universes. Some universes are copies of each other and some almost exact copies. Perhaps a tree grew somewhere it doesn't grow in the other universe. Some universes only exist because they are connected to a core universe. These may be considered "Otherworlds". An alternate Earth that couldn't possibly exist without the true Earth it is connected to. When that bridge is broken, so too is that universe. So too is Albion.
Albion, the otherworld connected to the NeSiverse, is home to magic and beings of magic. Quite unlike our own, its existence may be unfathomable to the human mind. Yet there is land and there are beings and those beings have buildings. Buildings created of magic. The Rift of Albion is the connection between Albion and the old land of Britannia, establishing that connection between the worlds necessary to keep Albion thriving. Keep it existing.
The realm of Albion exists in much the same way that life of Earth relies upon the oxygen excreted by plant matter. A symbiosis of creatures to mutually exist. Without the trees, the animals would die. Albion, a land of magic, exists by using the magic that seeps into it from the magical nexus of Earth. The Rift allows magic to ebb into the world and maintain its magical supply. In fact, without Albion, magic may well reverse into the Earth itself and destroy the entire planet. Albion is much like a sinkhole for magic, and in that well of magic lives the magical creatures known as the Aes Sidhe. Viviane, commonly known as "The Lady of the Lake" by the humans she has encountered beyond The Rift, watches the Great Loft. The Great Loft is the defensive structure built around The Rift. When the Aes Sidhe first realised that The Rift is a two-way street they needed to have something set up in case danger came through and sought to take their magical world by force. Never did anyone suspect such a danger could possibly face them. Magic is being pulled through The Rift, sucked in. Magic in the aether. Magic of the buildings. Magic if the creatures. Magic of the people. Everything is made of magic and everything is being pulled through. The Aes Sidhe of the Great Loft have retreated after the first dozen were sucked through portal, crushed abruptly and splurged through the gap. At their range they seem safe for now but they don't know how long the great consumption will last. Standing on the ground beside her is a Sidhe cat named Shalott, once a witch of great power now condemned to live in her cat form.
Shalott: "What if it never stops? This Great Consumption?"
Viviane: "Then we are doomed..."
Vivane's sword, composed entirely of water, rests idly in her hands - useless against this enemy. She looks down at it.
Vivane: "There may be a way to buy us more time... and hope that we find a way to reopen The Rift."
Shalott: "Whaaaaat? Destroy The Rift? But our world will die without it!"
Vivane: "It will die quickly with it."
Shalott: "I don't think this is a good idea, Mistress Vivane."
Vivane: "It isn't a good idea, Shalott. It is our only idea."
Shalott: "I hope someone beyond The Rift notices what has happened..."
Vivane: "So our fate is with the humans..."
She raises her sword and imbues it with as much power as she can. She throws it through the air. The watery blade spins swiftly until it reaches The Rift and the consumption. It begins to drain instantly of its potency, but the sword lasts long enough to reach The Rift itself and then, suddenly, explode in a torrent of magical water. The explosion hits The Rift violently and suddenly the only tether to life that Vivane and her people have, shatters into lots of tiny portals and then into nothingness. She feels the flow of magic, either way, stop. It's like her own heart has stopped.
Vivane: "And now darkness shall reign our land."
Something explodes and the cave is rocked by the suddenness of it. Merlin senses the potency of it and believes it could only have come from those beyond The Rift. Someone in Albion. They must have been suffering from the implosion and sought to end it but The Rift is instantly gone. But the explosion triggers the bomb's own explosion, ending the implosion of magic and sends its store outwards. The entire cave is engulfed, Doughnutdelf is buried under rocks and rubble, and Stonehenge itself is knocked over entirely - the only thing that might have kept The Rift open. But for Merlin this is a good thing. He couldn't do anything with his power, his very being, being ebbed away. No magical attack would could be generated as it was instantly drained away. A magical explosion, however, he could easily withstand with all the centuries of magical power at his disposal.
