Hello everyone, it seems my muse has been learning necromancy in her spare time as she managed to revive my interest for writing, which had rapidly dwindled over the past months, so I decided to get something out while the feeling persisted. I'm not 100% happy with this one, but I felt I had to get this out just to keep the story moving again.
Meanwhile, in LA, the group known as Cordy's Crushers were sitting around the lobby of their hotel base, waiting for their new superior to arrive from Sunnydale via teleport.
"You're not going down to meet the new guys?" Doyle turned to Angel as the two watched the crowd from one of the stairways.
"I already know him, and I'd rather not burst into holy flame today." Angel replied blandly.
"What do you mean?" Doyle asked, but the flash of the teleporters answered his question.
Standing in the lobby were two massive figures over seven feet tall, clad in silver-grey armor. The smaller figure had a helmet like an old style knight, and held a massive spear whose blade had short sparks arcing across it in one hand, and a huge twin-barreled gun was strapped on his left arm. The second figure however filled his demon side with pure dread. A helmet in the shape of a skull with burning red eyes glared at them all from atop the massive frame, while his hands held a huge sword shining with a golden light and a huge plasma gun, and finally a soft gold glow seemed to surround the man's armor. Both their armors were covered in holy sigils, scraps of parchment and other icons, all of them declaring their undying hatred for all enemies of mankind.
"So, you are Cordy's Crushers?" Xander's voice boomed from his helmet.
"Crushers crush all into dust." Gunn, Cordelia's second jumped up and shouted their battle cry.
"Crush'em." The group echoed.
"They have spirit, Chaplain Harris." The second knight commented in a booming voice.
"That they do, Justicar Rya'C. Alright Crushers, time to get your marching orders. You have been assigned as auxilia for the Ordo Malleus. That means we won't go as easy as Cordelia did on you, but once we're done, it will be you that every demon on Earth fears." Xander made them pale a bit, as they remembered what a slavedriver Cordelia was, but in their eyes one could see the determination to prove themselves worthy.
Back on Atlantis, Sheppard and his team were standing in the gate room, waiting for their time to depart for their next mission.
"So, the Imperials are sending a specialist to look over the Wraith prisoners we got?" Sheppard turned to Hailey who was there to escort the impending arrivals to the labs.
"Archmagos Novak is our greatest Biologis and Genetor. Inquisitor Fraiser requested her expertise for the interrogations of the prisoners." Hailey replied.
"You're going to torture them?" McKay asked, showing his distaste of the practice.
"Nothing so medieval, Dr. McKay. Inquisitorial interrogations are very complex procedures, and torture plays a very small part of it. Ah, the Archmagos is about to arrive. Excuse me." Hailey walked up to the active Stargate, from which emerged four massive cargo servitors, each loaded with crates of all shapes and sizes, and behind them striding on four robotic legs was the most terrifying Mechanicus member they've seen so far. Various mechadendrites swung around her, equipped with enough surgical tools to equip a hospital, and the smell of antiseptic, drugs and stale blood wafted off her like a cloud.
"Oooh, an unrecorded Alteran gene carrier. And an unknown human variant?" The figure skittered to the surprised team with shocking speed and before Sheppard could react, a number of medical instruments were crawling across his body, sampling his DNA. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the same was done to Teyla.
"Archmagos, remember the Fabricator-General's instructions." Hailey shouted at her, causing her to retreat from the much relieved team.
"Ask permission first. I apologize, I was just excited to get to work. Just think, a whole new xeno species to study. I was starting to run out of projects. Analyzing human genetic variants for Astartes compatibility does get tedious after a while. Now, where are the specimens?" Novak turned towards Hailey.
"We have body parts, cadavers and live specimens prepared for you. The Inquisitor requests that the female specimen is left for last, as it apparently serves a leadership role." Hailey replied as they left the gate room and the rather nervous quartet behind them.
Several hours later, Novak had practically torn apart all the cadavers and body parts and examined everything about them, from anatomy, cellular structure and DNA, to everything else one needed to know about a species.
"A most intriguing species. If we can learn how to adapt their rejuvenation process without the use of their xeno biology, it could mean we would gain the ability to prolong human life indefinitely." Novak commented as her assistants took note of everything she said and did for archival purposes.
"An interesting idea to be sure. But is it really possible?" Cassandra asked. Her training had quickly removed any unease from being around Novak and her merry band of butchers.
"I believe so, but it won't be something I'll figure out overnight. Now, let's proceed to the examination of the live subjects. There are a lot of things I need to learn about their anatomy I can't learn from a cadaver." Novak gestured for her men to drag one of the drones from the prison cells.
