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The saving of Neophyte Alessandro

The saving of Neophyte Alessandro
By Algienon

Neophyte Alessandro led the Unnamed Holy One along the dimly-lit corridor; lit only by the lantern he carried and silent but for the occasional inhuman shriek somewhere ahead. Only his companions calm disregard had kept Alessandro from bolting back to the daylight. Those sent to search for records in the lower levels of the archives, hundreds of meters above where Alessandro was now, came back with tales of barely audible screams, an overwhelming smell of burnt meat and of smoke seeping from the ventilation ducts. As far as he knew these corridors were rarely visited. None of the neophytes could remember seeing a single person pass through the huge thorlium doors that barred the way to the lowest levels, but they all knew that black shuttles of the Inquisition landed in the dead of night and disgorged numerous cargo crates. Left outside the thorlium doors; by morning everything was gone the shuttles and the crates.

Alessandro had been roused from his cell some time before dawn. The dishevelled acolyte instructed him to report to the Abbots study immediately and then scurried off before Alessandro could ask any questions. He had been struggling with his studies and had been sent to the Abbots study on more than one occasion. He assumed this summons was another opportunity for the Abbot to express his disappointment and then assign Alessandro to yet another menial duty to allow him to contemplate his place in the universe. What he didnt expect to find was the Unnamed Holy One himself sitting by the fire and the Abbot looking flustered and fidgeting nervously with his beads. He thought it was a fitting turn of events for the way the Abbot had made him feel on numerous occasions. Possibly not something someone hoping to be a monk should be thinking, but the old wind-bag did seem to delight in droning on and on at him. He was snapped from his thoughts by the Abbot addressing him.



Alessandro I have an important task for you. His Grace will be visiting an old friend in the lower levels. You are to light his way and follow his every instruction. You are to say nothing unless spoken to and you are to tell no-one of what you see or hear. Do you understand?

Yes Reverend Father

Take this map then

"Your Grace, if you are ready?

The Unnamed Holy One nodded his approval.

Alessandro thought back to what hed heard of their enigmatic guest whilst he followed the Abbot and the Unnamed Holy One to the doors leading to the lower levels. A figure shrouded in mystery. Reputedly an Inquisitor, sanctioned by the Patriarch himself to use any means necessary to extract information for the church, including flaying, excruciation and excommunication in extremis. What was he doing here? And who was the old friend he was visiting in the lower levels? The stories of this night would improve his standing amongst the other neophytes significantly.

The Abbot had withdrawn a small key from beneath his robes, unlocked the huge doors and given Alessandro final instructions about where his Grace was to be taken. That had been an hour ago. The map had been easy enough to follow; though there had been many dark side passages. He had heard the screams almost as soon as they had left the Abbot; and they had become louder as they had made their descent. In all that time they had seen another soul

At the end of a long corridor Alessandro heard The Unnamed Holy One mutter a brief prayer and then knock on the door. Another shriek pierced the air, before being suddenly cut short.

Remain here

The Holy Unnamed One opened the door and a wave of heat and acrid smoke rushed out, momentarily blinding Alessandro. By the time he had cleared his eyes he was alone. He started intoning a prayer to the True One.

...

The Unnamed Holy One surveyed the scene around him. He was at the top of a large, deep cavern. Below him, 7 levels of plastisteel-fronted cells ran for as far as the eye could see. The occupants were predominantly alien, but here and there he saw the occasional human. Heretics! Worse than aliens; for they had renounced the True Ones gift of an eternal soul and thus damned themselves for eternity. Their disease could not be allowed to spread. They had to be cleansed!

The cavern floor was covered in as many contraptions of torture as humanity could think of; and a fair few that they probably couldnt. He smiled at the sight of them. Like seeing long, lost friends again. He spotted a group of robed monks praying around one of the contraptions and made his way down the stairways towards them. As he approached, one of the monks, with hair as red as flames looked up and smiled.

