of the talk about acting swiftly to take the fight to the
Hageshoni, Frank wasted no time high-tailing it back to the MST
compound. He stayed in Endrell long enough to establish a local
headquarters for the revolt, but left Reggie in charge of it.
Frank had more important things to do back at base, especially
if he planned to run everything himself.
was a critical part of the revolution, but it was just one
place. Frank had given himself the task of literally taking over
the world. Such undertakings were complex affairs that required
a big-picture approach.
and foremost, however, he was due to check in with the MST. That
could only be done in the fancy command center, the only place
in the land of Enriel that had wi-fi.
a while for him to patch through. It usually did, but this delay
seemed even longer this time around. Frank understood why right
away when Uriel appeared on the other end, facing away from the
Uriel asked. “Is this working?”
over here,” Frank replied. “Where's Miller?” This Miller guy was
the superior officer Frank reported to. He will not be in this
found the screen and frowned. “On vacation. Everybody's on
vacation. Him, the chancellor, most of the administrative staff,
half the faculty...”
wry grin, Frank asked, “Then how did you answer this call?”
God for interns. I guess I'm supposed to receive your update or
sure? Do you even have a mission briefing?”
held up a packet. “I had to give it to your students. Apparently
being in Cincinnati qualifies me to fill in for everybody on
campus. I was under the impression there wouldn't be any
significant news for the first couple weeks anyway.”
there have been a few developments. Namely the Hokoni bailed
after the Hageshoni bombed the town square in Endrell.”
waited for Uriel to respond. He only nodded. Frank added, “You
might want to flip through your packet to see why that's a big
shrugged and scanned a few pages of the packet. He furrowed his
eyebrows and looked back up. “When you say 'bombed,' you
dropped a modern bomb from a plane. Killed a couple dozen or so.
Sure scared the hell out of the locals.”
world isn't supposed to have that kind of technology.”
would seem that they aren't above cheating to protect their
Uriel shrugged. “So if the Hokoni aren't there to thin them out,
that sort of shoots the operation to hell.”
think I'm just going to give up though.” Given that this was
busy work for Uriel, he was taken aback by the determined look
on Frank's face. “I've been here too long and between the Hokoni
stirring the crowd up and this attack pissing them off, we can
get a foothold.”
glanced at the briefing again. “Uh, correct me if I'm wrong, but
the mission wasn't to lead a revolt. It was to use the failed
revolt as an opening for a professional strike.” He looked back
up at Frank. “It's pretty implicit that a citizen's revolt isn't
going to work. And I would hardly call the group you're stuck
glared back, then cleared his throat. “I will withhold comment
on the conduct of the student troop for now.”
flashed a grin. “Now you know what I've had to deal with the
last two years.”
get me wrong; I'm confident they can handle anything thrown
Uriel finished the thought. “The issue is they'll either refuse
to do it or they caused the problem to begin with. I've heard
enough about Reggie and I know first hand what kind of ship
haven't seen too many problems with Molly's unit yet. Kathryn
has some authority issues and...” Uriel's laughter interrupted
all have authority issues. They've all made my life hell at some
point. At least Kathryn's upfront about it.”
stared back, bemused. “Seriously? If Molly had any interesting
in shaping them up, they'd be shaped up.”
frowned. “I hope you're not implying that Molly has some sort of
hope you're not implying that Molly's still the scared little
girl you found those years ago.”
his head, Frank changed the subject. “Just tell Miller what
happened and that we'll soldier on despite of it.”
jotted down some notes on the briefing. “Will do, but I can't
authorize letting you continue. If he gets this and shuts it
down, those kids are coming back home.” He paused for a moment,
then added, “I'm actually not sure what I should root for. Much
as I enjoy having them out of my hair, the assignment suddenly
sounds pretty suicidal.”
well I'll take care of that. Although if you could have the guys
check for any plane-sized transfers coming in and shut down the
Hageshoni's modern weapon imports, it would help.”
heaved a sigh. “What? You can't do that either?” Frank asked.
can... I was hoping I wouldn't get stuck with more work.”
bombing incident hadn't even been properly christened before
Enriel was destined to get bloody again. For a few days, the
most heated debate was between local historians who preferred to
call the attack the Fourth Endrell Massacre (it wasn't the first
time the Hageshoni had to lay down the law in spectacular
fashion) and the bards and priests who preferred to call it the
Day of Dragonfire. The city was so consumed with this argument
that it barely noticed the impending skirmishes to the south and
Hageshoni first took over Endrell and the city became more
industrialized, the elf population, which had once dominated the
city, dwindled. Some couldn't stand the new oppressors, some
hated the modern direction Endrell had taken, while some were
getting sick from all the mercury polluting the water supply.
