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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-10, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Introduction


Where to start with this one? At first glance I thought it was, like the Black Company series. However it's warmed up to me as a bit of a challenge to try making something, if not positive (since the Warhammer universe itself would try murdering me for my troubles), something not quite so bleak that I can't find the effort to even care about what happens. It's something well outside of my, comfort zone, has so much absurd that there really isn't any way for me to mess matters up without somehow pulling established canon to the four winds and making a rude gesture at anyone that tries politely explaining why it doesn't work like that.

This originally appeared in my blog as a series of shorts (some being REALLY short) on Sundays in an attempt to draw the 40k crowd in to maybe enlarge my audience. The five of you that've been keeping up will likely notice changes here and there hopefully improving the overall look/feel, or possibly explaining a few minor points I'd glossed over along the way. Not sure if it's bad or not but editing with each reprint/gathering is a bit of a habit of mine. I figure so long as I have the text in hand I might as well after all. Generally, starting at 1 and moving onward, if you see a number breaking text apart that's where one day's post ends and another begins. Those have been left mostly just because I can but also to show just how far I progressed in a given stretch.

Obligatory Disclaimer: I don't own Warhammer 40k. I'm not in any way associated with Games Workshop and I'm not getting paid for my troubles.


Clockwork Faith
[Foreword]
What is written here has been done so with my consent and has been deemed fit for distribution by myself, Magos Lexmechanicus Vealith Shar and by Inquisitor Talos Mund. We the Undersigned provide our lives, families, and possessions as forfeit should these writings or their author be deemed heretical.

Sheraden Feynman
Magos Explorator

Vealith Shar
Magos Lexmechanicus

Talos Mund
Ordo Hereticus
The purpose of this document is to spread understanding about the Adeptus Mechanicus and our ways to the rest of the Imperium. With respect to the inevitable denials I have seen much fear and outright loathing of me and my Brothers. With permissions secured I hope to cast illumination on a few matters.

At the end of this volume I have included a series of my thoughts, ramblings, and other relevant seeming bits of datum I feel would be important for those not steeped in cult mechanicus teachings to read. This is done on the theory that while some division is inevitable; making that gap as small as possible would help gain a measure of cooperation generally not seen between ourselves and most of the rest of the Imperium.

Malak Falco
Novice Explorator

.. /. / .... . . // .//. . ./. /// ./. .///. ... /. ./ / . .// .... ./ / .. ... .// ./. .. / / . /. .... . ./. . .. ... / ./. ../ . / ...

[1]
It was a stormy trip through the warp and felt like it would never end. The Mechanicus Magos watched the odd three-eyed crustaceous creature writhe in its jar as it reacted to the warp tides. I never could understand why the creature was there and my lowly status as a menial kept me from speaking to the Magos unless spoken to. I was here for no other reason than I had no current duties and was expected to attend His Eminence as he stared at his collection of Things I Can't Identify.

"How like a God he is, that ancient machine, primal of all his kind, the Titan! His mighty fists, massive like two towers of destruction, laden with the doom of mankind's bitter foes. He watches over us now as battle joins, and in his shadow we shall advance upon our enemies and defeat them." The Magos's voice was impressively augmented and resonated at just the right moments to induce awe in any he directly addressed. Fortunately for my diminutive sense of pride and not wanting to dirty my robes by kneeling he was aiming the main part of this projected voice away from me. There was more to the Sermon naturally but the first parts are always the most stirring, since they're supposed to get your attention.

I stood there and listened, attentive and noting places where Machanicus dogma might sit poorly with those not of our Order. My lowly status as Menial brought on by my denying more than slight traces of grace from the Omnissiah to be grafted into my body is occasionally rewarded by being able to help my more traditional brothers in relating with the outside world. Yes we hold the surviving sum of Humanity's knowledge, but it often isn't enough when having to work with the rest of the galaxy looking at us like near-heretical abominations.

Which I suppose is why I was told to attend His Eminence as he rehearsed his oration at the newly uncovered arachnotech dig site.

"Ave Imperium." The closing statement, 'Hail Imperium' for those that are unlearned, was followed by a smooth turn and inspection by the inhuman apparatus that have served as the Magos's eyes since before my father's father was conceived. He said nothing but the implied question hung in the air. It's somewhat strange that he would use this closing rather than the usual 'Ave Machina' or 'Ave Omnissiah', but in addition to the workers and researchers pouring over the dig site there are also several Guard units, settlers who had only just recently been folded back into the Imperium, missionaries, and Throne only knows what else. So sure, a little effort at Unity seems appropriate.

Naturally I couldn't just tell him that while the sounds were impressive and inspired the proper amount of awe the words would jar and rattle in disharmony. Most non-mechanicus would just head scratch and wonder rather than take anything useful from the sermon. I would be accused of being led about by obsolete weak biology. He might even behave grandfatherly in this chastation. He did want me to find ways to hone and refine his presentation though. So after a few of the minorist revisions he begin again...

...and again...

...Until it was time for us to board the Lady Alithea with the rest of our order. In addition to overseeing the rites of sanctification as well as continued rituals of restoration on the newly uncovered archiotech we have been charged with pacifying the machine spirits of cargo destined for use elsewhere planetside.


Were I judgmental I would have found the transport we were assigned to wanting. It was structurally sound and I could almost feel the satisfaction of the myriad Machine Spirits working in harmony and unity. My dissatisfaction rose from the monstrous black form I saw being tended to within the belly of the ship. It was Black as deep space, and it was ringed with purity seals, parchments containing rites of containment and threats of the worst sort to any that would dare sneak a peek at what was inside without permission. I saw this with one of the few sacraments of technology I had allowed myself in my journeys.

