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The Force of Ten Saga
Remaking of a Civilization: New Found Heroes (Part I)
By Masonic Light

Chapter One: The Portal
Amberk of the Red Eyes, for that is the name of whom he is so known across the blasted landscapes of “Terra Gammae”, quietly stoked the fire that burned within the ring of stones that had been placed at the center of the makeshift encampment. He looked into the eyes of his comrades, all soulful and introverted as it were, and he could almost hear their thoughts. Tomorrow, the Force of Ten was never to be the same after tomorrow and the deafening silence of every member only reinforced the sad and profound moment. Not even the seeming endlessly boisterous Jacob “Lighting” Lorner, nor the ever sarcastically witty Jaded King, not even the usually talkative Randi “Armed and Dangerous” Arlent could be moved to speak a syllable. The silence was indeed deafening, if not downright painful!
Amberk’s glowing red eyes were as somber as they had ever been, but he knew his own dark mood should in no way bring the entire team’s mood even further down; after all, being a leader means buckling up your chinstraps even when you know the battle is lost. No matter how you feel, it is still your duty to put the best face on the situation you can. After fifteen years of forming, building, and molding nine separate individuals into the most formidable fighting and diplomatic force the entire “Terra Gammae” had seen, there was nothing he knew he couldn’t say to them, and nothing, not even parting, that would lessen the effects of those words. Amberk looked up from the last of his now cold can of soup he had held in his hand and he addressed all of them.
“My friends, my dear friends,” He began. His voice cracked. He cleared his throat, shook his head and continued, “I know that what we have planned to do tomorrow will have a profound effect on everything we know now or have know in the past. I know that as insane as this plan sometimes feels like, in the end we all know it is the only way we can make a true change… a change that will perhaps save our very world.” Amberk looked around to all of them for their reaction, but the quiet of the night lingered on a bit more before anyone else spoke; surprisingly that anyone being the most introverted of all the Force of Ten: The Dragonesse Orda!
“I don’t want to harp on this again Amberk, but if you do succeed or fail to change the past so that our present may change, this will still effectively end this family as we know it. If you and the others who go with you succeed, then there will be no reason for the Force of Ten to exist in the now, and if you fail, you and the others may never be born or exist at all and therefore the Ten may not ever be created…. At least in the way we know it to be, either way, we are at an end….” Her voice trailed off with a hint of despair.
Amberk nodded his head slowly, but as he was about to reply, Bazwark gracefully touched the buttons of his ever present computer board and said through the translator microphone device, “I have been ever grateful to you Amberk, and to all of you, for accepting me into this ‘family’ you call the Force of Ten.
I have seen us grow together in ways I never could have conceived. You took in this lost and lonely alien and gave him a reason to continue to live and to be. I know full well the repercussions of our actions, but I also believe it is the only course of action in these drastic times. Transcending time and space is dangerous and will have consequences none of us can speculate on, but it must be done. You all have taught me what it truly means to be compassionate, thoughtful and idealistic, and if changing this ‘Terra Gammae’ from the everyday life of living like animals or barbarians, then I can see no other course of action. Tomorrow, Amberk, Jaded, Rialia and Cycron will take that jump into the Portal here at Albuquerque Starport and change our history hopefully for the better.”
The entire group nodded slowly as if accepting the facts without further argument, the night then became awkwardly quiet once more. The Ten retired to their sleeping bags or tents as the dark night of “Terra Gammae” closed in. Thoughts, arguments and debates ran constant through the mind of Amberk as he lay in his small tent. Guilt, sadness, anxiety, and a thousand other emotions raced through his mind; it was as if the entire world rested on his shoulders, and it was as if his heart would break into a thousand shards…. Those thoughts however were soon stilled for a blessed minute as the familiar, gentle hand of his love, his sweet and beautiful soul mate Rialia. She held him close and snuggled up to his back. She whispered to Amberk, “Do not worry my love. You came to this decision, we all have talked about it, and it seems to be a way to change this horrible future now present. We will all survive this change and we will be all better for it.” Rialia gave him a long, loving kiss and soon they were both asleep.
Morning came quicker than anyone could have possibly imagined, or at least it seemed that way.
Alberquerque Starport, the legendary and mythical place that is known to almost all the denizens of Gamma Earth and yet remains as mysterious and the stories and tales surrounding its deadly ruins. Still believed by Pure Strain Humans to be the last departure for the ancients who were able to leave the planet before the final days of destruction were to occur; the starport still held many secrets within its immense underground complex, a complex that no one had ever fully explored, and a complex that would probably hold forever the secrets of the past. Still there were places and sections that had been breached and it was deep into those bowels that the Ten would go. Downward. Downward to the Thirteenth Sub-Basement, Corridor Six, Section Four-Two. The denizens who dwelled within the dark and dank corridors of the starport did not dare to intervene or prove to be barriers to the Force of Ten as they went about their business; for you see, the denizens of the starport, whether mutant, plant, animal or droid, knew of the reputation of the Ten, and any who may have thought about interfering would quickly back down by a warning glare by the Jaded King, the powerful hum of a now activated double vibroblade wielded by Jacob, or the even the flash of Amberk’s radiated eyes.
 
