Etiquette of Reform

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Following the banishment of Oujakuma and the restoration of reality, the power wielders had to come to terms with the new existence they now found themselves in. It took several months for the world to fill in, even as the mortal people seemed to regard the endless nothing that shrunk away from them with complete obliviousness. Countries and continents unfolded, and everyone acted as though each had been there the entire time. Many of Earth's defenders simply chose to ride the storm, keeping a low profile. Others tried to assert their truth to the rest of the world, who largely mocked them and spawned scandalous conspiracy theories, which nobody believed, except for those who wouldn't say anything about it, anyway.

Soon, however, a great army came from far reaches of space, and quickly made even the most frustrated power wielder forget about their existential concerns as the cloud of war cast its shadow over Earth once more.

An Evolving Timeline

The root of the conflict began upon the nameless homeworld of the Shen'ihr. Their planet had been long ruled by a monarchy, which, for several generations now, had remained in the hands of the Staciadon family line. While most considered the King's rule fair and just, certain ambitious and misleading individuals disagreed. In the shadows, they began a movement to replace the monarchy with a democracy, establishing the organization known as the Chorus. Through the spread of lies and deceit, and with skillful manipulation, the Chorus incited a large portion of the world's populace into their ranks, and in a surprise move, violently deposed the ruler from his throne. Only Prince Davios Staciadon and a handful of his High Guard escaped. With the Chorus hot on their trail, the head of the Guard, Shanji Ushai, took the Prince and escaped from the planet under cover of darkness, leaving the other High Guardsmen to disseminate rumors to confuse their predators to the Prince's real location. After all, with the Prince still alive, the Staciadon family line still persisted, and with them, hope for the monarchy and will for the resistance remained.

While the two had hoped for a far-flung outpost, the Chorus had caught up with them and destroyed their cruiser. Shanji and Davios, luckily, survived the conflict in the Guardsman's crippled fighter, and they were forced to crash-land on Earth. They were soon in the company of Alothin, who, in exchange for technological insight and extraordinary service in his secretive Psionic Militia, promised to work to repair the Shen'Ihr ship, and provide sanctuary from their pursuers in the mean time. The two learned much of one another in their shared time; Alothin finally had a direct associate to confer with for psionic theories, and the disassembly of Shanji's advanced craft had provided Empirical Industries with many technological leaps that quickly accelerated their aeronautics program. Meanwhile, Shanji gained experience with and open-minded knowledge of magic, which was banned and taboo on his own homeworld. The Guardsman was also able to hone his skills with the various tasks given to him, and the like-minded associates he befriended. Shortly, Shanji's wife, Choshi Ushai, and his fellow High Guardsman, Raseri Cuore, joined him and happily accepted Alothin's offer to extend Shanji's deal to the both of them. For a while, things were relatively stable. It seemed that the Chorus had lost their trail.

Lurking Menace

In fact, they had been watching the refugees quite closely -- at least, for the last few months of the year the Ushais and company had resided there. Masked behind Mars, the Chorus flagship had been conducting extensive reconnaissance. Earth had been marked as a "black" planet in the Shen'Ihr bureaucracy, as it posessed a considerable level of the detestable arcane influence, and lacked a sufficient technology level to be reasoned with. Had the expedition been under the original government's control, the refugees would have been left to their own devices until they departed the planet. However, the arrogance of the Chorus defied superstition and law. Their establishment, as previously noted, depended upon the downfall of the Prince. They would have his head, no matter the price.

The Stage Is Set

They began with the sabotage of the orbital space station, ARCHIE III, Earth's only celestial defense line. Run by the Lost Androids, the people of their foster planet believed ARCHIE to be impregnable and a nearly infallible countermeasure to alien invasion. However, the Chorus managed to slip a cunning special operative into the station, who proceeded to use his impressive credentials to nestle himself high in the station's command structure. He then replaced the outdated computer core with one of his own design, and just like that, the station was wrapped around his little finger. A complex viral code transmitted through the shared link with the Lost put all of them at the infiltrator's command, spare one -- Trance. Her slightly older codebase rendered her immune to his influence. As soon as she realized what he was attempting to do, she gathered as many Guardians to her as she could. However, by this time, Chorus marines and warmachines were strolling onto the station in droves, as if they owned the place. She severed the connection between the main, corrupted computer core and the secondary core, and then sealed off as much of the station as she could control off from the main section. She would have to wait for reinforcements to arrive to launch an effective counteroffensive.

At the time of the launched Chorus invasion, the Tenkaichi Budoukai was underway at Deius Castle. With all four Shen'Ihr ambassadors actively participating in the tournament along with dozens of others, it was an easy thing to introduce two incognito bands of assassins into the castle. Lead by Captain Gekijou N'Ikioi, who had a shared past with the Ushais and their Guardsman brother, the teams scoured the hallways until, at last, they had located the Prince's bedroom. An surprise assault was launched, and in moments, the battle was joined. Alothin, Shanji, and many others in the know fought against the intruders viciously, while Choshi attempted to keep the Prince safe, even as the tournament continued around them, oblivious. In the end, Alothin was able to sweep the Prince away to somewhere less accessible and more hidden, but Choshi Ushai had been captured by Gekijou.

