|To The Prettiest One|
|IC Date:||04 October 2219|
|RL Date:||04 October 2006|
On a throne-like chair somewhere in the darkness, Number One sipped her daily glass of wine and considered the world. Before her was a sea of holoscreens, presenting her with information in more nuanced detail than in any other war room on the planet.
Despite lingering issues, she found the world of the present superior to the world as it was a year ago. Neo Arcadia made their stand and was cut down, but more importantly Sigma made his last, desperate assault on civilization and was finally destroyed. A bloodied and weary planet was now undergoing changes that were now mathematically inevitable. An equilibrium would begin to form that would allow for the equations to be balanced as they had been before.
The shining world of the future had been born in blood and fire from the Force Metal bomb in San Angeles. Whether the Robot Masters realized it or not, doing that had started the unprecedented and unpredictable chain of events that had led to the world's victory over Neo Arcadia and the death of Sigma. If only they knew! It seemed so obvious to her.
Even as the war began on Mars, the battle for San Angeles led the Pantheon army into a conflict that left them overextended and vulnerable. When the Martian war came to Earth, Aztlan took the brunt of their aggression. Their fall was inevitable, and Seers had used that pressure to try to negotiate with Elpizo. Elpizo went along, perhaps thinking he had an advantage in dealing with the Americans. The Americans got the bloodless coup they had been wanting, and Elpizo seemingly had a free hand to deal with the country. But Elpizo had forgotten the lesson that his predecessors had been taught -- don't bite the hand that feeds you. Elpizo's use of the secret negotiations as a political cudgel against the Americans had its price.
Everything had a price. Ra Moon had taught her that. Often, she saw that price was embarrassingly low. Admittedly, Blues' betrayal had given her a certain degree of delight, as she knew his inevitable comeuppance would be horrific. It would not undo what he did to James, but it would at least be the beginning of what would begin to approach penance. Watching the mechanical races tear each other apart was always cruelly entertaining.
Based on her latest forecasts, 2220 would be a banner year. Their strategy was fundamentally sound, despite the disruptions of Mister Famous and his filthy assistants. Let them have the Sword of Dagobert, she thought dismissively. They had Excalibur, but she had the Grail.
She picked up a battered hidebound book from a nearby table and opened it to its halfway point. The pages were seemingly blank and smooth, though the pages were worn. This is where they had come for guidance when the world was about to end. It had the secrets of the universe inside of it, a billion lifetimes of work from millions of worlds. Thomas Light had dared to try to seal it away from her, but they had finally penetrated the first layer last evening.
Now, finally, she could operate the Book as he had. Her green eyes sparkled with anticipation.
"Selene," said Number One, "show me everything."
Light filled her mind, her chamber disappearing as the ancient simulation overtook her senses. Her triumphant laugh echoed through both worlds.