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The Third Son

Lost Primarch II Legion Lost Legion

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#351
simison

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Although Anasya slowly relaxed, she threw a confused glance at the ceiling. "But, the bathroom entrance?"

 

"That was for your benefit, I haven't actually done anything. Now, over here," he explained as he gestured to several readouts and buttons, "this section controls the automated turrets built into the Directorate's walls." He slid over to the center of the console, "Here, this button controls the forcefield around the Directorate. Finally," he finished as he moved to the right side of the room, "this is the communications network. I need you to deactivate this for me."

 

He turned back toward her, his green eyes settling on her. "Do this for me, and I'll cure your granddaughter's illness and ensure that you and your family lives comfortably for the rest of their lives. And, at no point, will you be in danger. I will ensure you complete protection."


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#352
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Anasya wasn't sure what to think of Mr. VonSalim's offer. A part of her wasn't sure she should believe it was possible. Another, weaker part warned her that this may all be an elaborate trick. A third part of her feared betraying her world. And on and on it went as so many feelings and thoughts jumbled within her. She opened her mouth to speak and...

 

~~~

 

...and Director Chukhay stared warily at his bed. 


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#353
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"Is there something wrong?" His wife asked, glancing over her book as she laid comfortably beneath the covers.

 

It was a stupid question. So many things were going wrong, even without the alien fleet above their heads. Ovlast may be under the firm control of the Directorate, but the rest of the planet was slipping away from their grasp. As the situation worsened, Kravchuk was becoming increasingly erratic. Ten Night Watch members were dead, along with several dozen civil servants and 'suspected' civilians. It had forced Chukhay to divide his attention between stabilizing Balov and covering up his fool of a peer. And this didn't even touch on the dream he had yesterday...

 

"It's fine," the wide man said as he laid down.


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#354
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Once more, excellent work brotherthumbsup.gif 


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#355
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[Thank you!]

 

For once, the smoothy silk of the covers offered no relief as as Chukhay couldn't help but wonder if his dreams would be invaded again. Maybe it wouldn't happen. Maybe he would finally enjoy a true night of rest. Or maybe he should avoid his dreams as much as he could. Given the enormous stress he was under, it wouldn't be surprising that he would skip a night's sleep. There were so many conflicts to resolve. Maybe he wouldn't sleep after...

 

Chukhay opened his eyes to find himself in an elaborate parlor. He sat on a blue antique sofa next to a living fireplace. The scent of vodka wafted in the air from an opened bottle on a coffee table. Two glasses sat next to it. Chukhay barely noticed all of this as his eyes narrowed on the being sitting across from him.


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#356
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Unlike the previous dream, the alien warlord did not hide his true size. The giant took up the whole couch he sat upon. "Hello, Director," he said off-handedly, his focus on a map next to the vodka. Glancing down, Chukhay saw it was map of Balov. Flags sat on each of the major cities. Most of the flags were the familiar blue-and-red stars of the United Balovian Alliance. However, most of the cities featured one other flag, sometimes several. They came in myriad colours and images. Only one city had one flag: the capital itself, Ovlast, proudly flying the Alliance flag.

 

That changed when the warlord pointed at the city Mosoch. The Alliance flag fell over, leaving another flag, a white one featuring a road and a star, standing alone. "It appears, Director, that the Path of Prosperity have complete control over Mosoch, and Pitirsverg is not far behind."


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#357
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"Quite so," Chukhay muttered bitterly. "The progress of these various rebel elements could be seen as quite miraculous."

 

The Warlord grinned and shrugged, "Lady Luck appears to be enarmored with them."

 

"Or manipulated. Perhaps the rebels are lucky, but it is not luck that is responsible for the death of hundreds of Night Watchmen across the entire planet," Chukhay accused. "Does this not reveal that your prior offer is a sham?"


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#358
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"Explain something to me, Director," the Warlord said as his grin faded away. "What possible use could you have of a network of spies and killers who are fanatically loyal to an old regime and not to the future?"

 

