@Nikolai, thanks for the comment, and yes you will meet the boarders soon, but not yet
, so enjoy the update.
‘Only in death is your duty done’
Inscription over the door of the Fervour of Faith’s brig
Karle stood unhappy in his new, uncomfortable flak armour, wondering how guardsmen wear it all the time, but even as he thought of how stupid he looked in the ill- fitting armour, then, unbidden, he thought of what could happen to him if he wasn’t wearing it, self preservation asserted itself and Karle forgot about the comfort and hoped it would wear in.
“Not the most comfortable things are they lad?” Fredric asked, shifting his own armour around. Karle looked at the grizzled veteran, shook his head, surprised to see the often hidden plugs and Fredric’s arms, but when the old man saw him looking he rolled his sleeves back down. Karle shrugged and leant back against the wall and relished the vibration humming through the wall, on the other side was one of the ships generators, which Karle, Fredric and a few other crewmen were supposed to guard.
“Don’t worry, you be thankful for these things later, word has come down, we’re to hold this until the guard get here, or so the rumours go” Fredric smiled and then the colour drained from his grizzled old face, he bellowed; “Officer on deck!” The crew quickly strained up and saluted flak armour and weapons clicking and clacking.
Rafter smiled and continued to walk closer, returning his men’s salutes, resplendent in his black commissar uniform, white gloves glowing in the gloom, his black hair and squared face topped by a peaked cap; “At ease, Mr Holding, a word if you will”
“Sir” Fredric said stepping forward and following the commissar as they walked out of earshot. Karle watched the conversation, the commissar’s face looked grim and Fredric stood like a statue, his face devoid of emotion, until the commissar said something and Fredric roared; “WHAT IN THE WARP ARE YOU THINKING? OFFERING MY RANK BACK AFTER TAKING IT OFF ME, GO FRAK YOURSELF, SIR!” the hall went very silent, the other sailor’s quiet conversations forgotten, each was trying to make himself believe what they just heard Fredric say. The commissar’s white, gloved, hand shot out and everyone flinched, expecting the gun shot but all they heard was a smack. The commissar slapped Fredric.
“Listen carefully and don’t make me say this again, you are hereby promoted to captain, you being the most senior hand aboard and previously holding a command rank, also to ease things along you still have your implants, so we save time”
“You can’t do it, the regulations-” Fredric began.
“Are mine to interpret and enforce, we need you, you’re the only one other than Guerin that the Fervour will listen to” replied Rafter, “the ship must have a captain, it’s your duty”
Karle was surprised to see Fredric looking at him, he saw the old man’s expression soften for a moment before he turned away and then he heard Fredric’s words, “Alright, I’ll do it, I’ll be the captain”
“Good, knew you would see sense, God-Emperor be praised, come with me” and the commissar turned and walked back down the passage he’d come through, as Karle thought back on the moment later, he always remembered the sound of the commissar’s polished boots click-clacking on the hard, metal floor.
The Adept Senori intoned the prayers of reactivation and stood back from the cognitor, “Machine, may the Machine-God breathe half-life unto you and awaken” with a pitched whine the cognitor’s screen blinked on and the adept’s spirit’s soared, he would have smiled if he was still able to, but the riot of binary assaulting his aural transmitters reminded him of how much that was left to accomplish. All around him his machine- chapel was in the grips of carefully orchestrated chaos; heavy lifter servitors trundled palettes of cognitors into an ever growing pile, multi task servitors and the surviving tech-priests struggled to renew the cognitors back into working order, and countless crew from engineering were dragging heavy cabling and connecting the working cognitors to the ship’s spirits, over seen by their tech-priest overseers.
His auspex augments started alarming him to the presence of one of his subordinates. Without turning the Adept Senori buzzed a binary message
< Senori, the spirits of auspex have returned to their purpose.
<Acknowledged, that is good, go on with your programmed task.
<Senori, the spirits have become aware of incoming ships.
<Repeat last output.
<Senori, the spirits have become aware of incoming ships.
