PROLOGUE

It has been nearly a century since the devastating attack of Dr. Indus. Immediately after the attack, various nations, actually all the nations came together to ensure that no human was ever given the power, attention or the means to create such a creature ever again. The Age of Heroes had ended and the world was now in a new era. Most of religions had been replaced by Indism. He was the god who had walked the earth and damned his people to destruction and suffering. Other religions still existed but they were not taken as seriously as in the past because the human race had finally realised that it had other things to look forward, to work towards. Dr. Indus had united humanity and struck a fear in every man so deep, that people would think twice before committing any crime, however small it was, for they feared being smitten by him. For 20 years the crime rates globally had reached lows that had never been seen before in documented human history. Every year the 7th of October was observed as Unity Day across the globe to remind people of the power that our idols held. Later, a few crimes started being reported. A few robberies here, a little corruption there and people were sure that they were going to hear the news of these criminals being turned into a pile of ash by their god, but nothing happened. This gave people the belief that god had left the building and they were again left to their own free will. 70 years after the dark day, the crime rates were back at their previous rates. Pockets of criminal and unsafe grounds had popped up across continents and before anyone could see it, humanity was back to being a mirror for its corrupt and criminal tendencies. The statues that had been erected in memory of Dr. Indus, which had been worshipped for decades, were now laid to waste. Some people believed him to be a vengeful god, some believed him to be an incarnation of the devil but one thing was clear the story of Dr. Indus was not going to be wiped out of history anytime soon. People were going to, and did remember everything he had done for generations.

CHAPTER 3 CORONIS COMETH

“Was Dr. Indus real daddy?” A young boy asked his father as they travelled through the streets of their hometown of Atismar. “Yes he was son. I have heard stories about him from my grandfather who had heard the stories from his grandfather. His actions and misdeeds are well documented in all our history books. One day you will learn everything about who he was and what he did.”, the boy’s father replied.
They were on their way home, driving through the city centre where the national flag flew high and proud. Atismar was a unique country and was placed in a location that it had become a hub and major talking point of global politics. It was a small but rich country that followed the policy of capitalism. It was also a republic democracy. What made it stand out was that it was surrounded on one side by communist dictators and large never ending ocean on the other. Tyrinn, the country Atismar shared its boundary with, was the flag bearer of communism across the world and had made it their sole objective to spread the communist regime across the world. It was a global superpower and had always been engaged in a Cold War with a country on the opposite side of the planet. Nomisma, A capitalist country, which, much like Tyrinn, wished to bring a capitalist revolution on a global scale. Another country, which found itself in a similar situation to Atismar was Whitebeach. It was located close to Nomisma and was a dictatorship under a communist regime. Both, Whitebeach and Atismar, often found themselves as diffusers of tension between their powerful neighbours. A capitalist country could not afford to lose another fellow capitalist and the same went for the communists.
The young boy and his father reached their home, it was more of a mansion as they were one of the wealthiest and most influential families in Atismar. Fex-Inc, a venture started by the boy’s father, Aspar Fex had emerged as the front-runner in technology and military research and manufacture on the eastern hemisphere. Even though they lived in a capitalist country, one where the poor were often ignored and ill-treated, Fex-Inc made sure that they did everything in their power to uplift the citizens of their country and make sure that no one in the country has to sleep hungry. As they stepped out of car towards the front door, an old man welcomed them. The young boy, Levi Fex, who was only 14 years old sprinted towards the man and hugged him,

“Donald! I have been waiting to meet you for so long. Will you make me my favourite drink please?”

