Okay, let me just start out by saying this isn't one of my better pieces. It was a funny concept I got from yet another conversation between my editor. I just wanted to post this up since I promised to do something every month and I was running late. I've been very preoccupied as of late, working on my original pieces, editing my novel, starting college, and working on the up and coming Warhammer 40k roleplaying site Soul Harvest. The Soul Harvest thing is mostly thanks to the work of hard working guy named Taka, so you guys should check it out. As always I appreciate feedback, so if you want to leave a review go ahead. Also if you haven't already you should check out some of my other pieces. Anyway, here's the Emperor and his very modest proposal. Enjoy.
"Are they out there?" A soft but demanding voice asked.
The reply came almost instantly, the voice higher in pitch but possessing wisdom in every syllable. "They've been sitting out there in the sun for half an hour, my lord."
A sigh of infinite frustration escaped a perfectly crafted mouth. "Well it's worth it. You know how important this is, don't you?"
"Of course my lord, but your rule is still being consolidated. This proposal is a very... big... project."
"I don't need to tell you how long I've waited for this, do I?"
"No, my lord."
Yet another sigh came from the god in man's clothing. For countless millennia he had seen the species he loved suffer, and more often than not that suffering had been by its own hand. He had attempted to guide them in subtle ways, nudging them towards a utopia they could craft for themselves. As a result of these gentle pushes thousands of wars of faith and hate were waged, and entire seas of irradiated bones covered the cradle of their race.
He would not allow that to occur again. The era of tyrants, demagogues, and despots was over. Since man could not make his own paradise he would craft it. He would forsake everything; his identity, his independence, his emotions, even his life if need be. This shedding of his self had begun long ago, but only now was the process complete. He was no longer a man, nor had he ever truly been the god so many had confused him with over the centuries.
He was now and forever The Emperor.
And in his eagerness he had shed his mask of neutrality. "I apologize, Malcador... I merely wish to begin. Our long lost kin across the stars have lived too long with the predation of madmen and aliens."
"I know sire, I know. If any man can unite the species together it would be you. We still wage war on what is to be your capital though, and the legions that you shall lead are still being crafted. Are you certain now is the time to reveal the Great Crusade to the nobility of Terra?"
For a moment the being that would become the Emperor of Man considered this. It struck Malcador as strange that a mind that had unraveled the mysteries of the universe and plotted the conquest of the stars questioned something so mundane. His master was always strange though, and not just because of the awesome and terrible power he wielded. Perhaps that is why he believed so strongly in his cause...
"No." The Emperor stated, his voice giving the weight of an edict behind the utterance. "It is now or never."
Sitting in chairs of master craftsmanship were the nobility of Terra, or at least those who had already been conquered by or allied with the forces of the so called Emperor. They came from many places, and venomous glares were shot at many. The wounds of the past were still fresh to many, it was not long ago that many of these people were sworn enemies.
Men and women from Merica, Jermani, Gyptus, Franc, Europa, and many other techno-barbarian states were in attendance. Seated towards the front of the gathering were the noble families of Achaemenid Empire. While a menagerie of sorted rumors circulated about this the intelligent knew the truth. The Achaemenid Empire was one of the first to join with the rising Emperor, a decision that has given the rich state countless benefits.
The sun bared down upon them, making the cumbersome clothing they wore more uncomfortable than usual. The dust in the air did nothing to alleviate that. Still, despite everything the view alone was almost worth attending the dreary gathering. In the distance were the ancient Himalayas, or at least what remained of them. The countless years of warfare had not been kind to the region. Scars ran along the mountains, all caused by man. Missiles, bombs, and more unique types of weaponry had all been used there in one of the conflicts of Terra. War was not the only cause of devastation though. Not long ago the Emperor had declared he would build a palace worthy of the leader of man's birth world. In the process of this grand undertaking some destruction was necessary, and littered around the mountains were hills of rubble.
Suddenly, without warning, a man emerged on the stage in front of the assembly. Whispers spread amongst the nobles, but were quickly hushed as the figure raised his hand.
It was Malcador, now known as the Sigillite. While this was not what the assembly was expecting it was still very interesting. The man was almost as mythical as the Emperor, and the novelty of his presence was not lost upon them. He looked pale in comparison to the red curtain behind him, and the more insightful members of the crowd recognize that he carried the weight of tremendous responsibility on his shoulders. Despite his prominent position the only thing he wore was a simple black robe. It fluttered in the wind as he strode across the stage, his ornate staff of office tapping the floor every few seconds.
"Leaders of the Terran People, hear me!" Whatever isolated whispered stopped dead right then. Every eye in the assembly was on him. Malcador took a deep breath, preparing to give an introduction to his lord and master.