While they are patently inhuman and cast a baleful red glow in low light my eyes differ from what is more common amongst Machanicus adepts in that they fit within the same confined space an organic pair would. Handy since even if it does get a little unnerving for some being able to pass for 'normal' at a glance amid the teeming thousands on any given world my search takes me gives me a low profile.

Now that I think of it this one piece of grace represents a fare more unique blessing than most of my Brothers bare. So I suspect that I have been denied full admittance as a techpriest out of jealousy. Never mind most of the higher ranks have burned out their emotions in a quest for logic pure and unrestrained.

As I joined the other menials in prayer and ritual over several of the lesser mechanisms within our shuttle an idea came to me. At that moment I feared reactions to what was on my mind so when our labors were finished and the Machine Spirits placated I said nothing to my Brothers and decided I would wait until I saw Magos Feynman again.

Perhaps this thought is heretical and if so it would be well of me to seek out one as wise and learned in the Quest for Knowledge as he to help guide me through. If otherwise then perhaps I may help spread some small understanding of my Brothers and Myself through to those unenlightened masses of the Imperium.

After all it isn't their fault they were not gifted with minds capable of easily grasping our method and reason. Perhaps this will help ease the chaffing I often see between ours and other orders. Greased gears work far better than those that squeal and whine from the rust of Unreason and Disharmony.

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[2]
The device towered like a great black monolith in front of me. Strange that a menial such as myself was asked for, and stranger still that Magos Feynman wasn't doing the asking. It was even larger up close than I would have thought, and even though it was covered with runework and covered in purity seals I could not shake the uneasiness I'd felt ever since I'd come aboard.

"Halt and be identified." The voice would have been barely understandable by most people, but between my years within the Adeptus and enhanced hearing I could understand Brother Salvatore quite well. Unlike myself he was a traditionalist amongst my order and as such was blessed with a multitude of mechadendrites limbs fused to his body.

Even without these he is quite large, and in spite of having no true emotions he seems almost eager for combat and I didn't want to give him an excuse to use his right of summary judgment on anyone not supposed to be here. "Acolyte Malak Falco." I held my hands wide and stood still for him and spoke with even tones. "I am here on orders of Magos Torvhal."

Salvatore stood there muttering something in the acrid Machine Language which I could not decipher. more Machine Language burst from his Vox before he stepped to one side. "You may enter Acolyte. Ave Machina."

"Ave Machina." I pulled the hood of my robes up and entered the Device with my head bowed in reverence while chanting praise to the Omnissiah as I had been instructed beforehand.

Down a dark corridor that led me deeper inside I heard an answering chant. Even with my enhanced vision the light given off in the nave was feeble and left everything clouded in shadow. At the control pulpit stood Magos Sagen who nodded acknowledgment of my presence.

"You may seal the holy nave Acolyte Falco." His voice, unlike Salvatore's, was carefully crafted and shaped to inspire awe and reverence at each word. Even the unimportant ones like 'the' 'to' 'and' 'so' 'on'. With the nave sealed the mass begun. I cannot divulge the details, however I will summarize.
The sermon focused on the dangers of heretek and the false truths it holds. His voice rose and fell in waves, first condemning everyone in attendance for failing to do more than keep the Imperium from falling apart and at the same time praising us for keeping the light of knowledge from going out. It was a strange sermon, as it held much emotion and emotion is anathema to what the highest of our order demands from us. Still, when it concluded and we were offered communion I felt proud to be in attendance and was grateful that there would be mass held inside the device every day until we reached our destination.

Ave Machina.

After mass I was in the process of tending to an auto-scribe that had, according to the administratum that was charged with its use said it had seized an hour earlier and the few rites of reparation and appeasements she knew failed to please the machine's spirit. True it was low on the priority list, but when I had been taken aside by another in the Imperium that everyone seemed to either ignore or make light of I felt that my duties would allow for taking a few minutes to lend my opinion.

"You don't know how much this means. Datum does not copy itself and it feels like half the ship is getting a copy." She looked overworked and nervous, which didn't seem out of place given the penalties for failure potentially being monumental if her superiors were in a foul temper or the datum critical for the ship's operation.

I would have asked why she didn't have a servitor tasked with copying the datum, but then I thought she might have been ordered to do this as punishment for some prior transgression. So I kept my mouth shut as I followed her, though I did note that her robes did not entirely conceal a very fit and fine figure beneath. Strange that one with few physical demands would keep in shape, but one never knows what He may require of us. What? I notice these things. I'm a loyal member of the Mechanicus, but I'm still well aware of my base humanity and unlike those higher in my order it still has an affect on my thought processes.

I was led into what might have once been a spacious work area now filled to bursting with scrolls, printouts, and a slab of a desk that the auto-scribe lay with its inner workings exposed. I looked from the inactive machine to the woman babbling apologies for anything she might have done wrong.

"It is alright." I tried to keep my tone reassuring even though I was somewhat annoyed at how a few of the arms were positioned. Subtle signs like misaligned arms and too much paper in the feed gave good reason for me to think she had, even if unintentionally, mishandled the device and so angered the machine spirit enough to stop functioning out of spite.

