Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Matters of Faith

Zewt System - Brotherhood Assault Transport 'Ecumenical Matter'

The inquisitor paced up and down in the hold of the transport, her fingers caressing the beads on her rosary as she muttered a prayer under her breath. Every now and then she would look up at the readout on the wall, and start pacing again. Around her, strapped into their seats a dozen nuns were checking their weapons and whispering prayers, all occasionally looking at the Inquisitor as she paced.
"Inquisitor D'morenta," a voice came over the tannoy, "We are approaching the co-ordinates, we need you on the bridge."
"I'll be there shortly Captain. Melissa, keep an eye on things, I'll be back."
She slipped her rosary into her belt and made her way along the walkway towards the bridge. Strange sounds echoed along the corridor, machinery deploying outside the inner hull and the thrum of shield generators coming back online. As she squeezed through the doorway onto the bridge she listened for a moment to the coversations.
".....Caliphate control to Brotherhood transport. If you do not transmit clearance codes you will be escorted to a holding area and your complement placed under arrest pending....."

She tapped the captain on the shoulder and held out her hand, he passed over a headset for her and clipped it into the main console.
"Caliphate control this is Inquisitorial Transport code 56 dash Alpha. We are going to be in dock for an hour to recharge shields and perform maintenance on some exterior shielding. Prepare a landing bay for us. Thank you."
"Uuh... Transport 56 dash Alpha we do not have you on our....."
"Caliphate control. I understand that this class of ship requires a somewhat smaller berth than you are used to. May I recommend you allocate us the level 7 berth spinward of the main dock. I pray that I will not have cause to bring this to the attention of the Inquisition, though I will utter praise to your superiors for a quick docking. Inquisitor out."
The Captain looked at the screen and swore softly.
"Inquisitor, look at this. These readings I've not seen before. I'm unfamiliar with these designations."
"It's nothing to worry about. It's just a GTT squadron. Looks like three ships, fast boarders."
"Look, I'm not happy about this. It's one thing to go against the Caliphate, but the GTT as well?"
"Allies are allies. There were bound to be more in the area. There are several other Brotherhood ships landed here. What's a handful more of the faithful? Most of them will not notice anything out of the ordinary."
"I signed up for this because...."
She glared at the captain and pulled her rosary out of her belt and started rubbing one of the beads between her fingers.
"Jake, the Confederacy is dead. Not just dead it's now a handful of pirates and drifters operating on the outskirts of civilisation. You will get your revenge one day, but that day is not today. Now if you can't land this transport and wait for us while we perform the True One's Will then I swear I will pray for your soul and then kick you out of the nearest air lock. Do you understand?"
The Captain turned and looked at her and shivered under her gaze. Damn these religious fanatics, damn them all.
"Caliphate control to 56 dash Alpha. You are cleared, standby for docking beacon."
"Thank you control, transport out."
She turned back to the Captain.
"Get us down there. And do not draw any more attention to yourself."

Few noticed the transport landing, even fewer noticed the Inqusitorial markings on the side. Transports of all different types and affiliations landed here, but only those who were given permission to land. Hence, any that landed were beyond reproach.
Inquisitor D'morenta led the two columns of nuns down the landing ramp and into the docking bay. She checked the weapons strapped to her upper arms and slipped her hands into cowled sleeves and walked towards the exit. It was guarded by two heavily armed troopers who held up their hands.
"Hold it, ID papers please."
"I am here on Inquisitorial business. I am not bound by the petty concerns of the Caliphate. Step aside, I will not ask a second time."
The troopers looked at each other then back to the Inquisitor.
"That may be, but you are required to be signed in. If you do not do so, you will not be able to pass into the station."
"Melissa?" Carmilla turned her head to the nun behind her who pulled out a scanner.
"One camera and these are the only two in the area."
One of the quicker troopers reached for his communicator only to find himself looking at the fat barrel of the silencer on Carmilla's weapon. A second silenced pistol was pointed at the second trooper.
"Weapons down, hands up."
Their weapons clattered on the floor and for a moment sadness flickered over her face.
"I will pray for your souls."
She fired twice.

