The door closes behind you. It takes a mere fifteen seconds to get out of that nameless, faceless corporate outfit; the fridge provides you with a nice, cold beer and you sit down to watch the latest. After all, after slaving away at the Axe-Factory all day, the last thing you need is to hear that your hard work has gone to no end. Fingertips find the clicker and the tele clicks once, then buzzes softly as the screen warms to life. While your picture is coming in, you can hear the news anchor talking about something. "...forget that profits for Axes-R-Us are up six percent over last quarter." Well, someone is certainly making a killing off of the war! But does it amount to anything? Your patience wears a bit thin as the commercials start up. You've already gotten hold of your Ostrich Bonnet, the latest device devised and distributed by your government to protect you in the event that the Empire gets near the the recently painted, formerly dull and gray village that you live in. You pause to reflect on just how nice your hard work had made that darned village! "We now return to the news with a report from the front. Imperial soldiers stormed across the border on April Fifteenth. In the time since this happened, our daring forces have managed to capture twenty one Hellestarian villages! Its quite the accomplishment, and a severe blunt to the fact that they've only managed to capture a small chunk of territory, one hundred and three villages, with their dastardly first strike attack. With a ratio like that, their Empire will run out of troops and we will easily be able to capture K24 from them." Your heart fills with pride as you hear these words. Twenty-One! Its a lucky number! Its blackjack! Its an accomplishment! Its more than any other foe might be able to do, a greater achievement since-- "It has recently come to our attention, however, that another tribe has stepped into the war. Focused on the strategy of attacking their inactive players, -Boot- has managed to capture twelve Hellestarian villages while only losing fifteen of their own! These villages were captured as an attack of opportunity, mostly from the player Yavoth who was..." You can't believe your ears! You immediately shut your TV off and run to your radio. There, you know that you can - illegally, of course! - receive the Imperial Radio Channel itself. Nothing private was ever broadcast over it, of course, but they informed their populace the same way most governments did - with news briefs that anyone tuned in could pick up. Suddenly, you hear the voice of their leader, Jess, discussing the very same issue your television news had just raised! "...So. Long and short, ladies and gentlemen, here's the scoop: -Boot-'s at war with Erevos, who is at war with CBTF who is at war with Kraken who is at war with us. The usual great big open-ended circle jerk. We'd attacked their active players, they'd attacked ours, but we kept it gentle, right? Anyway, -Boot- adopts some guys we're nobling off to top it off, so we offer them the 'ol Billy Martin. Make us whole on the soft stuff, kick the guys that've screwed our friends over, and in return we'll NAP you while keeping Kraken pressure off you so you can get right back to pounding EreVos in the face. You save a bunch of hassle, we save a bunch of hassle, right?" You're on the edge of your chair with glee! This is it! This is the bone that'll break that damned Empire's back! Surely they aren't going to do what you think they will! They can't possibly be crazy enough to declare against another tribe. They can't in their wildest dreams think they can add the #2 tribe in K23 to their list of enemies! They can't... Then, you remember their history. Mainly because that sweet, seductive, and sadistic voice on the other end of the radio reminded you. "World 8, Ori vs THE - 17 to 1. Who won? THE. We're bored. -Boot- had a chance to make it all right. How'd we do it? Well, first of all we had some good friends - REL helped out a bit, as did CLOROX as did CEG. Most of all, though, it came down to about five players - Lakai, AK_Iceman, Paddy and JPohlman and CFox. They went from the south-east corner of K44 to the north-east, and went west until Ori no longer existed. It came down to a few good men, and those few good men won." "I'm just sorry that I'm not on northern K33, and I'll have to settle with the -boot- front and won't get the real action against Kraken. But, it'll be good to stretch my wings and fly again. I look forward to it. After all, if you think this is the last news announcement THE'll have - if you think I'm two-bit enough not to have some contingencies planned for this - you're crazy. And, if you did, then you're probably 'bout ready to cry." You clicked the radio off and smiled. THE had made a fatal mistake. It couldn't keep up this ratio. It was limited. JPohlman? He's just making this up. You know THE is doomed. After all, all those players JP mentioned are...Wait. Four of the five are still on W30, on different names? Yes, yes, you remembered reading that somewhere! And, wait, THE has plenty of border space to go along with -Boot- that it didn't share with Kraken, meaning brand new attacks. And most of all, he has something else planned? I mean, what could it be? The acquisition of new allies? That's old hat for him. Attack plans? Well, anything he comes up with, surely your leaders can beat - you know that! So then, what exactly gives you that tingle in the back of your throat, that rumbling in your tummy, that sensation that maybe - just maybe - the Empire isn't overextending itself, but rather... And then, you remember. You remember that THE has never lost a war with JPohlman in the hot seat from day one. Worse, however; the memory of this past isn't the most painful sensation you experience. Its the realization that THE never will, either. Another tribe was marching to its demise, a -boot- that had already been worn thin and dry... You down that beer and six more, getting ready to go in on a Sunday to the Axe factory. You realize that your fellow Kraken will need many, many more... Thought I'd try something different. Enjoy!