Quinn stepped through the door to the house where the rest of the Beckett family was. She had a couple of surprises for them. The first was when Adam walked in. It was a wonderful reunion. Sure, they were a little mad. But he seemed so contrite that they couldn’t stay too mad. Especially when the bigger surprise came into the room – Amelia. The lot of them were overjoyed, fawning hugs and kisses on her. They heard about Mary and why she was killed. Two of their children lost, it was harrowing. However, they were both ready to greet the future.
Wolf called Thomas away, wanting to talk to him.
“What’s up?” he asked.
“With Adam now on our side, it’s time we got the final act of this party started.”
The broadcast went out to the entire world.
“Presenting Her Imperial Majesty!”
Everyone in the room stood up. Quinn walked in, a warm smile in her face.
“To the entire Empire, and the nations I, Eleanor Ann Fox, have called this meeting to announce some changes. First, I am issuing my last proclamations, because, from this day forth, the Imperial Nation of America is not longer going to be an Empire. I am beginning the reestablishment of the former United States of America. Also, to help facilitate the reformation, along with being the interim President until new leaders can be elected, I am abdicating my claim to leadership to Thomas Steward Beckett.” She stepped aside as he came to the podium.
“Thank you, former Empress Eleanor. Your duty to the people of this nation shall not be forgotten!” They shook hands, with him turning to the crowd. “Under my father’s leadership, this nation committed war crimes that we cannot begin to apologize for. However, we can work to undo what he has done. We shall begin by posing a resolution to the other two great Unions of nations – to create a global reorganization of power. It shall be called the United Confederation of Nations! Divided into blocks, with regional government, the world will now be able to truly be unified. Working together, we can make this world better. We can also recommence a project that my father abandoned – the construction of the orbital elevators. Once they are completed, and the solar power generation network is established, the world’s power demands will be a thing of the past! I’m not asking you to trust me immediately. Trust must be earned. All I ask is that you give us the chance to prove what we’re capable of. I thank you all.”
There was applause all over the room. The world was on the verge of a revolution. Thomas looked back at Quinn, smiling. The plan they made was finally coming to fruition.
The graveyard was massive. So many bodies. Bodies of old comrades, fallen enemies and enemy commanders were as one here. All of Winter’s Shadow and those who fought in the battle were gathered in uniform.
In her last speech, Quinn stepped to the podium.
“Let us never forget those who sacrificed their lives for this day. The day when the weapons are let down and the soldiers are able to rest. We are all veterans. This moment is for each of us. Now, let us salute our fallen comrades.” She stepped off.
“Present, arms!” They all saluted. There were 21 guns in front, honoring the dead. It was a sad day for all. The field stretched out further than the eye could see.
The judge was standing at an alter that they had on the deck of the Odysseus. It was in Canada that they were having the ceremony. Quinn was wearing a very classic tuxedo, while Emily was in a white dress.
“I understand that you have written your own vows,” he said, looking to them.
Quinn took Emily’s hands, holding them. “Emily, I love you. I’ve loved you from the moment I met you. Back then, so much was different. I was so filled with anger and rage. I hated your country and your people. But then, I fell in love with you. I didn’t think it was possible. You have been the shining light in my life. As much as I’ve changed in these years, that is the one thing that has stayed the same. I won’t promise you that we’ll always be together. Who can really make that promise? But I will promise that I will do my best to make every day that I am with you the best days we have ever had.”
Tears started to run down Emily’s face. Her smile was so big. “Quinn, when I first met you, I didn’t get who you are. You seemed so distant. But the closer you got, the more I realized that you are the most wonderful person I have ever met. Even after everything you’ve done, and all you’ve been through, you are still wonderful. I’ve grown so much. I’ve become a better person. I want to be better with you! I love you.”
The two took the rings, slipping them on each other’s hands.
“By the power vested in me by the people of the newly-reformed nation of Canada, I now pronounce wife and wife. Hopefully one of you kisses the other bride.”
That got a laugh out of those attending as the two women held each other tight in a warm and long kiss that neither wished would end.
The reception was one of the loudest alcohol-infested parties that has ever been seen. Also on the deck of the airship, old and new fighters were celebrating their time together. Their newest Knight, given the title Killer Croc, was in uniform. Those who had been with them at the start of the war were reminiscing about the insane battles early on. Merc and some of the Runners even showed up. Gabby was glad to be with them again. Deathstroke and Black Mask were also reminiscing. It was funny – even though he betrayed them, nobody seemed to care. Maybe all of them were just tired of holding grudges. The war was over. Everything was done.
The Knights were showing off to those who weren’t associated with Winter’s Shadow as to what their talents were. It felt good to be able to brag. Along with going into the one-up battles as to who was better. Enigma and Brainiac went into a drunken argument about who was the better engineer. They decided to settle it by seeing who could build the best machine while shit-faced. They departed to the lower levels for this. Luthor was finally here in person. As was Nagisa. It was a good day, for all of the people who had been involved in Winter’s Shadow to be gathered in one place again.