Outside of the docking bay she let the nuns past and pulled the last two aside. From their look they were Kastorian, but slight for all that.
"Okay, you two know what you have to do?"
"Yes Bishop, we do. We have memorised the layout and where to be."
"If you are caught...."
"We will leave that to the True One. We will meet you back at the Transport."
"Go with God."
"And you, Bishop."
Carmilla watched them go and then returned to the head of the other nuns and moved off quickly. It didn't take long to find themselves outside a nondescript door in a back corridor. Despite being out of the way the corridor was clean and well travelled. Unfortunately it was also on the security grid, security cameras moved back and forth slowly. She stood by the side of the door as one of the nuns pulled out a device and attached it to the control panel. It whirred softly as it hacked the panel and the door lock slid back allowing them to enter.

The bored guards looked up and saw the nuns approaching. One pulled himself to his feet and yawned.
"Security authorisations."
He held out his hand and gasped as the lead nun pulled two pistols out from her sleeves and fired twice. His confused face slammed into the floor as his life leaked over the floor. As the light in his eyes faded he felt his body being rolled over and his security pass snatched from his body.
"Spread out, any guards retire them quickly. No alarms. Someone keep an eye on the consoles. You two, with me."
She ran towards the main door and inserted the card, then prayed her intel was correct, tapping in a code. The door flashed and opened revealing two guards who fell back under a hail of bullets. Inside she looked at the readout on the wall and cursed.
"What's wrong?"
"There are too many. There shouldn't have been this many. How much room do we have on the transport?"
"Maximum? About six hundred seats.... Oh."
"Doesn't matter. We take them all. Pull the doors.....," she checked the list and found the name and ran down to the cell and looked in," Open it."
The door to the cell opened and the light flickered on. She looked in, then looked up... then was slammed against the cell door behind her. A large furry clawed hand grasped her around the neck and lifted her off the floor until she was eye to eye. The Dewiek leaned in closer until it was just an inch away from her face and sniffed.
"Why do I not smell any fear on you? Death, yes, but no fear."
She grabbed his hands and pulled them enough to speak.
"Because I do not fear you."
"You will learn! Did you think you could torture me as you have done and not get your throat torn out? I have killed more humans than you know, what is one more in a dress?"
"I did not let you out so you could kill me!"
"Then you should not have let me out! Your death will lead to my death and I will die fighting!"
"You are not going to die here you stupid creature, I'm here to release you!"
The Dewiek threw it's head back and howled with laughter. It turned its head and saw the other nuns with guns pointed at it, then noticed the bodies on the floor.
"Why are they dead?"
"Because they would not let us let you out."
"So you killed them?"
"That would be an ecumenical matter and one I do not want to talk about while I have bloody dead troopers lying around. Now do you want to be fucking stupid and kill me or do you want to help me figure out how to get you all out of here and onto my transport?"
"Who are you, human? Who are you who do not fear the revenge of the Caliphate and would help your enemy?"
"I am Inquisitor D'morenta, and why I am doing this does not matter. It is beyond your comprehension. Now let me down so we can get you all out."
"All of us?"
"Yes. If we can."
"Who sent you?"
She told him. The hand opened and she dropped to the floor, gasping and rubbing her throat.
"Open all the cells, lets get them ready. Pick up any weapons you want, but we'll get out quicker if you don't start killing everyone in sight."
"You seem to have done that."
Behind them both more Dewiek prisoners were being released, snarls and low rumbled filled the air.
"I hope you know what you are doing, little human."
"In matters of faith I always know what I am doing. Doesn't mean I'm not in over my head."

The nuns at the prison door looked back at the horde that was pouring out of the cell block.
"What in the..... You didn't say it was this many. Where did all they come from?"
"Don't ask. I don't know. But we should be able to fit them all on the transport. I think."
"If there are any who cannot fit, they will fight to the death to let the ship escape."
"It won't come to that!"
With a hiss the door to the prison opened and a squad of caliphate troopers marched in and stopped. Before she could stop them, the Dewiek leapt. She thumbed her rosary and whispered a prayer.
"You are strange, human. You kill without mercy, but pray when we kill."
"I pray for the lost souls."
"Will you pray for mine when I die?"
"Don't make me find out. Now lets go, follow the nuns."
She pulled out her comm unit and spoke quickly.
"Is the diversion ready?"
"Yes Bishop, it just needs you to give us the word and the charges will be fired."
"Keep the channel open, we may need it. Have you located the wires for the security feeds?"
"I think so."
"Then cut them now."

