Underneath a region once called Scandinavia, eyes glowing with a golden power opened. Their owner peered around, noting the mass of tangled cables his body teemed with, before his eyelids lowered over his optical organs. After he gave a mighty pull, former Stockholm disappeared under a cloud of fire.
The God-Emperor's armor-clad shape exploded from the Golden Throne with a screech of metal and dying deities. His bellowed "FUUUUUCK" was louder still as his magnificent shape drifted in the stratosphere, his hair whipping to the side under the push of the jetstreams as he watched his world slowly rotate. The gray forge world was choked with smoke and gas, and even from his altitude he could smell the filth of Terra.
The Astronomican's light had faded from his mind. He did not feel the pull of the Ruinous Powers in the back of his soul, only his immense psychic power, for once left without opposition in the universe. The Warp was inexistent, he noted as his being explored the planet underneath.
Were there enough air for his words to reverberate in, his words would have torn the heavens asunder. The God-Emperor shone with the cleansing light of reentry as he descended towards his ruin of a throne. As he dropped towards Terra he could dimly see the Sun and Luna, glowing brightly on each horizon. The next dawn would be one under his rule, where humanity would again thrive.
He made landfall with a deafening crash, before setting himself on a path towards the doorway of his home for ten millennia. The Eternity Gate's imposing architecture slowly grew in his vision, its florid depictions of war showing men and women climbing down a mountain whilst bathing the battlefield under them with fire. Far above, angels of battle sung their glorious songs of war.
The God-Emperor glowered at his gate, and it groaned as aged gears moved in line with his will. Splitting in the middle with a great creaking sound, the massive doorway slowly inched open. Watching the gap widen, he stepped forwards into a hallway that extended further than the light could show.
As far as his human perception stretched, men stood guard, turning in a daze to watch the Eternity Gate open. Two Titans stood by the doorway, and hurriedly stepped back from the moving structures to avoid their immense girth. Legions of men underneath scrambled and ran from both the wide doors of the holy entrance and the hustling war machines.
The Emperor's golden armor glowed under the light of torches hung up along the great hall in front of him. The Titans were the closest to him, and after a moment of silence as the Gates stopped moving, seemed to keel over. Midway through the movement, one lost footing and fell, its feet unable to keep it standing in that stance. As the Imperator Titan crashed just short of him, its crew spilled out of whatever ports they could and stumbled to their knees beside their weaponry.
Quirking an eyebrow as the other Titan threw itself to the ground with a great crash in some display of submission, the God-Emperor of Mankind watched the Adeptus Custodes prostrate themselves to him as one.
"Imperium of Man!" His shout reverberated through the halls of the Imperial Palace. Dimly, he heard the machinery in the fallen Titans fizzle and explode, but he kept talking. "For ten thousand years have I slumbered, watching this galaxy decay into decadence, but now I have awakened! I am powerful again, and nothing will stop me from purging this inhumanity from Mankind!" His people stood slowly after his proclamation, silent until the great cry rang from the Titan crews.
"Cleanse the stars! Rebuild Mankind in the Emperor's image!" The bellows caught on, and he smiled to himself as the young men high-fived each other enthusiastically.
Shyly, one of the engineers who had first rallied the Space Marines far back neared him. His eyes were wide as he looked straight up at the God-Emperor's fearsome figure.
"What is it, young one?" His voice rumbled powerfully, and the young man couldn't help but step back. Gathering courage again, he stepped closer and took off his helmet, showing a mass of brown hair to the Emperor.
"You're really the Emperor?" He squinted up at the man's rugged visage, black eyes fascinatingly peering at the long scar adorning his left cheek. "Wow, I never thought I'd see you. Sir." He looked back at the legions of men celebrating the return of their Emperor, and then back. "Dude, Emperor, sir. Can I touch you?"
"I... yes. You needn't give me titles, young one." The vanguard of humanity watched with slight trepidation as the boy reached out and touched his left forearm, before flinching back.
"You're really real," he murmured. "Really..." The boy dropped to his knees and hugged one of the Emperor's legs. "May I suck your cock, Mr. Divine One, sir?"