Take this one back to his cell and see to his wounds. Neither unconsciousness nor death shall save him from the Truth of the True One

The monks opened the iron maiden and carefully removed the unconscious body of a man in the tattered uniform of naval officer of the Detinus Republic.
The Unnamed Holy One stepped forward.



Brother Pyros, there is a neophyte at the door upstairs that has much hubris and may stray from the path of the True One. The gentle caress of the maiden may save him from that fate

Brother Pyros nodded and turned to the monks, See to it.

Two of the monks head for the stairs, and Neophyte Alessandro, while the others disappeared amongst the forest of contraptions; taking the officer to be revived and cured prior to the tireless efforts to save his eternal soul.

So you have finally come my nameless friend. Are they now ready for the cure that I bring?

"The Church has sat idle for too long. We have become bloated and complacent. For too long our wealth and privilege has shielded us from the savagery that surrounds us. Aliens, heathens and heretics infest the Empire! No longer! You are instructed to go forth from this gilded cage and bring Truth in His name. To the Coreward Arm you shall go for the Church. Billions there wait to burn with faith or burn in agony. It matters little. You shall commence a burning crusade that shall ignite whole worlds. From the ashes we shall renew the Church. You will make war in His name. The True Name..."

Finally





 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Stellar Empire Re-United ***

Celebrations were held across the vast territories of the Stellar Empire as the two-halves represented by the governments of the Imperials and Caliphate determined to unite. This followed almost inevitably from the assassination of the Caliph, a crime that has gone mysteriously unresolved. The old Caliphate ministers were ‘retired’ and at first it seemed the Imperials had managed what had alluded them for decades.

However, just as orders to claim systems for the IMP went in some places, conflicting orders to claim for the CIA came from Laton. In other systems, it seems overwhelming civilian support lies with the defunct CAL government and there are a number of CIV and CAL bases that seem to have not heeded the CIA nor IMP orders. With all the Caliphate's armaments now in the CIA’s hand and no political leadership in the old government, it seems inevitable that the civilians will be dragged kicking and screaming into the future.

A muted and cautious response from the rest of the galaxy was only to be expected given the formation of a new unrivalled superpower. The chilling effect on public discourse as the Imperial war machine taps into the substantial, if stunted, economies of the former Caliphate will surely be felt for years to come. Does this mark the 'end of history' as we know it?

More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * KAS v IMP/GTT v FLZ * DEN v MRC * FOCed by IMP * BHD v DEN * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Imperials Declare War Against Flagritz ***

A declaration of war came last week after an unsatisfactory reply to Imperial ultimatums that the FLZ accept resolution of the previous war. J. Jones issued the following proclamation, "We hope this reminder will prompt them to rethink the status they removed them selves from and come back to more peaceful co-existence.” Doublegood, Viceroy, doublegood!

More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * Species Guide * FEL Barter With GIants * High Times &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Orion Spur Special Edition ***

Explorers of the galaxy rejoiced as knowledge of a new periphery became common knowledge, revealing charts to forty star systems. The Orion Spur is connected to the massive Coreward Arm with rumours that the locals of the Monument system at the heart of this new periphery may have been responsible for the collapse of the HarCorp civilisation.

We have in-depth analysis and information about the new periphery inside this special issue of the SSS.

Also inside this issue of the SSS: * Naplian Liberation Front Reality Show * FLZ v FEL * Mercs in Graydown * DOM Scare Stories * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Hoedown in Graydown ***

Wimbles in the Graydown system have come under repeated attacks by mercenaries. The Wimbles having already lost two outposts have had their ships come under attack by boarders. The Wimbles are pointing a hairy finger at the GTT whilst the DEN are itching to get their paws in.

Pleasantly rotund Wolf Lord Lyceum reported the destruction of one mercenary ship, a Corsair class explorer called "Eye of the Chosen" which had earlier dropped off ground forces flying the banner of "God Hates Wimbles.” Which God and why he or she hates Wimbles has yet to be revealed. We suspect its corporation-loving Mammon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Sargasso Update * Wakerians * Naplian Liberation Front * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Breaking News: Caliph Samuel Assassinated ***

The nominal head of the Caliphate, Samuel has been murdered in broad daylight at the starbase CAL Sidon in the Fortress system. The allegedly mad zealot was on his way to meet representatives of various civilian factions when a shadowy figure *cough*CIA agent*cough* shot him dead.

