Just looking through a dictionary (as you do
) and realized the meanings kind of did contradict. So i wrote a story. YAY.
997 words in total, you can check
Chen Lopez was confused.
It wasn't good to be confused on the battlefield, especially when said battlefield involved battle against Sisters of Battle bringing battle to those seeking to battle against Man, the Emperor and the cult based on said emperor. But it was where his confusion stemmed from nonetheless. Why the realization that the citizens of Fodera were not alone on the fringes of the galaxy wasn't the momentous event it was supposed to be. Why the alien ships were actually crewed by fellow humans, said to have originated from the lost homeworld of Foderan myth. Why those humans had descended to the surface and declared that they were purging heretics.
Ducking down in his trench, one of many outside the last bastion of hope that was the planet's capital, Chen reflected that the way the battle was going, it soon wouldn't matter, that they were as good as dead already. Still, as he raised his rifle over the ridge and began pounding away at the approaching enemy, he supposed he might as well take out as many of the bastards as possible.
"Keep up the fire!"
More screams on his end. Screams nearly drowned out by the war cries of the invaders. Invaders that were all female for some reason, armed and armoured far better than Fodera's defenders and apparently more devout to their cause as well. A cause that had "the emperor" uttered in seemingly every sentence.
"For the Emperor!"
"Forward Sisters! Saint Sebastian demands it!"
Yeah, you do that, Chen reflected, managing to pop off one of the warrior women as she exited from what was apparently called a Rhino. You do that…
There were other reasons behind this invasion, or at least according to intelligence. They'd been monitoring the invaders' communications as best they could, and apparently their state body (called the Imperium) had emerged from what their scholars were calling the Age of Apostasy. Some kind of religious civil war where their homeworld had been usurped by someone called Vandire, only to be cast down by Saint Sebastian Thor. Right now, the Imperium was engaged in the "Age of Redemption," cleansing apostasy from the stars and delivering death to those who rejected His divine word.
People like those of Fodera…
Chen opened fire at the invaders, but it was like casting stones into a stream in the hope it would stop the flow. Here and there one of the women fell, but their armour absorbed most of the shots and their own return fire was notoriously accurate and deadly. His comrades were falling alongside him and all Chen could do was dive for cover as a grenade cleared out the rest of the trench section. And as he steadily rose to his feet, he saw two things-warrior women surging up through the trench…and one of them levering her oversized pistol at him.
"Die, heretic…" she uttered.
Surprisingly, she did. Surprisingly, she lowered her pistol. Surprisingly, Chen lowered his rifle as well. And to add to his surprise, he managed to keep his gaze on her face rather than her armour-covered chest area.
"Speak, heretic…" the woman said. "I may hear your words and judge you."
The pistol was raised again.
"Just…just…tell me why!" Chen burst out.
"Why are you attacking us? Why…why does this Age of Redemption you speak of have to amount to this?" He gestured around the trench. "Why just attack? I mean, we have open minds, we would have heard you out and-…"
"An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded."
Chen blinked. Was that a quote? Certainly it seemed a bit forced in for casual conversation. Still, at least the Battle Sister seemed intent on talking more with a bit more clarity.
"This is a crusade," she explained. "To erase the shame of the Age of Apostasy. To bring redemption to heretics, and-…"
"Wait…apostasy…heretics?" Chen asked. "You know, those are two separate things you're talking about."
"Well…" the soldier began, trying to think clearly and ignore the screams emanating from further down the trench. "The definition of heresy is when an individual or group's beliefs stand in contrast to those of the accuser. By that definition, in your eyes, we'd be heretics."
The woman smiled. "Good. You admit your fault."
"Um, sure. But apostasy's different. Apostasy is formal disassociation from a religion after prior association. But Fodera has never been part of the Imperium. We've been cut off ever since the warp storms of the distant past, before your Imperium was apparently founded. You can't accuse us of apostasy when we technically never committed it."
The sister remained silent. If he was making any chinks in her intellect (or lack of it), Chen couldn't see. Still, her pistol was still lowered, so that was a plus. Maybe…just maybe…he could end this war right now.
"So, under these definitions…" the 'heretic' began, "this isn't a war against apostasy, but mere heresy. So in light of that, surely you could give us a chance to repent and all that rather than charging us with an action we never actually committed?"
Chen met the woman's gaze. Her pistol was still lowered. Her mouth was still silent. Her chest area was becoming more and more appealing. Perhaps this would be the turning point in the war. Perhaps a chance for peace existed. Perhaps…
"Die heretic," the sister whispered, raising her pistol. "You won't confuse me with your definitions and heathen logic."
Chen fell silent.
That's what happened when a depleted uranium round shattered your skull.
As the sister turned away for a second she found herself questioning her loyalty. But these people were heretics, their mind games would not work on her.