Title: Codex 1
KennyWhee - May 27, 2010 10:54 AM (GMT)
A pair of eyes looked up. They did not have a colour, instead they seemed empty. Five other pairs flickered into existence. The empty orbs stared at one another, as if coming to an agreement. Then, with slight vertical movements that seemed to be nods, they succumbed to darkness again.
This was 10 years ago.
A shrieking noise howled across the streets of Imperius Magnus. Matoran and Agori paced on, noticing nothing. Their eyes were soulless and their walks heavy, as if each walk took a bit of what was left of their lives. Taller, crimson armoured beings watched them walk by, occasionally stopping one of their number to ask them a question. The tall beings held what seemed to be heavy, metallic projectile weapons.
One of the Matoran, an Onu-Matoran by the looks of it, approached one of the tall beings, asking:
“P-p-pardon me s-sir, but w-what is that n-n-noise?”
The crimson armoured being looked down upon the diminutive creature. He grunted, then hefted his gun. The Matoran’s expression grew increasingly worried.
“By what right, Matoran insect, do you speak to me? A Crimson Knight, no less! Do you ask for death?”
The Matoran, trembling as if a miniature earthquake had gone off inside him, attempted to shake his head.
“Then, Matoran, you shall be going on with your day, am I not correct?”
The black-armoured Matoran nodded and began to walk away. Shaking less, he picked up the pace, attempting to disappear into the crowd ahead. The Knight chuckled to himself. A small whirring sound emerged from his rifle, as he took aim towards the Matoran’s head
The Matoran collapsed, his cranial case breached by the superheated plasma round. The Matoran's head oozed a red, viscous liquid. The Matoran crumpled, his heat hitting the floor. His Kanohi Ruru fell off onto the pavement, cracking as it hit the tarmac. A couple of Ko-Matoran turned round, only to be met by the gaze of the Knight. They quickly clambered away, like Rahkshi running from a hungry Muaka cat. The Knight grabbed a nearby Agori and hauled the unfortunate creature up to eye level.
“You shall be getting servitors to clean this up, yes?”
Throwing the helmeted being on the ground, the Crimson Knight walked away.
KennyWhee - June 2, 2010 09:20 AM (GMT)
“And fire bathed the world, as light poured through the eyes of the blind, and we began to see the truth. The Emperor shone, a bright light beckoning the tattered and broken world into his caring arms. And where we went, we replaced hatred and cruelty and darkness with civilisation and peace and light. And the Imperium grew stronger, and more and more began to see the light that it presented. But there were some eternally doomed to walk in the path of darkness, and more still who beckoned others to join them in the shadows. So the Imperium must fight against the shadows, pushing back our instinct to run and cower in the darkness, and instead bring us forward and upwards into our own future, to allow us to fulfil our own destiny. And the Emperor shall guide our way, his will a burning sword to light our path and to slay the darkness. And we, his Imperium, shall follow him, into a brighter future.”
The chamber door slid open, and light began to trickle in. A bipedal figure, roughly one and a half bio tall moved into the doorway and raised his right hand.
Another being of about the same height swivelled round in the chair. Standing up, he repeated the gesture.
“Hail Brother. And, Hail Imperium”
The first figure chuckled and sat down on the chair that emerged from the floor.
“Indeed, Hail Imperium.”
The lights inside the chamber began to turn on, slowly at first, building up in a crescendo of brilliant glows, cumulating in a climax of blindingly white light, before climbing back down to bearable levels again. It was clear who the two beings were. One was a Crimson Knight, with golden shoulder pads, indicating a commander. The other was a slightly taller, blue-armoured being. His Faxon concealed the eyes of a predator, his thick carapace-like armour disguising the cold heart of a trained murderer.
“What crime have I committed to have given this visit from you, Brother Lambda Carminus Unum?” asked the blue-armoured being.
“No crime but loyalty, Brother. You know that no member of Lambda company has ever committed a crime against the Imperium, Azul Novem.”
“True, very true. Then what is it you wish to speak to me about?”
Carminus Unum sighed and produced a small holo-disk from his pack. The crystal matrix inside began to interlock and react, and a small light appeared from within. In moments, a three-dimensional hologram appeared between the two.
“A solution. A solution to the… ‘Great Problem’… Once and for all.”
