As a slight explanation as to this short: there is a monthly competition which involves submitting short stories of approximately 1000 word length (+/- 100 words) and they must be based on a theme, to be worked into the short in whatever manner the writer sees fit.
This month's theme was "Fury." Now, after Submersion and my other looks into the mind of a berserker, the obvious solution of Fury = more Khornate nut-jobs didn't quite satisfy what I wanted to do.
Thus, the idea began to form for Awakening.
That is what I feel, coldness and the feeling of antiquity.
That is what they call me. I remember now, my name at least. The rest is lost in the gloom, in blackness.
I am surrounded by it, infused by it. The darkness seems to consume me, and I it. A darkness of unnatural depth, of impenetrable density.
I test my arms first, only to feel half-feelings, half-sensations. A swishing sound, I am immersed. I cannot move, but can only gain the sensation of absence. My limbs, my very body itself are nothing.
Senses begin to fill me, what I am, who I was.
I was a man, once. No, never a man, a boy. A boy, snatched away from his home, a lost, forlorn and forgotten place.
A boy, turned into a more-than-man. Yes, I remember. A reservoir of memories held precariously back by a dam finally finds a weakness, a seam in the rockcrete. A trickle at first, then a spray find their way. Images and recollections fly, appearing and then vanishing millions of times in a second.
A more-than-man, a Space Marine. I was an Astartes once, but no longer. Brother Pharrus, yes. A battle-brother, then sergeant, then captain.
My brothers had called me Pharrus the Furious. It was but a jest, but it was true. I knew nothing but hatred and rage, never satisfied until the utter annihilation of the foe.
I remember now, even as I see my exploits, my feats in the flesh in crushing my enemies in the name of the Emperor.
I twitch, a not-smile attempting to form. I cannot smile, never again. I remember now, yes. My code, my life.
Burn the heretic. I see a cathedral of the Ecclesiarchy, bastardized and tainted with the warped symbols of Chaos, overflowing with traitors. I let loose with my flamer and watch as the building transforms into a blazing inferno.
Kill the alien. I see my squad cutting through a throng of Orks, chainswords hacking limbs and torsos, their filthy blood spurting in great arcs. We mow down a squad of Eldar Banshees with bolter fire, bursting their fragile bodies apart.
Purge the mutant. I see my company stalking through a village, hunting down without mercy a family of rogue psykers. We found them, crushing them without mercy. Fifteen of my men died that day. I remember.
All of this ended at the hands of a Defiler. I died, I was incinerated. I remember feeling my armour melt, the ceremite flowing down in molten rivulets, solidifying and welding me to the ground. I remember the anguish of my skin flaying from my bones, the pain and release of death. Of everything I remember, I remember dying.
And was reborn. I remember now, death and life. I was never truly a man, and am no longer a Space Marine. I am something else.
Dreadnought. This is what I am. The rage, righteousness, and will to survive of Mankind. I am Man, Astartes, and Mechanicus melded together. I am something more, a product of all that is greater than any one.
“Venerable?” A voice echoes in my confines.
I open my eyes, seeing not with the destroyed and vacant sockets on my flesh-face, but with the enhanced optics of my armour. Everything around me is portrayed directly into my brain, vividly depicting texture, composition, weak points. Nothing was overlooked.
A not-man stared at me. Possibly once human, now transcended into something else. Tech-priest, my memories kept flooding in, the dam broken.
I speak, not with the smooth flap of skin and scar tissue where my mouth once was, but booming from vox casters. “Why have you woken me, priest?” Not my voice, once deep and noble, but a mechanical, emotionless bleat, almost a bellow.
“Lord, the Chapter needs you. Chapter Master Vallius requires your presence in the coming attack. Further details will be fed to you via noosphere. Your drop pod is prepared.” The man-machine, Mechanicus, spoke not with words, but in a blurt of code, of ones and zeros deciphered and translated before implanting themselves directly into my brain.
I walk, not with the twisted stumps that were once my flesh-legs, but with massive, piston-driven machinery. Plodding and ponderous, I depart from the room. The Chapter Master has called me, and I will answer.
I prepare for the purpose of my awakening.
The drop pod shudders as thrusters ignite, slowing its descent. The moment nears; the need of my Chapter will be met. Smashing into the ground, the doors hiss downwards.
I am unleashed.
“I have come to destroy you!” I bellow the words and they cut across the battlefield. My almost-comrades of the Angels of Fire cheer as I advance at their forefront, my cannon whirring and my fist crackling. I have come, and I will destroy.
No longer a Man, no longer a Space Marine, I am cold, calculating, a product of the Mechanicus. I feel no emotion. I know that I should, but I do not.
No elation at having awakened, no satisfaction in executing my duties to the Emperor, in extinguishing the enemies of Mankind. No apprehension as I enter battle, as my assault cannon rotates, spitting out tens of thousands of rounds. No contentment as the despicable orks split like melons, exploding from the inside, shattering into quivering chunks of flesh.
I was once the Furious, zealously crushing the enemy on hundreds of planets the span of the Ultima Segmentum.
Now I am cold, emotionless. I prosecute the enemies of the Chapter simply because that is why I exist. I am justice incarnate, death to any who stand against the Right of the Imperium. I am detached, aloof, for I am dead.
Fury is for the living.
Last edited by Boc; 08-13-11 at 04:29 AM.