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All Part of the Plan 2

"So the question, once I had all the information on who I used to be...was how to make my family disappear." Tyrus said as she shifted in her bed and adjusted the light settings in the room. "The answer didn't come to me until Agent Braun stuck his nose into my personal affairs. He revealed, intentionally or otherwise, the whereabouts of my family to public entities. So I did the only thing that made any sense." She got out of bed and walked over to the refrigerator, retrieving a gallon of Milk and then grabbed a glass from the cabinet.

"I had them killed." She casually poured the glass and smiled a bit. "Well, you know, as far as everyone knows. Finding murder victims that fit the description required serious work but we managed. They were left in the morgue with no one claiming the bodies...so we took them, surgically reconstructed them to look like my family and staged the whole affair."

She smiled and took a drink from her glass. "Too bad the apartment burned down before anyone could look too closely. Even after that point I wasn't sure where to put my real family to keep them safe...and that's when Raeyn gave me the answer. She gifted me a Temporal Vault. You know what you can do with a Temporal Vault? Install a life support system."

"And Curve's escape?" He asked.

"That...I enjoyed doing a lot less." Tyrus said with a sigh, her smile at saving her family and keeping them safe fading instantly. "We need her for the Time Siphon invasion. We need her help in planning out a defense against specific individuals among the enemy. I wanted to keep Curve locked in a cell, or you know, dead...but Sahi wanted him free. She needed his help for something she had planned in Gothic that was going to kill a lot of people...but..." She shook her head. "I had to weigh the deaths of thousands over the deaths of millions."

"Sometimes there are sideways exits." He said.

"I know, because I took one." She took another drink. "I arranged for the information of Curve's location to fall into Sahi's hands and I also arranged for tracking devices to...find their way onto Sahi's people. After the invasion the tracking devices will send a broadcast signal to every major government and meta police force on the planet. The House of Vipers will become common knowledge, Sahi's location will go viral in seconds. She'll pay for what she's done."

Tyrus pulled open a holographic control interface. "Every day I look at this list." She said, starting its scrolling. "These are the names of every individual that died as a result of Sahi's actions when the US retook Gothic City. I figure eventually if I visit enough graves, I'll come to terms with my decision." Maybe.


All Part of the Plan

No Caption Provided

"Tyrus, I received your message."

The words came unbidden in the night. Tyrus awoke with a start and shifted into a seated position in her bed. Her eyes adjusted to the low light almost instantly and fell upon the figure of her boss, the man who had given her this position from the beginning.

"You know...most women don't like it when strange men appear in their bedroom in the middle of the night." Tyrus complained and sat up further.

"Most women wouldn't perceive my existence either." The entity in the room said and she got the impression of a smile, even though he didn't have a mouth. "You are certain this is the step you wish to take? When I assigned you as Director I did not anticipate an ever rotating roster of Directors."

"Well, under each new Director STRIKE should be re-organized, re-imagined." Tyrus said.

"Does that mean the next Director should be from a minority?" He asked. It took Tyrus a moment to realize he was joking and also casting satire upon the countless superhero films that had 're-imagined' their characters as of late.

"I don't know if your fans will like that." Tyrus siad with a smirk. "It should probably be a woman, the last two were women. You can't re-imagine in the other direction you know."

"Watch me." He replied. "I already have someone in mind and they're not a woman. I need information from you...the first step in your debriefing. I know you won't step down until the invasion ends but this process is long, it must begin now."

Tyrus glanced at her alarm clock. "At three in the morning?" Tyrus asked. "Can I ask you something boss man? You say most people can't perceive your existence...so tell me this then...why can I? Is it another 'gift' from The Organization?"

He shook his head. "No. I allow those whom I wish to interact with to perceive me, the rest do not. After I found you, when you escaped from The Organization, I tracked you for some time. You were barely aware, you had no resources, no idea where you were or who you were and yet...you were able to thrive. There was an entire tribe under your control and you didn't know your own name." He paused and was silent for a moment, perhaps considering his next words or simply allowing her to process a part of her life he knew full well she didn't remember. "When you had the opportunity to turn them into a tribe completely loyal to you, to have them call you a god, you refused to take it. When the tribe was in danger you risked your own life rather than allow one of them to suffer. I knew then that you were worth interacting with."

