New Japan and the Secret Divide

Last week I laid out the origins of Australasia. As always, it was a more general outline, not going into too much detail – partly for length, partly as there is plenty I wish to unfold through the course of story telling. I’m hoping these blog posts help to explain things without each story being too slowed down or cramped up with exposition, yet I still want the stories themselves to do the main telling. When I get back to putting them out there again. Sigh.

With that said, here’s another post where I explain things. Namely, having given Australasia’s overview, now I’ll get into the Japanese people, their diaspora and the colony of New Japan.

So a good place to start would be an explanation of the magical hotspots. When the Shadow World came to ours and magic became part of reality, four places were soon known as hotspots because they were seeping magic like nowhere else. The people there, the land, the weather, all were affected. Magic was and remains a lot easier in these places and it comes in much greater supply. Again, no one knows why these are this way, why these four places, why nowhere else. Some speculate that they were the cornerstones of turning the Shadow World into ours; that Dylan Winter’s act was based in these places. Again, no one knows. But the places were Japan, Great Britain, Madagascar and the Caribbean Islands. All islands, all with magical histories if you believe their folklore, and all were soon utterly transformed. Magic attracts powerful monsters, it creates humans with tremendous abilities, and that led to unthinkable warfare. With outside factors coming into play as well, these four places all became difficult regions to live in. In the present day, only Great Britain remains a hospitable place.

To focus on Japan, the thriving magic produced brilliant spellcasters and spectacular events, and in response science was given free reign. It is said that here machines were made that matched the best from anywhere else. Nothing is said of mutants, only that impressive computers and droids were crafted into being to resist the onslaught by magical monsters. It is rumoured that the doom-rollers were made in Japan. The cyber-samurai must have come from there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Whatever fight occurred in Japan centuries ago, it was too much for the people. They left. The Japanese don’t say what exactly drove them out. Maybe it was more than one thing; maybe, as some claim, they did something that caused their exile and don’t wish for it to be known. Either way, the Japanese fought hard for their home and then chose to leave.

Mostly they went to the mainland of Asia, settling in new communities as the people there were afflicted by cyborgs, super-soldiers and monsters, among other things. A large number kept on moving southward to the islands. Of them, a good number had a chance to go to Australasia. They knew of the British and American contingents that had been allowed onto this island, and while they were living in better conditions than when in Japan, the prospects of Australasia appealed. They asked to come over and join, offering trained fighters who could use both magic and science, and more resources than many could hope to expect. The Japanese may well have fled their home, yet they had done so not in panic but in resolute order, bringing with them what they would need to survive, leaving behind what was too risky for them to rely on.

So the Japanese had to earn their way onto the island. They were placed along the north coast, told that it was their duty to be the first line of defence for the rest of the population. There were military outposts already and more being built – the newly forming nation was more than aware of what threats could come that way – but once the Japanese were in place, the onus lay on them. Their magic was to be a barrier. Their technology was to be the guardian of the new homeland. They would be allowed to keep their language, their customs, to have a territory marked out and live their lives as they wished – as long as this didn’t interfere with the customs and lives of the other groups – in exchange for being part of the community, contributing, aiding and defending the whole. New Japan was formed with gratitude and purpose.

Because of how things began for the Japanese, their outlook is pretty different from the British, Australians and Americans. The other three are different nationalities, true, and aren’t without culture clashes, yet these are minor. They are far more alike than not. New Japan doesn’t share that sense of unity. They look different, speak their own language as well as fluent English, and even their settlements have differences – many features of traditional Japanese culture are evident, alongside more sleek, sophisticated buildings. Tokyo Two was entirely of their own making and it shows. That brings me to another point. Many Japanese wear traditional garb, but many also wear suits. Some could walk in the cities of the whites, others would stand out drastically.

