Sunday, 14 September 2014


The Wormhole into the Eden system pulsed, a rainbow of colours exploding into the ether as the gargantuan battleship traversed into normal space. Old grey paint covered the majority of its surfaces, as well as the old banner of the Confederacy. Damage from combat could be seen over it's hull, scars from past conflicts. Battle commendations going back year after year etched into the hull, a graphic reminder of the violent past of the Confederacy. Powerful engines flared and pushed the warship towards the navigational beacons through the defensive lines of Brotherhood ships and platforms, screens of fighters and the caressing tendrils of sensors. In the dying glow of the wormhole a mural across the front of the ship however proclaimed boldly the existance of the Caliphate. Slowly, the lines opened and allowed the Emissary through.

Inquisitor D'Morenta and her closest aides sat in conference. Planetary survey maps covered the table, stacks of statistics on mineral yields, lists of lifeforms, political and sociological ethnotyping of populations. A heavy tome of prayer was open on a lectern and an initiate was reading to the room, a background echo of the piety of the cathedral complex they sat. She rubbed a gloved hand over her face and dropped a survey log onto the table.

"This is getting us no where. These records are four, five years old. Some of them older."
"It's all we have." Sister Marchessa picked up a piece of burnt parchment with a sketch of a Hive Queen. "A lot of our records were lost during the....."
"Please, we don't talk about those times." A grizzled warrior in a monks robes worked his rosary slowly, muttering occasionally under his breath. "Inquisitor, we just need to get more ships and groups out surveying the planets."
"All of which costs money."
"We have the initiates, and we have the locations. We just need your blessing, with results we will be able bring more wealth into the coffers and fund more exploration."
"Fine, you have my blessing. Next order of business. The Caliphate. Gregor, put down the rosary and tell me what your spies have told you."
"It's not good...."

The Caliphate battleship landed and disgorged five men. A tall figure, wearing heavy silken robes followed by four veteran soldiers, all wearing the personal clan sigil of Darius walked towards the security entrance to the colony. A flourishing of a sheaf of papers and security passes allowed them through every single door and entrance. Word passed through the colony to the cathedral, an Emissary had arrived.

Carmilla brushed a speck of dust from her habit and nodded at the report. It was as if there was a madness encircling the Caliphate. The Confederate Offficers who she had helped escape had said the same thing. Something was different, something not right. It was lucky, she thought, that Pyros was in charge. His decisions were at least more reasonable. She looked up as she heard a commotion outside the door and turned around, one hand slipping under the table. Two of the guards in the room were listening to their comms while others readied their weapons. She raised her hand to stop Gregor and waited. The door opened, and was closed by the caliphate marines.

With almost feigned indifference she watched the man walk in. Cool, calm, dangerous. Like a shark, pure predator. Slowly she moved her hand back up onto the table and nodded to the man. Here was a man to be afraid of, a man that held the power of life and death over anyone and everyone in the Caliphate. Titus. The Assassin Emissary.

"Salaam, Inquisitor D'Morenta. I bring greetings from the Caliphe and the Lord Inquisitor."
He pulled the sheaf of papers out and and selected one, handing it to her. It was addressed, in heavy gothic script, to her.
"You are ordered hence forth to make your presence before the Caliphe in three days. The location is in the...."
Gregor pulled himself to his feet and slammed a fist onto the table.
"The Caliphe does not order here! This is a sanctuary, a holy place. Only the Lord Inquisitor can order an Inquisitor..."
"No, this man is filth. I know him. Assassin. Beast!"
"You honour me too much. But I am not here for you. Inquisitor D'Morenta, you have three days. The penalty for disobedience will be severe."
"Oh Titus, you do have a flamboyance about you. Three days? It's not enough time. I need five."
"And yet you have only three. There is no flexibility, no leeway, no begging. Your ruler and your Lord Inquisitor demand your presence. I am baffled why we are even having this conversation. Are not monks and nuns just supposed to... obey?"
"We do. We obey just fine," Carmilla stood up and smoothed down her habit, "But we obey the True One. Not the Caliphe. However, he is one of Gods children, so we will be humble and come and visit. You may go Titus, you have fulfilled your requirements."
Carmilla bowed to the Assassin Emissary and watched him depart. Gregor sneers and spat after him.
"Yes Gregor, I see you were right about them. We must be cautious."
"Pah, he is lucky I didn't put a bullet in him!"
"We are lucky you didn't. They would wipe out our sect without even blinking. They have the power, we have the faith."
"Doesn't that make us stronger?"
"Oh yes.... but faith doesn't stop photon guns from raining down death on out colonies."

Three Days Later

Inquisitor D'Morenta stormed down the Emperors corridor in the Caliphate capital, her entourage struggling to keep up. From behind her the sounds of arguing from the council chamber. The Assassin Emissary caught up with her and grabbed her shoulder.
"Inquisitor, that was not dignified!"
"Bullshit Titus! That's not how things should be done, that was a damn witch hunt!"
"The FET knew what they were doing....."
She looked up at him and pointed a finger at him.
"Titus the Confederacy is larger than just one person!"
"Carmilla," he sighed softly, "Do you believe that, or is it your father speaking?"
Her hand lashed out, slapping his face with a loud crack that even turned the heads of the guards along the corridor. She shrugged and nodded and looked up at him.
"Oh Titus, I'm sorry. I guess you are right. The Caliphate rules now, I guess I should stop living in my fathers shadow."
"I think that this is just a bit larger than that. The Lord Inquisitor needs you and you... just stormed out in a fit of girlish pique?"

Carmilla walked back into the council chamber and found the Lord Inquisitor, Pyros sitting there in quiet contemplation. The other delegates and leaders were still rowing.
"You are too impetuous."
"Yes my Lord."
"You will obey the Caliphe, he is the leader of our Alliance."
"Yes my Lord."
"And you will support the Caliphate by pledging your holy system to them."
He raised a hand to her.
"And the words you should be speaking now are 'Yes my Lord'."
"Yes.... my Lord. I will follow your lead, myself and my whole sect."
"Good. Now before I send you to your quarters and repeat the Prayer of Obedience fifty times, you will sit and watch and listen. And maybe you will learn something."
"What am I watching?"
"Now that is a good question. You can answer it after they stop shouting."

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