"No. Just go back to your crew. Our holy crusade is nigh. Get ready, young one."
As it was, reigning the Imperium in was quite easy. Within weeks, Terra had submitted to his rule as one, its Hives recognizing the Emperor that had exploded out of his Throne, and his military might in two Titans and over ten thousand Space Marines. If his visage and enlightening presence did not win the people over, his super soldiers did.
As was always the case with the Imperium of Man, not everything went well. Within days the news spread from every corner of the Hive World that no food was being shipped in from the vast multitude of planets under the rule of mankind.
"Shit," he uttered when he came to the conclusion that there was no way the planet was going to feed itself. So he looked to the stars.
Serenely hovering above the glowing urban sprawl of Terra's Hives, the Imperial Fleet confusedly went about their days, knowing nothing about the situation below but awaiting orders from any authority. The Twelve Lords of Terra shat themselves quietly as the Emperor got into a large shuttle and blasted off into space.
The Battlecruiser he boarded seemed to be the best-maintained ship in the myriad that drifted above the Atmosphere, and he immediately walked past thousands of curious men who did nothing to impede his progress towards the bridge of the ship. The captain was a grizzled bald man with one eye, who stood from his throne to meet the visitor.
His sneer shattered in the face of the magnificent figure twice his size, who looked down at him without a word. "Gaaaah-god emprah?" The deity sighed as the man collapsed. The captain's second in command ran up to him and fell to his knees, grabbing at one of the Emperor's feet in wonder.
"God-Emperor, oh flawless one, what do you require of us mortals?" He whimpered as an enormous hand reached for his shoulder and pulled him into a standing position.
"Terra has no food. Why?"
"Oh my lord and God, I am afraid I know the reason. We have not received communications from any installations beyond Terra and Luna for the past thirty days. There have been no recorded Warp Storms, but our Psykers have lost their entire connection to the Warp. We have been gearing up and sending calls throughout the galaxy for more ships in case this is a plot of the Ruinous Powers, but as of yet we have received no response." He panted slightly after his report.
The God-Emperor looked towards space through one of the ship's massive windows. Mars twinkled dimly in the distance. His eyes closed and his body glowed with psychic power as his decision was made, and suddenly the clouds of Terra stopped moving, its lights stopped switching on and off. The planet became inert. Its orbit continued as normal, but all communications abruptly stopped, as a young man reported in wonder from behind the throne.
"We need to feed our people, Captain." The Emperor looked down at the squirrelly man.
"Lieutenant, sir, oh divine one," the officer corrected.
"You're Captain now. We must go to Mars. If what I fear has happened, then that must be our target. Call our fleet, leave no ship behind if you can. We must go to the fourth planet. We will eradicate the only threat that stands against the Imperium's might... and then..." The Emperor looked towards the stars again, pausing for a moment to watch Terra's inert biodome as he scanned the heavens. "And then!" He shouted, raising his fist triumphantly to the gathered masses, "WE FARM!"
"What the hell do you mean there's no dragon?" The God-Emperor of Mankind yanked off his straw hat, putting aside a shovel as he turned his gaze from his crops, which looked suspiciously similar to a pile of crushed rocks, focusing instead on the Imperial Officer who had spoken. He awkwardly pulled at the plaid shirt that barely fit atop his golden power armor, and glared at the man in the repurposed EVA suit. The Emperor could breathe in the Martian atmosphere with little trouble, his Custodes Astartes likewise, but the normal man could not stand the planet's atmosphere at all.
The roar of chainswords echoed through the valley as his armies used their weapons for the less practical purpose of farming in the barren world. Nearby, a Custodes in Terminator Armor diligently tilled the harsh ground with his close-quarters weapon, straw hat shaking in the wind of the red planet.
The man in a space suit coughed nervously, scratching at his visor as he pondered about how to explain. "Surveys of the entire planet have turned up no presence of anything you warned us about. There are some anomalies in the southern pole, but we believe that is the magnetic field."
