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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-05-11, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Chapter 2: The governor.

The governor Argdan Retius was checking an extremely long list of numbers. To most people on this planet they were just meaningless figures, but he knew, that he held the fate of the whole world in his hands. It looked very bleak. Almost no aluminium, very few iron, no gold, no gems and only coal was in satisfying quantity. The Administratum however asked for more and more. They knew they just could. They knew, he would just obey them as always, for he knew what would happen otherwise to him, his family and this whole world. When the quantity of resources sent to the Imperium began to be slightly lower than what the Administratum expected, they answered politely, but very firmly for more. With some penalties as well. Retius found it amazing, how quickly they reacted to this compared to his requests to send an Imperial fleet to get rid the world of Dark Eldar raids.

To prevent any discontent of the Administratum, he increased the minimal working hours from 9 to 13 hours a day. Yet they still could not find enough resources. He had to diminish the tithes he paid to the Administratum constantly and with each decrease, their answers became less and less polite and more and more threatening. What could he do? He was a good man. Life was harsh at his world, just like any other, but he did all he could for his population. Just like all his predecessors. The Krug population had an unusually high life expectancy and in their prosperous days, they even had a somewhat good social system, where people could actually save money for a retirement. All this, because they had exceedingly rare and yet vital resources for the Imperium. After a mutual agreement, Krug had to pay their tithes resources only and ever since then, not a single man was forced to join the Imperial Guard. Retius did all he could to continue this tradition. The conditions he imposed to the miners were very harsh, but he still believed them to be better then life in the Imperial Guard. To leave forever one's birthplace and say goodbye to all loved ones was an idea that always haunted the governor.

Now that all the resources were almost depleted, he knew he could not meet the Administratum's conditions who already sent him a final decision. Unless he pays all his debts, they will requisition men at equal cost. Could they understand a man's life was priceless? He seriously doubted it.
To them everything were just figures and charts. Imperial bureaucracy was just one enormous machine optimising and calculating. A machine that cared little for the imperial citizens. What they calculated as equal cost was about half a billion of poor souls to be taken by force away from their homeland. "No! This is not going to happen." he thought and summoned all the important men of his planet.

Around two hundred rich people came in the conference room. When he said rich, he meant exceedingly rich. A clerk from the Administratum would certainly calculate that their wealth combined was worth billion times more, than the wealth and organs of the rest of the population combined. They always sickened him, but he knew, that he needed them.

"Gentlemen," he began to address them."We face a crisis here. We are no longer able to cope with the Administratum's requests. I have depleted most of the governmental stocks and it still makes less then half of what is needed."

"These tithes become insufferable." said mr Treg, owner of the mines of Riana. "How can I make profit, if three quarters of it are sent to Emperor knows where? "
Similar complains were raised and the governor waited for the industrialists to calm down.

"I believe the time has come to face the problem." said the Governor. "We clearly cannot pay tithes any more, so I propose that we specialise in another area and pay taxes in another goods. We still have enough coal. We could provide vital metallurgy for the Imperium. "

"We could, if there are some benefits of it." answered others.

"The problem is, that the Administratum is not going to wait. We need to give them something before we can adapt. I know I ask you a lot, but I hope that you understand the gravity of our situation and that you will comply. You are selling a lot of resources for your own benefit and I want you to give what you have, so that we can pay all the debts we own to the Imperium." Now most of the industrialists had to do a great effort to remain calm. "I will raise the taxes if I must, but I will have the tithes paid."

Mr Rius stood up and said "This is outrageous! You may not know, but our beloved governor hides from us for quite a long time that the Administratum already proposed an alternative resource. It is a very cheap one: our employees. Most of them are useless anyway now that all the resources are almost depleted. "
The governor got angry. Where did that snake find out about that? Surely he bribed one of his clerks to get this information from him. He stood up and called guards from his personal retinue. Then he said "You are under arrest, for stealing governmental secret."
All the industrialists protested loudly, but the governor shouted even louder "Silence!" All of them closed their mouths in fear. "I know you do not care about your employees, just like the Administratum does not care about their subjects. I however do care. Whether you like it or not, I will not have them recruit a quarter of our population at once, just because we did not meet some stupid quota. You will pay exactly the price I ask you, or I will have it by force if necessary. Thank you for your presence. The Emperor protects and all that stuff. You may leave now." they left without complaining, but he knew what they would do, as soon as they leave the meeting room. Exhausted, Retius drank his cup of water.