There was also the children from the Inlet. Now free from the threat of becoming lab-rats, many of them wanted to go up into space. That was now becoming the hard target for humanity. The Nova Particle had taken away so much of the fuel problems associated with it. The colonies already up there were going to be expanded. The Colonials were also working on establishing a lunar city. NASA, now restored to all its glory, wanted to look into Mars as well. It was a new chapter in human evolution. Everyone could feel it. There was also the end of a war. It felt great.
When things had died down, and the lot of them were either passed-out or talking, Quinn and Emily took their leave. They got back to Quinn’s cabin, finally crashing on to the bed.
“God, it feels like an eternity since we have just been able to sleep together!” She groaned, holding her wife tight.
“For real! Is it wrong that all I want to do is sleep! I mean, sure, we’re married. Kind of expected that on one’s wedding night, they have fun, but…”
“Eff that. I think both of us have earned a little sleep. There is time enough for sex. Right now, all I want is you with me.” She pulled the covers over them. “I love you, Emily.”
“I love you too, Quinn. I’ll always love you.”
World history was forever altered the day that the United Confederation of Nations’ Charter was ratified. All but 28 nations joined in. All of the Middle Eastern nations opted out, saying that they were not slaves to the rest of the world anymore. With the Orbital Elevator project now getting back on track, there was less and less of a place for nations who wouldn’t play ball. The Middle East was already marginalized due to the almost complete non-existence of machines that used petroleum-based fuel. Once the oil markets died, their countries died. Wealthy nations turned into tribal war-ridden hellholes in a single year. The invention of the airship and the Nova Particle fuel made it worse. Now, their nations might as well no longer exist. Since no one else seemed to care, and travel from the Middle East was tightly controlled, the only place they had to vent their frustration was each other.
With the UCN now turning its attention toward expansion into space, they needed a fighting force that was not associated with any one nation. A force that could be a multi-national security force. They found that in Winter’s Shadow.
The Wolf was on the bridge of the Odysseus as President Beckett made the proclamation.
“Do you accept this charge, Wolf?”
“We accept the task given to us by the United Confederation of Nations!” There was applause, both in the room and at the podium where the announcement was made.
Law were also passed about human experimentation with the Nova Particle. Only certain groups could get licenses, and the work was strictly monitored. They knew that they couldn’t ban it, so instead, laws were made to ensure that it was only done for good causes, and not for military purposes. All of the Knights were gathered with her, all in uniform. Every one of them had stayed with the force. To the people of the world, they knew that the security of their planet was in good hands.
Quinn lay there with her wife, gently caressing her fingers. It was then that Emily had a thought.
“I was wondering – do you ever think about having kids?”
41 Years Later…
They ran down the dark hall. There were three of them. The first was a young man, dressed in an black and red outfit, wearing a mask with the design of a fox on it. The second was a young woman who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Her bald head was covered in tattoos, dark and Gothic. They were in the design of a skull. It was rather beautiful, in a dark sort of way. The third was a woman with short hair in the back, long in the front. Her bangs hung down in her eyes. It was a dark, dark red color. She had a patch over one of her eyes. There was a Gothic metallic design on it, and the patch was very, very large. A jewel hung down from it, with silver metal twirling down and a sapphire sphere at the top. The patch was secured with a metal clasp. The one eye that could be seen of the girl was blood red.
“Harley, where the hell are we going?!” the other girl asked, holding tight to her arm.
“I don’t know. Fox, you got any ideas?”
He held up his arm. A holographic image encircled it. “According to the schematics, we need to go this way.” They ran fast. There was the sound of people in the tunnels looking for them. They turned corner after corner, following the young man. Finally, they came to an elevator. The three got on, taking it up. When it opened, the girl with the eye-patch took out a weapon. It was like a blade, but was clearly changeable. Like it was more than one weapon. The weapon suddenly shifted, becoming a very long gun.
“It’s safe! Let’s go!”
They started to run out, only to see a small drone appear above them. It was a camera-drone! Just then, there was the sound of airships descending. They looked up to see a whole bunch of them, with each having a small engine that had particles flowing out of it. On top of the one in the lead was a woman in a red uniform. She had a blade hanging down from her side. There was something regal about this uniform.
“My name is Colonel Audra Beckett! There is nowhere for you run! Surrender immediately and I promise you that you will not be harmed!” Dozens of troops were gathering around her. They were on balconies above them, surrounding them. All of them were armed to the teeth, pointing their guns right at them.
“What happens now?!” the girl with the tattoos asked.
The look in her eye was cold. “Now we die.” She brought her gun to bear. The man with the mask pulled out a handgun as well.
“Let no one say that we didn’t fight to the last.”
The story isn’t over yet.
Until next time, a quote,
“It’s over! Open your eyes and face reality!” -Lighting, Final Fantasy XIII