"Check it anyway, the Chaos Dragon was initially proposed to be somewhere in the equator, but it could be anywhere. It is one of the kin that can, alone, threaten the entire Imperium of Man... and at this point, we are but a shade of our former might." The Emperor sighed as he replaced his hat, sticking a long piece of grass into his mouth. As the man in front of him bowed and trod away to the shuttle nearby, he looked down and continued to dig a small trench with his tiny shovel.
Further searches turned up nothing, and within the end of the week the God-Emperor gave his activities some thought. He accosted one of the golden armor-clad Space Marines taken from Terra, and queried about what was happening in the surrounding valley.
"Why are we making preparations to farm? We can't even grow anything." The Terran Space Marine in front of him shrugged, a long piece of grass hanging out of his visor. The Emperor groaned and looked to the desolate sky of Mars for a second before whipping off his straw hat. "Dammit, we've been wasting time! Terra is frozen amongst the stars, and I've been attempting this inefficient method that will only work towards Man's downfall if it continues!"
He glared at the plaid-garbed warrior, watching the super soldier straighten warily in the face of his wrath. "Send the message to the fleet. I will be moving to the Battlecruiser and will lead the farming project. It will take years using all of our resources, but before Terra returns to the galaxy as a moving world, Mars shall be prepared to feed it, as a hydroponic world! Afterwards... eventually!" He looked skywards, raising a fist triumphantly. "We FARM!" The Custodes roared and raised his chainsword high, revving it up.
The Emperor cleared dirt from his mouth. "With proper farming equipment!"
The valley exploded with cheers, the ten thousand fists of the Adeptus Custodes thrusting into the air.
The new captain of Imperial Renewal quietly looked over various reports from the red planet that shone beyond one of the spaceship's great windows. Beside his Captain's throne was another, twice as large and gaudy, where the God-Emperor of Mankind sat. The crew of the Battlecruiser's bridge had long grown used to the revered figure that sat amongst them, often looking over reports from his Custodes that had been sent back to the frozen Terra to cleanse its people.
"Hurrah!" The Emperor suddenly shouted, holding up a paper triumphantly. "The last elements of dissent have been purged from Terra! Now our entire focus can be put on..." He looked down at his papers. "An anomaly near the fringes of the system, as well as the uncovering of the disturbance in Mars."
His enormous form stood, golden armor seeming to glow under the little light required to work. As he looked around the stations happily, he noted that his people didn't seem as enthused as he. "Emperor, my lord!" A squirrelly operator cried out, "You've never elaborated on who these dissenters are! We know Your cause is holy, but we don't know what it is!" Months of being around the regal figure had yet to turn him from a nervous wreck around the Emperor, but his attempt was fine.
"Why, the Adeptus Mechanicus! Their cult following the Necron Gods was unforgivable, combined with their tinkering of my Golden Throne..." He shrugged. "They were a threat to humanity as a whole. Now they are not."
Various people around the bridge seemed scandalized, one man even springing away from the display screen in front of him, protecting his face. "The machine spirits!" He cried, as if the monitor would explode.
"That's another reason; the Mechanicus have led the entire Imperium into a fear of technology, talking about it as if it were religion and not science! The Imperium of Man under my reign regarded science and logic above all else, and these men and women have ruined mankind's empire!" The Emperor's teeth were gritted as he spoke passionately. "Besides, what a scandalous thought, that machines have spirits?"
The Battlecruiser's lights blinked out suddenly, and the ship was engulfed in silence.
"We're exorcising the entire fleet," the Emperor grunted.
The Frigate Overpower jetted along the stars, its crew relaxing in the face of the empty systems around. Crew members listlessly strolled up and down the mighty ship's decks, taking a rest from the harsh task-mastering their Captain put them through in the average day. Said official was resting in his cabin, leaving his raised platform in the bridge empty for the first time in weeks as his lieutenant chatted up a navigator beside one of the observation ports.
The relative peace was maintained even when there were reports of a breach into their space empire; they were unmatched in the galaxy, and nothing would change that fact- upstart Xenos being discovered or not. The Lieutenant leisurely walked to his command station, looking at the data given to him by a cute navigator.
