In the morning Yaryl introduced the dome technicians to Khef, his new personal aide, and asked for full access to all programs. He was suprised enough for his mouth to drop open when he was granted it. Throughout the procedure he was sweating bullets.
So Khef was the contact inside the dome. One of the other men was in training to become a technician. The other two were enlisted into the planetary Guard. With a little glad-handing to General Veers, Yaryl had arranged a promotion for both. After the first days work was done, Yaryl suffered painful diarhhea. Khef pulled him to the side, afterwards, in Yaryls own quarters.
"You arent well." Khef said.
"I'll be fine."
Khef shook his head. "If I can tell others can tell. You are a key part of this task. Two individuals today came up to ask about your well being."
"I dont have anything." Yaryl said. "No Rot or Dysentery."
"But you have fear." Khef said. "Fear is the mind-killer. Your mind is a treasure box for the Century and our Leader. We need them, both in good working order."
Yaryl took in a deep gulp of air. "I dont mean." He said. "I dont mean to fear."
Khef smiled, suprisingly warm. "Do you think we are savages?"
"No!" Yaryl said. "I mean, I didnt say that."
"But you were thinking it." Khef said. "You were thinking that my brothers and I were going to swoop in, and put everyone to the knife. Burn this dome of yours to the ground."
Yaryl kept silent, but nodded.
"It has been discussed." Khef said, "The possibility of keeping a two- tiered society within the Black Century. For example, this area would be under a different ruleset than the Mega-City. In keeping with your unique...traditions. What sort of meat you eat, and so forth."
"I hadnt thought about it." Yaryl said.
"What I want to convey to you now." Khef said, "Is that all this, it will still be here. The dome will be here. The houses and markets and such. Even these little trees....how on this Rotted Earth did you get them to grow?"
"Genetic Engineering, from the domes archives."
"Genetic Engineering." Khef repeated, as if it were some sort of magic. "It could become a symbol of our civilization. The century trees. Not everything must be blood and pain and chaos. That is only the birthing pains, for what is to come next. We will create something with strength and order, and there will be a future for our world." Khef's handheld communicator lit up. He looked at it and his eyes went wide. "Something urgent has happened." He said, "That needs my immediate attention." Without another word, he left the quarters.
After he was gone. Yaryl noticed that the communicator was still on the table. He picked it up, and plugged in into a flex screen nearby. He picked it up and plugged it in. There was information on it, coded in a way he couldnt understand, but what he immediatedly got were the pictures. There was the Black Century, with their guns and armor and tanks. There was someone horrible looking, with a metal mask over his face that Yaryl assumed was the leader of the raiders. Finally there were the meat pens.
His face twitched as he stared at it. All those people, mostly guant, mostly naked. The pictures told the story in a slideshow. They were kept in the pens, and herded. They shit in corners and ate from troughs. Finally they were butchered, a single spike to the head, and a knife across the throat. The absolute worst of it was a banquet feast at the end. It contained far more civility than he assumed the raiders had, officers dressed in crisp uniforms, smiling ear to ear, next to pretty women. On the table was a baby roasted on a spit. Yaryl put the flex screen down.
There was still time. He could go to General Veers, and tell him everything. It would mean banishment, most likely, but it was better than this. He could make up some story. About how he was forced to do it, how they had blackmailed him. No! Better yet, he would tell them he had discovered a plot. A few refugees he had vouched for, had turned out to be assassins. He would report the entire thing, and come out a hero. But Khef and the others would talk. They would implicate him? And what of all his hard work? He could be the leader of the Colony, under the Black Century! Well, if not the leader, than assuredly some sort of governer. Here he was nothing more than a third rate merchant, and ugly besides. So what if they ate human flesh? According to that old bitch Witington, a lot of the refugees did the same thing. Besides, it would be kind of funny of they chopped her bony ass up, and ate her. Not a lot of meat to go around....
As Councilman Rogers sat in his quarters contemplating the consequences and potential rewards of his betrayal the supreme leader of the Black Century sat in his GameStation room and contemplated as his Avatar was led inside the military quarters of the Colonial Guardsmen, restrained. He was making a recording of everything that he could see at the time. There was certainly a lot of information to process in. He considered the events that had directly preceded his capture. The rest of his men were busy fighting to the death, with the non-lethal weapons he had foolishly assigned them for this simple mission, when he had the notion to drop his weapon and raise his hands in surrender. It was apparently something that took the Guardsmen off guard, so to speak.
From there it was a suprisingly long ride in a cramped ATV to the Colony. The Leader took the opprotunity to place the avatar in standby mode, and get up and stretch. He opened up screens switching on one of the standby bodies he kept. The Century would not be rudderless, not even for a minute. To ensure this, and quell any rumors, he had the other leader body run a simple program where it walked through the ranks, making a public appearance. Then, using a degree of foresight, he contact Khef through their bond and told him of the events that had transpired.
When the ATV arrived and he was ushered into the military quarters, he was stripped out, and all his hidden weapons taken from him. He was not completely defenseless, of course. The mask was surgically attached to his face. The was an explosive secreted inside it, powerful enough to do some short-term damage. Take the head off the body, and maybe do a little additional harm to anyone standing nearby. But now it was time to wait. Wait and be patient.
The planning paid off. An older, fat Guardsmen came in, with shiny silver stars on his collar that meant high rank.
"I'm General Veers." He said.
"A pleasure." The leader replied, "I am the Black Century."
"Do you have something else you can call yourself?"
"It doesnt matter who I am, does it?" The leader said.