"Focus on their nervous system. I will need to know as much as possible for my interrogation." Cassandra reminded her.
"You'll have all you need in a few hours, Inquisitor. And I look forward to dissecting the female as well." Novak turned to her newest victim as he was strapped onto the sturdy table.
"You'll get your chance once I'm done with her. She might even be alive when you get her." Cassandra smirked evilly. Xenos would get no mercy from her.
"Is it time for my death, human?" The Wraith queen looked up from where she sat in her cell. The psychic dampening field around it ensured that her abilities was completely suppressed, and as an added bonus, caused her a great deal of pain.
"Not yet. From what we've been able to determine, your kind share a form of hive mind. Is that correct?" Cassandra asked calmly, even if inwardly she was disgusted at the parody of the human form this creature had assumed.
"We are connected, yes. And before you put me in this vile box, I sent word to my sisters. My kind is fully awake once more. You need only wait for your demise." The queen laughed.
"You'll find we're not as easily beaten as the Ancients. Unlike them, we're very experienced in the art of war. So let your misbegotten kind come to us. We will destroy them all like the filth you are. Now, there are things I want to know from you, and you will tell them to me." Cassandra's eyes sparked as four Guardsmen walked in the cell and dragged the queen to the interrogation room she had prepared.
Several hours later, as she and her interrogators were busy extracting anything useful from the queen, the lights in the room flickered and seconds later, the room was plunged in darkness. Naturally, feeling her powers return, the queen tried to seize control of one of the humans nearby and escape, but unfortunately for her, Cassandra, while no match for Barachiel was still psychically far more powerful than the queen, and managed to subdue the alien and knock her out.
"Archmagos Carter, my interrogation room just lost power. Explain." Cassandra voxed the android, feeling angry that her session was interrupted so suddenly. It would take her hours to get the queen back into the desired state of mind for the psychic probes again.
"One of the expedition members found a device in one of the labs and managed to deactivate it. It seems it was a containment device for some sort of non-corporeal entity. It appears to feed on energy, which is why the power failed in that part of the city." Carter informed her.
"Figures. Where is the entity now? Can you lead it towards me?" Cassandra asked.
"It's not far. I believe I can keep it in the area by cycling the power grid. I will guide you towards it." Carter replied.
Ahead of her, two of the expedition soldiers, Lt. Ford and Sgt. Stackhouse found themselves isolated in a corridor with the entity, which resembled a large mass of shadows coming closer to them. In panic, the pair tried to open a door to escape, and while Stackhouse jumped through, it seemed that Ford would be unable to get through before the entity would get to him when suddenly, the being paused, and Ford stared in awe as arcs of white lightning began to crawl across the shadowy mass, slowly increasing in size and number before with an unearthly scream, the creature burned up and vanished and when it did, behind the shadowy mass he saw something he would never forget.
The whole corridor was covered in a layer of frost, and in the middle of it stood Inquisitor Fraiser, face locked in a vicious snarl as her eyes glowed with power and sparks of energy arced from her body and her extended hand to strike at the walls of the corridor.
"No one fucks with my city." She snarled as the energy surrounding her died down. "Now, which one of you idiots is responsible for this mess?"
"McKay." Ford managed to stammer to the angry woman, causing her to nod and stalk away.
"So, you're the idiot that released that creature are you?" Cassandra growled at the scientist who stood in the gate room, along with several Techpriests, expedition members and Athosians. "And what's that on your chest?"
"It's some sort of personal shield device. It has resisted all of our attempts to damage it and its wearer. It also allows nothing but air to pass." Hailey replied.
"Ah, so he won't be harmed when I do this." Cassandra smirked and with a spark of her eyes and a swing of her hand McKay was launched into the ceiling, where he slammed painfully, only to land on the floor a few seconds later.
"The next time any of you idiots decide it's a good idea to mess with anything around here, don't. Is that clear, Dr. McKay? Or do you need a repeat lesson?" Cassandra snapped at the prone man that stared at her with pure terror. "Good. Now get my city back in order."
"I see why she leads now." Teyla commented as McKay and most of the crowd dispersed.
"From what I've managed to see, they don't give the title of Inquisitor without merit." Sheppard shivered. How do you fight someone with the power of a psyker and access to the best tech the Imperium had at its disposal?
"What exactly is an Inquisitor?" Teyla asked curiously.
"In simplest terms, an investigator. They seek out any existing or potential threat to the Imperium and destroy it before it can grow too big and threaten us. Inquisitor Fraiser is a part of the Ordo Xenos, who seek out any external, inhuman foes and destroy them. Like the Wraith, for example." Hailey replied before Sheppard could.
