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The Emperor and The Parliament

AColossalWanker May 25th, 2019 (edited) 114 Never
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  1. The skies of Miara Cora darkened, the paradisiacal landscapes and shimmering artificial rivers losing part of their lustre as the Mioran Capital was bereft of its star’s unmitigated light abruptly.  Starships filled its skies, metallic leviathans of obsidian-coloured majesty that at their smallest dwarfed the firepower of even the greatest of the Republic’s warships.  Their formation was amalgamous, interspersed with Covenant and Omnicoder designs that hung interwoven with the greater majority of the Nova Terran-style armada.
  2.    
  3. While fear, expectation, and curiosity rippled like a wave of emotional transference across the affected sections of the planet’s side - objects detached from the looming fleet, anchored now in low orbit over the capital of the Republic.  A flotilla of golden-armoured transports dispersed towards the planet below with driving purpose, gunships and reinforced transports flanking a massive vessel at their heart.  Layered and improved neutronium armour, gilded in Imperial fashion, formed the bulk of their materials.
  4.    
  5. The twin-headed Aquila sat with majestic demonstration across the body of the largest vessel’s hull, inset with metallic inks that offered it an ethereal blaze as the vessels descended towards the city.  People scattered and Republic Police Officers seemed a mix between expectant and terrified as they rapidly relayed responses to each other.  The question of whether or not the vessels would land was not a matter of concern, but more so what might happen when they did.  The first of transports ignored landing protocol, touching down on roadways and thoroughfares that offered the best vantage and access points to the Crossways Tower: Scattering people and demolishing masonry as they did.
  6.    
  7. The largest of the vessels came down last, settling in the midst of the tight formation as golden-armoured giants poured from the other transports, accompanied by Howlers, Fefings, Gogans, Zuhl, several Pilgrims species, and Gidareans in various different armours and attires.  Two monstrous hulking gold-painted warforms, more elegant than the Coder norm, thudded out of custom-crafted transport bays, and were accompanied by Oberon-pattern Main Battle Tanks: Their Gravitic Impellers flattening and cracking tiles and ancient masonry with neither care nor notice, as they drifted over the landscape.
  8.    
  9. At the last, the central transport lowered a ramp from under the prow of the vessel - descending like a metallic tongue to slam into the ground.  From within came light.  Not the luminescence of starship interior lighting, but radiance that was ethereal and almost implausible.  Where there was light, there was Him, and so He came.  With footsteps that thudded under a giant’s weight, the Emperor of the Grand Imperium descended, His fifteen-foot frame armoured and encapsulated in titanic golden neutronium inscribed with endless scripture, the Imperial Aquila, and precious gems from every Dominion.
  10.    
  11. His brow was set with a golden laurel wreath, His eyes two radiant orbs of molten gold, and His expression as calm and composed as if He were merely taking a morning stroll.  The Golden Warriors - the Emperor’s personal Legion, the ‘Gilded Aegis - formed around their King.  Just over nine feet tall in full armour and with their red-plumed helmets, the perfected gene-warriors stood feet above the others assembled (barring the Gogans); including the regular Nova Terran Knights present. Psionic power, radiance, and a feeling of absolute authority rolled over the area - sourced from the deified Sovereign Himself.
  12.    
  13. Some of those who saw Him wept, though whether from terror or other causes was unclear.
  14.    
  15. The Emperor raised His eyes to the Crossways Tower, and set off towards it, a massive blade visible at His right hip - sheathed and hidden from view in the moment, though clearly no ordinary weapon, for it almost seemed to hold a glow all its own.  Gushing fountains and lovingly crafted architecture was passed without notice by the galactic monarch, His eyes never shifting to admire the burgundy bricks or paved roadways that led out and around throughout the megapolis’ entirety.  People watching from balconies, crosswalks, shadowed archways, or artificial lands of green grass were kept back as much by fear as the army that walked with Him.
  16.    
  17. The Gilded Aegis showed no sign of differentiation, their ornate gold-plated ARES pistols kept held up near their shoulders, their plasma halberds gripped in their right hands.  The Emperor’s Legion did not appear to care if one were child or adult, man or woman, alien or human: All were potential threats to their liege.  All could hold a hidden gun, or silenced rifle, or long-range plasma lance.  All were foreign, and thus even more worthy of their suspicion and analysis.
