The news spread like a virus. Within an hour all of Ultramar knew. Within a day the whole sector sang his praise. Within a week, the entire Imperium bore the news. A primarch walked among the living.
The paperwork nearly collapsed the entire Munitorium.
As soon as the first reports were sent out, every commander on every battlefield on every world of the Imperium requested his presence. His efforts would undoubtedly break any stalemate, reverse any retreat, and finish any offensive. And everyone knew it. On top of that, every priest from the lowliest to the most lofty demanded confirmation by the Primarch’s own hand, few wanted to believe it, such an event would disrupt the political status quo of any government. Only one message was responded to. A single instruction was sent to Mars by order of Guilliman. It consisted of a single line.
Build a vessel worthy to carry him.
The Adeptus Mechanicus responded with gusto. For hours the whole of the effort of Mars was focused on a single design, from the lowliest servitor up the fabricator general, in those few hours an entire fleet could have been constructed. Instead the mightiest vessel to be constructed since the Horus Heresy was built. The Phoenix. Whole regiments of Skittari were stationed upon it, knights in numbers not seen in one place for a thousand years were stationed. No fewer than 3 warhounds were stored in its mighty hull. Its every surface was mathmaticaly calculated to be the most beautiful thing to come from mars in ten thousand years. As the ship set out its destination was a poorly kept secret. As it traveled thru the warp many commanders took it upon themselves to join in its pilgrimage. History did not remember them kindly. Many worlds, including Raksis III fell due to untimely withdrawals of whole armies for reasons the enemy did not understand, and did not question. At the time nothing seemed so important as following the mighty vessel to its glorious master.
“How many have abandoned their posts?” Asked the primarch.
“As far as we can tell, 19 regiments of imperial guardsmen, two full hosts of Adeptus Sororitas, a detachment of grey knight that were supposed to be on their way to Armageddon, an entire arbites precinct has apparently commandeered a ship as to follow, a full company of crimson fists, and a company of blood angels.” Responded Isaac. “In addition, it seems a company of space wolves that was in between campaigns are joining to. Although they did not actually have a post to abandon, it is not entirely a good thing.”
They were discussing the latest astropathic communication from the Phoenix. They were in the fortress of the so-called heretics who supported the theory of the star child. The fact was Guilliman was still unaware of their heresy. Gathered with them were Iradius, who had been replaced by Guilliman as leader of the group, Riley, angus, Marluxia, Jerenol, and Gaunt who had grudgingly accepted that his loyalty was rightly placed with the primarch if not with his associates. He was still biding his time as far as the “Cult of the star child” If these people had brought a primarch into existence than was it possible that a false heresy had been fabricated to attack them with by true heretics? The others were busy with their duties.
Guilliman had expressed his displeasure many times in the past day that so many forces were abandoning their posts. He had also however told them that for what they were going to attempt, something that had not yet been elaborated on, would require their help as well as the aid of the forces commanded by the members of the group.
“How much longer will it be until it arrives?” Asked Marluxia.
“It should arrive within twenty four hours, It’s making good time and its dam fast. For a normal ship the voyage from mars all the way out here could take as much as a week.”
Marluxia looked skeptical “I can’t see any ship making that distance in three days. It took us a full day and marcagge is barely a fraction of the distance.”
Angus cut in the inquisitors remark sharply, “The whole of mars was brought together in its construction this is no normal ship were talking about.”
“Admittedly, we may have to wait for many of the pilgrims for considerably longer.” Pointed out Iradius.
“Not at all.” Said Isaac. “Many of them are setting course directly for Velonica, and recently the warp currents have been favorable for such voyages.” Isaac glanced up at the Primarch. “The warp near here seems very calm, and the stronger currents away from here are pushing ships in our direction.”
At this point Gaunt spoke up, “Why exactly is it that we need so much manpower?”
Guilliman looked at Gaunt. “You do seem not to dance around the question.”
Gaunt folded his arms. “Well?”
The Primarch leaned back in his chair. “Gaunt. I will tell you that when I am ready. I do not pretend to keep you informed on my intentions. Only my orders.”
Gaunt nodded. “As you wish your holiness” He had received responses much like that for the last day and half it was frustrating, he wanted to know what was happening. The fact was his doubts about the primarch were returning, after the miracle had run its course he had returned to his former state. He was trying to figure out many things, weather the primarch was real, who was responsible for larkins death, and whether or not the group were heretics. So far he had been able to make little progress.
