Beyond the massive metallic borders of its hull, the ship hummed ominously through the currents of cosmic dust and debris that ricocheted without care in the anti gravity void. In the far distance, the minuscule glistening orbs of the Qliptoth worlds and their small heralds cut a slow delicate swathe through the placid fabric of space. Diligently the starship Quester continues to pierce the dark sea of the galaxy.
Having maneuvered beyond the invisible threats of the black hole Kah-ryb-dis and devastating clusters of the Skyllah Asteroid Belt, exceeding the boundaries of the chartered Outer Rim worlds, despite becoming ensnared in a land squabble between several small backwater feuding planets, a surprise encounter with a wayward Nevi’im Dragoon, and the death of the Questers initial captain, they forged forward and now their goal, after all the searching, was in sight.
Minute beacons upon the surface of Gehenna flickered in the darkness. The closest planet, completely void of life and sheathed in ice, cast what shards of the suns rays it received over to its moon, Gehenna. What was not enveloped in darkness was a bleak rust red. Fire pits burned ferociously as light precipitation hung clustered as low fog clouds in the thin atmosphere.
Strange machines worked autonomously in the darkness. Unmanned garbage freighters from the far off core planets made regular trips here to this isolated trash heap of a moon. The Quester came in slow and at a tilt per entry procedure. An unnecessary task as the gravity and firmament of Gehenna was considerably less than any substantial planet. Traveling this far however, the crew did not wish to gamble their efforts on miscalculated friction.
The machines working tirelessly among the metallic clutter of discarded junk made nearly deafening drumming and humming as they crunched and assimilated the piles of waste around them.
The hatch of the Quester raised insignificantly among the flickering flames of the bellows. The Qliptoth crew were behemoths. Clad from head to toe in articulated iron lungs. Necessary adaptations to sustain themselves upon the harsh planets they were forced to inhabit when the Imperator and his legions from the dark side of the sun laid claim to the core worlds in this galaxy and displaced billions.
Majestically they stepped from the corridor into the fog. The moisture clung to their face guards. The three crewmen descended upon the uneasy surface as their steps sent plumes of rusted sand and dust into the air.
“This is the location of the Reign Hammer.”
“This moon is vast, riddled with technology, could this be the Reign Hammer itself?” One of the crewmen speculated as he surveyed the troughs and peaks of the imposing bellows.
“Begin an assessment and diagnostic of all technology here fore.”
They strode like giants across the valleys and ravines of the living surface.
The crew of the Questor had searched more than half of the moon when they were surprised by a demanding howl.
“You...trespass?” The curmudgeons voice was raw and baited. His eyes malevolent and cunning. They betrayed his feeble posture and limp. Beside him stood several hulking automated servants, visibly patch worked together from scraps.
“We were not aware Gehenna was inhabited. Are there others?”
“I…am…all.” The figure was shrouded, little was visible except for the worn and tattered cloth of his robes and the apparatus from which he breathed.
“It’s…been…some time… since…I have seen….another…living being…you are…Imperators….men?”
“By Ba‘al! We are the stain of his existence and soon to be his pestilence!”
“You have been here long?” The captain said.
The peculiar being ushered them through the scrap towers of Gehenna.
“For time…innumerable…” He responded at the door of his dwelling.
“Perhaps then you encountered Appolyon Mundus? It was through painstaking research of his ambigious words, that we came upon this moon.”
“Yes…and…what of…Appolyon…trusted…general of…The…Imperator?”
“He was cast out by the Imperator. He refused sanctuary by the Grigori, our benefactors in the war against the Gadole and the Imperator. He was cut down by a shadow agent of the Imperators some time ago.”
“Shame….he was ...pathetically...obedient...to .a fault...but…was…just to… me."
“That is the reason for our mission. The Gadole have become immensely powerful. Something has changed. They now walk on air, see all that occurs, no matter how distant or insignificant, they can damn an army with an inferno from the merest glance, and are able to carry planets on their backs. We suspect the Chalkydri are to blame, a strange cult within the confines of Da'ath. Our intelligence officers have reported talk of something called the Nevi’im immerging there as well. It's a time of great turmoil and desperation, we are here in search of the Reign Hammer. The “Titan Smasher”.
“It…is…as bad…as…you allude?”
“An eleventh hour act of an endangered people…”
“They….shall…not be….so kind….a…second time…“ The strange husk swaddled in the soiled tatters rose from his nest. “…Come….”
“You know the location of the Reign Hammer? It is here?”
“Fool...you stand....before him!”
The figure continued on into the infinite dusk of Gehenna. Only the furnaces of the bellows and high beacons, alerting the unmanned trash ships of its spires, lit the surface. Ice began to collect upon surfaces in the darkness.
“I…suspect…if…we…do not … leave soon…the flash freeze…will….complicate…your…thrust..”
“You? The Reign Hammer? How is that so?”
“You spoke…of…Appolyon Mundus…It was He…who…exiled...me here…I…was…slated…to be...executed..”
“I know.…you are…but...a…captain…I am…Prometheus Lux…”
“You? are the progenitor of our bane?!”
“It is… time…for me…to finish…what I attempted… so long…ago…I must…unmake…what I…have…made…”
“The Gadole are more formidable now than they have ever been. Surely more so than when you led the rebellion against the Imperator.”
“I have…. had….much time…to deliberate….what I need…to accomplish…this task…is…to be…off of…this…forsaken rock.”
“I have…this one…request. …My Servitors….shall…. accompany me.”
Prometheus Lux began up the hatch with his automaton servitors in tow. The sand of Gehenna danced around them.
“Can we trust him sir?” A crewman said.
The captain surveyed his crew in the defeaning landscape of the living moon. “My discipline says no, to take no thing lightly, but look into those cunning eyes, tell me your gut does not seem to speak truly? We will rally our fleet from distant trading posts to inner plantations, and with them bring our judgment. Man the ship and engage the Qiztat Haderech jump drive, proceed directly to Malkuth, we bring victory!”