Emperor’s Wing Battle Barge.
I told the Captain of Navigation to keep it quiet and to my knowledge he has, but I am sure they know. How could they not know? We were due two weeks ago to reach the Orion Sector, but as of late I must admit that we do not know where we are. I do not know what time it is or what day or month it is.
I wish I could blame this on someone else, but if we are ever found, or even if we, through the grace of the Emperor, are able to find our own way back…
I don’t even want to think of the Inquisition right now. I know they will blame me, even if it was not my fault. It is always the Admiral’s fault, even if it is not. It is my fault the Psyker-Navigator died just moments after we entered the warp. It is my fault in the eyes of the Inquisition and punishment will be meted out. None are innocent in the eyes of the Inquisition.
We dropped out of the warp into uncharted space two days ago. The charts do not mach anything known and I fear the Emperor’s Wing Battle Barge is lost to the universe as well as to hope.
Upon the Emperor’s Wing reside seventy-seven thousand men, women and servitors. Each one needs food, water or other resources to survive. We are two weeks overdue. We have enough food to last three more weeks and enough water to last for a month, using the recyclers that water will last a year.
I fear that without the Psyker we will not find our way back.
We are lost.
‘Put out that fire! How the fekk did it start anyway?’ Captain Izak Pluun bellowed over the din of frantic screams and exploding containers. Fire extinguishers poured out pressurized Carbon Dioxide into the flames and squelched the life from the yellow-orange flames. Black smoke filled the confined halls and open space of the weapons bay darkening Glow-globes and setting off sprinkler systems.
Claxons blared in response to the smoke and kept simple communication to the peak of voice control.
‘I don’t know what the hell happened, sir.’ Lieutenant Erik Bosay answered, ‘I was walking back from the fitting deck when I smelled smoke and then got caught in the blast.’
Captain Pluun wiped the soot from his face with a white cloth and placed it into his jacket pocket before speaking. ‘Lieutenant Bosay, we need the weapons supplies guarded at all times, by trustworthy people. If you cannot establish who is trustworthy and who is not, then I will do so. Do you understand me?’
‘How do you know the fire was set by any of my people Captain?’ Lieutenant Bosay said through clinched teeth. ‘All of my men were at their posts this whole time.’
The Captain looked again into the weapons room observing the ruined las-guns and power-cells. ‘Supplies are low already, Lieutenant Bosay. The water that pours out of the sprinklers is water that could be used later for our survival. Whoever did this understands that it is not the weapons, but the water that is most valuable.’
‘Are you saying we have an agent of Chaos aboard, sir?’ The Lieutenant asked.
‘Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. No one is to be trusted anymore.’ The Captain said.
‘Then how do you expect me to place trusted personnel in key areas if I am not to trust them? Am I to trust them or am I not to?’ Lieutenant Bosay asked legitimately confused.
Captain Izak Pluun placed his right hand to his temple and exhaled slowly. He was tired and moral had been down; nearly dead. He knew he was being too hard on the Lieutenant. ‘Lieutenant Bosay, I apologize for my impatience. Keep doing what is necessary for the securing of our supplies. If you need me I will be on the bridge.’
Captain Pluun turned and walked away from the destruction, head bowed and deep in thought. He knew that the leadership could not be everywhere all the time; they could not see everything at all times ether. The truth was that if the Emperor’s Wing did not find rescue soon nothing could save the humanity that now lived upon the Battle Barge.
Week five had come and gone and with it the last of the food rations. The food had lasted for two weeks more than anyone thought they would, but with proper rationing everyone still lived. That was a good sign, Admiral Gos Hester thought. After three attempts by the Captain of Navigation to retrace their steps, the Emperor’s Wing was nowhere closer to finding Imperial space then they were before.
It was impossible to find direction in the warp without a navigator, a Psyker. ‘How many more times can we enter warp space before all of the ship’s energy is depleted from the reactors, Izak?’ the Admiral asked in hushed tones.
