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“Glad you’re back Major!!” Dimpho greeted Makandal enthusiastically as he walked into the main Control Room at the Citadel.

‘Its definetely good to be back’, Makandal responded feigning enthusiasm as he took his seat at the Central Command Console.

After reviewing Dimpho’s immaculate Status Reports, Makandal abruptly announced that he would be making his way to the Meeting Chamber to update Timati and the Citadel Leadership on the outcome of his mission to Lamu.

Riddled with anxiety, He couldn’t even remember how he got to the Meeting Chamber, but he was soon joined by Timati, Dzimba and the Juluka Lord Bindu via an Intergalactic feed.

‘Did you bring the Federation Planets in line so we can finally put a stop to the Zig supply and Neural Feed error issues coming out of the Federation Planets’, Timati began the proceedings with characteristic hubris.

Makandal thought it would be best to proceed in a diplomatic but firm tone.

‘Well it looks like we may have some problems out there. We received some genuine complaints that I think are worthy of your attention and critical to resolving the problem…”

‘Genuine Complaints! Did I hear you correctly?!”, Lord Bindu interjected before Makandal could even finish.

‘There are no ‘genuine complaints’, the problem lies solely with you as our Representative. You have failed us, and I can only conclude that you are a Traitor to the Federation.

Arrest him immediately!! We will find other ways of dealing with the problems on the Federation Planets”, Lord Bindu continued sounding explosive and disgusted.

Makandal stood non-plussed as he was swiftly arrested, taken into custody and led to the notorious El Mina Dungeon by the Citadel Guards in the Meeting Chamber room.

‘I am authorising a punitive force to be sent out to deal with the Rebels on the Federation Planets. You and Dzimba will be in charge of the operation, and I expect nothing less than total annihilation of the Federation Rebels, but firstly, we need to teach this Traitor Makandal a lesson.

He needs to understand the cost of betraying the Federation. Send a Termination Team to his Hive to deal with his Mate and Seed.

In the meantime, I want a status report on the punitive force we are dispatching by the end of the day.’

Lord Bindu’s commands were swift, cold and unwavering, leaving Dzimba and Timati with no alternative except to expeditiously comply.

In that instant both knew that their own positions in the Citadel Leadership were precarious.

By the end of the work day, Makandal had still not come out of the Status Report meeting, and Juju was getting worried. In addition, he could observe the flurry of activity indicating that the Citadel Leadership was hurriedly preparing a Military Force.

There was no record of any planned Military exercise in the Citadel Files to which he had access, and Juju began to wonder whether these developments had anything to do with Makandal’s meeting with the Council earlier in the day.

Whilst on Lamu, Juju had held separate discussions with some of the leaders of the Federation Planets, and they had given a Comms Device with which he could make direct contact with Inoza on Lamu in the event that things didnt go as planned when they returned to Kingu after Makandal had met with the Council.

Without further hesitation, Juju discreetly made contact with Inoza on Lamu and informed her of the disturbing turn of events on Kingu.

“So its come to this”, Makandal muttered to himself as he stood alone, dejected and confused in a corner of the notorious El Mina Dungeon. He never thought he would find himself here after so many Mwedzis of loyal service to the Kingu Federation.

The entire situation was surreal, and in that moment he understood why Juju was suspicious of the entire Lamu mission from the outset. His thoughts drifted to Sikatele and Runya as he desprately wondered whether he would ever see them again.

Suddenly, a blinding light shone through as the entire Citadel Complex shook and then the Dungeon walls and part of the roof collapsed under the force of what seemed like a burst of rapid anti-matter fire.

The Citadel Complex was under attack.

As quickly as the attack came, a ladder was stretched out to him from what appeared to be a Ballistic Capsule hovering above the rubble of the El Mina Dungeon Roof. Makandal climbed up the ladder and soon found himself sitting beside Inoza, Juju and the mysterious young woman he had just seen giving a rousing speech outside the Citadel Complex.

‘Set course for the Federation Badlands beyond the Zig Ore fields!’ The mysterious young woman yelled to Inoza and Juju.

The Ballistic Capsule rose above the Citadel Complex, and after another round of anti-matter fire to ward off gathering Citadel Defence Units, the Ballistic Capsule engaged its Anti-Gravity drive Boosters and made off into the distance.

The Ballistic Capsule soon arrived at the Mwari Order Base where a landing a dock opened from beneath the ground and the Capsule was safely docked underground.

Minna, the mysterious young woman took on the responsibility of explaining things to a shell shocked Makandal.

‘Quick to the Stargate, there’s no time to explain. Understand that it is time to embrace your true destiny so you can learn what you need to do to deliver the entire Federation from the Yoke of the Juluka.

You are The Neta, the one elected to free our people and bring back the olden ways. But you will have to spend some time learning the Ancient Wisdom of the Metu Neta, and that is why you will enter the Stargate which will take you to the Ancestral Plane’.

‘But what about my family?! I can’t just leave!!!’, Makandal protested.

‘We are sorry to tell you but your Wife and daughter were killed by a Citadel Termination squad while you were in El Mina Dungeon. This may be hard for you to accept now, but I promise you that the Ancestors will not leave such an injustice unpunished.‘

Makandal stood there even more incredulous as it dawned on him exactly how bizarre and macabre things had turned out in the short space of time he had returned home to Kingu from Lamu.

At that point, believing what he was being told by the strange young woman and stepping into the Stargate seemed like just another natural step in the latest phantasmagoric sequence of events that made up his life.

He looked at both Juju and Inoza who reciprocated with a sympathetic and reassuring gaze.

‘Here, hold my hand. We’ll walk through together’, the strange young woman reassured Makandal.

Makandal held the young Woman’s hand and walked into the Stargate which was at the Centre of the Mwari Order Complex.

In an instant, Makandal and Mina were plunged into a dark, menacing violently swirling vortex.