  18.    
  19. All were unknown, and thus, all were a potential threat.
  20.    
  21. Even the forces of the Grand Imperium walked a small distance from their Master, kept at bay almost wordlessly by the Phalanx of Gilded Aegis shielding Him.  None dared to subvert their authority over His protection; none saw the need to try.  As the procession advanced, the police officers dressed in smart, tailored, somewhat casual uniforms were clearing the way. Carefully they guided various civilians, some nearing the height of the gilded aegis and some barely taller than a small stool, off to the sides of the street, allowing the procession to move forwards.
  22.  
  23. Gradually the Imperial detachment passed into the central plaza, where various flows of water idly drifted off the edges of buildings and carried on, lazily flowing down open ducts into the sea far in the distance. The Statues, fifty-six in total, surrounded the parliament in various positions. Most of them were smiling humans, but seven were of other races of varying sizes and shapes.
  24.  
  25. In the centre of the plaza, majestic and serene, shone the Towers of Crossways.
  26.  
  27. The elaborate brickwork stretched into the sky some twelve kilometres up, with intricate brickwork, arches, banners, and the like decorating the building, the massive arches at the base of the building opening into a large foyer with staircases spiralling around the edges of the building, and an open set of balconies stretching up the centre of the building almost all the way up. The Emperor and His procession continued up the marble staircases at the base of the tower, taking little notice of the crowds forming around in the plaza, nor of the various government ministers and members rushing about.  Only when the Imperial retinue, if only could call it that, had entered the open foyer did a Mioran choose to greet them.  One approached, a more bold looking female Mioran with cat ears, and deep blue skin dressed in a smart waistcoat, wearing a small silver chain with the crest of the Republic dangling from it.
  28.  
  29. “Emperor,” she said, bowing her head out of respect.
  30.  
  31. The Emperor lowered His eyes to observe the woman, gaze burning like two focused suns.  “Is your parliament fully assembled?”  He asked simply, voice a double-timbre that seemed to - beyond all understanding of reality - project physical force with its syllables alone.
  32.  
  33. She nodded, gesturing upwards to a balcony near the top of the tower. “They are. We’ll have to ascend to the top of the tower, we have a lift set up especially for you and your Gilded Aegis. With your permission…” She readied an order on a small pad neatly strapped to her arm, waiting patiently for his response.
  34.  
  35. The Emperor afforded her another look, and simply nodded.
  36.  
  37. She tapped the screen and it flickered in response. The floor shook slightly as the centre of patterned tiles they were standing on lifted from the floor and slowly started to pick up speed, moving up the tower. It continued at a steady pace up the tower, passing floor after floor of various onlookers, offices, ministers, and the like. The female minister watched the ever approaching top floor as it opened up, removing the decorated ceiling of the foyer and revealing the ceiling of the parliament.
  38.  
  39. As they slowed and ascended into the chamber, the view around them changed from a blur of well cared for architecture, banners and ministers on balconies; to rows upon rows of seats, four or five per table and organised in a circular fashion. The roof was a criss cross lattice of an exotic wood, decorated with patterns and designs foreign to the Imperials, and the circular room lit by open windows with vines growing around their stone arches.
  40.  
  41. “We welcome you, Emperor, to the Parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Straits of Miora.” They said, bowing their heads in respect. Five people were standing on the slightly raised plinth with them in the centre of the chamber, two women the Emperor had met before; Princess Mia Docherty and Prime Minister Akira Mason, as well as three they hadn’t been acquainted with. “Emperor, I’d like to introduce the Prime Ministers of the republic. Prime Minister Akira Mason, of whom you’re familiar with. Prime Minister Azoni of the Mioran Green party, and Prime Minister Matteo Karzki of the New Social Democrats…” She trailed off, again awaiting His response.
  42.  
  43. The Emperor listened in complete silence as the introductions were offered, His Gilded Aegis having parted to allow the Miorans closer, though their lethal plasma halberds had never once lowered.  With the exception of a half-dozen or so Inquisitors from various Ordos, the bulk of the Imperial forces were absent, having been forced to remain behind: Yet even absent the mass of them, there was enough firepower present to slaughter the entire parliament in moments.  When at last the Emperor spoke, His voice thundered within the confined space.
