Machine, AI, being, God? The best guarded secret of the country of Egypt, Former Earth. One which secured them their galactic future and survival, at the same time, damning them in the eyes of every nation of the Republic for an eternity.
Just off the road a man lies dead, pierced through the heart from behind by an expertly thrown and ornate dagger which remains in the body. A long strip of cloth torn from the man's shirt has been tied around his neck; on the tag end an unknown hand has written a cryptic inscription: "For Djaygo."
When you get to the next town, everyone is talking about a mercenary woman found slain in exactly the same fashion in her room at the inn where she was staying.