Expeditious Stories 12-04: Annihilation
Word Count: 1,100
Deep within the Golden Throne, mechanisms that had toiled for ten millennia failed with a sudden finality. With a mighty shudder, the thrumming baroque archeotech stilled.
Light. So long had He been in darkness, He did not realize it for what it was until He felt its influence upon Him, a near-physical pull.
Below, in the catacombs the red-robed priests of Mars faltered in their litanies and prayers; their mechadendrites pausing above ivory keys set into wood-and-brass consoles. As the import of the enduring silence registered on their augmented minds, the tech-priests renewed their chants as they cast to one another in Binary seeking solutions.
Within seconds, the Companions, three hundred Adeptus Custodes acting as the Emperor’s bodyguard, clad in their black cloaks and brazen helmets sealed off the Sanctum Imperialis. As they arrayed themselves in serried ranks around the Golden Throne, their guardian spears set, the air thickened to treacle with the susurrus of a half-remembered language promising every desire.
In the waiting silence, there was one last whispered exhale.
Before the Companions’ horrified eyes, the Emperor’s body, so long in stasis, disintegrated. The desiccated flesh settled as dust.
With a sudden release, that sense of binding disappeared. And He was free. Thoughts long ago slowed to stillness, quickened to the speed of light. Such was the time spent imprisoned, He no longer remembered his name. The Emperor of Mankind felt the world fade around Him as the Immaterium folded Him into its embrace. He was still too weak to struggle.
The Golden Throne followed the Emperor into annihilation as an explosion hurled the adamantine foundations into the Outer Palace. The ranks of the Companions scattered as the vaulted roof rained down among them. It was in this chaos that the daemons burst from the Webway. Flagstones shattered, oozed, bubbled, or burned beneath their feet, hooves, and claws as the first daemons stepped onto Terran soil. And they would be the last. Even as Companions’ blades met daemon claws, existence around them rent and tore.
Energies, which human eyes and minds could not imagine, obliterated demon and Companion. Terra shook as the Warp energies fractured the crust, forcing tectonic plates apart. Billions died in countless, immeasurable earthquakes and firestorms; these were the fortunate ones. Even as the planet ruptured, new mountains and volcanoes shouldered their way into boiling dark clouds sundered by lightning.
And in less than a nanosecond, He understood and returned the Warp’s embrace. Chaos created gods… but not by itself. Trillions of souls had paved His way, consecrated the space, and crafted an empyreal realm. All for Him. He had but to accept His apotheosis.
Throughout the Milky Way galaxy, sanctionites, psykers, witches, and other humans with any psychic ability screamed as their minds burned with the true birth of their God. For those that survived, there was little mercy as their souls were seared with a touch of the divine.
“All this time, there were far too many hands clasped in prayer…and all to me! What did I always say I was? Just a man! But you all believed… I could watch over you, listen to you. And so by your faith, through your belief, I was compelled… and tormented by my impotence. You deserved far better than guidance through Tarot cards. Now I can be the God that you deserve.”
Millions wept and were driven to suicide as the divine departed their souls and left a wrenching void naught could heal.
Where Terra and Luna once orbited, a new Eye opened. Its horizons rushed toward neighboring Venus and Mars. Fleets and battle groups that had watched the death of Terra attempted to flee and were shattered upon the new shoals of this anomaly. Asteroids from beyond Mars spiraled in to ring the still growing Eye. Onwards the Eye grew, toward Mercury and the shipyards of Jupiter. Tendrils of the Warp began to consume and corrupt the Sun, even as it reached for Saturn. It was not until five hours later when the gases of Uranus and Neptune and the pieces of Pluto colored the nebula around the Eye that a flicker of incandescence—a pinhole into another universe appeared.
The God-Emperor of Mankind stretched forth his hand and bade the hunger of the Warp be still. Though it was too late for the Sun. Wrenched apart by titanic forces, its fusion core went nova, igniting the gases of the destroyed gas giants. Celestial fires raced across the heavens, setting this new Eye burning.
Though now a master of creation as those preceding Him, He would not undo what had been wrought. Instead, turning from the burning Eye, He bestowed His Light and Way once more upon His children. And so that all could rejoice in His coming, He blessed His children and bade them see truly, removing the veil upon their eyes, minds, and souls. Each man, woman, and child came into his or her power then. And in this act, all of humanity ascended, becoming children of the Warp. He called to them then, cajoled them to cast aside their mortal coils. And as beings of pure psychic energy, all of His children passed into the Immaterium and were no more.
The passage of so many unraveled the materium as only the rivalry of the Old Ones and C’tan had done before. At the hearts of countless hive worlds, other anomalies opened, laying waste to systems with their hungry maws. In the centuries after, the Eldar would remember and curse the memory of humanity; the Tau would rail against warp anomalies severing them from the rest of the galaxy; and the Orks unchecked, would loot forgeworlds and, while searching for the enemy that destroyed humanity, clash with waking Necron tomb worlds and hive fleets.
And elsewhere, upon an infinite plane forged by His Will, the serried ranks of His children, illuminated by their smoldering souls, stood awaiting His Word.
“To exist in such times is to be one amongst untold trillions. It is to have lived in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable. That is at an end. Now My children, forget the power of technology and science, for such ancient marvels cannot exist in the Empyrean. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in this grim dark future there is only war. There will be no peace amongst these stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter.” He laughed then. “Come My children, let Us war in Heaven!”
And through a wound in the horizon, the Emperor led the children of Mankind against the Ruinous Powers in their empyreal realms.