The hologram was tiny, so Azul Novem motioned with his right hand. Carminus Unum caught a glimpse of the wrist-mounted rocket launcher, the hidden blades and the electro-pad lightning generators, and chuckled to himself. Azul Novem never went unarmed, even in the sanctuary of his own chamber.
The hologram enlarged, and it became clear that it was not just one, but multiple schematics. What appeared to be a large bipedal craft, with huge weapons mounted on its Protosteel chassis rotated in front of the Assassin. Another schematic, for what appeared to be some sort of wave amplifier and emitter began to have calculations spew out of its holographic casing. All in all, almost a dozen advanced and deadly looking pieces of equipment were in front of Azul Novem.
“These are… brilliant! But do you think the Industrium could pull such an order off?”
“I asked. They could, but there is one piece of technology they are missing. Something the Resistance Shadow has. And this is where you come in.”
Azul Novem stood up. It was like watching an armoury get up and move. Both his arms were equipped with rocket launchers, blades, lightning generators and what appeared to be canisters of gas on his left wrist. Larger daggers were strapped to his thighs, while his boots had propulsion systems allowing for flight. A huge acid-shot chain-fed shotgun was strapped to its back, and a makeshift bandolier which seemed to be a huge chain of ammunition was draped around his body.
“Come, brother Lambda Carminus Unum. Let us talk.”
KennyWhee - June 9, 2010 09:48 AM (GMT)
The Infinitus are the limbs and the body of the Imperium. The military and mechanical might of the Infinitus makes them the enforcers of the Emperor’s will. Acting on the translations of His thoughts from the Telpathium, they bring holy fire upon heretics and traitors to the Imperium cause.
“Outdated. Heresy, almost.”
The white-armoured Industrium Engineer shook his head and threw aside the metal canister. As soon as it hit the metal surface of the floor, small streams of gas spewed out of the tops. Servitors rushed to pick up the grenade and contain the lethal gas spewing out.
“If this atavistic rubbish is all Lambda Industrium Viginti Octo can come up with, I dare say the Emperor looks with shame upon him.”
“And does the Emperor smile any differently upon you, Brother Industrium Tria?”
Industrium Tria span around, his Matatu’s telescopic lens already extending, and hefted his cybernetic cannon-arm at the intruder. Upon seeing Azul Novem standing in the doorway, he chuckled slightly and powered down the weapon.
“You stagger me, Brother. Perhaps you and your cerulean kin have never heard of knocking?”
“Why knock, Brother Industrium Tria, when the Emperor gifts us all with trust and knowledge?”
The Engineer nodded sagely, and sat down at his workbench. Instead of the hard, cold surface one might expect from an Engineer constructing tools of death and destruction on a daily basis, the bench looked rather more like that of a watchmaker, orderly and delicate, with magnifying glasses and racks of tools taking up most of the space. The baize-like surface of the table was soft to the touch, and wasn’t frayed in any way, not even at the edges.
Azul Novem continued to stand, and pulled out the holo-disk that Carminus Unum had given him. Activating it, the same holograms shimmered into existence, like a fine sheet of silk between them, expanding outwards to become a tapestry of cold blueprints.
“Ah, I know this. Carminus Unum came to speak to me about this. Did he not tell you what I said?”
“All he said was that you needed technology that the Resistance had. Not much detail, but that would be expected from Carminus Unum. He acts, and then speaks to corpses.”
“Of course. Well, I have requested the Navigorium of our Fortress-Fleet to edge us towards a Resistance outpost. Reconnaissance suggests this is a Research Outpost, thought to be completely hidden from Imperium forces. To everyone but us, Carminus Unum, and the other Leading squads of the respective Legions aboard Lambda Fleet, we are simply conducting standard manoeuvre drills. However, in reality, you and a strike team will be sent down into the outpost to steal everything in the outpost.
After that, we will ‘announce’ that we have detected Resistance Comm signals below, and send in the Legions to crush and conquer. By that time, you will have rendezvous backed with the Lambda Mothership, delivered the cargo, and join the Legions in attack. We will have successfully stolen everything we need, as well as covering up our tracks and crippling the Resistance influence in this area.”
“Ingenious! But aren’t there other outposts nearby?”
“None that we can see. This appears to be a Research Outpost as well as a port for supplies from the North to the Southern tips. We could strike a blow that could effectively leave the resistance down for the count for weeks!”
