My day started like any other. I awoke to Bernard standing over me, telling me it was time to get dressed. I drudgingly got up, showered, and got dressed. I walked into the kitchen, and, as usual, my father had already left for a meeting at Trask tower. This was expected of course, as he was the owner and CEO of Trask Inc., my family’s company. Trask Inc. owns The Epsilon data brokerage firm, ‘Mech-Tech’ weapons corp., and THI consumer production. Lots of money in my family, so obviously Bernard is my family’s trusted servant, and my room is on the second level of the penthouse of the Axiom building on Lakeshore Dr.. I go to Lakeside High. (A slightly preppy school by Lake Michigan in Chicago Illinois. In fact it’s practically on Lake Michigan) My mother wasn’t there either. She died five years ago, I was ten.
My father is rich, but I don’t get treated like a rich kid. I don’t get a car, I have to work for my cash like a normal kid, and I get punished when I get trouble, just like anybody else. My father refuses to let me end up like one of those privileged rich kids on TV. After my mother died, he took it as his responsibility to raise me the way my mother would’ve wanted. Even though he wasn’t always here to do it himself, he made sure I was raised right, and taught to be a man she would be proud of.
Bernard drove me to school that morning, like every other morning, which was only a few minutes away from the penthouse. Little did I know that this would be the last time I drove anywhere with Bernard for a long time. I got out of the car, he told me to be productive, and I walked to the library section of the campus.
In the library was my usual group of fellow nerds playing Magic The Gathering. “Eugster, there any room for me to cut in?” I asked, making fun of Jacob’s last name like usual. “I don’t know, any chance you’ll call me by my first name this era Trask?” Jacob retorted. “Fair enough ‘Yacob.” I teased, sticking my tongue out. Things proceeded as usual, I gave him a run for his money, he crushed me, I left as the bell for first period rang. I climbed to third floor to reach Mrs. Jenkinson’s Sophomore History class.
The bell rang, she called role, called for Aaron Trask, and I responded with my usual “He died.” Everything was proceeding normally, until the phone rang. Mrs. J answered the phone, and on the other end was a very loud, frantic sounding vice-Principal McKay telling Mrs. J not to turn on the news. Naturally, the first thing Mrs. J did was turn on the news on the overhead projector. The first thing that appeared on the news was live video of a colossal alien ship leveling buildings in DC. Screams went up across the campus as other students saw what we were seeing. There was footage of nearly every major city in the world being annihilated by massive steel warships with lasers and some kind of infantry pods they’d rain down on the city they were attacking. It was nightmarish, and highly unreal. The ships had destroyed every major capital in Europe and Asia within minutes, and were now taking the east and west coasts of the US.
The president appeared on the screen, a bunker wall in the background, and issued a state of emergency. Within minutes coastguard had moved into, and locked down, Chicago. Tanks were screeching through the streets, and people were herded into shelters. All of this was being broadcasted across the school to nearly every classroom.
Screams were renewed as Haley spotted an alien warship hovering towards the city from across Lake Michigan through the window. National Guard moved into our school, and kept us in our classrooms while they locked down the perimeter and set up defenses. By this time I was terrified. There was no escape for any of us, and the soldiers protecting us didn’t seem to stand any chance against this enemy. “We’re screwed.” I whispered under my breath. F16s from fort Campbell came soaring from the south to engage the warship. They were shot down in seconds of their arrival.
The warship was now directly over Trask Tower, at the center of the city. I held my breath tightly. Dad… I thought. It began shooting thousands of pods down at the city in swarms. Buildings were leveled by the impact of thousands of pods shooting through them; roads were demolished by the crash-landings. Then the warriors came out. The pods would burst open to reveal metal monsters. They reminded me especially of the Phyrexian soldiers from MTG, but I knew that they couldn’t be, it was just a game, this was real.
So real in fact, that the “Phyrexians” burst into our school. We could hear screams and gunfire downstairs as they progressed to the top of the building. The soldiers outside started shooting, they were nearly to our room. We were gonna die, and I was sure of it. Screams, silence, then the door was knocked from its hinges by an alien that resembled a Phyrexian Crusader to a scary degree. The aliens mercilessly killed Mrs. J in front of us, and marched all the students down the hall and to the atrium at base floor of the school.
We were put on our knees with our hands behind our heads, in rows. Once they’d rounded up all eleven hundred of the students, a human cyborg came into the room. It took me a minute to discern his features, as those who moved slightly from their positions were executed on the spot. When I caught a good glimpse of his face, I realized he looked exactly like Tezzeret the Seeker from MTG. Once again I dismissed this as ridiculous, but could not deny the similarities to Tezzeret’s etherial artifact arm.