The Battle Is Joined

Shortly later, the cunning Order Focus devised a plan to exchange prisoners; Prince Davios for Choshi. In the exchange, Alothin disguised himself as the Prince, and fooled Gekijou long enough for Choshi to return to her husband's side. A short battle between the Captain and the Focus ensued. Alothin was mildly wounded, but Gekijou could scarcely stand against his might, especially when Deius' own artillery was added to the equation. The man fled, through interdimensional means, with tail tucked between his legs and a ferociously angry superior to report to.

With the element of surprise come and gone, the invasion began in earnest. With nothing standing between them and the planet's surface, squads of Chorus fighters landed planetside, in an attempt to attack what they perceived was a cumulative threat against them. Parallel to them came the Inquisition, a long-established group of mage hunters whose sole purpose was to hunt down and destroy users of magic, wherever they might reside. They specifically targeted anyone they could discover in practice of arcana, even when it deviated radically from the goals of the Chorus.

As a weapon against the masses, the Chorus pirated the world's television frequencies and declared that they had complete control over ARCHIE's weapon of mass destruction, Tenchu. They threatened that if Prince Davios was not immediately surrendered to their custody, they would destroy Central Capital. Soon after being notified by Trance of ARCHIE's siege, however, Alothin made a counter-declaration, stating that the battle for ARCHIE was on, and that the invaders had no such control over the weapon. He urged all power wielders to help retake the station, that the mutinous aliens might be repelled.

And so, the battle raged on. The resistance forces constantly misled the Chorus to the Prince's location, much as the Guardsmen had on their homeworld. The invaders hired in powerful mercenary forces, led by the Kimmeran Shori Neketto, to assist on their broad front against the Earthlings. Even Alothin himself entered the fray, just as scores of frightfully unstoppable Hanabachi Walker machines were unleashed against the resistance.

Growing Dissent

In the midst of death and pain on both sides of the battle, James Kaider, a powerful, wealthy, and influential private schoolmaster, raised his voice in objection to Alothin's plan. He demanded that the Prince in his custody be given to them, declaring that no one life could be worth the bloodshed that Cardinal had suffered. His school, formerly a heavy contractor of Empirical Industries, began a boycott of their services. This began a deep dichotomy in Earth's defenders, many of whom had felt the same way, and were simply waiting for someone more important to say it for them. Some even turned against their own planet, assisting Chorus forces. Even still, many of them continued to fight the Chorus, if only to prevent unnecessary destruction, and to bring an expedious end to a pointless war.

A Battle of Attrition

While the battle stretched on, it could not go on forever. The Chorus posessed only a few ships full of marines, while the fighters of Earth were far superior in number. The Inquisition could not be controlled, and would not lend assistance where it did not involve exterminating magic users. The individual battles were moderated by their limited space and isolated encounters, but slowly and surely, the enemy line began to recede from ARCHIE. As the fighting line approached the highest section of the station, Alothin and Trance jointly launched a spearhead assault into the command structure. With the strongest power wielders standing together like an impossibly impervious wall of doom, the resistance bowled the reeling Chorus troops like dominoes. Even the Walkers could not stand long against the allied might.

The Final Conflict

Finally, they approached the central command deck, and the Chorus were in full retreat. Commanding the last of his men on the station, he activated the station's self-destruct mechanism, and then ordered the stragglers to hold the point until just before the timer expired. Meanwhile, the resistance quickly formulated a plan to shut down the self-destruct mechanism. In an all-out battle never seen on Earthen boundaries involving dozens of power wielders, the four-prong operation successfully shut down the bomb sequence, just as the corrupt Chantal computer core was overtaken by the secondary core's antivirus protocol. In an sacrificial attempt to send the frustrating resistance forces to the next dimension with him, Gekijou attempted to unleash the entirety of his previously concealed and divided power, only to be slain where he stood, barely a few steps onto the command deck but not before Shanji's comrade, Raseri, was murdered under his blade.

With the time purchased with the self-destruct sequence and last stand, the Chorus mothership made its getaway, and thought itself free to get reinforcements from the Shen'Ihr homeworld. However, in a surprising turn of events, the Inquisitors abruptly shifted from their more-or-less neutral affiliation to one siding strongly with the Prince, and in so doing, used their great Inquisitorial Amalgam to crush the other ship like an egg from the safety of their own.


Finally, the conflict had ended -- and just in time for yet another Tenkaichi Budoukai to commence. Living under conditions of war for nearly a year, many Cardinalian fighters were anxious to compare strengths with their comrades once more. Soon enough, peace would grip them again, but for how long? Earth's power wielders know better than anyone that peace is only a fleeting time of rest between ages of great adversity.