Tyrus watched him. "I don't remember any of that."

"Your mind was confused, it hadn't repaired itself fully yet." He explained. "Now." He added. "Tell me about Sahi's escape and the death of your family."

Tyrus sighed and pulled a glass of water from the night stand. She took a drink from it and put it back down. "Alright." She smiled a little. "I'll tell you about...how it all went according to plan."


The International Meta-Human Court

No Caption Provided

Taking it's founding idea from The Force, the International Meta-Human Court has been created by members of the UN to deal with meta-human crimes and organizations that either exceed the powers of national governments to deal with or are outside the jurisdiction of other organizations such as STRIKE. The IMHC is supported by Interpol and the International Criminal Court as well as key members of the United Nations. This new organization is behold to international public opinion and is divided into 196 Districts, one for each of the active countries in the world.

Each District is represented by a High Judge that presides over all cases brought before them from their district. They have the power to assign "Street Judges' to investigate crimes, execute judgments and otherwise do the footwork involved. These street judges are appointed by the High Judges and are given wide powers to deal with the criminals in question. Judgement by both the High Judges and the Street Judges are often harsh and swift.

Each High Judge is elected by local elections in their District, arranged and setup by the national government in question and policed by UN inspectors who ensure the validity of the voting process. A High Judge serves one four year term before going up for election again and can serve no more than three such terms before they are no longer eligible for election. It is important to note that these elections are arranged by national governments but the appointment of the High Judge is NOT done by the national government, but rather by the full vote of its population. Thus the people in charge of electing these Judges are the same people most effected by them.

National governments ARE capable of restricting Judge access to their territory and the court is required to present national governments with information pertaining to the case before initiating their investigation within national borders. This is done to prevent accusations that the court ignores national sovereignty and though it can restrict access they cannot prevent the arrest or investigation of an individual or organization wanted by the court once they step outside of the national boundaries.

In an effort to secure further international cooperation the IMHC does not have a centralized building but instead requests buildings within the various 196 Districts with the promise of extensive cooperation should their aide be necessary. The Court is taking every possible precaution and step to ensure cooperation with major governments, it wishes to avoid the perception STRIKE suffered that it operates as a rogue organization and wants to work with governments, rather than create fear that they will supplant governments or arrest elected officials without the cooperation of the government involved.

As a part of this, the IMHC has sent all available information to the leader of every national government along with a request for aide and cooperation.


Street Judges and their equipment:

The Law:

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The Law can be fired in single shot, semi-automatic, burst fire or rapid fire modes. It fires a brand new form of Semi-Sentient Ammunition. Each round is equipped with a tiny computer and sensory device that scans its target on approach and adapts its material and makeup for the intended target. Thus, a standard bullet would adjust to meta-human penetrating rounds, electrical rounds, etc...whatever is determined necessary by the sensor at the tip of the bullet. The bullets are configured by fast moving nano-machines but generally only have time to adjust once before impact.


Armor is left up to the individual Street Judge but they are asked to keep a uniform style.

No Caption Provided

Personal Equipment-

Like armor, Judges may use any variation of equipment they choose, so long as they carry at least one of the standard issued side arms. This allows Street Judges to operate with equipment that is particularly useful in their Jurisdiction depending upon the sort of meta humans they often encounter. If a Street Judge requires new equipment they submit a request for resources to the Court and the Court then provides the necessary funds to procure said equipment.

(probably adding more later)


CVnU Blog: Crafting the Future

Tyrus was in her office once more, the command center was abuzz with people preparing for the invasion and monitoring the attack on the UN. Tyrus though, her mind was not on either of those things, but on the future...specifically her future. She opened a drawer in her desk and removed a small box from which she removed a flash drive. She plugged the drive into her computer and watched information scroll by as she reviewed it for only the second time since receiving it months ago. It's an interesting proposal. She admitted.

