- Citadel of Nyri - Planet Brah'am -Arix system - Hana Cluster -

Dante Onyx walked the corridors of the Citadel alone. He often choose to do so when most other inhabitants were sequestered in their chambers.
Here and there a few guards patrolled the vast hallways, bowing to him in respect and eager for a single acknowledgement, a single look from the Prophet of the Atlas.
Outside he could hear the fierce night winds whipping dust storms around the spires of the citadel and the city below.

Brah'ma was the capital world of the Arix system. The land was a maze of steep valleys and canyons. In it's distant past some form of giant spongy worms, now long thought to be extinct, had burrowed huge caverns networks across the land, which the first settlers used to construct extensive complexes of cities and settlements.

Orbiting a large K8 V orange main sequence star, along 3 other frozen planets, the world had been the first to be settled. The Citadel later established around a strange cuboid alien artefact, that still stood in a stasis chamber deep in its catacombs, after all these centuries.
The people of this world called it a Vortex Cube. Midnight black with eldritch blue tendrils flaring across it's opaque surface.

However the three frozen planets in the system had been the blood life of the system, where it's advance industrial complexes extracted precious metals and gases from it's rich iron–nickel cores and it's systems of cryovolcanos. Very few settlements existed on these planets due to their radioactive atmospheres and it's industries had mainly been robotic controlled.

The Arix had gone pretty much unscathed after the collapse of the UBC and the galaxy-wide cryptocurrencies, having quickly reverted to bartering their in-demand fuels and raw ores for other essential goods. Even the decade long war between The Armada and the High Council had seemed to have pass them by.
Although somewhat rich, much bigger and wealthier system had been targeted by the pirate state and Arix hadn't been in their direct path. Over time the Oligarchy of the First Families had even brought to their service a few fractured GDF factions after, their collapse, to bolster defences. While others had suffered and withered in the last two decades, Brah'ma had thrived.

That all changed with the coming of the Green Plague. A vicious, unrelenting virus that seemed to spread from people to people, even between animals, like wildfire. The plague caught Arix and it's neighbouring system unawares countless thousands had died within a week of the first confirm case at the edges of the Hana Cluster.
By the time the First Families tried to regain some control over the situation, enforcing worldwide curfews, systematic bio-hazard checks and closed its borders, it was looking like it was too. Famine and crime became rampant in the space of a few months. Bodies pilled up on the streets and across the wilderness of the planet.

And when all had seemed lost Dante Onyx and his ragtag band of followers arrived in Brah'ma offering salvation. Salvation and a cure for the plague. At first the Oligarchy had rebelled at his arrival. Dante Onyx had somehow convinced on of their most trusted captains to allow his vessel to cross Arix space and land on homeworld soil. He had even supplied the man with the security codes to avoid being shot down by the orbital defence platforms.

It did not take long for Dante to secure the support of almost all of the First Families. When brought to them that first time he wove a tale of misery and punishment. How those that had stood apart and and watched as the Atlas was destroyed were now being punished. They had of course laughed in his face at first. He was just another doom-monger, a end of times peddler like so many others before him.

A few weeks later all but one of the First Families bent the knee to him after his impromptu address to the large crowds surrounding the Citadel and his apparent mastery to keep the plague at bay. The numbers of the Cult increased overnight. Most men and women were weak that way, Dante knew. Always trying to postpone the inevitable. Always trying to bargain with death for one more year of their miserable existences.

The prophet walked the empty dark corridors of the Citadel, throwing his vast intellect into solving the riddle of the fragment. He had come to find that the power locked in it seemed to react differently to certain stimuli. But no matter how many hours he devoted to it and plunge its depths, he could still not grasp its concept or even its real purpose. Although aligned to his own interests for now, he felt that a huge pool of unimaginable power lay only a finger width away from his grasp.

Reports from the USSF kept pouring in and of their brutal war against the Dremica. The genocide was all over the airwaves and the nexus signals. The more he pondered the hundreds of probable scenarios ahead for him, the more he realised that the USSF seemed to be the shortest path to his goals.

But one thing was to wrestle control of one single backwater planet, it was quite another to do so to a Federation. He was not ready yet.

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