“As you say Master Fex, let me just help your father with his luggage and I will bring it right up you after that.” The old man said with a kind smile.
“Mister Fex.” He greeted his boss with a light bow and respectful smile.
“How are you Donald? Keeping the missus happy?” Aspar joked as he met his long time servant again. “You got some news for me?” He inquired.
“Actually I do sir. There was an earthquake at the western border today. It was an 8.3 on the Richter scale.” Donald replied. Aspar seemed worried, he asked Donald,
“What’s the damage?”
” There was none sir. All the buildings stood. No loss of life or property.” Donald replied with a light smile.
There was tangible relief on Aspar’s face. He broke a smile and said, ” The record stands I guess.”
“It does indeed sir.”
Both of the men walked into the mansion and Aspar went for some rest in his room while Donald prepared Levi’s favourite concoction.
As Levi entered his room he saw someone was there already. It was people, they were talking in whispers. The whispers were too soft to be recognised. Levi was a bit wary, he saw the door left ajar and he slowly walked in.
On the bed were two women, gossiping amongst themselves. One old and one young. Levi recognised them immediately now. It was his mother talking to his dearest friend Naavsar. He had always had a thing for her. His stomach would get in knots every time he saw he. It was weird for a child as young as Levi. He never talked about it to anyone but at times he felt like he wanted to talk to Naavsar for as long as he could.
“Oh dear, you almost scared us! Come here. Tell me how was your school.” His mother said in a calm soothing voice.
“Hey Levi.” Said Naavsar. “H…hi” Levi replied to her almost stammering. He was not expecting her here and as soon as he saw her an awkward smile broke on his face.
“Well I should be on my way. I’ll see you some other time Levi.” Naavsar told him as she said her goodbyes and walked out the door. Levi had a shade of red on his cheeks. His mother could see him blushing and said to him, “Looks like we have a new crush.” With a naughty smile. Levi’s face turned redder and he looked away shyly. “If it is in god’s will. It will happen. He has a plan for all of us son. Let’s see what he has in store for you.” She continued. His mother had always been a devout follower. Levi, not so much. He didn’t really think that there was a fixed plan for every single person on this planet but he didn’t interfere when his mother went on one of her religious sermons. With those words she walked out of the room and left Levi to take some rest.
LATER THAT NIGHT
“Daddy…daddy, I want some ice cream.” Pleaded young Levi to his dad. They had just had dinner and the doors of the mansion had been shut. The security guards had taken their positions. It was obvious that a family as influential as The Fexes needed some security. There were CCTVs on every corner and 20 security guards across the mansion. “It’s time to sleep son. We’ll get you one tomorrow.” Replied Aspar in a lazy tone.
“But dad look, the weather is so great! I think it might rain tonight. You know how much I love walking in the rain.” Levi was right. It was pleasant, more pleasant than it had been in weeks. There was a light cool breeze blowing and there were some thundering clouds in the distance as well. The nearest ice cream stall was about 20 minutes walk from their home. Aspar budged and wore a track suit for the walk. ” I want mommy to come too.” Levi was pushing his luck now but his adorable ability to make a puppy face that could melt any heart was not ignorable. Venus, his mother, reluctantly got up and got clothed for the short walk. They decided not to take any security with them, it was just a 20 minute walk and there were no threats this late in the night. The three started walking towards the ice cream stall. The winds were getting stronger and the clouds closing in as well. It was about to rain in a few minutes. Levi was strutting now. Skipping and humming with every step. His parents right behind him looked on with a soft smile. It started raining. Within seconds it was pouring down. Levi decided to walk onto the road running alongside the pavement. He was happy. Roaming around senselessly in the rain. His parents didn’t mind getting a little wet. They were just happy to see their son enjoying himself. Levi closed his eyes and turned round and round as the raindrops fell on his face bringing down happiness in drops of water. He didn’t have a care in the world and had now moved right in the centre of the road. His eyes were still closed as the rain fell down on him.
Suddenly he heard two gunshots. He turned around immediately and was horrified at what he saw. The place where his parents stood was not vacant. Instead two bodies lay their writhing in pain. A shadow ran away from the scene, one whose face was not clear. Levi sprinted towards his parents’ bodies. Both of them had been shot right in the heart.
“Le…Levi…come here son….listen to me..” a faint sound came from his father. He rushed towards him and tried to calm him down and put some pressure on the wound. His father continued in short painful breaths, these were going to be his last words, “You have to save her Levi. You have to save your mother. Save her Levi. Save her.” With that Aspar shut his eyes and breathed his last. Levi was shell shocked and had no idea what to do. He could see his mother’s body lying a few metres away. Still. Motionless. Blood flowing out of her body and mixing in with the rain water. In 2 minutes Levi’s life had been turned upside down. He fell down on his knees next to his dead parents, not taking his eyes off them. He was never going to be the same person again.
Some time later the police were on the scene. The security guards also reached the scene and tried to make Levi as comfortable as possible. They knew things were never going to be the same again. Everything had changed. Levi didn’t speak a word for a fortnight. He hardly ate anything and didn’t see anyone. Not even Naavsar. A few days later the already shocked population of Atismar opened their morning papers for one headline. It was the same headline across every newspaper with some variations. Three words, repeated again and again.

LEVI FEX MISSING.