The main difference is that the Japanese continue to teach and use magic, while also producing and developing scientific equipment. The Americans have chosen to have nothing to do with either, while the British have magical talent but try to keep quiet about it, mostly to appease their American cousins. The Australians don’t really have much magic to speak of, and while they aren’t against science, they have come to rely on what the Japanese produce. Essentially, the Japanese have made themselves far too important for the others to move against, so while prejudice, even racism, exist, there are no serious clashes between the nations. It would take the white nations uniting and throwing everything they had at New Japan in order to win.

The Japanese see themselves as part of Australasia and yet somewhat apart. They are their own people more so than the others, and are secure in their usefulness while aware of the white wariness of them. I guess a good way to describe the Japanese outlook is that they are an insular people with their eyes and ears very much open to what’s going on around them.

For this reason, they can continue on in a private war that has been going on since not long after the Japanese arrived. A secret war between those devoted to magic and those to science.

The tradition is that once a Japanese person reaches thirteen they must make a choice: magic or science. From that point on, they must wear a headband with an insignia denoting one side. This is now their cause. It doesn’t mean that all those who revere magic can use it, although it is claimed everyone has power inside them. Nor does it mean those who follow science can or will make new machines. It is more a philosophical point of view. You see one as the saviour, the other as the reason for Japan’s, and humanity’s, fall. You believe the pursuit of excelling in one will enable the human race to reclaim its world. You wish it to happen, even if you cannot help this to be.

But there are some who can. Japan, as I mentioned, has a secret war that isn’t a war. There is no conflict. Perhaps if they were still on an island populated by their own there would be. But in Australasia, a divide cannot be known. The whites would play on it. Yes, they see the headbands, the two devotions are known outside of New Japan, although it must be stressed most white people rarely encounter a Japanese person. But they are aware of nothing more and it doesn’t help to ask. It isn’t for the whites to inquire and those who wish to do business with the Japanese soon learn this.

So left alone, the Japanese have among them two groups who act on behalf of all who share their faith. The Corporate are a group of influential people who view science as the way to go and have people working for them to further that end. The Civic are the same only they push for magic. Typically, the Corporate have commandos and agents working for them, using hi-tech equipment, while the Civic rely on magic-users as well as ninjas and samurai. It is remarked that those who follow science tend to be business oriented, those who follow magic more in touch with the past.

Again, they don’t fight. Well, okay, they scuffle. Let’s put it that way. Bloodshed is avoided as much as possible. It just wouldn’t do. Neither side wants an actual war. But sometimes, as they try to gain an advantage over each other, their operatives will have to cross paths. It could be one side is in pursuit of something it wants, so the other side wants to prevent that. Theft would be preferred, or perhaps a showdown that led to one side having to back out due to being outmatched. But sometimes a clash will occur. These are kept very secret.

Most Japanese believe there will never be a winner. To them, it doesn’t matter who follows which belief, so both sides marry, interact, mingle, etc. They think there is too much in the world to overcome for New Japan to have the luxury of descending into civil war. Even many of those who act on behalf of their side see it as a game of one-up-man-ship. Oh look, we’re in the lead, ha ha!

Yet the most committed, those in the Corporate and the Civic, as well as their uppermost and most loyal followers, are seeking such an advantage that a war won’t be necessary. They want to find something, or some things, that mean the other side has to hold its hands up and say, you know what, you’re right, this is the way to go. They want to win the war so it never has to be fought. Then, united, the Japanese can push on to greater things.

They employ whites, now and then, to roam Australasia. They do their own research and development. They read texts from centuries ago and discuss new ideas. Yet so far, nothing has come close to giving either side that edge both crave. It could be that the only way for this to happen is for them to push out into the world once more. They know there are many more Japanese out there. They also know magic and science were strong in other places once and they speculate as to whether these have declined or improved since. The only way to know is to find out for themselves. This could still be some time off, it may have to be a secret act as the whites aren’t as keen on going out, yet it feels inevitable.