Chukhay stared stonily back. "They are working for the interests of Balov, nothing more."

 

"Most of them are not working for the interests of humanity," the Warlord smoothly countered as he leaned back in the couch. "The few who have managed to keep their consciences intact have already agreed to defect or to remain neutral in this tumultuous transition, including one of your favorites, Agent Tasha."

 

Stunned silence reigned. Finally, Chukhay whispered, "How many dreams are you in?"

 

With a shrug, the Warlord said, "I'm not keeping count."


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#359
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Chukhay forced the fear and awe away from him. He could not show weakness at this moment. "Still, you are asking much of me without giving me much optimism that you will uphold our bargain."

 

The grin returned as a giant hand swept around the room. "Is this not enough?"

 

Although puzzled, the overweight Director did look around the room. To his surprise, he noted a painting over the fireplace. It displayed a man in golden armour and wearing golden leaves around long, black hair. In his hands, the man held a flaming sword as he stared imperiously at Chukhay. Yet, the true surprise was across from this first painting. On the opposite wall hung a portrait of Chukhay himself. His painted self wore a uniform he did not recognize and sat in a plain chair, erect and somber. "What is this place?"


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#360
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"This is your mansion, six months from now. This room is your public parlor to entertain visiting lords and dignitaries. Tonight, though, it will serve a different purpose. In thirty minutes, you and your second grandson will be returning from the starport. He is in the midst of a break from his studies on Terra. The two of you aren't particularly close, but you are hopeful that he'll give you greater insight into the heart of the Imperium. Hence, the vodka."

 

Chukhay didn't know what to say. One of the secrets of Kravchuk that Chukhay had learned after great effort was that the man actually employed a seer. According to the law, mystics, foretellers, and others possessing unnatural gifts were forbidden from their... eccentricities. But, as in with so many legal matters, the Director had ignored it. Upon first hearing it, Chukhay had nearly panicked and moved against his comrade, until he had learned just how unreliable the woman was. The woman was constantly voicing out confusing metaphors and mysterious riddles, and only on two occasions was her advice clear and straightforward. 

 

What the Warlord...VonSalim had just done could not compare. It felt as though the giant was simply reciting a moment from a movie than casting his gaze into the future. 


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#361
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"And you can guarantee this?"

 

VonSalim wore a small smile. "Few things are set when it concerns the future. Take the sofa you're sitting on. It was made in a style favoured in ancient Roma and is your wife's favorite colour. You chose that one because it was what your wife preferred, and you wanted additional legitimacy to your authority by emulating the empire that has clearly left its mark on the Imperium. But you could easily have made a different decision."

 

Although Chukhay felt nothing, the blue sofa transformed into a white one with black designs covering yet with a complete back to it. 

 

"This one is more akin to something found in antique Italia, during the distant 1500s. More ostentatious and the colours are something that pleases your eye. Both valid decisions and both equally likely. So, no, I can't predict the future with complete accuracy." VonSalim paused before he continued. "Though one trader will try to offer you a yellow couch, claiming it's from Jermani. Don't believe him and report him if you would, he's a con man who's managed to evade the Arbites for four years."


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#362
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After a momentary pause before VonSalim focused on the Director. "One thing is certain, though. All of this," he said as his hand swept over the room, "will never come to be if you reject my offer. Do you understand?"

 

Chukhay sighed and...

 

~~~

 

...Paul stared at the giant standing in the middle of the street. 


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#363
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Commander Naro's last order rang in his ears. Paul glanced down at his vehicle. It was one of the few tanks that guarded Ovlast, and its main cannon was aimed directly at the red-haired alien. Standing in the round turret, all Paul had to do was shout out the order. The tanks would fire. The alien would die. 

 

So would the the children standing behind and beneath the giant. That, of course, hadn't mattered to Naro when he had given the order. It did matter to Paul, but was it enough to disobey a direct order? To betray his home? 

 

The alien, the Lord Primarch according to his dreams, silently waited and watched him. He had made an offer, but had based it on a nebulous future with only his word as collateral. 

