This, Thenos commented, complicates things slightly.
The ship, now known to the crew as Revenge, even though the refit hadn’t been carried out yet, was overlooking a desert planet. There was no sign of civilisation down there.
Daala nodded, but once we find a way to colonise it, it will make an ideal base of operations. There is an abundance of resource asteroids on the far side.
Yes, but we still need a Missionary vessel or a Progenitor if we’re going to take the planet. I had been expecting at least a militia base, or another neutral colony that we could take over. Oh well. We’ll just have to hope that my friend still has a colony frigate under his command. He should have it with him. After all, if he follows protocols, he’ll arrive ready to extract us from the gravity well, and a Missionary would be ideal for that.
On that note, sir, how do you plan to take these ships?
Well, now that you ask, I might as well give a quick briefing, Thenos addressed the crew, we will fire no weapons. We will only need to use the engines for manoeuvring if necessary.
The head astropath, with a look of confusion, asked, then how do we expect to recruit them to our cause?
We will tell them the truth, said Thenos, and then ask them if they want to leave the Unity, and join us.
And if they won’t? questioned another crew member.
Then we simply have to cripple the Missionary vessel, and let the others go. But their commander is an old friend of mine, who doesn’t get on too well with his superiors either. He should be open to persuasion.
The High Psintegrat sat in her meditation chamber aboard the Rapture, first of its class and flagship of the Advent fleet in Distant Stars. The meditation chamber let thought neither in nor out. For most. Wield enough psychic power, encompass the chamber with your telepathic might, and it became an amplifier. And then, it still let nothing in. From here, the High Psintegrat could see, with perfect clarity, everything that the Unity saw, without anyone realising. From here, she could even read the minds of her superiors back in the old sector, her psychic identity being masked by the meditation chamber. The old sector. That was how everyone she knew in Distant Stars saw it. This was a place for fresh starts, for new powers to rise. The High Psintegrat smiled, then did another of her periodic checks on the deep space sector where she had stranded Thenos. Was it paranoia that drove her to do this? Perhaps, but she couldn’t risk Thenos being rescued. He would return, and he would show no remorse in killing her, burning her armada, destroying all of her progress, and allowing the TEC to take over. She shivered, imagining how big a disaster that would be.
The High Psintegrat snapped out of this train of thought as she sensed a small patrol of ships entering the deep space sector. She tallied up the ship. Six disciples, four Aeria Drone Hosts and a sole Missionary. Roughly 2350 people. Almost as many minds as the crew of Thenos’ Radiance Battleship. Surrounding and attacking so many minds had been fairly easy. She had managed it without killing anyone as well. She was proud of that. She wanted to keep the moral high ground for when Thenos started destroying Advent ships. If necessary, she could eliminate this patrol. But for now, curiosity stayed the High Psintegrat’s hand, as the patrol had changed course, and had moved to the edge of the sector. They jumped along an uncharted phase lane, and emerged into the gravity well of a desert planet. A wave of anger washed over the High Psintegrat as, through the eyes of one of the captains, she saw Thenos’ ship, fully functional. This confused the High Psintegrat slightly. How could Thenos and his crew maintain coordinated control of the ship without the Unity? They couldn’t have reconnected to it. She felt a disturbance in the mind of the patrol’s commander. She focused on it. Thenos had communicated with him.
Hello, Ryan, Thenos greeted. Evidently he knew the man.
Thenos? came the reply, I thought you were excommunicated for crimes against the Unity!
Me and my crew, yes. But have a look at this and see who you think is committing crimes.
Information poured into the head of the patrol commander, memories that the High Psintegrat knew. They started in the very meditation chamber that she was seated in now. She panicked. Thenos was going to recruit these people! Acquire ships, colonies! And then there were the memories. She couldn’t let them spread through the Unity. She entered the minds of the entire patrol, poured her thoughts down the delicate psychic circuitry of the ships, and unleashed a wave of mental energy. She would kill the crew, destroy the ships. Then she would blame the deed on Thenos. She kept up the assault, until, suddenly, the link was lost. She searched the area, but couldn’t find the patrol through the Unity. Then she realised what had happened. She had given Thenos an excuse to cut the patrol from the Unity, copying her technique. She had given him a colony ship, and the start of a fleet. She had played right into his hands. She unleashed the psychic energy that she had built up into the chamber, venting her anger where no-one would notice. Finally, she stood, and headed for the bridge.
Contrary to the High Psintegrat’s beliefs, Thenos hadn’t planned on a move of this magnitude. He, on the spur of the moment, without assistance, had cut 2350 bonds to the Unity, and was facing the consequences. He shifted forwards in his chair, in an attempt to stand.
Sir! Are you alright? came a concerned question from a crewmember, but Thenos didn’t have the energy to respond.
Get a medic! Daala ordered, catching Thenos as he collapsed out of the chair. He looked out of the frontal window of the bridge, vision fading. He smiled, knowing that he had just saved over 2000 lives, and lost consciousness.
Sorry if my posts have been a bit over frequent, but I've been ill for the last few days, so I've had loads of spare time.