Estle City, Selen Dajora System
The streets of Estle City were no longer safe. The attacks on the Shadow Port had left the city in shambles. In all the destruction the cleanup was not going as once planned. Wreckage from the attacks and debris now littered the streets. Bonfires filled the night sky, scattered throughout the city. The citizens of Estle City had turned on each other and the city in despair. Bodies filled the streets as innocent bystanders were left for dead in the city’s collapse. The people of Estle City turned to riots and vandalism, destroying everything in their path. There was no hope left that they could reclaim the city.
Many Arconans came to partake in the cleanup and aid of Estle city since the attacks on the Shadow Port. Before the riots started the cleanup plan was working. Our enemies were brought down by Arcona. We would not give up on Estle City. The attackers were sought out by Arcona, tracked down, and eliminated. The enemy threat was no more. The Shadow Port was reclaimed, but not for long. The cleanup had halted as the citizens had taken over the streets of Estle City. As if the damage from the attacks were not enough rioting now left the streets a war zone.
Luka and Magik stood ready in the streets of Estle City as communications were flourishing. The news had reached them that Arcona enemies had been taken out. Operations were a success on and off the streets. While the two Arconans had been running underground operations on Estle City waiting for communications, operations on the streets had changed as the cleanup came to a halt. Patrolling the streets was no longer a safe as people were killed and bodies of innocent bystanders now covered the streets of Estle City. The riots had taken a toll on Arcona and the citizens of Estle City.
Luka and Magik awaited orders as they hid in an Arcona safe house in Estle City. The riots had taken over the streets and flooded the City, though there were numerous Arconan safe zones located throughout the city. Arcona had strategically placed them before the militia of looters, rioters, and gangs seized the city. Magik quietly put down his comlink to inform Luka of the news. The Arcona Military Parade Grounds are being sieged at this very moment. We are to make our way onto the grounds, suit up as Military personnel standing guard, all while not uncovering our force powers or allegiance to Arcona. These are our orders as we must move quickly and not be noticed.
They were directed not to leave the safe house until their armed escort arrived. The road to the base was not safe, as they were unsure of what they could encounter while en route. The armed escort was necessary to make their way to the outskirts of Estle City. Luka was not surprised by their orders, as the citizens had become a viable threat to the city at large. The thought of role-playing excited Magik.
Luka put on their costume slowly, their mind somewhere else entirely as the ill-fitting military gear was strapped into place. It felt smothering – both the outfit and their orders. Indeed the orders were necessary – and not outside the realm of common sense – but Luka couldn’t help but feel they were directed less towards Magik and more towards Arcona’s more ambiguous asset. They were an unknown still within Arcona. It was something they were comfortable with in the past, but tensions were high and they didn’t want to be seen as a threat to the clan alongside the rioters. They knew they would have to follow the rules to the letter. Though they felt a connection to the clan as a whole, rules, and regulations grated against the core of their spirit.
They turned towards their mission partner, and curiously looked him up and down. Before being tossed together, they hadn’t become acquainted. Luka’s first impression of this Magik was of a simple, straight-forward soldier with a rather grim demeanor. A man that was there merely to ensure the job was done, and perhaps to ensure that Luka did what was to be done as well.
Magik was already geared up and eagerly awaiting their escort. Their gaze met briefly before Luka turned away. “Did you hear what I said?” Magik asked.
“Of course,” Luka replied with a passive air, their focus directed towards straightening their uniform.
“Then repeat it.” There was a note of frustration in the Warrior’s tone. A frustration that was mirrored in Luka’s glance.
Luka paused for a moment to settle their annoyance before they responded. They had enough to deal with, without his interpersonal insecurities flaring up. With Bico left behind, they were far more irritable than was their usual. “Suit up. Wait for the escort. No powers. No notice. No casualties. Am I correct?” Their tone was a mask of indifference to the situation, one that grated Magik’s nerves just a bit.
Luka didn’t receive an answer to their question, as an alert on their comlinks informed them that their escort had arrived. The Knight was first to leave the safe house to greet them – all smiles, despite their earlier distaste for the circumstances. With four guards at their disposal, the escort was small. But they were well-armed and armored in anticipation of the resistance they would meet on the way to the military base. Hopefully, it would not be necessary.
“The name is Taron,” Luka said to the head of the escort as they reached out a hand in greeting. The name was given as easily as if it were their own. “A pleasure to be acquainted with Selen’s finest.”
The woman in question didn’t seem too keen on wasting time with Luka’s forced pleasantries. “We were informed that we are to take you through the city. I would advise against any encounters with civilians on the way there, especially alone. Are we clear?”
“It shouldn’t be an issue,” Magik responded quickly as he took charge of the situation.