 

The seconds dragged on for an eternity as the crescent moon of Balovian soldiers stood at the ready, waiting for the shot that would end the war. 

 

Paul grimaced. 

 

The Lord Primarch frowned.

 

"Fire."

 

The Lord Primarch held out his hand.

 

Paul's tank fired.


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#364
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#365
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There was no explosion. To the stunned horror of the Balovians, the tank round hovered, twirling mid-air before the giant's outstretched hand. That moment of hesitation would be the last. The air crackled with power. Light exploded. 

 

Twenty lesser giants in metallic armour formed a perimeter in front of their red-headed master. One stood in front of them all and wielded a set of threatening claws attached to his armour gauntlets. "Protect the Primarch!" This being shouted. With this order, Paul's platoon died. Where the armoured men fired, explosions ripped through kevlar and flesh. 

 

Paul had no time to consider the utter foolishness of his choice before the Lord Primarch appeared before his tank. Interlocking his fingers into a single fist, the Lord Primarch raised and then slammed down. With raw strength alone, the blow broke through the cannon's barrel before crashing into the tank's front plates. 


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#366
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Not only did the tank's front crumble beneath the ungodly might, but it catapulted Paul out of the turret. He spun forward through the air. Then, he landed on his back. In the roar of war, only he could hear himself wheeze as the landing knocked the air out of him. Before he could recover, the Lord Primarch stood above him. "You could prevent all of this."

 

Could? Paul thought as he stared up in terror. He waited for the robed titan to finish him off. But the Lord Primarch merely stared down at him. After a moment, he realized there was no sound. He looked around and saw that nothing moved. The grey-armoured giants had finished slaughtering his platoon and were advancing. The clawed leader's claws were in the middle of slicing through Naro's head. Paul couldn't help but feel a little morbid satisfaction at that.

 

He slowly stood up, but everything remained frozen. Paul turned and said, "This is a dream."


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#367
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"No. This is a possibility." The Lord Primarch offered an index finger. Awkwardly, Paul grabbed onto it before the Lord Primarch lifted him off the ground. "This is the most likely future if you choose to reject my offer." 

 

Paul grunted. "I liked the last dream." 

 

"It is a pleasant future. But it will not simply happen." The giant gestured to the scene around them. "This is what happens when you simply try to flow with events. Reward comes to those who act and not simply react. And there is precious little time for you to dawdle now. My arrival can now be measured in hours, not days." 


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#368
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Paul didn't want to be reminded. These last three days had passed at a blur and in slow-motion. No matter how hard the government tried to suppress it, the rumour mill stated that the rest of the planet had already fallen to rebels. Ironically, it was the government's attempts to hide the truth that made the truth that much more obvious. Control was slipping, which meant the Balovian soldiers were put under twice as much scrutiny. It seemed everyday that the Nightwatchmen made a visit or a soldier would be told to report to HQ and not reappear the next day. His men were tired and standing far too close to the breaking point. 

 

He didn't know if he felt relieved or even more stressed to know that events would soon come to a head, one way or another. "This decision would be easier if you could give me some guarantee besides your visions. I have no way of knowing they're not just tricks."


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#369
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"I have nothing else to offer you," the Lord Primarch said. "Any physical interaction with the surface will trigger enormous consequences. I could have someone leave you a message in the waking world, but you could just as easily dismiss that as more subterfuge. I'm sorry to say, but you must take a leap of faith on this matter."

 

"You're asking me to betray my home," Paul quietly countered. "If you betray me, I'll lose everything."

 

"If you do not fulfill your side of the bargain, you will have written your death in stone," The giant said, waving his hand over the frozen massacre. "And deprive your wife of her husband, and your children of their father. I cannot force you to believe the truth. That is a choice you must make." As he spoke, the scene around them seemed to dissolve. The colours faded as shapes became more indistinct. Darkness settled into the absence as the scene disappeared. 

 

"And decide soon."


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