"Today marks a shift in human culture that will remove the divisions between us. The shackles of nationality, race, creed, and political views shall be erased forever. No longer will we be rulers of a isolated, warring nations. Soon, through the union of Terra's people, we will become citizens of a single glorious empire!"
Irritated murmurs began to rise from the crowd. They already knew this, for what other goal could the Emperor have but the complete conquest of Terra? No doubt he'd enforce his own ideology upon them as well, just as those who came before him had.
"Please," Malcador shouted, trying to regain the assembly's attention. "The unification of our world is but the first step in something glorious! Long have the children of our world been lost among the stars, isolated and alone in a galaxy of unrelenting horror. Soon, very soon, that will change."
Now that got the noble's attention.
Malcador could feel this through the aether. He grinned as he continued. "There shall be sacrifices for us all in the process of this undertaking, that cannot be denied. It is not my place to ask you to make them however... That is the duty of another man. Ladies and gentleman, it is my honor and privilege to present to you The Emperor of Mankind."
The red curtain parted, revealing a figure of shining gold to the crowd. Awe inspired gasps came from many mouths while some muscles cringed at the sight of such a powerful being. The Emperor approached the front of the stage, each step causing a heavy thud to echo across the distant mountains. He had elected to wear his golden artificer armor, a recently received gift from the Priests of Mars. Normally during such meetings he chose to look like a diplomat, wearing robes or simple tunics. Today however he needed to play the benevolent warlord, which for him was not too difficult.
The stage, which had been recently constructed for the occasion, cracked where ever the Emperor stood. He frowned at that. Many sculptors had worked for days to putting in the details that graced the surface of where they knew their leader would stand. Such things couldn't be helped he told himself.
He nodded at Malcador, his thanks unspoken but received. Before him were the leaders of his world. Many resented him, others feared him, and much to his own distaste some worshipped him. It was with these people, unremarkable mortals, that he would sculpt his Imperium.
"My people." He said as softly as ever, making every eye go wide. "Malcador is correct. It is not his place to ask you to sacrifice what you have earned through right and action so that we might spread Terra's influence, it is mine."
He stopped, his ancient eyes scanning the crowd for reactions. Just more awe, he suppressed the urge to sigh once more.
looking at everyone with their mouths agape like fish out of water never really did put the Emperor in a good mood. "Alright, to put it simply, I'm planning to take over the galaxy..."
That phased one or two individuals, but the creepier among them thought that a godlike being such as the Emperor had the right to such ambitions. This next part was going to push it though...
The Emperor glanced at Malcador, and he sensed his master's order. Malcador snapped his fingers. "Bring in the specimen." He ordered.
A large box shaped object was rolled into view by two huge, gene-enhanced servitors. These hulking monsters of flesh and machine further damaged the marble stage with their own massive weight. The Emperor glared, deciding he really didn't give a crap anymore.
Whatever was held within the box was a mystery thanks to the light blue tarp that covered it. After a moment the drooling servitors completed their task. The box, far larger than Malcador and tall enough to be level with the Emperor's shoulders, was next to the Master of Mankind in the center stage.
The assembly's eyes flitted between the godlike being and the mysterious object he had brought before them. A small smile, almost undetectable, formed on the Emperor's face. He had been eager to reveal this for many years.
"Terra will not be alone." He said, setting the mood for his greatest work. "Mars has joined with me and is already hard at work, preparing weapons, armor, and vehicles for our soldiers. The shipwrights of Jupiter and Saturn's moons have also sworn their fealty to me. Soon we will have endless ships to form our fleets from, so that we might reclaim our race's birthright."
Years, perhaps even months ago many of these people would have called him insane for even suggesting such an undertaking. But they knew this man. Whether they had sworn their men in service to him or suffered his attacks, the nobles of Terra knew the power this man could wield. That still didn't answer what it was he had under the tarp though.
The Emperor didn't need to be the greatest psyker ever born to sense their curiosity. "I know what you're thinking. What is it that I have concealed before you. Well, let me tell you something. The galaxy is a dangerous place. Untold numbers of ravenous aliens exist amongst the stars, their sole purpose to prey upon us and our children. Many of these creatures are more than a match for a mortal man, some are even capable of devastating entire platoons of armed soldiers. How then do we, the people of Terra, best such creatures?"
The horror of what he described was still being processed by the nobles. They had seen the atrocities their fellow man could commit in abundance. What horrors could foreign creatures with no sense of right and wrong fitting to human standards concoct.
"Fear not." The Emperor said, making his powerful voice as comforting as possible. "I would not send my soldiers to fight such threats without aid." He grabbed the tarp in his gauntleted hand. "Gentry of Terra I present to you... the Astartes!"
