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Apoc Now – Chapter 37 - Free (2)
St. Petersburg Grand Library, Russia
John Delmar shook his head silently as he examined the list in front of him. He was currently sitting at a small table, alone in the ruins of a once beautiful library. On the table in front of him was a small pile of papers that he was currently going through, reading over information.
Several dark clothed guards stood at a distance from him, guarding the area from intruders. The ruins of the library gave off a charred and burnt image, the results of a flame-wielding Super attack.
In the past several days, multiple terrorist attacks had occurred in the newly formed Russian Federation. Striking iconic cities like St. Petersburg, Moscow, Yekaterinburg, and Kazan, the attacks had begun to take their toll on the civilian population. The death count had already passed a thousand.
Currently, in Russia there existed three separate political parties. There were the Reformists, one of the original sides of the former civil war. The Reformist Party was one focused on change and freedom, a party that wanted a freestanding democracy with equal rights for all. Reformist doctrine demanded things like fully opening the borders, allowing foreign workers, and opening the Russian Federation up to free trade. This was the most popular party. A large number of Supers supported this party.
The second political party, and the other side of the previous civil war, was the Traditional Party. The Traditional Party wanted the glorious motherland of the past, voting for things like closed borders, a strong army, and strict regulations. Many past government workers and leaders supported this party. This was the second most popular party. An almost equal number of Supers supported this party.
Finally, there was the last political party in the Russian Federation. The current ruling party, and a party that John had personally supported, the Freedom Party. This party was formed to rule in the immediate gap when Russia was conquered, in part created to help the war-strewn nation return to peace. The current ruler of the Freedom Party was the former prime minister of Russia. Both other political parties supported the Freedom Party, in public at least.
John looked up suddenly from his reading, his brow creasing as he concentrated on what he was reading. He shook his head for a moment, saying aloud,
“Jasmine. Come here.”
Immediately, a girl clad in all black swooped down from the upper floors of the partially destroyed library. The girl was wearing a black jump suit, with black gloves and a black eye mask. A small trail of darkness followed the girl as she walked over to John, saluting smartly.
“Yes sir, Lord Eighth.” She said, using his official title.
John shook his head as he heard the title, recalling the events that had led to his acquiring of that name. After the last Monthly Lottery Scattering, John had returned back home to the European Supers Union triumphant. He had been promoted yet again, becoming one of the powerful generals in the ranking of the Supers Union.
Several days had passed peacefully after that. John had practiced religiously in that time, becoming even more adept at using his power. He had quickly learned that the “Evolved” section of his power meant he had an incredibly rare and powerful skill, one that very few people had. He wondered who else was in possession of an “Evolved” power.
A few days after he returned, however, John was called to speak to the Council of Seven, the ruling Supers in the Supers Union. The council had been filled with odd figures, all freakishly dressed and adorned. John had kept his opinion to himself, however, as the council spoke to him. He had at least recognized The Rake, noting the icy air around the man.
His efforts in the field had not gone unnoticed. The council had formally recognized his power, offering him an equal seat on the council if he could complete one last mission.
They had asked him to conquer Russia.
In a single week, John planned an entire campaign. He worked on logistics, perfecting the deployment of his Supers, layering waves of regular soldiers to help stabilize the war strewn realm. An entire war plan had been created in a single week. The reason he could create such a plan so quickly was largely thanks to his power. The status of being a Demi-god didn’t only grant increased strength and durability, it also sped up his thinking and greatly enhanced his intelligence, allowing him to perceive patterns and create plans at a record speed.
Thus, John enacted his plan to conquer Russia, vowing to save the nation from itself.
His plan was, at its most base form, an extreme success. It took him less than two weeks to conquer the entirety of Russia, shutting down both warring parties and taking prisoner every major Super on both sides. Without the leadership necessary to run the opposing parties, the war efforts collapsed into confusion. European soldiers flooded into Russia, securing the country and restoring peace to the land.
The success and speed in which he conquered Russia was solely due to his innovative planning. Instead of using a tradition method to attack the nation, John directed something entirely different.
He conducted a raid. A raid on an enormous, grand scale, a scale that covered an entire half of a continent. The mighty home of the Russians, the motherland.
Assembling together almost the entire Supers Union Captains and Generals, John laid out 38 separate targets. Each of these targets was a key position to either of the two warring parties, containing either an important Super, a powerful dignitary or politician, or a key supply depot. Across the span of a single week, John’s Supers attacked all 38 targets, taking them down, capturing prisoners, and securing locations.