When it is over he surveys the damage. The entire area is demolished and The Rift, the life source of Albion, is cut. He himself is damaged. He looks down to find that his ghostly figure is shredded and torn. He has no legs, just the torn material of his long robe. But he has, in his ghostly form, survived. He then wonders what the Grey Bomber had intended. To kill Merlin himself? No, the alien had been surprised just to see Merlin there. To destroy Doughnutdelf? A viable target in the past but one of little consequence today. The Rift? A genuine possibility but surely the Grey would have sent his bomb through The Rift before activating it? The nexus upon which Stonehenge sits? The nexus fed Albion and acted as a connection for the world nexus. Britain, ever since its abrupt creation, has been a land brimming with more magic than anywhere else. Without the British nexus, perhaps the entire world nexus could have come down with it... unless other sites were also targeted? Merlin floats away from the fallen Stonehenge. Humanity would soon arrive to inspect what had happened. With the destruction of magic in the area, that includes the bindings that Nyneve, the current NeSorcerer, had once used to hold him within his tomb beneath Stonehenge. He's free... but at what cost?
Magistarr falls off the toilet.
He could have negated his bowel functions decades ago but here had always been something about using the loo that made Magistarr still feel that he was part of humanity. He regrets it now, however. Being attacked while on the crapper had never occurred to him before now. A most indignant way to be defending oneself. He pulls up his underwear and tries to get to his feet but finds that he's pinned to the floor. He tries to summon magic to spring to his feet but as soon as the spell wriggles from his pores, it evaporates. Before it ever surges from his mind, the energy is gone. He cannot summon magic from his surroundings, he cannot summit it from within. Every ounce of magic is being pulled out and away from him. He tries to manipulate the moving magic but the energy is gone so fast he doesn't have time to even see if it worked. He gets angry and starts to exert greater effort into his spells. Effort he hadn't used for many centuries as the Plot-Hole Wizard. But to no avail. The draw on magic is too strong to overcome. He tries to think what could possibly be so powerful to pull immense amounts of magic from the aether, from his body. He feels that the magic of The Magium has already ebbed away. The once proud building of magical defence has been reduced to any other building made of man. He senses the magical energies of other mages; apprentices and masters. He is sure he felt the energy of Taliesin drift by. No one is being spared. And then he senses that all magic is gone - except his. His source is twelve thousand years old and still strong. Could he outlast the drain? He tries to crawl towards the door but it suddenly flies open. He looks up to see Faust standing over him. He can't even reach out to his new student.
Faust: "Magistarr... I've... lost everything. We've all lost it... all of the magic is gone. Every tiny amount in the aether, from inside us. You're next it seems. There's nothing you can do to stop it..."
Magistarr can't reply. He tries not to think how undignified he must look to Faust right now. Faust tries to drag Magistarr out of the bathroom, which succeeds. He desperately drags him down the corridor, trying to get him away from The Magium but Magistarr realises it's impossible to escape in time. Even now he feels that he's at the end of his supply. He'd always relied on magic being in the aether and never considered his inner store until this day. This one day that he needs it. He thinks of his life as the Plot-Hole Wizard. He tries to conjure a plot-hole but it vaporises with the rest of the magical spells. Why, oh why, are his plot-hole powers magic based instead of narrative works? Twelve thousands years of magical knowledge about to be drained away. Could he collect it again afterwards? Maybe it would take another twelve thousand years? He then thinks. The moment his magic is rendered unusable is the moment that the magic forms from his mind. But what if his mind itself vanishes. The spell, closer to the source, may happen quicker. He activates a plot-hole.
Magistarr's body goes limp. He plot-holed his mind.
Faust tries to wake his master but cannot. Magistarr is dead in the flesh. Then, suddenly, there is a tremendous thoom from outside. Faust shoots to his feet, just in time to see through the window, a tide of magical energy blasting towards him and The Magium. The front of the building vaporises as the energy crashes into it and all Faust can do is curse the devil for not saving him...
Runekeeper: "I have heard that the nexus of magic on Earth has been all but obliterated."
Memnoch: "How... unfortunate!"
Runekeeper: "And nobody knows where the information originated?"
Memnoch: "Not even Orkag... Orkagm... Ort... That Big Idiot."
Memnoch: "Then I'd destroy them all the sooner. You may leave."
Runekeeper: "You're ordering me around now, Memnoch?"
Memnoch stares at the Runekeeper for a long while before shrugging and walking away. Runekeeper only then leaves himself...