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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-04-12, 02:30 AM Thread Starter
The Curmudgeon
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Default A test of faith

I'm most likely going to do this in fragments, as I will likely write it when I have time and when the mood strikes me, but do feel free to comment.

“My mind is awash with conflicting thoughts in the bleak darkness that greets me. I can neither remember how I came to find myself in this darkness, nor do I have any desire to escape it. The prevailing black around me feels at once comforting and ominous, and though I sense nothing around me I wonder if I am not being watched. No voices greet me, no judgment awaits, there is nothing in this so-called afterlife that the Chaplains would profess awaits the warrior upon his death… There is simply darkness…” – Journal Entry

The smothering darkness of oblivion begins to relinquish its hold on the Space Marine, the light around him intruding on the black void that seemed to encase him for an eternity. As more light began to penetrate the blanket of pitch-black emptiness, so too did sounds begin to slowly fill his ears. Dull and distant at first, the sounds grew more clear and much more coherent as the seconds passed. Shapes began to form out of the once piercing white light that had invaded the peace of the oblivion, and soon after the shapes coalesced into forms recognizable to the Space Marine.

An outline of a white helmet was the first cohesive thing the man’s eyes could focus on. He knew at once it was the helmet of an Apothecary. What he didn’t understand at first was why he was standing over him. As the moments slipped by, his spatial orientation returned to him, and it was now clear that he was laying down, nearly flat on his back if not for the pack that was securely attached to his armor. It took a long time for his body to respond to his will, and longer still before he could bring voice to his confusion.

“What happened, Brother?” his voice came out in little more than a whisper when it finally obeyed him.

“Remain still, Brother Talerus, I have not yet finished my work,” the Apothecary warned. Even if he had wanted to, Talerus could not muster enough strength to even flex his fingers, let alone move. He could not feel the majority of his limbs at that point, which might very well have been a product of the Apothecary’s efforts. The Marine sucked in a breath, and found that he was able to do so without much difficulty, which was a good sign that he had not been hit in the chest. Where he was injured, however, wasn’t being revealed with any urgency on the part of his Battle-Brother.

Apothecary Demoris, for his part, had spent the better part of the day mending wounds from the trivial to the severe, such as was the case with Talerus. His Battle-Brother had been shot cleanly through the pelvis, and while the spine and most of the major arteries had been spared, the damage had done a good job in rendering Talerus unconscious. Even as he worked, there were several times when Demoris had thought him lost, and though he was reluctant to use such harsh stimulants on the injured man, it seemed to have done the trick to bring him back to the waking world.

“How bad is it?” Talerus asked, his voice gaining strength.

“Bad,” the Apothecary answered tersely. Talerus snorted, he’d heard the man say such things many times in the past, only to see the person he’d spoken such curt words over make a swift recovery. Talerus was silently thankful that the Apothecary was extremely poor with words and exceedingly adept at healing. It was, however, hard to sit idle and know nothing of what had occurred. Talerus gave the silent Apothecary a look, as if hoping he would take notice and elaborate, all for nothing.

Demoris was so intently focused on his work that he hardly even realized the man he was working to save had moved. Talerus was sitting almost upright before the Apothecary took notice and pushed him back down.

“Your hip has a hole in it I’m trying to repair, Brother. Be still and it will go a lot faster,” the stoic healer chastised his patient, pinning him down just long enough to get his point across before returning to his craft.

“You could have said that in the first place and I wouldn’t have been compelled to look,” Talerus grumbled with a hint of mirth not unusual for him despite his predicament. His eyes drifted to his surroundings, some of the more distant parts a blur to his still weak eyes, but the majority of it was clear enough to give him an impression of where he was. The structural aesthetics that he could make out were of Imperial design, though they were far older than most of the cities he’d been in during his life.

The vaulted ceilings and ornate pillars spoke of a style much older than the more recent trends in Imperial construction. To be more precise, the building they were currently occupying was ancient by even a Space Marine’s reckoning. The rubble and cracks on the floors and in the surrounding walls did little to truly mar the craftsmanship that had been executed, but it did betray the abuse the structure had endured at the hands of time and at the mercy of the creatures currently infesting the place.

“How long until he can fight?” a voice called out from somewhere behind Talerus’ ability to see. The voice was familiar to him, but for some reason the memories of faces and names were still reluctant to come forward in Talerus’ mind. The Apothecary at first paid the voice no heed as he continued his task. Demoris seemed to lose himself rather frequently in his work, forsaking everything else in the execution of a task set before him.