The Military grounds were located just outside of Estle City limits. After they climbed in the military cruiser, there were no further questions asked. The plan was quite clear and straightforward no one was to engage the citizens by any means. The cruiser was equipped with an overhead turret just in case things got out of hand. They were to take the backroads through the city into the backside entrance of the grounds. This was the only viable way in as the streets were filled with rioters.
As Luka and Magik made their way through the City, escorted by military cruiser, they could not help but notice the damage that had been done. The Shadow Port lies in ruins as destruction and chaos consumed Estle City.
When they reached their destination they were greeted by military personnel at the entrance gates. Dressed in Selenian military fatigues, their identities went undisclosed as they were rushed through. Disguised as personnel, they proceeded to asses the situation at hand.
Magik walked forward with intent and focus towards the main gate to the Military Parade Grounds, but Luka drifted behind. It was the first time they’d been to this stronghold of Arcona, and they took a moment to take it all in. The grim strength and intimidation of the fortifications contrasted with the vibrancy of the grounds on which they stood. It felt almost poetic that they were in that location, in particular, protecting this symbol of military power against the surge of pained souls threatening to crash against its walls. Luka was Arconan. Their master had instilled in them a tie to the clan they’d never before felt for a cause. But they couldn’t still the conflict of their mind and heart.
Luka gave a quick glance in Magik’s direction, then closed their eyes and let out a slow breath. On the following inhale, they opened themselves up to the feelings of those around them. There was a steady hum of nervous energy emanating from the guard around them, with a fear of the unknown near future. Stretching outward, they could sense a roil of aggression, pain, fear, and anguish. It was searing, but they drank that emotion in and let it pass through them with a trembling exhale. They didn’t have much time before the rioters would be at the gates.
A bark of an order jolted Luka out of their trance. “They’re nearing the gate!” shouted the head of their escort. “Get into position! What are you standing around for?”
Nightfall had come as Luka and Magik were now on standing on the grounds. The rioting now spread to the outskirts of Estle City. The rioters engulfed the gate and front entrance of the Arcona Military Parade Grounds. Nothing could be done to ease the situation, the citizens were revolting. Looking beyond the gates Magik could see torches being lit and carried by the rioters as glass bottles were being thrown at the military personnel standing guard behind the gates.
The armed forces on the ground were ordered not to engage the citizens as this would only escalate the tensions in Estle City. Our orders were to stand by and patrol the grounds as Arcona had been expecting visitors. The rioting had now made a turn for the worst. As they stormed the gates the two Arconans could only hope for it to pass. Luka and Magik were prepared for the worst.
As they patrolled along the outer wall, a glass bottle shattered upon the ground beside Luka’s boot. Startled, they recoiled from the shards, nearly knocking into Magik (to his scorn). The tensions outside the gate mirrored those within, as the Knight wandered about the compound with little direction. Their anxious energy manifested as fear in the others watching them, and Magik couldn’t allow them to drop their guard.
He grabbed Luka by the arm to chastise them, but his voice was drowned out by a shouted warning and a following squeal of pyrotechnics before a concussive blast. A bright light blinded the both of them momentarily, a ringing in their ears. After he shook his head to clear it, Magik shoved Luka’s head down as a second and third blast showered sparks down upon them.
“They’re in the supply!” shouted the unit commander over the commotion. “You! Take your squad to the warehouse. Find where they got inside.” As Luka looked up from their crouched position, he saw a group had left towards the rear entrance. The guard ducked as more blasts flew from the warehouse grounds.
“The rest of us need to hold this gate!” the commander continued. “Don’t let them shake your focus!”
Magik turned to face the gate once more, but a stir within the Force alerted him. It was an eager feeling of a coiled spring ready to leap forward, almost bestial in its intensity. He instinctively reached out to Luka to stop them. “Do not engage,” he snarled, voice low. “Remember the mission.”
Their gaze met, and he could see fear and anger behind the Knight’s eyes in equal measure. A flinch when another firework crackled overhead. This was no place for the new blood, and both of them knew it. Magik would need to regain control.
“You will remain here to guard the main gate,” he ordered with a covert gesture to focus. Though the other individual was some years his senior, he felt as if he was scolding a young child.
There was a brief moment where it seemed that Luka wrestled with the directive, then a slight give into the order as their expression went blank. But just as he was satisfied that the Knight would obey, Magik felt as if a cage had pressed in around him, blocking and suppressing him as Luka turned their back. The Knight sprinted toward the warehouse, attracting the glances of the nervous guardsmen nearby. Seeing one of theirs turn heel to run sent them into a panic, and a few others followed.
“Hold the gate!” Magik demanded in an attempt to recover the mission, but his shout was deafened by a final explosion which lit up the warehouse in a cacophony of thunder and sparks. As he turned towards the eruption, he saw no sight of the unruly Knight. Luka was gone.
Whether they were dead or had abandoned the mission altogether, Magik had no idea. He had other problems to deal with, as the main gate bowed inward with the renewed confidence of the rioters.