Vaxis - Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures is the latest chapter in The Amory Wars Saga. It takes place "well into the future" on the timeline, after the events of No World For Tomorrow. Like The Afterman, the only supplemental material was a novel that came in the Deluxe Box Set released along side the official release on October 5, 2018.
It was written by Claudio and Chondra and featured illustrations by Chase Stone. It marks the beginning of a new arc in The Amory Wars that follows the son of Nostrand Crane and Nia Worn: Vaxis. Claudio has stated there will be Five Acts to the Vaxis Arc.
Set sometime after the events of No World for Tomorrow, the planets that formally made up Heaven's Fence are scarred and cracked after an event known as "The Great Crash." A group of elites known as the Five Houses of the Star Supremacy have converted these worlds into prison planets such as The Dark Sentencer. This album tells the tale of two new characters, Sister Spider and Creature as they struggle with being imprisoned in The Dark Sentencer and fight to secure the safety of their unborn son, Vaxis.
The story is not broken into distinct chapters, but does feature breaks throughout the text. This summary is broken up into sections for easy digestion.
The first paragraph outlines our new setting:
"YEARS AGO, chaos cut through this atmosphere. The fractured worlds that inhabit this space were once locked in a force of uncontrollable destruction. Gravity was lost. Their planetary trajectories conjoined in one catastrophic collision, choking to remain viable even as the dying glow of their cores peek through the cracks and scars of those impactful moments. Yet a gasp is a sign of life, and the planets that many might have cast off as annihilated space continued to show a pulse across the hopelessness. These discarded earths were still very much alive… and made profitable by the Five Houses of the Star Supremacy, an elite society who looked to the sky and saw potential in the nearly-wasted planets. The opportunistic approach could hardly be considered an act of empathy for the human condition, as the decision to convert the dying planets into private prisons meant an unthinkable life sentence awaited those shipped off to their remote reaches. Here, the desolate and derelict burn away slowly, trapped in a race to death with the very ground they stand on. In this space, between the Well and the unknowing.
Our story starts there. Into our future, yet far beyond our past. In a romance between a pair of unheavenly creatures."
Then we taken to a scene on a ship call The Gavel, where Nostrand and Otto are being sentenced to life imprisonment on the prison planet The Dark Sentencer, widely considered the worst of all the planets within the HOSS' network. A flashback to the fateful day that eventually led to their capture cuts through early on. The pair, in their alter-ego heist garb, is joined by a third: Sister Spider. She's spunky and confident and takes charge, which obviously rubs Otto the wrong way, as does their overly lovey-dovey attitude. Things seems to be going as planned, until a shot rings out through the bank and Otto rushes them out saying that Sister is dead. Nostrand protests, but Otto forces him at gun point to leave her body behind.
Otto lashes out at Nostrand for having been captured and reveals that Nostrand's search for what happened to Sister (whose real name is Nia) was completely futile as it was he who killed her. The two begin to fight (as much as they can being restrained) before being released and immediately ejected into a special space tunnel from the ship to a sort of landing pad for the planet below. Being unprotected in space, no matter how quick, causes them to lose consciousness mid-fight after Nostrand kicks Otto.
Nostrand wakes up in the middle of a street without direction. He goes into a nearby bar to do a little info gathering where a chat with the bartender leads him to decide two things: he won't get a Gutter (a device that rips a person's guts out of their bodies) and, as a result, will have to avoid HOSS and fly under the radar. He's not sure how he's going to do this, but leaves inconspicuously after the conversation is over.
Speaking of Gutters, we change scenes to Otto on an operating table getting his installed. He doesn't scream or even move, though eight guards hold him in place. He has a flashback to his childhood; as a small boy, his father was an addict and gambler for a game called "clarisy." Otto became quite good at the game himself in order to impress and bond with his father. One night, however, Otto called out his dad on a cheat with a lot of money on the line. Being little, he didn't understand that this meant his dad would lose, and he took out this lost on Otto himself. The nasty scar across his jaw the result of which.
