A schism (pronounced /ˈsɪzəm/ SIZ-əm, /ˈskɪzəm/ SKIZ-əm or, less commonly, /ˈʃɪzəm/ SHIZ-əm) is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization, movement, or religious denomination.
I thought that a tiff between two sections of the Mechanicum would be a nice story!
* * *
For the Greater Good
“The Omnissiah directs our footsteps along the path of knowledge”
-from the book Soylens Viridians for the Machine-Spirit
“They all died’ said Chief Adept Linguistica Zimulis, she paused, “overnight.”
The rest of the dig turned from the rock face and studied her features with renewed interest.
Zimulis pointed at a dark line on the wall with her trowel.
“There are words here. I think this was their final resting place.”
“Saben u-wong kang mati
’ added Zunabaar May, her trusted aid. “Roughly, and my Malagassay is limited, Everyone is dead.” He paused, mumbling under his breath. “Something about an illness… no a sickness…”
“I die,’ Zimulus interrupted, “ Aku mati
. I die or I am dead.”
The crater was suddenly lit up from above by powerful lights and a dull hiss was heard. The crew, all of Chief Adept Linguistica Zimulis’s translators, subconsciously moved away from the centre and outwards to the walls.
An opaque circular disk with long tentacles of feeder pipes and cables, descended like an aquatic hydrazone of the old oceans. A small, hunched figure wearing the crimson robes of the Mechanicum, stood in its centre.
“Seventeen billion citizens perished here on Nochestras,” the figure said in a vox-enhanced voice. “All of them died in a single night.”
Zimulis gave an almost painful bow and waved her colleagues out of the dig. She hoped that her body language would not give away the fact that she despised the Magister. The Collegiate Explorator Fleets were responsible for the destruction of countless historical sites, all because settlement and colonisation was all that mattered to them. What and who lived on a planet mattered not. Imperial occupation was paramount.
“Explorator Magister Mikasenoks,” she started “It is, as always, a pleasure.”
“Adept Zimulis,” he hissed, neglecting her real title. “How are you progressing?.”
The Magister had finally settled at the bottom of the dig, the tentacles and cables leaching outwards, stroking the walls and floor. He nodded at the lines of writing.
“Two thousand years. Have you found any trace of them?.” Zimulis moved over to a small table which was covered in objects of various sizes. She picked up a long rectangular plate.
“None of the inhabitants survived the disaster, “ she began, “and we believe that all, save a few, were consumed by the local fauna,” she eyed the Magister wearily. “The was after all a death world, which merely reverted back to its natural state.”
The Magister eyed the object she was holding. ‘Eyed’ was actually not correct, as the Magister had no visible facial features, and what was once a human face was now a blank oval of pure gold.
“This, I believe, is a place sign.” She held it up. “It clearly says “Loza
, which is danger, followed by Bio Aleam
, roughly… Bio Hazard.”
A faint hiss escaped from the Magisters hidden vox-emitter.
“We are here. This is the place.” There was a series of clicks and hisses and then suddenly the open sky above was filled with descending discs. Zimulis stepped back to the side, pulling the small table with her.
She shook her head, wringing her hands in desperation.
“Magister, please. I need more time.”
The Magister turned to her and raised slowly upwards.
“This is an important find. With it, Adept, we could alter the course of the war.” He made more clicks and then gesticulated to the Mecahnicum servitors decending above her.
“But,” Zimulis continued, almost pleaded. “If this is what we think it is…?”
The Magister held up a hand.
“A weapon. The perfect weapon. A life-eater virus that kills only humans and leaves all other living things alive. We can bombard a planet and then re-colonise it with all the internal systems still in place. In time we can adapt it to target just Orks perhaps, or maybe the infernal Tau. The possibilities are endless.”
Zimulis hopped to one side as a heavy-duty drilling servitor began tearing into the wall in front of her. The last writings of a forgotten race were instantly destroyed, never to return.
Tears began to flow from tear ducts that had never been used. A wave of fear and desperation overcame her. She pushed the servitor to one side and saddled up to the Magister.
“I cannot allow you…”
“To do what exactly” the Magister interrupted. Zimulis held up a dataslate.
“This is a Linguistica site, not an Explorator rampage-through-the-woods. I have jurisdiction here.”
The Magister made a high-pitched hiss which almost sounded like a laugh.
“Chief Adept,” she finally corrected, her voice rising above the machines and diggers. She held out her arms in despair. “If this is the weapon you think it is, then shouldn’t you exhibit some form of caution. After all, it did wipe out seventeen billion people?.”
The Magister hovered closer, his disc almost touching her.
“Two thousand years have passed, we are in no danger.”
Zimulis looked up, contempt clearly etched on her face.
“There are almost a thousand Imperial citizens here on this planet,” she paused. “I have Skitarii on call who will not allow you to endanger them.”
The Magister hissed again.
“Absolutely. You must stop now.”
Pain. Unadulterated pain. Zimulis looked down in surprise as a large spike forced its way out through her sternum. She gasped in disbelief as she realised that the adamantium drill bit was covered in what remained of her heart.
The servitor withdrew his tool and continued tearing at the wall.
“Translators,” hissed the Magister.
“Explorator Magister Mikasenoks!”, shouted one of the menials. “We have found… something.”
The Magister could barely conceal his excitement, skimming across the dig floor to a partially collapsed wall. Powerful lights were already illuminating the interior, which appeared to be a room.
“At last,” said the Magister. “We have it.”
A small table, no bigger than the one that held Zimulis’s ancient objects. A vial.
“What is it?”
Now a breeze, not experienced for two thousand years. A tiny movement of air particles. The small glass holder fell and hit the tiled floor.
The Magister looked at Zimulis’s body lying in an ever-widening pool of blood.
“You were lucky...” He sighed. “...and right. But I had to try.”
He looked down at his hands and watched in fascination as they slowly disintegrated and turned to dust. He felt little pain.
He watched the servitors collapse and saw Zimulis disappear into a dark stain, before his higher brain functions cut off and he died.
“Numquam discere a praeterito. One never learns from the past.”