Over the years, most of them had relocated to the forests of the
west. The Hageshoni government's only issue with this was the
impact on the lumber industry due to the heavy number of trees
chopped down to create these new habitats. The elves were so
insulted by these demons accusing them of lacking environmental
consciousness and sustainable growth that they maintained a
bitter grudge against the Hageshoni for centuries.
were easy prey for the Hokoni and the demons used a false rumor
of an attack to mobilize them and send them on the warpath.
Frank was all set to take a field trip to watch them get
decimated live, but the Puurxan launched their attack at the
same time. The Hokoni had clearly coordinated that too, and
Frank was pleased that even if they were going to bail, their
final gesture was designed for maximum impact.
keeping tabs on both fronts was a logistical nightmare. The end
result sent Meg and Giles to monitor the elves and Molly's unit,
with the exception of Donovan, to the Puurxan.
going to suck, isn't it?” Kathryn said. The brigade of Puurxan
marched along the plains in the distance, specks in the distance
from her hilltop vantage point.
“Probably,” Molly said. “I have no idea where they're marching,
but reports are the Hageshoni are set to meet them around here.
Based on numbers alone, it's going to be ugly.”
there anything we can do?” Yuki said, worried about the prospect
of watching hundreds of cat people get slaughtered.
free to try to influence the battle as long as we don't draw
attention to ourselves or engage the enemy directly. Basic pot
shots aren't worth the risk of being spotted.”
frowned. “That makes me pretty useless, huh?”
much. This would be one for the Weavers.” Molly paused. “At
least it would be if I knew anything that worked on such a large
about defensive magic?” Renee asked.
know how effective it would be. Depends on if the Hageshoni use
magic or weaponry. They seem to lean on the latter here.”
thought some more. “Ooh, how about Haste or Slow?”
narrowed her eyes. Two years in the MST and Renee was still
using magic terminology picked up from video games. Even so, it
was worth consideration. “Being cat creatures, there isn't
anything to be gained making them faster. Slowing down the enemy
would emphasize their speed advantage, but I can only do that
just need a lot of circles then.” Renee smiled. “Why don't I
sweep across the field and place circles where they'll have to
don't know where they're going to cross.”
Molly...” Yuki pointed into the distance. A full army of orcs
marched along the plain toward the Puurxan army, outnumbering
them three to one. They were both armored and armed with clubs
and swords. A row of burly Hageshoni demons followed them,
unarmed. The regiment spanned across most of the field. To
answer Molly's question, they were crossing pretty much
didn't need that explained to her. Despite the humbling
presence, Renee's idea was sound. Thanks to Grimoire 17, she
could generate circles automatically and quickly with little
more than a swipe of her arm. It was a good idea, but Molly
wasn't big on Renee crossing the path of a thousand rampaging
matter, neither was Renee, but she was still up for it. With a
slight hint of nerves, she said, “Well, uh, if I pick the right
spot, I should get all the way through in time.”
like 'should,'” Molly replied. “As fast as you can generate the
circle, you'd still have to run across that entire clearing
without them seeing you. That's a long distance, and it's not
like anyone mows that grass.”
Troy flew overhead while I rode along and covered the ground?”
“Wh-what?” Troy had been tuned out of the conversation, instead
watching the marching kitty cats with a blank stare. He was
surprised to be nominated for a support role.
turned to Renee, he caught sight of the horde of bad guys that
they would be passing in front of. “Whoa, whoa, you really
think...” Then he stopped and shook his head. “Wait, whatever,
Molly's not going to go for anything like that.”
surprise, Molly replied, “Normally that would be true, but it's
the best plan we've got and, like I said before, Thrusters
aren't going to be that useful. So you're it.”
protested louder. “There's no way I can fly that far without
them spotting me. It's not like I can fly any faster than I can
merely cracked a smile. “Cute...” She turned to her sister.