Create an entirely new organization, one beholden to a single court with the individuals in power voted in by international civilians, not international governments. One judge elected for each nation for a total of one hundred and ninety six judges. Each judge investigates and deals with international meta human crimes and seek out major criminal organizations to tear them down. Use the court to take out individuals and organizations that either exceed the power of the local national government or aide the national government in taking them down.

She ran her fingers through her hair and finally digitally signed the document and sent it to the location that had been requested. Other documents were being sent out world wide...documents asking for support of various kinds and for people to be suggested as initial judges.

I can use this to hunt down The Organization. No one is willing to help track these people down and STRIKE is too busy with major problems to do it ourselves. Tyrus removed a page from a drawer in her desk and signed her name to it. She folded it neatly and slid it into a black envelope, which she promptly sealed with a laser pen. It'll have to wait until the invasion is dealt with.

Two days later and Tyrus stood at the bow of her carrier, looking out at the vastness of the sky. She was alone, even Raeyn had been ordered inside. She stood quietly with her hands clasped behind her back, a badge in her hand that she was flipping around in her fingers quietly. The badge didn't apply yet but the process had been expedited significantly by people who knew the name. I still have a few friends. She thought.

She slipped the badge into her back pocket. The final piece of the puzzle will be falling into place soon. Once everything is in place it will be announced to the world that this organization is being created, with support from Interpol and the International Criminal Court. Good luck calling that a rogue organization.


(Nothing fancy, just wanted this to be out there for a later storyline.)


We Need to Talk

Somewhere no one can find, in a place called yesterday and a world called tomorrow...

"Here it is." Raeyn said quietly. Tyrus looked to her and then looked ahead to the simple looking wooden door. The door had a single seal engraved upon it, a giant stamp that occupied a majority of the center of the door and made absolutely no sense to the Director of STRIKE. "It's...just a wooden door." She commented, glancing back to Raeyn.

"And my clothes are made of cloth." Raeyn replied sarcastically. "You're looking at the most secure door on planet Earth...well...the second most secure door on planet Earth. This is my gift to you, personally, and to STRIKE, at large. Here you can put the things that don't belong on Earth, the prisoners that should never see the light of day again. The best part is, I'm giving you the key."

Raeyn stepped forward and put her hand on Tyrus's arm. Tyrus flinched as she felt searing hot pain burn through her arm and spread through her body like fire...but it was gone a half moment later. "Congratulations Director Tyrus, you are now capable of manipulating a temporal lock. Very limited time manipulation with no value what so ever except for opening this door. Just look at it and think about it opening."

Raeyn nodded and looked to the door.

No Caption Provided

The seal remained as it was for a few moments but then with a click its tens of billions of tiny intricate temporal spaces began to align. Each Temporal Lock had only one combination and activating the combination required a Time Siphon's ability to manipulate time. Ordinarily it also required their ability to see Temporal Lines and calculate the movement of time and space but she had gifted Tyrus the ability to think this one specific door open. The lock obeyed her thoughts, it aligned its locking mechanisms. Inside of the lock a billion billion infinitely tiny worlds moved and shifted around in a universe no larger than the seal on a door. Planets and stars moved, entire pocket civilizations saw their sky lines change...and the door opened with a simple click.

Tyrus stepped inside, her eyes widening as she saw all that lie beyond the door. The vault was huge, it stretched for perhaps a mile, maybe more. There were buildings inside of it, storage facilities and prison cells. There was something else too...Tyrus turned her head, looking to Raeyn who smiled slowly. "I lied, this is my other gift to you. It was your plan of course, I just came up with a better place for it. I hope you don't mind."

"No...no it's...it's beyond perfect. No one will ever know here." Tyrus answered.



Across the world public access televisions and computer screens suddenly changed to show Tyrus, standing in front of the STRIKE symbol.

No Caption Provided

"Hello world." Tyrus said, no smile graced her face and she looked positively exhausted, as if she'd been awake for weeks. She reached up and tucked some hair behind her left ear. "Do you remember when I told you last we spoke that I knew of an impending threat and would, contrary to the beliefs of the people who betrayed us, reveal it to you in time and share my information with the world? Well...sit down. We need to talk."

