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Full Version: Tales of the Legendary: Evacuation
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There were those of us that thought that when Tyrant went down, it’d all be over. The city would be saved, and we’d be able to rebuild, to make Praetoria what it was always meant to be, just without the lies and secrets. It wasn’t until we drove the loyalists out of the Imperial City we realized that was just a dream.

Despite the damage from the battle and the riots, the city was mostly intact. But none of us, not the Resistance, the IDF, the Praetors or the Carnival, truly understood the scale of our mistake. We were that focused on each other, fighting a war of control, ideals and loyalty, that we failed to appreciate the full scale of what Vanessa DeVore died to discover. The Hamidon hadn’t been defeated in the final battle with Cole. Its creations weren’t losing focus and dying off. It was stronger than ever, and it was everywhere.

When the first remote IDF bases fell silent, everyone assumed that it was the cost of the infighting consuming our ranks. When we saw the Devouring Earth begin to move, we believed we had time, that we knew what Hamidon could do. As we fought for control of the Imperial City, for the First Ward and the colonies, Hamidon awakened from its ‘nap’... and by the time Tyrant had been surrounded, trapped in his tower, the monster had done the same to us.

Against those numbers and the sheer power, we didn’t stand a chance. The sonic fences could never hold back Hamidon now. The Resistance and those of us in the IDF that were loyal to the people, not the liar on the throne, we’d fight together against that, no one doubted that. But it would overrun us, and there was nowhere left on Earth to fall back to. We, and the people of Praetoria, would all die in a pointless last stand.

And then the Primals stepped forward, hand offered in true friendship. At first, we couldn’t quite believe it. Praetoria had attacked them, sent war machines rampaging through their streets. Tyrant had ordered every Primal hero be killed, Anti-matter and Neuron had continued their feud there, Diabolique had apparently tried to release a Death God from its prison, and Duray... Well, they’d been given every reason to distrust us. But the offer was real. Their compassion was genuine. After everything we’d done, they still stepped forward to help us, to offer us a new home.

Imperial City was almost completely evacuated by the time the Incarnates entered Nova Praetoria. The only people left to witness the final battle were the fanatics, on both sides. What was left of the Crusaders, the last elements of the IDF that still believed in Cole, and the Talons. It was for the best. It lets us remember Praetoria as what it was meant to be, not the radioactive jungle it became after Tyrant nuked it to try and destroy the Incarnates, and the Hamidon overwhelmed the sonic fences and marched in.

With Tyrant dragged to Primal Earth in chains, we were left with trying to find and rescue everyone that was left. It was usually an easy job, in one way or another. Some places Hamidon hadn’t attacked yet, having seen them as no immediate threat and saving them for later. Those, we quickly evacuated before the monsters noticed us. But all too often, we found nothing but dead bases, towns and cities, the Hamidon having already wiped them out.

One of the few exceptions to the trend was First Ward. Hamidon hadn’t attacked in force yet, but the city was still a warzone. Multiple factions trying to survive in the ruins, many of which had every reason to distrust anyone that once served Tyrant. He’d exiled them there after deeming them unsuitable for his grand vision of humanity, and sent D.U.S.T to train in urban combat by hunting them down like animals. Even now, there were still elements of D.U.S.T there, abandoned when Tyrant was forces back to Nova Praetoria, but still using violence and murder to try and dominate the region. There were survivors of Mayhem’s Seer program, mutated and seeking vengeance. The Apparitions, fragments of the souls Mayhem had fed on like the vampires of myth, wandering the streets and taking their anger out on everyone they saw. Murders, bandits and slavers, the ‘people’ that thrive in any place where law and order have fallen. And of course, the Talons of Vengeance. This had been where they first appeared in Praetoria, and even with Tyrant captured, they wanted all of us to pay for his ‘betrayal’.

With all the factions, grudges and fear in First Ward, there was no way to simply set up a dimensional portal and start evacuating. We had to convince them we could be trusted, that First Ward was indeed lost, and that the only chance any of them had was on Primal Earth. In the end, they never really trusted the IDF, even after we took down D.U.S.T. It was the Primals, and the handful of Powers Division members that had abandoned Tyrant and come to First Wards aid in the early days of the war, that convinced the majority of the city.