“Renee, cast Haste on Troy.”
Renee fired her trigger at Troy. It had no noticeable effect
until Troy tried shaking his head and the momentum almost
knocked him over.
insane. Are you guys trying to get me killed again?” His words
came out faster and at a higher pitch. Renee and Kathryn
struggled not to laugh.
Molly was amused. “I've never actually seen a speed boosting
spell in person. But it's clearly effective. Go to work.”
walked up to Troy and stood with her back right next to him.
With what passed for a heavy sigh (that sounded more like a
quick huff), Troy put his left arm around Renee's waist and
fired off his trigger. They shot ten feet into the air before
Troy got control and dove forward down the hill.
surprised at how quickly he got used to flying at this speed,
descending to a point where Renee could work her magic. She
brushed the ground with one hand, putting up with the slaps from
the grass and weeds they flew through. Ripples of light spread
through the ground, subsiding after a few feet.
not a loud process, so they could hear the marching horde get
louder and louder. Troy didn't dare turn his head, knowing it
would likely lead them off course, but the louder the stomping
got, the less he could ignore it. He had lost all sense of space
and had no idea how far he had gotten or how far he had left to
go. Renee was oblivious, far too focused on her mission. He was
alone and disoriented, and all it took was a war cry to throw
his concentration, sending him and Renee crashing to the ground.
missing a beat, Troy grabbed Renee and ran to the far end of the
clearing, laying low enough for the tall grass to partially
conceal them. They dove behind bushes as the first row of orcs
began to arrive behind them. Troy raised the earth as best he
could to provide more cover without arousing suspicion, then sat
behind it and caught his breath.
okay?” Renee asked him before he had the chance to ask her.
he answered, breathless. “That got too close. I wonder if we can
teleport back from here.”
turned to Renee. She was peeking over the bushes to watch the
orcs. To his surprise, she was smiling.
it's working!” Indeed, the rows of orcs marched at a consistent
speed, which suddenly slowed down as they passed the line of
circles that Renee had planted. The closest columns, the ones
that crossed where Troy had crashed, kept going at full speed.
The first rows of orcs didn't seem to notice. The trailing
demons did, but weren't about to break rank to do anything about
mostly working,” Troy muttered. He didn't like that the ones
traveling full speed were closest to them.
that's even better,” Renee said. “Screws their formation up.”
slowed orcs meant they didn't get much farther than Troy and
Renee's hiding place before the Puurxan arrived. There was no
sounding of horns or additional charges or shouts. Just a bunch
of cat people slamming into the line of orcs. The orcs were slow
to react and the front lines of Puurxan slashed their way
through en route to the back lines. The whole thing collapsed
into a chaotic mess within seconds.
additional speed advantage did help the Puurxan, at least. Some
of the more spry ones were able to leap into the throng, slash a
neck, bounce into the air and slash a few more before being
nailed by a lucky polearm. It was not going to turn the tide,
however, as most were only able to take out one or two orcs
before going down. Some, particularly those facing the full
speed orcs, fell without a single kill.
and Troy had hidden behind the bushes when the lines first
clashed. By the time Renee dared to take another peek, both
ranks had dwindled by at least a third. The Puurxan were taking
more orcs down with them, but the numbers advantage was still
tried to put a positive spin on it. “Well, we're still hanging
in there... kinda.”
when the spellcasters in the back got involved. They hadn't done
much other than take out the occasional Puurxan who had
penetrated the lines far enough. Now, even as the two armies
blended together, they rained fireballs towards the middle of
their opponent's ranks. Nobody in the target area was able to
move and a mass of Puurxan (along with a handful of orcs) were
sight horrified Renee and must have had a similar effect on the
rest of the Puurxan army. The act slowed them down almost as
much as Renee's spell had stalled the orcs. Even with no more
interference from the Hageshoni magi, the result was no longer
momentum swing got attention from the other observers. “Why
haven't you teleported back here yet?” Molly asked Renee via
Now? They're all going to die!” Renee pleaded.
were all going to die from the beginning. Didn't we make that
clear? Your spell worked well enough but you need to get out of
there before they spot you.”