Tyrus's eyes never moved from the dead center of the camera and they hid every emotion that likely boiled beneath the surface. Analysts of such things would see the eyes of something inhuman, something bordering on genius and...animal. "I have long been moving in the shadows, certain members of certain governments know what I am about to tell you. They also know that some people are likely to panic, but most of you will not...we've been through things together haven't we? Attacks by aliens and monsters, some of them born on our own world. Besides, you don't have time to panic. You know that clock that is supposed to count down to the end of the world? Well I just moved it, we're at one second to midnight...but that's ok."

She walked and the camera followed her until the command center of the STRIKE carrier was visible in the background. "Because my friends, we have a plan, a plan that I have been working on with the help of others for the better part of a year. Some of you may have wondered more than once in the past months...where is STRIKE? We've been here, we've just been conserving our resources. Those who have helped me know their names, but to put you at ease, allow me to introduce the names I can get away with introducing. You've heard of Maverick, the Department of Defense in the United States...these are but two examples. The others are names I can't release because it would cause harm to their reputations, or mine or it might reveal secret information, so I leave the rest in silence."

She paused a moment and brought up a holographic image of the world. "Looks impressive doesn't it? Well, it's very fragile and it's about to come under assault. There is a race of alien beings called Time Siphons...they basically do what it sounds like. They've been on their way here for some time...I anticipate the fleet will arrive in a matter of days. So listen to me very carefully, because it's time the world starts to listen to me for a change." She made a point to stare directly into the camera. "Follow the orders of your governments, if someone shows up at your door and says to move, go with them, leave your belongings and go. If you find an area suddenly blocked off, go around it, if military forces arrive in your city do not be alarmed and follow their instructions. In the past this world has been attacked without warning. STRIKE has resolved this. We know this is coming and we've had ample time to prepare. This won't be an event that sees millions slain...this event has a plan, this attack has a defense and it's not going to be throwing heroes at wall and seeing what happens."

Tyrus paused again, then resumed. "In the news you hear about mutant and human relations, you hear about nGods and pseudo government forces, you hear about the US liberating Iceland. You're told that Ivana is a terrorist, that her state is a terrorist state...yet the United States is closer to Venezuela than it has been in years. This is what we most accomplish, we must put aside our differences..." She held up one hand, palm up. "Mutants on one hand..." She held up the other. "Humans on the other...and nGods on a third. In the past, we have been attacked and we have fought these attacks as individual groups. Mutants with other mutants, humans with other humans..when this war comes...that becomes a thing of the past. We fight as one...put aside our differences, we must help our neighbors, we must realize that all of us have families..." She trailed off for a moment, a flicker of emotion appearing and then vanishing almost instantly. "We can go back to our petty arguments when it's over...but for one glorious moment we must all stand together or die apart."

Tyrus shifted. "That means everyone. Mutants, Humans, nGods...STRIKE and the CIA...we don't have to be friends for life, but for awhile we must learn to work together to oppose a common foe who will not stop or think a second time about killing us and will not care about what we call ourselves. To this end, I am announcing the existence of a covert coalition that has worked together to defeat this threat. In this coalition are mutants and humans and yes, even New Gods. We put aside our differences to protect our world. I hope the rest of you will do the same, at least for a time. As a show of good faith...and to act as an example, I invite the newly promoted Director of the CIA to STRIKE headquarters for a discussion on the impending threat."

Tyrus looked off screen for a moment and nodded to someone, then returned her attention to the camera. "Remember, you are protected." The screens all went back to whatever they'd been displaying.


It Begins: Stories of the Days Before Invasion

It began in New York. Tyrus had spoken at length with the Secretary of Defense and her plan had been agreed to, a plan that required certain cities become ghost towns for a time. It would hurt the US economy, hell it would hurt the global economy, but it was necessary. There was no announcement, no big televised speech...it simply happened. Trucks drove up, big black scary trucks that pulled up all over New York City. Agents of the US Government, aided by STRIKE agents, exited the trucks and began a well organized, well planned evacuation of one of the most important cities on Earth.

