Chapter 1:

A New Mission For The Commander

Chaos Hiro

A lean, sinewy man in his early 50s sleeps on a cot. Unlike most sleeping men, he wears his simple black military uniform as if it were a second skin. He possesses a rugged attractiveness, with strong jaw and angular nose prominent on his battle-scarred face. His close-cropped hair and 2-day beard are a shockingly vibrant red. His fiery eyes burn an even brighter red than his hair. This combination of distinctive hair and eye color mark him as a member of the Militant Faith Alliance.  

Within his dreamscape, he is shirtless, the scars on his torso a reflection of those on his face. The image of a crucifix – perpendicular dual bladed swords – is emblazoned in red on the right side of his chest. This man, simply known as the Commander to his comrades, is completely composed despite being encircled by a band of battle crazed, armed warriors.  

His adversaries come at him, and although he is unarmed, he beats them back in a fluid dance, disarming and even using their own weapons against them. He has perfect battle awareness, with no blind spots. As he defeats his last opponent, a wizened, diminutive old man smoking a straw pipe, who looks like a martial arts master wearing a white karate uniform appears before him.  

Martial arts master: "Ahhh, the vitality of youth."  

Commander, looks up, blinking: "Where am I? And who are you? And I'm not that young." 

Martial arts master, cackling: "Compared to eternity, you haven't even been born yet." 

Commander, maintaining a stoic countenance: "I'll ask one last time, who are you?"  

Martial arts master just stares patiently back. 

Commander: "Very well then." 

The commander launches into a lightning fast, furious attack, in which the speed of his movements blurs the light around him. Impossibly, the martial arts master easily dodges all his attacks, ending the exchange by hitting the Commander with a staggering, one pinky blow to his mid-section, propelling him outward. Commander shouts out "Harden!" and is enveloped in a red aura as he strikes the opposite stone wall, leaving an imprint of crushed rock. This sets off another round of cackling from the martial arts master. The Commander extricates himself from the wall, dusts himself off, then squints looking more closely at the old man. 

Commander: "No one alive can defeat me so easily in hand-to-hand combat. You knew my every move even before I did. Are you ... (shakes his head) No, that's just a myth." 

Martial arts master: "You are the legendary Commander. God has favored you with his blessing, making you super-human, and even able to resist attacks from other Alliances. You have nothing but disdain for governments, politicians, bureaucracy, and the lazy, weak, incompetents they are comprised of. And yet, I defeated you so easily. A myth you call me – let me show you then." 

Darkness spins around them, becoming a point of light. As the beginning of time accelerates, galaxies blink into existence, creating the present universe. 

Martial arts master: "One of the Alliances is on a dangerous path."  

Star lights rapidly fade as the universe goes dark.  

Martial arts master: "This is where that path will lead." 

Commander: "Why don't you stop them then?" 

Martial arts master, scoldingly: "What do you think I do all day, sit around watching you humans for entertainment? It's not like I'm not busy you know. Besides, how would it look if the Alliance incarnations strutted about like ordinary citizens taking a hands-on approach for every little problem that arises? Let me ask you something, do you think your God should walk around solving your problems for you?"  

Commander: "Of course not", followed under his breath by "you sure are a crotchety, cantankerous old fellow aren't you?" 

Martial arts master: "Huh, what's that? Shows what you know, you smart aleck upstart you. Now listen here, my taking direct action would be ... problematic. That's why you're here, well not you, but you must prepare." 

Commander: "I'm not perfect, I've made many mistakes in my life. Why me?" 

Martial arts master, agitated: "That is why you. You've already been down the wrong path, so you won't be so easily seduced again. And also" (pausing, touching his small grey beard) "it was one of your mistakes that contributed to the current situation. Your squadron created an imbalance by annihilating the Chaos Alliance. The Order Alliance no longer has a counterbalance." 

Commander, remorseful: "I thought we were doing the right thing at the time. Still, how is it that I will succeed?" 

Martial arts master, irritated: "I didn't say you will succeed, but you must try, and your team must succeed." 

Martial arts master and dreamscape fade away, and the Commander, still lying on his cot, opens his eyes.