I want to try one more thing.”
heard Molly grumble, but her sister's reply was, “Fine, but make
record, I'm with Molly,” Troy said, adding, “What did she say?”
try something...” Renee mumbled, not answering the question.
Troy could protest, Renee crawled around the perimeter of the
bushes. At the edge, she had a clear shot at the battlefield and
began to charge up a spell. It wasn't long before she was
spotted. Four orcs split off from the battle and charged at her.
Renee's eyes were closed and she didn't notice.
opened her eyes just long enough to recognize the threat.
Closing them again, she shouted back, “Cover me!”
crept closer. The four orcs were spaced out, but all would be
converging on Renee in a matter of seconds. Renee didn't seem to
care, focused on whatever spell she was charging up. He fumbled
for the right spell, but everything capable of taking out all
four of them at once would have immediately drawn the attention
of the rest of the group. He clutched at his smiter, but he was
sickened even holding it after what happened last time it had
been used. Besides, orcs were not demons and it wouldn't have
when he registered that in the span of that entire thought
process, the 'matter of seconds' had almost elapsed and the orcs
were closer than ever. He hadn't realized that he had froze that
much. Troy had time for one move, and he did it without wasting
any more time deliberating. He ran towards Renee, grabbed her,
closed his eyes and teleported away just as the orcs raised
their swords at her.
opened his eyes in time to see Renee fire her spell. In front of
them, Molly, Kathryn and Yuki were all struck with an intense
electrical shock and fell to the ground in pain. Renee ceased
the spell the moment she saw who it had hit.
damn! I didn't need to feel that again!” Kathryn shouted.
Troy caught his breath following the harrowing escape, Renee
shoved him to the ground. “What the hell?! Why did you pull us
out of there?”
up. “What, you think I could just take out four orcs bearing
down on you without the rest noticing? Do you really think you
could have saved them?”
that shocking spell your plan?” Molly asked, trying to fix a
stubborn patch of hair standing up on her head. When Renee
nodded, Molly said, “You do realize that would have hit the
Puurxan just as hard as the orcs, right?”
looked away. “Well... yeah. But they seem to resist magic better
than the orcs. I was thinking they'd get up from it faster and
be able to retreat or something.
blinked twice. “Hmm... that's true. Okay, that might have
scanned the battle once more. The Puurxan were decimated.
Whoever was still alive probably wouldn't be for long and the
orcs were already going into 'mutilate the bodies' mode. Molly
turned away. “Let's go,” she muttered.
turned her back to the battlefield, walking away without another
look. Kathryn and Yuki were fixated on it, not budging until
Molly repeated herself. They followed, still stealing glances
back at the massacre they had just watched.
back to base was quiet at first. While they had done exactly
what was expected of them and Lord knows how one-sided it would
have been without Renee's interference, it was a demoralizing
sight. Early reports from Meg were that the elves fared about
the same, making little more than a dent against the hordes
before being overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
all of them time to think, which led to the first move. Renee
patted Troy on the shoulder. “Sorry I snapped at you back
there,” she mumbled.
his head. “It's okay. That whole thing sucked.”
safe than sorry, I guess. I just... wanted to make a
difference.” She looked at him. “At least you're still looking
out for me.”
didn't respond at first. By now, he had come up with a couple
different ways he could have cleared out the orcs threatening
Renee without alerting the rest of the throng. They weren't
immediately obvious, but they would have worked and would have
allowed Renee to do her thing. He couldn't deny that he had
locked up under pressure.
and Kathryn sat in the other corner, the guardian silent as she
watched Troy and Renee. Kathryn was quiet as well, but didn't
want to be and, having given Molly some alone time with her
thoughts, fixed that.
so we're clear here... Renee was trying something completely
crazy that could have gotten her killed.”
Molly replied, no emotion in her voice.
she had done it, it might have helped us out.”
Troy stopped her from doing it.”
ended up eating a thousand volts of electricity because of it.”