My meager roll of tools, sacred oils, and incense spread out to one side of the device and as my mind focused itself on the ritual of repair I felt the rest of the world recede. My training took hold and my movements became crisp precise things following each portion of the ritual almost without any thought on my part. It pleased me when moments like this happened, as they were rare and represented the sort of peace I cannot find elsewhere in my life.

When I was finished I handed the woman a sheet of parchment inscribed with whatever was in the machine's cognitor.

"Emperor bless you." I swear she was in tears. I saw her, and by the grace of my eyes I saw the brief outline of a man standing in the gloom. It was only a glimmer before there was nothing but I knew what I saw. In a panic I fumbled for something to use as a makeshift weapon since I knew the laspistol tucked inside my robes couldn't be gotten to fast enough. The woman started babbling in a panic when she saw a bolter level at my head as the rest of the man flickered into visibility.

Strange that when I had every reason to believe an assassin was about to take my life the only thing I could think was that the bolter needed cleaning and its sights were slightly misaligned. "Speak one word of this. Raise your voice in any way when you answer me. Even look at me wrong and in the Emperor's Name I will end you. Do you understand?" As if the threat of a bolter round to the face wasn't intimidating enough he showed me his signet bearing the inquisition's seal.

Could it have been faked? Probably, at least the cosmetic parts weren't hard to duplicate, though if it acted in the same skeleton-key fashion that would have made duplication infinitely harder. Oh and that's if one sets aside the whole notion of what happens if you're caught impersonating an inquisitor. That nightmarish thought, which lasted only the briefest of moments, brought the chances of this being somehow less lethal and deadly earnest than I thought to less than zero percent.

I nodded, what else could I do? Tell the man, thickly built and perhaps even larger than Brother Salvatore, to step out an airlock into the Warp? He holstered his weapon and looked the both of us over. "Thank you Miri. go watch for any approaching."

The woman nodded once before practically bolting from there. The hard gaze was then turned fully on me. "I have no reason to believe you or Magos Feynman are heretics." Good news. "Most of the others techpriests that came with you I believe are." Not good news. "You will help me find out what they are up to." That sound I just heard must have been my chances of surviving making a running leap down a bottomless pit screaming the whole way down.

[3]
I'd seen her face before but couldn't place her name or function. That I could recognize her as female at all meant she was of the same lowly status I was. That familiarity nagged at me as I blocked, twirled, and counter-attacked my way through our mutual workout. It also got me knocked on my head a few times, but I've taken worse lumps so ignored the pain as best as I could once we cleaned and changed into utility robes.

I was one of several dozen tasked to aid in repairing one of the auxiliary subsystems of the ship. I could go into detail of what this piece of ancient and holy machinery did, but most reading this wouldn't care or know what I was speaking of without twenty thick volumes of reference material so I'll skip the details. My role would be minor, as I was not privileged enough for the actual rites. However to allow for the main ritual to take place several others had to be preformed in sequence and that was sufficiently vital yet trivial to have me involved.

Other acolytes were involved, the mystery woman from my excresize period included. The Emperor apparently has a sense of humor in giving me continued exposure to a trivial, yet unignorable, puzzle while I was in the middle of both routine vital tasks, not to mention an inquisitor wanting me to act as spy against a coven of heretics from my own order.

[4]
My duties as spy and informer for this mystery inquisitor involved, at least at first, only noting what I had seen and heard during my normal routine; including those things I have skimmed or outright skipped in this document because of their sensitive nature. For a few days this seemed to be enough and I was glad of it. Unfortunately he insisted I start nosing around, asking questions, and in general attempt to find more than I could passively. Naturally there was a bit of a problem to this since my sudden change in patterns would be noted.

He told me to do as I was told and reminded me, forcefully, that were I to be questioned his presence here was to be kept secret. This he emphasized quite effectively by rattling off the things that would happen to me if I somehow survived and the things that would happen to my family if I didn't.

Inquisitors are cheerful friendly folk aren't they? Anyway the days after were spent jumping at every sound, shadow, and even at nothing at all in several cases. I was fortunate in that the whole population of Lady Alithea was on edge and a collective bundle of nerves. Murmurs and whispers of the navigator feeling some wrongness beyond what was normal within the warp. When I'd passed this along I was ordered to go take a closer look at The Machine.

"Are you sure that's wise? I mean no disrespect but I'm sure my luck has been pressed enough as is." Hard to both be submissive and show resolve. Harder still when you're confronting somebody that could give summary judgment and dump me out the nearest airlock, or into a furnace, or something just as terminal if I had become a liability.

Instead of threatening he smiled at me. "I'm glad you have sense enough to worry Malak. What I'm asking of you is deathly dangerous, and I wouldn't ask if I felt it wasn't absolutely nessicary to stop this madness I've been sent to root out." Grim face with more than it's fair share of scars and a bionic eye looked back at me.

"I don't doubt that, but what if they already know they're being watched?" I tried bringing the point up because it had been bugging me for the past day and a half. What if they knew they were being watched and tried to further hide their doings. I couldn't fully articulate the notion, and can't even after later reflection while writing what would later be included this manuscript.
The Inquisitor eyed me carefully before quoting scripture, or at least appearing to since I wasn't familiar with the verse. "Though he is crafty and sly the Heretic will always reveal his misdeeds in the end." With that he was gone and I had work to do.


My implants served me well in my task of getting access to the Machine. I know not what caused Brother Salvatore to leave his post, but as soon as I was sure he was away I made my move and did not stop moving until I heard voices. It was fortunate that I had piping and wire to hide behind, though I dare not think how unsafe my hiding position was in those tense moments, as otherwise it is likely I would've been found out by the dozen or so gathered there.