The CIA issued the following statement to the SSS with a customary nudge and a wink: "In these difficult times, as we come to terms with the loss of Samuel, we are taking things one day at a time.

"Samuel was not only our Caliph, but our leader during the Second Civil War which laid the foundations for the Confederacy after he left the Human Empire and settled in the Darkfold. It is truly a sad day and one that will be marked in history as one of many great leaders who were cut down in their prime.

"We will strive now to look to the future, whilst remembering our past”

Speculation is rife that this is the first step towards a unification of the two-halves of the Stellar Empire. Others are more hopeful this is a return to the Confederacy or the mark of greater separation with the Imperial bloc. Time will tell what nebulous motives the shadowy puppet-master Laton turned out to have had and which alien faction will be blamed for the Caliph’s murder.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * HEX / FET Invade Sargasso * Magnus v Nevets Fight! * Dewiek Black Hole Disaster * FLZ Correction * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** STOP PRESS: Felini Victory ***

In an unexpected development, the FEL have scored a decisive victory against the FLZ. Destroying or maiming some 20 Flagritz Baseships in the Onwards system.

What is more remarkable than the victory was there was no subsequent comment by Crazy Uncle Flagritz. We might need to have a lie down now.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DEN and FEL * Valhalla Fighting Pits * RIP smacked * &etc


 
***** Christmas Special Edition *****

*** Ho Ho Ho ***

Welcome to the SSS Christmas Special Edition! We the Editors have put together a nostalgic pudding treat intended to delight and tickle even the scroogiest megacorp executive. So gather your cubs, squidlets and larvae for some silliness and song. Time to catch up with some classics from years gone by, raise your glasses and drink your gluttony and shame away!

Wishing you all a merry Christmas free from Krampus Jones's invading armies!

The Editors


 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Claws Out in Valhalla ***

In a bold rebuke of Crazy Uncle Flagritz’s attacks in the Avalon system, the cunning Felini Nevets ordered a hit on a FLZ outpost in the Valhalla system. Claiming miscommunication with his warships, the mischevious Avatar cocked a snook at the washed-out Dewiek warrior in charge of the system whilst claiming an important victory in the often one-sided conflict against the FLZ.

This isn’t the first time the foxy Feline has masked daring-do in the shroud of incompetence. It remains to be seen whether this turns out as disastrously as the time when the FEL had to pay the costs of a war started by Prince-turned-meklan LiQuan.

Meower-in-chief Chamiah apologised for the incident in a public address laced with snickering subtext and unconcealed laughter when she got to the bit about the unfortunate loss of “5 FLZ Warships in Onwards.”

A second incident in Valhalla was reported the next day with mardy Magnus complaining he wasn’t getting his claws in on the action. Could this be the pithy ploy that puts the cat on the mat?

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Merc-y Wimbles * Valhalla Fighting Pits Get Weird * Profile of Lyceum Amaguk * &etc


 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Nun on the Run ***

Alleged cosplayer Carmilla D’Morenta got the vicars in the Brotherhood all hot and bothered when she made a run for it. Possibly tired of being tied up by the reverends and denied the love that dare not howl its name. With a sizeable, almost unbelievable, bounty on her head, the barking sister took refuge with the Dewiek Elder Nation.

In possibly the shortest chase in history, the BHD managed to strike a blow for oppressed collars everywhere when they squared off with the naughty doggy-wannabe at the Valhalla stargate. The cheeky chaplains blew their hyperdrive at close range and both the BHD and DEN flagged ships were reported to be lost in space.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DEN Ban BHD * Ulian * FLZ in Avalon * Valhalla Fighting Pits * Interview with Carmilla * And more


 

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