Got a bit of a quick turnaround here. Some of you have been wandering about what was going on with Earth. Well here you go.
Also, sidenote, but I made a corrective edit to Chapter 2, in which Lelouch talked about killing forty three thousand. It's in actuality forty-three million. My original draft had a different event that caused peace, but then I realized how unrealistic it was, and how it deviated from Lelouch as a person. So, I decided to go with a darker iteration of a Zero Requiem, but without the canon ending.
There once was a time in which she naively believed in the goodness of people. That the only thing that was wrong with the world was the fact that people refused to come to the table and talk, instead taking the path of violence to solve their problems.
However, like water upon the beach, that belief had slowly been eroded by reality, as her eyes were opened in the worst way.
She had been at Narita when Cornelia had been killed. Listened in horror as Lelouch lifted the veil from her eyes detailing the monstrous actions that had been visited upon him and his. She had listened as her sister had asked for death.
That day, on that battlefield, her naivete had died in the blood, ash and sorrow, and while she still retained both a kind heart and open mind to this day, it was grounded in the knowledge that not everyone was unequivocally good.
Maybe that was why Lelouch had ensured that she became Empress. He had never confided in her why he had done it, only that she had been the only choice in the matter. After almost two centuries of blood and hatred, it would take the exact opposite to soothe the wounds that resulted from The Reckoning.
Forty three million people over several mid-sized cities consumed in the fires of FLEIJA. It had been Zero's magnum opus that far overshadowed everything he had done before. Where he had taken off the mask of being a man interested in justice, and revealed himself to be nothing more than a monstrous terrorist created by the world.
In one day, the entire world had changed, as the horrors at creating such a monster had caused the world to pause. What had been a world in constant conflict, with a true world war on the horizon, had stood down in the face of a much larger threat, one borne of that same conflict. A threat that had intimated that he had more FLEIJAs ready to detonate on a whim and a much larger targets.
What had previously been leaders and peoples ready to go at each other's throats, suddenly found themselves united in a common cause.
It was also the greatest lie ever perpetrated.
Oh, she had understood the rationale behind it. The world had refused to change, humanity proving itself to be incapable of uniting through conventional means. So Lelouch had decided that if humanity was unable to do so, he would force it through sheer force of will alone and focusing all of the world's hatred upon himself.
It was only because of Kallen that he had not gone through and killed himself, instead using her persona to focus all of the world's hatred upon.
And despite everything he had done, she was grateful that he had survived through it all. Maybe it was selfish of her, but Lelouch had not asked for what had been done to him, things that even she balked at trying to imagine. She was only grateful that Lelouch had seemed to find some sort of happiness in a life that was too full of suffering.
Unfortunately, that happiness had been short-lived, as not six months after The Reckoning, an alien ship had appeared over the planet. As Empress of Britannia, and First Chairwoman of the United Federation of Nations, it had fallen to her to communicate with these aliens. It had only been a bad feeling that she had recalled her brother.
It had been a decision she still wondered to this day if it had been the right one, not for the Earth, but her brother.
Then again, it would have likely ended in the same way, just the circumstances would have been different and much worse. The commander of the alien vessel, revealed to be human, had first attempted to ingratiate himself with them, and it had only been Lelouch's paranoia that had revealed the intent behind such actions.
There was no interest in peaceful integration into the Empire, the commander had sealed orders from the Emperor of the Galactic Empire about if he encountered the Earth, which was to ensure its pacification. The reason why wasn't known until much later, but the orders had cemented that they had only one choice: to fight.
With no other choice, she had unleashed Lelouch, knowing that it was the furthest thing he had wanted to do, in order for any chance to survive. She had authorized the weaponization of Geass, and given a carte blanche to Lelouch to use his Geass on any enemy of the Earth, knowing full well what it meant.
Lelouch had enslaved the Captain, and then the crew of the ship, taking it over with few casualties, in the hope that no message had been sent out in order to buy time for them to prepare. She, along with the rest of the world, had shifted its entire economy from domestic production to full war footing, factories once again producing weapons and munitions in a desperate race, taking everything they could from the alien ship and integrating it into their military hardware all the while training and preparing for the worst.
It had never been enough. Even with Lelouch being the Supreme Commander, reactivating the Damocles Project and mass-producing FLEIJA warheads, it had only been enough to stop the initial wave.
She still remembered the grim expression on her brother's face as he reported the arrival of an entire reinforced squadron of the Empire's most powerful ships into the system. The clinical and detached method in which Lelouch announced his attempt to engage them with everything he had, knowing that the likelihood that any of them would survive was almost non-existent. All in the hope of buying yet more time, and maybe getting a few evacuation ships out before his forces finally succumbed to the onslaught.
When he had signed off, she had believed she would never see him again. That by the time it was over, they would all be dead, and Earth would be left a burnt-out, lifeless husk.
Oh, how wrong she had been.
She stared out the window, watching as an Lambda shuttle took off in the distance, taking its cargo back to his flagship in space.
They had avoided annihilation, the Emperor wanting the planet for his own aims, but that didn't take away the fact that Earth was occupied by the enemy. While it was not necessarily a hostile occupation as long as there was no resistance, it was an occupation nonetheless.
An occupation dependent upon Lelouch's cooperation and success.
"Penny for your thoughts?"
The sudden interruption of her brooding caused her to spin around in surprise at an all-too-familiar voice.
She looked different, with her hair cut short and dyed blonde, but there was no mistaking the golden eyes that always seemed to pierce right into your soul.
