HOES August 2012: Loyalty
Water trickled down the walls. His shoulders almost brushed the walls and he needed to duck every ten metres to avoid flickering bulbs; even without his armour he was much larger than the natives. While the planet was not primitive, their technology had proved no match for the liberating forces. If these people did have something of power then why would they store it here? At least no one would spend longer than necessary down here so there was little chance that anyone would see him.
His destination was in darkness and seemed even damper. He could make out rotting fragments of crates floating in pools, before even his perfect sight was defeated by the murk. He reached for a switch.
"Leave it off." He dropped his hand without thinking. What could the natives have that needed to be inspected in the dark? Moving slowly forward through the standing water he sought out his companion. The shadows seemed almost to push back. Was that a glint of metal?
"Father? Is that you?"
"Thank you for meeting me. I apologise for the surroundings."
"It is no problem. What is this great threat that you need to show me?"
"My drive to free humanity from false gods is not the first. Before I revealed myself, before even we spread to the stars, there were those who warned of the problems of religion. They said, as I have said, that humanity must embrace science and reason to evolve; however, some said that the human mind has a dark side that cannot be overcome merely by explaining the benefits of living correctly. Over the millennia I have watched as religion brought us down and science raised us up and concluded that the warnings were shards of religion left in the minds of otherwise rational men by their upbringings.
"My success seemed to support my belief. As the myths of the past were replaced, conflicts reduced and contentment increased. The creation of my sons would have confirmed my theory: the best minds raised free of any myths. However, you were scattered and raised amongst those who had not abandoned all of the old ways.
"When you were found and joined my crusade I was filled with joy. I thought that the issues that occurred with some of your brothers before they accepted the wisdom of my actions were akin to a flux; their minds purging themselves of the sicknesses left by an imperfect education."
"And they now serve you as willingly as I."
"They do, and might continue to serve as I envisaged. However, the crusade does not proceed perfectly. I am concerned that not all of the sickness has been purged from all your brothers."
"They only wish to please you. If you are concerned then spend more time with them."
"If you place a bright light close to something your eyes are dazzled; even with your perfect eyes. To truly see the light must be placed some distance away. I am the brightest of lights; if I move closer then I will see less not more. I have decided to leave the Crusade. Without my presence your brothers will act according to their true natures instead of trying to reflect my wishes, and I will see if they truly are free of flaws. You must watch them for me my son."
"If my brothers seem to not always act as you wish it is because we love your cause: you taught us to value reason over faith; they try to understand your instructions but lack your knowledge. If you explain the reasons behind your commands they will act as you wish. You have not wrought ill. I will do as you ask, and rejoice when you see your sons are pure. However I have a suggestion. While your absence would allow flaws to show, waiting for months or even decades to see if anything showed would slow the crusade. If you seek to draw a substance from a solution it is quicker to add a small fragment around which the substance grows.
"The best generals know their enemy better than he knows himself. To understand why some cling to faith, I have read its lies. Repeatedly the story of a rebellion against the God or Gods appears. In each of them evil gathers on one side and good the other. If I accept the thesis that reason alone might not be the best path to our goal then this repeating story shows the human mind might be as with crystals. If a dissenting voice arises while you are away then you will soon see that your sons refuse to turn from your design."
"And what if there is no evil one to start a rebellion? You say they are in agreement then suggest there is one who disagrees?"
"There is one version I found that had supposedly been transcribed form the most ancient of lands. A proto-version of the first rebellion. The Creator wished his world to have free will so he went to each of his angels seeking an opinion that differed; each of them sought only to serve his grand design. At last he returned and told the first of his angels, the left hand to his right, of his dilemma. His firstborn replied 'I love you Father with all my being, and believe that all creation serves you freely. If one of us must be apart then I will bear the burden.' and the Creator wept as he threw his son from heaven.
"I love you Father with all...."
* * *
The Emperor's probe flowed seamlessly in. As expected Horus had reached the logical solution. However, Horus' mind was close to pure logic; an image of angles and crystals. He would try to dissent but his nobility would not allow him to commit deeply enough to draw out those who did not know that they were rebels; whereas a man who did not know he was playing a role, would truly live it.
The memories of the meeting dissolved, replaced by a private warning to his son that he would be announcing his departure soon. Next a small part of his absolute love melted away. Both easy enough to correct once he had discovered the truth. The Emperor succumbed to a moment of doubt: and a small weakening of his military genius would ensure he did not actually succeed in rebellion.
What weakness it taught to show a God weeping at what was necessary.
- Word Count: 1082