10 YEARS LATER

ATISMAR
The city had moved on from the tragic day when the Fexes lost their life in a mugging gone wrong. Fex-Inc. had been taken over by a board of directors to steer the company towards stability in an uncertain market. Levi Fex had not been heard of since 3 weeks after his parents death. He had been presumed dead and Fex Mansion was taken care of by Donald, The family servant.
Donald was carrying on with his daily chores. He now had to take care of a fallen mansion. A ghost house in some ways. It had been nearly 10 years since a Fex last spent their night in this mansion.
The phone rang. It was an unexpected call. Donald was a little surprised. He picked it up. A panting voice was talking on the other side,
“Donald…Don…I need you to pick me up man. I’m somewhere near… I don’t know where I am. I just swam across an ocean. I don’t know which one.”
Donald was stunned. He didn’t know what to say. It was a voice he had not heard in a decade. A voice he had first heard crying nearly 20 years ago from the bedroom of this house. A child he had nurtured and cared for as his own grandson. Levi was alive.
“Hello…Are you there? Donald? I think I’m somewhere in South America. Holy shit Donald. I just…I just swam across the Atlantic.” Levi continued
Donald was still dumbstruck. He stammered and tried to make some noises from his voice box that made sense. “Ah…I…I’m coming Levi. I’m coming.” A tear rolled down Donald’s cheeks as he felt something close to happiness for the first time in years.
Donald flew to Brazil. It was the country with the longest coast along the Atlantic. Chances were that he was somewhere here. After searching for a few weeks he started hearing stories about a man who had washed up on the shore one day. He said he had swam across the ocean. No one believed him of course but he had found a room in an abandoned beach house and was staying there. Donald found his way to the house and approached it on foot from about 20 feet away. He didn’t know what to expect. He was apprehensive and excited at the same time. He felt ecclesive. Excitement and nervousness at the same time. He walked towards the house. When he was right on the stairs, the door opened. It was Levi. He was grown up and beefed up. He needed a shave and looked nothing less than a homeless person. In a way he was homeless. He had been homeless for 10 years. Only he knows the places he has travelled to looking for a place to call home. Donald stood like a statue. It was like seeing a ghost. Only the ghost had grown up, gained a lot of muscle and needed a shave.
“It’s been a long time Don. Let’s go back home.” Levi said in a warm yet firm tone.
It was a long flight back home. Donald and Levi sat face to face with each other with an awkward silence hanging in the cabin of the plane. Donald wanted to know where he had been all this time. What he was doing, who had he met and how had he gotten so strong. Levi on the other hand seemed to be more serious than before. When he had met Donald on the beach in Brazil, he was seeing an old friend after a long time. He had not yet considered the consequences and ramifications of returning to his home town. He got anxious thinking about it and tried to keep his mind off of it. To do that he started talking to Donald about the adventures he had been throughout the decade.
3 weeks after that fateful day, Levi ran away from his home and boarded a merchant navy ship unaware of where it was headed. Levi just knew that he had to get away from his home and do something more. He was obviously traumatised by the events that occurred. It was his choice to go for an ice cream so late in the night and he was the one who asked his mother to accompany them. He blamed himself for everything that happened. The ship took him to somewhere in Africa. He didn’t know the place, the language, or any person there. He had just one thing in his mind and one emotion in his heart, Vengeance and rage. He managed to sustain himself by stealing some food from the open markets and slept in the local slums. He started hearing whispers about people coming together in a place and teaching each other how to fight. Donald, on hearing all this, was taken aback. He interrupted Levi mid sentence
“So you learned how to fight?” Donald said in a serious voice.

A smirk emerged on Levi’s face, “I didn’t just learn how to fight Don. I learned how to break people. People from all over the world had come there. 38 different fighting styles united atop Mount Kilimanjaro. I went there a novice but I had 10 years. I learned every single style until I could take on 12 men at the same time.” The smirk on Levi’s face seemed to be getting wider. He continued, “You know when I was done they put me in a pit. They added a fighter every hour and I had to take them on at once. I lasted 36 hours without any breaks or sleep.”
“Did you make any friends?”
“I did meet a girl. She was a year younger than me. She had run away from her home as well. She was tired of her father. She was actually the only one I couldn’t get the better of in all my time there.” A smile broke on Levi’s face.” She really was one of a kind.”
“Looks like we have a crush.” A naughty smile appeared on Donald’s face and Levi shied away from this.

Donald was happy Levi had decided to return but he was worried that the man sitting in front of him was no longer the innocent nice Levi who had run away from his home at 13. He didn’t recognise the man sitting in front of him at that moment. He had last seen a young broken boy and now he could just a young man bragging about how he could beat people to pulp with his bare hands. He tried to regain his focus and asked him,”So how did you end up in Brazil?”
When my training was over they said I was free to go. The only problem was I had to get off a mountain, cross a savannah infested with wild animals and then hope to get somewhere close to civilisation. He asked his mentor for a way back but he only said one thing,
“You have nothing more to learn from us. If you were a good student, you will climb mountains, get across savannahs, swim across oceans and sustain yourself without any help. If not, you will die. Either way, there is nothing for you to do here anymore.”
A month’s expedition later, Levi washed up on the coast of Brazil having swum across the Atlantic. His train was complete and now he had proven himself to be an ideal student.

“What is the plan now sir?” Donald asked

Levi had a clear image in his mind. He knew what he wanted to do, he was just hesitant about who to tell it about. He decided Donald could be trusted. “I plan on…how do I say this, I plan on making people afraid.” Donald was confused. “What do you mean make people afraid?”

“I have heard about what has been happening in Atismar, Don. What our neighbours have been up to and what they are trying to do to our peaceful nation. People don’t really follow rules anymore. They don’t see the point of them. They break laws as they wish and suffer no consequences for it. I wish to change that.”

