The aide hurried through the vast garden. He carried with him news, news that would change the fate of their world and their sister worlds. A fleet had been detected entering the system. A fleet composed of ships of vast power and size. A fleet heading steadily advancing toward their defense network. The aide climbed up a small hill, cursing the Prime Minister for his insistence on detaching himself from the world at such an inopportune time. During these times of meditation, the Prime Minister would turn off all of his portable communication devices, and could only be reached via physical messenger. At the top of the hill, the aide paused as he scanned the garden for his task. A single glance was all it took. No one could mistake the Prime Minister for anyone else. After all, not one man or woman could hope to reach the Prime Minister’s height.
The giant was tending to his portion of the garden, several bushes of flowers was his focus for this month. It was strange to see such a famous and powerful man on his knees in the dirt, idly humming as he worked with his gardening tools. The aide sprinted down the hill and closed the distanced between them in a few seconds. Before he could open his mouth, the Prime Minister without turning to look at him lifted one finger. “Catch your breath, Gregory. I already know.”
Gregory resisted the urge to touch the holy symbol around his neck. He was one of many who believed the Prime Minister was blessed by the gods. The Prime Minister’s mysterious foresight, which had led him to becoming the de facto ruler of the entire system, was the largest piece of evidence of the blessing. Gregory took a few deep gulps of air before he opened his mouth to speak again.
The warning finger wagged. The Prime Minister glanced at him with a mischievous smile before he shook his head. He began to pack away his tools. “Relax Gregory. There’s no need to be alarmed. Change is coming, but ultimately, I think it’ll be for the best. Please inform Admiral Zhon to stand down and to welcome our guests.” With a sigh, Gottfri climbed to his feet and stared at the sky. “My father has come for me.”
Seated on his command throne, Irvin Ruel impassively listened as the reports filed in. One last ship had been claimed by the warp during translation into the target system. Compared to the total fleet's size, it was a minute payment for entry. For the price of one ship, two legions had successfully entered the system. Not just any two either. Out of the corner of his eye, Irvin could see one of the crewman's display showing ships belonging to the Fifth and the First legions. The entire Fifth Legion was here, called in from the various fronts to coalesce into a united whole. While only representing a small portion of their strength, the First detachment contained some of the most powerful and famous ships of the Great Crusade, including the Thunderchild. It was another hint for the reason they had been brought here. Of the twenty legions, only one so far had been reunited with their lost Primarch. Somewhere on the Thunderchild was the Primarch Icarion. And, if the whispered rumors roaming the hallways were true, then a second had been found. By far, the biggest supporting evidence was the one ship dwarfing even the flagship of Icarion. The Bucephelus, the personal flagship of the Emperor.
Thus, when the fleet had first been forged and brought together under the personal command of the Emperor, the rumors had started. The second primarch had been found and it was time to bring him back into the Imperium's fold. Irvin had done his best to contain the rumors. While it was certainly a possibility their father had been found, he saw no reason to raise the legion's hopes without some kind of evidence. The Emperor himself had never claimed to have found their primarch and when asked, didn't confirm they had found him. If there was no primarch to be found, it could hurt morale after inflating false hope.
Yet, as scans revealed the local fleet's size and strength, Irvin couldn't keep the rumors out of his own head. The local fleet was a mere fraction of theirs, and their largest warship was half the size of the Thunderchild. Unless there was another purpose to this campaign, it was a waste to have so much of the Legiones Astartes concentrated here. "How quickly is the local fleet responding?"
Fleetmaster Themos answered as he studied the visual feeds, "In slow order. The fleet is dividing into three groups with escorts forming a screen. If I had to guess, my lord, I don't think they've ever prepared to combat a fleet of our size." The Fleetmaster had been recently promoted following his excellent performance in the Selecuid campaign. The man was void-born and marked by it by his unusual height. He was merely a head shorter than a space marine, but his thin frame made him appear almost two-dimensional when standing next to a marine.
Irvin frowned as he judged his possible adversaries. "Is our fleet in position?"
"Yes, my lord.The Lightning Bearers have already formed their spearhead and are beginning their advance." The Fleetmaster glanced at him with his iron-colored eyes. "I fear we may not play much of a role after the Bearers finish their first strike if they don't accept compliance soon."