‘Tezzeret’ began walking through the rows of kneeling students. Every forty or so students, he’d stop and point at a student. Metal alien soldiers would immediately behead that student, and go back to their positions. At first I thought he was eliminating the weak ones, like cattle, but realized that if that was the case, he wasn’t doing a very good job. He was passing over obvious targets. Then it hit, everyone he’d killed had been a magic player. It was a longshot, but it was the only thing the victims had in common.
This elimination process continued for several minutes. I stared up at the ceiling, hoping I could grow wings and fly through the glass that separated the atrium from the world outside.
The school Atrium had become a place of death. Dead soldiers, teachers, and students were strewn everywhere. As ‘Tezzeret’ approached me, he stopped and stared me in the eyes. He gazed almost angrily at me, then pointed directly at me. I was going to die. I looked up at the glass ceiling praying desperately for a miracle. As I felt the cold metal hands grab my hair, the glass roof above the atrium shattered and rained down on my attackers as the form of Gideon Jura crashed to the floor and crouched in an attack position. I used the distraction to grab my executioner’s jagged sword from it and slash it across the neck, half-beheading it. It slumped to the floor, and as it did so, I turned to see Tezzeret, agent of Bolas, and Gideon Jura dueling with all their magical might.
There was no more doubt in my mind about the origins of these enemies, only confusion. The aliens ‘were’ Phyrexians, the cyborg was ‘definitely’ Tezzeret, and the knight that had come crashing through the ceiling was, without a doubt, Gideon Jura. Somehow their world was invading ours. The only sure thing about this: if Gideon Jura was here, then there was someone here to help too. Tezzeret and the Phyrexians were overrunning Gideon, quickly. I knew that if I wanted to live, Gideon was my only chance of survival. I looked off to the far wall of the Atrium. There, on the wall, behind glass, was the pair of spears covered by a massive round shield. The school’s coat of arms.
I’d always hated the school coat of arms, and here was my chance to destroy it. I threw my stolen sword at it with all my might. The glass shattered, and I ran to acquire my new weapons. I picked up the sword and looped my belt around it in case I’d need it later. I adorned my heavy shield, (which I could barely lift) and grasped the spear. I stood in a Roman attack position, and charged into the fray. I somehow felled three soldiers with the spear before being knocked onto my ass by a crusader. It raised its blade to strike, but was hacked to pieces from behind by Gideon’s sural.
Gideon pulled me to my feet, and told me not give them time to breath. We fought back to back, my spear and shield providing cover for his back, his sural saving me from countless enemies that would want nothing more than to watch my blood spill out onto the ground. Tezzeret had somehow disappeared between the time I had grabbed my weapons and when I charged into battle.
I had no time to think on this though, as I was too busy fending off foes. Gideon yelled from behind me, “Get ready to run!” I waited for the signal to flee, which came swiftly. We pushed through the Phyrexians, knocking over and killing as many as possible as we went. Gideon slammed through the doors that separated the Atrium from the parking lot. I led Gideon through the rows of cars that remained intact while the battle raged around us. We ducked behind an overturned truck and hid there.
“Alright,” I began, “what are you, Tezzeret, and a shit-load of Phyrexians doing in our world?! You’re not supposed to be real!” Gideon looked puzzled. “How do you know of Tezzeret and the Phyrexians? Wasn’t this universe separated from the multiverse by a barrier?” This time it was my turn to be confused. “You’re a card game!” I shouted. The car next to us exploded. We stopped arguing and ran for new cover.
Gideon and I ran, shields high over our heads to avoid beams and shrapnel. I lead him down the now demolished Lakeside Dr. and through the buildings across from the lake. The gunfire was all around us now. The screams, explosions, and inhuman laughter rang through the air. We made it to a narrow alley and stopped. I turned to him to get a better look at this guy. He was definitely Gideon Jura, but what was he doing here?
“Are you, or are you not, Gideon Jura?” I questioned. “I am. How do you know this?” “Because here, you’re a character in a card-game. A powerful white planeswalker to be exact.” “Strange… So then, the Phyrexians, they are a part of this game too?” “Yes. You, the Phyrexians, Tezzeret, Chandra Nalaar, Elspeth Tirel, Ajani Goldmane, Jace Beleran, Lilliana Vess, the list goes on… So what are you doing here, on our world? As far as we knew, your multiverse wasn’t real.” Gideon looked as though he was he was thinking about how to respond.
“My part in all this began on Ravnica. I was helping the guildless set up defenses against the rakdos cult, when I was approached by Sorin Markov, Elspeth Tirel, and Ajani Goldmane. They told me that Nicol Bolas had some scheme that put the multiverse in danger, so I went with them to find Chandra, and then to Dominaria.
“On Dominaria, we amassed an army large enough to conquer a kingdom, to protect an artifact crucial to Bolas’ plans, and were forced to fight a Phyrexian Invasion force head-on. We were eventually crushed, the artifact stolen, and placed within a machine designed to destroy the barrier that separates your universe from the multiverse. When the enemy made it through, we chased after them, hoping to stop them from tapping into your massive mana reserves and crushing your world.