Soon, the two Russian political parties collapsed, leading to the second part of John’s plan. While he was conducting dangerous raids across the besieged nation, John was also sending in ground troops. Large caravans of military vehicles accompanied these troops, slipping into Russia in waves. As the shock of John’s massive raids hit the Russian people, the European soldiers suddenly arrived to save the day.
And save the day his soldiers did. Instead of locking down the populace and killing traitors, John gave the Russian’s freedom. His men restored order, banning violence and restricting fights. Emergency supplies were driven in to Russia, helping the people have food to eat and clothes to wear. The originally scarce resources suddenly became abundant, greatly improving the mood of the general populace.
As more and more of the high level Russian leaders were captured and subdued, the armies supporting each party began to dissipate. Soldiers began to defect, returning back to their homes. After all, with the newfound safety and security that John had brought, there was no need to continue fighting each other. Political ideologies often fell apart when one is faced with the most basic human needs for survival.
His raid had been a complete success. In less than two weeks, the entire nation was under his control. In the spirit of maintaining control, John quickly enacted several political changes, creating a formal democracy as the ruling party of Russia. He placed the newly formed Freedom Party in charge of Russia, leaving the wellbeing of the regular civilians to them. While the Freedom Party had apparent full authority, the ruling ministers bowed to the orders John gave out.
However, it wasn’t like his rule was a burden to the ministers. He gave out very few orders, making it clear that he had only intervened in the best interests of the Russian people. He wasn’t insane after all. He simply was there to save them.
John flashed back to the present as he observed Jasmine standing before him. While he couldn’t see all of her face, he could admire the pale white skin she managed to maintain no matter where they traveled.
Jasmine had been John’s assistant since he joined the Supers Union. While her power was not ideally suited to combat, her ability in ferreting out information was second to none.
She had a Physical Modification known as Shadow Master. This mod gave her the ability to change her body into shadows, slipping in and out of the shadow world at will. This allowed her to travel extreme distances in an instant, eavesdrop on nearly any conversation, and sneak up and attack unwitting foes. John had found her quite useful.
Jasmine also shared some of the same views as John himself, something he felt had driven her to him. She agreed with John when he told her that he needed to band the world together to face the future ensuing threats. He would break this world if that was what it would take. No one said saving the world would be easy or pleasant. It was, however, necessary.
When he was shown to be successful in his efforts in Russia, the European Supers Union had kept their word. He was risen to be a full member on the council, with all of the responsibilities therein. They had also given him the choice of donning a title.
At the time, John had given it no thought. He was much too busy planning the logistics of how the Russian Federation would operate, with barely a minute to spare. In lieu of his own choosing of a title, the Council had simply dubbed him the Eighth. The nickname stuck, and now he was formally known as Lord Eighth.
“Something is off, Jasmine.” He said, waving his hand at the papers in front of him. A slight draft blew into the ruined library, ruffling some of the papers.
Laying on the table in front him was a full collection of every terrorist attack in Russia within the past seven days. More than fifteen separate incidents had occurred, spread out across the week. From blown up schools to bombed out churches, from suicidal Supers going on rampages to regular humans shooting up hospitals, the attacks had been both vicious and unanticipated.
In the course of the week, both of the more popular parties, the Traditional Party and the Reformist Party had declared that the other had done the attacks, denouncing them for the inhumanity and cruelty. Tension between the parties had grown to an all time high, promoting anger and violence. Several small battles had broken out between Supers of each party, battles that had been quickly shut down by the remaining European Supers.
The evidence, indeed, would support the fact that BOTH parties were launching terrorist attacks. Evidence found at all of the crime scenes indicated one or the other party at the culprit, with background checks proving beyond a doubt that some of the terrorists were members of each party.
The attacks themselves, at face value, made perfect sense. Both parties were unhappy with the new Russian Federation and angered by the Freedom Party. The leaders of both parties had expressed their agreement with the new nation government and leading party, while muttering and plotting against them behind the parties back. To launch terrorist attacks while pretending to be the other party would kill two birds with one stone, implicating their rival political party while eroding at the people’s faith in the new, foreign government.
It was a well-planned attack, and one that was clearly working. The Freedom Party’s popularity had dropped dramatically with the onslaught of the attacks. People had begun to lose faith in the new government’s ability to provide a safe nation.