He pulled the tarp, revealing an adamantine cage. Within was... something. Some of he nobles thought it was some kind of beast, for it was a similar size to the lobotomized servitors that brought it in. They slowly recognized that it was some kind of man though, albeit a grossly disproportionate one. Its muscles seemed far too large for its body, and its features seemed too small for its broad skull.
Their fascination with this product of the Emperor's science was quickly halted as the astartes began screaming and snarling at them, thrusting his overly muscled arms through the bars of his cage.
Somewhere in the crowd a woman fainted...
"What in the name of God is that?" One of the nobleman shouted, his terrified wife gripping him tightly.
The Emperor glared at him. "Okay, first off what you just said is going to need to stop... Secondly this is an astartes, a post-human warrior crafted from the gene-code of one of my children."
"Since when do you have children?" Shouted one of the other nobles. As far as people knew the Emperor hadn't taken on any consorts, despite the efforts of many noble families to marry off their daughters to him.
"Actually I've had them for a while... They've been growing in some tubes in one of my labs. Never you mind where said lab is... But yeah, they're called Primarchs and-"
"Why is he trying to kill us?" One of the women shrieked.
The Emperor sighed. "Okay... I'm still working out the kinks in the system... Basically this is the next step of my Thunder Warriors. There's been a number of improvements as-"
One of the nobleman stood up, giving the Emperor a look made from equal parts of hate and fear. "Those monsters devastated my kingdom! Why on earth would we want something even worse than that?"
A cold bead of sweat ran down Malcador's back. This was spiraling out of control quickly, just as he feared it would. "M-My Lord... perhaps-"
"Shush Malcador" The Emperor chided. He turned back to the crowd. "Nobleman of Terra, I know the Thunder Warriors kind of made a mess of things. I assure you though, the astartes are far more stable than them."
Of course that was the moment that the caged warrior decided to spit out into the crowd. A globule of highly acidic spit flew through the air, hitting one of the nobleman square in the face.
The Emperor grimaced, witnessing the impact. "Oh boy..."
The nobleman, a representative of Merica, quickly fell to the floor. He screamed as he clutched at his face. Steam rose from his now melting face. This caused further fear and outrage amongst the nobles.
"It spits acid?" Another noble shouted.
"He... does lots of things." The Emperor admitted. He took a few steps towards Malcador and glared at him. "Which one of the gene-templates was this specimen taken from?" He growled.
Malcador answered hesitantly, fearing his master's reaction. "The cage said... XII..."
The Emperor stuck his face closer to Malcadors, his words escaping in a hiss. "I told you those ones were still unstable!"
The Sigillite didn't get to respond, for the Emperor's attention turned back towards the panicking nobles. The assembly was in an uproar now. One of the Achaemenid nobles stood his face locked on the monstrous post-human. "How did you create such an abomination?" He asked, his voice indignant.
This was the part the Emperor had feared explaining. "Well... The process of creation involves the implantation of a large number of artificially grown organs."
The obvious question came. "Implanted into what?"
"...Male children..." The Emperor said in a hushed tone. Everyone there still heard him despite this, and every eye glared at him.
"You want to turn our sons into over augmented monster people so that you can make them fight space creatures?" The Achaemenid growled.
"Well when you say it like that it sounds crazy, but I assure you-"
He didn't get to finish that statement. "You're no better than any other tyrant on this planet!" Someone yelled.
"Lord Emperor, I believe your proposal has been unanimously rejected." Malcador said as respectfully as he could, dropping to a low bow as he did so.
Malcador could feel the surge of power generated by the Emperor's frustration. He did not work for so many millennia just to be rejected by visionless mortals. "Enough!" The Emperor shouted, using his mind instead of his mouth. Order was registered in every mind there. The screaming ended abruptly, and even the maddened proto-astartes fell quiet.
The Lord of Mankind was not finished however. "The astartes are the future guardians of the human race, and you will be honored to have your children join their ranks. Soon legions of them shall be crafted and be led by my sons, the Primarchs, on my Great Crusade. It will mark the end of humanity's woes and the beginning of a new utopia. You will all consider yourselves blessed simply for existing in such an era of progress." The order was absorbed into the nobles minds, and any protests they may have had vanished. The Emperor stepped away from the stage, leaving the terran gentry to sort out the details of their acquiescence themselves.
Malcador followed, moving quickly to keep pace with his armored liege. "Lord... That was hardly ethical..."
"What is ethical about anything we're doing right now?" The Emperor snapped. "Besides, it had to be done. The gears are already in motion, and it is too late to stop. The first members of the legions will be moving out to conquer the remaining pockets of resistance on Terra in just a few months time. The Age of the Great Crusade is upon us. Things can only get better from there..."
" Suppose your right Lord... I suppose your right..."