“In that case, I will succumb to your suggestion, Brother Industrium Tria. Do I get to pick the force or has a suitable team already been chosen.”
“Regrettably, you will not have much freedom in your options. You are allowed to choose five operatives from your own legion, but the rest have been selected. However, I doubt you will disappointed.”
“Why would you say that?”
“One word, Brother Azul Novem. Mechanicum.”
KennyWhee - June 23, 2010 10:08 AM (GMT)
"Good evening gentlemen. You have all been chosen as among the best of your legion in order to participate in an operation led by me. My name is Lambda Azul Novem. I do not care what your names are, for this is my world. And in my world, until you prove yourselves on the field of honour, you are not worthy of names."
The gathered soldiers shifted uneasily in their seats. The armoured warriors had their weapons stored behind their cushioned seats aboard the IMP Prevailing Glory XIV, an Interception-class transport normally docked in one of the many bays of the Fortress-Blimps of the Lamba Fleet. Armed with only a small rail-based depleted Hydranium slug launcher, the transport relied more on deft maneuvering and high speeds to evade enemy aircraft. A small pinging sound emerged every five seconds out of the cockpit, indicating the radar had once again confirmed and acknowledged the Resistance base down below.
Azul Novem smiled subtly at the sound of the radar. Though designed to be soft so that only the Navigorium member piloting the craft could detect it, the sound echoed around the cramped cabin of the Prevailing Glory, the only other sounds accompanying it the hum of the Fusion engine and the breathing of the gathered soldiers. The gold and crimson armoured Navigorium eased the quad thrusters of the fish-shaped craft into a neutral stance, before activating the silencers. Drawing power away from the sole weapon as well as their shields, the Navigator activated the Prevailing Glory's cloaking system. He turned around and whispered:
"The crystals will be enough to cloak us for up to 4 hours. Any longer, and we'd have to tap into the fuel cells, and to much of that will give us no chance of regrouping with the main fleet before the penultimate assault."
Azul Novem cursed under his breath, then glanced around at his party. They were not rookies, many of them veterans he had fought alongside before. From the sleek Aerius soldier, to the hulking gargantuan that was the representative of the Mechanicus legion in Azul Novem's team, they were all battle-hardened and ready for combat. But yet, he could see it in their eyes, and it was no doubt present in his eyes as well. They were on a time limit, and if they did not complete their mission successfully before then, well...
No. It was blasphemy to think as such. They were Infinitus members, they would finish the mission.
"Let us go, brothers. Hail Imperium."
"Hail Imperium," responded the assembled men.
KennyWhee - July 7, 2010 09:46 AM (GMT)
Twenty Standard Years Ago, Azul Legion training facility, Digamma Island Fortress, Daxia
"As you can see, students. The art of sabotage is one of the most important aspects of an Assassin. We must strive to be secretive, to strike with great swiftness and power, and must never be seen. For that is the way true battles are won. The Carminus and the Aerius might storm fortresses and reap the souls of grunts, but only the Azul legion is skilled enough in subterfuge and secrecy to be entrusted with slitting the throats of the powerful. After all, is it not said a single leader is worth more than all his troops?
Sometime in your career, you will be asked to go on an Absens Letalis, your fatal mission. Do not fear this day. All Letalis missions are highly critical for the continued survival of the Imperium and by extension our own Infinitus."
Azul Novem remembered the lecture Prudienta Azul Unum gave him, all those years ago. As his squad began trekking towards the Resistance base, he couldn't help but think about his own Letalis mission, and if this was it.
Mechanicus Undecim was the first to the heavy doorway. It was made of reinforced titanidermis, almost five inches thick. The Mechanicus soldier, almost completely mechanical after years of withering away within his self contained suit, hefted the huge chain-fed auto-blaster he was equipped with. Loud and powerful, there was no doubt that the incendiary rounds contained within it would burn the door to a molten slag. Azul Novem arrived just as Mechanicus Undecim was powering up the blaster, and quickly quietened him down.
"Too loud. Where's our Industrium representative?"
"Industrium Quadraginta-Duo reporting for duty, sir," said the white-armoured soldier, saluting sharply.
"At ease, Engineer. See what you can do with the locks on this door," said Azul Novem, waving a dismissive hand at the Engineer.