 
 
Room One-Nine-Six-Eight was the destination. This room had only been found by Algordanic the Insane just a mere seven months before, and his crazed reports of a “glowing portal” had brought out some of the other fearless souls who could
confirm the rants of the “Insane One”, and now the Ten stood amazed as they peered upon a nearly room filling contraption. The silence was deafening as the Ten stood and took the sight in: The contraption was completely made of shining steel with levers, buttons and electronics of every size and shape, and in the very middle of all this technology stood a half moon opening that was ten feet tall at its apex and twelve feet wide at its base, and this was obviously the portal that had been reported.
Bazwark soon moved forward and began to scan and process the information through his own alien computer. His long, nimble fingers flew across his keyboard as he began his report. “Amazing…” he first said in a low but curious voice, “… this is indeed an extremely advanced piece of technology. I had no idea that humans had progressed this far….” his voice traveled off as he continued his scan. The usually reserved Varidand looked over to his alien friend and asked, “Baz, just tell us if you can make sense of it all.” Bazwark gave his version of an alien chuckle, something he had worked on ever since he began to interact with humans, and replied, “Please Var, it will only take a mere seventeen minutes to decipher how this device works. You should be proud of your ancestors Var, they had made a major breakthrough with this machine.” Bazwark then did a few more calculations and then added, “… it is truly a shame that your ancestors did not have the wisdom to not destroy themselves…” Bazwark’s voice trailed off as he saw how upset that comment made his teammate. “Sorry my friend that was out of line..” Jacob, Eldred and Cycron all looked at Bazwark and said at the same time, “You bet it was out of line Centaurian!” Amberk, shook his head at all the unnecessary banter and quieted the Ten down, “Let us just get this done, we have much work to do and the anxiety grows worse by the minute.” Bazwork quickly worked and soon looked from his alien computer and said, “It is done, I now know how to operate this portal device. Cycron, I need your assistance if we are to get this machine working.” Cycron’s cyborg eyes lit up and the two began to flip switches, move levers, fix internal parts of the machine, set and reset computation codes, and many other technological adjustments that had to be made and within three hours they had the portal working.
That moment was both joyful and sad at the same time. The same silence that pervaded the room when the Ten first entered was now repeated. Amberk looked at Bazwark and said, “Well now, what is the prognosis? What is the status of the machine so that we can make our next move?” Bazwark looked at his calculations again and looked at Amberk. He replied, “Unfortunately Amberk, even with all of our tweaking, all of our testing and retesting, I cannot give you a very definitive report. You see, the humans of that time still did not have a full grasp about the fluctuations of the space, time and the thin line that separates alternate realities and…” Amberk put his hand to stop Bazwark, “Please my friend, you are rambling again. If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that you cannot assure us that we can go back to the correct time or even place that we need to be?”
Bazwark nodded slowly, “Indeed Amberk, there is a thirty three percent chance that you could end up completely in another time era, another part of the globe or another reality all together.” Bazwark sighed in an almost human way and then said, “I am sorry Amberk, it is the best I can offer.” Amberk looked at his teammates for a long moment and then in a low and steady voice asked his team, “I have been your leader for a long time now…” Amberk cleared his throat and continued, “…and I have always asked your thoughts and your input, and this time is no different; however, this time what you decide will be permanent and will have lasting effects either way you all choose, and also this time, we must all be in agreement on this most crucial decision. So, think hard about this, we must decide if we still want to continue or call it off completely…” Amberk could barely finish his words as he let his teammates think about how they should proceed.
He looked around at the rest of the Ten and then presented the difficult weapon, “So now I ask you all; if you believe that we should continue with our plan say ‘yes’ and if not say ‘no’.” Amberk turned to Cycron and said, “Make the roll call my friend.” Cycron nodded and began: “Amberk?” “Yes.”, “Randi?” “Aye.”, “Varidand?” “I’m in favor”, “Jaded?” “You better believe it!”, “Jake?” Jake simply nodded, “Baz?” “Indeed.”, “Rialia?” “Of course!”, “Orda?” The Dragonesse put her right hand fist into her open palm and replied, “Hai!”, “Eldred?” “Yes.” , and I also agree to move forward with the plan so that Amberk means we are in a unanimous agreement.” Amberk nodded his head and looked at all his team and said, “It is done then. Bazwark, open the portal!” Bazwark nodded, flipped the switches and made the last adjustments and then stood back with the others and watched the ancient but powerful machine come to life.
The room was bathed with a soft, blue-white light that pulsated and seemingly danced and darted and made the entire space glow and appear almost translucent. Bazwark’s voice broke the awe of the moment as he confirmed, “The portal is open Amberk and if this device works anywhere within the specifications I have seen, you should end your journey sometime in the early twenty-first century.” Amberk nodded and took the information in a most profound way, for it was then when he realized that he and his team that would go with him would traverse backwards in time over at least one hundred and fifty years (by the old earth calendar’s view of time). He turned to Jacob and with a bit of emotion said, “…You are now the leader of the Force of Ten that will remain here my friend. I know you will lead these six to new and greater heights of legend than I could possibly imagine, and it will be you who will forge the Ten into the new Ten…” Jacob grabbed Amberk in mid sentence and hugged him powerfully and responded, “Forgive me my friend, but I have every confidence that you will succeed in altering our future to the point that I wont be needed to lead the Ten. Now let us say our goodbyes and move forward before we change our minds!” The Ten gathered for one last time and gave each other well wishes and exchanges of luck, hope and friendship; even the usually aloof and reserved Dragonesse Orda hugged Amberk and gave him a sweet kiss on the cheek which nearly floored him and completely startled the other members of the team.
 