He and the Captain were alone on the bridge, so Izak Pluun did not know why the Admiral was speaking so quietly. He chose not to ask why and followed the Admiral’s lead. ‘One more time is all, sir.’
‘Emperor help us if we do not get help soon, son. The end will come for us all soon enough if it does not.’ he said. ‘When we first lost our way I was worried the Inquisition would hold me accountable for the loss of a navigator and the tardiness of their glorious Battle Barge. Now, all I want is to be in our own galaxy. Do you think it strange of me, Captain that I speak so directly?’
Captain Pluun thought about the question for a moment before answering. ‘Under the circumstances, Admiral, I do not think it strange at all. To deny the fact of our feelings now would be a fallacy and stain upon our faith in the Emperor, I think.’
‘Good, son.’ the Admiral whispered. ‘Make the calculations necessary and make our final jump. All or nothing, Captain, let’s hope it’s all.’
Captain Pluun looked down from the Admiral’s platform and gazed into the endless depths of space through the open view-port at the fore of the ship. The view was immaculately beautiful. Distant planets reflected the light sent from even further stars and between them darkness was complete.
‘What wonders must be out there just waiting for mankind to find?’ he said to himself.
I believe the date is somewhere between 177. 57 and 177.72 M. 41.
I am afraid the end is near. I know that does not speak faith in the Emperor, but it seems the reality of the state we are in.
The crews are beginning to fight amongst themselves, over rations, over small things that would go unnoticed under more reasonable settings. There are saboteurs roaming about and who can find them among the mass of angry flesh eking out their last breaths of hope?
I am convinced that if we do not find a way home we will tear ourselves apart before too long. It frightens me to think we are so fragile that when the balance is set unevenly we fall apart.
I have given the last command I think I will ever give to the Captain of Navigation, Izak Pluun. I do hope I am incorrect in this statement, but I fear I am not.
Into the Emperor’s hands I do commit my spirit. May he guide us home, amen.
With the turning of a black switch he recalled the staff necessary for the jump and plotted a course.
The Emperor’s Wing had been in the warp for nearly two weeks before the death of the Psyker-Navigator had been discovered. Nearly two weeks in the void without direction could have landed them anywhere. It had been a miracle they had not come out of the warp smack center of a star.
The Captain of Navigation finished plotting the course and hoped he was correct in his estimates. How could he be sure that his divining was correct? Yes, he had studied under the direction of the late navigator, but he was not a Psyker. He could not see into the warp like his predecessor did, nor could he confirm the currents they were traveling in were accurate and safe ether.
Sweat ran down his face, not because of the heat, but because of the stress. Succeed or fail were the only options; death or life the only realities. If they lived through this and were found safe in their own galaxy there would be much rejoicing. But if he failed, Emperor willing, they would never know about it.
‘Engage the Gellar field and stand by for transition.’ he said.
With the press of a small red button the Emperor’s Wing fled from unknown space into the eddies of the warp. Time seemed to stand still as the Battle Barge moved through the void; it also seemed to speed up as well.
Time could have been minutes or years, but there was no way of knowing for the crew of the Emperor’s Wing. Eyes could not look upon the void without it insanity taking hold of the minds of those who looked into the realm of darkness. But if eyes could have looked into the other, they would have seen the emotions of the dead, the mind’s conjures of ages past, the dark pleasures of eternity. They would have seen hopelessness in all of its hostility and they would have seen the end both as it happened and before it happened.
Before time began and ended, before understanding even was a thought, the space hulk embraced the Emperor’s Wing.
The Battle Barge was torn apart and twisted in the blink of an eye and all worries of home fled away. The Gellar Field collapsed and darkness swept in, tearing away the sanity of those whose end had not come quick enough.
A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep!
Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
Other stories from Adrian.
Look up Adrian in the "Compendium" to find them. Thanks
Last edited by Adrian; 02-13-12 at 03:45 PM.