(a short story that takes place just before War on Peace)

The scene begins on the surface of a massive world converted into a metallic factory, a uniformed figure stands over the production line - watching with emotionless eyes as countless war-machines are moved along the ground below, high above the sky is clouded by the continual presence of massive floating bases and carrier-craft.

"..for a long time I had thought them below me.. insects trapped in the path of a storm.. scuttling, wretched creatures.. blissfully unaware of their impending doom.. yet they achieved the impossible.. they defied me.. I sent forth my armies only to watch as each and every attack failed.. for every life lost a new one sprang up to oppose me.. I should of forsaw it.. I should of been prepared.. yet they caught me by surprise.. my moment of glory instead a lasting legacy of shame.."

The figure's eyes scan over several machines as a guard approaches from one side - the figure makes a small motion with his hand the guard yells over, pointing wildly at the machine: which is instantly removed from the line by several power-suit wearing workers, who drag it away to be melted down into scrap.

"..yet what use is there in anger? what good does the pounding of fists and the stomping of feet do now? no.. a true leader does not grow bitter with rage.. a true leader returns to his world with his head held high.. preparing for the inevitable.."

The figure proceeds to make a dismissive gesture and the guard gives a military-salute before marching away, leaving the figure alone once more - once alone the figure leans forward slightly.

"..the cosmos is a battlefield and every commander must eventually face a setback, a battle which must be lost.. yet they have not won the war.. no.. that much is certain.."

The figure's eyes narrow slightly, becoming akin to burning coals.

"..they think they have won.."

The figure's gaze becomes piercing, his hands clutching into fists.

"..they think they are safe.."

The figure lifts his fists and spreads his fingers, gripping the railing as he keeps himself calm.

"..they think I am gone.."

The figure affords a brief yet terrifying smile as he observes several guards fighting amongst themselves, making no attempt to stop them - their fighting seeming to amuse him, however briefly.

"..I watch as they rebuild their cities, shelter their young and old.. heal the wounds of broken minds and shattered bodies.. yes, I watch as they war amongst themselves.. I watch as their heroes fall and rise.. I watch.. I wait.. soon my time shall come.."

The figure's smile soon fades and he releases one hand from the railing, still watching the guards fighting as he casually digs into his pocket.

"..soon the Voice of Man shall once again echo across the stars and the cosmos shall once again remember the one true power: OBEY!"

The figure proceeds to pull out a small pistol and the sound of gunfire fills the air, one guard drops dead on the ground while the other looks up in horror - bowing repeatedly as he stumbles backward: the figure giving a brief nod, instantly the guard turns heel and flees.

The figure then slips the pistol back into his pocket and places his hand back on the railings, his gaze returning to the machines below..

-The End-

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