“If that is all.” Said Marluxia, smiling to the inhabitants of the room.
As the members of the group left, Riley taped gaunt on the shoulder.
“May I have a word?” he asked.
“Of course.” Responded Gaunt.
“It’s a big imperium, are you the
“Colonol-Commisar of the Tanith First and only.”
Riley smiled. “I was just Graduating the Schola when I first heard about you, I’ve followed your career ever since. “
Gaunt raised an eyebrow. “Thank you?” He said.
“I just wanted to tell you that you aren’t un-appreciated. Many times it seems you and the Tanith received the proverbial short end of the stick.”
Gaunt was wrong footed. “Thank you. If it’s not rude, it’s strange to hear you talking without any numbers.”
Riley smiled wryly. “Yes, I think logic is quite a useful tool, but without emotion we are hardly better than servitors.”
“I suppose so.” Said gaunt neutrally.
“Anyway, I wanted to show you something.” Said Riley.
“What is it?” asked Gaunt.
“Well since none of the others knew about you, I was the only one who noticed, but the deserting imperial guard regiments. The Ghosts are one of them.”
Gaunt’s eyes widened. “What did you say?
Lord General Alexander was quite pleased with himself. The Navy ship that had taken the Iridian XVII and Tanith first to Raksis when the Tau threat had first been established was now making excellent time Towards Velonica prime. He stood on the bridge with Col Agnos, looking out at the vast star-studded eternity before them.
“Crewman! What is the Estimated Time of arrival at Velonica prime?” He barked at a man who happened to walk by.
“Six hours.” He responded.
Col. Agnos smiled. “Excellent! We will be able to witness the primarchs glorious arrival.”
“And we will hand two whole regiments to him. A glorious tribute!” declared the general.
The two of them believed wrongly that the primarch was already embarked in the Phoenix. They expected to be the only forces waiting for him at his destination.
The Bridge was large, perhaps 20 meters wide, and 15 long, with a slight curve to it. It was completely surrounded with glass showing a wide view to anyone stargazing as the General and colonel were doing. It was lined with banks of monitors, all accompanied by servitors. The servitors were overseen by tech priests. In the center of the room was a raised platform that gave an excellent view of the stars. A crewman ran up to the Lord general.
“Sir! Lieutenant Colonel Ferrero demanded that he talk to you.”
Ferrero was a third founding ghost, and with Gaunts absence had become the ranking officer in the regiment. The crewman handed the general a portable vox.
“What is it Lieutenant colonel?” Said Alexander annoyed.
“Well, sir, it seems in your, admirable, haste to abandon the planet you didn’t take time to prepare supplies, were out of food.”
“I don’t see the problem, Lieutenant Colonel, were making port in 6 hours.”
“Well, lord general, my men haven’t eaten for a good 8.”
“Well what do you want me to do about it?”
“Well as it so happens the Iridians happen to have quite a lot of food that they brought along for themselves. However they don’t seem to think that we deserve any. I was hoping you could persuade them.”
Alexander sneered. “It’s your own regiments fault for not being prepared.”
Ferrero exploded. “We don’t even know where were going, or what were going to be fighting because you haven’t seen fit to tell us for the emperors sake! And thank you very much but I would rather have these men fight on full stomachs than hungry!”
The lord general tossed the vox back to the shipmen who had given it to him.
Ferrero nearly destroyed the small vox unit by throwing it against the wall of the room. He and two others were standing in a small cabin with four bunks, Their equipment stored at the feet of the bunks.
“I take it he wasn’t to helpful?” Asked Felix.
“He was an arrogant bastard is what he was!” fumed the Lieutenant colonel. Ignoring the reprimands of the shipmen who had brought him the vox.
“Gaunt would have put him in his place.” Said Aron, a now ancient native Tanith lieutenant who had only recently recovered from a lifelong addiction to narcotics that had prevented him moving up at all in rank.
“Yeah, he would have.” Agreed Felix.
“Dam!” Shouted Ferrero, making the other two jump. “Where the hell is he!”
“Well don’t ask me!” Said Felix slightly alarmed.
They all sat for a few minutes mulling over the situation before Felix stood up briskly.
“Well, only one thing to do.” He said.
“Whats that?” Asked Fererro, not sure if he wanted to know.
“I’m hungry, let’s go steel some food.”
Well heres part 8 I hope you continue to like it