“Devour us,” the old warlord commanded his underling. “Take my strength and the strength of these warriors and defeat these sadistic imperialists.”
The collective gasp of the twenty gathered warchiefs could have been enough to empty the tight planning module of breathable air. All of them were seasoned veterans of the long conflict, witnesses to countless atrocities, not limited to blatant genocide, chemical warfare, nanosubversion. None of the twenty had expected their leader to suggest they break the Ancient Codes – not after they had held their own against the Empire for so long.
“Do not place this burden on me, my lord. We can still triumph,” pleaded the warchief who was second-in-command.
“We can still be enslaved!” the warlord barked in response. “That is what awaits us. We are the last bastion of hope against them. We have fallen back for decades, losing all our holy planets, sacrificing our history for some future we knew we would never see.”
The ancient leader of the Greldzkik warrior tribe stood – the fierceness of his gaze on his assembled warchiefs locked them into rapt attention.
“Now is the time to stop looking to the future for our saviors. Now is the time to look to the past. The Ancient Codes made us civil, they ended the Great Struggle that devastated every system we expanded into. Today, we will reverse the Codes and reclaim our ancient heritage as devourers of power. Today, you will all be devoured by the greatest of my warchiefs and he will march into battle as a god. Today, the new day passes and the old days will live again to devour the future.”
United, each warchief inserted his mentaspike into the Greldzkik cube that held the Ancient Codes. As prescribed by the holy rites never intended to be used to reverse the codes, the assembled warriors input their encrypted failsafes and undid eons of evolution. The Greldzkik cube began to feed back the intricate gene sequencing that would rewrite their genetic code and return their race to what it had been.
When they had finished, the chosen warchief absorbed his wise and powerful leader. Then, one by one, he devoured each of the other warchiefs.
In a lavish office, atop a towering building in the Imperial City, the Chief Imperial Officer of the Grand Oberzetz Empire wondered why things were sliding off his desk. For several minutes before that, he had wondered at a strange sound like a mythical giant pacing across the city towards his building. He gazed curiously at the large, bloodshot eye staring into his office, and then checked his calendar – immediately flustered that he didn’t have an appointment with a large eye that day.
As the building toppled, the Chief Imperial Officer of the Grand Oberzetz Empire jabbed a finger at the intercom switch on his communications unit as it tried to slide off his desk. He paged his secretary in an attempt to determine if she had bungled his appointments again.
“Rose?” he asked cautiously as he and his empire died.