...Then, as was bidden by the Creator, his most holy defenders, the Legion of the True Faith, rose to wage war on the heathens for a third time. But this time they had rallied all of their corrupted kin, it seemed. We could not complete our just crusade because of their numerical superiority...
Exempt from the teachings of the Legion
...Our intelligence on the next vile move made by the Legion allowed us to intercept it, effectively grounding the war to a stalemate. But the Legionaries are too stupid to understand the concept of surrender, and so they continue to pillage and destroy...
Exempt from a CGC propaganda broadcast
“Atti! Wake up! What are you thinking? I’ll arm the charges in a second or two, and you will want to be ready to Jump.”
Calina realised that the klaxons were already wailing periodically, signalling total Templar retreat.
“No,” was her only reply.
“What do you mean no?”
“We can’t do it. We simply can’t blow all these civilians away.”
“What do you mean, Atti?”
“What I am saying, of course.”
“You are speaking treason!” Ina’s voice had a fearful note to it.
“No. I am speaking worse: I am speaking heresy,” Calina replied calmly.
“At least you can hear it yourself. Why do you worry about those heathens?”
“You can’t understand.” Her voice was no longer as calm and her bearing looked like she was gravely troubled.
“Then enlighten me.”
“You wouldn’t understand! You weren’t there.” Tears came unbidden to Calina’s eyes.
“I understand, Atti. But you must not let your own lo...”
“This has nothing to do with it! I can’t explain. Not now. There is no time.”
“On that belly-ship...” her voice trailed away. “They slaughtered the civilians. They butchered them like animals!”
“They were to clear the hold.”
Calina didn’t take notice of Ina’s words. “And they laughed. THEY LAUGHED!” She was visibly shaken, as if she was living some horrible dream. She was. For who knew what time.
“I’m sorry, Atti. But I am a Templar first and your friend second.”
‘Friend.’ The single word stunned her. ‘Were we friends? We must have been. After all, We cared for one another. That’s what friends do, isn’t it. That’s the whole point of it. And now we’re enemies.’ For the first and last time, since joining the Templar, Attica Calina cried.
“I’m sorry Atti.” Ina’s voice was soothing. She turned to the charge and moved to set it. Calina’s voice stopped her in her track.
“May the Creator forgive me for what I am about to do.” Even as she spoke the words she could feel Ina’s mental assault. The young Templar was strong beyond her age, but Calina merely parried what would have reduced a normal mind to a useless pulp of fat and nerves. “I am sorry, Ina,” she said as she pulled the trigger. The shot went clean through Ina’s brain, killing her instantly.
‘At least it was a clean kill. Straight and painless,’ Calina thought, tears now flowing unrestrained from her eyes. ‘KIA. At least she will be entered into the Book of Martyrs. The second greatest honour to a Templar.’ She closed Ina’s eyes, repeating her last words: “I’m sorry, Ina.”
A sharp sound behind her brought her back to her senses. “Don’t even think about it.” She didn’t sound threatening. Rather she seemed impossibly exhausted. She sounded like a person whose worldview, belief system, and entire personality had been shattered, burned, and blown away. He hesitated. Calina turned to look the guard in the face. He seemed frightened and confused, yet curious.
“Had I faked that tone your hesitation would have cost you your life,” she said darkly. She had stopped.
“That cannot be faked,” the guard replied. “I don’t mean to be impolite, but what was going on between the two of you. You seemed to be co-operatives.”
“We were more than that. We were friends. I think.”
“I’m sorry if this seems rude,” he said, lowering his weapon, “but then why did you shoot her.”
“It doesn’t seem rude. It is rude. But it concerns you. She was about to blow the reactor to smithereens.”
“I don’t understand. The usual Legion suicide bomber would just have dropped outside the city and detonated a nuclear device?”
“We aren’t ´usual Legion suicide bombers.´ But now is not the time for explanations. We’ve got to get to the nearest spaceport.”
“Wait a sec...” He started at the tone of Calina’s voice. It had regained almost all of its former strength.
“It wasn’t a suggestion.”
“But I want you to explain...”
“For now all you need to know is that you’re dead if I don’t live and that we’ve got about three days to get as far away from this planet as possible. After that they may return to finish what I just prevented.”
“But then we should warn the local admini...”
“This world is a command centre. The Legion wants it dead. There are four more cities of this size on the surface. Just exactly how did you plan to evac them off-world without the boys upstairs knowing? They will all die anyway. Our best chance is to attempt to prevent it from happening on other worlds too.”
He was about to say something but thought better of it. Merely nodding he turned towards the door, and his mood darkened. “How do we get out? You and your friend blew the blast doors shut.”
“Give me a hand with the dem-charge and we’ll be out before you know it.” Mostly to herself she muttered: “We have half a kilogram of powdered NTC and the man asks how we are going to bypass a mere metre of reinforced steel and concrete.”
After blowing open the door the pair noted that the corridors were empty. Apparently the populace had evacuated with practised ease. Outside they ´commandeered´ a vehicle, and headed for the nearest port.