(I thought this was way too good to just let it lay idle for so long, so I decided I'd start it off. If it's still too soon, no problem, I'll jsut let this be then and wait for the proper things to happen then)
I am Father Gerald Maverlon. On this datadisc do I write the story of my travels to the lands of the Hive, to spread the word of God, and hurry the downfall of Yang's vile empire. I hope my story will serve as a guide to later generations, and that they may look upon these hard years, and understand the dire situation the Lord's followers were in.
I was born during the Spasm, in the year of our Lord 2334 and the evacuation of Terrible Swift Sword that was lost to the waves. My father had fallen to a mindworm attack months after my conception, and because of the poor conditions of the evacuation, my mother died in childbirth. I was raised in the convent in Hallowed Ground. Impressed by the work many of the monks and nuns did for the many wounded and suffering there were in those days inspired me, and I felt the calling to become like them
I worked dilligently during those years. We had even less time for a childhood in those days than now, so I was expected to take care of wounded, most of them mindworm attack survivors from a young age. Eventually I graduated from the Seminary of Hallowed Ground in 2356, and obtained my medical license in 2358. I was a priest and a healer, and as such I was never without work.
In those times, these times still, life was hard on the body, mind and soul. The worst effects of the spasm had subsided, and there were little flowerings. However, it seemed that while Planet's wrath had cooled, it still bore us a grudge. The land is dry, and xenofungus covers much of it. Besides that our 'protectors' of the University demand that we 'aid' in the war, and each year ships full of our strongest youths are sent to the east and west to wage war upon the other nations, many of whom are puppets... as we are. What's left to till the land and work the factories are mainly the old and the young. Not to mention that those from other factions seek to gain our lands, and many cities suffer bombardements.
Our souls suffer too. The harshness of life sharpens some people's faith, but causes that of others to bend or even break. The constant presence of influences of the University... in our media, in their 'military observers' even in our very churches is a constant reminder of the weakness of our faction. They hold us in contempt, mock our Lord and Faith in front of our children, flaunt the abominations that come from their lab and we cannot even answer. Truly, it's a bitter joke that I am more free to say these things in the Protectorate than in my own base.
But I get ahead of myself.
The Lord has blessed me with the talent to heal minds with my hands and heal souls with my voice, and I was noticed by the Conclave. In 2363 I was given a great honour. I was to be the personal Doctor to Sister Miriam herself! She had withdrawn herself more and more after the spasm, delegating more to the Conclave, but among the people, many believed she was praying, as if she had gone live as a hermit in the dessert, and would return to lead us out of our poor lot.
I hope this message shall not reach them, for the truth might weigh heavily on their souls. Sister Miriam is in the dessert, but has problems finding the way out herself. It is hard for me to conceive how she must have lived, a methuselah who has been on Holy Terra and visited Jeruzalem, who has established our Faction and guided us through our problems. I can only imagine the hurt it mut have caused her to see her sacred work in such a sorry state. Is it surprising then, that her mind and soul suffer?
Sometimes it seems she lives in the past, talking about things that happened years... decades... centuries ago as if it had only recently happened. I feared she was senile, but she recognizes me and knows my name. It seems her mind just sometimes prefers the past to the present. When she does come to the present, her mood swings. Sometimes she is bitter and fatalistic, saying she awaits the day when Man's faith falls and the Lord God shall destroy us in well-earned disgust, other days she is wrathful, denouncing all the evil around us in a tone that speaks of fire and steel, and I realize why this woman led the Lord's Believers for so many years. But sometimes, sometimes she's just listless, defeated and even doubtful. Then her words echo the one I sometimes heard from those whose faith was wavering.
Academician Zhakarov often visited her, and I dreaded his visits, for Sister Miriam's mood would be vdark for days after. I despise the man. I despise his sarcam, I despise his arrogance, I despise how he treats Miriam as a senile old lady, and seems to get some dark delight from her dislike of her visits. I know he despises me as well, and he once called me a 'snake-tongued brainwasher'. I learned that one of the men of the University I converted was one of his personal lab-assistants. He holds it against me. I must admity to some overly proud satisfaction about this.