Moments like these make me wish I had better standing with my order as the group spoke in the Holy Machine language. There was little movement and the sounds carried no emotion. Even though my eyes could see well beyond the limits of human eyes I could only make out that there were people there and little of individual detail.

A flurry of movement and one of those in the room jerked then went limp. I wondered if I saw some sort of falling out, or possibly a failed attempt at recruiting another to their cause. Whichever the case I remained still until long after they'd gone. I was tempted to see what Salvatore made of their procession but decided the risk of discovery made it not worth the trouble. Instead I went past the nave into the heart of the machine.

I was alone in the heart of a strange device built for a purpose only Throne knew at that point. There I saw men and women covered head to foot in tubes, wires, and other apperati. I knew they lived only by their faint murmured prayers. All of them faced me with heads bowed and eyes closed. All save for one barely recognizable face. My mind wanted to refuse the very thought as it formed.

"No." I hadn't realized I had spoken until after, and found I couldn't make myself stop.

"No." Louder, more of a sob than intentional word. I reached to the now painfully familiar man in front of me. "No... No." Unbidden and unwanted memories flicked through my mind summoned only by my own subconscious rather than some form of witchcraft.

The man's eyes opened and his sightless gaze locked on me. Hello my brother. We have much to discuss.

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[5]
I screamed.


Be quiet lest somebody finds you here. The corners of his mouth twitched into what might have been a frown. Be quiet or I will make you be quiet.

Painful memories rammed into my skull and I know not whether they were his doing or my own. He is my brother. What can I say there? What history should I share? My heart ached at the very idea that he was somehow mixed up in this. "Sark I... what?" Confusion would be the grossest understatement for how I felt.

As elaquent a speaker as always. Lips witched into a ghost of a smile. I would offer hospitality but we are short of time and there are things you must know.

I nodded and sought one of his hands with mine. The process he'd undergone while he was trained blinded him. Though he could sense me with his mind I wanted him to know I was there in a more tactile way. "I'm listening."
I felt something rummage in my mind then. We apologize for doing it in this way, but there is much to cover and you must make it out of here to warn your minder. I nodded again and squeezed his hand before it happened. I know not how to put the experience to words. Hours of lecturing. Images, sounds, smells. Experience got shoved through my skull. By the time it was over I was on my knees as close to weeping as a person without tear ducts can be.

Slowly, ever so slowly and on wobbly legs I stood. We will meet again. If not in this life then at the Emperor's side after. I felt myself being pushed by invisible hands to the door. Go!

My body did not belong to myself as I fled from the Machine. i did things I would not have thought to try and none noticed as I scurried from shadowed nook to shadowed nook. Even Brother Salvatore, who's eyes were even better than mine and possessed a machine-like mind that could not be swayed from task, seemed to not notice me. Only when I reached my pallet did this strange not-me presence recede.

That above statement makes it seem easy. My body was moving because something other than me was twitching it around. My brother I trusted, which is probably the only reason I didn't scream the whole way through. I cannot describe the sensation since 'unclean' 'unnatural' and 'pants browning terrifying' don't quite do the matter justice.


My sleep was filled with flashes of sense and memory that were not my own. It felt like I tumbled in this chaotic sea of information for hours before my mind started making something that came close to not-madness.
Strange snippets of life that weren't my own that all had a sense of pattern to them, even if the specific details were lost. Astropaths, newly bound to the Emperor, approached while they were still confused and adjusting to the loss of one or more of their physical senses.

Try imagining that if you would. Approaching the Golden Throne and having the Emperor touch your mind and soul binding them to his own. The training that leads to that point breaks many otherwise stout and good souls. This binding breaks still more, for only the best of the best can accept even the briefest touch, much less continued exposure.

Each was approached alone and promised their service would bring Light to the dark places of the Imperium, that their names would be remembered and revered. They only had to accept a single offer that would put them on a path away from the day to day workings of the Imperium.

The details differed between memories. Sometimes I could see who made this offer. Other times I couldn't. My Sight was dark. My Touch was numb. The offer was the same no matter the memory. Come with us and the Emperor Himself will bless you for it.

They had no reason to mistrust those that made the offer. These people were on Holy Terra and by that reasoning none but the most pure would have been allowed on it's soil. It was only after their bodies were laced with wires and shot through with tubes that connected them with the Machine and found that it was built of twisted Xeno Tek and worse. Far Worse than this though was that though they knew they had damned themselves the Machine would not allow them the Emperor's Mercy.

My eyes shot open well before I was supposed to wake. Dozens of voices were crying for help, and though the contact faded and the memories I'd swam through in my dreams were starting to fuzz I knew.

There was one final thing I knew from this contact, That thing forced me from my sleep and risk discovery to seek the Inquisitor out. Whether it was an intentional result or accidental byproduct my mind put details together that I otherwise wouldn't have wanted to acknowledge. Fell Deeds were in the making and a man whom I loved as a son loves his father had been slain so they might come to pass.


Lex Personallia

I come from what has been referred to either charitably as a midevil world, or uncharitably as a backwater cesspit full of heathen little better than xeno scum. Because of this handicap my first exposure to servitors was more than a little unsettling. Since I would like others from less gifted worlds wanting to go out into the wider galaxy to aid the imeprium I offer a brief and oversimplified explanation of the wider galaxy as I know it.