After the procedure, Otto is taken to his "dorm" to rest--a claustrophobic room consisting of a glass wall in the front, a thin mattress on the floor, and a pull out compartment in one of the solid walls that acted as a waste receptacle. As he settles in for the night, he vows revenge against Nostrand.
Back to Nostrand who is wandering the streets looking for ways off the planet so he can resume his search for info on Nia. She had no one but him (her family having all died) so how was there an obituary in the paper? What happened to her body? He wanted answers and he couldn't get them here on the prison planet. He runs into an old friend, Pilo. Pilo works for HOSS but notices Nos doesn't have a Gutter and is thus in violation of his sentence. She quickly diverts attention from him and takes her to her "place"--a run down little building where she has an even worse run down little room on the twelfth floor.
There, she tells Nos that HOSS doesn't care where she stays as long as she shows up for her shifts and stays in line. Nos tells her about Nia's possible demise and his plans. She can't really help him with his goal, but she offers him a place in her room to lay his head. Nostrand has a strange dream about a young Nia, playing in a yard and talking to an imaginary friend she calls, "Sister Spider." As lightning begins to form, Nia begins to get upset and cries out for Sister Spider, who has apparently disappeared.
Nostrand is shaken awake just as this happens and Pilo tells him she's had a sudden thought: he should seek out Mr. Wish, a kind of leader of a subsection of inmates that people call the Windows. She tells him Windows are strange; they keep to themselves and don't seem to have been sentenced for crazy crimes like the rest of the inmates. "They wander, not paying much attention to this world around them, totally immersed in something else. Something you and me can’t see. The guards won’t make them work and the Subservers are too scared shitless to take them down there,” she says.
Nostrand asks why people are scared of them and she simply replies with "Ghosts." She says that they are "riddled with the souls of the dead," or so people think. If it's true, they might be able to let Nostrand communicate with Nia. With a new goal, Nos leaves right away to search for them.
His search takes two days, but finally he comes across an erratically moving man. After a brief chase, the Window leads him to a a cavern where a dozen Windows are surrounding another Window on a rock mound. He tries to politely interject, but they effectively ignore him. He crosses into the circle in frustration and is immediately grabbed.
"What do you seek?" they ask, though it seems to be a vocalization of the one in the middle, on the mound.
He asks if he's Mr. Wish, and after receiving an affirmative, tells him about his desire to speak with Nia. Mr Wish tells him no one by that name wishes to speak with him. Nos is confused, does that mean she hates him? Mr. Wish can't say. Nos pleads, trying to clarify why he needs to know, but after getting no where, decides to storm off. Before he can properly exit, Mr. Wish calls him by name, which he never gave. Mr. Wish says his son is what he should live for.
Nostrand thinks it's a joke. "I don't have a son."
"Not yet," Mr. Wish replies, and exposes a severely burned hand with long, brown nails, and touches it to Nostrand's cheek. Immediately, he has a vision:
"The fleece head of a newborn baby. A heavy rain falling on a man running through ebony streets of an unknowable city, searching for something he cannot find. Small feet padding across hexagons of kitchen tile, perfecting the art of placing one before the other. Joyful tears. Unfathomable despair. A slideshow of offices filled with medical instruments, charts, expectation. The painted fingernails of a hand reaching out of a cloud, dropping small dangerous packets into open mouths below. Fear and absolution. A glowing, calm blue radiating all around, wrapping the universe like a promise kept. Silence. A boy, my sweet, strong boy. Vaxis—"
After being confronted with the vision, he asks who his mother is. He doesn't get a direct answer though, but is instead knocked out.
|The Afterman (Album Part 1/Part 2 - Story)|
Year Of The Black Rainbow (Album - Story)
The Second Stage Turbine Blade (Album - Story)
In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 (Album - Story)
Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV (Album Vol. 1/Vol. 2 - Story)
Vaxis - Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures (Album - Story)