Act 3 – Rise, Chapter 19

First orks, then Eldar with news of an army made of living metal, and now a Tyranid Hive on its way to consume the planet… If this is all true and I survive, my grandchildren will have some of the most fantastic bedtime stores, William Thorpe thought to himself.

As he sat in a corner, mulling over the news the Xenos had dropped on them, his usually most trusted and reliable council had been transformed into a rabble of middle aged men, engaged in a series of shouting matches over what their next move should be.  Everything from raising their defences, to leaving with the Eldar was being voiced by one person or another – a couple of them were even considering a full frontal assault on the aliens who believed they were being tricked into an easy invasion.

Eventually he stood up, his head starting to ache from the noise and, without saying a word, he left the room, heading towards his private balcony that overlooked the city.

Walking through the building’s corridors that usually greeted Thorpe like a tight run ship, today was a different story altogether.  Rushing between rooms, gathering intel and generally trying to work out what in the world was going on, not a single person noticed the Governor as he silently navigated his way through the mess.

Arriving at the balcony he closed the door behind him, the peace and tranquillity of the city washing over him as the serene view of the city and surrounding countryside cleared his mind of the encroaching troubles.  For a moment he lost himself, closed his eyes and became one with the breeze, the sounds of his people down below and the faint cry of an eagle soaring overhead – the warm sun shining down upon his face.

Fife, he decided, was a good place to live before today.  As a colony in its first generation, the entire planet was still untouched except for the one city of terraformers.  They had arrived a little over 40 years ago when Thorpe had been an assistant to the then, leading commander.  Over the years, as the population grew and the city had widened, looking for materials to mine, Thorpe had grown in stature, influence and popularity.  Learning from the best, it wasn’t a surprise that his superior had left the charge of the city to his apprentice before retiring.  What I wouldn’t give for a little advice David, Thorpe thought to himself, wondering what his now passed away mentor would make of the situation as the cry from a woman in the city down below broke his concentration.

Now what, he thought to himself as the first cry was quickly followed by another, then another before the city below broke out into mass panic.  Thorpe reluctantly opened his eyes and let them adjust to the bright sunlight – until something blocked it out.  Now able to see what it was that was causing the cries of despair and desperation, Thorpe involuntarily took a step back to try and gauge what it was he was looking at.  Where the sun had once sat on the horizon, a huge dark shape was now blocking it out.

He could feel his legs buckling under him as though they couldn’t support his weight anymore, his head started spinning and the overwhelming instinct to run almost got the better of him.  Pull yourself together man, we’re not alone on this one!

Turning as fast as he could muster his still shaking body, he charged back through the labyrinth of corridors to the command room to find them still in a sea of arguments – no one seemed to have the slightest idea what had gone on.

“QUIET!!” he called out, his subordinates obeying the commanding voice.  “You, check the long range scanners,” his authoritative voice acting like a jump start for one of the men, “You, action a city-wide lockdown and you… You need to get a hold of the Eldar.”

“Are you mad?” someone objected.

“Governor!” an operator by the computer terminal called out, “Governor, our long range scanners are down!”

“Then the rest of you better look out the damned window!”

Moving over to the computer terminal whilst the rest of the room underwent the same process of shock and panic he had just been exposed to, he grabbed a microphone and turned on the building’s intercom system.

“Citizens of Fifé, if you’ve not looked out of a window I suggest you do so now.  We are charged with the protection of the city and its inhabitants and for us to fulfil this oath I need every last one of you to perform your best.  We do not have the luxury of being able to panic, be afraid or loose ourselves to our basic instincts.  We’re at war ladies and gentlemen, and by The Emperor we will survive this day!”

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