The adept turned, absent-mindedly aware of his long defunct immune system sending high levels of chemicals into his organic components. <Directive: Inform the Commissar of these developments, also have all tech-priests re-task and concentrate on critical exterior and interior defence systems, confirm receipt of message.
<Confirm, Adept Senori.
> buzzed the tech priest before hurrying away.
Watching the other tech-priest hurry away the Adept Senori began to quickly cycle through the data wheels hidden in his body, searching for old programming from days before he joined the Fervour, days of death and ruin, days of being a Secutor, days of being a War-priest.
Rafter sat in his quarters, the ‘new’ bridge of the ship until Holding could be installed into the command throne and could properly take command of the Fervour, he had received a reply to his message from the guard commander, Colonel Farraj, the Tallarns would now be moving to secure the generators, machine-chapel, the ship’s armourium and the medicae decks, not soon enough, the anticipated arrival of the enemy was closing and fast. Rafter was considering mobilising the provosts and the defence crew when a breathless man wearing the coveralls of an engineer burst into his office.
“Sir, reports from auspex spirits, enemy craft inbound” the man paused the struggled to keep his breathing in check, “They are nearly upon us!”
Rafter nodded and began accessing the ship’s controls through the cognitor in front of him, suddenly the ships boarding alarms sounded and the lights turned bloody red.
“Thank you, report to your station” The man saluted and hurried out of the room, Rafter listening to the echoes of the man’s pounding feet bounce around his troubled mind, life for the soul aboard this ship would become very, very hard indeed.
The Tallarn guardsmen moved through the dark, red lit passages of the Fervour, ghost-like, and deadly. Sergeant Sa'd al Din felt pride in his men, and in his own skill as he led them, quieter than the rest, the Tallarn’s had been ordered to prepare ambushes for the enemy boarders, quietly half of 4th Company had dispersed through the ship, armed with lasgun and knife they would cut a swath through the infidel trespassers, their minds, bodies and souls singing the Emperor’s praises all the while. Suddenly the sergeant heard the dull bang of boarding clamps and signalled his men to take cover; each man aimed his weapon down the passage. Each man smelled the acrid stench of burning metal and the hiss as the molten metal dripped onto the flooring, smoke billowing, each man held his breath and waited, then heavy boots clunked onto the deck and as one the guardsmen opened fire.
Rafter ducked out of cover and emptied the clip of his autopistol down the passage, the thunder of the gun- servitors’ weapons installed overhead drowned out the sound of his own weapon, all around him the Fervour’s crew sent sprays of hot death at the boarders. Rafter ducked back into cover and reloaded his weapon, he breathed in and ducked back out, his weapon bucked in his hand, Rafter smiled savagely as he saw the indistinct, dark shapes of his enemies fall, when he ducked back into cover he finally felt his ear bead vibrating, he tapped it and the monotone voice of the Adept Senori filled his ears;
“Commissar, where are you?” Demanded the Senori
“Stuck with some boarders, port side, above the gun-decks” replied the commissar
“As I can see, I have combat servitors inbound, they will arrive in three-point-zero-eight minutes, when they arrive make your way to the machine-chapel, avoid combat commissar, the ship cannot adequately function without you” droned the Senori.
“Acknowledged, I’ll try not to die” Replied Rafter, infusing as much sarcasm into his voice before shutting off the link, looking at the glowing dots set in his autopistol’s grip he saw he was down to three shells, the extra magazines he always had on him were scattered on the floor where he had dropped them in his haste to reload. All around him crew were ducking in and out of alcoves, furiously pumping shells into the smoke at the end of the passage. Whilst he was talking with the Senori the enemy had crept closer, no longer obscured by the smoke and steam from the end of the hall the enemy was revealed for all to see. Rafter saw them and his heart skipped a beat.
More due in a few days.... you know what? lets make it in a week. I'll update each week on a Friday, if I dont, feel free to yell at me as much as you want, the reason why the update probally hadn't come is; i'm being a slacker
so I shall see you all in a week.
Cheers and good reading,
P.S you know the thing santa does to check on kids for the christmas list? yeah, Commissar Ploss can do that, so be good.