By David Page
Before I begin this time a special thank you to David Bishop who provided me with his own in-depth notes for the series he had compiled before he wrote the three Dante Novels (which shall be chronicled later on in this series) These have helped a lot in preparing the next few episodes.)
Эписоде 8: The Great Game Progs 1101-1110
“You left me when you should have stayed, Kolya…you stayed when you should have run,”
Eloise final words to Dante as she perishes…
Story: 2660: Dante is a young 18 year old thief trying his best to stay alive alongside his love and colleague in crime Eloise De Janissaire, Celebrating in Monaco after a job they are confronted by Eloise’s’ mother and her team of Mercenaries. Dante and Eloise are separated by force. Dante decides to go after the money instead of Eloise breaking the girl’s heart.
2667: The cold continues to get colder as Jena meets with Agent Kaine one of the Tsars spies. It turns out that the Tsars weapon smiths have created a new dangerous weapon called the dark star. Instead of handing it to the tsar, they have instead decided to keep it for themselves and sell it to the highest bidder. Android assassins kill Kaine and Jena herself would have perished if not for the timely assistance of Nikolai Dante.
Dante is assigned by Dmitri to get the dark star for the Romanov’s. During a cute scene in the auction house featuring amongst other weapons a futuristic version of Slaines brain biter axe. Dante and Jena vying for the weapon for their opposing families attempt to interrogate the weapons master to get the weapon when they are suddenly under attack from mercenaries. They flee to the Dark star chamber and witness a demonstration of the terrible planet-devouring weapon. The Mercenaries are not far behind however and Jena and Dante are unable to prevent the weapon being taken. Dante returns to the Battleship Potemkin, the Romanov flagship orbiting Earth, where he meets up with a woman known as ‘Madame Director’ who debriefs Dante and introduces him to Valentine Romanov, the eldest of the Romanov siblings and their chief intelligence operative. Valentine wears a holographic projector to disguise his face.
Dante explains that the Mercenaries who took the Dark star were in fact the Warlords, who he recognizes from his previous encounter. Eloise has taken her mothers place as the Chief of the Warlords.
Dante then reveals that he and Eloise are in fact married.
Dante is sent to Stolietovs World, the operational command centre of the Warlords, where he reintroduces himself to the wife he has not seen for 7 years. Eloise is not exactly thrilled to see him and denies all knowledge of the theft of the Dark star. Things take an unexpected turn when General Kvass, Eloise’s’ second in command mounts a coup to take control of the Warlords. Dante and Eloise manage to flee their almost certain death by jumping from the Penthouse roof apartment on top of the Warlords HQ. Dante and Eloise then head for a rendezvous with Valentine Romanov on Shakan7, adding another notch onto the lay count…
The meeting on Shakan7 turns out to be a trap. Valentine Romanov reveals his true face in many ways. Jena Makarov arrives with a squad of Ravens, but is unable to prevent Valentine taking Eloise hostage in order to make his escape. Valentine, without his holographic mask, is a twisted ruin of a man, the victim of an experimental weapons crest that has shattered both his body and his mind. Dante weakens under the pressure of Valentines threat to kill his wife and lets the renegade Romanov escape with the Dark star. As a final act of contempt, Valentine kills Eloise regardless and then fires the Dark star at Shakan7.
After witnessing Eloise’s murder, Dante has a serious blue screen of death moment and is only saved by Jena Makarov. The two of them make a narrow escape as the Dark star rips Shakan7 apart. Dante arrives back at the Potemkin in a profoundly depressed state. He and Jena witness a holographic conference between Dmitri Romanov and the Tsar where the investigation is taken out of their hands. Madame Director reveals that she is in fact the mother of Valentine and all his brothers and sisters, but still she encourages Dante to go after Valentine against her husband’s explicit orders. Jena is reluctant to disobey her father, but decides to accompany Dante anyway.
Dante & Jena trace the ship used by Valentine and Kvass they realize too late that the Comet/Starship is heavily armed and Dantes’ Strikehawk is destroyed by cannon fire. Dante & Jena are revealed to have been captured by Valentine and Kvass and are strapped across the barrel of the enormous weapon. Kvass makes threats to the Tsar, intending to wrest control of the Empire from him, but nobody seems to care, least of all his accomplice Valentine Romanov who seems quite happy to destroy everything in a suicidal act of nihilism. Kvass realizes that he has been duped, but is unable to stop Valentine. Dante in the meantime has managed to wrest himself free of his bonds and he too attacks his half brother. A grim battle ensues as Valentines’ mind and weapons crest become more and more unhinged.
Finally, Dante throws the shattered ruins of Valentine in front of the oncoming Dark star beam, both neutralising the barely human Valentine and stopping the beam from reaching its intended target…Imperial Earth. There is a dynastic conference aboard Valentines ruined spacecraft as both imperial families claim possession of the Dark star. Jena & Dante conclude the discussion by destroying the weapon, so neither family benefits.
Dante & Jena celebrate their victory and mourning their losses…Dante has changed forever by the failure to save and death of his first wife…
Jocasta Romanov: The matriarch of the Romanov family. She is the mother of all the romanovs other than Dante. She is in charge of the Romanovs spy network.
Eloise de Janissaire – leader of the mercenary Warlords and Dante’s wife. Killed rather callously by Valentine Romanov
General Kvass: Elloises number two in the warlords. He betrays her and follows valentine. Who promptly backstabs him. Dante ends him…
Valentine – the “blunt instrument” of the Romanov Dynasty, scarred physically and mentally due to a slightly faulty prototype crest. Is the true antagonist of this storyline and perishes after being thrown into the weapon he had planned to obliterate earth with.
This entire story is one long foreshadowing of later events with elloises death hardening Dante and his relationship with Jena taking a new turn.
Dantes kill count:
Nine warlords trying to kill Jena
Two warlords after Kvass betrayal of Eloise
General Kvass shot by the huntsman after handing it to Dante
Valentine is shot to pieces then chucked into the dark star and becomes a living screaming black hole….Dante was busy in this storyline…
Total Count 25
Dantes lay count
Nine (yes, I counted…I am sad…) holodeck babes
Total count: 15
David’s final notes: As you can tell from the plot synopsis this is an epic storyline. Dantes character is shaken to the core, as he has to deal with the death of the one girl he failed to save while dealing with the backstabbery of his own family. There was a reason the second collection was named after this story…its that important…
Next: The beginning of a series of tales focusing on the other Romanov siblings begins with tales focusing on Viktor and Nastashia.
For more of David’s 2000AD related reviews, check out his website HERE