“We were hoping you would be resisting more than you are though. So far, you’ve been getting slaughtered faster than we can possibly prevent.” I looked at him with disgust. “We ARE resisting asshole!!! We can’t exactly use magic; we’re forced to rely on our weapons, which are far more advanced than yours are. We have no spells to use…” Gideon looked sorry, genuinely sorry for me. He wasn’t trying to be rude; he was just as frustrated as I was. He felt as helpless for my world as I did.
I was still thinking about what had happened in the atrium. “What was Tezzeret doing back there? He just kept killing people randomly.” Gideon looked weary. “He was eliminating threats. Killing people with inactive planeswalker sparks.” I was dumbstruck. Planeswalker sparks, on Earth; this was too much to take in. Gideon continued. “Your world is full of them, but none seem to have ever activated. Tezzeret would have killed you too, as you were definitely the biggest threat to him. I saw the way he reacted when he detected it, and realized that you were the perfect person to start a resistance against Bolas and the Phyrexians.
“Your spark will ignite eventually; it has to in a situation like this. And when it does, others’ will too. You’re world may yet have a chance. A slim one, but a chance none-the–less.” Gideon seemed hopeful, but all I could do was think how many people I knew were going die, and had already died. “We need to go to the west side of the city, NOW!” I commanded. “What is on the west side?” Gideon asked calmly. “More sparks…”
We had made it West Chicago high, my best friend’s school, by late in the afternoon. I had lied about the sparks; I honestly had no idea whether there were more potential planeswalkers here. I just knew that if this apocalyptic world was ever gonna be worth living in, I needed to save my best friend Neko.
The school was already infested with Phyrexians, but it looked somebody had given the ugly bastards a run for their money. Many lay dead on the ground in piles of scrap, and there were gaping holes in the building from explosions of some kind. We couldn’t see any humans, but proceeded anyway, hoping that there were survivors resisting somewhere inside. We plunged in, Gideon taking point, killing whatever stood in our way. Thankfully, the Phyrexians were mostly scattered about the building, no real resistance to be found.
We checked both floors, and had found nothing. It was frustrating, and worrying. I needed to find Neko, before the Phyrexians did. Thankfully I hadn’t found his body anywhere, so I knew he wasn’t dead. We decided to check the basement and leave. We went down the stars and over to the storage closet, which had its door knocked from the hinges in a very Phyrexian manner. There was no light, it was black as night in the closet. I stood behind Gideon in case we were attacked. There were dead Phyrexians all around our feet. Something had resisted fiercely.
“STAND BACK YOU UGLY SONS’A-BITCHES!!!!” Gunfire broke the darkness as bullets ricocheted off Gideon’s shield. Whoever was shooting emptied their full-auto’s clip on Gideon’s shield. “Neko?” I called to the darkness. “Aaron???” The voice responded back. I was relieved, he was alive. Neko yelled through the darkness. “What the hell are you doing all the way out here? How’d you get here?” “Neko, there’s no time to explain, we have to leave before more Phyrexians show up to finish you off.” “Phyrexians?!?!” Neko, we HAVE to go!”
We left, fighting our way out of the building. We made it to an abandoned house in a suburb nearby and ducked inside. Gideon watched the door while we talked. Neko was about my height, (5; 11) and a little scrawny. He had midnight-black skin, and deep brown eyes that could held a comforting, friendly surface. His hair was cut so close to his that I’d often joked he didn’t have any. Which, compared to my long, flowing blonde locks, was fairly honest.
It took a while to explain what was going to him, he refused to believe that this was real, and told me on many occasions that I was out of my mind and needed to be serious. Once he got the just of the situation, he became very silent. He’d come to the same conclusion I had just hours before. Everyone we know, everybody we’d ever befriended, loved, or acquainted ourselves with, was dead, or would be very soon. A sense of helplessness settled over the room. Gideon walked in, and asked what the plan was. “Survive.” Neko said. I wanted to agree, but something inside me, a part of me I didn’t know existed, wouldn’t accept this. It wouldn’t allow me to give up, and accept the cushy melancholy I was slipping into. It practically screamed to do something, its will slightly stronger than mine.
“We’ll do more than survive, we’ll thrive and conquer.” Neko looked flabbergasted, but Gideon looked impressed. I definitely had their attention. “We’ll go to Trask tower. It’s still in one piece. If we make it to my father’s office, I can hack his computer and steal the weapon files from Mech-Tech. We can go somewhere where somebody can make the weapons for us, and build an army. They haven’t taken the states indefinitely, there are still places where the Phyrexians aren’t, we just have to go those places and rally a resistance. We can still win.” Neko had started to nod his head in approval once I had finished. Gideon looked pleased with the plan. We agreed, and began laying plans for getting into Trask tower immediately.
Like Gideon had said, we had a chance. It wasn’t much of a chance, but it was a chance none-the-less…