“And so we weren't able to stop those cat folks from getting
sighed. “Why aren't you reaming anybody out? Failing this hard
should be pretty ripe for your fury. Aren't you pissed off at
course.” Molly shook her head. “But what good does it do getting
on Troy or Renee? I can't even say either of them screwed up.”
hair's still frizzled. Safe to say one of them screwed up.”
which one? The one trying to make a difference in the battle or
the one making sure she stayed alive?”
paused, then turned away. “You're not really going to start
going easy on Troy just because he nearly got his ass killed,
let out a short chuckle. “I might be. He does appear to be a
little bothered by it all. I'm in no mood to kick him while he's
when it affects the mission?”
know full well that I don't really care about the mission. I do
care about Renee, and if it made Troy a little more hesitant
about doing something stupid and more careful about making sure
all of us are safe, then I'm not going to chew him out for it.”
shook her head. “I hope so. But I can't get past it, you know. I
still can't forgive him.”
be different for me. What he did to Marie... I know it was a
shock to you and Renee, but I knew he was capable of it this
whole time. It's always been in the back of my mind. I was more
disappointed than surprised.”
does that matter now? It's not like you calling it makes him a
deep down, I want to be wrong.” Molly kept watching Troy, still
contemplating his actions during the battle. “I would like
nothing more than for him to realize that there's more to this
than winning fights against demons. That it's all secondary next
to living a good life and not being a dick to the people that
care about you.”
see that's what I don't get about you.” Kathryn turned to Molly.
“You say all that stuff about friends and your life being more
important... but what the hell are you doing? I know you don't
have a life, and I don't think you had any friends either until
Kurt and I came along.”
looked down. “Somebody still has to do the dirty work. Best
leave it to those who are destined for that existence.”
you need to quit with the destiny thing. If you don't want to do
it, don't do it. You're an adult now. You don't need to follow
Frank around like a little girl anymore.”
right. But that would imply that I wasn't as necessary as
everybody believes. After all this time, I don't know if I could
handle that. Part of me wants to see this through, just to make
sure this wasn't all a waste of time.”
clicked her tongue. “You really think all this crap is worth it
just to make sure you're as special as you think?”
to be.” Molly stared straight ahead, struggling not to doubt
herself. “If we get to the end and it turns out I'm just another
cog in the works and all that talk of me having a major impact
ends up being nothing more than Frank being overdramatic... I
don't know if I could handle that. I don't know what I'd do.”
Molly's knee, Kathryn replied, “Well, if nothing else, if you
are gonna lay off Troy, at least you've got Frank to be pissed
nodded. “Yes... that will never change.”
Grandon and the Hokoni skipping town in a hurry, Reggie found
that the operation they had established to sew seeds of
rebellion in Endrell were easy to seize and use for his mission-
sewing seeds of rebellion in Endrell. After the show his unit
and Donovan had put on during the bombing, they had no trouble
picking up where the Hokoni had left off. Leasing office spacing
and hiring administrative workers rarely made or broke a
political movement, but these were good hassles to avoid.
Meg and Molly's units were stuck bearing witness to assorted
fantasy races being decimated by orcs, Reggie, Reggie's girls,
Donovan and Donovan's minions got to be rock stars in Endrell.
Thanks to them, the Hageshoni bombing wasn't so much a show of
might and intimidation as it was a dick move that royally pissed
off a population. Not only did they retain the ranks the Hokoni
had already swayed, they picked up a whole new crop of recruits
whose eyes had been opened.
them all while trying to keep their spirits high before using
them for whatever Frank wanted to do was the challenge. Reggie's
task was to keep people engaged in smaller subversive acts in
order to build to something bigger. There were no other details,
which was a problem. While Molly could have probably taken over
the city in a week, Reggie's arsenal of rebellious tactics
consisted solely of stuff he remembered from watching Fight
if he didn't use them, however, especially with many of his
dissidents working in factories. Weapons producers were
introducing or allowing flaws in the swords and axes that were
going to orcs, while smuggling some good ones for themselves. An
entire shift of steel workers reported sick for three days,
shutting down their plant in that span. Most importantly, the
taverns were filled with discussion about how awful things were
getting with the Hageshoni in charge.