“Brother Demoris,” the voice called out once again, this time more forceful.

“I heard you the first time, Sergeant Lorentus,” the Apothecary said in an agitated tone.

The figure of the man he had just named came into Talerus’ view. His crimson armor was dull with sediment and other imperfections inherent to war, the Raven on his shoulder bearing the teardrop of crimson the only part of his armor that seemed to without blemish. The Sergeant wore no helmet of his own, a tradition that had taken hold in many of the company sergeants in recent years. His weathered features alone were enough to proclaim that he was a veteran of countless battles and a capable leader of men.

“If you heard me, Apothecary, why did you not bother to answer? We need to get moving. The Orks aren’t going to wait for us forever,” Lorentus warned.

“I am nearly done,” Demoris muttered as he put the finishing touches on the work he had been toiling over for some time now. A few more moments elapsed before the Apothecary stood and gave Talerus a long and contemplative inspection. Though his features were hidden, his posture told those that were watching him a very detailed story. He wasn’t satisfied with his work, but it was not so horrible that he would be driven to start again. That brought at least some comfort to the man he’d been operating on.

“I suppose you should try to stand,” Demoris said, reaching out for his comrade’s hand. Talerus reached up and grasped it, allowing himself to be assisted to his feet. Pain shot through him for a moment before he managed to control it with his will. He was thankful that he wore his helmet, otherwise he might have let it slip that he was in pain, something he was certain his Battle-Brothers would never let him live down.

That thought inspired the Space Marine to look around himself, only to find a room of mostly corpses. Former companions lay dead and bloodied around the vaulted room, by the looks of them, the Apothecary had already removed their gene-seeds. He did a quick count in his head of how many there should have been against how many bodies he saw… He instantly felt a tightening in his chest. Of the nearly two dozen that had been with them, all of them but he and the two that stood near him were accounted for on the ground. They had somehow been slaughtered, nearly to a man, which spoke ill of their own chances at survival.

“How far are we from our drop pod?” Talerus asked reflexively, his ability to remember much beyond their initial insertion into the area almost non-existent.

“Nearly a hundred kilometers,” Sergeant Lorentus replied, turning to face Talerus, “And we’ve lost contact with our Brothers elsewhere on the surface. The closest extraction point is nearly twenty kilometers to the east, and we have a horde of Orks between us.”

“Aren’t you glad I saved you?” the Apothecary intoned in a sarcastic manner, his attitude befitting the situation rather nicely.

“I take it we are going to try for the extraction point then,” Talerus remarked as if expecting that to be their course of action.

“No… we continue on our mission,” Lorentus said with an edge of finality. The only trouble was, Talerus couldn’t remember what that mission had been in the first place…
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-05-12, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Talerus looked around himself, suddenly aware that he wasn’t holding his bolter, or any other weapon. A quick pat down of his person revealed that he was devoid of any weapons whatsoever. He did, however, take notice of a small cache of weapons sitting in a corner near the entrance, each weapon resting reverently against the wall, much as they might appear in their Armory. The Space Marine approached the cache and found his own bolter among them, the golden bolter casing he’d been awarded many years ago for his superior marksmanship still hanging from the grip.

As Talerus picked up his weapon, Apothecary Demoris began pulling ammo clips off the remaining weapons. Several bolt pistols were resting on the ground near the bolters, however they were all empty and their ammunition most probably already either taken or expended in their fight with the Orks ravaging the ancient city around them. The only other weapons of note were the several chainswords; each of them scattered atop one of the stone shelves separating different parts of the room. Talerus finished assisting Demoris retrieve the ammunition and made for one of the nearby chainswords before making for the entrance where Sergeant Lorentus had been standing watch over.

“I believe we are ready, Brother-Sergeant,” Talerus announced as he slid the bolt back on his bolter to load a round in the weapon’s chamber.

“Very well,” Lorentus said, turning to give the young Marine a glance, “Once we leave this building, we’ll be heading south, toward the point Librarian Anarac singled out as the source of the signal we’ve been receiving here. If we can make it, we should be able to signal our Strike Cruiser and call for an extraction there.”

Talerus struggled with the name Anarac; it was familiar but it conjured no images of a face. In his years of service, Talerus had been knocked out a fair few times, but this was the first time he’d been unable to recall important details such as their mission or his involvement in it. Not wanting to raise concerns or bring suspicion to his fitness for combat, Talerus elected to simply nod his understanding of the Sergeant’s orders and wait for his signal to proceed.

