jonileth - Catastrophic Loss
Memories… small fragments of the self that linger in the recesses of the mind, each one a small glimpse at the larger picture they draw. For each fragment that goes missing, so too does a small portion of the self that it helped to create. Lose them all and you are left with nothing but an empty shell. Then, let’s say, the empty shell suddenly regains what once was lost… What happens then? I’m betting on something akin to pure anarchy…
- From the personal journal of Inquisitor Lucian Andiron
“What do you hope to learn, child?” the inhuman voice droned in the echoing room. Unnerving as the voice was without the acoustic assistance of the chamber, it was made even more alien with the unintentional assistance of the thing’s surroundings.
“Weaknesses… strengths… anything really,” Lucian admitted without much thought to the question. His agents had spotted the strange being wondering the hive complex, unnoticed by most. Indeed, in the Imperium it wasn’t all that strange to see someone that had given themselves so completely to the Omnissiah that one could not find a stitch of flesh upon them. What had drawn the attention of the agents of the Inquisitor was the manner in which it would stop from time to time and marvel at things that usually wouldn’t warrant a second look from someone truly born of the Imperium.
“I can teach you things,” the voice offered, “Though I sincerely doubt you would be able to fathom their depth very easily.”
“Perhaps not,” Lucian shrugged the comment off as he reached for one of dozens of implements that had been brought for the interrogation, “But then again, I don’t really care to know anything you want to tell me. I want to know the secrets you keep locked in that skull of yours. From what I’ve been able to gather about you and your kind, you’ve had a considerable span of time in which to collect secrets. And I do enjoy learning new things…”
The Inquisitor rolled the implement in his fingers gingerly as he gazed at his prisoner. The creature had put up a decent fight when his men had descended upon him. But something about the number of casualties gave the man pause… mainly that there weren’t any. The pragmatist that had begun to develop within him had reasoned that the thing wanted to be captured for some reason…
“I assume you wish to use that crude thing to pry my head open,” the metallic abomination surmised.
“That is the general idea,” Lucian nodded, “I take it you’ve endured similar.”
“No,” the machine remarked in monotone, “Though your kind’s methods always did strike us as barbaric in nature. I merely made a presumption based on previous encounters with your species.”
“I see,” the Inquisitor murmured somewhat distractedly. For a few more seconds he rolled the tool between his fingers before setting it back on the table abruptly. The machine’s head cocked to the left slightly, the first real sign that it had been caught off-guard.
“Tell me something,” Lucian walked away from the table and approached the creature, “Where do you fit in your hierarchy. I know your kind have one. Are you somewhat near the top? In the middle perhaps?”
“I was a peasant…” the machine seemed almost unhappy at the notion, though Lucian had to admit that it was likely the thing couldn’t actually feel any emotions at all.
“A peasant? So… you’re one of the fodder drones your kind spreads across a battlefield?” the Inquisitor asked, slightly perplexed at such an idea.
“Were I from some other Dynasty… then you would be correct,” the machine remarked. Again Lucian had to censure himself for seeing emotion where there hadn’t actually been any. He wondered somewhat casually if his work with the Eldar girl Aeliel had somehow given him an unhealthy sympathy for creatures not of Imperium origins.
“How is your… Dynasty was it? How is that different from all the rest?” the Inquisitor folded his arms across his chest as he spoke.
“That’s it?” Lucian almost scoffed at the simplicity of it.
“Ours was a slave race to ancient and deceitful gods,” the machine intoned, “We once possessed flesh and blood just as you do now. We were once a people no less ambitious and cruel as your own. But the cursed world we lived upon made our ambitions for not against a backdrop of less than half a century. When given the choice between that flesh and bodies of metal that would not fail… our ancient leaders chose for us… all of us… on thousands of worlds. And for most Dynasties, those who had been transformed against their wills were blessed with the loss of their memories. They knew nothing of the flesh they once had, the lives they had lost, and the things that had made them Necrontyr. Even their lords and masters lost bits of themselves in the exchange, though they still remember what we once were…”
Lucian frowned in confusion, “I fail to see how any of what you’ve just told me holds value…”
“Because you do not know the value of the memories,” the machine remarked.
“Then enlighten me…” the Inquisitor prodded.
“You see those like me as simple fodder, yes?” the creature paused until Lucian nodded in agreement with the statement, “And that is true enough. But if the mindless fodder were suddenly made to remember…”
At first the machine’s musings were lost on Lucian, but slowly he began to put the pieces together. An unstoppable wave of mindless troops depended on that mindlessness to conserve order. The endless phalanx that he had seen on various pict-frames that had survived Necron attack would be useless if they all at once began to relive their lives of flesh and bone. The chaos such a thing had the potential to create within the ranks of an otherwise nigh-invincible foe could be the very thing that could tip the scales in the Imperium’s favor.
“Can you show me how to use those memories?” Lucian asked.
“I cannot… but I know of one that can…” the machine seemed to almost taunt the Inquisitor.
“It looks as if you’ve earned yourself a temporary stay of execution…” Lucian said as he motioned the guards to release his captive.
“I am confident you will not be disappointed with your choice… Lord Inquisitor,” the creature bowed slightly.
The gesture gave Lucian the resolve he needed to endure the thing’s existence… for a time…