New Japan is the home of these Japanese. Australasia is as well. Perhaps they aren’t always fully welcome when they travel to the other three nations, but neither are they met with hostility. The Japanese are typically viewed with respect, suspicion, curiosity and politeness. They return those, especially the latter. It helps to keep the other peoples at a distance. Gain the trust of the Japanese, and another world can be opened to you. Gain their friendship and who knows what may come of it.

But whatever you do, do not pry into their personal divide. It is their faith and not to be trifled with, and some take it very seriously indeed.

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Australasia: Origin to Present

So when the world you know is going mad and monsters have become real, and worse still, the things your science have created are no longer your protectors but your hated enemies, where do you run to? Where is there to hide? Where lies safety?

To most people in the developed nations around the world, there were no easy answers. People who were part of establishments or elite ranks had secret bunkers they could hide in. Others who had the means could flee. Some could stand strong, use strength of arms or technology, or something else, to fend off the threats. For many, however, it was a case of get by. Try and survive. Adapt if you can. Suffer, if you can’t.

For those who could escape, it then became a case of where to go. Fleeing a short distance could be the only option, but if you really wanted to be safe, you wanted to get as far away as you could. The other side of the world would be a good bet. True, nowhere was safe, but of course, when you’re just normal people in your own little corner of the planet, you hope beyond hope that there will be safety somewhere. You want to go as far as you can because you tell yourself this will work.

So for those in Great Britain, a place where magic became readily available and in strong quantities, which then drew monsters to it, there were a few options. Some could just flee to Europe and see how that went. Others would use the magic power they now had to defend their home. Others fled. To some that meant places like Europe, Africa, even the United States, while people from there were fleeing in the other direction. Like I said, for many it was about getting away rather than worrying about where you ended up.

Some had time and resources to think and plan. Britain had strong links with Australia and this large island with a low population had plenty of potential as a refuge. Monsters were there, yes, but no machines or mutants. People who wanted to leave the magical island saw this far off destination as the perfect retreat. It did mean organising for a long trip, but it was considered worth the wait. It should also be noted that the vast majority of these people who gathered and prepared were white. Other ethnic groups had other targets, usually closer ones.

A significant number of people left Great Britain, travelled across the sea and arrived at Australia’s shores. The details of this journey aren’t well known, mostly recanted by the descendants in glorified, simple tales, as often becomes the way. None of that matters here. What concerns us is that British people arrived and the Australian government took them in. It was seen as a humanitarian act, yet it was a practical response as well. Australia needed numbers to defend itself. While they weren’t suffering as badly as most places in the world, they had endured losses. Fortunately for them, more people were soon to arrive.

Once the British had settled in, Americans showed up. They had seen this trip. A number of British ships had stopped at ports of the United States coastlines, so word had gotten out. White people heading for a land where they could be safe and secure. It appealed to many. Hell, even some non-white people wanted to go. The Americans were more organised. Military personnel were involved. Perhaps this was so as to make sure no wasn’t the answer given when they arrived. Perhaps not. Either way, when the Americans came to Australia, they had more weapons, more resources, and they could even offer to mine the sea so as to close the place off.

Before that could be achieved, the Japanese appeared. Now in their case, they were fleeing both magic and science, and had been pushing southward through Asia for some time. It isn’t entirely clear whether they knew about the British journey or not, but it is very likely some form of communication occurred. The Japanese had been driven from their home, they went to various places to make new ones, and a lot of them came to Australia to ask to join this new forming nation. There was some hesitation this time, and let’s not pretend race didn’t play a part, but there was also a fear of the magic and science the Japanese still wielded. This was especially troubling to the previous immigrants. The British had fled magic and many were fearful of it, although some were magic-users and it had defended them on the way here. The Americans were fearful of science for the same reasons and many had travelled here looking to find a new life without it, and the reports of magic devastating the world had put them against that as well. Let’s be honest, there was definitely a vibe of this mass migration that was reminiscent of the Puritan movement centuries before. People had left a home they were persecuted in to find a new land they could not only call home, but make it a home of their liking. Science and magic were best left outside of Australia, according to many voices.