"Are you all right sir?" asked Streck, his favorite assistant.

He dried sweat on his forehead and said "Yes. Thank you for asking." Streck was from a very simple family. His father died in a working accident and his mother alone was simply not able to feed him and she had no other relatives to help her. She somehow got to Retius and pleaded him to help. Retius agreed to adopt Streck. He taught him to write and read and made him his assistant. Streck was very hard working and being raised among miners, he had more understanding for these people, than Retius had. That is why he was very useful to him.

"What do you think they will do now my friend?" he asked him.

"Oh I know these men. They will certainly not let it go." Streck answered.

"True. " agreed Retius. "I wonder, whether I should have them arrested when they were all locked up in this place. Now, if they make any trouble, it will be much harder."

"I definitely would governor." said Streck. "I hate these people. They basically killed my father."

"That's a bit exaggerated don't you think?" Retius asked.

"No sir. I don't think so. You know there are virtually no safety conditions in most of the mines, despite our demands. Had they not been so greedy, less miners would perhaps die." said Streck very firmly.

"Actually, that's also my fault." answered the governor. "I imposed them high quotas. They need to do everything they can to get all the needed resources."

"There's a big difference sir. It is that you actually mind and they don't" said Streck with contempt in his voice.

"You are right." said the governor "They care for nothing but their riches. I can't however get rid of them so easily. They still have lot of power and political influence. Sometimes I just feel to be their pawn. This world is sad and yet I assure you that compared to most of the planets, Krug is a paradise. Thanks to the hard work of my ancestors, of whom I am very proud. I am just not sure I can walk in their threads."

"You must sir!" insisted Streck "You are our only hope."

Finally home. The dinner was already prepared and his whole family awaited the arrival of grandpa. He was exhausted. He hung his coat and went straight to the dinning room.

"Late as always." said his daughter in law. "Dinner is getting cold."

"Sorry everyone. I just had a very busy day." said Retius.

His daughter in law put the soup on the table. Then they all stood up and Retius began to recite the prayer. "Emperor, we thank you for giving us this meal. Bless this food to our use and us to thy service. The Emperor protects."

"The Emperor protects." said the rest of the family. Then they could finally sit and eat.

Oh how glad he was to finally spend some time with his family. To finally be able to forget all his troubles and simply tell his grandchildren a fairy tale. These little kids seemed so happy, that this happiness affected him as well. No troubles any more. He was really glad to have them. They preserved his sanity.

In a month the restructuring was in full process. The governor just prayed that, the Imperium will requisition less men than it intended,when they get all the tithes. Streck arrived in his office. He had strange wires in him and looked like a zombie. "What happened to you?" the governour asked.

"I do not understand. Specify your question." answered Streck in metallic voice.

The governor just realised, that he was not speaking to a man any more, but to a machine. He was completely shocked. He made an aquila sign.

An Administratum representative entered his office. "He spoke blasphemies about the Administratum. As a punishment he was turned into a servitor." he told him.

Seeing the man's arrogant face, he wanted to speak blasphemies too, but his reason overwhelmed this impulse. He knew he had better be diplomatic.
"I see the imperial justice is swift indeed." he said "May I offer you a recaf master?"

"That won't be necessary." replied the bureaucrat and he sat down. "I was sent here by the master of Erentis Alpha sub-sector to represent the Emperor's will. My master learned some troublesome news about your planet. A faithful imperial servant, whom you put to jail informed us, that your planet is running out of resources. Instead of paying your debts in men, you are foolishly trying to postpone what you know is inevitable. We have given you special privileges not to send men to the Imperial Guard, but the only reason for it, and you know it, are your planet resources. If they get depleted, there is no reason for all these miners to be here."