"A couple of ships were detected in the Morningstar Cluster... That's barely within our patrol range." He scratched at his chest armor in thought more than in discomfort, before handing the data-pad back to the vibrant crew member. "Thank you, Erven." She nodded, before smoothly walking back to her post.
The Lieutenant hummed in thought, before walking to a comm. Taking a seat at his Captain's station, he switched it on and contacted the group that had sent message of the unknowns. "Stolis, do you copy? Commander Stolis."
"Aah, Lieutenant Intredus," the voice of the Commander of the small scouting force that patrolled the brims of their territory rang back tonelessly. "I trust you've received our report? Four ships have been found entering our space through the Horizon System."
"Yes, I did. Although you're being quite a bit more detailed than your written report. I'm thankful for the promptness, but I wasn't sure whether to expect two ships or an entire fleet. 'A couple' isn't very detailed," the Lieutenant noted as he leaned back calmly, looking over various other reports.
"I'm sorry about that... I sent the message off as quickly as I could... after all, these contacts are pretty big." The Commander sounded nervous. "Their largest is about fifteen times the size of our leading Cruiser. Quite intimidating, although it does look very low-tech."
"Fifteen times." Intredus repeated dully. "Do you have a bead on them?"
"Oh yes, of course. If one finds an unidentified alien race calmly touring his own home system, one has failed in some vital area... They're going towards the Monsoon System... not sure why, though. Their speed is impressive for such bulky ships, we're having a bit of trouble following them without showing ourselves. Thankfully the two systems are separated by a huge nebula, so keeping hidden amongst the dust won't be a problem. I trust you will be there when they arrive?"
"Oh, of course. As we speak I'm transmitting orders. These ships sound like a serious threat- when do you estimate they will enter the System?" The commanding figure silently waved to the surrounding Navigators to mobilize the crew, a task undertaken by a vibrant young Ensign.
Intredus waited silently as the Commander, he assumed, added up figures, before a startled shout rang out of the communicator and through the bridge. "Stolis, is there a problem?"
"They... they've sped up! Estimated time of arrival is... now! I think they found their target..." In the background, panic could be heard blooming around the Commander.
"Their target? In the Monsoon System? But what-" His eyes widened in realization. "Arm up, arm up!" The Lieutenant bounded out of the station, his seat nearly toppling from his exit. "Wake up the Captain, contact the Fleet! They're going for Morningstar-4!" Memories of past follies by his civilization spurred Intredus on as he sprinted down the halls of his ship, gathering up bits and pieces of his crew. Eventually he decided to stop running and sent out groups of soldiers to round up the entire contingent inside the Frigate.
Outside of the organized chaos within the ship, a small task force of three Cruisers and a dozen Frigates zoomed into the system, serenely taking its position behind the System Garrison of the Overpower and the dozens of Fighters that drifted around it.
"This is Commander Stolis, I've brought back the patrols... this jump probably damaged the engines of all of our ships, but we got here before them. That's what counts." The broadcast from the Cruiser Victorious sent a wave of relief through the hastily-put together fleet. The next broadcast, sent in the voice of a worried Navigator, wasn't as reassuring, however.
"They're one tenth of an astronomical unit away. We'll be able to see them in a moment...!"
The group of unknowns drifted into the system, lackadaisically heading for the massive glowing structure in orbit around a small dwarf planet before they took notice of the small welcoming fleet put together.
"Damn, they're big," a voice stammered through the comms. The head ship, twice as large as any of its companions, slowly turned towards the mass of Cruisers and Frigates, its great horned prow pointing directly at the Overpower, which quietly drifted at the head of its formation.
Within, Lieutenant Intredus had barely dragged his Captain into the bridge, the aged commanding officer grumbling unprofessionally at having been awakened, when an otherworldly sound exploded from the comms.
"They're... they're hailing us!" Intredus rushed towards the station, looking at the received data critically before he was flung aside by the Captain. The older officer hunched over the station and traced a long finger over the sound waves received, before replaying the message.
"This is familiar... no alien race should sound familiar. There's something wrong with this..." He stood, crossing his arms as he thought. The bridge was overtaken by noise again as another message came in. Suddenly, Intredus' eyes widened as he righted himself and walked up to the Captain.
