The Last Praetorian A'ko Story Part 1

Tales from days past, from days of Paragon City go here. This is a reminder of where we've been.

The Last Praetorian A'ko Story Part 1

Postby EikoMagami » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:14 pm

The Last Praetorian A’ko Story: Part 1

by Eiko Li Magami

ATLAS PARK, PARAGON CITY, RI

The Women of Justice Headquarters

8:15 pm Eastern

The bright pink and white backpack was not going to be nearly big enough.

Eiko let out a heavy sigh and sat down, crossing her legs beneath her.

She looked around her ridiculously oversized bedroom. It was basically one quarter of the entire 43rd floor and upstairs from the Women of Justice’s headquarters. But there was no Women of Justice anymore, Eiko reminded herself. They had all been killed when Emperor Marcus Cole, the supreme leader of her homeworld of Praetoria, detonated a nuclear weapon in the capital city when the people rebelled against him. But of course, like most things in her young life, that wasn’t strictly true.

The Women of Justice, along with their leader and her adoptive mother, Anbaric Amber had been accidently thrown back to 1908 in a malfunction of Amber’s time-travel abilities. Once there, they became a historical anchor point, preventing Amber from returning to her future. She and the others all grew old and died, trapped in the past. Amber herself outlived them all but died in 1954 at the age of 95.

Eiko didn’t know which hurt more: thinking that her adoptive mother and her friends had all been killed outright or that they were all trapped in the past living a life completely out of time. In either scenario, she was not with them and they were just as gone. But again, her mother wasn’t really gone was she? No, not when her 28 year old self was flying around the city and warning everyone who would listen about some kind of apocalypse coming on November 30th.

“Eastern time?,” Eiko smirked to herself.

She looked around the room. While it was still mostly empty, there were several unopened boxes of camping supplies, meals-ready-to-eat (MRE’s), and several pairs of black combat boots. The backpack was far larger on the inside than on the outside thanks to something called a “hammer-space” so named after the space where cartoon characters pulled things like giant mallets out from behind their backs. But even so, the pack was clearly going to fill before all of her supplied could be placed into it. She bit her lip and contemplated making a run to Wentworth or Icon to see if she could score another one. There was this one camping pack that was on a rail system which could incorporate a number of packs at one time. But despite her superhuman strength and the hammer-space, there was a limit to what she’d want to carry and keep track of. There was also the question of how long she expected to be gone. She had no idea.

As the daughter of privileged Loyalist parents, Praetors in their own right, Eiko had never set foot outside Praetoria City, never ventured beyond their powerful sonic walls with the exception of her escape to Primal Earth. She had heard stories and had seen pictures of First Ward, Emperor Cole’s first attempt at stealing a paradise from the Hamidon and the Devouring Earth, but had never actually been there. As evidenced from the refugees pouring through the portals into Primal Earth, Praetoria was more than just Praetoria City. There were people living outside the walls of the city. She had heard about colonies in Russia, Africa, Canada, Australia, and Brazil and she intended to find them and see if they needed help or evacuation. But it was her real plan than both thrilled and terrified her.

She would end Hamidon and the Devouring Earth or die trying.

Where Emperor Cole had made a truce with it, tried to broker a peace, Eiko intended to find it and utterly destroy it. Certainly, Primal Earth’s version of the Devouring Earth and the Hamidon had been little more than a nuisance for the heroes here and none of the Devouring Earth that Eiko had ever encountered had been remotely challenging. She didn’t know what to expect about Praetoria’s version. But she had these powers for a reason. She was all but completely invulnerable for a reason. She was seemingly immortal for a reason.

But the most important thing that gave Eiko confidence was a feeling she got every time she thought about Praetoria. The dark spirit that dwelt within her, the source of her power, the alleged soul of her biological mother, the entity that called itself Amaterasu, filled her with an unparalleled sense of joy and purpose whenever Eiko thought about returning to Praetoria. Perhaps it was unwise to give into anything that Amaterasu wanted, but Eiko was determined to exact some kind of control over her life.

Ever since she left Praetoria, one awful thing after another happened to her. It sometimes felt that the fates were telling her how wrong she was to have ever left. She called herself “Praetorian A’ko” in reference to the world she was from and a small pun on her given name. But she did very little advocacy for her fallen world. She was reluctant to help the Resistance and when she did run to them, it was because she needed help. And that’s why it didn’t work out. She was running away from her problems, not confronting them. But now, the only thing that seemed to make sense to her was to return to Praetoria.

Someone had to fight for that world. Someone needed to be the champion.

And there it was again.

She felt a strong pull on the center of her chest. It was almost like a physical force. It felt like what some people described as a calling.

Of course, given what city she lived in, it could be a psychic messing with her.

She reached behind her back and pulled a silver half circle from her utility belt and placed it across her forehead. The tiara was found along with a number of records and materials regarding Project: A’ko, in the lab where she had been conceived and grown. It was made of the same unknown metal alloy that her arm bands were composed of. It had the inherent property to block or greatly reduce psychic power. It was, in Eiko’s estimation, “seriously dorky,” and while she carried it with her. She did not often wear it. Once she had it situated, she put her hands down and closed her eyes and mediated the way that Crux Enigma had taught her several months ago after she joined the Reciprocators.

The pull was still there.

So it wasn’t a psychic messing with her. But the headband did make the feeling more focused. It was almost like a voice or a song.

I took a drink from some life giving water

in this dry desert land where I dwell

and my cup’s overflowing is the joy that makes me sing

cause I’m still drinking the water from the well*

Eiko stood up and walked over to the plate glass window, forty-three floors above Atlas Park. She could clearly see City Hall and the towering statue of Atlas himself, forever balancing the Earth upon his shoulders. A few weeks ago, the area would be crawling with all kinds of metahumans flying in, jumping away, tossing charged particles around, flexing muscles, exposing cleavage, networking and recruiting. There was always so much networking and recruiting that it often seemed like a full time job for some heroes. But no more.

The streets of Paragon City had grown eerily quiet. A few heroes stood on the steps of City Hall, holding torches to some cause that Eiko didn’t know about. A few others held protest signs, possibly voicing their opposition to the flood of Praetorian refugees arriving everyday at Portal Corp. Others, Eiko knew, believed the world or the city or perhaps the whole Universe was doomed to destruction in just a few weeks. This was what Anbaric Amber believed.

But the Coming Storm or whatever people were calling it had nothing to do with Eiko’s decision to return to Praetoria. For her, it was all about...it was all about...

Eiko shrugged and looked at her reflection in the glass.

What was it all about?

Revenge? Justice? Defense? Moral Obligation?

None of those ideals struck Eiko as being a perfect fit. It just felt right.

Eiko sighed as a bright streak of amber colored light flashed past the window. Anbaric Amber was back from her patrol and would no doubt question Eiko’s recent purchases. But no matter. While she was the actual Anbaric Amber, this version was not her mother. They had put off what Eiko believed they both understood to be an inevitable confrontation, and tonight was as good a time as any.

Eiko cracked her knuckles loudly as she headed towards her bedroom door.

*Props to The Cathedrals (words and music by Larry Pertee )
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