Sergeant Lorentus turned his attention back to the opening, scanning the ruined structures and rubble in his immediate view intently. He seemed to be waiting for something, but his weapon was not raised, nor did he seem to take on a posture indicative of preparing for an assault. Talerus nearly made a comment to Demoris through a private vox channel when Lorentus motioned the small group out of the building.

The trio hurried out of the building, taking up a staggered formation that would limit casualties should they be fired upon or have an explosive thrown toward them. They hurried over the broken rubble and shards of walls and ancient embellishments that had once adorned the ancient city, taking cover when they could, keeping their eyes open for any hint of an enemy. The farther they proceeded, the less the city seemed to have suffered from the invasion of Orks.

The group pressed on without opposition for a long while, and though not a single one of them let their guard down, Talerus did manage to scrutinize the structures they happened upon as they went. Most of the symbolism used seemed out of place, though he couldn’t immediately place why he felt that way. The usual themes on Imperial structures; the Aquila, the laurel wreathes, the images of the Emperor’s glory and his dominion over the Imperium all absent.

“Brother Demoris,” Talerus transmitted to the Apothecary privately, “Do you notice anything wrong with this place?”

“Yes,” came the characteristically terse reply, “We haven’t had to kill anything in a while.”

While his observation rang true, and the trio had indeed made it nearly five kilometers into the city by the time Talerus summoned the courage to voice his concerns, that was not what he’d been referring to. He took a moment to gather his thoughts before delving further into the topic.

“I mean do you notice something missing… other than the Orks,” the Marine clarified.

Demoris was silent for several minutes as the group continued forward toward the assumed objective of their mission. The longer the Apothecary remained silent, the more Talerus worried he was simply being overly scrupulous of the scenery. It wasn’t until they happened upon a statue, still nearly whole despite the city’s age and history with invasions that it became evident to the Apothecary.

“That is not the Emperor…” Demoris remarked.

The group paused, and finally even Sergeant Lorentus seemed to take notice of the unusual nature of the ruins’ adornments. The vestige taking up the center of the small square they had entered was clad in armor much like their own, however it bore no symbols any of them recognized, and the face was unlike any they had seen before.

“A lost hero, perhaps,” Lorentus gave voice to the question regarding the figure’s identity. As he said it, he dismissed the vestige altogether and continued onward, taking a route that branched off to the left of the way they had come in reaching the square. Demoris followed behind, giving the figure the same silent dismissal. Only Talerus lingered, and he did so only for a moment. There was something about the image that pulled at him. Some semblance of familiarity that could not be explained nor could it be easily dismissed. Talerus gave the figure one last look before walking away to catch up to his Battle-Brothers. It was yet another mystery he might never unravel.

The small side path they had chosen grew narrower as the group forged ahead. The buildings taking on an even more ancient look to them, giving credence to the thought that the city itself had simply sprawled outward over the millennia since it was first built and no one had bothered to change what was already built. Talerus stole a glance upward only to note that he could no longer see the sky. The once bright orange hue that dominated his visual ceiling was now a dark black, but not the kind that normally accompanied night. He could make out the silhouettes of support struts, and frameworks that seemed to support something above them.

Talerus thought back to Holy Terra, and how humanity had built structure upon structure atop the old ones, never bothering to destroy them in the process. It begged the question of whether the inhabitants of the world they now stood on had done the same. Talerus thought to raise the question before the sounds of gunfire stopped his lips from speaking and his mind from focusing on such trivial things.

The sounds of ricochets told the three Space Marines that their foes were nearby, but had no clear shot at them. As the weapons fire continued, the trio hurried to find suitable cover to await their enemies. Sergeant Lorentus brought his bolter to bear behind a four foot high dividing wall, scanning his horizons for Orks. Apothecary Demoris had taken up a position in a large entryway that led into one of the many buildings flanking them on each side. Talerus himself had managed to take cover just inside a one of the buildings whose wall had fallen, providing him with ample cover and a fairly unobstructed field of fire.

Minutes flitted by as the three Space Marines waited silently for their quarry to emerge from the narrow passages and intersections that lined their path ahead. The longer they waited, the less likely it seemed their foes would appear. Talerus was just on the verge of abandoning his position in favor of one further ahead when he caught sight of the Orks. He was sickened by what he saw.

A band of Orks prowled the streets; each of the nearly two dozen creatures carried with them a bolter, one that looked as if it had only recently been constructed. Talerus sucked in a breath as he contemplated the source of their armaments and the ramifications it presented. Had they been sent to recover a lost Armory? Had the Orks managed to violate such a place and steal relics of the Imperium? Such questions drove Talerus into a fury, spurring him to open fire.