“Are you thinking about joining the police force sir?”

Levi let out a little laugh, “No Don not the police. If I do something as a man, I could be bought, I could be reasoned with. I could be defamed but if I become something more, something that inspires people or something that makes people submit into being lawful out of fear, that is the way I can get some results.”

Donald didn’t like where this was going. He knew what Levi was talking about but he wasn’t sure it was the best decision. “You want to become a vigilante, sir?”

“Well I was thinking more like a hero but yeah you could call me a vigilante as well yeah.” Levi replied. “Sir, you do know what happened the last time we had people trying to impose their ideology on us and calling themselves heroes sir. One of them ended up killing 400 million people.”

“I know what happened, Don. I have heard all the stories.” Levi’s tone was serious now. “I am going to do this, whether I have someone with me or not. Of course having someone with me would help, so this is more of a statement of intent rather than a suggestion. The only question here is, are you going to be with me on this or not?”

Donald thought for a while and spoke, “Well technically I work for you sir. I don’t really think I have a choice here. Whatever you decide to do, you have my support and assistance for it.”

Levi had found his first ally and now he could fulfill his vision for his nation. “So did you tell anyone that I’m coming back?” Don smiled and said, “Well sir, I am yet to go through the official process to prove that someone is back from the dead.” Levi didn’t understand what he was talking about and looked puzzled and Don had a hearty laugh. The pilot announced that they were on the final approach towards Atismar Airport. Levi could see from the window, A place he had turned his back on 10 years ago and now he was back to change this place forever.

The plane landed and Levi and Donald made their way to their car. Donald was still a bit confused about how to handle all of this. He didn’t even know where Levi would like to go. “Straight to the mansion then Master?” he asked. “No, did they ever catch that guy, the one who shot them?” Levi replied. Don could see the rage hiding behind his eyes.

“They did sir.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s in prison right now. The final hearing of his case is next week sir.”

“Very well, I want to be there when they announce it. Let’s go home for now.”

Donald knew there was more to the case than just that but he chose to stay silent at that time.

It was a bittersweet moment when Levi saw his home again. He recalled all the beautiful memories he had of this place and also the horrors of that rainy night. He had a mission in his mind and now it was his time to make it a reality. He went to the headquarters of Fex-Inc. People had been informed that Levi Fex was returning but no one quite believed it yet, until they saw him in flesh and blood. There were gasps and murmurs all around as he got on to the stage. A meeting had been convened for a special message from the returning and rightful owner of the company. It was broadcasted to every office of Fex-Inc. across the globe via satellite. Levi was sharply dressed for the occasion. He walked up to the Dias adjusted his mic and started speaking, “Good morning everyone. As some of you may know, I am Levi Fex, son of Aspar and Venus Fex, the rightful owner of this company. I have been gone for a long time but you must understand that I did not abandon anyone of you. It was a tough time for me and I needed to look for some answers for myself before I could come back to running this company. Some of you may consider me ‘The Prodigal Son’, some of you may consider me Lazarus, after all from what I have heard, I have come back from the dead. I am going to tell you that I am none of those things. I am just a young man who went through a tragedy and now has returned to take Fex-Inc to new heights. I have a special present for people who have stuck with our company for the last 10 years, all the way from the death of my parents, to the time when we almost liquidated. Of the 30,000 people employed by various branches of Fex-Inc. across the globe, 821 of you have stuck with us through our tough times. So consider it a loyalty bonus or a way of saying thank you, I will be giving all of you a bonus of $3,000,000 for each one of you. You may do whatever you wish with that money but a condition attached to this bonus is you can’t hand in your resignation for a year now. I know some of you may like to take the pay day and retire but believe me; it will be worth it to stick around. Thank you everyone.” The whole crowd was shocked at the last announcement, 3 million dollars for 821 people. Levi had just announced nearly 2.5 billion dollars in only bonuses, then again, it was a fraction compared to what the company was really worth. “Oh and Mr. Sokita, I have something to discuss with you if you could make some time for me.” Mr. Sokita was the head of the Defense Research and Development Department of Fex-Inc. It was his job to develop new innovative technology to give the buyers of Fex-Inc. an edge at times of war. In order for Levi to fulfill his wishes he needed Sokita’s help.

“It is great to see you well and fine sir. How can I help you?” Sokita asked as he approached Levi.

“Thank you Mr. Sokita, you have been a loyal worker for us. I was thinking about being more closely related to the operations of the company, specifically the DRDD.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“I want to have everything. I mean one of every gadget, armor, radar, weapons, basically I want to have one piece of everything manufactured by Fex-Inc. If something is still under development I want progress reports and future plans as well.”

Sokita was a bit surprised by that. It was a big thing to ask for but seeing that Levi wanted to and he didn’t really like where it was going but he thought it would be a bad idea to say no to his boss for the first thing he asks for. “Of course sir, I will have it all delivered to the mansion by next week.” He said warmly.

