Chapter 1: Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Prelate Petra Kristensen believes in being good at her job. Largely because being BAD at your job got you killed. “Survival of the Fittest” was the big rule of Apocalypse in all things – don’t like your job? Then kill the guy whose job you DO like. Or if the boss didn’t like one’s work, he could “fire” him in any way he saw fit. Thankfully, Petra was good at her job.

The fact that she was made of stone helped. She turns, her rock-body grinding at the movement, and shouts. “Is that conduit ready yet!?!”

A small head looks over the edge of the pit. “Almost ready ma’am!” It disappears for a second, but then pops back out. “Just a second!”

Sighing, Petra crosses her arms. She knew how long it would take. Originally a terrakinetic, Petra’s powers put her in touch with the very planet itself. As such, if she concentrated, she could feel any thing happening anywhere. She kept a small piece of her consciousness checking on the progress in the pit above. A small team of workers – her crew – worked almost around the clock to dig new tunnels in their hunt for magma. This particular find, the lava flow that Petra stands only feet above, is one of their best in years. Once they get a power conduit down into the molten river, the estimates are that they will generate enough power for all of Vegas – all from one flow!

Any sense of elation that the Prelate was feeling is cut short though as she can feel Ester – the “face” from earlier – walking back over to the ledge. Ester is lucky that he’s good at HIS job. With another sigh, Petra lets her body fall back to the Earth as her consciousness travels up the stone, growing a new body right before the short man reaches the ledge.

“Ester, we’ve been behind schedule on this dig for weeks now, what can possibly – “

“Ma’am, I-I’m not, ah, I’m not sure what to say,” Ester begins, pushing his glasses up into his small, mole-like eyes. “We, ah, we have…a technical glitch?”

The Prelate looks over her side. A team of men – all of them mutants with a high-heat tolerance – stand around an enormous black cable, easily twenty-feet tall. They are all chatting amicably, joking or exchanging stories. Petra turns back to Ester with a powerful glare. “The hole is dug. The team is ready. The cable looks fine. What. Is the problem?”

Shifting anxiously, Ester starts to make his way back to a large computer relay station. The entire machine has been specially treated so that it could survive at the high temperatures. Hopping up onto a stool, Ester runs his short, stubby fingers over the controls so that a specific screen pops up. “T-take a look at, ah, at this.”

Petra leans in, the metal of the machine bending and crying under her weight. “Make it quick Ester.”

“Ah, yes.” He says. “Y-you see this screen? T-this is the power grid for the rest of the country – h-healthy and whole, for the most part.” Twitching a knob, a new screen pops up. “A minute ago-o the entire grid turned, ah, turned into…into this.”

“I don’t understand.” Petra says, squinting. “The only reason we get black on here is when something ISN’T drawing power from us right?”

“That’s, ah, that’s right.” Ester replies with a glasses-push. “We seem to have lost…well…most of the Mid-West ma’am.”

“Forget those dregs.” Petra says, playing with the machine herself. A slight tremor runs down her spine. A fair portion of Petra’s consciousness is devoted to monitoring the whole of her mountain – and just now something started to happen up top. She shakes it off though. “A-Island is gone.”

“Y-yes.” Ester replies nervously. “I, ah, I noticed that.”

A new screen pops up. “This is real time, isn’t it?” Despite the alarming fact that the home of her king – the High Lord Apocalypse, damned be his name – has apparently gone missing, something in the upper portions is getting…chaotic.

“Yes ma’am.”

“Why are we missing A-Island?” It’s like someone is tapping on the back of her neck.

Ester gulps audibly. “Th-that is our, ah, glitch. Ma’am.”

“So you’re telling me Ester.” Petra starts, standing up straight. “That for some mysterious reason Apocalypse Island is…gone?” Tap. Tap. Tapping on her neck.

“It, ah, it’s absolutely possible that it’s merely a, ah, a mistake in the system, perhaps the monitoring equipment was d-damaged in the recent chaos or-or-or maybe one of the stations over at A-Island is…ah…defragmenting their drives?” He smiles weakly, knowing that none of those answers are suitable.

Tap. Tap. Tap. “Fine. Okay.” Petra says, turning towards her crew. “Gentlemen, it’s the best day of your lives – we’re done for the day! Go get some clean water and someone to sleep with, I’ll let you know we’re ready to start again.” The entire cluster of men start cheering victoriously. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Petra turns back to Ester. “Get to the comm-kids. Get me A-Island.”

“An-and assuming we, ah, can’t…get them?”

“Then let me know.” Petra says, rubbing where her temples would be if she still had a physical brain. “BEFORE anyone else. I have something to check on.”

The Prelate’s body falls apart, leaving Ester all alone in the pit. He sighs.

“I h-hate my job.”