  44.  
  45. “Your welcome is appreciated, Parliament of the Republic, though it is unfortunate that we were forced to meet under such strenuous circumstances.”  His eyes swept them, radiant in the chamber, as He continued.  “Before we proceed, I trust I will not find objection when I ask you to surrender full and complete authority over whatever military or civil enforcement assets you yet control within your space, until this crisis has abated?”
  46.  
  47. The members of parliament all looked around, almost hesitant although they had already discussed it. Finally after several seconds, a young Ymh stood on the table at the far end of the chamber. “We have discussed it in length before your arrival, we understand we have little choice. It is a shame it has come to this, and we thank you for your involvement. All our military and civilian forces are under your command. We will act in an advisory role to you to best help you coordinate with our services, both militarised and not.”  The cadence of its voice lingered in the room, the faint chimes of bells could be heard from outside and the various drones, chatters, and occasional laughing of the civilians below filling out the otherwise quiet assembly.
  48.  
  49. The Emperor turned to one of the Gilded Aegis as this was stated, speaking so all could hear Him.  “What is the status of Orioko’s main continent evacuation?”
  50.  
  51. “Sixty percent of the population, my King.”  The Warden replied.
  52.  
  53. “What is the Assimilation status?”  The Emperor asked next.
  54.  
  55. “Twenty-Two percent, my King.”
  56.  
  57. “What is the estimated remaining civilian count?”
  58.  
  59. “Eighty-six Billion, my King.”
  60.  
  61. The Emperor was silent for a moment, then spoke with finality.  “Glass the continent.”
  62.  
  63. The Miorans all stood in silence, quietly assessing the Emperor’s words. The horrors about to ensue for the civilians of the large, tropical world. The delegates of the Akikoba system looked squarely at the Emperor, brows furled and eyes full of passion. “E-Emperor” one of the younger Iilan members said, clearly struggling to control his anger. “Forgive me, b-but there’s still time to evacuate more of those people.  How can you justify killing that many people?” her voice becoming slowly louder as her anger overcame her.  
  64.  
  65. “This... This is the Democratic Republic, not the Grand Imperium! Those are my citizens!  My constituents!  H-how can…” she trailed off, tears running down her face as she looked away, another member of the same constituency moving in to comfort her.  Other member of the house were visibly shaken by this action too, some looking close to snapping in rage.  Before long, a cacophony of rage and tension exploded into the room, the Miorans of all races, all constituencies crying out in anger at this decision.
  66.  
  67. Abruptly, at their outburst, the Gilded Aegis moved: Halberds snapping forwards, and pistols raised in gene-enhanced coordination, the barrels pointed unerringly at separate targets, each Mioran selected by a different member of the Emperor’s bodyguards.  It was almost eerie the way they did it, as if they had selected their own kill-assignments the moment the people in the room had been visible to them.  They didn’t move; didn’t seem to breathe.  The Aegis were very much biological, yet their armour showed no signs of life: Not even the faint, subconscious tremble most organics were prone to.
  68.  
  69. They were not men.
  70.  
  71. They were weapons.
  72.  
  73. An old-style gavel sound broke the tension, a man sitting in a seat near the centre of the room was striking a small wooden plinth and yelling. “Or-der! Or-der!” yelled Riggon, a small, smartly dressed Ymh wearing a small waistcoat and spectacles. “Members of the parliament, I ask for some level of order, regardless of what’s discussed here, regardless of how distressing.” He gestured to the emperor with a short, tentacle like-hand. “Please, continue Pri-err, I mean Emperor”.
  74.  
  75. The Emperor did not react outwardly, though when He spoke the Gilded Aegis lowered their weapons as one, once more moving with that eerie coordination.  “Before this crisis is ended, my greatest strategists have projected an estimated death toll approximating close to three hundred and sixty billion, in the Republic alone.”  The Monarch looked at them all before moving, His echoing footsteps like gunshots in the quiet of the Parliament Chamber, His massive body only just barely fitting in the spaces between some tables.  The Aegis moved with Him, in sync, shadowing their King’s footsteps.  Some Miorans had clearly heard them call the Emperor ‘my king’, instead of ‘Emperor’, for they watched the Aegis with curious, if wary eyes.