“Yeah about that, I need those things by tonight. Oh and you can’t tell anyone about this.” Levi said in a firm and authoritative note. Sokita’s eyes widened at the prospect but he was too afraid to say no. He had everything delivered under wrapped sheets and consigned as an inspection of the goods produced by Fex-Inc. By the time the clock struck midnight, Donald and Levi had arranged everything in the basement of their mansion which was surprisingly well maintained and clean. He had bulletproof armor, a helmet made of bulletproof metals and melee weapons that could easily be used for close quarter combats. For the backroom he had drones, radars and every single technology you could think an army operations headquarters would need. Levi was basically a one man army now with the assistance of Donald. Don really didn’t understand what was going on; it was too much to deal with in a short while. He didn’t understand what Levi had in mind and it seemed like he was rushing into everything.

“What exactly do you have in mind sir?” Don asked.

“People have become too laid back about all the crime in our country Don. The apathy of the police force has let criminals lose on civilians. It is time these criminals knew that there is a new player in town now.”

“Is that what you think your parents would have wanted sir?” Don knew he was stepping out of a line mentioning his parents but he thought this question was necessary.

“It doesn’t matter what my parents would have wanted. They are dead now, killed by one of the very people they were trying to help. Justice needs to return to this place Don, and I am going to bring it right to anyone who dares to ask for it.” Don could see the rage in Levi’s voice and eyes now. He knew Levi was still the same stubborn child at heart. There was no point in trying to talk him out of it. Levi seemed to be in his soliloquy right now. Don didn’t interrupt.

“Criminals don’t fear prison anymore. I will give them an option which will make them beg to be put in prison rather than face it. Do you know, in ancient cultures there has always been one animal which has been considered as a harbinger of death. It has been feared but also respected. Good people consider it a sign of arriving good news and the bad people consider it, well, as I said, a sign of impending death.”

Don was getting worried now. “Are you planning on killing these people, sir?”

“No. Death is too easy for them. I will make them understand what pain is like; pure physical pain. I am going to break. Their. Bodies.”

Don didn’t have much to say to that. There was nothing he could have said. He just sheepishly asked him, “That animal you were talking about, care to share what it is?”

“Coronis.” Levi said with a light smirk on his face.

Suddenly the police radio they had set up came to life. “Bank robbery in progress at National Bank, all available units respond ASAP.”

This was all the invitation Levi needed. The nation was going to be introduced to a new age of heroes tonight. Levi put on his cape and mask and set off to the bank.

The robbers had managed to escape from the police and had put some distance between the two of them. They ran into a dark alley expecting to be hidden away from the cops. As soon as they entered the alley they heard the sound of something falling. The two were scared temporarily by the noise but they regained their composure. They could hardly see anything. They walked further into the alley. Suddenly they felt as if a shadow was moving towards them, walking in slow steps. They thought it was just adrenaline rush at first but as they walked further, they got surer and surer that someone was in the alley with them. They were trembling but they didn’t really have a choice. They walked on. One of the robbers out of fear fired a bullet into the alley, in darkness. They could see it bounced off of something in front of them. They almost shrieked. A dark shadow was walking towards them, both of them were now shooting blind and could only see the bullets rebounding off. It was a man, walking towards them, intimidating them, the robbers threw all the money they had stolen at the shadow and pleaded, “Take it! Take all we have got! Just let us go!” They could now see what seemed like an evil smirk. A voice came from the darkness, “Believe me. I have enough of it.” And that was the last thing those robbers heard that night

The next morning they were arrested by the police but had to be admitted in a hospital first. They had combined 314 fractures on various bones of the body, concussions and internal bleeding. They were unconscious for a while but one of them was slowly regaining consciousness. He kept repeating, “No. No. Please. Let me go. Please.”

The cops wanted to be tough on them and decided now was the right time to interrogate them.

“What happened? Who did this to you?” asked one inspector.

“It…It was a shadow. It was the devil. He was dark, dark as a crow. Bullets bounced off of him. He was going to take us to hell with him.”

“He seems to have lost his mind. We will try again later.” Opinioned the other inspector and they left the two robbers there.

For the whole of next week, Coronis ran riot across the crime syndicate of Atismar. People were starting to take cognizance of his existence and he had become a thorn in side of the Atismar Police Department who were under constant pressure to arrest the person who was involved in these extra-judicial beatings. People didn’t know how to react to someone taking the law into their own hands. Morally, it seemed wrong but practically, it was convenient. He was considered a hero, but that too reluctantly by the people. Back in the Mansion Basement, Don and Levi discussed their latest exploits. Don wasn’t on board with Levi but he also knew that he couldn’t leave him alone to do all this. In a week, Levi, or Coronis, had stopped 2 bank robberies, 3 muggings and saved a kidnapped kid as well. During all this, he broke about 800 bones spread across 10 people. It was clear that Levi was venting all the rage inside him on these criminals and no one knew when he was going to go one bone too far. Don wanted to have a chat with him about this and he was looking for the right moment to do it. After Levi came back from his nearly super-human workout, Don struck up a chat with him,

“How long? How long are you planning on doing this? When does it stop?”