Government agents went from building to building, house to house, it was a process that would take days but that was the point. No lines of cars driving out of the city, no panic inducing headlines or speeches, just people leaving in droves, quietly, on foot. Possessions were left behind as the Day of Long Lines began. Doors were locked and barred by government officials and police officers stayed behind to both ensure order and make sure no one snuck back to go thieving. Tyrus watched it from her Helecarrier. The new agencies were the first to be evacuated, it made reporting on what was going on virtually impossible as a blanket of total internet shutdown descended upon New York. Messages could come in, but nothing could go out.

Tyrus picked up a phone, pushed a button and brought it up to her ear. The phone broadcast to certain individuals all at once. @the_shogun @quietus @hound_of_war @maverick_6 "Operation Silent Apple has begun. Please initiate Phase One." She put the phone back on its cradle. Phase One referred to initiating similar evacuation protocols in other major cities across the world, from Berlin to Moscow and beyond, carefully chosen sights. The plan? When the Time Siphon invasion began these cities would be populated only by a massive military presence that would draw the Time Siphon armies there and allow the major battles of the coming war to take place in empty cities were civilian casualties would be kept to a bare minimum. Was it necessary? No...but Tyrus had just a little humanity left in her.

Each evacuation would drag on and on, hopefully completed just as the fleet arrived. The purpose of these silent evacuations was to reduce panic. The evacuated populations were taken to various safe zones in each country where STRIKE and other emergency agencies would provide emergence food, shelter and medical supplies. It was up to each government which of their major cities would be evacuated in this manner and to where their populations would go. If some governments chose not to participate, then the war would go on and unfortunately it would get people killed, but there was nothing Tyrus could do about it. She was not about to force her plan on anyone, not this phase of it anyway. People already mistrusted her personally and STRIKE as an organization, to force or try to force such policies on anyone would only make it worse.

Across the sea a war with Iceland was started, to it Tyrus dedicated nothing. Every ounce of STRIKE forces must be held in reserve for what was to come, every agent was critical, every hero even more important. Tyrus sighed and shook her head. Gothic City...that would be a problem, it was one of the chosen battlefield locations. Unfortunately it was likely to be virtually impossible to evacuate.



Ok, so this a blog but I really would like it to develop a bit as an RP if at all possible OR just as a place where people post how these events affect their characters personally. If your character leads a nation, it's your choice if you participate in Phase One (the evacuation of a chosen city), I already have the IC agreement of the US Secretary of Defense, but I haven't had the time to go speak to everyone else individually. I'll be sending characters or NPCs to characters who live in each city to speak to them personally about evacuating.


The Little Lies We Tell

Three Weeks after Lichter's visit to Tyrus' family...a little apartment in New York City.

Tyrus paused as she approached the front door of the apartment, her battlemapping already adjusting for the broken windows and the shards of glass near the front door. She placed her hand on the door knob, noting the splintered door frame. Tyrus pushed the door open, her ears picking up the sound of crunching glass under her boots and the snapping of cameras as a pair of STRIKE investigators moved carefully around the room. One of the Agents immediately came up to her, placing a hand on her shoulder and obstructing her view.

"Director, you should stay outside, we'll give you the briefing when we're done here. There's nothing for you to see here." He said.

"He's wrong." A male voice said from behind Tyrus. She didn't need to look behind her to know who it belonged to. STRIKE had...internal assets that most field agents and heroes were never made aware of. Tyrus had someone above her, she also had certain people on call twenty four hours a day, people that had a certain set of skills. These assets were called various names by the rumors that swirled through the STRIKE carrier. Cleaners, Scrubbers, Wraiths, Shadows...The truth was something of a combination of the four.

"You need to see it, you need to confront what happened." He finished.

"I called you." Tyrus said quietly.

"Yes I know, which is why it took this long." He replied, still standing behind her.

"It's his fault...someone followed him didn't they?" She asked.

"Not followed as much as...social media is a terrible thing for the untrained. Once they knew it was just a matter of time before it slipped out. It happened sooner than I expected."

