|The Broken Tree|
|IC Date:||30 July 2219|
|RL Date:||30 July 2006|
There is unrest in the Maverick ranks. Since the Emperor’s resurrection in Berlin, many have noticed a distinct change in Sigma’s disposition. He is not what he once was. Too many deaths and returns too rushed to compensate for the strain has caused him to lose ... pieces of himself. Many parts of who he once was have been cast aside for efficiency, but in doing so, that which is essentially Sigma may have been lost.
The madness of the Emperor has worn hard on even his most loyal subjects. Many whisper about the coming of the Kaiser, and the rise of the city of Dis somewhere in the world. Some have even proposed that Able City itself will become Dis, and that its coming is already too far along to prevent. Some rejoice in this, believing that total victory over humanity is imminent; many others silently worry that their cause has become hopeless, and that soon they will simply be slaves to a new tyrant.
Doctor Doppler is silent. Many believe that, after so many years, he feels he has made a terrible mistake but has passed any point of possible redemption for his sins against humanity and Reploid kind. Paralyzed by his complicity in damning two races, the Doctor putters away in his lab on trifles as more and more of his brain gradually dies. It is not generally believed by the Maverick ranks that there would be a diligent attempt to revive Doctor Doppler were he to suffer one more stroke. The dark things he has created, the Maverick cyborgs, are felt to be truer to the cause than their creator.
There is a competitor for the throne. Lumine, Gate’s greatest creation, has long felt himself the rightful ruler of the Maverick cause. Once the disciple of the late Maverick General Tactical Raccoon, Lumine has learned much in his brief year of existence, and has begun to gather followers to his banner silently. With each disastrous decision -- the fundamental betrayal of existence by holding back forces against Ra Moon, the continuing failure of terror operations in Australia, the general darkening of Reploid welfare across the world through misplaced Maverick aggression -- Lumine's arguments become more persuasive.
But there is a more fundamental problem at hand. The Sigma Virus, the life-force through which the Emperor guarantees his immortality through all Mavericks, is changing. The virus is no longer obeying his will. It mutates rapidly, trying to outpace a final method of destroying it. Its survival is its only concern, and it has begun to shed that which ties it back to Sigma in a desperate attempt to become harder to find.
The Emperor’s effort to regain control of the dominant strains of the virus has been his desperate task for months, but he has begun to concede defeat. If he cannot directly aim his virus, so be it! Let it burn through the world and consume it to its core! Sigma sees the true enemy that lurks in Australia, and he will draw it out. There will be an Armageddon for humanity, and if Reploid kind is pure, they will survive the end of their world to rule over the ruins as gods.
1. Nine Inch Nails - Complication - The Fragile