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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 companion’s 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 Abbot’s 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 Abbot’s 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 didn’t 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 he’d 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 One’s 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 couldn’t. 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”





 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Crowe Coups Self

The IMP Viceroy Tiberius Crowe has finally achieved something in his unremarkable tenure by relinquishing even the semblance of wearing big boy pants and instead, appointed Jack Jones as Patrol Commissioner, salty spokesperson and policy maker for the Empire. Crowe will now join CIA Director Laton in riding the special bus to work where the two of them will enjoy long pleasant afternoons sipping cups of tea. Actually, just tepid fruit-scented water as neither of them can be fully trusted with a hot kettle. Occasionally, they might be visited by equally dynamic war “veteran” Admiral Bridge to enjoy mimes presenting the latest comics from the Howl. Meanwhile, Jones is putting pressure on the FET and will soon no doubt find a pretext to deploy his vast mercenary forces against anyone else who is seen working too closely with his most hated of enemies, the HEX.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Highlord Aadolf Loses Control As Dewiek Break Peace Treaty

Around one hundred DEN warships have launched an attack on a small GTT destroyer squadron of forty ships in the Daggern system. Two GTT ships were destroyed and another fifteen suffered noticeable damage. CEO Xavier Fox issued a restrained but angry statement demanding the DEN explain themselves. Highlord Aadolf’s buffoon-like response amounted to “Dewiek be Dewiek, let’s drink and forget about it.” Cold comfort for the dead crew onboard the GTT ships and their families. Especially, as seems likely at this time, the Empire will settle for some bloody money instead of retribution.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

The Worm Turns

The FET have reduced relations with the IMP to neutral. Sneezy boss Cu Chulainn took the bold step of putting 1 and 1 together by linking recent mercenary attacks in their systems with the IMP scouts seen loitering for some time and refusing to move. Even bolder, hints that they believe “a certain Imperial citizen” is responsible for Edward Lowe’s entire underhand operation were voiced loudly enough that the handsome but hard of hearing Tiberius Crowe had to take note. He was seen grappling in trademark fashion with his skin tight jacket, pulling it down over his partially concealed middle-aged girth, as he sat to issue a terse public statement. Exactly who this citizen may be was left unnamed and no news channel subject to Imperial laws would dare unmask the villain. Luckily dear readers, we are not subject to phony Imperial laws. It’s Jack Jones everybody. Jack Jones, butcher of Naplians and fancier of silver long johns.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

”Necessity hath no law”

Lord Cromwell of the DOM slapped a fleet of privateers, on charges of "knavery", "bad manners" and "poor sportsmanship." Such offences carry the death sentence in the Dominion, a nebulous territory neither part of the Empire nor apart from it. At least thirteen Armadillo class ships, typically sold by the DOM, were destroyed at a location Cromwell was unwilling to disclose publicly. Bloodthirsty Dewiek as well as "prince of peace" Yahn Wodenzoon were quick to congratulate the DOM for their merciless carnage. It seems the consensus in the galaxy’s ruling class is that not presenting valid identification is a crime worthy of the murder of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of unfortunate crewmen. This is all just another indicator that the political elite are far removed from the lives of ordinary people who are seen as little more than meat inventory. It is telling so-called “man of the people and the downtrodden” Wodenzoon so readily aligns himself with this grisly concord. Meanwhile, the archaic elocutionist Cromwell further establishes the recent trend of mild exertions of power by the cold-blooded DOM.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the Fox

The galaxy is still digesting news of the return of Xavier Fox to the boardroom of the GTT. The ailing corporation's share price began a sharp rally after a six month downward spiral under Ike Krieger, credited with being the worst CEO in the megacorporation's history. The only surviving board member from Fox's initial tenure as CEO, and perhaps across the entire GTT board, is Antt Tilton the Research Director. The reclusive Tilton is the brains behind the ascension of GTT technology, particularly in the field of antimatter weapons and super-heavy dreadnought size ships, Tilton offers a small measure of continuity during this tumultuous time. Mr. Fox has therefore resorted to a broad appeal for new blood to join the ailing firm. So far, the result has been a number of two-dimensional "Yes" persons being promoted to the C-suite. Still, key stakeholders were upbeat with one commenting, "Fox is the man to turn this bloody disaster around. He knows how to put a great team together and where to bury the bodies of the non-performers."


 
******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the latest version of ESNN, giving the news and views from the ESNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
 
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******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the new version of ESNN (formally CSNN), giving the news and views from the former CSNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
 

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I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
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