The New Empire
- Panzer Dragoon Orta
This entry is about the empire that was reestablished by the Eighth Emperor. For the empire that dissolved with the death of the Seventh Emperor, see The Old Empire.
During the era of planetary unrest historians would later call the Great Fall, the previous Empire dissolved, following the death of the Seventh Emperor. The rapidly changing climate precipitated by the deactivation of ruins designed to heal the deep scars carved into the planet by ancient wars became too uninhabitable for the remaining pockets of human civilisation to endure any longer. Temperatures rose and fell to both extremes, both burning and freezing people to death, and the planet’s crust shook uncontrollably tearing itself apart in opposite directions. Whole land masses collapsed under their own weight to give birth to new canyons, and entire maps had to be redrawn because nothing was the same.
The Imperial Academy containing all the knowledge accumulated by the Empire over the last two centuries, survived the Great Fall intact. Once the planet settled after the world had reshaped itself as the result of being being freed from the grip of the Towers, the fragments of what was once the Empire began to fight amongst themselves.
Now a mere shadow of its former self, but not content to live in its own shadow any longer, the Empire’s prayers seemed to be answered when the forgotten people of a southern group of islands decided to join forces with what was left of the Empire’s own people. Needless to say this mass migration of southerners could not have come soon enough because it soon became apparent that the remaining people of the Empire were not the only ones struggling to survive. The southerners were on the verge of a civil war after the heirs of a dead king started fighting among themselves, and more than a few islanders were eager to escape from this power struggle and put the past behind them by starting a new beginning somewhere away from it.
The fleeing southerners were desperate for a chance to plant new roots away from the conflict, which presented the Empire with a rare opportunity to replace its losses; the islanders had no leaders to follow and the Empire had no army to lead, so the southern migrants were welcomed with open arms. Thanks to this mass immigration, the population of the Empire suddenly found itself no longer clinging to the brink of extinction, but now in a position to write itself back into the history books. The Eighth Emperor, said to be a distant relative of the Imperial bloodline, united the warring human factions that were divided by the Great Fall by promising to lead them into a brighter future. Towards that end, the Imperial capital was rebuilt on top of a massive network of Ancient ruins filled with all the technology the Empire would need to restore itself to its lost former glory. Slowly but surely, the Empire was being reborn.
Over time even the Imperial flag changed. However, it wasn’t too long before everything changed; the clash of different cultures threatened to turn into open conflict. Imperials primarily of southern descent formed the Imperial Elite, a military brigade whose members were given the sworn duty of protecting the capital and Imperial family from harm with their lives. This was originally the job of the Imperial Academy, which didn’t take kindly to being stripped of that duty, thus helping to only create more internal strife between the two disparate cultures.
The Emperor was said to be a direct descendant of the Imperial bloodline, which made him the heir to the ancient civilisation, and thus, his relatives believed themselves to be divine by association, often referring to themselves as the “chosen ones”. These chosen ones resented being marginalised by outsiders, and fearing a takeover, were alarmed by so many southerners quickly taking many positions of power within the government. They felt as if it was a silent coup.
In the Imperial year 148 A.F (After Foundation), officials who were afraid that devotion to the Emperor was slipping through his grasp, banned all southern religious practices within Imperial territory. The mere thought of people worshiping anyone or anything other than the Emperor himself posed a potential threat to his authority, which until now, had been followed without question. Followers of the southern royal family, who violently opposed this move, dragged the Emperor to a church where all sides of the dispute started hasty negotiations. After compromises were made and the negotiations were finalised, the clashing of these two cultures gave birth to two distinct Imperial factions. One was called the “Prince Faction”, which supported the Emperor’s son who had southern blood flowing through his veins, and was for that reason alone thought to be destined to one day rise to the Imperial throne as the ninth Emperor. The other was called the “Academy Faction”, which put its full support behind the current Emperor.