“I’ll stop when the crime stops Don. I don’t do this because I like it, I do it because its necessary.”

“You are using your anger on things that happened in the past and you are letting that anger control you. How long are you going to let your past control your life?”

“The anger I have is not going to die down anytime soon. No other kid has to see their parents being shot dead in front of him, not until I am around. People who forget their history are bound to repeat it.” Levi replied and pursed his lips. The two had reached an ideological difference and there is nothing they could do about it other than discuss it. Don decided to help Levi with whatever he needs, but he also decided to be his conscience for when he needs it.

As Levi walked off he said, “We have a hearing to go to tomorrow Don. Wake me up early in the morning. I want to see that scoundrel sentenced for life.”

Don turned his head away, this was the right time to tell it to Levi, “Master Levi, there is something you should know. The people expect the court to acquit the man who killed them. He is not going to prison sir.” Levi turned around with ferociously; he didn’t understand what was going on.

PRESIDENT’S RESIDENCE,

NOMISMA

Shaun Jett, the president of republic of Nomisma sat in his office all alone. He had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was supposed to act as a world police, while at the same time ensuring that his country’s arch nemesis Tyrinn didn’t occupy any neighboring allies or take some steps that might be considered as military intimidation. On a personal level, Shaun had had a tough life. His wife died during childbirth, he was a single parent and his daughter ran away from her home when she was 12. It seemed like power came at a great cost for Shaun. He hadn’t heard from his daughter since that day but he tried his best to focus on the job at hand rather than his personal problems. This tendency of his to focus on work over family may have been one of the reasons she ran.

He always wanted more power. He wanted to take his country and his people to new heights. Nomisma had recently developed nuclear weapons which they intended to keep as a final deterrent to stop any and all conflicts. Under his rule, the defence expenditure had tripled and the military was being equipped with modern-age weapons and tools developed by their ally Atismar. Elections were due in two years and Shaun had to do something to sway the public in his favor. There had been various allegations of corruption against him and the only reason he had been saved till now was because of his presidency.

Tyrinn had always had a policy of aggressive expansion and Shaun had to be on his toes at all times to ensure that they didn’t take any untoward step.

While he was going through all of this on his desk, his Secretary of Defense burst into the room in a panicky mode. He said, “Mr. President, we have a situation. We need to brief you in the Situation Room right away sir, if you would please come with me.”

Shaun understood the urgency of the situation and followed his Secretary to the room which had been designed to prepare for any and all eventualities. When Shaun entered the room it was already filled with the heads of all three branches of the army and the vice-president. They all stood up to greet him and the Secretary of Defense took his position next to the projector board to brief everyone.

“Our satellites have picked up Tyrinnian Ships travelling to Whitebeach.”

Whitebeach was a communist country just off the shore of Nomisma. Much like Atismar in the east, Whitebeach was the one communist country among the capitalist superpower surrounding it. Atismar on the other hand was a capitalist country sharing its borders with a communist super-power.

“Now officially these ships are supposed to be carrying food supplies and grains for storage and feeding the poor in Whitebeach but our nuclear radars say that these ships are carrying nuclear missiles and other arms to militarize the people of Whitebeach. We think it is a planned uprising against the capitalist regime in our country that is being funded by Tyrinn.”

“What options do we have now?” asked Shaun in a tensed voice.

“We could scramble our navy to intercept and bloackade the coast of Whitebeach to ensure that these supplies don’t reach them. We could carry out a dialogue with the Tyrinnian president to solve this diplomatically.”

“What else?”

“If none of these work and the weapons do reach Whitebeach, we have only one option sir, Nuclear War.”

All the heads rolled down when they heard those words. Nuclear war was never an option but if Tyrinn was mobilizing its nuclear weapons to a country right off the coast of Nomisma, they couldn’t just sit on their hands and do nothing.”

“Order our fleet to block the path of these Tyrinn ships and ensure that they don’t reach Whitebeach. Contact Atismar and tell them to mobilize their troops and put them on high alert across the border with Tyrinn. Tyrinn may use this as a distraction to occupy Atismar while we deal with this. We are now officially at war ladies and gentlemen. Indus have mercy on us all”

Shaun tried to unite and motivate his men at this crucial time. There was no scope for error. One small mistake and the world could be devastated by a thermo-nuclear war.