Industrium Quadraginta-Duo nodded curtly and motioned for some room to work in. Opening his huge pack, he used his unmodified left hand to pull out a small pin-like device, with an oversized head about the size of Azul Novem's thumb. Feeling around the door, he removed a small plasma torch and began silently boring a hole through. Once satisfied, he stuck the needle in and motioned for everyone to stand back.
The head of the needle glowed a blue-white hue, its dazzling brilliance almost blinding the surrounding Infinitus agents. The light emerged from cracks in the door barely visible, and from other cracks that they did not know existed. The needle hummed and vibrated visibly now, its surface hot to the touch. The glow that permeated through the cracks was steadily growing brighter, and their numbers increasing by the second.
Suddenly, the light that before emerged from cracks in the door began to fuse into a single blinding illumination. before long, the light died away and all that was left was a pile of metallic sand.
Nodding approval, Azul Novem moved on and motioned for the rest of his squad to follow. Letalis or not, he would do it. Duty came before himself. All that mattered was the Imperium.
KennyWhee - July 30, 2010 03:57 PM (GMT)
Azul Novem crept silently against a wall, his body pressed against the cold, hard steel, his armour one with the shadows. His hand gripped reassuringly on the trigger of his Mk-VII HighSpread-Class Close Assault Weapons System. The rest of his squad, not being as stealthy as he was, were being cloaked by the Industrium operative. Moving like a cloud darkening the sky, obscuring the sun and however many rainbows might be in the sky at the moment.
Suddenly, the azure armoured hand flew up. The gathered soldiers halted, but footsteps still rang through the metal corridor. Azul Novem cocked his shotgun, and brought the stock to his shoulder. The muffled muttering from the hallway wafted into his ears, and slowly morphed into intelligent conversation.
"Have you heard what just came down from up high?"
"Yeah, the boss just told me that the Imperium might have found out about our little projects here, and might be striking soon."
Azul Novem's ears peaked at the statement, and moved in. His footsteps were silent, and never betrayed him. Then, in a flurry of movement, he took two bounding stepa and landed behind the passing guards. As their slow, unaugmented reflexes merely began to spin their upper torsos round, Azul Novem crouched and extended his leg. Moving like a torrential storm, his leg became a blur, knocking one guard to the floor before either could pull out their pitifully small Self-Defense Pistol Systems. Bounding back up, he planted an armoured heel into the torso of the leftmost guard, caving the Po-Matoran's chest in. The Matoran slumped on the floor, a pool of red viscous liquid forming round the corpse. Azul Novem then spun round and hefted his shotgun. Twirling it up, he rammed the stock into te Agori's jaw. An audible crack emerged from the guard's face. The Agori fell onto the floor, moaning silently in his pain. Azul Novem knelt down and hefted his shotgun, waving it casually at the Agori's head.
It was an order, not a suggestion, but the Agori simply stared at Azul Novem, and spat a foul smelling mixture of saliva and blood.
"I'm going to ask one more time."
The Agori moaned what could be construted as a "No."
Azul Novem's eyes narrowed. Picking up the Agori by the ankles, the Assasin pinned him to the wall, then unsheathed a dagger, plunging it deep into the right ankle of the guard, pinning him to the wall. The Agori's face twisted in pain. Azul Novem rained a flurry of punches on the Agori's face before spinning his Shotgun and ramming the stock into the Agori's torso. Then, pointing the barrel at the Agori's head, he let out half a dozen shells into the Agori's head. The riddled skull had blood pouring out of it's holes.
Azul Novem removed the dagger, and let the limp body slump to the floor. Nodding, he moved forward.
KennyWhee - January 12, 2012 06:41 PM (GMT)
Boots, dirtied by the mud and dust of a thousand islands, battered by contact with the forms of hundreds of different beings, from wild Rahkshi, their mechanisms derelict and rusting from age and disuse, to the chestplates of Agori sellswords letting out their arms and armour for coin and bloodthirst. Azul Novem was no stranger to death. Neither had he any queries on his existence, nor moral dilemmas for his actions. He had always known his purpose was to kill, and if he failed, he would in turn be killed.
He made it a point never to fail.
