Solaki had shut off all the systems which allowed him movement and so had to be satisfied with the limited scope of information he had, as glints of reflections and slight taps of noise were picked up by his sarcophagus’ sensors. Both teams would be moving by now, although he could not see clearly which was moving where. The games had only just begun and no one had made a straight dash for him. He had not expected them to. It would have been a foolish plan and one unlikely to work, and Solaki knew that none of his brothers were so lacking in skill and tactical acumen that they would risk such a blunt and fallible plan. So, for the moment, he remained inert. His outward appearance gave no hint of life or sentience, and so an outsider he might look as if he were sleeping as most dreadnoughts did.
Sleeping. Even as Solaki thought the word his mind wandered back to before his training session with Laikus. He had been dreaming. That in itself was weird, because for all the times he had been under the psychosomatic-induced sleep and hypnotherapies he had never once ‘dreamed’. Sleep was just like a shroud falling over his eyes, only to be lifted when he was next needed. He shouldn’t have dreamed. His sleep was designed not to contain dreams. Dreams could drive a man insane. When he was in the flesh he could have just woken up, but when he was under the forced sleep his sarcophagus gave him, he had no way of doing that. He could be stuck in dreams or nightmares for years if no one came to wake him. It could drive him mad if he dreamt. He was not supposed to dream.
But then, he had not been in full stasis. Laikus had said so himself. Solaki thought for a moment that he might have been able to dream then, but then he dismissed that. If Laikus had wanted to put him into partial stasis he would have flooded his system with drugs to put him into a mindless sleep, and cleaned the drugs from his system when he was needed. He still would not have been dreaming. And besides, there was another unresolved matter that was inextricably linked with the dream. Solaki had been in Laikus’ lab when he had been put into slumber, and had woken up in the testing area. Whatever state he was in, Solaki should not have moved anywhere. No, this was no natural phenomena which he could dismiss. There was something more to this dream.
Then there was the dream itself. Even in the flesh, he had never experienced such a potent dream. Everything was startlingly real. Solaki had almost been convinced that the dream was real, if not for its subtle wrongness. Someone could have implanted it into his regular cycle of hypnotherapies. That was a reasonable explanation. That would lead to him naturally experiencing it. But even as he thought this, Solaki began to question it. Why would someone implant such a cryptic message into his thoughts? Even now, Solaki did not know what the ‘dream’s omens could mean, nor what the cryptic messages throughout. Perhaps it was meant to be unfathomable in an attempt to drive him mad. A dream designed to slowly consume his thoughts and frustrate his logic trying to work out a gibberish message.
Yet it had only occurred the once. Solaki supposed that made sense. He had slept far less than most ancients were supposed to, so if it was set to occur after a certain period, it would be understandable that he would only have experienced it now. However, there were a few problems Solaki saw with this explanation. First, it would require him to have a brother or brothers who despised him so vehemently that they would go to such lengths to disrupt him. Second, it would require someone with a high level of machine knowledge to implement something that elaborates into his regular hypnotherapies. The only person Solaki knew with such skills was Laikus, and why would Laikus try to destabilize the project he devoted most of the last 15 years to? Something was not quite right about that idea, but Solaki could not dismiss it so easily.
Another thought which occurred to him was that the fault may lie with Laikus, but not malicious in nature. Laikus was only one man, and he had been forced to build Solaki from parts of fallen brothers. It was possible, at least to Solaki with no real idea how the inner workings of his metal body worked, that Laikus could have made some fault when assembling him and the fault was only starting to show now, allowing a portion of his subconscious to bleed into his stasis.
But still, Solaki could not reconcile that dream with any he had experienced in his past. Nothing had ever felt so real. It was even more shocking was that he had not possessed a real body with real pain and real limbs in fifteen years. Yet, everything felt just like it did back on Ferim, exactly. And the voice. That voice which whispered to him. It hovered just on the edge of his hearing and if he thought about it, Solaki could still hear the words as if they were being whispered into his ear. There was something odd about this ‘dream’. If it was a fault with the machine, it was possible that his thoughts were amplified, and if it were placed there it could have been made to seem stronger than a regular dream.
Even as Solaki mulled over the preconceived ideas in his head, a third uncoiled in his mind like a vaporous serpent. Astelan. Solaki thought on his misguided brother. No one has suspected him of being a psyker until the extreme stress of nearly losing Thrasius had drawn it out of him. What had he experienced? An outpouring of psychic energy in a way he was already thinking, and thus it became a weapon in a crude form. Solaki knew some about pyskers and their abilities, enough to know that prophecy and omens were their realm. He knew enough to know that the visions they experienced were as good as real, but not real at the same time. Somehow wrong.
Solaki tried to quash the thought, but now it had arisen, he could not ignore its potential. Perhaps it was a fault with the gene-seed. Perhaps some mutations lead to the development of psychic potential in extreme circumstances. Astelan had not known he was a pysker until that moment. Perhaps the same was true of Solaki. It would explain breaching the natural circuitry which was meant to prevent dreams and would certainly explain its wrongness and the lingering ability it had.
Solaki could not jump to conclusions though. The previous options still carried just as much merit. Even if Solaki could not ignore the possibility of a second psychic anomaly within his chapter, he could be content that it was not the only possibility, nor was it the most likely. It may well be that there was some explanation which he had not thought of, and he was worried about nothing. Still, the thought lingered much the same as the voice from his ‘dream’ did.
Most importantly, Solaki needed more data. It was entirely possible that it was simply an anomaly. Until a similar occurrence happened, he could put is down to that. Or, he could in theory. The more he thought about it, the more he realized he had assumed that it would occur again and was not an anomaly. He could ask Laikus to check the systems which controlled his stasis just in case, and could attempt to talk to Alexander or Niko about the possibility of the gene-seed causing psychic mutation in himself or others.
Solaki had finished his musing, but left his introverted probing with more questions that he had answers, and a few new niggling concerns. If he was a psyker, what would happen to him. Thrasius was not trusting of warp-dabblers anymore, not since Astelan. If that were the case, Solaki wondered where that would leave him. And if it was not that, if someone was planting dreams to try and destabilize him, Solaki had concerns from within. Certainly, if it was not an anomaly or a simply mechanical fault, it left a great deal to be accounted for.
Solaki turned his attention back to the limited information he had available to him. His brothers had certainly moved since he had been lost in thought and he wanted to try and re-establish where they were, if only to busy his mind from the questions he still had no answers to. Hopefully he would be activated soon and then he could really test his new armaments. It was one thing to test them on mindless servitors, but another to test it on real beings with thought and tactics. It would be as close to live practice as he ever got, and he was certain most of the foes he would face would not be as skilled as his brothers were…