"Not even the Ancestors could destroy the Wraith." Teyla commented.
"The Ancients lost yes, but unlike them we have one big advantage. The Ancients were scholars, not warriors. We on the other hand, have over twenty thousand years of experience in warfare to draw on. We will find the Wraith, we will crush them, and we will claim this galaxy in the name of the Omnissiah and the New Imperium of Man." Hailey formed the symbol of the cog across her chest, and with a short bow, also vacated the room.
"I wish I had her faith. She seems so certain of her words." Teyla commented.
"Yeah. The Imperium lacks many things, but confidence is not one of them." Sheppard sighed. While he agreed with the decision to stand apart from the harsh methods of the Imperials, he was starting to think that they might be trying to put out a fire that had already burned down the forest.
Back in the Milky Way, Daniel Jackson and his team were meeting with the representatives of yet another human world that they had managed to discover, a planet by the name of Tegalus, and were currently discussing the possible inclusion of the world in the Tau'ri Protectorate, as the world while not in their borders, was also not in anyone else' and was thus up for grabs. The biggest problem however was the fact that the two nations of the world, the Rand Protectorate and the Caledonian Federation were in a state of cold war, and were thus highly suspicious of each other.
"… so with the changes we're proposing…" Daniel was interrupted from his discussion with the Rand leader Gareth by an aide rushing into the room out of breath.
"Sorry to disturb you Commander, but we just found another ritual site. Same as the last ones." The man spoke before he realized there were strangers in the room.
"Fuck. Damn that madman Soren. This is the last thing we need right now." Gareth sighed while rubbing his eyes.
"What seems to be the trouble, Commander?" Daniel asked.
"Nothing you need to concern yourselves with. Just some religious fanatics with delusions of grandeur. They were considered harmless, but a few months ago, they began to sacrifice people, claiming they were trying to draw the gods back to Tegalus. Bunch of nonsense of course. Soren is just using his Eightfold Path to get rid of the people that disagree with him." Gareth chuckled, but then he noticed that his visitors from Earth freeze and grow pale.
"Eightfold Path? Is their symbol a spiked eight-pointed star on a wheel?" Daniel asked in a grave tone.
"How do you know this? I know you haven't met any of those fanatics." Gareth was feeling a bit confused. As far as he knew, Soren's little cult was something that he invented himself.
"We haven't met any of the followers of the Eightfold Path, but we've heard of it. If they're here, that means we're not the only visitors out of this world you've had. How long has this cult been around?" Daniel asked, already fearing the answers.
"Months we believe. If not the fact they were murdering people, we would have just ignored them." Gareth began to realize that there was more to this cult than he originally thought and it began to frighten him.
"Do you have any photographs of their sacrificial sites?" Daniel pressed on.
"Of course, all violent crimes are documented. I'll have them brought up." Gareth ordered his aide. "What do you think is really going on with this cult?"
"I can't say for sure, but I doubt it is beneficial to your world. Can you please ask the Caledonians if they've had trouble with this cult?" Daniel suggested, making the man wince.
"I can ask. Not sure if they'll answer me." He replied with a shrug.
"The evidence you requested Commander." The aide returned, carrying a large cardboard box.
"My god. Why would anyone do this?" Carter exclaimed as she viewed the black and white photos of people butchered and sacrificed in some bizarre ritual.
"I think I have an idea. Have there been an increase in hostilities with the Caledonians in the past few months?" Daniel asked gravely, and Gareth nodded, only for his eyes to widen in surprise.
"You mean these rituals are done because they want to start a war between our nations? But that makes no sense. We're evenly matched. We'd just destroy ourselves. What would be the point?"
"The point would be the sacrifice of this whole world to their gods. That is their endgame." Daniel replied. "Unfortunately, we don't have the skills or the means to combat something like this."
"Daniel, we can't call them. You know we need this alliance." Carter whispered harshly in his ear.
"The alliance will be useless to us if the planet is sacrificed to Chaos." Daniel whispered back.
"We can contact people who have experience with these cults. They'll root them out. My superiors won't like this considering that relations between us are similar to that of your neighbors but I'd rather lose our alliance to this world than see every living soul on it perish." Daniel informed Gareth.
"Very well. If you feel this threat is that grave, contact them. I'll meet with whomever they send myself." Gareth sighed and led his guests to the facility they had moved the gate to after their visitors arrived.
"This is Daniel Jackson. I need to speak with Inquisitor Summers or Maybourne immediately." Daniel used his radio once a connection to New Cadia was established.