"That's a Prothean message! This goes along with the Prothean First Contact protocol; aim your lead ship towards the other race's lead ship, and blast them with greetings until... until..." The Lieutenant's eyes narrowed. "They send the message thrice before assuming it's hostile!" His visage became horrified as the message boomed through the bridge again.
"That was the third... what are you waiting for, Lieutenant!? Respond!" The Captain yanked the younger officer down towards the station, pushing him into the comm. Intredus clutched it confusedly for a moment, before shouting back something foreign. Immediately, he received a response. The foreign manner of speech went right over the crew's heads, but the Lieutenant continued to speak. "What're you saying, Lieutenant?"
"They're... requesting permission to board, and offering an exchange of language codexes to make communicating easier... It seems they're equipped with translation devices, so I would say that is the way to go. I'm not quite proficient with Prothean beyond the Protocols..." The unknown ships communicated again, their message booming through the bridge once more. "Yes or no, Captain?"
The hardened officer stood erect for a moment, closing his eyes in deep thought. "They're enormous, and entire magnitudes more armed than us, correct?" As Intredus nodded, he grunted. "It was rhetoric, but yes. Let them in. Their ships are large, but they on their own are not likely to be massive on their own, too. If we can lure their commanders in, we may be able to hold them hostage until our fleet can back us up."
"I don't know if that is wise, Captain," Commander Stolis' voice rang from the comm. "Being rash will-" before he could finish his statement, he was overpowered by another message from the leading vessel.
"I'll take that as a yes either way," Intredus mumbled as he leaned into the comm. He hurriedly sent back an agreement, and sighed in relief after they responded. "Okay, they're coming into this ship."
The Captain groaned, before nodding at his Lieutenant. "Very well. If they look like they can be subdued, do it. If not, perhaps diplomacy would be best."
"Captain, Lieutenant. I detect a shuttle exiting the largest ship. It's rather bulky, but it's very fast," a nondescript Navigator called out.
Within moments the two commanders had moved to the airlocks; not long thereafter, the small vessel shook as the shuttle hooked up to it. The airlocks began to open, and the Captain put his arms behind his back, puffing his chest out authoritatively. Intredus simply crossed his arm, awaiting for the arrival of their guests.
Three figures stepped through the airlock, nearly obscuring the interior of their vessel behind them. The two aliens standing to the sides were nearly twice their size, while the Xenos in the middle was nearly twice his companions' size. Their too-round, white faces were topped by thick, unsightly masses of hair.
The middle figure, clad in bulky, pitch-black armor, wordlessly reached forward and handed the captain a small gray device. The officer shakily took the object, and peered down at it. "This... is a Prothean design. Did they have this put aside for First Contact? How curious..." He shook the thoughts out of his mind, before reaching towards the back of his neck. Within a moment, he pulled out a small white object shaped similarly to the one given to him by the largest alien. He pressed the two together, and after his own beeped, handed the gray one to his Lieutenant.
The officer nodded at him and at the Xenos, before walking back towards the bridge with the device. The Captain stared at his translator before blinking at putting it back on his uniform, calmly reaching back to his neck to replace it there. He looked up to the tall beings, who were staring intently with beady eyes.
"Do you understand me," a deep voice that shook his very bones questioned as soon as his arms returned to his sides. "Alien?"
"I would rather you did not call me that, Alien." He glared.
The hulking creature displayed two long rows of straight teeth. "Tell me what to call you, then."
"What about you do so first?" He countered.
"Very well. I am Primarch Hoth of Terra. My grand Battleship Emperor's Will and its entire crew, along with the Imperium of Man, extend a warm hand of friendship towards our galactic neighbor." His enormous gauntleted fist, likely far from warm, was precariously placed in front of the Captain. The officer stared at the fist curiously, before the Primarch lowered it.
The Captain's eyes closed in thought, before they opened, slightly narrower than before. "I, Captain Velarn of the Frigate Overpower, am... happy to receive that... hand. I'm sure the Turian peoples and the races of the Citadel will welcome the Imperium of Man into the galactic stage."