His slow, rhythmic steps halted. He had found no reason to expend any of his armour’s energy cells on stealth systems, and decided against even the relatively low-power audio dampening systems in his boots. His reasoning was twofold. Firstly, he knew that immediately behind him, lumbering alongside the Aerius operative and the Carminus soldier was Mechanicus Undecim. Undecim was the 11th, and was therefore technically second in line to take up a place in his Legion’s Ruling Council. However, his unusually calm demeanour and tactical mind had stirred up rumours that he would leapfrog the system and be the next Mechanicus soldier to be placed on the Council Mechanicus. Such a move would be an unprecedented affront to tradition and custom, but it did not stop the whispers. However, in matters of stealth, Undecim’s political position was not the problem. No, the problem was the fact that, in his armour, he weighed the equivalent of a small tank.
Of course, his second reason was that he simply didn’t want to be hidden.
He had made no real effort to hide his presence. He had been trained an assassin, yes, but he knew when stealth was pointless. The Resistance outpost was sparsely manned, and poorly lit. He doubted they had any sort of security or monitoring systems installed either. It was painfully obvious that this outpost relied first and foremost on remaining hidden rather than attempting to garrison security.
“The foolishness of these heretics is almost amusing.”
Azul Novem spun round, half-expecting to see a Toa, or a Skakdi, wearing the trademark orange-black armour of the Resistance. He was slightly surprised to see that the comment was made by one of the five members of his own Legion he had picked to accompany him.
“Elaborate, Azul Triginta Septem.”
“My Lord Novem, this Resistance outpost is markedly understaffed and under-maintained. I think I speak for all of us assembled when I say that if this is the facility the Heretics use to protect technology that we prize; they must be truly scraping desperation.”
It was true. He expected Resistance would have had to know that whatever technology they held was of Imperium interest. They were either extremely ill-equipped to take care of this prize, or simple extremely foolish.
The narrow hallway eased into a steep decline. The party paced slower, stocks of weapons resting at shoulders, fingers twitching, ready to spit hundreds of rounds of burning protoplumbite into armour and flesh at the first sign of movement. There was a barely audible whirr of machinery in the background, a faint, fleeting noise Azul Novem had to strain his heavily augmented ears to hear. Whatever it was, it was in the facility, he had no doubt about that. Were it somewhere else, the echo patterns and timbre would be ever so slightly shifted. As the Infinitus agents reached a junction, Azul Novem threw up a hand, commanding the assembled soldiers to halt. He holstered his shotgun and started laying his hands on the wall, gently moving his fingertips as if playing some instrument. After a moment or two, he pressed up against it, resting his head against the cold steel. Halting his breaths and closing his eyes, he listened.
He heard the whirring. It was there, that was certain. But he heard something else. Faint and sinister, it was something that he did not expect, nor comprehend. There was something strangely seductive about the sound, a faint tickling at the back of his mind, a light tap on his consciousness that he fought against with all his training. As an Assasinarium operative, and a member of the Ruling Council, no less, he, more so than most Infinitus agents, was trained to repel mental intrusion. However, his own personal training had given him insight into far more than that. Steeling himself, he pushed back at the entity he had felt. It felt distant, almost as if it was retreating from his probe. Azul Novem grimaced, and mustered the entirety of his mental agility to make one last, great mental sprint towards the intelligence.
What he found was beyond comprehension.
The moment he touched the mind of the other, his own thoughts were overwhelmed with thousands of images. Some were abstracts concepts, things like power, pride and morality. Others were primal feelings, emotions of intense rage, regret, jealousy. What stood out most were the memories which now played just beyond Azul Novem’s vision. He felt them as much as he saw them, shadowy beings with sallow, reptilian eyes huddled about obsidian tables. Blades and axes of the finest protosteel strapped to their backs, their armour spiked and vicious, yet maintaining an appearance of dark elegance. They were formulating a plan of some sort, a stratagem for attack. The table held on it a map, hand drawn on a huge paper sheet, with what appeared to be writing annotating the various regions of the Matoran Universe. The writing was strange and exotic, certainly not Matoran or Agori, yet strangely familiar. The very runes painted onto the paper felt wrong and twisted, yet they had a strange beauty to them.
