In Pan Post 125 Toaster Cannons are firing Toastinators, blessed by the God-Monarch Yannah, at the High Imperial lines. Despite their powerful crystal-tech, the blessed Toastinators are able to overcome the High Empire ships and soldiers until time begins to reverse and the High Empire is being restored after the attack. Yannah uses her sixth sight to find the one responsible is the Powerplayer X from the Stronghold of Powerplayers on Urbis Imperia. Yannah manipulates the crystal-tech of the city and unleashes destruction. Highemperor demands that X act quickly to defeat Yannah and X forms a crushing shield around the Toastest with the Mostest, the flagship of the Toastinators, and Yannah couldn't escape. She is rescued when Vedas Khaan attacks X and follows her after she teleports away. X requests aid and Carian Myste jumps in. Vedas uses mass mind control to take possession of the minds of the High Imperial forces, who open fire on the two Powerplayers. Aryst Omnistellae then comes to their aid and the three of them face Vedas together yet they are still unable to overcome him and he reveals he has only been toying with them. He is unexpectedly attacked by Knightlord Thorn, whose sword thrusts through Vedas Khaan. Injured but angry Vedas is still undefeated until his head suddenly disintegrates. Back on Mega Jonestown Prime it is revealed that the responsibility lay with Neith Liérèn, much to the anger of Imeryn Hypericum but Neith merely insists that she missed her true target.


Wizardess Duel

Toaster cannons launch Toastinators - lethal liquid-metal androids formed from sentient toasters - through the gulf of space. The captains of High Empire ships glance at the onslaught of metal ballistics, and laugh - as if that sort of thing could penetrate their high-powered force fields or crystalline hulls!

Then their ensigns report weakened hull integrity, followed by the Toastinators smashing through the somehow-brittle hulls and advancing inexorably through the corridors of the ships. Despite the extremely durable crystal armor of the soldiers, the Toastinators' ray guns are blessed by their goddess, and as such their lasers scorch through the High Imperial troops' armor. Whenever a Toastinator takes a shot, the liquid metal forming it quickly heals itself, with nary a pause in the android's stride.

In her flagship, the Toastest with the Mostest, the toaster goddess Yannah grins as she finishes her chant. With dozens of enemy ships now weakened, her Toastinator armies would be able to board them in force.

Yannah: Continue launching Toastinators. I have billions of them, and we shall not fail!

A ten-mile-long High Empire battlecruiser streaks through space towards the Toastest with the Mostest, opening fire with its superlaser. Yannah raises her hand, and a glowing wall of green energy - in the vague semblance of a piece of toast - interposes itself between the superlaser and her flagship. The superlaser glances harmlessly off the divine barrier.

The navitatex commanding the ship does not falter, and all weapons open up, at super charged strength, including the superlaser, in a barrage as impressive as few vessels can muster. It is all to no effect. Yannah raises her hands than brings them together in a great slap. In space, the High Imperial battleship is crunched into paste, as though by two invisible hands of unimaginable size.

Yannah grins in triumph, then frowns as the battleship's personal time seems to reverse, as it begins uncrunching into undamaged state. At the same time, the Toastinators aboard a dozen of invaded High Imperial ships are frozen solid, their brittle forms shattered by the weaponry of High Imperial soldiers and infantry drones.

The toaster goddess casts her sixth sight across the battlefield and sees, far behind enemy lines, the mage-sphere of X. It is, as the name implies, a spaceship with a spherical core formed from orichalcum, approximately the size of a three-story house such as might be found on Earth. Ornate decorative 'wing's fin the sides and back of the mage-sphere, all etched in arcane sigils. A large X-shaped window looks out the front, and through it the Powerplayer Deity known as X looks through her mask at the battle, standing in a ritual circle as she casts her own divine spellwork.

X feels the toaster goddess's eyes upon her, and smiles tightly.

X: Watch and learn from your betters, you oversized appliance.

In response, Yannah conjures storms of crackling lightning, with rage through the battle, forks of energy striking only non-Mega-Jonestown-Prime targets. Whole squadrons of drones and starfighters are obliterated from single bolts, whereas great gashes are torn open in large cruisers and battlestations. The hide of a Cosmic Destructor is scored as well.

X raises her arms and chants out esoteric syllables. Flaming meteors, each the size of the planetoid Ceres in the asteroid belt, rain from nowhere upon Mega Jonestown Prime and its fleet. The tough transparent material of the space city's dome resists most of the assault, but some of the meteors break through, smashing into grand buildings.

Yannah casts a spell of her own, and suddenly every crystal appliance in Urbis Imperia that has any kind of slot or orifice begins spewing crystal toast from it, in bursts so powerful they rip through walls and bodies with ease. Chaos erupts amidst the citizenry, and from his balcony atop the Stronghold of Powerplayers, Highemp frowns.

Highemp: Finish her quickly, X. The God-Monarchs don't care about their city beyond the sole purpose of their alliance, but I won't have this destruction in the safest city of the multiverse.

X: But I like playing with my prey, and besides it's not like you can't instantly resurrect and repair everything.

Highemp: It's a matter of principle.

X: Fiiiiine. But if you want it that quick and decisive, I'll need to use the Tears of Purity.

Highemp: Ugh, I JUST restocked those things after Carian used them on the Seven Sins of the Supreme Soulstice.

X: You can 'punish' me later.

Her sultry tone enlivens him.

Highemp: Go ahead! Use them all if you like!

Quincy: The most powerful man in all Forever...and yet so many women have you wrapped around their little fingers. And you wonder why I've never assumed a gender.

Highemp: Hey now, what's the use of being all-powerful if you can't use it to bestow favors on those you love!