“What is off, sir?” She asked, her voice whispering softly in the mid afternoon light.
“These terrorist attacks are clearly planned to destabilize the new government, while undermining each of the other political parties. It is as if each party is trying to antagonize the other while eroding our authority. It is, in fact, exactly what I expected would happen after I conquered Russia.” He said, waving his hand at her.
Jasmine looked at him in confusion, not understanding. She responded,
“Sir, if this is what you expected, then why is it a surprise now?”
John folded his hands, looking down at the papers in front of him again.
“It fits too perfectly. This is the real world Jasmine. Every battle plan is perfect till the first shot is fired.” He shuffled a few of the papers around, checking on a few facts.
“My predictions were something I shared with no one. I kept every single plan I had memorized, unwilling to let an errant spy foil my raid. No one and nothing knew of my future counters to this situation, or that I predicted this situation at all.”
Jasmine stared at him, exasperated now.
“Well, Lord Eighth. You are, as we both know, very intelligent. If you predicted it would happen, I’m not surprised that it happened.”
“Neither am I… and that in itself surprising. I had an expectation of things happening differently, though I planned for the perfect result, it is an extreme improbability that my perfect result would be what we ended up with.”
“And yet. Here we are.”
Abruptly, an angry light appeared in John’s eyes. It was as if a raging inferno had descended and lit his eyes, so bright and angry was the light given off. Rage emanated from him in that moment, an anger so powerful, so deadly, that the air around him distorted.
As quickly as it had appeared, it disappeared again, the air restoring back to its normal order. The ground where John had been sitting had cracked, breaking under the pressure he had given off. The table and chair he sat at, however, were fine, as were the several papers on top of the table.
Jasmine had leaped backwards, shadow walking about ten meters away when John had revealed his aura for a brief moment. She walked back up when he calmed himself, giving him an odd look.
“Someone is playing a game.” John said hoarsely, raw emotion coloring his tone slightly. He cleared his throat abruptly, his voice restoring to normal.
“Someone is playing a rather dangerous game here, Jasmine. And they are playing it with human lives that I am responsible for, that I pledged to save. That is unacceptable.”
As soon as he said the last word of that sentence, John closed his right hand into a fist and stood up. The air around him trembled again slightly, his force of will distorting the air.
“My mind has been compromised. I do not know how, but it is safe to assume that they have access to every plan I have created, every thought I have made. Every plan we have formed must be immediately discarded.” He began, looking around the room. He waved several of the guards forward, ordering them to communicate with the various ministers he controlled in the Freedom Party.
“I want a full accounting for of every Super on my staff. Also inform the leaders of the Freedom Party that they now have full autonomy to rule Russia, as long as they remain in the guidelines listed in the treaty I wrote.” John continued, making up his plan as he went.
Jasmine interrupted then, a panicked light appearing in her eyes as she said,
“Sir! This is everything we have worked for! This is what we wanted, the chance to create a paradise of safety for the human race. Sir we can’t just throw it awa-“
John interrupted her, waving off her protests.
“Jasmine. I want you to gather everything you can on a hidden enemy operating here in Russia. In fact, I want you to spread your information nets everywhere in the world. Look for odd disappearances, unexplained discrepancies, extremely convenient terrorist attacks. Anything that seems surprising or off on the world geopolitical scale.”
Jasmine automatically snapped to attention as she heard John’s orders, nodding her head. She still looked at him unsurely.
“Sir, are you certain this enemy exists? Can this not just be what it is? A situation you expected and planned for?”
“Yes.” He replied, the angry light returning in his eyes. “I am certain. I will contact you when you have the information for me.”
Abruptly, he stood up, walking towards Jasmine. He stopped about a foot from her, staring at her for a moment.
“Be safe, Jasmine. If you encounter a threat, I want you to retreat immediately, no matter what it is. You might not believe in this enemy, but I assure you that they are very real. This pattern is one well weaved, but not invisible, not to me.” He placed his hand on her shoulder for a moment, squeezing it.
He turned around and walked off, headed towards one of the holes in the damaged wall. Jasmine stared back at him in shock, still not comprehending the enormous changes he had enacted. She suddenly ran after him for a moment, yelling,
“Sir! What do I tell the Captains and Generals that are still here?! What do I tell the Council?!”
John paused for a moment, looking back at her.
“Tell them I’ve gone hunting.”
No David or Shin in this Chapter? WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE I DEMAND A RIOTTTTTTT~~~~~~~