The map was exceedingly detailed in some places, such as the Southern Continent which had what appeared to be accurate topographical data for all the major elevations in the area. In other places, most notably Imperium Magnus, the map only showed general shape of the island in question, and what appeared to be hastily scribbled notes with lines violently drawn linking the writing to the island. When compared to the elegant calligraphy present on the other areas of the paper, the scrawl seemed rushed and informal, yet done with a measure of urgency sure to catch attention. The map was held in place by a dagger stabbed into each corner, while light was provided from a small candle burning in a candle stand nearby. The armoured beings, each one easily 4 bio tall, straightened up in unison. They appeared to reach some consensus, nodding their masked faces in turn. When seeing their Kanohi, Azul Novem felt fear, a feeling he had not been accustomed to. They were ancient, pitted with age and aeons, yet each retained and ebony shine. The designs were exotic, yet seemed familiar at the same time.
Azul Novem realised that the masks they wore were likely ancient versions of more common Kanohi designs. With that knowledge, he picked out what appeared to be archaic forms of the Kanohi Pakari, Elda and Jutlin. Suddenly, his mental gaze was averted to the head of the great obsidian table, to another shadowy being. This one was armoured similarly to the others, and had in his scabbard a huge sword easily half his height. But his Kanohi mask was not the jagged, chitinous design seen on the other beings. Instead, the mask this one wore was sleek, and all too familiar. Two eyeholes, long and angled, reaching from a point near the front of the mask toward the back, and a wicked crescent, angled sharply near the middle forming the apex. It was a symbol of unmistakable evil.
The being wore the Kanohi Kraahkan, the Great Mask of Shadows.
As quickly as it had begun, the visions ceased. Azul Novem reeled, his mind still spinning. Azul Triginta Septem rushed forward to catch his Legion Lord, and was capable of catching him just before he hit the floor. Azul Novem awoke, slowly, groggily, but quickly jumped back onto his feet. He could feel the presence receding, leaving behind hollow, empty laugh. He looked around at his assembled comrades, each a veteran of hundreds of battles. And for the first time on any mission he had been on, he wondered if they would be sufficient.
“My Lord Azul Novem, what happened?”
Azul Novem peered into the eyes of each of his assembled men. Though they stood firmly at attention, their eyes said otherwise.
“Gentlemen, I know what it is we have come to find. And for the first time, I doubt that even bringing the Emperor glory could justify this action.”
Gasps. Audible announcements of shock at such heresy. A member of a Ruling Council declaring an the Emperor’s glory not reward enough for a task? Unheard of.
“What lies at the bottom of this facility is the same reason such an object of tremendous power and importance is unguarded.”
More tension. Azul Novem saw their knuckles tighten around their weapons. They were uneasy.
“If I am correct, we have found a Sepulcrum Simulacrum Senex. A Tomb of Ancient Shadow.”
Quizzical now. He had expected as much. There was no need for the normal soldier to be aware of such installations.
“I speak of the tomb of a Makuta. In fact, I believe it to be the tomb of the most dangerous Makuta of them all. I speak of course, of the Great Deceiver, the Unholy Hunger. Teridax, Makuta of Metru Nui.”
“The Makuta were held in suspended animation so that they might eternally contemplate their crimes against the Empire, at the will of the Emperor. It is said the Emperor himself placed each Makuta in a separate Sepulcrum, deep underground; that they might never be a threat to his Dominions again. Whatever the reason, the Emperor’s will is that we now unearth this monstrosity, that he might once again tread upon the Emperor’s soil. So pray, brothers. Pray that we might leave these halls alive. For this mission has just become exceedingly more complicated.”
KennyWhee - January 17, 2012 04:51 PM (GMT)
“Are you sure, my Lord Azul?”
In truth, Lambda Azul Novem was not sure. He was trained to be decisive in any scenario, under fire, or even on the verge of collapse of command structure. A century of training had not, however, were scarcely preparation for touching the mind of an evil so ancient it predated the Imperium.
“Yes. Go back to the ships and return to the Fleet. Tell the Council what I have found, what the great power beneath this installation truly is. And then run. I will find my own way back to the fleet, but I cannot risk having an entire Company of my Brothers risk death out of my own curiosity.”
The gathered men looked confused, some even looked disappointed. They had expected to spill blood that day, and now they were being ordered to retreat. It made no sense whatsoever, but they were soldiers of the Imperium. They would do as they were ordered, for it was what their training demanded. They began to march, in slow, deliberate lockstep, back toward the entrance of the facility, weapons at the ready to face any incoming threat. Before they left, the five Azul Legionnaires picked by Azul Novem each, with gravity and reverence, handed him a single clip of ammunition for his shotgun. The manner in which they presented their superior officer the shells was almost ceremonial. In silent gratitude, Azul Novem nodded at them, and motioned for them to join the rest of the troops in silent retreat. He then turned and continued the walk down the long, winding corridor.