Most planets worship the Emperor in their own way. Many of these ways are strange to my mind, and some more than a bit unpleasant, but this variety is allowed for a very good reason. In the strife after His Ascension to the Golden Throne many worlds were cut from the rest of the Imperium by Warp Storms, Strife elsewhere keeping His servants from reuniting these lost places, and more than a few Xeno Abominations have cut whole swaths of the Imperium away. So their forms of worship had taken on decidedly local flavors. This is allowed, as near as i can tell, because attempting to do otherwise would be attempting to force the whole galaxy through the same mold, and that would cause far more division and probably outright rebellion when we can least afford it. So even the strangest forms of worship are allowed, albeit watched by the Inquisition for signs that the little differences add up to a larger heresy. I cannot rightly comprehend at what point this or that goes from strange but permissible to heresy that invites the Ruinous Powers a toehold that cannot be permitted, but they are tools made for the task and I am not.

Yes they're more real than the children's games and stories that most of us grow up with. Most people don't like talking about them, myself included, and I'm only doing so now because I have been instructed to and have help in choosing my words so [passage heavily marked out. Faint traces could partially read as 'I do not accidentally sentence myself to Death.'] misinformation is not spread.


I have been asked why I refer to myself as a menial when it is often more acceptable for one of my rank to be referred to as an acolyte. In response I can only claim being called menial by the more abusive of my order in an effort to segregate me from the other acolytes that have since risen in rank (some even advancing quite far while I'm still on the fringes hoping I will have proven my worth enough to be allowed to learn more.

Something else I've been asked. How does Ork technology work? Quite simply I have not a single clue. Between the strict regulation on the study of xeno tech, my lowly status, and the majority of what does manage to pass in front of my opteks being completely slagged one would have to ask better minds than mine. However if one asks this question from the standpoint of wanting to know how better to kill the foul xeno scum I have this. Use your heaviest weapons, sweep the area with fire, then go over everything again just to make sure not a single one can spread it's taint further.


One matter of confusion I have experienced often and in every pace my duties and faith have carried me. It is called 'Saint L'Matria's Skin', 'The Emperor's Bandages', and many many names besides. Whatever the name it is a roll of dull gray strips, sticky on one side and smooth glossy on the other, that can be easily torn and applied to hold things together with inspirational tenacity.

After much confferance with texts, meditation in the company of the most Holy and Complex Machine Spirits, and a fair amount of personal sifting Truth from Ignorance I have made the following observation. This material, of whatever name, has existed since before the Age of Technology and perhaps represents one of the earliest gifts the Omnissiah bestowed upon Humanity. I say this because of its ease of manufacture, near infinite usefulness, and reference have been found in documents from any age that we have managed to recover and transcribe for safekeeping.


It has been asked by many in the Imperial Navy, Guard, and even a few from my own order, what sort of welcome I receive on newly discovered worlds that have not yet been reintegrated with the imeprium. While my duties have taken me to dozens of worlds that either were newly rediscovered or barely explored I have only been privileged to set foot on two that still had a human population. On the first I was charged with acting as a spokesperson for Magos Feynman as the local people found my face easier to converse with than the honored Magos's augmentations. The other world was far less pleasant due to it being ruled by a twisted and perverted version of the Mechanicus that sought to deny all outsiders access to their world. It is unfortunate but that place had to be destroyed for the good of the rest of the system. It is my understanding that once it was confirmed the heretics had been expunged has since been resettled and serves as an agriculture world that will feed many billions of loyal subjects.


Why am I the way I am when it obviously puts me at a liability within my order's structure and risks my being viewed as a heretic and traitor? The answer to that is far from simple and I'm afraid any attempt would fail utterly. Instead I will point to the portion of my life I have shared through this manuscript and state that should be explanation enough.

Any portrayal of Mechindrils as some sort of erotic perversion is little more than base lies and ill-crafted humor. Those graced with these additions would never indulge in such... base ...actions.

Likewise the Adeptus Mechanicus does not, never has, and never shall worship a Machine-Planet that seeks to consume the rest of the Universe in attempt to satiate a never-ending hunger. In fact records clearly state in M37 479 such an abomination was found both worshiped and constructed by Traitors and Heretics from my order that had seen it as the new vassal for the Omnissiah to inhabit. The rite of Exterminatus was authorized by one Roderic Percival by way of void torpedo barrage to temporarily stun the foul creation while he made use of The Omnissiah's Right Hand to rend it into nothingness. [The Omnissiah's Right Hand is a device that I have found no other reference to so cannot be sure of it's actual existance.] Though it has been made a priority of any Explorator ship to continue looking for signs of other such abominations none have since been found. Next.


Bolter, Laspistol, Flamer, Melta... What weapon would I like to have were I forced to fight? My first choice would have to be raining Fire and Death down from orbit via Naval Ship, or if I had to be on the same world as whatever I was facing an Emperor-class Titan.

The question, often asked by men and women that live by violent means, implies close combat which leaves both of these options unavalible. So with that I have to say my favored weapons are the power axe I've trained and have become quite comfortable with since joining the Adeptus. If I were restricted to guns I have to go with a somewhat strange choice in the form of a Derringer-patterned laspistol I have kept with me since before my brother was taken by the Black Ships. It's machine-spirit has proven nearly impossible to anger and though it holds less of a charge than other bulkier models, it does the job it was designed for admirably, and it holds much personal value to me.


Mention and hints have been laced through this manuscript of some supposed adventure my brother and I faced before he was collected by the Black Ships and I had been carried for induction and training by the Mechanicus. I will repeat an earlier statement. I will not go into the matter further in such an impersonal manner. My life and history are my own and other than my brother only the Emperor knows the full detail of what happened.