Tyrus brushed past the Agent and walked to the center of the apartment. Her brother was sprayed across half the kitchen, his body all but blown in two with a butcher knife in his hand, a last ditch attempt to defend himself. Her mother was in the living room, shot six times in the chest and her father's head was mostly on the couch where he'd been watching TV.

No Caption Provided

For the first time since she could remember, all the alien emotions and instincts just...stopped. Replaced with the truth her mother had told her of last she saw her. Samantha Arkett still existed, she was just buried beneath carefully crafted layers of DNA modifications. She opened her mouth as if to speak, but couldn't. Instead she stood, her hands tightening into fists that grew tight enough that her leather gloves creaked and her knuckles turned white under them. A mix of unbridled rage and grief washed over her like a tsunami.

"WHO?!" She barked suddenly, her voice quivering.

"I have a few leads." The Wraith said, walking up beside the Director. "But it all goes back to The Organization. The Who of it is just a mercenary or three, nothing special, nothing to worry about. The people you want are the ones who did the hiring."

She turned her head, glaring holes through the Wraith. "When I called you...what did you do?"

"I established a security perimeter, I watched them like hawks, I scrubbed their social media accounts if they posted things. It was your brother's boyfriend who made the post. I scrubbed it, but these things have a way of lingering in the dark recesses of the internet. It takes time and the people you want found it in that time. It was a race against the clock after that...a race that I..." He glanced away. "They knew about me, instead of getting here, I had to defend myself against a sudden assault on the highway. Director, my apologies..."

Tyrus bit her lip until it drew blood and then simply walked away from him, she crossed the room to her mother and knelt down, taking her cold hand in both of her own, one hand on top, the other on bottom. "I'm sorry..." She whispered softly.

"Wraith." Tyrus said after a few moments, shifting her eyes past the body and to the operative. "Five rings." Tyrus said, her eyes alight with simmering rage.

He nodded, turned on his heel and left the scene.


Breaking Ties

No Caption Provided


Tyrus stormed out of the command center after her conversation with @lichter and made her way to the training room. She paused at her office to change into something more suitable for working out and then made her way to the training room. Once there she assaulted the first punching bag she saw, beating the bag with relentless determination born of unbridled rage. She had kept back considerably during their conversation and now unleashed her full wrath on an innocent bag. Her fists slammed into the reinforced material again and again and her eyes burned like fire.

She lost track of time somewhere in the process and anger became focused, her mind began to work again and took the razor sharp edge of fury and honed it down to a fine point and from that point a new stratagem began to develop. I won't be threatened again, I won't place my trust in the hands of governments and organizations again. How many times must I be betrayed? No, I won't stand for this anymore. They put my people in danger by threatening my plans, they put the world in danger by questioning my choices. Openness and cooperation were clearly a mistake, they took that opportunity to try and manipulate STRIKE and coral it into their government agenda...just like I was warned they would. I should have listened. I wanted an open and cooperative STRIKE to counter the fears of so many people...but those fears don't go away, they just get worse.

Her last strike sent the bag breaking from its chain and across the room where it slammed into the wall. He intentionally manipulated me, he played me. Who the hell does he think he is? Who the hell is he?

A few hours and a shower later and Tyrus was back in her usual clothing and back in her office. She paced quietly as her mind went into a thousand different directions. Agents began to receive assignments, information would be dug up on Lichter, on the CIA itself and on the United States Government. She had intentionally refrained from such actions before because she believed in trust and cooperation. One man had ruined that and it was going to have consequences. The ancient tyrant that lie inside of her wanted more than she was willing to do, but it also honed her instincts, sharpened her focus and told her how to avoid repeating her mistake.