  76.  
  77. “The Galactic Death Toll, however, is far more.  At the most recent estimate, your implicit resistance to my authority as Supreme Commander of the Anti-Nukaribbu Coalition Forces, and subsequent extradition of the Nukaribbu responsible for this catastrophe, has reached almost two trillion.”  He paused as He neared the plinth denoting the Republic’s founding principles, bending to reach out and trace His fingers over the engraved text, with a strange kind of respectful reverence.  It clearly seemed odd to the Miorans, given the Emperor’s autocratic nature, for Him to show such deference to a symbol of Democracy.
  78.  
  79. “Your people face a Galaxy united in its hatred of you; hatred that, in almost every case, far eclipses whatever disdain it felt for my Grand Imperium.  What do you believe will be the result, when the dust settles and a dozen or more obliterated worlds are laid at your feet?  When over two trillion lives sit on the Mioran Republic’s shoulders?”
  80.  
  81. The chamber was silent then. No one dared answer. Various eyes darted from one person to the next around the room, until Mia finally spoke.  “Emperor, I think we can honestly say we did not mean for this to happen, nor did we ever want any destruction to befall any nation we knew, ally or enemy.  We concede that we cannot turn back time, and cannot run away from what has happened.  I cannot speak for the parliament, legally or officially, but I can speak for the Mioran people at our disgust at our own actions, the pain we feel at the betrayal of some of our own actions. Most importantly, the guilt we feel for everything we have done.”
  82.  
  83. She walked around the room, off the plinth in the centre, and around the inner rim of the chamber, scanning across the numerous faces assembled here. “We will not obstruct you any more, and understand the gravity of our actions to an extent. We want to help you all, and make this galaxy better, we believe it’s possible. I hope you understand that here, we are not your enemies, despite what feelings of disdain we might have at your government form. It’s not our way to meekly forget the dead, especially the ones we have caused as a government, and every day we work with your people and with the people of the galaxy to combat the Nukaribbu will be a day towards freedom, towards peace, towards cooperation and freedom.” She hung around near the steps on the western side of the chamber, standing next to the delegates from Penta-cosma.
  84.  
  85. Only when Mia finished speaking did the Emperor respond, having watched her with His immaterial, blazing eyes before giving voice to His thoughts.  “When you shared my bed, Princess, and walked with me in my gardens, and dined with me in the evenings - when I laid with you, and Akira, and all my other consorts, and spoke of my Imperium and my hopes: Tell me, did I ever once deceive?  Do you believe me, in any capacity, to be a liar?”
  86.  
  87. All the members of the assembly looked at Mia and Akira, Mia had sat on the staircase leading up to the outer walkway in the chamber and Akira had one arm holding her head up, with the other one acting as a rest for it. “...No, no I don’t think I ever did, Emperor. But we have never questioned your honour, nor your intentions. The only thing, and I think all of us here agree, is that the Imperium is an Imperium, that is all. Your people are honourable to a degree, and I’ve never known you to lie. But our beliefs conflict with the embodiment of a person as a god. The republic doesn’t publish propaganda, we don’t see any of us as greatly divine. We’re just people, and that is all we desire to be.” She rubbed her head in a futile attempt to rid it of tiredness and then looked back up, her blonde hair resting on her shoulders and flowing down her back.
  88.  
  89. “Your hopes are as benevolent and optimistic as ever they were, Princess, and remain a critical point for my prior decision to choose a friendly relationship with your nation.  Your independence to this day is thanks, largely, to your impassioned patriotism - and Akira’s also.  Your nation owes both of you a debt, for prior to my Ascension and without your joint visit, I likely would have already subsumed the Republic into enforced vassalage had the chance occurred.”
  90.  
  91. The Emperor looked around the room, before turning back to the plinth.  “They will burn everything.  Miorans will be scattered between ten different nations, your worlds will be incinerated or subsumed, and your territory will be eviscerated, divvied up among angry nations.  Your culture will die in fire and blood, and all you know will be rendered unto ash and ruin.”  He looked up as He said this, still as calm, confident, and eerily self-assured as prior.  “Unless,” He said simply, allowing the word to hang in the air.  “I protect you from this fate, for a price.”
