|April 22, 2013|
In the exosphere, where planet meets space…
Bursts of white-red-orange flare, their blasts lighting up the night sky. Soundless explosions rock the unforgiving battlefield above Lagos. No screams ring out, no unsung heroes flee in fear. There is nowhere to flee TO, not when they fly miles above Lagos, fighting for their lives AND their home against the Shadowscythe.
On the planet below…
The young boy kicks a rock off the cliff. 1…2…3…4… He cannot hear the thud as it lands. He kicks at the ground until a clod of dirt rips loose. He kicks that off the edge, too. He frowns, and turns his attention to the hard-packed clay runway below. Even up here, on Freedom’s Bay Cliff, he can hear the roar of fuselage engines as the prep crews’ shadowy figures prepare the ships for takeoff.
They would leave him, just like they left him before the Battle of Crow’s Nook. They always left him! His father, his brother… it wasn’t FAIR. And he – he didn’t know if they’d be back. Not THIS time. Not with how –
He sniffles. Wipes his nose on a ragged sleeve, torn earlier that day as he raced through the high hills up to watch the first fleet of ships depart. HE would wave goodbye even if no one waved back. Someday HE would board the ship. HE would blow the aliens out of the sky FOREVER! Then, maybe…
"Oh!" He jumped at the hand that thumped down on his shoulder.
"Boy. You can’t spend your life staring at the stars if you want a future exploring them. Get back to your Nana. She’s made fishloaf and greens –"
He mutters, repeating the end of his Nana's favorite saying. "An’ I won’t grow up to be a pilot if I don’t eat my greens…"
His grandfather smiles down at him, then turns his face towards the sky. A shower of comets rains down, remnants of a ship that didn’t fly fast enough.
"Is – is it one of ours?" He can’t quite get the words out around the clot of dread rising in his throat. "Is it Bre –"
His grandfather shakes his head. "I can’t tell from here. You know that."
"Your brother is up there. Somewhere." His grandfather’s trembling arm raises high, brown and wiry from years spent hauling nets at sea. "And we won’t know where he’s been or what he’s seen until he comes home."
"But he… WILL come home?"
The Future of the Universe is in Your Hands
His grandfather kneels down next to him, pulling the young boy close. Even up here, the air is thick with ship exhaust, the screech of metal on metal, and the cries of crewmen shoving to board the great transport ships. The war-weary elder sighs, remembering days before the war. Before the young ones had to board ships bound for space instead of for sea.
His grandson scrubs at eyes too dry for tears.
"I won’t lie to you, boy. But I WILL tell you that your father fought bravely. He risked everything to make sure your momma and her babes would grow up free from fear. Safe.
"And now your brother fights that same war. The same enemy. ALL of the young men and women down here – and all those up there – are fighting to make sure we stay safe."
The two stare, transfixed, as explosions blossom and fade overhead, dying in a furious blaze of white-hot glory. A tear rolls down the boy’s cheek as he vows to himself that someday, someday HE would make the Shadowscythe share his pain. He does not speak as his grandfather hugs him close.
"There is only one universe, and if the Shadowscythe control ANY galaxy in it, we will have no refuge. No home. They will not leave us in peace, and we will not surrender. Your father knew that. So does your brother. So do you.
"What the sea cannot tame, the Shadowscythe will NOT conquer!"
Note: These story Design Notes do not hint at where YOU will battle next in the MechQuest finale. But this conflict spans ALL the planets, and it is good for a Hero to know what battles are fought in the far-flung corners of the universe.
Remember: while you fight bravely, others wait and watch and hope for your victory!
Tags: Alina Story Design Notes Planet Lagos March of the Shadowscythe