"That snake!" thought Retius. He knew he was very dangerous. He knew that one day, he would be the death of him.

"According to the Imperial law, you should be immediately degraded and put to death. I however have other plans."

"Which are?" asked Retius frowning.

"My master believes politics are a waste of time. I do not share his opinion. I studied the situation on this world very carefully. I have learned that you are a very popular man among simple people governor. My opinion is, that the announcement of mobilisation should be done by you and not by some random governor put hastily in place. I believe, it would have a much better impact."

Retius started to hate this clerk even more then the others. Others were as cold and obsessed with efficiency as him, but this one was also malicious. He was delighted, that he had Retius in his power.

"Let me get this straight." he said. "You want me to become your pawn and help you persuade half of my beloved people to go to warfare?"

"Exactly governor." answered the clerk.

"And what makes you think I will obey?" aksed Retius.

"Every man has a weakness governor. You have an obvious one. You care too much about your people. I know however that you have an even bigger weakness. You have three beautiful grandchildren. See what became to your friend and assistant Streck? The same could happen to them."

"You would not dare." said the governor.

"Oh I assure you I would. Imperium puts to death a million souls every day. Do you think I would mind making servitors of three little kids?"

"What do you want me to do?" asked the governor. He simply resigned. Fighting a superpower like the Imperium was beyond him. He knew his men were to become lambs to slaughter, but what could he do? He began to write what was to become a death warrant for his people.

"People of Krug rejoice. For a long time we have provided Imperium with vital ressources. Now that these are depleted, the Emperor in his wisdom has given us the opportunity to serve otherwise. We are to become his warriors. We are to join the Galaxy's greatest fighting force: the Imperial Guard. You {insert name here} are to become a proud soldier. You are summoned to the recruiting station at {insert address, date and hour here}. The Emperor counts on you.
If you do not come in time, you will be considered as outlaw, hunted down by the righteous Adeptus Arbites and put to death according with the Imperial justice.
The Emperor protects.
Governor Retius.

Thought for the day: A man who has nothing can still offer his life."

With tears in his eyes, he watched the endless list of names that were spat by the cogitator. That's it. Krug was now fully part of the Imperium. Krug was now doomed.

There were huge celebrations. He could somehow not grasp how so many people could be willing to fight and yet he saw masses enjoying themselves, while the Krug PDF did their military parade. Perhaps they were glad that after all the hard work they did, the governour accorded them a week off. It was the least he could do for them anyway. He disliked these celebrations in spite of the fact, that they were the last opportunity for the people enrolled to the Imperial Guard to spend some time with their families.

If there was some discontent, the adeptus arbites dealt with it quickly. Unhappy people somehow vanished. Retius just felt so helpless. Everything was now done by that awful clerk with horrifying precision. After all his carefully elaborated propaganda, people loved their governor even more, but Retius was simply disgusted by all that artificial love. He saw most of his friends put to trials, not because they protested against new order, but only because they could protest. That made them dangerous. They were accused of many sort of crimes. Most of them were absurd . Some were accused of trying to assassinate Retius. Some were accused of impiety. Some were accused of squandering imperial ressources and all were put to death. Trials were public and were somehow part of all the celebrations. People simply went there for their amusement.

Then the priests came. Not the sort of gentle priests Krug had, but bloodthirsty and brainwashed maniacs that installed fury in the crowd. They started another series of trials involving witchcraft and heresy. These trials were even more violent, because they were done by zealous fanatics, who were nothing more then tools in the hand of the Administratum. These priests made Retius ashamed, that he ever worshipped the Emperor. After seeing all these purges he could not believe in Him any more. Perhaps despite being the master of all the Imperium, he was a puppet just like Retius.

