The heavy cruiser decelerated into the outer rings of the Borderlands system and waited, drifting under it's own momentum while it scanned the area. Trails of ships that had passed recently were still fresh but nothing was visible. Slowly, and with definite intent it turned it's stubby nose towards the a distant planet. Launch tubes cycled open at missiles were loaded, sensors were on full. Even from this distance the crew were tense.
"Captain, this is suicide. If they decide that they don't want us there they will destroy us without so much as a reason."
"Technically, we are allies. The FET and the BHD work together."
"The are fanatical bastards and I don't want to risk my ship!"
"Technically my ship, you work for me. If you don't like that, I can change it."
D'Morenta looked up from the station she was sitting at and looked at
the Captain of the cruiser. The captain was one of her friends, one of
her Autumn Breeze girls, but that didn't make her stupid. There was
truth in her words, there was always that risk.
"Believe me, I don't
want to have this ship shot at, but we received the flight plans, the
location of the colony, even details on how to get past the natives.
Trust me, we'll be fine!"
Several hours later the ships alarms
rang, waking Carmilla from her sleep. As she walked into the command
deck she saw the reason through the bridge viewscreens. Dozens of large
warships were in orbit, dozens more could be seen on scan. Space
stations in orbit little more than orbital gun platforms tracked them.
Sensors from at least three different factions scanned and analysed
them. One by one they slowly passed.
"See, Captain. Nothing. Because
we are allies and we are allowed here. Now, land at the co-ordinates
given, but Captain, make sure everyone is armed."
"You don't trust the natives?"
"No, I don't. And I don't trust my fathers reasons for sending us down here either. So I'd like to survive."
was no place to land so the ship simply crushed an area of the forest
to make it's landing platform. One by one the ground party made it's way
out of the ship and into the forest. They all checked their weapons and
packs and Carmilla sauntered down the ramp and walked off. Although she
couldn't see them she knew the locals were there. The sounds of the
animals in the forest were loud usually, but here they were silent, as
if being driven off by something.
"So what are we after here?"
back way into the colony. Should be over this rise. Father always liked
to talk about this colony, said it was his favorite and he was sad to
"Yeah... Carm, I don't want to put a dampener on your day, but there is no colony here. That looks more like a resource dump."
crested the rise and looked out. What was once a flourishing colony was
now an overgrown ruin. Only a small area of the colony was still
working, several rows of mines and factories churning out product while
workers could be seen heading to the overgrown residential towers. It
seemed someone was making a go of the place, unwilling to let it simply
fade away. She turned back to the heavy forest and then sighed.
"We have a job to do, so lets do it."
was the work of a few moments to locate the substation and open the
door leading to a descending corridor. The sound of water dripping and
little else could be heard. Torches were turned on and they walked in,
scanning the walls and floor for any signs of security devices.
"Carm, are you sure we should be here? Trespassing on the Brotherhoods territory? There are rumors of what they do to people."
"Those are just rumors, we'll be fine....."
corridor opened up into a great underground compound, all around the
walls were decorated with the banners of an old Brotherhood House. Signs
of fighting were visible all around, damaged warbots and scattered
armor littered the floor. The walls were criss crossed in places with
bullet and laser marks.
"No one has been here for a long time it looks like."
"I guess some things are best left hidden.... maybe there was a reason they left this place."
"Yeah.... I guess...."
"They never left, they were executed where they stood!"
voice when it rang out caused the small party to fall into position,
their weapons raised, eyes scanning to find the source. He spoke again,
now walking out of the shadows by a darkened corridor, followed by
heavily armed troops.
"You are trespassing. By the power invested in
me I pronounce you all in violation of Brotherhood law and sentenced to
summary execution. Do you have any last words?"
Carmilla followed the man, the monk approaching her, her weapon still raised.
"You dare point a weapon at me? Can you make your execution any more painful?"
"We can leave once we've come for what we need. There is no need for any violence."
The monk laughed.
is need, you are violating a sanctum that has been declared
excommunicatis. Your presence here is enough to kill you all a thousand
times over. Troops, take positions.... aim..."
words drifted across the chamber, soft yet full of command. A large monk
in heavy purple robes walked into the room, flanked by the papal guard.
"Your eminence, you should not be here!"
tell me where I should go? You think I did not know of this woman's
presence here? More that I should wonder why you are here?"
eminence, it is written that that place was a sanctum of the De Vermis,
one of the most heretical traitors ever to be excommunicated, we patrol
here in case any of the taint returns."
The purple clad man walked
towards Carmilla, his kindly face looking down at her, his hand gently
pushing her weapon away from him.
"Your zealous nature does you proud, but this here is the daughter of one who was always loyal. And I had her sent here."
"But your eminence...."
"Leave us... or I will be forced to be... unpleasant."
The monk sat down on one of the piles of debris and looked at the group before him.
please, my dear, if I wanted you dead you'd never have landed. The True
one in his wisdom has sent you to me. And not without a little bit of
guidance. In truth, my zealous companion was right, I should have you
executed for trespassing."
"But.. you won't?"
"Oh good lord, no. I think it's far more likely that you will survive. You may even accept what I am going to offer you."
"A life in servitude to the Brotherhood? I don't think so. I never was one to be a slave."
slave? Is that what you think of us? You are the daughter of one of our
darker members, a traitor and a heretic, a blasphemer and mass
"Are you talking about my Father?"
"Yes. And by my faith, you know I tell the truth."
"No. No! He was excommunicated, cast out!"
"Aaaah my dear. Are we incapable of sending out spies?"
"That's not possible, he was hunted down!"
"But never caught.... ever. That was his cover. And now, it is time for you to take his place."
"My father would have told me if he was still working for you. He would have told me!"
cries were more pleading than anything else. To be told, buy the
enigmatic leader of the Brotherhood no less that her Father, far from
being the cast out traitor she had believed, was still one of the
faithful. And that she was being offered a position.
"Say I believed you for one minute. What post could you even offer me? There are too many who would remember and...."
"Remember what? You know how long ago we are talking. Time passes. People forget."
"Yes, but we all have a past."
we do, and yours have come back to bite you. It's simple, Carmilla
D'Morenta, or should I say, Carmilla Porteus, you will join the
Brotherhood, or I will have you, your family, your friends and everyone
one you know executed."
She looked at him for a moment. The silence
of the moment extended into minutes, then she laughed and lowered her
self to her knees and bowed.
"Who am I to deny my family. The True
One has always been watching me, I guess this is fate. I pledge myself
to you, and my family once again to the service of the Brotherhood."
"Excellent, now rise, my young apprentice, you have much to learn and we have much work to do."
rose, reaching up and tearing off the FET symbol from her shoulder and
letting it fall to the ground. There was now a new beginning, and as she
looked around and followed Algienon she smiled. Yes, we all have a