———————————————————————————————————————

SUPREME COURT

ATISMAR

“We have all gathered here today to witness the end of the trial between Joe Chill vs The state of Atismar.” The judge spoke to the audience gathered here to see the end of what had been one of the most chilling court cases of past memory. Don and Levi were sitting among the audience. Although there were murmurs and whispers about seeing Levi in the audience, everything went quiet once the judge arrived. Levi was still furious at what Don had told him the night before. The man who killed his parents turned out to be a Tyrinn spy. He was looking for some resources to get through his time in Atismar and he ran across the Fexes. Thanks to political pressure from Tyrinn, it was widely expected that Chill would not only walk out free, but also be escorted to the Tyrinn border before being handed over to their officials. It was supposed to be an act of good will to try and maintain peace and harmony between the two countries. While the judge delivered his long, boring speech about peace and goodwill, Levi could only think of the injustice of it all. He had been beating criminals to a pulp trying to vent his anger but it was actually Tyrinn who was responsible for his current predicament. The judge delivered his speech, let Chill walk free and struck the hammer on the gravel. Levi was still stunned at what was happening but before he could do anything, sirens started going off across the country. The sirens had been put in place to warn people about impending enemy attack, telling the people to take cover. The court was evacuated quickly as some people panicked and Chill was taken by the people of President’s Guard to a secret unknown location. Levi and Don made their way to the mansion to get a stock of the situation.

——————————————————————————————————————

Within minutes, they were up to date with everything that had happened on the global politics scale. They didn’t know what they could have done now but they knew that they needed to be ready for any eventuality. The naval radar, air radar and every other gadget they had was functioning and ready to be called upon for work should anything happen. Levi understood why Tyrinn was doing its operation now. Their president was facing the prospects of a public revolution against him and he needed to do something to keep the people of his nation occupied. He believed that occupying Atismar and Whitebeach would be an achievement that would ensure his stay in power for at least another decade.

Right then the radars started going off, they had detected a bogey object on an upward trajectory

“What’s going on Don?” Levi asked.

“Looks like Tyrinn has released an ICBM sir, the radar expects it to strike Atismar in about 10 minutes.” Don updated

At the same time radars went off in Nomisma as well. The situation room was almost panicking,

“Sir, Tyrinn has released a missile. It is expected to strike Atismar anytime now.” Informed one of the officers

“Is it nuclear?” asked a worried Jett.

“I don’t know sir but do you really think we can take any chances?”

Jett needed to make a decision fast; he had very little time before a missile released by Nomisma could no longer intercept the Tyrinn missile.

“Fine, Code Red people, release the nuke.”

A missile took off from a silo located on the eastern seaboard of Nomisma, it had to travel across the globe to intercept the Tyrinn missile.

Back in the Fex Mansion, Don and Levi were still watching that Tyrinn missile make its way to Atismar. Now they had another missile coming from Nomisma to intercept the already air-borne missile.

“They are going to collide over Atismar.” Levi deducted “A nuclear explosion over Atismar skies, it could cause a nuclear winter that ends Atismar as we know it.”

“What can we do, Master Fex? Atismar government is the one calling the shots here.” Don replied in a seemingly ominous tone.

Levi took his high grade binoculars and looked through the window. The missile could now be seen as a small spot over the sky but there was something curious about this missile. There was no back burner on it. Suddenly a terrible realization donned on to him and he said, “That’s not a missile Don.” He looked shell shocked, “It is a goddamn bird.”

The common crane, a species of bird which were known to fly at high altitudes. It looked like this one had gotten separated from its pack and had some foil paper wrapped around its body. The radars caught the sunlight reflected by the foil and thought it was a metal, probably from a missile. Now a nuclear missile was on its way to intercept a bird in foil wrap. This could be even more devastating than thought of before. Levi had to do something and he had to do it fast.

He picked out the new bazooka that had been created by Fex-Inc and was said to have a range of 50,000 feet, almost 50 times more than the current crop of RPGs used by most nations. He took aim. This was the moment he had to sacrifice a bird to save his nation. It was a moral grey area. He was choosing thousands of human lives over an animal. He didn’t have time to give it serious thought. He let the RPG loose.

In 2 minutes a confused Common Crane who had foil wrapped all over itself was blown to pieces out of nowhere. The only problem was that there was still an ICBM on its way to the skies of Atismar to intercept a missile which no longer existed.

People in the situation room in Nomisma were looking on their screens intently. It was minutes before the missiles were supposed to collide. Suddenly the Tyrinn “missile” disappeared. Gasps were heard across the room. Jett asked, “Did it detonate? Were we too late?”

“No sir, there has been no detonation. It just seems to have disappeared.” Said an officer, confused.

“They must have been using this as a threat. They self-detonated it somewhere safe. This was just a warning.” Assumed the Air Force Chief.

“What do we do with our missile now, Mr. President?”

“Ahh increase its altitude and detonate it at a distance where it harms no one. False Alarm.” Decided Jett. “Get me Tyrinn’s president on phone. I think we need to have a chat.”

