I was hunting through some old files in my Fading Suns folder, I was actually trying to find copies of all the Interstellar Dispatches I wrote. Alas I don't seem to have copies of them, which is a shame, I was going to republish them since as they are no longer available with the RedBrick Forums being out of commission. Never mind, I did come across something else instead, the opening fiction I wrote for the FS3 Symbiot Menace book. Since it is unlikely that I'll ever be writing this now, I thought I'd let you all have it...
May the Pancreator have mercy upon me. I place this recording and other artifacts within this vessel so that it might survive the destruction of my ship when we reenter known space. The locater beacon will allow the Brothers Battle to recover it amid the ruined and charred hulk of this faithful ship. I pray that its contents find their way to your hand, my lord Alexius, Emperor of the Phoenix Throne. Forgive me that I cannot place these documents into your hands in person, what I have become cannot be allowed to survive nor taint but one soul within your domain.
I should begin our tale at the beginning, that I cast a light upon what has become of my cohort and of myself. When last we met my Emperor you commanded me to Stigmata to conduct an investigation in to claims of abnormal biodiversity made by Sir Willan Navus Dextrite. I admit that I accepted your charge with some trepidation for I have heard the tales of that hellish place but never before set foot there. Then my cohort was five strong, valiant souls one and all. To my shame I was both the first lost and last survivor. May their names be remembered with honor; Father Dravus Hercane of the Tempi Avesti, Sergeant Solan Rukas of the Muster, Entered Samuel Haverstan of the Supreme Order of Engineers, and my squire Arthuro Hawkwood. May the Pancreator guide their souls to eternal rest.
We made haste to Stigmata by way of Leminkainen and Bannockburn, our status as your herald permitted us both priority and right of way above the haulers and freighters of the guild. We made no stops along our route simply seeking the most expedient passage that we might reach our destination with haste to begin our works. I have taken the time to document our findings in detail elsewhere and I do not have the time to recall them at length here. I shall however press on with the pertinent facts of my tale.
It was on Stigmata that I was lost, and in his heroic efforts to save my life Father Dravus too met his end. His undoing was my new beginning, my rebirth like some insect emerging from its cocoon to greet the first light. I thought it my close brush with death that gave everything its reflective glory. I did not then understand what had happened to me, or the potential offered by my uniqueness.
On an excuse I plunged deeper in to Symbiot space, in turn visiting each of their worlds, and losing my friends and cohort along the way. Each made a sacrifice for me, unknowing that I had become the very beast that we sought to study. Only my squire Arthuro saw the change in me, yet his voice went unheard by all until it was to late. I lead each of them to their end, and I am as guilty of their demise as though I had thrust the blade into their hearts myself.
Not only have we visited each of the Symbiot worlds in turn, we made a study of what it is to be a Symbiot, in truth much of my interest and drive came form my own desire to understand what has happening to my own self, body and mind. Even after my cohort had been spent I continued alone that I might provide answers to the questions and seek a cure to my condition. For that was how I viewed myself then, as a man with a disease that could be cured. Alas, what was made can be unmade, but not divided for I am one being and for the longest time I could not accept this simple truth.
As I make this last recording the great Jumpgate of the Absolution system looms wide. I can make out its hard edges etched with the weak sunlight that finds us so far in to the void. But my other senses see more than the human eye ever could. No longer is the Jumpgate a dark shadow against the star field, but a glimmering living thing, the lines of force that bind all things together connect to the Jumpgate and through the Jumpgate dividing down the jumproads known and long lost. It is a wondrous sight to see, which fills me with both awe and dread in equal measure for I do not known what will happen in the minutes ahead. This ship and I will crash through the Jumpgate into to Stigmata space, how long will I have beyond that gate? Will I loose my nerve and try to escape my doom? When I am dead, will my soul find the Pancreator’s grace? Or will I know only the cold damnation of the void as the last of my life force dwindles? I hope for the first but a sickening knot in my gut screams otherwise.
The controls are set now; I have rigged a small explosive to destroy Jumpdrives once we are across the threshold of the Jumpgate. This is my last insurance that even should my nerve fail, I cannot escape the system nor avoid my final fate by fleeing. Forgive me merciful Pancreator, I do not want to die, grant me the strength to perform this last act. Forgive me.
Farewell my Emperor.
-- Sir Leonardus Jurano, Order of the Pheonix, last recorded transcript recovered from wreckage, Stigmata, 5011