Yet for all that, there was still the practical reasoning of survival, and this was still Australia back then. The government had the only say and they chose to let the Japanese in, as long as their magic and technology were put to the benefit of all. They had come to the northern shores so that was they would be stay, becoming a line of defence, should it be needed. As this was taking place, the British and Americans pushed for their own regions. Many of their people just took Australian citizenship and settled in, but most wanted to remain who they were, and to have a say in the future running of this transformed island.

The new nation was called Australasia, as in the name for the continent that has been used in the past. This was a compromise so that the natives felt it was pretty much their land, yet acknowledged things were different now. The British were given the west coast, the Americans the southern, with the city of Perth now a shared capital for them both. Australia kept the most important parts, remaining in most of the cities, and so while there was a good amount of shuffling around, it wasn’t too much. Considering how far most of this new population had travelled to be here, it was an easy task. During that time, they were able to set up defences – mining the sea, placing land-to-air weaponry, and culling the monster population so no threats remained to the cities. The inner region became the wild lands of Australasia, where people went to get away from authority, society, religion, etc. Monsters lurked out here, but they were badly outnumbered.

While the Japanese were allowed to continue their magic and science, it was strictly under the conditions of this happening in New Japan, and only there. As time went on, the other groups became more and more intolerant of those forces that had brought down civilisation. The British continued to practice magic; in a way they had little choice as the power lingered in their bloodlines so strongly, as with the Japanese. Yet it was best to keep it out of sight as much as possible. Rules varied from town to town. In some, magic was a sin and pretty much a crime. In others, it had a use if used only when needed. Americans rarely tolerated it. Australians were more open, but needed to keep a united front for political reasons, so magic was not exactly wrong, but nor was it right, across the land. This hypocrisy extended to science. Most new settlements became low tech within the following century, and yet power plants were built by the Japanese for certain cities, as part of their commitment to the island. Science was frowned upon in most of Australasia, and yet all major cities used electricity, and the Japanese continued to develop things that the other nations showed interest in. Condemn science and magic openly, make use of them quietly; this was the new way.

With the creation of each nation, a new government was formed and the British, the Japanese and the Americans were able to govern themselves, at least to a degree. Even now, it is understood that the Australians call the shots in the end. Their population remains the largest, they run the most cities, and, basically, they were there first. Each nation can have some laws for themselves and of course keep their culture, for the most part, yet there remains a need for unity. It is about keeping a balance. Each group wants a semblance of independence while knowing that if any force came to their island, they would all need the others to defend it. It works well for politicians and agitators to claim they will ensure the voices of their people will be heard, but compromise and understanding are how things get done.

A useful way to get an insight into the relationships between the groups is to look at their intelligence agencies. Each people have their own spies and counter spying networks. There isn’t a great spy war going on, far from it, but each group wants to keep an eye on their neighbours while not giving too much away. In fact, the spying has reached an almost communal level. Basically, if no one knows anything about you, you must be up to no good, so each nation is aware of the others spying on it, and lets it happen. In return, the others do the same. Spies may even meet, have a chat, exchange information. This isn’t an open conflict where agents shoot it out in the streets. This is quiet, careful, and mostly open. Mostly. Everyone wants that one up. Each group has its own ways. For instance, the British tend to be about information gathering and then using this to barter with or blackmail. They lean toward not causing trouble, not making any ripples, just deftly listening in and then calmly using it. Smile, nod, be polite, and get what you want, is their way.