During its reconstruction efforts, the Empire discovered an Ancient bio-reactor, and a drone, a living breathing relic of the Ancient Age, capable of operating it. Otherwise known as the Cradle to the Imperial leadership who saw it as a cradle of new life, the bio-reactor was capable of spawning living weapons, which alone was a prospect tantalising enough to quickly draw the Empire’s undivided attention. The Empire focused its research on genetics, hoping to design a workable genetic template of a dragon. The brilliant Letral Naus Demilcol soon created the template for a new type of dragon whose power was beyond the Empire’s wildest dreams. The human element of course, was riddled with imperfection in that these dragons were still mere weaker copies of the dragons born from the fires of the Ancient Age.
The drone who was unearthed by the Empire earlier, known only as Abadd, agreed to help the power hungry Imperials spawn these distorted dragons, or namely dragonmares, for the people that created them, by interfacing with the bio-reactor. Dealing with the drone was a necessary evil in their eyes; all the Empire knew was that the bio-reactor could not be operated to spawn its highly sought after dragons without one, so didn’t hesitate to do what needed to be done. The Empire started claiming all the Ancient technology found inside the Ancient ruins within their borders as their own once again.
The Empire’s fleet had been built from the parts of almost nothing but what was thought to be excavated relics of the long forgotten past. However, when the Empire examined the Ancient technology itself more closely, it was soon discovered that all the technology of the Ancient Age was built upon a biological foundation. In order to try to copy what the Ancients had created, the Empire focused its research on genetics.
The Empire’s hunger for power could not be stopped and they went full steam ahead in the same direction as the Ancients by creating its own living weapons using the newly discovered bio-reactor. The Empire’s first bio-weapon was the dragonmare, a dragon-type creature implanted with a control core to keep it under control. Five of these creatures were created and ridden by armoured riders strapped to their backs to form the Imperial cavalry. These dragonmares could fire balls of corrosive energy capable of melting through the thickest of armour. One other was created, but was reported missing. Deployed in combat situations by the floating assault carrier Vermana, this squadron of dragonmares earned the reputation of being unstoppable.
The Empire followed in the footsteps of the Ancients in order to reclaim the world in the name of humanity, but at the same time had become like the very Ancients who had destroyed it in the first place.
Not everything went quite according to plan, though, as the skeletal looking Abadd disappeared shortly after the first batch of dragonmares was created. Abadd thwarted the Empire’s plans by starving it of the one crucial ingredient it was missing to realise them: a drone. However, after finally gaining possession of dragons of its own, the Empire launched a search for this missing key that was needed to make more.
The New Empire in Panzer Dragoon Orta
The central character of Panzer Dragoon Orta was a girl named Orta. Even though she appeared to be human on the outside, she later transpires to be a half human half drone hybrid created by Azel for reasons unknown to even Orta herself. Orta was kept in the dark about her birth, but soon discovered that she was wanted by both the Empire and the drone Abadd to be used as a tool to serve their own dark ends when the Empire attacked Yelico Valley. In Panzer Dragoon Orta, the Empire hunted her down in the hopes of finding another drone to operate the Cradle in order to create more dragonmares. According to Iva’s sidestory, his father went to Yelico Valley to obtain what he called “research materials”. It is unclear whether the Empire planned to capture Orta alive, or merely wanted her so that they could create more drones to operate the Cradle. In the meantime, Abadd wanted to find out the secret of how she was created, alive at first, but dead if necessary.
In the beginning of Panzer Dragoon Orta, Orta somehow ended up in the uncaring hands of the Seekers who were keeping her safe until they could use her for war (according to what they told her prior to these events). While justified in their reasons to distrust the products of Ancient technology in their own eyes, the young girl grew up in isolation which only hardened her heart to the outside world until the Empire attacked Yelico Valley with its own prototype dragons.
Unbeknownst to Orta, someone else was watching her from afar, and as the dragonmares zoomed in on Orta like a sniper scope, the watcher raced to her rescue to reveal himself to be none other than a true dragon of the Ancient Age by blasting the Empire’s prototypes out of the sky with arrows of light. The newest reincarnation of the Empire faced its first great challenge.
