Chapter 28 - Revelation

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The hangar was destroyed.  Explosive decompression had rocked the deck in waves, buckling the supports under the bladed fighters against the outer bulkhead, sending them hammering into the deck, mutilating frame and hull.  Three wrecked alien ships decorated the main area of the chamber and bodies lay everywhere.

His breath came in ragged gasps as he struggled to contain the rage he felt.  The corpses of both Arian and Terran bodies gave him immense satisfaction, but the image of the enemy fleet disappearing in his sights would not be dismissed.  His blood boiled in his veins even as the blood of his kin cooled on the deck.

When he landed, his intention was to seek out the commanding officer of the vessel and execute him for his incompetence, an authority that wasn't his, but he would fulfill regardless. The more the Baron studied the scene, the closer he came to realizing the truth.  Black armored Terrans were strewn about, their hands clutching weapons of various type.  One of the warriors gripped an axe in death, it's blade buried in the skull of an Arian guard.  

The Baron stopped over one of the black-clad humans, his trained eyes studying his position.  The man had a hole blown clean through his chest cavity, but there was no spray of matter on the deck or the bodies surrounding him.  A belt containing a brace of knives was tied to his waist over an empty sword belt.  He had taken a mortal wound and continued to fight.  Judging by the bodies littering the deck, the man had fought like a demon.  Oddly, the sight tempered his anger.  To know there was at least one other life form in the universe with that much rage inside was comforting.  The Baron ripped the mask off of the human's face.  He stared into the eyes of a being that had known war, and though they were glassed over in death, the story of violence could be read.

He continued through the bodies until he reached one he recognized.  

Grim.

The man was an established blade for one of the Queen's elected officers.  His mind worked furiously to connect the dead swordsman to his liege-lord.  The Baron knew each of the War Lords, personally, had studied their motivations and tactics so that he could manipulate them to his cause.  Or kill them if they interfered. 

Grim wasn't assigned to a combat lord, though.  His memory of the pompous fool had a feel of diplomacy.  The sword in his hand was delicate, finely wrought and absent the attendant belt.  The weapon was not one of normal martial combat, but for dueling.  A politician?  No, the troop was armed for combat.  The Lord that lead it was no warrior, but wasn't a diplomat, either.

"Kenos."  He grunted to himself, his voice sounding far away and alien to his own ears.  An image of a tall and handsome Arian sprang forth in his mind.  Military intelligence.  Unless otherwise directed, all combat lords were to fall with their unit.  The dishonor bestowed upon the office of the lord would be too great to live with if their unit was wiped out.  Judging by the hangar deck, this unit was supposed to be destroyed.  Kenos had been captured.  The Baron nodded in the flickering bay lights, the situation resolving itself in his mind.  This had been an intelligence operation.

Without another thought to the carnage, he stepped through the breached wall and moved into the carrier.  He navigated the corridors, assessing the structural damage to the ship.  Supports were buckled and debris littered the floor.  There were no bodies, indicating the Terran party hadn't actually penetrated the vessel.  After a few minutes traversing the empty halls and ladderwells, he turned a corner into what he thought would be an assembly chamber and stopped short.

"Baron."  Her voice was silk.  Her arms were crossed over an ample bosom, her head tilted to the side.  Fine, angular lips drew back to show a seductive smile.  She was considered by many to be one of the more attractive members of Arian royalty, her beauty surpassed only by the Queen.  The Baron disagreed.  True beauty had been his in the form of his wife.  A good and generous soul, with long maroon locks and perfect ruby eyes.  Eyes that would not recognize what he had become.

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