Chapter 4 - Arrest
Sobek’s plans to begin the annihilation of the PiruNostram were coming together and he was ahead of schedule.
He had managed to secure the secretive construction and deployment of six TAURUS machines on outer world colonies, including four on Quella, thanks in the main to the almost zealous support from their government, who had provided military control and protection over the project.
He had also managed to avert what would have been a major backlash from his fellow Apostophet senators, which would have questioned his ongoing ability to remain as Principal. And all this despite the pressure being exerted by Senator Mayan, stoking up populist support to deal with the PiruNostram issue more sensitively.
When it came to it, the majority of the senators voted with the heartfelt opinions of the population from their respective quadrants ringing in their ears.
Whilst they could empathise with Senator Magdala’s ideals; they knew that a vote to discourage the removal of the PiruNostram, would be a vote which would only serve to see them ultimately removed from office, such was the overwhelming mood of this vast planetary nation.
However, what the Apostophet did not know was how far advanced Sobek’s plans had progressed with the deployment of TAURUS and they certainly had no idea that these deadly machines would be installed off-world and Sobek didn’t want them to know either.
It was Rise on the 120th cycle on Xethenia and the Chief Administrator to the Secretariat on Quella had just received a coded message from what appeared to be an unknown source, but signalling the authority to commence with Operation Exodus.
Ten cycles earlier had seen the arrival of a dozen troop ships each one carrying a hundred Xethantian soldiers and equipment that had been tasked with arresting PiruNostram gang members on Quella and taking them to a secret compound which the Mequellium forces had constructed in readiness. Apart from being ray shielded, it also featured a disruption beam which would prevent them from pathing known friends and associates once the Xethantian troops had begun the process of rounding them up.
Due to the likelihood of extreme violence and use of weaponry, no military involvement would be provided by Mequellium forces, other than to ensure that the populace would be protected and the areas where PiruNostram criminals were likely to be seized from, were clear of vulnerable beings.
Landing craft were now being deployed stealthily and at a discreet distance from ghetto areas which had been previously targeted by a joint intelligence gathering exercise with Xethantian forces. In one such ghetto, Nemesis himself was suspected to be holed up in a secret underground bunker which had been fully equipped and furbished to a very comfortable standard.
“There’s an eerie atmosphere Nemesis, I don’t like the feel of it”, murmured one of his closest and trusted Generals, a male called Caesar. “I feel as though Quella is closing in around us somehow and we need to be on our guard I tell you”.
The PiruNostram are a very secure and efficient terrorist army and as such they deploy a conventional hierarchy when it comes to command and control functions.
“I don’t know why you are so nervous Caesar. Nobody knows about this safe house here on Quella, we’ve been using this base for many orbinars. Lest you forget the Mequellium won’t venture into this ghetto. They know the PiruNostram rule here and we can’t be overturned by their forces, no matter what firepower they try to use, because they know we will avenge them and destroy them. Rest easy my friend”.
“It’s not the Mequellium I’m worried about; its Xethantian forces, especially on the back of that nugget of information which that insect of a scientist blurted out when we kidnapped him; what was his name?”
“Ah yes you mean Opus Rah. Hmmm well we’ve seen nothing of what he was dribbling on about here on Quella, which is why I think we’re safer here than back on Xethenia don’t you think?”
“I don’t agree Nemesis. If Rah was right, then that self-righteous bigot, Sobek, would be deploying those machines everywhere he could”.
“But you’re forgetting that we have a friend in the Apostophet in the form of Senator Magdala, who along with Senator Mayan and others have been supporting our cause and limiting Sobek’s determination to roll out this mythical machine of death”.
“Yes I know all that, but what about Malice, no-one has been able to reach him for some time now; be it by coms or pathing, which is very strange for such a strong, loyal and determined pack leader?”
Nemesis looked hard at his General and his mind went deep in thought. He looked around the room at his fellow gang members, running his hands through his hair and returning his stare to Caesar, this time pathing him so he couldn’t be heard “I didn’t want anyone to know this but I have it on good authority that Malice is dead”.
“What! When? How?” Caesar replied, his eyes widened in alarm, “So the machine is not a myth as you say?”
“I don’t know my friend”, he paused “I just don’t know. The detail is vague and could be Apostophet propaganda”.
Caesar was about to reply when he held up an outstretched hand “Wait. A message coming through … just a moment ….. it’s from Kiridian ….. it’s fragmenting” he closed his eyes and tried to focus all his mental energy on the incoming message. There was a brief pause before he opened his eyes and frowned saying “No it’s gone. It sounded like he was saying Xethantian Protectorate squads here on Quella”.
Just then, they both whirled around in an instant as the heavily fortified steel doors were blown in to the underground room. As the dust was still clearing, six Xethantian troopers stormed in, moving quickly and led by a unit Commander barking out instructions to ‘beam and cuff’ and stating that all PiruNostram were under arrest.
There were several Mequellium sympathisers who started to make a run for the doorway, but they were soon cut down and lay motionless, stunned by a bolt of energy which virtually froze them on contact.
They would be left where they lay for a couple of hours with just the ability to breathe. They would be interrogated later and any useful data would be analysed and used to track down more PiruNostram gangs.
The troopers could have tried to use the same stun gun on the PiruNostram but more often than not, the bolt would be deflected either by a telepathic move or more likely by their natural Synexillum defence system.
So instead they worked in pairs and each one used a portable traction beam which created an envelope around the target, depriving them of movement and enabling the troopers to step in and wrap a cuff band around the arms of the prisoner they were taking into custody.