Meanwhile, X performs a powerful ritual that consumes the sacred Tears of Purity. A giant globe of energy appears around the Toastest with the Mostest. Yannah frowns, but she is unable to break the globe, nor is she able to affect anything outside it.

Then...the globe begins constricting. First the flagship's outer hull begins crumpling, then the whole ship begins to crunch and implode, despite Yannah's efforts to teleport away or dispel the magic. The crumpling ship can't hurt her, as the divine toaster is immune to normal pressures, but the globe exerts a pressure of a different, far greater kind, and Yannah gasps as life begins to choke out of her.

Then a flaming comet - haloing the vengeful being within - smashes through the High Imperial battle lines and straight through the X-shaped window of X's mage-sphere. X is slammed back against the opposite wall by the force of the intrusion, and then a strong hand is lifting up by the scruff of her neck.

Vedas Khaan: B*tch! It's time you got your due-- Oh, you're not that fool child. No matter, you all die anyway!

Before he can clench his fist, X teleports away. Vedas frowns and reaches through the astral ether to snatch the thread of her teleportation signature pack. X cries out in surprise as she reappears in her damaged mage-sphere, falling to the deck.

Vedas Khaan: You can't run from me. No one escapes the skrai's wrath!

X backs up, hurling spell after spell at the frighteningly powerful man - if man such a monster can be called - who stalks towards her undeterred. A savage grin splits his face into a terrifying visage as she shrugs off every blast she throws at him.

X: Help!

Carian Myste: Don't mind if I do!

The dapper young man steps out of the broken glass of the mage-sphere's window and doffs his hat. Vedas scowls.

Vedas Khaan: Pretentious buffoon.

He thrusts out his hand far more aggressively than is actually warranted for his abilities to work, and a coruscating death ray scorches the air between them. Carian vanishes in a puff of smoke and reappears behind him. Vedas whirls and grasps Carian by the throat, lifting up the young man.

Vedas Khaan: And now you die.

Carian Myste: You keep saying that. I do not think it means what you think it means.

He opens his pocketwatch, and Vedas disappears, now scowling out at him from the mirror contained in the pocketwatch.

X: Oh my Highemperor, thank Highemperor you arrived when you did.

Carian Myste is begin with sweat with strain.

Carian Myste: He's so powerful...I don't know how long I can cage him--

The glass of the mirror shatters as Vedas Khaan erupts from it, howling in anger.

Vedas Khaan: Fool boy! No one cages the skrai!

X gestures with her staff, and great hands spring out of the floor to catch Vedas by the feet and ankles, holding him in place. He snarls and rips one foot away, but as soon as he sets it down to rip away the other one the hands grab him again.

Carian twirls his cane, and suddenly twenty identical Carians appear surrounding Vedas, all stabbing at him with the swords in their canes. Vedas roars, but it is all rage and no pain.

Vedas Khaan: ENOUGH!

He makes no immediate apparent attack, and Carian and X pause expectantly. The former skrai only stares at them in malevolent triumph, and then the mage-sphere shakes as it is fired on by all the nearby High Imperial battleships.

Carian Myste: What the devils?!

X: Mass mind control! This was his most terrible weapon in the Only War!

X and Carian work together to fight the mind control, attempting to return their allies to sanity, as the mage-sphere disintegrates around them, leaving them all in space. They are dodging the weapons blasts as they attempt to counteract the mind control. Vedas only laughs as stray bolts strike him that miss the other two.

Carian Myste: We'll fix their minds later. Right now, Vedas is the problem!

He unflects all the affected battleships into one of his mirrors, where they are contained and cannot harm anyone for the moment. No sooner has he done that than Vedas begins flinging death rays at them again. Carian and X block and dodge as many as they can, but they're getting battered.

Aryst Omnistellae: Never fear, my friends!

As he yells his battle cry, the powerplaying god Aryst zooms through the void to smash into Vedas. Even as beams of golden light lance from his eyes to strike Vedas in the face, Aryst pummels the former skrai with all his strength. Vedas grunts in irritation before recovering wits enough to land a punch directly in Aryst's midsection. The powerplayer deity is slammed back through the void against the hull of a High Imperial battleship.

More High Imperial battleships have arrived, and are firing their weaponry at Vedas Khaan ineffectually. Vedas raises his hands and brings them together, and all the battleships nearby are smashed together - directly around Aryst. Explosions blind Carian and X for a moment, but Aryst emerges, the edges of his tunic singed but mostly unharmed. He is clearly winded however.

Then he, Carian, and X are gripped in flaming light, paralyzed and pulled to Vedas. They struggle, yet they cannot so much as twitch a finger or use the smallest power.

Vedas Khaan: I have only been toying with you. You do not have the ghost of a chance against real power.

His proclamation breaks off into a choked gurgle, as a large shining blade erupts from his chest.

Knightlord Thorn: Power, untempered by wisdom, is not real power.

Vedas Khaan: You're dead, you fool--

He is coughing up blood as he speaks, and his latest threat is cut off as Thorn twists his blade, ripping the first cry of pain from Vedas that he has yet uttered. Yet, with impossible strength, the former skrai whirls around - the motion ripping the blade's hilt out of Thorn's hands - and seizes Thorn's shoulders, despite the blade still protruding from his own chest.

Then a beam of cosmically powerful energy disintegrates Vedas Khaan's head.

Clear across the gulf of space, Neith Lieren lowers her bow. Zhuge, still sitting on his stool and puffing his pipe, raises an eyebrow but says nothing. Imeryn turns to the elfin God-Monarch, her voice calm.

Imeryn: That was Vedas that you hit.

Neith: I missed.

Her tone is flat, leaving no doubt that - despite her statement - she fully intended to kill the weakened Vedas Khaan.

Imeryn: It is no matter. I would have had to deal with him after our victory anyway. And he served his purpose. The powerplayers have been tired and weakened...

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