"The Inquisitors are very busy. Why should I bother them to speak with you?" The man on the other side obviously had a very low opinion of the SGC.
"Chaos." Daniel replied, and heard the man startle in shock.
"I'll pass on the message. Stay connected." The man replied after a few seconds and only a minute later, the oily voice of Harry Maybourne came from the radio.
"Daniel, nice to hear from you. You say you've discovered evidence of Chaos?" Maybourne's tone was pleasant, but his usual humor when dealing with the SGC was absent.
"We were negotiating an alliance with a new world when we accidentally discovered that a Chaos cult has been active for months here. And they've been sacrificing people. I recognized the mark of the Blood God, so I think they're trying to provoke a war to sacrifice the populace." Daniel replied.
"You might be right, or it might be something completely unrelated. No offense, but you're not an expert on this matter. But it's not something we can ignore either. Send me the address and I'll send someone over. Expect them within the hour." Daniel did so, and the connection was closed.
Almost ninety minutes later, the gate activated again, and Gareth's eyes widened in shock when he saw the people that came out.
While the women in massive white and tan armor were terrifying and awe inspiring to behold, and the massive weapons they held like they were toys did not fill him with confidence about the chances his own soldiers had against them, it was the leading figure that nearly stopped his heart.
She didn't appear as anything special at first glance, she was a young girl wearing a suit of light armor, adorned with a cape and a wide brimmed hat, with a sword and pistol hanging from her belt. The two prevalent symbols on her suit were a winged skull and the barred I which featured prominently on her hat, cape and the necklace hanging from her neck.
However, the longer he stared at her, the more he found himself wanting, as if he could remember all his sins and feeling a nearly overwhelming desire to confess them. Looking around the room, he noticed that no one present could look at the woman for longer than a few seconds before averting his eyes and hanging his head low.
"Dr. Jackson, Colonel Carter, Teal'c." The woman stepped forward and greeted his guests.
"Inquisitor Summers. Congratulations on your promotion." Carter managed to speak first, even though her contempt for the younger Summers was only less than that for her sister.
"We needed a Witch Hunter, and I was the obvious choice. I am Inquisitor Dawn Summers of the New Imperium of Man. You are?" She replied curtly to the woman, then turned to Gareth.
"Commander Gareth. I lead the Rand Protectorate of Tegalus." Gareth replied once he managed to compose himself. The cold gazes of Dawn's escorts did not help him with that.
"Excellent. With your permission, I'd like to root out these heretics as quickly as possible. I would like the complete cooperation of your men and yourself for the duration of my investigation." Dawn began.
"Of course. What do you require?" Gareth gestured for them to leave the gate room.
"I will need to speak to anyone that has been present at any of the ritual sites. Do you have any captured members of this cult?" Dawn asked once they were back in the conference room.
"The first will take a while to organize, we're talking about arranging interviews for several hundred people. As for the second, no. The whole cult went underground once the killings started. We have the names of several suspected supporters but we've had no reason to bring them in." Gareth replied.
"Tell your men to bring in as many suspects they are able to. While you're doing that, I'd like to investigate every ritual site you've discovered so far, even if you've cleaned them up." Dawn informed him.
"Very well. I'll have some escorts for you in a moment. But I have to ask one question first. From the forces you've brought with you, you obviously consider this cult a serious threat. How big a threat is this to my world?" Gareth had to ask, and from the way this woman acted, she was clearly an expert despite her young age.
"If left unchecked, this threat could affect not only your world, but many others in this part of the galaxy. I'm here to insure it doesn't get that far by any means necessary. As for my forces, this is just my personal retinue and guards. A ship carrying three regiments of the Imperial Guard is scheduled to arrive within a week." Dawn's reply shocked and filled him with dread.
"Do you really think such a force is necessary?" Gareth asked with a frown.
"I will not deploy them unless I feel I must, Commander. They will remain on their ship until I require them. When it comes to this kind of threat, it's best to be over prepared then be caught with your pants down." Dawn reassured him.
"I'd like to know more about this threat my people face." Gareth asked.
"The less you know, the better Commander. All I can tell you is that the gods these traitors pray to are real, and they are the Great Enemy of all mankind and indeed all life. It is our duty as loyal servants of the immortal God-Emperor of Mankind to combat them wherever they may appear with all our might." Dawn said with a reverent tone as the two Sisters behind her bowed their heads and made the sign of the Aquila behind her.
"Tell me more about this God-Emperor." Gareth had a sudden feeling that he had just changed the fate of Tegalus forever.