In addition, they would also place a small telepathic disruptor bead towards the top of the forehead, which is exactly what they’d done earlier when they arrested Kiridian, to block any attempts he would make to warn fellow PiruNostram colleagues. It was almost impossible to rip this bead off without using the same device which put it on there to begin with.
As the gang members were led out to the waiting military prisoner carriers, other Xethantian forces personnel were going back into the bunker ripping out computers, devices, weapons and anything else they thought might be of interest to the authorities.
Once they had finally decided it was clear of what they wanted, they tossed in some grenades to completely destroy what was left and remove all trace of the previous occupants.
Now firmly strapped into his seat, Nemesis looked up to the nearest Xethantian trooper and in a menacing growl; he yelled “Where are you taking us?”
But the trooper ignored him and continued to pace up and down the cabin of the carrier, checking on the seated occupants, all of whom still had their cuffs on with their hands behind their backs.
Nemesis yelled again “I said where are you ....”
“I heard you scum. You’ll find out soon enough and when you do you’ll know what it’s like to live in the same fear as you mindless savages have been doling out to the citizens of Quella”.
On hearing those words Caesar screamed out at Nemesis “You see I told you. It’s true. They’ve got one of those killing machines here on Quella. We’re all going to burn” and then the guard quickly chipped in “More than one, more like ten. One would never have been enough” and he laughed as he walked away again.
Caesar suddenly went into a frantic panic saying, “Nemesis we’re doomed. The PiruNostram, its game over. What are we going to do?”
But Nemesis shouted back at him and whilst he glared at the guard he said “Shut up Man. Remember who you are. We are PiruNostram and we will be avenged”. Making sure that the guard was out of earshot he turned his attention back to Caesar and whispered “We’ve got to get these inhibitors off so we can path for some help. I would feel happier if we could be taken back to Xethenia as I think I know how we can get out of here”
Caesar looked incredulously at Nemesis “How in the name of all that we live for, are you going to get us back to Xethenia?”
“Let me worry about that. Let’s just find a way of getting rid of these inhibitors”.
The prisoner vehicle they were travelling in sped quietly and quickly through the city on its anti-gravity drive, heading towards the military compound that Xethantian forces had set up to receive and hold the arrested criminal gangs.
Once they had passed through the gates and touched down, the prisoners were quickly herded into a detention reception centre, where their details were recorded before they were marched off and put into isolation cells.
For the most part all the PiruNostram prisoners were completely unaware as to what the significance of their arrest would mean to their very existence. However, Caesar was making every effort to circulate information about TAURUS and worrying rumours were beginning to run riot as the whispered messages were gradually passed around.
Shortly after being placed into his cell, a guard released the door and escorted Nemesis into the private office of the compound commander.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t my old friend General Herod. How nice to see you again” laughed Nemesis.
Herod ignored the teasing banter for a few moments as he glanced at several floating image screens and spoke into a speech pad which authenticated in writing everything that he dictated. He eventually glanced up at Nemesis who had been instructed to stand to attention “I’m not your friend Nemesis. Animals like you don’t have friends so just sit down; I have something important to tell you”.
Nemesis fell into the chair, still with wrist binders on and his arms behind his back. He tilted his head and he had a thin, wry, almost nonchalant smile on his face. He knew full well what General Herod was about to say.
“You and I both know that by rights, you along with your sickening mob should be put into the TAURUS and obliterated from the galaxy once and for all, but ….”.
Nemesis cut in and said “Ah so this machine has a name too does it?”
But Herod cut back over him “Just shut up whilst I’m speaking. As I was saying you should all be burned and most of them will I personally guarantee it. But for some inexplicable reason, by order of Senator Magdala, you are to be taken back to Xethenia to stand some sort of trial” his voice fading as he looked down at the voice pad, his head shaking in complete disbelief.
“I have to abide by her instructions, but believe me Nemesis when I say, that it will be under strict prisoner status and you won’t be let out of our sight and neither will your pathing disruptor be taken off that miserable, pathetic head of yours the whole time you’re in our custody. However this order only applies to you”. Then he smiled and said “I’m afraid your friends will be terminated”.
Nemesis stood up and yelled a long “No!” before launching himself across the desk at Herod who deflected his dive easily and Nemesis went crashing into the wall.
He quickly got back onto his feet and lunged at Herod again, hoping to dislodge the disruptor off his forehead but this time the Herod had a traction beam at the ready, which he pointed at Nemesis pinning him back onto the wall, affording him the chance to tap the com link on his neck with his free hand and call for some backup.
Several guards came running into the room as the entrance door evaporated, each one armed with a traction beam and between them they marshalled Nemesis out of the office, with Herod barking at them to throw Nemesis into a maximum security, solitary confinement cell.
As he was frog marched down the corridor to the cell block, Nemesis struggled in vain to break out of the traction beam shroud which securely encased him, but it was futile and after a while he reluctantly accepted the situation he was in.
His head fell forward more in a bid to hide his emotion over the impending fate of his fellow pack members, than it was with the anger of knowing how powerless he was to help them.
By the time he’d reached his cell he had already drawn some strength from knowing that he would soon be on his way back to Xethenia and a meeting with Senator Magdala.
They both knew why she had gone to extraordinary lengths to always have him detained and brought to her directly, whenever he was arrested. What she didn’t know was how close he had come to being terminated this time around.
She had no idea that Sobek had effectively organised ‘kill squads’ to round up off-world PiruNostram packs on Quella and elsewhere, so he could purge their existence, using the secretly constructed TAURUS machines.
© 2018 Visionaries by Chris Donlan - All Rights Reserved