"Very well." She said aloud, abruptly bringing her pacing to a halt. "Computer, begin recording the following message. At the conclusion of this recording release it on the internet and send it to every major world news organization." She turned to face the holographic recorder and began speaking. "Citizens of Earth, my name is Tyrus and I am the Director of STRIKE. I have endeavored since I was given this position to improve ties with world governments and to create a sense of openness and trust with the world community. Unfortunately trust is a two way street and despite my best efforts, others have seen fit to not return the favor. Since it has been made clear to me that neither I nor STRIKE is trusted to do our job, I can no longer continue my attempts to be open and fair. As a result of not one but two abject betrayals by the United States Government that specifically told me it wished to operate in a sense of trust and respect I am forced to end my program. After today, the STRIKE offices scattered across the world created specifically to deal with the media will close until further notice. Our ties with the United States Government will be broken and all operations will be returned to their former state of internal information only. I regret to inform you of these changes but if you wish to know what made them necessary, I suggest you ask your elected leaders."

Tyrus paused for a moment before she continued.

"When STRIKE was founded under the previous Director it was a private organization established to protect Earth from cataclysmic threats. As a result of its private nature and secretive operations many people rightly felt concern over an organization that acted on its own accord. When I took over the position I sought connections with the world, I sought to ease fears. Unfortunately governments have proven to be paranoid entities concerned more with their own agendas than the safety and security of the world as a whole. From this point forward STRIKE is once again returning to private status. That said, I will be making structural changes in the coming months that will have obvious effects. We will begin by opening embassies across the planet where governments can communicate with us, but we will not be beholden to any single government. Our second point of reorganization will be to establish a private network of support that will allow us to operate untouched by corporate or national interests. The third step in this plan is a simple one...to defend the Earth. Whatever happens between states is left to them, STRIKE will, from this point forward, operate only in the interests of global security against major threats."

She shook her head. "I regret that these steps have been made necessary but I can no longer expose this organization to repeated breaches of trust and the blatant attempts of governments to bend us to their will and desire to use STRIKE as a weapon against their foes. We are a weapon but we are a weapon against those who would threaten the safety of the entire planet, not specific factions within it. There is a threat coming and when I have all the appropriate information it will be released globally. I will also make an announcement to the general population. This information will not be released until we are fully prepared to deal with what is coming." Tyrus paused and shook her head. "I tried repeatedly to work with governments and organizations. I was told groups like The Equalizers would work along side STRIKE...only to have them used as a threat and potential weapon the moment the United States disagreed with one of our policies. To make matters worse, we were at no point given an opportunity to defend our policies, our support was pulled instantly and an operation with global security in mind was forcefully aborted to avoid a massive conflict. I have tried to be trusting, perhaps I was too trusting. Unfortunately cooperation and openness are a two say street and I am not willing to be the only one to walk down that path."

Tyrus ended the recording and it was immediately distributed as per her orders. Tyrus brought up a list of the influential and wealthy of the world and nodded to herself. Messages would soon be sent to them asking for them to join in the private funding of STRIKE. Of course she wasn't concerned about funding, there were sources she had never fully revealed because she had begun to distrust the very people she was trying to work with. It makes me wonder about all those attacks on our ship. Those coordinates had to come from somewhere. Still operating under water the STRIKE carrier made a slow course correction that took it away from the coastal United States and headed south and out into the deep ocean.


Alone with a Flash Drive

Tyrus leaned back in her chair, she'd just pulled the flash drive Lichter had given her out of the built in USB port on her desk and was playing with it in her fingers. Tyrus closed her eyes to try and fight the annoying migraine that was pestering her and had been ever since she'd read the file for the first time. I'm going to kill them...no...I'm going to destroy them and leave so much damage behind no one will ever think to do what they're doing again. You just...don't do this to someone.

She opened her eyes and looked down at the flash drive in her hand. What do I do with this? I have a family, I had friends...but they all think I'm dead. I had a name...a real name...not just a code name. Whoever rescued me from that project didn't have this information or they kept it from me...but I'm more inclined to think they didn't have it in the first place. I can't undo all of this, If I try to go to my family, if I try to recapture any part of my old life I'll leave myself exposed and vulnerable. It's probably why the information was wiped from my mind in the first place. You know what's worse though? I don't...feel anything for them. I don't miss them, I don't really have fond memories of them, I just regret the fact that I had a family and now I don't but it feels like that was some other person's life, some other woman's family.