In the central control room the officer of the day looked with interest at the screens. On one of them he noticed the corridor filled with dewiek walking with a purpose then the screen was filled with static. All around the other screens were filled with static. He dialled a number and spoke to the gruff voice at the other end.
"Governor, I think we may have a problem. "

Alarms sounded through the station and troops grabbed their weapons, listened to orders then departed for stations. Carmilla and the lead Dewiek looked up at the ceiling and cursed.
"Was this not part of your plan, little human?"
"No actually it wasn't."
"Did you have any other plan than walk in and walk out with a prison full of angry Dewiek?"
"Nope... actually I'm playing most of this by ear."
She pulled out her pistols again and let out a high pitched whistle. The nuns all pulled out similar weapons.
"And yet you are all armed?"
"Listen fur ball, I'm doing this for a reason. I don't have to put up with your sanctimonious spouting of the bloody obvious. I'm releasing you all because you do not deserve to be held in a small cell and left to rot, or be tortured until you beg to be slaughtered! I'm risking everything because I believe it's the right thing to do and I would risk the fires of hell to do it and no one can stop me!"
"Stop right there!"

The voice that rang out was a tall officer commanding a small unit of marines, they all had their weapons ready, though the look on the faces of the marines as they saw what was infront of them told her all she needed to know. She raised her pistols and fired, the nuns fired as well. Turning back to the Dewiek she poked him with a pistol, a fury in her eyes.
"No one. You got that? Or do you want to go back to your cage?"
She waited a few moments then pulled out her communicator.
"Set off the charges and get back to the ship."
A few moments later the lights went out and slowly came back on. The alarms sounded even louder.
"Captain, this is Inquisitor D'morenta, fire up the engines we are coming in hot."
"Inquisitor, be careful, it's all over the net that there was a prison break."
"Really? Well just get the engines ready and drop all the ramps."
Turning to the Dewiek she grinned.
"So how fast can you run?"

By the time the screens came back on the officer of the day saw the Dewiek and started to issue orders to the troops, the madness in the control room was reaching fever pitch as troops requested order confirmations.
"Governor, we have reports of a couple of nuns firing on our troops."
"Nuns? Get who ever is in charge of the Brotherhood ships up here now. I want to find out what is going on. And print out a list of every ship that is in dock and a verification of who is on my station."

It took several of the nuns to pacify the Captain as he saw the horde of Dewiek that poured into the hanger and onto his ship. But by the time they were all on board and Carmilla had stormed onto the bridge followed by one of them he quickly strapped in.
"Damn you Inquisitor."
"Don't worry, if we are caught you won't have to worry about anything."
"Why is that?"
"Because if I know the Caliphate they will ask the GTT ships outside to stop us. So keep going."
The Captain cursed again and backed his ship out.

The GTT captain in charge of the squadron looked over the orders that had just come over the command console.
"Detain ship trying to escape? Which ship?"
"Just says a troop transport, sir."
"Do they give a reason?"
"No. Just that it is in violation of Caliphate law."
The Captain saw a ship leaving the docking bays and ran a scan on it.
"Ignore that ship, it's a Brotherhood Inquistion transport. Okay, send an order to the squadron to power up weapons and get the engines fired up. When this ship comes out we'll be ready."

Yank System - 2 Days later

Several days later the ship landed on a tropical planet and began to disperse it's cargo. Carmilla stood outside, the Dewiek with her and looked out over the forest. Already the other dewiek prisoners were dispersing into the forest.
"Why did you do this human, really?"
"I told you, because I believe it is the right thing to do."
"What are you getting out of it?"
"Something, certainly a bollocking."
They looked up as a large transport ship took off from a nearby starport.
"And why here?"
"Who would think of looking for you here?"
"We could easily find our way to one of these starports and return to the Empire."
"You won't though. I promised to free you, or if I couldn't, to execute you. Either I was told would have been acceptable."
"Yes. That is true. You are wise, little human."
"No... I just believe."
She pulled a copy of the True One Bible from a pack and handed it to the Dewiek, and then the pack.
"Food and a communicator. You are always welcome."
"There are those who would say that that was unwise."
"There are those who do not understand the way of the Hunter, but plenty who understand how to be prey. Go with God, and don't be a stranger."
Turning and heading back onto the shuttle she didn't look around and waited until the ship had taken off.
"Someone get me the Lord Inquisitor. And set course for Varnasi, we have some matter of faith to discuss.

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