  92.  
  93. The Darexi Prime Minister, Azio, looked up.  He had been quiet for a large portion of the discussion, but before Mia or Akira could speak he stood, and quickly interjected, “what? what would it... What would it take?” His voice was almost frantic, immediately looking to the rest of the members of parliament, “I-I’m sorry.” He muttered, promptly sitting down. “It’s fine Azio, I’m curious too.” Akira said while she looked over at the Emperor and casually leant on the bannister next to the table for the Akikoba system, awaiting his response.
  94.  
  95. “The price?  Akikoba.”  The Emperor said simply.  “You will bequeath me Akikoba.”
  96.  
  97. The members of parliament all looked stunned for a second, the members for Akikoba in particular. Again, no one was talking, just a lot of panicked looks. Matteo, the other Prime Minister who for the most part hadn’t talked, looked up at the emperor with a look of shock. “Surely you can’t be serious Emperor? That’s a core sector system of the Republic, one of the founding systems…” He trailed off, noting one of the members for Akikoba wanting to speak.
  98.  
  99. “Forgive the interruption Prime minister, but I need to ask the Emperor, what level of secession is he demanding?  Do you want a complete take over of the system? Or is there a way the system can be cooperatively run. Understand that a vast number of the citizens of that system consider themselves Mioran. For us to just cede their home to another galactic power might cause them distress and unrest.” He stood there, fairly composed and calm, juxtaposed to the earlier commotion.
  100.  
  101. “The System of Akikoba will become the Seat of the Emperor in the Southern quadrant of the Galaxy.”  The Emperor replied simply.  “The system and all within will be ceded to my control.  Its citizens will be free to move or remain, but will become citizens of the Grand Imperium.  Its laws will be my laws.  I am aware of its value; its good and services will continue to provide for the Republic, but the world of Orioko will be transformed into an Ecumenopolis and Forge World.”  The Emperor seemed immune to the reactions to His words, observing them calmly.  “I will construct a Gateway within the system to expedite travel between the Greater Imperium and Akikoba, and will forge a star fortress within the system, one as powerful as that defending Sol Invicta.”
  102.  
  103. “The Emperor Protects!”  One of the Inquisitors shouted.
  104.  
  105. “I can see from the lack of a Fefing, or even Imperial delegate in general, that your Parliament did not think to hold close those best suited to dealing with this crisis.  That will change.  As Akikoba is within the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Straits of Miora, it will still provide a delegation to this body.  I am willing to offer the compromise of allowing said representation to be present for the citizens of the Akikoba System that still consider themselves Mioran, and they are of course free to leave for other Republic worlds if they desire.”
  106.  
  107. The Emperor lifted His hand, “I will ensure that your Republic is given every chance to grow, thrive, and exist absent external influence or control - and that no nation is able to lay waste to you in retaliation, though many may wish to.  This is my price.”  He lowered His hand, His unblinking gaze fixed on the Miorans.  “Choose wisely, and remember: It was Mioran concern for a minority that damned half the Galaxy.  You will not negotiate me down, and you will not receive a better offer elsewhere.  If you value your independence and your self-determination, and the lives of your people, there is but one choice.”
  108.  
  109. At last He fell silent.
  110.  
  111. The Miorans stared around the room, again discussing it among themselves. The female minister who had escorted the emperor in started tapping on the panel on her wrist. She looked up “Prime Ministers and members of the House, I’ve received word from the Akikoba system. The Council of Orioko is willing to accept the conditions and a flash referendum has revealed some acceptance of the deal provided the rights of the people are kept in line with the Republic’s to an extent. They’ll accept your offer, provided the council is kept as the local governing body managing day-to-day business.” She breathed out with a sigh. The Prime Ministers and members looked at the Emperor almost simultaneously, awaiting his response with an uneasy amount of tension in the room.
  112.  