It's the genetics they grafted onto me. Tyrant DNA, whatever it is, doesn't care about any of that. It leaves you somehow colder and more alone. I view every interaction I have as another form of pack mentality. Whenever I meet another person in charge of something I immediately feel a competitive drive. When they're male there's something extra added to that. Like I can't even find someone attractive anymore, I have to find them attractive because they're a competitive threat.

Tyrus looked down at the flash drive in her palm. I may not be able to connect with them anymore, but I can make sure they're doing ok. I'll send an Agent to check up on them, make sure everyone is doing ok. See if my younger brother has improved his grades, see if my parents are doing ok without their daughter. That matters, even if my genetically altered brain doesn't feel anything for it, I *know* it matters. Why can't I feel it anymore? Maybe that girl really did die back there in Syria. I have no memories of it, only what's on this file. I can't remember anything before I took over STRIKE. I know...I can feel that the memories are there but there's just nothing, it's like there's some sort of barrier. Do I want to remember everything? What's it like remembering dying?

The Director of Strike turned the flash drive that contained her previous life over again between her fingers. She sighed and leaned over, opening a safe built into her desk. She put the flash drive in it and closed the safe again. I'll bring this back out if I can ever remember anything. I'll send someone to monitor my family, they can keep an eye on them and inform me how their lives are going now. That would be...that would be what the girl in that file would want.


Decision Time

Tyrus launched a paper clip cup across the room where it slammed into the wall and crumpled to the floor. She was furious. Intel had been leaking in for days now that her own allies had begun to conspire with the enemy, a woman who had gone out of her way to kill millions of people because of their race. She snarled, grabbed hold of her laptop and was about to send it across the room as well when Xae entered without her armor on. Xae shook her head. "Don't."

"My own allies are conspiring against me!" Tyrus said bitterly.

"No, you're allies are concerned and they're preparing to work against you if they have to. You're staring to sound like a Tyrant...Tyrus." Xae told her. She crouched down and picked up the paper clip cup. "That's how it always goes for them...they start to plan so far ahead they don't even see the board anymore. You started out playing chess, then you skipped to Go...now you're not even at the table. All you can see is the outcome, the victory. You can smell it can't you?"

Tyrus furrowed her brow. "It's a good plan."

"I know." Xae said and crossed the room, placing the cup back on the desk and slipping its paper clips back inside as well. "It's a great plan, in fact I'd say its odds of success are in the ninety percent range. The best part is your teams that are preparing to go don't even know about each other so not even say...our loyal robot...can be tricked into giving away information on the whole operation."

"Then why did my boss just tell me to go talk to the President?" Tyrus asked.

"Because Tyrus, Humans have no stomach for war. They think they understand war, they have plenty of people who have written great books on the subject...they even think they've fought a few wars." Xae shook her head. "War is dirty and gritty and nasty. War requires death like breathing requires air...and when people start dying, Humans start to loose their nerve. When experienced Humans see war coming, they start losing their nerve before the first shots are fired."

"Am I completely alone now?" Tyrus asked.

"No." Xae said, looking at her for a moment. "You need to go talk to the President and you need to change plans. You captured Curve, did you even tell anyone that? Find someone else, someone without an army and go after them. Find something mutually loathed and hated...someone they won't make excuses for." Xae told her. She sighed. "And talk to Ivana. In person. Alone."

Tyrus looked at her side ways.

Xae smirked a bit. "She's a state leader, she's gone scurrying to all your allies because she's trying to avoid what she knows too is a great plan. She's also trying to make it impossible for you to pull the trigger...don't you see Tyrus? You've already made your point."

"I have?" Tyrus wondered.

"Yes." Xae said. "STRIKE twitched and the whole world responded. You've already put them on alert...the villains you want so badly to take down will take notice of this. You have people concerned because they know you're not just another STRIKE Director, they know you're something more determined...someone willing to make had decisions that maybe they should have made a long time ago. Now you have to make another one." Xae told her and left the room.

Tyrus hesitated a moment and then touched a button on her desk to activate her communications device. "Get me the President."

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