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And thus concludes Part 1 of what I hope wont' lose momentum. Thoughts, commentary. Any of that is welcome, but understand due to my lack of home internet will limit when I can make a proper reply.

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Been awhile since I posted anything here, and for that I apologize, as i"m probably shooting myself in the foot for long updates.

[6]
"Psychers?" The Inquisitor, who's name I still hadn't learned, paced. "Why Astropaths?" His voice seemed thoughtful more than intended question.
Miri fidgeted with a string of prayer beads while she watched the two of us. I had explained what I had both seen and was shown. Though I'm sure he has misgivings over the memories and other imagry I was shown he agreed that I saw the true direction of things even though he also suspected there was much that had withheld.
"Maybe," She eyed both of us nervously to make sure we were paying her attention. "Maybe they want to use the connection they have with the Emperor somehow. Did any of what you were shown point at any end design?"
I thought the matter over a few moments, turning what facts I had over this way and that. "Only that whoever is responsible for this wanted to make sure they couldn't burn themselves out, kill themselves or each other, or cause something called a harmonic feedback loop through the machine to destroy it." This last was something that most of the memories I had been given emphaticly pointed at. The Machine's designers wanted to make sure those bound would be slaves, willing or otherwise, and unable to affect anything viewed as vital.
"Acolyte Falco." The Inquisitor's tone was formal, "When you were in the machine you said you saw some sort of struggle. Go through that again." This wasn't a request and though it hurt to think about I had little choice but to retell those few seconds I caught first plain as I recalled them on my own, then again with the touches and additions brought by the psycher's imprint's in my mind. The task of seperating my memories from their impressions were difficult, and even though the intent was to alert others to foul deeds in the making the touch still left me feeling unclean.
"Sir, he's told everything he knows," Miri looked first to us then back through the other side of the doorway she was standing in. "Maybe it's best to leave, pick up again later after we've done more digging."
He looked thoughtful as he considered her. "Yes. Maybe time will give us clarity." He nodded at his own words before focusing on me. "You will keep an eye on what they're doing but Do. Not. make further contact with these psychers. Enough risk was taken the first time. No sense lettimg them use witchcraft on you, especially now that we've been made aware of things. Yes?"
I nodded and was dismissed. There was a strangeness to this new pattern that had been added to the routine of my existaince via this chain of events. One that had both lent me greater purpose than my lowly status would have normally allowed and taken someone- no that's not right. Magos Feynman, may the Emperor honor his name and memory, would have died no matter what my involvement would have been.
That is when the full wieght of realization hit. My mentor, friend, and surrogate father was gone, men whom I had been taught to revear as a short step below our God-Emperor were in league with Ruinous Powers, and they had taken my brother and used him for what vile ends I could not then know. My mind sought something to fill that sudden void with. Rage was immidiate and powerful, but unproductive. Dispare was rejected even before it could form, I would grieve later. Work was what I needed.

Even with strange and dark business afoot there is always work of the more mundane sort to be done. Actually with this being a joint Navy-Mechanicus operation there was even more work than usual for the Brothers and Sisters of my order. There were people to train and oversee during live practice sessions for one. While I was only a menial, I had been given the privilage of passing on those most basic of rituals that would be nessicary even for the least mechanically minded person on ship to know.
Perhaps Sister Ming Wa understood me well enough to know this sudden wieght of responsibility would keep me from drawing in on myself. Maybe it was His Will. It could, of course, have been my new 'friend' with the shiny signet ring of 'you will do whatever I tell you Right Now.' Didn't know. Didn't care. At that moment I was too busy trying to keep my new pupils from killing themselves, killing me, or causing the section of ship we were in to blow up.
I apologize to any in the navy reading this, as it may seem like I belittle the intelligance and aptitude of it's people. Let me state now, and for the record, that this process of learning went far smoother than a few other courses I had to assist in. None were hurt outside of a few minor burns and shallow cuts. During the three hours, at least according to my chrono it was three hours, those that I instructed seemed curious at my willingness to treat them as intelligent equels and possibly as a result they actually listened to what I had to say.
I'd even been privilaged in observing a few advanced techniques in field medicine when one of my students needed their heart restarted, but we'll not hold it against the poor soul. Everyone makes mistakes, and since he didn't die or lose anything in the process I count it as a learning experiance.

"Yes Robert?" My request that those learning from me ask questions or otherwise call for my attention if they become lost had been rewarded in the form of one Robert Young. I never learned the man's rank, but he seemed of curious mind and a quick study.
He eyed the tangle of wires I had just spliced and patched. "Why not untangle them while you have power routed elsewhere? Surely someone will come along and get hurt if they grab the wrong portion of the tangle."
Moments like this amuse me to no end, since I've made the same mistake often. "Ordinarily yes, but this 'tangle' as you call it is actually a collection of wires precicely looped thorugh and around eachother to negate any unwanted emotional feedback from the many operators throughout this ship who will doubtlessly become frustrated."
I smiled as Robert's hand was busy taking notes. "Furthermore if one were to place a bit of iron, such as this bar," I picked up a thumb thick iron rod up and held it up so the entire class could see, "and put it near this collection like so." I moved the rod to within arm's reach of the mass and had to strain to keep it from being yanked out of my grasp. "One will notice we have a very powerful magnetic field. Now class, can anyone tell me why this is important?"

