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The Return Home


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It had been a long trip back to the dessert sands of the Aether Empire for Ziggy. After reaching the shore half-frozen and sopping wet, the cold wind didn't offer much in terms of relief. On top of it all things weren't quite so easy going, seeing as his arrival coincided with strikes on the GNR. However, Tensor Tech cards were rather nice and afforded him a warm set of clothes in the local town... apparently since his arrival, the company had expanded quite a bit, from that point onward it would turn out to be a smooth ride, with his paying for bus tickets and eventually boarding an Aether Empire private jet at the air-port... wait, private jet? Yeah, apparently they HAD expanded.

After that, he just allowed sleep to take him away from the possible worries of Teaunus and the previous set of problems that had plagued him for quite some time now. His shoulder still hurt and he awoke shortly while Aether medics took a look at the wound... before he knew it though the ocean of water would transform to an ocean of sand and dirt, the plane now coming down on a far nicer looking runway path of an air-port that the Aether Empire now owned rather then old dusty one. As he got out, the cold air from the past contrasted with the brutal heat of the present and churned his stomach inside out like ice-cream hitting the surface of the ground.

The silence that slurred his mind into a surreal daze was suddenly broken as an Aether air patrol of X-13 Ravens passed over-head his design in carnate, the flesh of thought in two spinning, buzzing blades of death that powered the crafts across the skies... and oddly enough, only a temporary measure...

Zarfef: Ziggy, I'm glad you made it back!

He was home. It was over.

Ziggy: Zarfef, I never thought I'd see this place again. I figured that you'd abandon me for the sake of secrecy, but I suppose with the growth of this place it would be somewhat hard to hide.

Zarfef: Not as hard as you'd think. Much of this is masked by the industry, now we have much to discuss and not much time. Shall we take a tour of the changes.

Ziggy: I'd be happy to see how my old home is... (A sharp pain from his shoulder temporarily stripped his body of control) argh, uh but I'm still in a bit of pain since the-

Zarfef: Wha?! Those barbarians attacked you! Medic, MORPHINE.

Even if Ziggy wanted to protest, the shot was quickly administered... Since their adminstration of control over the region, high powered medications were readily available for pain with treatment centers for addiction in the works. Similar elements were in place for ultimately fatal diseases as well. Even on the island of Teaunus when the soldiers found the Aether men inside dead, they had died from lethal injection painlessly and not from military gun-fire (As death was considered the ultimate reality, or torture given the speculation of the Aether Empire). Death was not evil mind you, but ultimately a part of life. Pain however was not necessary, and while technology had yet to render death impossible it could be used to eliminate pain. Unfortunately to this extent, Ziggy was completely out of it for the remainder of the tour.

This was rather sad, the region had expanded greatly with Tensor-Industry factories producing goods at an industrially revolutionary pace blanketing the sky from visual observations with their black soot (the world was over-run with radioactive crud anyways). Beneath the blackened skies, camo-nets could be noted only by the most discerning eyes at various locations in the canyons criss-crossing the nation with far more present then ever observable, cameras constantly watching every corner, protecting the primary base location. Secondary construction measures were under-way on the other side of the lake (sea) on a second back-up base with similar combat measures... Tanks by the hundreds rolled across the rocks below with thousands of troops in live military exercises in Operation Vulture whose combat ventures produced many new military technologies which would later be used in the production of advanced military equipment by Tensor Industries... military combat operations financed by foreign powers in peace so that they could gain the technologies of war. But there was no real connection between the two at an active level to avoid public outcries by silly citizens elsewhere.

Finally beneath the now much expanded main base, Ziggy finally regained his senses with sheer awe of a vast expanse with large computer screens in the distance showing the Aether Flag as a background window.

Zarfef: And this is your new lab...

The next words though would nearly render him unconscious.

Zarfef: I want you to develop a mass-producible fifth generation fighter plane for our forces.

Ziggy: Did you say fifth genera- We've just acquired prop-type fighters I mean... I hadn't even started into the upgrades to jet engines quite yet.

Zarfef: That is hardly necessary... we have time, and we have the funding building up to get the technology. I think you underestimate the growth of Tensor Technologies.

Zarfef waved his hand and suddenly the screens on one of the larger monitors flipped showing the growth of Tensor-Industries.

Zarfef: As time has gone by on your little Island cave, we have made considerable progress in the world market grabbing up larger and larger shares from private firms slowly acquiring a large internal budget for this secret project. We will be using volatile foreign investments to temporarily produce this rather advanced project, mass produce the components and output an air-defense system for our nation unmatched in the local region. Because of our advanced place in the world markets and our constant gains from Operation Vulture, we can use the results of Tensor Technologies internal knowledge to develop these weapons. Much of the technology has already been developed for foreign powers, all we need to do is mix and match these products and fit and manipulate them for a final output military planes that utilizes all such products and adds it's own enhancements to the mix. As a result of prior planning we do not expect this project to produce anything more then a temporary slow down of company gains and we will follow it up by a massive growth boost to top it off.

Zarfef: Your first goal is to produce your plan-

Ziggy was apparently not paying attention this entire time and had already hacked into the local computer and bipassed the security system... installed a better version and had begun looking through the files present.

Ziggy: We've gained this much advancement in scientific technology? Has this been implemented on the X-13s yet?

Zarfef: Not yet, we were waiting for this. A part of my master plan... it will mark a major turning point in the Aether Empire.

Ziggy: This is great, I can get a bomber AND a fighter plane worked out from this kind of detail. This is amazing... and to think that Operation Vulture would work after all!

Zarfef: I'm glad you're impressed... I'll have the scientific team from Tensor arrive tomorrow and you can begin to get to work.

Ziggy: Tomorrow?

Zarfef: Even you need to rest. I'm glad to see you're back to your old self again. (Turns so that the shadows from the light leave only his glowing eyes) soon the world will be mine now!

The door closes and the cogs of fate begin to turn in the secrecy of the night.

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