His first shot imbedded itself into the head of the Ork he’d spotted, the mass-reactive shell exploding a second or two later with devastating results. The green creature’s skull exploded in a haze of red blood, the impact of such a hit sending his inert corpse flying and the weapon it had been clutching fell to the ground. His shot hadn’t given his position away, as the other Orks fired wildly into the streets, missing all three of the Space Marine’s positions. Sergeant Lorentus leveled his bolter toward an Ork within his range and squeezed the trigger of his bolter, sending several rounds screaming toward its body.

Apothecary Demoris took the cue and opened fire as well, his aim roughly on par with Lorentus’. Neither of them had the same accuracy as Talerus, but they were still able to take down several Orks prior to having to reload. For his own part, Talerus only missed one of the Orks he’d fired at prior to having to reload his bolter. The small skirmish lasted no more than a few minutes, and none of the group suffered even a close impact near them prior to the dust settling.

“We’ve probably just told the rest of them where we are, we need to get moving. Salvage what you can and leave the rest,” Sergeant Lorentus ordered as he quickly advanced on the area where the Orks had been slain. Talerus and Demoris made a break for the area as well, liberating ammunition from the weapons that he been dropped by the Ork corpses they had left behind in the wake of the assault. When all was said and done, each of the three had managed to remove nearly a half dozen magazines from the fallen Orks, which seemed a rather low number considering where they likely obtained the weapons.

“Let’s move,” Sergeant Lorentus instructed, taking the lead down the increasingly narrow street the Orks had emerged from. Demoris took up a position behind the Sergeant while Talerus took up his position at the rear. Occasionally Demoris would glance back at Talerus, but he said nothing aloud or over the vox, which puzzled Talerus a bit. The Apothecary had always been quiet, reserving conversation for times of great need or when other gestures and methods weren’t available. He was not, however, normally prone to looking over his shoulder, or in any other way given to showing any measure of concern for any situation he was thrown into.

Further they delved into the city, their encounter with the small Ork band growing more distant as they went. If Lorentus had been correct in assuming that others had heard the skirmish, they had encountered little in the way of evidence to support it. Their pace had been a slow one at first, but as the distance between them and the bodies they’d left behind increased, so too did their pace. Talerus estimated they had managed to delve another ten or fifteen kilometers into the city interior before they came upon the next object of interest… an Armory unlike any they had seen before…
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-06-12, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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The compound stretching out before the small group was mammoth, dwarfing surrounding structures by a considerable margin. Through his helmet’s auspex, Talerus marveled as the device measured out nearly a kilometer worth of area the massive Armory sprawled out along. Unlike most of the more conventional Armories he’d seen, the one before him seemed to be composed of many individual buildings linked together by causeways, or standing alone without apparent connection to the other buildings at all. Several of the freestanding buildings looked to have been the source of the weaponry they had found in the possession of the Ork scouting party, their entry ways blown open and walls half destroyed. The central complex, and those buildings linked to it, stood unmolested by the Orks somehow, though no visible sign of a void shield or automated turrets could be located.

“I don’t like this…” Demoris spoke up, his voice jarring Talerus from his deep inspection of the structure, “It isn’t natural…”

“There is nothing natural about architecture,” Sergeant Lorentus chided the Apothecary.

“That is not what I meant,” Demoris countered impatiently, “It isn’t like Orks to target smaller buildings and leave a cache that large unmolested. That is what I find unnatural, Brother-Sergeant.”

Lorentus grunted, he had most likely been thinking the same thing but given that Demoris had said it first seemed irritating to him. Talerus looked away from his Battle-Brothers, continuing his investigation of the complex. Pushing aside the peculiar condition the complex was in; Talerus focused his attention on finding a way inside, something that he was assuming his brethren were also doing.

Several tense moments passed by before Talerus found what he was searching for. It was roughly half a kilometer away from them, and it was situated in a very inconspicuous location, almost contrary to most design conventions he knew of. For the most fleeting of moments, Talerus almost wished they had a Librarian with them so he could answer some of the strange questions that had been conjured by the ruins they were currently investigating. That, however, was simply wishful thinking on his part as he’d seen with his own eyes the body of the Librarian that had come with his squad.

“I believe I see a way in,” Talerus reported, drawing the attention of his Battle-Brothers.

