An hour has passed since Khonshu’s forces arrived at Cedar City and the once bright city has now gone dark. Its shining spires blotted out by smoke and flames. The skies filled with ash and the streets ruined. The hard light bridges that once covered the skies no longer function. The remaining members of the Guardian Corps are scattered throughout the city. Those who survived the first wave have begun gathering at Central Command and began bolstering their defenses. Housing any and all that they could find…though sadly that wasn’t much…Samantha had been lucky to have been at Central Command when the battle started. It crushed her how powerless the Guardian Corps was. It was a scramble to figure out what to do when Khonshu left his first message. After Anarchy attacked it quickly dissolved into an effort to salvage what they could. Still waiting for her orders, Samantha sat in the lobby unsure of what to do. Her thoughts going to the civilians and Guardian Corpsmen who died she wondered how many friends she lost. Was Carmen safe at her home still? Did she escape? Were Jedda and Eugene still out there fighting or were they part of the many who fell in battle? Her thoughts run wild as Roy returns with a small group of survivors.
“Roy!” She exclaims running to meet him. She never thought she’d be so happy to see him in her life.
“Get these people some medical attention lieutenant.” Roy orders before stopping to catch his breath.
“Are you okay?” Samantha asked concerned. She could easily see the exhaustion catching up to Roy. Even for an Arbiter they had limits.
“I’m fine lieutenant.” His words were stubborn but deep down he felt that the younger corpsmen wouldn’t be able to survive out there as long as he did. “Updates from the General?”
Samantha shakes her head no. “Did…” She hesitates for fear of what the answer will be. “Did you find any Corpsmen?”
Roy’s dour expression becomes a solemn one. “Colonels Parmley, Reed, Welker, and Goundar are dead. So were Lieutenants Roman, Sanchez, Accardi, and Barnetta. I lost contact with Brigadier Webb so I’m assuming she’s fallen as well.” Samantha is struck silent by the list of casualties. She didn’t know all of them personally but to actually know so many of them had died…To hear their names listed off like that was heartbreaking.
“We aren’t going to survive this are we?” The fear in her eyes plain to see.
Putting his hand on Samantha’s shoulder Roy says “I won’t let it come to that.”
Roy’s words comforted her but that didn’t change the reality of things. They needed a plan and the only one who could give one wasn’t responding…she knew what she had to do. Taking the main elevator she rides it towards General Pellek’s office. Samantha wasn’t the only person or even the first to go directly to the Generals office but she never responded. She hoped that maybe this time would be different. Doing the best she can to avoid looking at Cedar City. Not that it’d matter, despite the towers height the smoke largely obscured the city below. The most she’d see was the army that destroyed her home. Upon reaching the top floor Samantha hears a commotion coming from the office. Running as fast as she can she bursts through the door and finds General Pellek wearing her Bio-Armor. Designed to emulate a squid, its plating had its sinews smoothed to a fine finish. Forearm blades and tendrils in the palms were special features built into it. On each shoulder blade were mechanical tentacles that extended down to the floor.
“General!” Samantha shouts seeing the office was in clear disarray, her razor floss at the ready. She jumps in shock when she discovers that General Pellek is standing near the corpse of a jet black figure. Its body was shrouded in darkness and only its glowing crimson eyes could be seen amidst the blackness. “What the hell is that?!” She asks.
“No idea.” Looking down at the body her tentacles move to begin scanning it. “One of those rifts in the sky opened up in my office and that…thing came out.” She sighs as her scans return inconclusive. “Whatever this thing is it’s not on any of our files.” General Pellek says as she deforms her armor and looks out the office window at the city in flames.
After a brief pause to try and gather herself, Samantha speaks “General, we need your orders. We’re losing…badly…”
“Somethings off here lieutenant.”
“Khonshu’s forces went directly for the police stations and the Guardian Corps bases…he clearly has enough force to take us out here and yet he hasn’t. For an “unrelenting attack” this is odd.”
“Maybe he’s saving this for last.”
“If he attacked us first he would’ve had morale in his favor. The beacon of the city would crash down below and then there’d be no place to escape.” Her brow lowers. “Something else is going on here…”
“That’s why you didn’t give us orders…” Samantha had met her limit. “You just sat here silent because what? You think Khonshu is doing something weird? If you thought there was something going on why didn’t you tell us?!”
“-Because what?” Not giving General Pellek a chance to defend herself. “You’re our leader and you left us all blind while an INVASION went on! Do you know how many of us died?!”
“Just what the hell would you have done?!” General Pellek turns her face flush with rage. “I’ve had to watch the city burn from my office first hand. Do you know what I was doing? I was desperately trying to contact the other bases to warn them. I tried to contact the I.S.P. I tried warning the CCPD. Do you know what happened? Not a single message went through. All primary means of communications are either blocked or destroyed. I couldn’t warn them. I couldn’t give you your orders. I couldn’t do anything but sit here and try to think of something to salvage what’s left.”
“You could’ve talked to us…”
“And you could’ve gone out to the field without me having to order it. Seems neither of us made the right decision.”
Samantha was silent. As angry as she was with General Pellek she couldn’t argue against her. Nothing kept her trapped in the tower. She storms out of the office and takes the elevator. No more sitting around. She couldn’t fight an invasion by herself. If the communications were back then they could coordinate and change the tide of battle. Returning to the main floor, Samantha searches for Jedda and Eugene to no avail. This would be a mission she handled alone. The communications in Cedar City was primarily handled by the Institute of Scientific Perfection. Samantha would have to travel through the ruins of Central Cedar to reach it. While she had hoped to get Jedda and Eugene to join her, this was a stealth mission. Ideally, she’d get there undetected. Taking a deep breath Samantha leaves the tower and ventures into the ruins of her home. The once bustling streets now empty and the only light beneath the smog was from the flames that created it…all in less than 2 hours…
“Gotta keep moving.” She thought to herself. If she didn’t press onward she’d be crushed by despair. They needed communications to find and save people. Hearing something approach, she quickly hides behind rubble. One of Khonshu’s Drones was passing by on patrol. Her Razor Floss was ready but she didn’t know how much effect it’d have if any. As it scans the area she waits for her opportunity and makes her escape. Latching her wires onto a support beam for the now inactive hard light highway, she pulls herself through the air and onto the next block. She’d have to take the long route.