Of course, there was never any mistaking the woman that was both known for rescuing her older half-brother, but also giving him the power that allowed him to change the world. An immortal witch with powers that challenged what one knew about reality.
An immortal witch on the run.
It had been one of the contingencies Lelouch had put into place before his capture. While he had plotted around the destruction of Earth, he had also planned for what to do if there was an occupation. Using the Thought Elevators as bunkers for not only eventual resistance if they survived, but also to provide a shelter in the event that the Earth was scoured of life, capable of being self-sufficient long enough for humanity to have a chance to survive.
So when the Imperial Fleet entered the solar system, contingencies were enacted. C.C and the best and brightest of the world being evacuated into the Thought Elevators along with enough people and supplies to repopulate humanity. Data was deleted. Records were falsified. Everything was done to wipe them from existence in the event of occupation.
And occupation had come. But the purpose, however, was much different than what any of them expected. By the time Lelouch and Suzaku were shipped off to God-only-knows-where, the reality as to why the Emperor had an interest in the Earth was revealed to her. But it wasn't only that, but it was also the origins of Geass.
Earth was a Force Nexus.
The actual origins of this would likely never be known. So many of the ruins were lost in the thousands of years since the collapse of whatever it was that was here. However, the fact of the matter remained, the Earth was rife with the Force, and contained a mutation of the Force that was not encountered before: A mutation that had been named Geass by its inhabitants.
But it was more than that. And it took years for her to realize it, but it wasn't Geass itself that the Inquisitors that had descended like locusts upon the planet were searching for.
No, they were searching for Code Bearers.
They were searching for C.C.
How the Emperor knew of her existence, she couldn't hazard to guess. But the fact of the matter remained, the Emperor wanted the secrets of immortality. A terrifying prospect that she was unable to pass to Lelouch, or even Suzaku.
"What are you doing here," she demanded, thankful she had already dismissed her aides for the evening.
"I thought you would enjoy the company," the immortal replaced, sauntering over into a chair across from her desk, "considering the meeting with OverseerTromel didn't seem to go well," causing Euphemia to frown in memory of the last few hours.
There were a few choice words that could describe Etritus Tromel, the man in charge of the occupation of Earth, none of them favorable. Every time Euphemia met with the man, she was left with such a disgusting oily feeling that not even a single soak in a bath seemed to wash it away. The man wasn't cruel, but you were always left feeling uneasy around him, and the man was quick to punish if he felt there was disobedience.
The latest meeting with the Overseer had been over the latest 'successes" Lelouch had and how to present them to the populace. It disgusted her how the Empire sought to rub their faces in their defeat, but also show how they were being used to conquer and enslave others.
But it was more than that, as she knew what sort of hell this was for Lelouch. He had wanted nothing more to do with the world after what he had done in order to create a semblance of peace. Instead, he was now a pawn of a man who made Charles zi Britannia seem like a saint event on his worst day.
"I'm worried about him," she finally admitted, watching the inscrutable expression of the immortal flicker just slightly, "even Lelouch has his breaking point, C.C."
She was met with silence, and for a moment, she wondered if she was going to even receive an answer at all. Just what it was that went on in the mind of the immortal she always had wondered: Was she still even human?
"Of the hundreds of contractors I have had over the hundreds of years," C.C. finally spoke, obviously having deliberated on exactly what she was going to say, "Lelouch has been the one who always seemed to make the impossible possible."
It wasn't much of answer, if she were to be honest. In fact, she wanted to snap back at the woman, but held her tongue as it wasn't productive in the least. However, it wasn't the end.
"A grown man would have broke under the tender mercies of the Eunuchs within a week," her solemn tone broke the silence again, "a thirteen year old boy resisted for almost an entire year, Euphemia. Fueled only by his hatred, he did what a fully grown man was incapable of."
Her golden eyes slid from looking out the window back to her, pinning her down in their intensity.
"Hatred is such a strong emotion, Euphemia. It was Lelouch's hatred that allowed him to bring the world to its knees and change it. But that is nothing more than a pale shade to the power Lelouch's love for her."
"But she's dead!"
C.C. smirked in response, leaning forward in the chair, "Are you sure?"
Her mouth opened to angrily retort, before pausing as she peered uneasily at the witch. If it wasn't for the surety, delivered in a catty tone that only C.C. could do, she would have dismissed it. But there was always a sense that C.C. was privy to a much larger game than she, or even Lelouch, had been aware of.
"When a contract is formed, a link is created between patron and contractor, one in which the patron can sense the general well-being and location of the contracted," C.C. explained in that damnable tone.
"Alive. And very near to Lelouch, at least, that is the feeling I get."
If that was true, that Lelouch and Kallen were once again reunited, then that meant. Her eyes widened, even as C.C. rose to her feet.
"Four weeks, Your Majesty."
She couldn't help but blink at the sudden change in subject, her mind grappling with the ramifications of Lelouch and Kallen, and what it meant for them. For a moment, it didn't register what that meant, before it clicked.
There was a nod from the immortal, "We'll be ready."
With her part said, C.C. rose to her feet, before fading away as if she were never there in the first place, leaving Euphemia with her frenetic and nervous thoughts at the declaration she had been left with.
Molten gold opened once again to the world, adjusting to the light as their owner slowly roused herself from the deep meditative trance she had been in. For a few minutes, she merely sat there in quarter lotus position, organizing her thoughts and reviewing the experience of what had just transpired..
Four weeks. It would all either begin or end in four weeks.