Before Irvin could reply, communications officer Daylen announced, "My lords, we are receiving a general message from the local fleet commander."
"Let's hear it," Themos commanded.
Throughout the bridge, a voice said, "This is High Admiral Zhon-Vrook Carde of the Delian Federation. We ask you to identify yourselves, and to halt any offensive maneuvers. We are prepared to stand down and are willing to negotiate as necessary."
One of the junior bridge officers snorted. "Negotiate? Someone can't count."
No one had a chance to say anything as the Emperor himself answered, his voice echoing throughout the entire Imperial fleet. "I am the Emperor, and have no desire to engage in hostilities. My only wish is to arrange for a meeting between myself and your head of state at the earliest convenience."
Gregory waited impatiently as he relayed the avalanche of reports coming to him through his small communicator currently wrapped around his ear. The balding aide was under the distinct impression he was being ignored as the Prime Minister occasionally nodded, while he put the finishing touches on his uniform. Gregory glanced around the small ready room as his mouth instinctively spoke. Small was a relative word for this room and the rest of the mansion that was the personal home of Salim's Prime Minister. The ceiling, the walls, even the furniture were twice the size of their normal cousins on the rest of the planet. It had to be, for the Prime Minister was a giant, though he made sure there was plenty of normal-sized furniture to host the many leaders and guests he often entertained. Unfortunately, this room made no such accommodations for the rest of the humanity as this was Gottfri's personal ready room. A single large desk and chair were the only furniture, while most of the walls were decorated with weapons, pictures, and other keepsakes that supposedly enhanced the Prime Minister's creative desires on the days where he simply wanted to tinker.
Gregory took a moment to ignore his communicator as he asked his own question. "Sir, is it wise to choose your military uniform for this...event? You said there was nothing to fear."
"We don't," Gottfri reassured him as he finished pinning the last of his military awards, which covered both sides of his suit jacket with ribbons, seven-pointed stars, and medals. "But, until the unknown is cleared away, the people will fear this strange fleet coming towards us. They will want to know that they will be protected and what better way to show them then by physically reminding them that I am their Commander-in-Chief." The giant turned to the trusted aide. "Has the Senate convened?"
"Most of them, sir. Senators Myron and Senator Xiu haven't arrived, but their aides say they are only momentarily delayed."
"Good. Have my car waiting for me outside. I'll be leaving in a few minutes myself."
"Yes, Prime Minister," Gregory replied before hurrying out.
Alone and free of distractions, Gottfri turned his head toward the ceiling. With ease, his mind reached out and he left his ready room behind as he awareness flew through the atmosphere. As ordered, Zhon's fleet had stand down and was holding orbit above the planet. The thousands of human minds in the fleet were colored with fear, anxiety, surprise, and hope. With a thought, Gottfri passed through the fleet to study the far more interesting arrivals. Before him another sea of humanity slowly moved towards them. No. Not just humans. While there was humanity numbering in the millions stretched out before him, some of them were not quite human anymore. Thousands of minds were subtly different in a way that took Gottfri a few seconds to miss out. No fear. No hint of it. Fascinating.
And two minds stood out like stars in the enormous cloud of human thoughts and emotions. Well, a star and a supernova. Gottfri thought about investigating the smaller star, but he recognized the mind of his Father. After several decades of not knowing who his true parent was, he allowed curiosity to focus on the golden power, and he hurried to it.
Not yet, my son. All in good time.
Gottfri blinked and was surprised to see he was on the floor. The words. So few, and yet more than enough to 'gently' push him back into his body. No one had ever shown such power to him. Not even the strange xeno he had caught a decade ago. He climbed onto his feet as he analyzed the words again. He felt hints of amusement, a strong dose of determination and affection. Yet, he could detect a smidgen of disappointment. Without meaning to, he felt his second sight reaching into the future to determine the cause for the disappointment. He frowned and stopped himself. For all he knew, his Father would sense that as well and take offense to that. Still, he doubted his brush with his Father's mind was the cause of the disappointment, but what was it then?
Edited by simison, 09 March 2018 - 04:38 AM.