Religion remains important and is mostly the Christian church, as would be expected. For the most part they work a fine line of condemnation of magic and its use, and some even participate in persecuting the users. Obviously this doesn’t reach into New Japan. When it comes to policing, each nation have their own police, but there are Rangers who roam, especially into the less settled central region of the island. A Ranger could be from any group, but because of the nature of the quartet’s relationship, rarely will one be Japanese. The white races intermingle a lot more, sharing culture and history, as well as language, while the Japanese focus on themselves, refining their magic and science, and dealing with their own problems. More on that in another post.

For the most part, Australasia is a pretty good place to be. For a human. They have been cut off from the world and its problems for a long time, the monsters there are a threat but only if you go wandering into the central wilderness. There are bandits out there too, and criminals of other types around the cities, towns and villages. But crime isn’t a huge concern, nor is there any potential for war. Soldiers reside in outposts along the coast, with a headquarters in Tasmania, and the military is for Australasia, not each nation. Even though those soldiers could well side with their own people if conflict occurred, they pledge their loyalty to the island as a whole.

The people who live here may have left the incredible threats that once drove them from their homes far behind, but they haven’t forgotten them. There are difficulties in being four nationalities living together, of course, yet nothing approaching a desire to break this settled unity up. Their ancestors went through a lot so that the people living now can have a safe haven to reside in. Even if this isn’t said openly, that past migration still has an affect on the mindset of the Australasian people to this day. Their view of the world is fundamentally different from anyone else’s. Their home may not be perfect, but it is a good place, unlike those they fled from, and they wish to keep it that way. All of them. Any nationalism, racism and other divisive issues take second place to this.

Oh, a few minor details to add before I finish. Australasia has a lot of railways running to help connect the growing settlements, and this is an acceptable level of technology even for the religious zealots. Also, there is only one portal in the entire country, deep into the centre of its territory. Currently it is guarded by creatures that don’t want anyone new coming through, but the humans have long ago lost awareness of it. They consider themselves sealed off. Another point is that, as previously mentioned, the three white races speak English, while the Japanese speak English fluently as well as their own language. Gives them an advantage. A final note is to say that while New Japan has the city of Tokyo Two – made by the Japanese from scratch – as their capital, and Britannia and America shares Perth as their joint capital, the Australian, and so Australasian capital, remains Canberra.

How to Talk Around the World

So when the world is a broken and battered place, when civilisations have crumbled and many beings of all kinds live in their own communities, watching out for threats, there are obvious problems in communication. You can’t pick up a phone and call the next group over to see if they want to talk, trade or just fight it out. You can’t pick up a newspaper and read about the happenings on another continent. You also can’t surf the web, although you can paddle about in what’s left of it. More on that later.

The point is, for people to get to know those far from them, it takes a lot of work. Leaders around the world, at least those in strong enough standing to know there is a lot going on in the world, want to keep an eye, and also an ear, on current events. Even if they preach seclusion, they themselves need to know. Because there are a good number of individuals like this, various methods of communication have been developed. Some even reach around the world. But all have their risks and often different means are used by different people. Nothing is easy.

Any of the more technological groups that want to stay in touch have a few means of this. Cyborgs sects, machine nations, underground bases of humans – these usually possess equipment that can transmit messages over far distances. Not around the world though, not any more. Once the world was surrounded by satellites that, among other tasks, bounced messages between each other, on their way to and from places of the Earth’s surface. Many of those were destroyed as nations used cyber attacks and orbital devices to hinder each other in any way possible. Communications were cut. Spy satellites were shot down. But as well as this, control centres below were destroyed or abandoned, and so the satellites they were in control of were left to drift in the grasp of gravity. Due to human action, human dereliction and just the simple passing of time, the fact is that while there are a good number of satellites still circling the world, not many are functioning properly, and gaining access to them is very difficult.

As I said, the internet has gone, yet there remains some vestiges of it left. What was once a information highway is now more a series of streets and alleys that connect only if you know the right turnings. In essence, cyborg leaders and others who can access these satellites – and few can access all of them – know that at certain times certain satellites connect and they can talk to, well, certain people. Sometimes they can talk and just hope another is listening, other times there can be direct conversations. It all depends on equipment available, timing and power sources. Even then, there is no point where access grants world-wide coverage. You wait, talk within a certain region, then wait again or try passing messages around to get to the right person. This is also very difficult as most who can do this don’t let their guard down often. Some, not at all.