“Do you? Then lead the way, Talerus,” Sergeant Lorentus ordered rather abruptly. It took a second for him to realize what his Sergeant had said. It seemed very out of place that Lorentus would suddenly ask him to lead. Unsettling or not, Talerus complied with his Sergeant’s request and made his way down the gently sloping terrain separating their position from the Armory complex before them. Talerus instinctively raised his bolter, scanning from side to side as he walked. With almost no cover between them and the entrance he had found, they were very easy targets for attacks should the Orks be laying in wait somewhere inside the complex.

Despite his vigilance, no attack came, their march a quick and unobstructed one. When they made it to the area where Talerus had spotted the presumed entrance, they were all stunned to find a pile of Ork corpses all arrayed rather haphazardly along a stairwell leading toward a rather massive door. Talerus came within inches of the stairwell, but made no move to continue on, looking back instead to his Sergeant.

“Looks like this place has some measure of protection after all…” Lorentus muttered as he came to stand beside Talerus.

“From the looks of the wounds, I would say it was either laser in origin or some other energy based weapons. The holes are too clean to be projectiles, and the wounds look like they were cauterized which would explain why there isn’t much blood,” Apothecary Demoris said in a knowing tone.

Lorentus frowned visibly, “If they were gunned down by weapon turrets, where are the damned things?”

Talerus looked all around the entrance but couldn’t even see the traces of panels that might give them a sense of where the assault on the Orks had come from. It seemed to be a fruitless search, as nothing blemished the surface of the building standing before them. Both Lorentus and Demoris had been searching the area along with Talerus, but none of them seemed to see anything of note.

“I suppose we will not find our answers simply standing here,” Lorentus finally declared, taking a step forward. Talerus was half expecting something to suddenly pop up from some unseen place, or some panel to suddenly expose itself, but nothing happened. The closer the man moved toward the door, the more likely it seemed that whatever had killed the Orks had come from inside. Lorentus made it to the small panel mounted to the frame of the large door, and found that he could only make out some of the symbols on the panel.

“Talerus, you can read High Gothic, can’t you?” Lorentus asked.

Talerus nodded silently and made his approach to the panel, avoiding the many corpses scattered about the ground just to be cautious. Once he was standing next to his Brother-Sergeant, he found that most of the commands were written in a very old form of High Gothic, a style used only in the most ancient of text. It took Talerus several moments and a great deal of muttering certain words aloud before he got the gist of what was being displayed.

“Can you open it?” Lorentus asked impatiently.

Talerus hesitated a moment before nodding, “I believe so. I can’t guarantee that we won’t be greeted by weapons fire the moment the doors open, however. I can’t see anything that would indicate an automated security system in operation.”

“Fine, then open the doors and stick to the wall until we can confirm the way is clear,” Lorentus ordered, motioning for the Apothecary to take up a position on the other side of the entryway’s framing. Once Demoris was in place, Lorentus nodded to Talerus to activate the door. Talerus gingerly tapped the various parts of the panel in the proper sequence, and before long a sharp hiss and the clanking sounds of gears issued forth from the massive door.

It took nearly two full minutes for the massive panel to slide fully within the recess within the wall and clear the way for them. Lorentus eased himself over, leaving the cover of the frame to peer down the long corridor that had been revealed. The passageway was devoid of any decoration or embellishment, simply metallic walls, floors, and ceilings stretching for what appeared to be the entire length of his sight. It also appeared that there were no gun embankments within the structure.

“Clear,” Lorentus announced, abandoning his cover. He motioned for his subordinates to follow and made for the small staircase that stood a few meters in front of them. Demoris took off behind the Sergeant, leaving Talerus to take up the rear again. Lorentus had made it all the way to the steps before the door hissed again and started to close. Talerus moved to return to the panel before Lorentus stopped him.

“Let it close. I would rather not have Orks at my back if I can help it,” the Sergeant said. It made sound tactical sense to leave the doors closed, it would keep the Orks out and allow them to focus on the path ahead of them. Talerus turned back around and continued forward after his brethren, putting the door and the corpses beyond out of his mind.

The corridor of metal stretched on for several hundred meters before an intersection gave the group pause. Each way seemed to stretch beyond their view, none of them looking any different from the path they’d taken so far. No symbols adorned the walls, nothing gave indication as to which way might bring them closer to their objective. Had they been blessed with larger numbers, they might have had the luxury of splitting up and investigate each direction and get a better handle on the layout of the place much faster. They were not, however, in any imaginable way blessed at the moment.

