In Pan Post 61 several Master Mages have gathered in the ruins of Doughtdelf, which was blown apart in HFO Post ?. Although they have the return of Merlin, as a ghost, the mages have been vastly diminished in strength due to the failing nexes of Earth. Present in the group is also Citizen Rex, sent by Hero Force One's Dr R. Deep on his behalf. Although Merlin was able to save Albion from destruction in CatH Post ?, the result was that Albion is now sapping the magic from Earth. Ultimately they need a new supernexus and they know only one who can do this - the current NeSorceror Nyneve. However she is known to be selfish and even evil and none, save Merlin, believes she would sacrifice herself to make this nexus.
The other master mages nod soberly. They are in the ruined city of Doughnutdelf, once in a massive cavern beneath Stonehenge, now open to the sky since the nexus here was devoured to fuel a terrific explosion.
Mustang Ford: It's the best we can do. We are vastly diminished.
Merlin's Ghost: Yeah, but you have me back now!
The lich-wizard that is Mustang looks significantly at Merlin's ghostly body, which disappears below the torso.
Mustang Ford: As I said, we are vastly diminished.
Merlin's Ghost: Hey now! I was the most powerful wizard of my day--
Hermes Trismegistus coughs delicately.
Merlin's Ghost: YOU don't count. You have all kinds of divine superpowers. If it were a contest of pure spellslinging, I'd whoop your butt, and I still could put Mustang over my knee and spank his arse!
Taliesin: Regardless, we are none of us as powerful as once we were. Not with the nexes destroyed.
Citizen Rex: What's a "nexes"?
The master mages look at Citizen Rex with some exasperation.
Hermes Trismegistus: Remind me again what he's doing here.
Hermes Trismegistus: For the love of Zeus, why? He's both powerless and a fool.
Citizen Rex: Hey now, I'll have you know I once wielded great power! So I know what I'm talking about!
Hermes gazes steadily at Citizen Rex, who balks.
Citizen Rex: Okay, so I'm a clone of someone who once wielded great power! Close enough!
Hermes Trismegistus: I don't recall it being MAGICAL power that your progenitor used. He could warp existence without mystical intercession.
Citizen Rex: Yeah, but, um, well...
Hermes harrumphs but lets it go at that.
Mustang Ford: So why did you call us here, Taliesin?
Taliesin: We have to establish a new center for magic. Rebuild the ranks of our order, and begin research into how magic works now that it is weaker, due to the loss of the nexes.
Citizen Rex: You still haven't told me what a "nexes" is.
Everyone ignores him.
Hermes Trismegistus: We have a worse problem than that.
Taliesin raises an eyebrow at his old pupil.
Mustang Ford: How is that a problem?
Hermes Trismegistus: In and of itself, it is not. A worthy achievement to be sure. But Albion feeds on Terran magic. Now that there is no nexus constantly renewing the supply...
The other master mages gape.
Merlin's Ghost: Earth's magic will be completely drained!
Taliesin: And then Albion too will fade, once its source of magical energy is depleted.
Citizen Rex: This is a bad thing...right?
Taliesin: That's right, Rex. Have a cookie.
Citizen Rex: COOKIES, YAY!
He proceeds to munch rather noisily.
Hermes Trismegistus: Well, at least you shut him up.
Merlin's Ghost: Say, I remember how good your cookies were, Taliesin. Mind if I nip a few?
Taliesin: Sure, I've got a few bespelled with a ghost touch charm, have at them!
The sound of munching is doubled.
Hermes Trismegistus: Anyway, it's not just Earth's magic that is at stake. The whole universe will be depleted of magic if Earth's vanishes.
Taliesin: Hmm, I hadn't considered that. Your sight ranges the stars rather more than my more local interests. But if I understand correctly, Earth sets the pattern for the universe?
Merlin's Ghost: Right then. The only solution is to create a new nexus.
Mustang Ford: Not the ONLY solution. We could cut off Albion again, let it die.
Merlin's Ghost: You monster!
Mustang Ford: It's not monstrous if it's the lesser of two evils.
Hermes Trismegistus: He may be right, Merlin. It is beyond our ability to create a nexus of sufficient strength to sustain both Albion and Earth. Thoth recreated a nexus in Egypt, but it will be decades, if it not centuries, before it achieves sustainable levels.
Mustang shakes his head.
Mustang Ford: She won't do it. She is far too concerned with her own survival and aggrandizement.
Merlin's Ghost: You're wrong. There is good in her. I can feel it.
Hermes Trismegistus: Star Wars[Ext 1] ripoffs notwithstanding, I don't share your optimism. The planets come into alignment soon. I'll give it till then. If Nyneve doesn't sacrifice herself to create a new supernexus...well, only one option is available to us.
A dark silence falls between the master mages. None can find anything more to say, and one by one, they depart.