Another time and place on ship I was elbow deep in a partially dismantled assembly covered in grime and fouled lubricant, cleansing the device so the proper rituals of repair could be preformed. I knew not everything about what this device did. However I had noted several bundles of cabling moving from where I was to the Black Device where my brother was held prisoner.
My duties ended with the cleaning of this device and the concecration of the tools used in the actual ritual. Those tasked with the repair and upkeep of this would note anything I attempted to do to hinder it's spirit's appointed task. Even though my brother's prison was not the only, or even key portion of, it's job I could not sit idle.
"I know not if you wish to hear me." My voice was low and the noise around us would have made it hard to hear even shouting. "It is not your fault for what has happened." None saw me, yet I could not make myself say that heretics were in control of this ship. "They took someone dear to me and I have no way to help them." Thankfully this act of cleansing required no vocal incantation.
"Your duties are vast and of paramount import to our safty." My hands moved in precice almost mechanized motions. Even with my heart heavy with grief my body was trained too well in its task to deviate. "Help me."
"With what Acolyte Falco?" Sister Ming Wa's voice would have been difficult to understand without long years listening to poorly augmented voices would I have made anything out without her repeating herself. Her bulky form, one carefully crafted over a century of service, was just then kneeling over me while she inspected my work. "Your portion has been done effectivly and well. You may go now and tend to Clarke's manuscript."
"Honor to serve Sister." I bowed my head to her while getting to my feet and gathered the different bits of kit I'd used. With head still bowed I left the chamber for the ship's library. Saint Artur Cassius Clarke. His Thiesus on Xeno Tek representing a portion, albeit flawed and warped by being channled through degenerate Xeno minds, of the Omnissiah's wisdom has always been a favorite of mine.
While many would see being tasked with pouring over the ship's copy and comparing it to a master duplicate for signs of flaws in the transcription as a punishment since it is a document considered edging dangerously close to heresy in some circles and it is an exceedingly large text. Still, it allows me to be productive while indulging in a favorite book. Take what pleasures you can when darkness seems to be everywhere.

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[7]

Later that day I was called in to assist in inspecting the power conduit's failure. Immidiately after the assimbled techpriest's left the entire chamber failed spectacularly. It wasn't until I saw the blackened and twisted equipment being pulled into a nearby hallway I realized just how severe the failure was.
Then they started stacking twisted and burnt bodies with the ruined and dead machinery. I made the sign of the Aquilla as I passed.
Inside I saw where several of my order had already started pouring over the likeliest failure points. Quickly I'd moved to stop a fellow menial from grabbing what might have been a servitor. We were to touch nothing unless explicitly told to do so. Whole investigations have been ruined by someone thinking they had done good in cleaning up after.
Had my confession to the spirits caused them to fail en mass to prevent themselves being further misused? Don't laugh! I've seen otherwise orderly and predictable devices do extraordinarily strange things when demands have been placed on them.
Though I wasn't sure of my involvement in the failure I was quite sure that the release of the sacred smoke had caused a number of personnel to see the infimarian for inhalation sickness and at least one case of <i>Whiteman's Sickness</i> Strange that any would come down with that condition, as the trigger for it has always been an massive dose of-
Mind Lock. Irrational. Impose Order. Reassess. Reintigrating Dissonant Element. Resume Thought.
-Emperor's Mercy on top of all I had to endure. Deep breaths. I will endure. I <i>must</i> endure. Small mercy they made everyone not blessed with an augmented resparation system to wear filtration masks. They're not always effective, but it's better than nothing.

When next I reported to Miri and her employer I asked when he would pass judgement on this inreasingly cursed vessle.
"I will do no such thing." I stared at him in disbelief even while he started explaining himself. "This... device is supposed to go somewhere. I have made contact with others to deal with those on board when the time is right. However I will not allow a larger coven of traitors to escape for want of persicuting their underlings. The Device is to remain observed but unharmed. Am I understood?"
I grumbled something rude, but unintellidgable.
"Were it only involving those on this ship," Hard tone, but no anger. At least there was none directed at me it seemed. "I would have no qualms destroying them immediately and utterly. Because they intend on delivering this obscenity to some other party I am forced to wait, and pray that my desire for finding those at the heart of this does not cost too many lives."
Comprehension dawned on me then. "I will do all that I can to speed repairs then."
"As well you should. Breaking things, or even letting them stay broken, does not suit you."
I turned to go and was surprised when Miri started walking with me. Though I dared not discuss our shared overseer I had things I wanted to know from her, though most I choose not to share in this volume, as it is of no concern of anybody else's. However I will say that we have many common interests outside of our chosen vocations, and I would not find working with her under more peaceful conditions disagreeable.

My workout period forced my mind on the unpleasent reality that my body was given the ability to feel pain for a reason. Brother Salvatore seemed, even though he had long sense burned emotion from his concious mind, to enjoy thrashing me within an inch of my life. He did not walk away from our session untouched, and even complamented me on catching him in the face. Though this was all but drownd out by his avalanch of critisism. Still, he seems genuine in his faith and I did not want to entertain the notion he might be somehow knowingly involved. We didn't get along, but that's a far cry from believing the man capible of treason.