When Sister Miriam learned of this, she became closer to me, and in her more lucid moments, we had conversations lasting until the lights of dawn. From this, I learned a lot of the history of Planet, lost to the Datalinks, but still remembered, though occasionally fractured. But while these conversations, about the Believers' most glorious days, often brought a smile on her face, it tended to make her mood that much darker when she returned to the present. "How did it get this far? How did we get here?" was a question she often asked. I had no answer... I still have none... but I promised myself I would seek ot.
For years I served her this way, as our population declined and the influence of the University waxed. These years, we fear the University will one day just take over. With our fighting men abroad, much of the defence is done by University soldiers, monstrosities whose flesh has been raped by technology. If Zhakarov would decide to take over, there would hardly be anyone to fight it. Miriam is fearful. She told me about a thing Zhakarov once told her, that Lithium would embitter her heart and break her faith. She had denied it then. She dreaded that when the day comes the Believers cease to exist, he shall take her up on the challenge. And if he doesn't, perhaps he'll leave the job to the Hive, who has taken over some of our northern cities and marches ever south.
And then I was called for one of the conclave members again. He told me the University had asked me in particular for an asignement, and the conclave couldn't refuse. I remember cursing Zhakarov, and begging to stay with Miriam. The old priest was sympathetic, but explained they had no choice. He assured me they would find someone else to be with Miriam. Then he told me the mission. The Protectorate, the wicked Empire that even our University masters feared, was in dissarray. It was known that Yang had ben absent, and the usually merciless and inhuman machination of his society was showing cracks. Agents were to be sent to take advantadge, and cause the Protectorate, dominating from without, to crumble from within. We were to tell them of the other factions, tell them the true history their masters hid from them and encourage them to throw off their chains.
I was bitter, for I knew the Provost had chosen me to get me away from Miriam, as well as from the jaded souls of his people. So I was to die, or worse, have my mind destroyed and soul raped by the Protectorate's system, and my demise would serve him. And yet it was for Sister Godwinson I feared most. With a heavy heart I went to say my goodbyes, and couldn't help but share my dark thoughts.
When she heard it, she actually grinned, and a fire rose in her eyes that kindled hope. She told me that this was an opportunity given by the Lord himself. For, she said, the people of the Protectorate are souls without guidance and light, not even the vain and artifiual lights of 'science' the University offers. Their souls are merely sedated, surpressed, so their power is in the hands of a few. Yet if this control was faltering, soon these souls would be in search for a purpose, for meaning, for a shepherd, for The Shepherd. Their souls were ready to be saved. And once these citizens had freed themselves from the dark night of the soul and walked in the Light of the Lord, with their impressive factories the University could not match, with their armies the University dreaded, with their population the University was dwarfed by, would they not help their brothers in need?
And in her eyes I saw hope, more than I ever ha din the years I was with her, and my heart filled with hope and faith as well, and I was ashamed for my despodency. I fell on my knees in front of her and thanked her for her insight, and asked her for her blessing. She placed her hand on my head and asked the Lord to watch over me as I went to evangelize as he watched over his own evangelists that had spread his word in Rome, despite Nero's deeds. And I feared no more.
The next day I traveled south, to Korolev Center, which had once been called Godwinson's Hope, and I could not help but think of the old name, and consider it a good omen. I was taught many skills, I learned the basics of electronic security and sabotage to preserve my safety and spread my message, as well as the basics of self-defence. I was taught all the details of life under the Protectorate, the different codes, ranks and how I was to act if I was to remain unnoticed. I was told there might be others there with the same purpose, some University, some from the other factions, and told that cooperation was definately an option.
And then, one day I was put on an airplane. I was given a Protectorate uniform, supplies and tools to survive some times in the wilderness, and, together with many others, with whom I had little chance to speak, we were dropped in Protectorate territory. No doubt many of these people were apprehended and killed, or worse. I myself, with carefulness and prayer have managed to fall in among workers It seems the machines they gave me to hide my soul's freedom from the system here work, and I can think freely. Now my task truly begins. Now I shall shine the light of Truth and the Lord upon these lost souls.
And I think of a prayer Sister Godwinson told me helped her on the Sacred Ship Unity.
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me."