No matter how long or how hard they strive, no matter how extensive their education as a species, no matter what they experience of the small heavens and larger hells they create for themselves, it seems that humans are destined to see their technological accomplishments always exceed their ability to understand themselves. Certainly there was no understanding, no meeting of the minds, on the world called Aquila Major. There was only the devastation of one mind-set by another. Proof of it took the form of a statue fashioned of advanced, reinforced preformata resin. It was an imposing piece of work, for all that it had been reproduced by its originators on many other worlds. Too many other worlds, according to some. Not nearly enough, according to those who had put it in place, its massive footing firmly rammed into the resistant soil of Aquila Major. It was a Conquest Icon of the Necromongers. Over five hundred meters tall, it gaped openmouthed at the utter desolation and wreckage that spread outward from its base. Whether it was seen as wailing in despair at its surroundings or moaning in triumph depended on whether one was a surviving citizen of that world's once-splendid capital city, now reduced to waste and ruin, or a member of that peculiar space-dwelling group who called themselves followers of the faith known as Necroism. They had been preparing for such moments for a very long time. They had burst out of the great darkness to impose themselves on the civilized worlds with a forcefulness and cool brutality that was as stunning in its single-mindedness as it was in its efficiency. Aquila Major was not the first of their conquests, nor would it be the last. As long as there were worlds to be freed, as long as humans lived who dwelled in ignorance of their true destiny, the Necromongers would continue with their work.Unlike so much of the humankind who had spread explosively throughout the galaxy, the Necromongers were driven by genuine purpose beyond the need to merely exist. They believed fervently in their work, and went about it with a determination and competence that was breathtaking to behold. In the majority of cases, literally breathtaking. Furthermore, there was no meanness in them, no suggestion of brutality for its own sake or of sadism. Like all true believers since the beginning of time, they saw only good arising out of the destruction they inflicted. Everything they did was for the benefit of the destroyed, they knew. Nor was their great work devoid of irony.For it was the dead who triumphed by passing on, while only the most dedicated forced themselves to carry on the work by continuing to live--until due time.
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Used availability for Alan Dean Foster's The Chronicles of Riddick
April 2004 : USA Mass Market Paperback