So the information network, as leaders such as Prime, Jamshid and the Grand Master call it, can be used by them to argue with each other or try to discuss problems. Eden, that bastion of humanity, can access it but won’t for fear of what the outer world may bring. Individuals like Miss Mech can work their way in if she finds the right place to link with satellites, which she is seeking as she wants to gather as much of the stored information within them as possible. The network has uses, and knowledge, and so both are sought after by those with power.

That is by far the most technological method. Cyborg sects have relays and bases so they can reach out across continents and talk to each other, but only within their sect. Some groups, such as the mutant military in the Middle East, have radio towers. In the Northern Federation, they have an actual media, made up of newspapers and radio stations. But otherwise, if you want to talk to others world-wide, you need magical or physical means.

Portals exist around the world and messages can be transmitted via them. This has been proven. It helps if you are a magic-user as then you can command the portal to latch onto the place you want – if it links there naturally – and then send a message through. Magic can be used that way, and in other ways besides using portals. Spells can be voice commands that open to the receiver. With a healthy power source and strong will, communication can be established and maintained over distance, if those at both ends are able. A group of magic-users who are attuned can spend time establishing a harmonious feeling among themselves so that they can later connect to each other no matter the range, although this is very difficult to accomplish. Magical items can be fashioned for this purpose as well.

So if there is such as thing as the information network on a scientific level, there is also a kind of magical version, where portals, spells, magic-users and magical items all come into play. Messages can be passed around, sources of transmissions can be detected, so that someone, such as the Demon King at Trade Island, could find a way to talk to other devil-beasts. Obviously this would be a fairly public form of communication. Instead of satellites, there would be living beings involved in spreading the word, and they can rarely be trusted. Which brings us to the next segment.

When it comes to a magical network, the most essential part of it has to be pixies. These tiny creatures are experts in camouflage and subtlety, and they are strong in magic if not in physique. Therefore they make outstanding messengers. Obviously, they could be told something and sent out to relay it verbally, and yet pixies are known for mischief and deception as much as anything, so unless someone has a pixie to send that is utterly trusted, the message will be magical, for the intended person’s ears only. For instance, the spell would be passed on from one pixie to the next, flying under the watches of so many, passing undetected by both science and magic, until the service was complete. Pixies have been around the world a great deal in their attempts to avoid being captured and utilised by other beings, so they know how to get around, and they want to be useful to powerful people. The same is true for magi. As I have mentioned before, magi and pixies have a close bond, a shard lifestyle. Both are hunted for their gifts, both known for cunning and trickery in order to survive, and so both work well together in organising and conveying messages around the globe. It leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many, like the Demon King or Gemini, that magi are out there, hiding, and yet know well a lot of the chatter going around. Magi make it their business to know, in case their ability to hide is ever proven inadequate. To some, magi are just gathering information, biding their time before they act against everyone else. Often that is mere prejudice or paranoia, and yet it isn’t unreasonable to suspect these two races of being up to something. However, without proof, both pixies and magi are too good at running the communications for anyone to want to remove them.

Still, there are further options. Sometimes you just want someone to physically take your message and bring it to your target. Takes longer, might seem somewhat mundane, yet there are two groups this can be entrusted too. The better is the Sect of Shadow and Steel. The members of this organisation of assassins can use shadows to travel around the world, so not only can they get from place to place a lot quicker and easier than most, they are far from vulnerable to ambushes. Usually the Sect are killers, lethal fighters with special blades, but they also sideline as spies and messengers, taking these duties as seriously as they do when dealing with death. The Sect hold honour high, among themselves and when concerning the outer world, so if you hire them to do something, they do it with their utmost ability. Messages that are vital are handed to the Sect. Even if an organisation has their own means to talk to each other, the Sect will sometimes be trusted the most. Of course, just as with the pixies and magi, it leaves a number of people resenting their position in the world’s set-up and wishing to usurp them.

