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Author Topic: The Stellarch's Masterplan  (Read 352 times)

kclace

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The Stellarch's Masterplan
« on: October 12, 2020, 09:46:45 PM »

The Stellarch’s Master Plan

Forward Operating Base Delta:

Duke Hamil of the Fallen Empire stood before a freshly dug grave to preside over the funeral of a fallen soldier. Behind him stood a tight formation of Imperial Troopers. Beyond the troopers was a massive fire pit where the bodies of a dozen or so pirates were being incinerated. The pirates had attacked the base the day before, using a combination of crude firearms and stolen Imperial energy rifles and AI persona melee weapons. Despite their armaments however, the rag tag group of brigands were no match for Imperial army discipline and were quickly put down. The unit had only lost one man in the attack on their base,  but it had been a popular man who was close to the rank and file so some pomp and circumstance was in order.

Once the body was laid into the ground, a chaplain sprinkled some incence and intoned the ancient prayers, pleading for the almighty to grant the fallen soldier eternal life and save him from the great void beyond. Once that was done, it was time for him to speak.

Hamil: Men of the 51st. Today was the last day for Corporal Edmer, a fine soldier we are laying to rest today. But it was also the last day for a hell of a lot of pirate scum that were foolish enough to attack our base.  You fought well, and if Corporal Edmer were here with us now, he would be proud. Let it be known his sacrifice was not in vain. We are building a new home for our people here. Once the rebel outlanders and pirates have been put down, we can rebuild our civilization. And then centuries from now, our descendants will be able to return to the home world and reclaim our glorious heritage from the wretched enemies that drove us away. Rest assured we are one step closer to that victory today.

The words may have sounded vigorous and convincing to the soldiers, but to Hamil, they rang hollow. Hamil had no memories of his people’s former home world. He had been raised on one the ships that had fled from that world may years ago. But the narrative of exile and restoration were buried deep within the people of the Fallen Empire. Whether it was true or not, every sacrifice had to be made to look like it served that purpose.

Before Hamil could finish his speech the roar of a shuttle filled the air, and moments later, a shuttle landed at the nearby landing pad. The arrival was unscheduled. Hamil decided to cut his speech short.

Hamil shouted curtly: You are dismissed. Then he proceeded toward the shuttle.

When he reached the shuttle he saw the Bestower in her bright red robes accompanied by his honor guard filing out. However, he wasn’t aware of a title ceremony today. Hamil approached the bestower and stood up straight.

Hamil addressed the bestower, sounding annoyed.

Hamil: Bestower, I am Duke Hamil, presiding over this base today. However, I wasn’t aware of a title bestowing ceremony to be held on the premise today. Are you here by mistake?

The Bestower looked up at Hamil, and he could see past her hood that it was an old woman, an old crone, which was typical for that position.

Bestower: There is no mistake. I have come to facilitate your audience with the Stellarch. He will see you now.

Before Hamil could blink, the Bestower tapped his head with her psychic staff. Everything went dark for a moment, and when he blinked again he was standing in a blurry, shadowy version of the Stellarch’s throne room which resided in the massive capital ship currently orbiting the rimworld. The Stellarch stood to the side of the throne, looking out of a window on the world below.

Hamil immediately dropped to a knee and bowed his head.

Hamil: My lord, forgive my lack of manners. This audience was unexpected.

The Stellarch turned around. He was a tall, older man, with a short grey beard, and draped in the high clothing of the nobility and adorned with the small psychic implants that all the nobility. But the purple robes didn’t shine so brightly as everything about this place was clouded in shadow.

Stellarch: You have nothing to apologize for Duke Hamil. The improvidence is on my part. I would have sent a shuttle, but I could not risk a spy getting wind of it. But fear not, we can talk in confidence in this place.

Hamil looked up: Yes my lord.

Stellarch: Hamil, what progress have you made on the surface?

Hamil: My lord, progress has been slow and painful, only 25% of the surface has been pacified.

Stellarch: And have you found any willing subjects for me to rule over?

Hamil: A few locals have agreed to become yeomans and knights, but most of the native born are stubbornly persistent in rebelling against your rightful rule.

Stellarch: Rely on your puppets then. Conserve your remaining soldiers as much as possible. The real war may be returning to us soon.

Hamil: My lord, has the arch enemy found us?

Hamil, who had spent a lifetime in battle, shuddered at the thought.

Stellarch: The iron men have learned to make buildings now. Did you ever bother to wonder why that happened?

Before Hamil could stammer out an answer, the Stellarch answered it for him.

Stellarch: The software upgrade in the mechanoids originated from outside of this stellar system. It was transmitted to the local mechanoids soon after we arrived. That is all I know Hamil, but in the interest of preserving our proud race, we must prepare for the worst.

Hamil sounded dumbfounded:

Are we to run again my lord, after being in the void for so long?

Stellarch: I have found a potential new ally in the form of a nearby urbworld and its megacorporations. With their resources, we may have a chance to fight and win…if the arch enemy is even approaching us at all.

Hamil nodded: And what is my role in your grand plan my lord?

Stellarch: I assume now that the arch enemy has infiltrated spies throughout the fleet. So we will use that to our advantage.  Find me a capable puppet of local blood and help them ascend in the ranks of our nobility. The puppet will help convince the arch enemy that we plan to settle on this place. Then when the arch enemy shows himself, the puppet will be sacrified and my trap shall spring forth.

Hamil: got to his feet and bowed.

Hamil: It shall be done my lord.

Once he said this Hamil was pulled back into the real world and stood before the bestower once more. The old crone had a wicked smile on her face but said nothing. She then proceeded toward the kitchen hall where the troops were being served food.

One of his soldiers looked at Hamil.

Soldier: Are you alright sir? Did I hear something about the Stellarch coming here?

Hamil rubbed his eyes and shook his head.

Hamil: I’m fine. But no, the Stellarch isn’t coming at all. The Bestower was just here for the funeral and got here late. Make sure she is treated well.

After a moment he added.

Hamil: And soldier, when you get back to your post, get me patched into Intel. I’ll need a list of every unfortunate idiot that crashlanded here within the last quadrum…

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