By this time global media was going crazy at the developments. People were already convinced that this was the end of the world. They were stocking ration and hatching down into bunkers. Two global super powers had allegedly launched nuclear missiles at each other. The Tyrinn ships were still on their way to Whitebeach. Something needed to be done immediately to neutralize this tension or earth could have had a catastrophe on its hands.

Meanwhile, In the situation room, Jett was now talking to the Tyrinn President, Cynthia Scholes, “Should we take that missile launch as a threat to war, Mr. President?” Jett asked.

“Tyrinn launched no missile. This is another one of your conspiracies to malign our image to the world. There will be consequences for these lies you are spreading Mr. President.” Rebuked Scholes.

“We know about the ships and the goods they are carrying Scholes. You are going to go to war over nothing at all.” Jett had now let go of the formalities.

“It is not like you are without sin either Jett. I know of the spies you have in Whitebeach to instigate people to revolt against the communist government. The atrocities you are carrying out to our innocent civilians in your country.”

The two heads of state were now at an impasse. They both knew that if they backed down now, it would mean the end of their hold of power. Both of them knew what was at stake for them professionally and personally. It was an open secret between the two.

“We both know what will happen if either one of us backs off here.” Said Jett trying to reach a compromise. “How about we both come out with a joint statement that this was caused due to a misunderstanding among our staff. You can fire some people and I will fire some on my side.”

Scholes reluctantly agreed. This was the only possible way to spin it without getting negative press feedback for both of them. “You will have to take out your spies from Whitebeach. I can’t let you continue trying to topple a communist government while I sit on my hands.”

“Agreed. Recall your ships Mr. President. Looks like we have an agreement.” Said Jett and the two put the phone down at the same time. It was a subtle power move but one where no one came out on top.

The world slowly returned to its senses in a few days. Don and Levi sat in the basement seeing it all unfold.

“We just saved the world Master Fex, never thought I would be saying these words.” Don said taking a deep breath. “They were going to go to war over a bird.”

“People are losing their minds, Don. It looks like we are going back to dire times. Ones that used to exist before Dr. Indus blew up 400 million people into pieces.” Levi wondered.

“You do know what your mother would have said to that. Gods and Heroes emerge when times get tough for humanity, that is when they rise up to the occasion.”

“I am not a god Don. There is no god, and if there is then he will have to come down here and have a little chat with me.”

Don quickly changed the topic, “Do you remember Naavsar? She was a childhood friend of yours.”

Levi’s face seemed to turn red immediately when he heard her name, “Oh yeah, what is she doing nowadays?” Levi said trying his best to maintain his composure.

“She is a journalist now. She works for a national channel. She might actually be in town I think.” Don said trying to set up a meeting between the two. “Should I invite her over?”

“No, no, no, I’ll go meet her somewhere myself. I will get in touch with her.” Levi was breathing quickly now and almost stammering.

Levi dialed her number and they decided to meet in the restaurant they used to eat in when they were young. He dressed up as sharply as he could, trying to impress her. The night they were supposed to meet came. They got a table and started looking through the menu. They ordered some starters but then the inevitable conversation came up.

“You had been gone so long. Then I heard you were back. I wanted to meet you as soon as I heard.” Naavsar said in a sweet voice.

Levi replied, “I wanted to meet you too. It was the first thing I wanted to do but I had some work. Look there is something I have to tell-”.

Naavsar’s phone rang, she picked it up, “ Oh hey honey, yeah I am just out with an old friend. I’ll be home soon.” She turned to Levi and said, “Sorry that was just my boyfriend. I forgot to tell him I’m coming here.

Levi stopped mid word. He felt embarrassed but then again he shouldn’t have expected something from her. He was gone for a decade. He finished dinner and went back home to start his night duty as Coronis. Don was waiting for him there expecting some good news but as soon as Levi walked in, he knew something had gone wrong. He chose to stay quiet.

“So what do we have tonight? Robbery, Murder, Kidnapping…anything?” Levi asked.

“Everything seems quiet sir, but I am worried about what is coming.” Don replied

“What do you mean?”

“Well sir every time we get something new, our enemies seem to get something worse to fight it. In ancient times, long bows were replaced by cross bows. Cross bows stood no chance against guns, then we got rifles, semi- automatic rifles and then automatic rifles. We developed Kevlar and someone created Kevlar piercing bullets and now this nation has a shadow running in darkness beating people up. I worry about what the enemy will throw up now.”

“I understand that but you don’t need to underestimate my abilities. I cannot just stop doing what I do. Cops and the Army are bound by rules of engagement to solve any crime. I am not. I can do anything I wish to do to a criminal and there is nothing anyone can do to stop me. It is not necessarily right, but it is necessary. For light to exist there must be darkness. For peace to be there, there must be warriors who fight for it. For every white dove to fly freely, there must be a crow. There must be, A Coronis.

THE END