 
 
So it was that Amberk, Rialia, Cycron and Jaded King made their way to the portal entrance. Amberk looked back and give his final command, “Now go my fearless friends. Power down this machine as soon as we are through and seal off this room so that no others can make use of its power. If we never meet again then and only then will it be known in our hearts and in the recordings made by Bazwark that our plan has worked at all. Now we go my friends, with heavy hearts but looking forward to the future which awaits us and hoping that your futures will be glorious ones! For the Honor of the Ten!!!” The entire team responded in unison, “For the Honor of the Ten!!!” And then Amberk, Rialia, Cycron and Jaded King walked through the portal to begin their new journeys.
 
Take Me Down to Paragon City
Have you ever rode a rollercoaster, got off and quickly went and rode several more rollercoaster? That would be the feeling that was felt by Amberk and his team as the traveled through the portal’s strange powers; soon, the effects of breaching time, space and reality was too much as all four of the Ten blacked out.
Amberk found himself somehow standing on his two feet when he came back to his senses; a bright light seemed to be nearly blinding him and he tried to make sense of everything as his senses were in complete overload and he couldn’t make anything out, it was just too much to take in. Amberk closed his eyes tightly and took a long, deep breath. He focused inward and blocked out everything else; it was then it happened. First he realized he smelled the air! It was sweet and not filled toxic gases, not filled with the smell of death. He then began to hear the sounds of people talking, the noise of a city, but not of a city of “Terra Gammae”: No sounds of Brutorz stomping around, no sounds of Archvists chanting their blather about the past or Zoopremists chanting their hatred of all things not animal in nature. There was none of that. Most especially there was no sound of all out warfare. There were actually the sounds of birds singing, SINGING!
Amberk exhaled further and let himself fall into those wonderful sounds! He could feel the warm breeze touch his face as well as a wonderful warmth that fell upon his cheek. It was then that Amberk opened his eyes! What a marvel spread out before him! He stood at the bottom of a flight of concrete steps complete with hand rails, and as he followed the steps with his eyes he took in the largest statue he had ever seen! The giant man held a giant globe upon his shoulders! The statue itself was taller than any standing structure anywhere in “Terra Gammae” and it was glorious to behold. Amberk could feel his jaw nearly hit the floor. He slowly looked down the to right and to the left trying to take in everything he saw. The bright light that nearly blinded him at first came from the sky, it was then he realized he was seeing the sun for the first time in his life. And the sky? It was the most beautiful blue he had ever seen. A single tear fell from his barely glowing eyes. It was as if he had entered into a fantasy world. But, where was he? Where was the rest of the team? It was then a passerby, a pretty brown headed pure strain (he was sure) human girl stopped and asked, “Are you ok mister?” Amberk looked at the young woman for a moment, and although her language was mostly familiar, it took a moment for Amberk to gather his thoughts and to re-engage his tongue as he tried to reply with words he hoped she would understand: “Well. Uh. Yes. Thank You. I am well and good. Umm. Yes, well. Umm. Perhaps, you could be help of me?” The woman smiled nervously but replied, “Well, I will try mister. What can you help with?” Amberk took another few moments and replied, “Well. Could you tell me where, exactly am I? I mean. What or where is this place?” The young woman smiled and answered with a slight giggle, “Oh well that’s easy mister, you are standing in Atlas Park in Paragon City.” Amberk felt very lost at that moment and said aloud, “Pair a gone City? Where is that exactly? Are we near say the Fortress of Pitz Burg?” The woman thought for a moment and replied, “Well, if you mean Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, well we are a bit farther east than that. We are much closer to New York than Pittsburgh.” Amberk’s