  113. “Any agreement with the local body of Akikoba will be between myself and the local body.  I am not part of your Democracy.  This is not a Democratic referendum,” The Emperor said with, perhaps, the first degree of true autocratic ruthlessness since entering the Parliament.  His eyes burned brighter, and the building rattled faintly; a tangible tremble that seemed to slowly grow, as if it were locked in the grip of something massive and invisible.  “People are dying, a Galaxy is burning, and you are struggling to hold on to some measure of control.  The citizens of Akikoba will be safe, I will give you my word.  That will be the last concession I offer.  Make.  Your.  Choice.”  Each word was punctuated by a groan, a minor rocking of the Tower that was all around them.  The Emperor’s aura seemed ablaze, a beacon of Divinity that drowned out all other light; a psionic presence of such magnitude that the very air around Him warped and distorted, twisting and bending reality into a blur.
  114.  
  115. “An interesting display, Emperor, but you understand we achieve things through democracy here.” Matteo said with a shaking voice, his eyes fixed on a position directly to the right of the Emperor and an overwhelming feeling of dread running through him. “The people of the planet have voted in a flash referendum, and several others will happen over the next c-couple of days. Basically in all but name the planet is under your control emperor, we just need to be sure the people are willing. The parliament is also hoping to have some level of representation in these negotiations between the local Akikoba government and your imperial government.” he tried to reach across to a small replication pad for a small glass of water but he couldn’t move his body.
  116.  
  117. “Or-der! Or-der!” said Riggon, his voice shaking too and his eyes fixated on the emperor. “E-emperor, as much as it is a t-thrill to see your psionic abilities in action, would you kindly refrain from it in this chamber? This chamber is for d-democratic discussion and d-debate, not Psionic d-demonstrations.” Riggon couldn’t even slam his gavel, not even twitch it, his body was frozen and fixated on the Emperor.
  118.  
  119. “I am glad we are in agreement,” the Emperor said simply, the Psionic aura vanishing abruptly.  “I will inform my fleets to move for Akikoba, once the purification of the Republic is concluded.  I would suggest you make preparations to deal with the influx of refugees from your worlds.  Orioko will not be the last world whose continents will feel the fire of Imperial guns.”
  120.  
  121. Akira shot a look to at the other ministers. “Emperor, whilst we’re very accustomed to dealing with refugees and migrants.  If you’re going to destroy continents on our planets, we’d request that please consult us first so we can manage the migration.  We’d also ask you limit the destruction you cause to our infrastructure, and the planet’s environment, if you could.” She walked closer towards him, paying little attention to the Gilded Aegis but still keeping a cautious distance.
  122.  
  123. “If we’re in agreement then, it’s settled.  Ladies and Gentlemen of the Parliament, although it’s not ideal and times will be tough, we’ll get through this.  With the permission of the Speaker, I will conclude this session.” She looked over to Riggon, who was slowly sipping on some melon juice to calm his nerves.  He put the glass down and gave a small wave to her. “And with that, I conclude this session.”
  124.  
  125. The Emperor merely appraised them, and nodded once, as if granting some small mercy.  Such concluded, He lifted His hand.  “Akira Mason and Mia Docherty will accompany me to the fleet, to represent this Parliament.  The remainder will organise refugee distribution and aid dispatch for the affected.  All civilian vessels will be subordinated back to you for your use, though I would discourage any attempts at requisitioning military forces absent permission.”  He turned and moved for the elevator, the Gilded Aegis taking formation.  
  126.  
  127. “I will leave my Inquisitors here, to better advise you on how to coordinate with Imperial forces.  If what we have heard about the new Uthonian plague is true, there will be far more than Nukaribbu to contend with soon enough.  My Inquisitors will help guide you through the process of curbing the spread of these ‘zombies’, as they are being rather appropriately labelled.”
  128.  
  129. The Emperor departed then, taking Akira and Mia with Him, both accompanying with soothing words to their peers as black-armoured Inquisitors thudded towards the assembled delegates, towering over most, the Inquisitorial sigils on their power armour shimmering in the light of the parliament’s interior.  As the Monarch reached the lift, the Inquisitors turned, kneeling as one and saluting fist-to-heart.  “The Emperor Protects!”  They cried.
  130.  
  131. The Gilded Aegis, in turn, slammed the butts of their plasma halberds into the stone beneath them, responding in kind.  “THE EMPEROR PROTECTS!”
  132.  
  133. The Miorans watched in fear as the elevator descended, hoping perhaps that they had not made a deal with the proverbial devil.
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