Emperor Michael of the House of Cooper, Holy Roman Emperor, Emperor of the United States, King of England, King of France, set on his throne. With wrath, he read the notice sent to him by his stewards. The latest protests for democracy and secularism (Michael spat out mentally each time he read those words) had happened in Koblenz. Why could they not accept that he was ruler by Divine Right, placed by God to rule them with absolute power just as He had appointed them to be ruled by him? The voice of his advisor, Archangel Michael, rang in his head, reminding him of the explanation: This was the work of Lucifer, the Great Deceiver, the first who had dared to question the authority of the Creator. These revolting peasants were not just seditious traitors, they were heretics and blasphemers. Oh, Emperor Michael looked forward to the mass execution of the survivors.
Just then, a THUD! shook the room. Then another. It came from the grand main entrance of the throne room. Then, with a final THUD!, the gate came crashing down. It revealed a suit of heavy gold-brown and olive-green power armour. While stylised, its helmet, gauntlets and feet were reminiscent of a lion while the torso resembled that of a tortoise, and at the centre of its chest, a T with its arms styled after the claws of a beast was emblazed. It was Esmeralda Flores, the Lady Tarasque, one of those pesky super“heroes”, self-declared champions of freedom and the common people against Michael’s “tyranny”. His guards charged forward. But before his most trusted knight, Gabriel Dulac, could join the fray, Emperor Michael told him to wait, following an intuition given to him by the voice of the Angel.
The decision proved wise, a window shattered above them and a figure swung down with a grappling line. It was a man of Mediterranean complexion and medium build. He was wearing a black swashbuckler outfit including a domino mask, with red trims and golden decorations, and he was brandishing an elegant yet robust sabre. Aldamir Kaplan, the fourth Freiheitsdrang, descendant of the original freedom fighter during the Third Reich and the first Turko-German to take up the mantle. Gabriel Dulac drew his blade and charged – twice before their blades had me, and twice before, their duel had been interrupted. Gabriel was determined to not let that happen again.
With both the guard and Sir Gabriel occupied, Emperor Michael panicked. He ran towards the back door… but before he could escape through it, he was greeted by a woman clad in colourful blue and green tights, a black belt, a round black helmet with a teal sensor and decorations that gave her a slightly beetle-like look, black gauntlets and armoured black boots emerging from the door. She was stout and dark-skinned, and she seemed to radiate vitality. Monica Silverton, Doctor Vivax, hardy mistress of biological manipulation, was standing in his way. She hit Emperor Michael with a quick yet well-placed punch that seemed to sap his strength. He stumbled back and slumped against a statue of a knight. Yet his ego was not yet broken.
“HOW DAREST THOU TO DEFY ME, THE TRUE LEGITIMATE SUPREME RULER BY GOD’S GRACE!?!?”, he screamed.
“Legitimate? God’s Grace? No, you are nothing but yet another tyrant with delusions of grandeur and a messiah complex – if an extraordinarily successful one. You start wars over ancient and perceived slights. You revived superstitions and legal horrors long banished into history. Your rule is oppressive and disastrous. By any rational metric, you are completely unfit to rule!”
“But… but… God, our Creator and Father, has degreed it!”
“I do not believe in your god. But if he really exists as you believe him to be, he would be the worst abusive parent of all times,” – Vivax was becoming increasingly agitated – “a petty narrowminded autocrat who cares only about blind obedience and the façade of wholesomeness! He is a monster, created in your own image!” She collected herself with a sigh. “It is said that you believe yourself to be destined to be the final king of England. May that be true – I have never been a supporter of the monarchy even back before your reign. And now…”
“…but… but you are not going to kill me, are you?”, said Michael, almost beggingly. “I know your kind! You don’t have the heart.”
Vivax seemed to hesitate for a moment. Then, she finally said: “No, I do not. But I cannot speak for the fourth member of our team. Or have you noticed that your alarm systems have been disabled? She had always been one of the more… pragmatic ones, and for her, it is personal, for her wife was among your regime’s victims. Cold regards from Carla Castor.”
Michael remembered Carla Castor, nicknamed “Operative Nightgun”, from the time when they both served in the CIA, until she had resigned. While somewhat of a loner, she was probably the best sniper he had ever worked with, highly competent while still retaining a conscience. She seemed so unlike someone who would commit the abomination of sodomy….
Cornered, Michael responded in the only way he could think of – he drew his stiletto and lunged at Vivax. The dagger hit its mark, yet it did not seem to concern her greatly. The last thing he saw was Vivax drawing the stiletto from her chest, her blood already clotting. Then, Nightgun fired twice from her sniper nest on a nearby rooftop – one bullet hit Michael in the heart, the other in the head, killing him instantly.
From the corner of his eye, Gabriel Dulac noticed his lieges collapse. And as he did, so did Gabriel’s world. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”, he screamed. Freiheitsdrang used that moment to disarm the Knight, forcing him to capitulate. The imperial guard, who had held out remarkably well against Lady Tarasque, lay down their arms. And as she made her way to the throne room, Nightgun sent a call to the entire resistance network. It was a short message, yet it spread like a wildfire. “The Tyrant is dead.”
The end of Emperor Michael’s reign of terror was celebrated all across Europe and the United States. And the deeds of the heroes who defeated the Tyrant, and many others who had defied him and often paid with their life, would be celebrated for many generations to come.