After Orta’s new dragon friend saved her from the Empire, the two had to shoot their way through a fleet of Imperial warships including the aircraft carrier Vermana. When they shot it down, they shot down Iva’s father Letral Naus Demilcol, the scientist who helped create the dragonmares, who was on board the ship. This showed the unintentional casualties of war, not to mention it conveyed how Orta was still innocent in all of this. Orta and the dragon who saved her were only defending themselves because the Empire didn’t give them a choice. Yelico Valley was nothing but target practice for the Empire to test their newest weapons. It did not matter to the Empire that it was populated, but here they faced a real enemy.
Captain Evren who led the Empire’s dragonmare squadron, was too persistent to let Orta escape. Even after seeing that Orta’s dragon could only be the very same one that legends called “the dragon of destruction” which destroyed the last empire, the mare squadron continued to chase Orta. That is until another Abadd entered the picture on a dragonmare of his own. The leader of the dragonmares called Abadd by name as if she recognised him and was surprised to see him here. She asked him if he dared to oppose the Empire to which he responded by blowing the mare squadron out of the sky with laser beams from his own dragonmare which seemed to be more powerful than the rest.
Orta did not trust the drone at first, but gently asked her dragon to follow him after Abadd said that he had foreseen her destiny; she desired to know what he meant by this, although it had nothing to do with her future and everything to do with a future of his design.
The Cradle itself appeared to be a floating ruin flying so high into the sky that the Imperial fleet had to tie it down with float engines of their own in order to stop it from floating up into high orbit. It was large enough to be seen from a great distance, and was a highly guarded prize thanks to it being the source of the Empire’s new dragonmares. Unlike the Towers before it, this was a piece of Ancient technology that was controllable especially due to the presence of a cooperative drone. Since the Imperial royal family always claimed to be the direct descendants of the Ancients themselves, this was their birthright. The Empire believed that all of the Ancient technology belonged to mankind, whether true or not, and that it was restoring human civilisation to its former glory.
There was no escaping the Empire, but luckily enough Orta ran into a tribe of people who rode baldors, otherwise known as the Wormriders, who shared this common enemy. The Empire sent a fleet to hunt down Orta that was so massive that Empire’s ships filled the sky. Of course, there was no winning against the dragon of destruction.
One noticeable thing about the Empire is that its ships had changed over time. The most common warships seen in Panzer Dragoon Orta fit their float/anti-gravity engines below the hulls of their ships now as opposed to above like before. It is never the same old designs with the Empire it seems. Imperial ships evolve to become more efficient as time goes by as expected. The Empire also amassed a much larger fleet than before.
Evren, convinced that drones – all drones – brought nothing but destruction to the world, still refused to give up until her last breath. She was so determined to do anything to win that she even exploded her own dragonmare to try to take Orta with her.
A batch of dragonmare embryos were fully formed by the time Orta and her dragon reached the bio-reactor, and for a moment, the Imperials thought they were somehow responsible for their growth, and that they no longer needed drones to create more. Unfortunately, the Empire was going to be taught a lesson, and it was going to learn it the hard way. The Empire’s burning desire for power threatened to consume it like fire with nowhere else to spread when the Imperials lost control of the new dragonmares which attacked the fleet guarding the Cradle. The warships fell from the sky like rain drops and exploded as if their armour was made of paper. It didn’t take Orta long to figure out that Abadd was responsible.
Once again, the Empire had unleashed a great evil on the world with no way to reign it in back under its control, and paid the ultimate price for it. This paralleled past events involving the previous Empire. Despite these losses, the Empire was still a force to be reckoned with as shown by its resilience and ability to reinvent itself after suffering (at the hands of) huge set backs. The Empire had shown that war forced both the best and worst out of people because it gave them no other choice, but at the same time was trying to control forces that were simply beyond its control. The Empire was not back in the godly sense that it wanted to be, but it was back with a vengeance nonetheless.
During episode 4 of Panzer Dragoon Orta, players encounter a giant statue on the top of the Imperial flagship that fires beam lasers from its eyes at Orta and her dragon. It was a statue of the Empire’s Seventh Emperor from Panzer Dragoon Saga. In an ironic twist of fate, he was remembered as a hero by his people for sacrificing his life to save the world from the Tower of Uru by attempting to seal the horrors contained within it (as opposed to being remembered for trying to control it in vain according to the real history of events).