Hageshoni were aware of all of this, of course. Crystal had
plenty of concealment charms that kept the operation's home base
secure from major attacks, but the local law enforcement were
constantly on the lookout for dubious activities and would
occasionally stumble upon their location. Reggie had that part
officers wandered in on this articular afternoon, three days
after the Puurxan and elven battles. Reggie had made sure that
word of these massacres had reached the townspeople and those
that weren't totally racist were livid about such atrocities. He
left out the details of who started it.
exactly goes on here?” one officer asked Candace at the front
desk. Reggie wasn't entirely sure when in history the front desk
receptionist came about, but it was necessary to keep out the
riff-raff and worth whatever suspicions it may have aroused.
Candace was really good at it. “We do social work here, sir,”
she answered, not looking up from the difficult task of filing
work? What's that?” the second asked.
know, helping out the disadvantaged. People who have fallen
through the cracks of the system and need a little boost.”
officers stepped forward, frowning. The first one asked, “You
saying people are having problems with the current system?
Because we've heard reports that-”
generated a giant fireball and planted it under their noses. The
smoke knocked them backwards. The first officer's head collided
with the wall, knocking him out. The second wasn't as lucky: he
stayed conscious and therefore got the full brunt of her
time Cammy and Crystal came in to retrieve them, Candace was
back to her nails. “You know, one of these days you should wait
until we find out what they've heard,” Cammy said.
scoffed. “Please, I don't have time for that.” After pausing to
blow on her nails, she added, “All this filing!”
and Crystal continued the process, dragging them back to the
“receiving room.” Crystal stuck a lit cigarette into each of
their mouths. The contents inside didn't quite wipe their
memories, but it did create the illusion that rather than
experiencing what they did, they walked into the office, saw
nothing unusual, and felt the sudden compulsion to leave the
city for a smoke break. The circle was already in place for
Cammy to whisk both officers out of the city.
those gentlemen of the picture, Candace arrived with two more in
tow. “Hey, got a couple more here. Think you can take care of
“Already?” Crystal asked, taking two more cigarettes off the
shelf. But Candace was already gone. Instead, Graham and Arthur
were in the hallway and conscious.
“Cigarette? Why yes, I'll have one,” Arthur said.
looked down at them. “Um... you don't want these. Or maybe you
do.” Given their previous allegiance to the Hokoni, she wasn't
sure what Candace meant by 'take care of them.'
confused,” Cammy added.
we,” Graham said. “After Sir Crostell went into hiding, we had
heard that this place was taking over the revolution. We thought
we would pledge our services, but we didn't expect to find you
aren't you Hokoni demons?” Crystal asked.
and Arthur were taken aback. “Demons? What do you mean? If
anybody should be called demons it is you witches,” said Graham.
did you call us?!” Cammy shouted.
replied, “No, no, he said witches.”
calmed down right away. “Oh. I guess that's close enough.”
you so freaked out about us knowing magic?” Crystal asked. “I
mean Grandon and his folks do too.”
a pair of blank stares. “You mean he never used magic in front
of you guys?” They shook their heads. “And he convinced you that
because we do, we're the bad guys?” They nodded. “Even though he
skipped town while we're trying to keep this rebellion afloat?”
fact that you have the ability to help us but chose not to all
this time is quite damning.”
what we're dealing with.” Reggie was now in the hallway, joining
the conversation as if he had always been a part of it. “We
needed a groundswell of folks like you guys before we stood a
chance.” He put his arms around each of their shoulders. “Now we
can start cooking.”
them down the hall into another office. On the door, a placard
read “Reggie's Room,” listed in professional typeset lettering.
was overjoyed that Frank was late to the meeting in the command
center. It gave her a chance to commiserate with Meg for the
first time since witnessing their respective battles.
your sister's gutsy,” said Meg. “Morgan and I just generated a
bunch of natural defenses for the elves. The orcs were expecting
to fight in a forest. They weren't expecting the giant moat in
front of a hill with bushes for the elves to use for cover. That
sure slowed them down.”
