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Senki Zesshou Unlimited: A song of distant Earth

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How does it feel to fail?

Rich, I know. Here I am, broken beyond repair. And here you are , ready to deliver the killing blow. But even though you’ve won this battle, the war is lost and we both know it.

I see through you. You have faced many battles, fought many foes. There’s even another me that you put into the dirt in your timeline. I pity him, for even if we are both to suffer the same fate, at least I have the consolation prize of the despair I now see in your eyes. He never had the satisfaction I do now, of seeing you finally break.

You who have stumbled sometimes but never failed when push comes to shove. You never lost something forever, or had to rethink your approach entirely. You got things across to people using a mixture of force and words, when one didn't fully work a combination would.

It worked in your world. That's the spirit that destroyed me.

But then you came here.

All your strengths are for nothing in this world. Your fists cannot kill political considerations. You cannot hope to defeat the pride and convictions of mighty nations. You cannot fight national policy. And you could not save the project you were drafted into, that offered you that last sliver of hope. Oh yes, I know about Alternative IV. Such a shame that it was cancelled. Could you have saved it? That's a question that will haunt you forever more.

You came here alone, and you stand before me alone. Those you once called friends are strangers to you, the bonds never to be reconnected. There’s just too much distance in this world between you and them, too much circumstance that prevents you from ever rekindling your feelings. And for three of them, that date will never come now, will it?

So go ahead, Tachibana Hibiki. Kill me now. But you know as well as I do that the end is coming. The nightmare has only just begun. Babylon is about to descend.

-!-

 

The 18th of February, 2049. Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S. One day to G-Day.

Mass Effect 3 Soundtrack - Leaving Earth

“...so that’s it?”

The operator looked up from his screen. “Yes sir. That was the last transmission of the Usmu before the fleet activated their gravity sails.”

Admiral Zack Taylor looked up to glance over the monitors ringing the workstation. Scrolling data confirmed that Mankind's contingency plan, the Interstellar Migrant Fleet, was well underway. The Admiral’s hair was grey threaded with white, and so many lines and wrinkles crossed his face that it more resembled a topographic map. He was an old man, in body and in spirit. Worn down but not broken by the tempering power of time.

“I wish I could share their confidence in our success,” he murmured as his eyes returned to the brief message displayed on his tablet computer. “Everything is being staked on this operation. It is truly our last throw of the dice. And those dice haven’t been in our favour for a long, long time.”

The operator was still looking up at his commander apprehensively. “Do you think this will work sir? Or is this it? The end?” That quiver in his voice spoke to a fear that was felt more and more often now. That hope was gone at last.

“What’s your name son?” Taylor asked him.

“Sir! Operator First Class David Lightman, sir!”

Taylor stared down at the dark haired young man with a sad and weary grimace on his face. “Operator Lightman. Do you know how long we’ve been fighting the BETA?”

“Sir! 75 years sir!”

Taylor shook his head. “Think of that. The British fought the French for a hundred years in the Middle Ages, and we’re now over three quarters of the way there. And in those seventy-five years it’s been one slow and painful loss after another. Every weapon we’ve tried, from the Tactical Surface Fighter to those newfangled Relic weapons, Sympho-somethings, whatever the hell Alternative IV was trying to peddle before they pulled the plug on that colossal waste of time and money,” Taylor gave a weary sigh at the memory of all those years and billions wasted on Sakurai and Kouzuki's foolish schemes, “all have failed to stop the tide. We lost Asia. We lost Europe. We lost India. We lost most of Africa. We’ve slowed the BETA enough to where we have this final shot, but that’s it. After this, we’ve either won against all odds, or we’ve lost. One way or another this war ends tomorrow.”

The War against the BETA. An Alien scourge that ever since their arrival on Earth in 1973 have broken every defence raised against them. Nothing, not the weapons of man, the ethereal scourge of the Noise, or even the Relics of the Custodians who had likely fallen to the BETA in ages past, has stopped what seemed an inevitable defeat. Only one faint ray of hope remains now. A superweapon derived from the technology of the invaders themselves rather than the Custodians who failed to defeat them, a weapon unmatched in its powers of destruction.

Operator Lightman looked away awkwardly at the Admiral’s blunt admission. “Do you wish to send a response to the Migrant fleet sir?”

Taylor gave another look at the monitors, and the images from several hours ago when the Migrant Arks first activated their drives. At the last goodbye to 250,000 human souls, the lucky survivors sent off into the depths of space to preserve some small fragments of humanity from the storm to come.

This was the only Alternative left.

“...No point. The time for words is past. Now is the time for deeds. To show them that the sacrifice we’re preparing to make is worth it. To defeat the BETA once and for all, and reclaim the lands we have lost.”

Taylor pointed to a map of the world, and the continents stained blood-red with the presence of the BETA. “Asia, Europe, India, Africa, Antarctica. All of them lost, and all of them ready to be reclaimed. We have freed the power of the Relics from the shackles imposed by Alternative IV, and now Alternative V will use that power to wipe the BETA clean from the planet once and for all!”

He hoped his words had helped soothe Operator Lightman’s doubts. He wished they could salve his own. He did not like these new weapons, but here he was in charge of their use. And his duty matters more than any personal feelings.

Taylor turned back to the Operator. “Lightman, send an encrypted message, code Amber, to these locations,” He began to count them off on one hand. “The UN Security Council. The White House. The New Berlaymont building in Canada. The National Diet Building in the Empire of Japan. The Presidential Office Building in Taiwan. Government House in Australia.” He lifted a finger on the other hand and suppressed a chuckle.

Lightman began to bring up the recipients. “What message do I send sir?”

“Tell them this: Usmu has claimed the Key of Babylon.”

“Understood. Sending message.”

“Ladies and gentlemen!” Taylor raised his voice, so everyone in the room could hear him. The words that would go down in history one way or the other. “The time has come. We are commencing Operation Babylon!”