face went pale. “New Yark? You mean the fabled city of New Yark? So, you mean, it’s intact? It isn’t a glowing pile of rubble that no one can enter?” The woman giggled again and said, “Well, heh, sometimes I think so folks wish they could get rid of New York but that isn’t going to happen heh, and by the way, its called New YORK not New YARK.” Amberk was flabbergasted and then asked with his voice slightly breaking, “What.. What year are we in then?” The woman looked at him with a puzzled look for a moment but then replied, “Well, you really ARE new around here! It’s two thousand and four.” Amberk’s jaw nearly fell again, but before he could ask the young woman another question she said, “Look, I gotta go, but if you have any other questions, ask Ms. Liberty, you can find her at the top of these steps and on a small platform, she can answer a lot of stuff for you, but I’m running late, I hope you get all your answers mister! Good Luck!” She then walked quickly down the busy walkway.
Amberk looked up and it is then that he noticed other people. They were not like the pure strains on the walkways, they were dressed much more differently. Some wore outlandish colors, some wore armor, some showed a lot of skin, some seemed to glow, some flew! It was a most motley crew of diversity! And all of them heading towards that giant statue. Up the steps he went; and as he topped them he saw a beautiful courtyard in which the statue stood; it was surrounded by a beautiful pool of water and every sort of these unique beings were either chatting with each other under the statue or gathered around a very beautiful woman who stood upon a small platform. She was decked out with a blue and red dress, white boots and gloves and a sword slung against here left hip. Amberk could see her talking with some of these other individuals as they came and went. “They must have as many questions as I do.” He thought. Her beauty though is what brought him back to his reality: Rialia! Cycron and Jaded King as well!
Amberk quickly tried his communicator which sat on his own belt. All four of them took one along just in case they had been split up just as they seemingly had in this situation. “Rialia come in!” Static. “Jaded King, are you there?” Static. “Cycron?! Are you receiving this signal?” Crackle, crackle and then a faint voice came over his communicator, “Am..berk..” crackle, “.. I .. can barely… you… ven with.. osted signa..
ooo…. uch.. inte.. eren.. ce. Hav… tacted Jaded and Ri… arely able to.. municate.. Will have to.. way.. to gather in pers… ill contin.. to.. y different chan.. Cycron out…”
 
Amberk knew he needed answers and needed them quickly, he walked up to the pretty costumed lady he presumed to be this “Ms. Liberty” and asked, “Excuse me miss but I am new here and I need to make contact with my teammates as I try to take it all in, can you assist me?” Ms. Liberty looked at him, smiled and replied, “Indeed, you are new here sir as I do not even have you on my registry. May I ask you your name?” Amberk nodded and said, “My name is Amberk of the Red Eyes. I am the founder and leader of the Force of Ten and I have come back to this time to change a future history where I came from that is filled with darkness, death and misery and I need your help to fulfill my mission.” Ms. Liberty took a long and deep look at Amberk and finally remarked, “You exhibit great leadership as well as power sir; I can see that your vision and mission seem most noble, but have you considered perhaps that you might be able to help Paragon City in your attempts to change your future? Perhaps as you go through the city, help people and talk to your new found friends and contacts you will find all the answers you are looking for. You have a kindness and an aura of goodness around you just as many of these other heroes around here do. I encourage you to pursue your goals and help others in need at the same time.” Ms. Liberty smiled once more but gave Amberk a strong stare of a serious nature and then said, “Now, go over to that building behind the statue of Atlas here and find a new contact that may help you on your journey. Now go out there and bring the world some justice.” Amberk nodded and walked towards the city hall having much to consider...


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