Lorentus motioned them forward, choosing a straight path over a fork. As they walked, they found several more intersections, each time the group forged ahead rather than allowing themselves to be distracted with exploration. Finally, after a good deal of walking, the trio happened upon another door, and another control panel with Ancient High Gothic symbols adorning it. Talerus stepped forward unbidden, and began the task of translation. The door before them was even harder to decipher than the last, using word combinations that almost didn’t make sense even to Talerus.

“What’s the matter? How long does it take to read the word open?” Lorentus grumbled impatiently.

“There is no ‘open’ on this panel. It’s almost like a riddle…” Talerus responded, his tone reflecting the annoyance he was feeling about the entire situation. He liked when things made sense, he liked the simplicity of knowing what was going on, what they were doing, and how to get it done. The entire mission, at least the fragments of it he could recall, seemed in total opposition to the things that he considered to be sensible and right.

Talerus struggled to push the thoughts from his mind, and managed only to stifle them for a moment before he saw the pattern he’d been looking for. The Space Marine reached out and tapped the series of words that he’d settled on as the right one, and was rewarded with the sound of a clack before the door glided aside. Lorentus entered the room beyond, followed by Demoris. Talerus was just about to enter as well when he heard the sickening sounds of plasma fire imbedding itself into the armor of his brethren. Talerus instantly dropped to a knee and peered into the room, finding both Lorentus and Demoris lying limp on the ground.

Movement caught his eye, spurring Talerus to open fire. His bolter rounds slammed into what sounded like metal. Several streaks of plasma flew over Talerus’ helmet before a loud explosion rocked the room, the clattering sounds of metal hitting the floor a tell-tale sign that the turret had been rendered inert. Talerus reached to his belt, hunting for a frag grenade before he realized he didn’t have any. He cursed softly and reloaded his bolter before peering on the other side of the room that had been obscured by the wall he’d been taking cover behind. No movement attracted his attention, and Talerus thought it safe enough to look more fully inside. No other turrets made themselves known, though one had been enough to cut his brethren down rather effectively.

The Space Marine stepped fully inside the room and scanned his surroundings, surprised to find himself standing in a huge control room. Panels lined many portions of the wall, each of them displaying different region of the compound. Other consoles, flanked by chairs too small for him, displayed text presumably related to the workings of the place. Aside from the intermittent beeps of the various control panels scattered around the room, the place was deathly silent. Talerus looked back at the bodies of his companions for a moment and wondered if he should have just stayed dead.

Talerus shook the thought out of his head and approached the largest of the control devices, the working on the thing much less complicated than the door had been. He could make out a good deal of what the screen was telling him, but it didn’t make a great deal of sense. IT spoke of reports from people dating further back than seemed possible. Never in his life had he heard of a site predating the Imperium that had remained functional and nearly pristine. Talerus hit a few word fragments and brought up what he was hoping would be a map of the place, only to find that it was not simply a map of the place but a layout of all the active weapon emplacements.

Further study of the display told him the turrets had been long ago programmed to kill anything that didn’t transmit some special code. The code, however, was something he couldn’t begin to understand or rig his suit to transmit. More searching told him that he could turn off the turrets inside without having to disable the ones keeping everything else out. The Marine did just that, making sure that he left the ones on that would keep him safe until he found what he was looking for. He remembered Lorentus mentioning a signal… something the Librarian had discovered. He also recalled seeing a much more powerful hand-held auspex attached to the Librarian’s armor, which meant that he most likely had been talking about a transmitted signal and not a telepathic one.

His interaction with the control panel he had been using told him that it was simply the weapons control terminal and nothing more, which meant he would have to look elsewhere to find something that resembled a communications array. After some searching, Talerus did manage to find what he was looking for but the device seemed to be encrypted and beyond his ability to translate. Talerus growled and slammed his fist against the panel. He’d come so far only to be thwarted by ancient encryptions. He sucked in a breath to calm his rage and frustration and abandoned the panel, returning to the console that had shown him the layout of the building.

Talerus scanned the corridors and chambers until he found something that caught his eye. The building itself appeared to be not an Armory but an entire citadel complex, most probably liken to one used by the Imperial Guard of his era. The map showed places where people slept, ate, and performed other duties. It also revealed the location of what it called an Armory. The number of turrets within the compartment would have cut him down in seconds had he not managed to silence them beforehand. With the route firmly planted in his mind, Talerus set out to find the place, and perhaps recover something that would make his Battle-Brothers’ sacrifice worthwhile...

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