After two weeks of public amusements, the representatives of the Imperial Guard eventually came. They came right into governor's office. A general and a commissar. "By the Emperor's will, we are here. I am sorry for this delay, but as you know, the warp is sometimes very capricious. I am General Lucas Kwarg and I will lead your men to glory. This is commissar Daniel Sidor. He will be responsible for the recruiting process."
Retius had a good eye for judging people. General Kwarg seemed like a very arrogant and ambitious men. He openly displayed his medals in a provocative way. His body language clearly shown his contempt for all the civilians like Retius. It was not a very good sign. He certainly did not want the Krug to be commanded by an ambitious fool, who would sacrifice thousand of men just to earn a medal. As for this commissar Sidor, one thing was certain. He was very loyal. His stature was menacing. His dark eyes burned with the so called righteous fury. His carefully shaved moustache marked his strive for perfectionism and his look was overall very grim. An unquestioning and loyal fool in the hands of an ambitious men was the worst combination for all the guardsmen.

Retius got up and tried to be as polite as he could. (He still had his family to save.) "You are most welcome General." he shook his hand. "May I offer you a recaf?"

"I certainly would not mind drinking one." said the General. "What about you commissar?"

"Why not." said the commissar.

"Streck, make us some recaf." ordered Retius.

"Yes my lord" answered an emotionless voice. Retius still couldn't get used to his friend being a mere machine now.

"So how are the preparations going up?" asked the commissar, eager to get to the main point.

"Very well. Shipments of several hundred thousand of lasguns arrive every day." said the governor. "At the cost of my own people. We don't want the munitorum pay additional charges for us."

"Very wise choice indeed." said the general. "Tell me. How many man had you in PDF before our arrival?" he asked.

"Around fifty thousand." said the governor.

"Have they already seen some action?" asked the general.

"Not much, but we have been raided a couple of times by dark eldar. Before the Imperium sent Imperial Guard to us, we were more or less on our own." answered the governor.

"Good." nodded the general. "We will make veteran squads out of them. They're not quite what one would expect of the term, but a regiment always needs some more experienced soldiers: in your case these men."

"As you wish general." answered the governor.

"And how is the recruitment process going?" asked the commissar.

"We are printing as many of conscriptions as we can." answered Retius " However, if I can give you some advice, it would be wiser not to recruit too many people at once. It could lead to rebellions and I am sure you understand that we don't need too many of these."

"Don't worry about that." answered the commissar. "We know how to keep the situation under control. If some people refuse to come, simply put their village to fire and then put all the families including children to firing squads. People are very obedient when it comes to their families."

"Sure they are." thought the governor. "If I had no family, I would shoot you in your stupid face on the spot.", but he managed to master his anger and simply nodded.

"How many Arbites do you have to keep the order?" asked the general, who was not completely at ease with the idea of a rebellion.

"Around hundred thousand. Not many comparing to our population, but until now it had been enough." answered the governor.

"And the local law enforcers?" asked the commissar.

"About two times more." answered the governor.

"It should be enough." said the commissar "Provided they are loyal to the Imperium of course."

"They are loyal to me." answered the governor "As for the Imperium, I cannot really tell you." There was a hint of despise in his tone and he hoped, that the two men would not notice it, but unfortunately the commissar was too vigilant to overlook any mark of disloyalty.

"Are you suggesting governor, that you recruit people who doubt about the Imperial justice in the ranks of your police?" he asked.

"Of course not." answered the governor slightly nervous. "I just cannot be accountable for all the individual failures among them. You, a man who represents the Imperial justice in the ranks of the Imperial Guard, certainly understand that."

"I do." answered the commissar "I just found your lack of faith disturbing."

"Do not question my faith please. I am a loyal servant of the Emperor in all things." insisted the governor.

"Very well then." said the general. "Thank you for your time and make sure we have all the recruits ready in less then a month. The Emperor protects."

"The Emperor protects." said the governor, but inside his head, where nobody could reach, he thought "Does he?"

The Emperor protects.
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