(Author's Note: I'm well aware that my user name is Platinum Azure. That name was based off of this character about whom I am writing below. Virtually nothing in Azure's story is akin to my own—for example, I am not quite twenty-four years old. So don't use this to speculate on my life, or any of that.

Other than that... enjoy.)

Prologue: The Chronicle

From the memoirs of Platinum Azure (first entry; electronically stored in OUTCRY HQ, "Personal" database):

My name is Platinum Azure, Azure for short. I know that "Platinum" seems like my first name, but it really isn't. Azure is closer to my real name, anyway. I am twenty-four years old as of eight days ago.

This begins a record of personal memoirs that I intend to update very sporadically—if at all—and certainly not on any kind of regular basis. I do not wish for people to get an idea of exactly what my life is like here, because... well, that story is not a fun one to read, nor particularly worthwhile. But when OUTCRY Medical suggests you do something... well, if you were in OUTCRY you would know what I mean. Even my status as Tactical Commander of Field Operations does not exempt me from this. I mean, I am not all that far from the top of the chain of command, yet we have all these doctors who know hardly anything about strategy or war in general who could order the Leader to step down for some bogus medical reason. It's so stupid. But then again, the doctors have also been very skilled with their use of Mana Crystals in saving lives—with some of the mana tech they have these days, they have been able to take half the Crystal and work thrice the magic. And who would argue with those kinds of results?

Azure frowned for a moment as he read that last thing he had entered. Who would argue with those results? Hell, that was obvious—he would, because for all their skill they were not the ones who were able to save him from the power of his worst enemy (which, yes, was himself... Azure was well aware of the cliché in that, but then again, it was true). But enough of that, thought Azure to himself. He wouldn't put the reality of that particular story in the memoirs. That story was best kept secret.

He stepped back and thought about whether he had anything else he wanted to add, keeping his hand on the mana sphere that allowed him to enter data and thought into the mana fragment-powered database merely by concentrating a thought into it while his hand was in contact. He decided that that paragraph of thought was complete enough, and he resumed.

Anyway. The higher-ups on the political side of OUTCRY are worried that the Realm faction is growing too powerful in the Crana Senate. They were always big on aggressive foreign policy and warmongering and world domination and all that, but the rest of the Senate is able to defeat anything they try to propose. However, in the last elections Realm gained a few seats, and they now have forty percent. They are now the largest single faction in our democracy, and nobody is quite sure how. Most of the exit polls show that the Unity faction was a lot more popular in most of the votes—certainly a lot more popular than Realm as far as one-on-one comparison goes. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to hear of Realm playing dirty somehow—but then again, that's exactly what OUTCRY is. OUTCRY was formed specifically on the suspicion that Realm was trying to upset the balance of power, first within the Republic of Crana and later in the greater international community.

We haven't seen any proof yet, for all the theories with circumstantial evidence floating around in OUTCRY Intelligence. But investigating this election may prove worthwhile and provide us with the proof we need to act. So far we must still remain behind the scenes—if anyone outside of OUTCRY, and especially within Realm, got wind of our existence, then we would be discredited at very best. All in all, not good. That is why we must rely on covert operations—with any luck all our suspicions will be for naught, and then we can go about our merry way. Most of us don't really want to fight, but if we have to, there isn't a single one of us who will back down. Besides... we have him on our side. If Realm knew that we had him...

Azure paused again. No, he really could not afford to continue on that line of thought, not here. He changed topics again.

But back to the election. We have two operations for checking that out. We have some people in the Unity faction who will be asking around and compiling a report for the Leader himself. That will be pretty overt, and definitely licit. And we will have a covert operation to infiltrate Realm. We don't know if they have any kind of general headquarters, but we do know that the Sila Corporation has been a leading provider of services for the Realm faction, not to mention a ridiculously huge contributor of funds. Strategic Command believes that they may be helping Realm in other ways, though, and with this election being as messed up as it is they are well worth investigating.

We've already sent people to their Information desk, and sometimes even further in, but nothing illicit turned up. But then again, most of the time you don't see anything illegal until the prying eyes of the people are closed in sleep. And Republic Enforcement has been severely lacking in funds—one of the few bills Realm managed to get through, on the grounds that with the peace we have in our time, we don't need so much police funding. And it was true—the crime rate was incredibly low at that time. But anyway, they are not much of a deterrent for any behind-the-scenes dealings between Sila and Realm that may or may not exist. And that's my job now—to infiltrate the building and see if I find anything.

And Azure stopped, removing his hand from the sphere. If I find anything? More like how soon, he thought to himself, smirking.

He checked his mana chronometer and swore under his breath. It was getting late in the afternoon, and his briefing was soon. He had time for a quick power bar, and then he would be briefed. He made his way to the snack stands, cursing OUTCRY Medical for their insistence on his keeping a chronicle all the while.