The other group who can take messages around the world by physical means are the aquatics. These sea-living mutants roam all over and intermingle often. Now, they don’t have the intense honour code or deadly skills of the Sect, nor can swimming through seas be anywhere near as swift as jumping in and out of shadows. But the aquatics are trustworthy to those who have earned it and they feel very safe in their own environment, away from cyborgs and machines and most monsters and humans. The aquatics know the currents, and they can pass messages around so as to keep the line of communication as rapid as can be. This race has an uneasy relationship with the races who live on land. The aquatics see the seas as theirs, they resist strenuously serious attempts to enter it, and yet they know that trading with the others benefits them. They want to keep in touch, they want to lend a hand, they want to have an idea of who is talking to who. As the Sect and others know, being part of communications between other organisations means you have an idea of what is really going on, and who is doing it. You can’t pry too much, you can’t let anyone down or betray them, and others will want the information you have. But being a small part of the growing and developing networks is a lot better than being left out.

Those are the major forms of communication. None are fullproof. Everything is a risk when you try for something important. As well as these, there are spies and agents for various groups. Of course, if these are any good at their jobs then most will have no idea of who they are and what they are doing. If not, they won’t be around long enough to take note of. Speaking of such, there is a fabled cyborg sect claimed to be specialists in infiltration. According to the rumour, they are a sect who favour the human over the machine, much like the Order of Organic Triumph do. Therefore they can pass off as humans or even mutants, although, while the Organic Triumph can do so if they avoid close inspection, this sect is said to be able to fool all manner of tests and devices. Being cyborgs, they supposedly can go among the other sects as well, changing their forms to fit in. This is all hearsay, of course. The name and origin of this sect is unknown, and while that should indicate they are nothing more than a rumour, the fact they are so secret would support just how adept they are at infiltration.

As for any other type of messengers, there are two more worth noting. One are the messengers who operate around Europe, mostly between the market towns of the Mediterranean coastline. Lacking technological means to talk to each other, and to get word to mercenaries or pirate hunters on short notice, the towns have developed a messenger role. In essence, if you are quick, you can become one, and the more time spent proving yourself, the more important messages you get, along with better pay. The main feature of these beings is that they must wear red. This grants them some protection, but mostly you need to fend for yourself and get the job done.

Returning to cyborgs, we must mention the Order of the Hybrid Complex. This is one of the most powerful sects and led by the ancient Prime. He resides in a hidden base – secret to both enemies and most of his own followers. The only cyborgs he has any real contact with are his Ravens. These beings are more machine than human, unlike the sect itself, and contain his most loyal minions. They are built to be light, fast and very dangerous. Gabriel and Hermes are the two top ranking Ravens, said to be among his first disciples, and when Prime wishes messages to be so secret he won’t even trust his sect’s own communications, let alone the information network, he tasks them to get his order sent. If any of his commanders waging war see a Raven, they know it is more important than anything else they have been commanded to do, and just as urgent. The Ravens are revered in the sect, and yet also somewhat feared and suspected. After all, when your leader trusts an inner group more than those fighting for him, it makes you wonder what he is up to.

Communication is more important now than it has been since perhaps even the Shadow World’s arrival. If more nations had talked then, a lot of the madness that followed may have been prevented. May have. Powers and groups have been growing for some time and many are starting to think now is the time to act. Or sometime soon at least. The question is where to act, against who, and possibly with who on the same side. Allies and enemies are being sought. Knowledge is still power. Messages are vital and therefore so are the systems and groups involved in carrying them. Perhaps it will become truly global one day. Whether that will be good or bad is yet to be seen.