Benedictus Ignis. The blessings of fire. It was a time-honoured tradition of the Azul legions, who were often deployed on extended assignments in small squads of perhaps four or five. Away from the fleets, away from the Legions, Azul operatives often worked with limited resources, having to scavenge ammunition from enemies, and steal fuel when necessary. When the mission demanded the operatives needed to part in order to fulfil the mission criteria most effectively, the operative generally accepted to be on the less dangerous part of the mission would present the other with ammunition, a ‘blessing of fire’. It was a symbol of respect, and a wish that the recipient survive the more dangerous mission.
Azul Novem continued to hear the voice of the Makuta in his mind. He had no doubt whether it truly was a member of the Brotherhood of Makuta, the pure twisted nature of the sound was clear enough. If it was Teridax, Azul Novem knew quite clearly he was outmatched in every way possible. The only thing he could do was perhaps detonate the small thermonuclear device he carried, in hopes it would be enough to melt the Protosteel of the Makuta’s armour and incinerate the Antidermis within. Azul Novem continued to ponder methods to destroy the Makuta without killing himself while walking through the endless downward corridors.
Eventually, the incline began to even out again, and all the passages seemed to converge into one point. Rather than the cheap, rough concrete and dim lights he had seen above, Azul Novem noticed the raw rock surfaces, and the embedded lightstones. It seemed a scene from an Onu-Matoran mine rather than a Resistance outpost. He found what appeared to be abandoned pickaxes and drills, and even a rusty Kanohi Miru. He found himself having to stoop lower and lower to navigate the tunnels. They had obviously been mined by Matoran, or Agori, or some other species of similar stature. As Azul Novem continued walking, he suddenly noticed a drop in temperature. It was not cold, per se, rather it was as though heat was being absorbed and actively removed from the environment.
Azul heard the voice. It was familiar now. The deep, grating bass of the Makuta Teridax. He found himself drawn towards a small crack in the cave wall.
Azul looked around him, and found what appeared to be a miner’s satchel, left behind in error by a forgetful Matoran. Opening it, he saw what appeared to be mining charges. Primitive and patched together, they looked hand-made, put together from scrap metal and explosive material characteristic of Imperium shells. He had to admire the ingenuity of the Resistance, being able to turn weapons of war into productive tools. He turned it over and found the priming switch. Setting the timer for 20 second he slammed it into the crack. Grabbing the satchel and slinging it around his shoulder, he sprinted as fast as he could through the tunnel systems.
The blast was loud, and stronger than Azul Novem would have expected. He paced tentatively back toward where the wall had once been, only to find a roughly circular hole leading out into what appeared to be a massive cavern.
Once he stepped into the cave, he noticed something yet different. The walls on the inside were polished and carved with profane symbols. The floor was made of glittering white stone, with concentric circles radiating out from the middle of the room. Azul followed the circles towards the centre of the cavern, and stared in shock and marvel.
It was a huge, crystalline tube, easily 50 bio in height. Inside bubbled a green fluid, which seemed angry, frothing and alive. The fluid was being pumped in and out of the tube by tubes plugged into the top of the cylinder, twisting in a general upwards direction towards someplace unknown in the ceiling. The base of the crystal floated a bio or two off the ground, suspended in air by a huge, alien piece of machinery. It was not Imperium, neither was in Resistance. It seemed almost organic, with exposed tubes and spikes, seemingly chitinous, and sickly, red lubricant accumulating in puddles in places for an instant, before inexplicably evaporating. It hummed; a constant, easy, low tenor. As Azul Novem approached the dais, he heard a terrible, acid screeching.
“Good. Kneel before me.”
Azul Novem fought back with all his strength, but found his knees bending against his will. Straining, he forced himself ramrod straight, only to have the pain in his mind intensify. He fell to his knees, screaming and panting.
“So much spirit. Yet so easily broken. I am pure Darkness, assassin. You cannot resist my power.”
Suddenly, Azul Novem felt lethargic and weak. It was as though being in the presence of the Makuta was actively eating his energy. The pedestal in the middle of the room began to glow. Straining himself, he looked upwards, only to see the huge cylinder begin to glow and crack.