Glowing eyes snapped open. As he sat on his throne, lazily observing today's latest gladiatorial bout, his mind had been jostled by the unmistakable telepathic command of the only being he had ever acknowledged as his master. The message had no further details and provided no context, but such things were unnecessary to the Betrayer of Delos. This was the moment that he, and all of the Abyssal Imperium had been waiting and preparing for. The training of troops, the gathering of resources, the creation of a million different methods of dealing death...it was time to wield the weapon that had been forged.
Orders were given, and swiftly obeyed. Garrisons at locations deemed critical would remain, but all other Imperium forces: living, unliving, mechanical, and...miscellaneous loaded onto transports, which ferried them to waiting attack fleets. There was no central rallying point, no inspiring speech given by their Supreme Commander; each fleet made a warp jump to its first target, and the Expansion was underway.
This was not a campaign of conquest, but of extermination. The forces of the Imperium would descend on each inhabited world it encountered like locusts, and scour it clean of life. Civilians were not spared; strategic objective were not secured. Once the planet had been cleansed and the battlefleets had moved on to the next objective, harvester units would move in and begin to gather the world’s resources, to be used to fuel the inexorable war machine that now spread across a hundred galaxies like a great stain.
On the bridge of his flagship, the Severed Claw, Zedracus watched dispassionately as the ship’s supernova cannon reduced the entire surface of the planet Zeyag-17 to a lifeless wasteland. As dramatic as the process was, he had long since ceased to view it as anything more than another weapon in his vast arsenal. After all, his first experience with the canon was when it had been used on his home planet of Delos, wiping away all he had once known in the blink of an eye. After that, he mused, it was going to be difficult to find anything comparably impressive.
“Inform the harvesters that they may begin, and set our course for the next target world,” he ordered the mechanized helmsman, as he settled back into his ornate command seat. Hopefully one of these planets will present something resembling a challenge...