It took weeks of negotiations and talks before the evacuation was truly underway, ferrying people through portals to Primal Earth. And even then, there were those that refused to come. People who refused to trust us, people that liked their place in the world, or simply did not believe the reports that the Hamidon was coming. And there were those like the Talons, that simply wanted us all dead.

And just beyond the old, damaged, overworked sonic fences, the Hamidon was gathering.

- Captain John Coates, Imperial Defense Force (retired)


“Please, continue moving in an orderly fashion!” the Vanguard officer announced, megaphone carrying the voice across the line of refugees as they made their way into the old D.U.S.T Ranger facility in First Ward. Several thousand people were moving into the base and into the old CTA building where Vanguard had established the dimensional portal, all under the watchful eyes of an impressive, and varied, collection of defenders. The remains of the Resistance Wardens and Carnival of Light, the survivors of the various elements of the Imperial Defense Force that that followed Provost Marchand into rebellion against the Emperor, Longbow, Vanguard and several dozen heroes. The last group were constantly in motion, delivering civilians from all the possible safehouses and hiding spots they’d developed over the years.

“The Palatine’s getting surrenders,” Grant Creston said, the IDF veteran stepping away from one of the high powered radios Vanguard had brought to coordinate the evacuation effort. “Singles and strays apparently. Mostly Dregs, but a few Shepherds as well. Apparently, they’ve started to work out that we weren’t lying about evacuating the city.” His lips curved in a bitter smile. “I guess some of the scum and fanatics aren’t as confident as their leaders about their chances with us gone.”

Snorting, Street Sabre leaned back against an emptied supply supply crate, folding her arms across her chest. “Would anyone think less of me for wishing they’d taken a few more days to catch on?” she asked.

“Hell, I think I’d agree with you,” Grant admitted. “But we can’t just shoot them, no matter how tempting, and chasing them back into the city and leaving them to the Hamidon... That I don’t think we can do either, slaver scum or not.”

Looking up from a map of the city, Temporal Fault considered that for a moment. “Take their weapons, keep them under guard?” he guessed.

“Work out what to do with the slavers later,” Street finished. “Better than nothing I guess.” She glanced across the road as Emet appeared just inside the compound walls in a flash of light, several shell-shocked civilians holding onto the golems arm. “Four more... where was Emet again?”

Turning his attention back to the map, Fault took a moment to check, then looked back up. “The Westerman Building, looks like. Starting at the top and working down, along with Looney Toons and Typhoon Sabre.” He frowned slightly as medics ran over to check on the civilians. “This is his first run back... Thought a semi-isolated location would have had more people hiding out there.”

“It used to,” Grant said quietly. “Then D.U.S.T, Apparitions and the Talons all decided it’d make a good hunting ground.” Scowling, he took off his glasses and looked out at the lake in the center of the ruined city. “The Apparitions, the Talons, them I can almost understand. But D.U.S.T... They were supposed to be among the best of us. The men that’d stand against the Devouring Earth. And they did this. Hell, they never even went after the Seeds when they broke through the fence. That was left to you Primals and Powers.”

Considering the man for several moments, Street Sabre smiled sadly, before stepping up next to him. “The more I hear about your world, the more I understand why you left the IDF. And why you came here,” she said quietly.

“Easiest decision I ever made, really,” he admitted. “I still remember what our purpose was. Even if the men I left behind considered me a traitor, and those I worked with here never really trusted me, I know I made the right call.” He paused, eyes narrowing. “Near the shore. Do you see that?”

Zooming her helmet cameras in, Street frowned at the sight of humanoid shapes, made up of mist and light, floated across the lake towards the D.U.S.T compound. “Apparitions. Five of them.” Adjusting the settings on her hardsuits weapons array, she glanced over at Grant again. “Seeking bodies or just looking for someone to fight?”

“Does it matter?” Temporal Fault pointed out, stepping up next to the others and stretching slightly. “Either way, we’re going to have to take them down.”

“Agreed. You hit ‘em from below, I’ll take the left,” the Sabre said, firing her jumpjets and charging in.