I wrote up a short 1.15k word fiction to go along with my recent modeling adventures. Enjoy!
WARNING: For those who may obtain itchiness, dryness of eyes, or cases of insane boredom or fear when faced with a wall of text, this is post is not for you. Please consult a doctor if the issue persists.
Spring had just begun weaving winter's eulogy out of the smoke and fire of the season gone by. The small Imperium world of Solis Insurgum stood under a soft blanket of melting snow, which dampened the cloven feet of Shas'o Iras. He stood silently, surveying the remnants of a battle not two days old. His cadre had come into contact with the brunt of the Imperium's planetside defences.
Assigned on a very particular mission handed straight down from the Fe’tan’ar Ethereal councelate itself, Iras had been tasked with the defence of a group of human Tau Empire sympathizers. Iras was only vaguely aware that he and his cadre were both abused and renowned for their fanatical devotion to their Ethereal, more so than the rest of their kin, but it was not something he paid much mind to. The Ethereals felt perfectly safe recklessly sending them into impossible or suicidal positions, without suffering even a hint of complaint. Such was their relationship, after all. Thus, despite the facts and flaws of the concept, Iras leaped at the chance to serve, disregarding the councelate’s warning of the dangers and previous experience on hostile Imperium planets. Even the dredging victory of his most recent battle was not enough to make Iras reconsider the state of affairs. A victory was a victory, after all, never mind the losses and drawbacks. He had learned early on to take what was offered to him by Fate with a grain of salt.
Iras was broken from his silent vigilance by the blip of his communicator, which upon a glance indicated a call from the Aun of the councelate.
* * *
Fe’tan’ar, a second phase colony, stood silently amidst the stars. The towering cityspire known as J’karra mirrored its surroundings on many metallic plates, seamlessly fit together to emulate a windless sea. Within, the Fe’tan’ar councelate of Ethereals conversed in quiet, stern tones.
“Is it truly wise to lead Iras and his tio’ve straight into the hands of the Imperium? His forces make up a large part of our military expenses; its loss would be a deafening blow.”
“You are quick to lose your faith in the young one, Ka’el’vas. Our honored Shas’o surely has the ability to combat anything the Imperium can throw at him. Worry not.”
“You put to much faith in him. He is still too young to understand. It may not be a poor idea to replace him with one of our veterans.” Another of the Ethereals piped up.
“Their selfishness, eagerness, and pride will be their undoing. Has it not occurred to you that the inexperience of Iras is what has made him such an invaluable tool? He is uncorrupted by the usual shortcomings of our leaders, and whatever holes may be in his logic because of this he has filled with his own imaginings and tactics. He is a brilliant tactician and a man of indispensable honor.” Unbeknown to the rest of the councelate, the Aun of the Fe’tan’ar sat silently, pressing several keys on his control pad. Silence fell as a shimmering hologram of Shas’o Iras appeared in the center of the room, answering the call he had received. The blue representation of Iras bowed its head and maintained eye contact with the ground.
“Rise, Iras. No need to avert your eyes.” The Aun spoke softly, but with authority, and Iras straightened his form and stood tall.
“What is it my honored councelate needs me for?”
“I am granting you leave to return home, Shas’o.” Iras stood motionless for a moment, his eyes shifting restlessly, searching the Aun’s face for an explanation. Slowly, he spoke.
“If I may be so bold, Aun... “ here he bowed steeply, “I would like to stay. This was an assignment from you, and it is my duty to carry it out. My work is far from finished.” The councelate remained silent as the Aun nodded slowly.
“Very good. Then return to your duties, and see to it that we receive a detailed report in less than two decs.” Iras bowed again and the hologram faded. The Aun turned his attention to the rest of the councelate. “An example of our Shas’o’s determination. Even under orders to retreat, he resists, and not without reason at his back. He stays on Solis Insurgum for now. And... “ a few more buttons were tapped slowly on the Aun’s panel, “he’ll receive a new set of suits.” Another hologram filled the space that Iras stood not moments before, the image this time of a prototype Crisis Suit. Several of Iras supporters in the councelate nodded their assent; a few others silently grew more livid. “He will serve us in more ways than one. Let us see how he employs the latest developments from the Earth caste.” More nods rippled around the chamber.
* * *
Fe’lar scribbled furiously on his handheld datapad, taking notes from the dictated list of casualties and losses found thus far. Iras had told him the report had been ordered in under two decs, but Fe’lar had no intention of getting it to the Ethereals any later than 1 dec. His punctuality was such that he refused to file reports on time unless ordered to do so; in order to efficiently maintain an army, time could not be wasted unless absolutely necessary.
Fe’lar had served on many planets as part of Iras’ personal Crisis team unit, and his efficiency and strict sense of organization had been what landed him this position, on top of his prowess as a suit pilot. He served as both a bodyguard, and as Iras’ personal assistant, a hand-picked secretary to coordinate and dispatch the mass of incoming and outgoing information needed to keep a tio’ve running properly.
The dictation finished, and Fe’lar conducted some last minute reshuffling of information before sending it off to the councelate on Fe’tan’ar. It was just after this the he received a notification on his datapad.
“Shas’o!” Fe’lar went charging off towards the command center, his eyes wide. “Shas’o, you’ll want to see this.” Iras took the datapad from him, and in turn his eyes also widened.
“By the balding head of the Aun... “ he whispered. “Surely not. There must be a mistake.”
“No, sir. This notification has the seal of the Aun.” Then, quoting the message for emphasis, “ ‘You are hereby dispatched a fully functional prototype XV11-2 Crisis suit for the purposes of battlefield testing and scientific research’.” Iras stood motionless, and then a garish grin broke out from underneath his normally stoic features.
“I can’t wait.” Iras began to turn back to work, then halted. “Did you send the report to the councelate?” Fe’lar smiled.
“Just now, sir.” Iras nodded, then, noticing the time on his wristband, smirked.
“Only you, Fe’lar. Only you.”
Damn the lack of indents.
"In a mad world, only the mad are sane." - Akira Kurosawa