We are all burdened by the chains of our past.
"My empress," Taurun reported, "the Vanguard has deployed a Guardian to investigate the Leviathan. Your presence has been requested aboard the H.E.L.M.—"
"Where is Calus?" Caiatl gazed ceaselessly at the Leviathan as it loomed beside Luna.
Taurun paused for a moment, datapad in hand. This question had become a common thread woven throughout their briefings.
"We do not know. The Leviathan is a gargantuan ship. It is quite possible Calus remains entrenched deep within its Underbelly."
"Then we will disembowel the beast."
"That would be… inadvisable."
Caiatl turned to face her, eyes as cold as her voice. "By all means, Taurun. Advise me."
Slowly, Taurun lowered her datapad. It was not the first time that Caiatl had bristled at her counsel. But since the Leviathan's sudden return, the empress's patience had winnowed to the width of a blade. Taurun chose her next words with caution.
"Calus has an unknown number of Loyalists at his disposal, along with whatever other horrors now inhabit the ship. Our soldiers would almost certainly pay the price for our nescience."
"Would you rather we die cowering behind our shields?" Caiatl scoffed.
"I would rather we not die at all."
The silence hung heavy in the air between them. "Noted," Caiatl decreed as she turned back toward the Leviathan. "You may take your leave."
Taurun nodded and made to depart. As she left the bridge, she hazarded a glance over her shoulder. Silhouetted by Luna, Caiatl bore a striking resemblance to another late leader of the Cabal.
One whose obsession led to ruin.