didn't stop them though?” Molly asked, already knowing the
it turns out the orcs use crossbows too. And one of them had a
torch. And those particular bushes the elves were using burn
time of year is also very conducive for forest fires,” Maple
that too,” Meg replied. “I was so busy keeping that from
spreading that I kinda missed the rest of the battle. You'll
have to ask Giles for the blow-by-blow.”
after having to watch all that, I don't see what we could
possibly do that's worse,” Molly said. She and Meg looked at
each other and paused. Then they turned to the door, waiting for
Frank to show up and give them something worse.
missed his cue by twenty seconds. Frank went to the front of the
room, pinching his earlobe the whole while as he manipulated one
of the workstations. The map on the giant monitor was replaced
by an image of Reggie in a Fonzie pose.
said Reggie. “Can't imagine you girls having more fun than me.”
frowned. “I don't know. Ever see an elf's head on a pike?”
times. But they deserved it.”
cut the chatter quickly. “How is the operation going in
“Awesome! People are talking, people are thinking, lotsa civil
disobedience all over the place.”
What are your numbers looking like?”
many have pledged their support?”
I supposed to be keeping track?”
Groaning, Frank replied, “That was the idea. Do we have enough
support to launch a successful operation?”
what kind of operation are we talking about?”
that the population is stirred up, the Hageshoni's armies are
thinned out and they are no longer able to import weapons, we
can make a play for the city. If we can get control of Endrell,
we can take over the city's factories. That achieves our main
objective, and would allow our main wave to sweep through the
rest of the world.”
okay. Yeah, no clue if we're ready for that.”
frowned. “Well, we have a narrow window of opportunity. It'll be
a while before we can throw another wave of forest creatures at
me, sir,” Molly said. “If Reggie is having success with more
subversive tactics, why not let that play out? If the locals are
working on bringing down the system from the inside, isn't that
more likely to succeed than an outright attack? If we're trying
to stop weapons productions, organize and fund a labor strike at
grinned. “Damn, I knew you should have had this job.”
somewhere on Reggie's side, Donovan shouted. “Nonsense! We must
attack the establishment at once!”
chuckled to himself as Donovan stood in front of him. The
command center got a great view of his torso and his arms on his
hips, his head well out of frame.
“Donovan, this is supposed to be between guardians only,” Frank
said, not amused.
Get out of here!” Mindy shouted.
levitated and floated off camera. Reggie made sure he was well
out of view, then sat back down. “Sorry about that. Anyway,
yeah, a strike sounds a lot better!”
shook his head. “That might work in the short term, but it won't
stop them permanently. That's the ultimate goal.”
was no longer seen, Donovan was still heard. “That's but a
diversion! While the masses draw the attention, we attack!”
Reggie, don't you know a silencing spell?” Meg moaned. “Just-”
Morgan interrupted, “Wait, I like that idea.”
though it was the room's biggest idiot that made the suggestion
and the room's biggest lunkhead endorsing it, everybody paused
to consider it.
Frank, who didn't care for the sudden silence. “Meg, please you
get your unit under control?”
on, he's right,” Meg said. “Donovan's on to something. There's
no way we can take the city by marching a bunch of villagers
against the Hageshoni guards. But if there's a big protest
drawing their police force's attention, we might be able to
storm city hall ourselves.”
how taking city hall just automatically legitimizes any
government coup,” Reggie said.
is built like a fortress,” Frank said. “If we can sneak in
there, clean house and set up some ATBs, it goes a long way
toward running the city.”
place is built like a fortress, how do we get in?” Molly asked.
like a fortress is different than serving as one. We can walk in
through the front door like we're on normal business, then fight
off the guards and depose the general from there.”
frowned. “Please say the final attack plan will be a little more
nuanced than that.”
course, of course. But once that succeeds, it locks down well
enough to stave off the Hageshoni counter-attack. They'll surely
throw their full might into that, so let's hope the earlier
battles weakened them a bit.”
what about the protesters? What happens to them if we're holed
up inside and they're out there with the whole Hageshoni army?”
argument silenced Frank. If a protest draws out the police force
and allowed this crack team of magi to take over city hall, the
police force would likely have no patience with the protesters
in the aftermath.
Frank shrugged. “That part we'll just have to play by ear.”