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[8]
Rest is something I thank the Emperor for. It allows one to rejuvinate the body and, as was the case the waking period that followed, a much needed enforced unfocusing of the mind so that potential courses of action not considered before suddenly snap to the front of thought. The Lady Alithea is an aged vessel, and doubtlessly its logs and histories would confirm the insight sound rest had brought about.
My mind refused to focus on morning rituals for fear that turning my attention would cause the entire train of thought to be lost. No! Couldn't allow that. Everyone familiar with me knew I was distracted but I cared not. When I was free to go about my duties I practically ran through to find the archives.
That's when reality sunk in. Ships have a very limited amount of space. While yes there was a place for the ship's histories what I found was a heavily pared down version, scrubbed of all but the most inflated and overblown encounters over it's long life of service.
Wish not for the tool that is not on hand. Instead complete your Holy Task with what is avalible.
"What seems to be the matter Novice?" Frail man that could have been a servitor, or simply used to subservant mannarisms.
I could not ignore this attendant and not raise some sort of flag through the system. So with a deep breath and a moment to focus on my response I faced him. "I am seeking past instances of unruliness with the power systems to better aid Sister Ming Wa's repairs."
I was met with a skeptic's expression, "Why not then consult the sacrid diagrams and builder's charts?" Overly patiant voice. Focus on logic, cool mechanical precice logic. It is only logic that drives the question after all, not assumption of frailty.
"The repeted failures and the latest fire has made the Honored Sister consider looking at nonobvious causes. While she follows a coven of engiseers along the obvious paths she has directed myself and Novice Carpenter to each explore other possibilities." While not a lie, in that this was exactly what I had been ordered to do it did not contain the full trueth or my suspicions on cause.
The Device is what is to blame here. I knew it, but without following proper forms I could not explain to her or the [strike]Murderus Trait-[/strike] Honored Magi overseeing the Device how I surmised the infernal hertek that held my brother was drawing far too much power for the machines between the ship's power plant and it to properly channel.
Perhaps something showed in my manner or expression, or maybe this attendant saw fit to wonder why a mere novice was tasked with assisting an investigation especially without direct supervision.
"Well?" My voice impatiant. "Must I search myself?"
The man shook himself and his eyes refocused, "No, Novice Falco, Your request is merely unusual and I have been tasked with noting any peculiarities."
Unhappy thought but I chose not to ask on who's order. That would also be reported and even if suspicion was wrong the question would be acting above my station. Instead I rattled off the conduit's identification number as well as the identifiers for as many of the devices pulled from the ruin that it had turned to.
"It will take some time, and as you know most of our records are held off ship to conserve space." He seemed apologetic, and I sympathized with the man. Though I'm sure he had taken vows to never actually read the contents of this library being unable to hand over complete and detailed datum and histories had to grate.
As I walked with him, shortening my stride to match his, I caught sight of Miri passing through with an attendent of her own. We nodded in recognition to eachother but that was all. Just two persons about their different tasks. Right. Rust and Ruin why must a well formed woman make an otherwise orderly mind fall to pieces?

"No." I pushed a partially unrolled scroll aside. "Not there either." Even with a life of quiet study sorting through the pile of scrolls, loosely bound papers, metal and leather bound tomes, and even a few datum crystals was tiring.
The... I still wasn't sure if it was person or servitor slumped at my frustration. "Perhaps something more specific than 'general calamities?" It offered patiantly. "What other qualities make you think the answer might be found here?"
Why indeed. There was that accursed spore-dust, but records clearly showed a thorough ship-wide clensing a little over a year ago. Still, it was decidedly out of place and so must be accounted for. "Saint Vitas Calamity." Whiteman's Disease. It had several names actually and I'd learned of it as a by-product of my study in potential hazards to look for when concicrating unfunctional devices. I was careful to keep my tone even. "Spores were found amid the removed equipment. The churgeons had found more than a little in the dead, but consistent with how much could have simply been breathed in."
The man, for I knew no servitor to show fear, or go wide eyed with terror. "Here? On my ship?" He scurried off far quicker than his spindly frame would have suggested possible.
I hurried to follow, all the while hearing muttered oaths and curses at this or that and nine other different things besides. He eventually stopped, turned sharply, and handed me an ancient book covered not only in the usual date stamps but also purity seals and hexigramic wards. "Here is your answer young novice. Now I shall trust you to return this when you are finished." He turned from me and promptly marched away. Strange that he should be so forceful, or that he would allow me to look on this book alone when he had insisted he be preasent at all other times.
Mind blotted out fear, questions, and anything else but what was needed to start taking notes once the book was open in front of me. Saint Vitas Calamity. It had first been used as an assasin's weapon in the Narn system. In the later stages, once Guard units were called in to restore order it was discovered that those that were not killed outright had become breeding incubators.
Curious. I knew of it's origins but not this. It's killing then using the host-corpse as a breeding vessel was bad enough. That survivors could infect those a-
STOP!
Halt Process. Review materials. Allow Not Emotion to Cloud Judgement.
All who had participated in the cleansing and repair had been thoroughly evaluated, and more than a few culled and incenerated for fear of contamination. We were as safe as being in the hands of traitors allowed.
Officially the foul spore had come about because one of the infected was too timid to request proper inceneration and Voiding of the remains and chose instead to kill themselves in that place where none usually went. Personally it was my belief that a quantity of this had been smuggled on board and someone intentionally infected, then killed. Why though? Examination of the facts and speculation based on other information was needed. It was deemed outlaw even amongst the different death-cults deemed loathsom but permissable within the imperium because once enough had been inhaled and taken root there was no cure other than containment and dousing the whole area in lit promethium
How did I know this? Believe it or not I asked. I asked the churgeons tasked with sanitization of those potentially exposed (which included myself) as well as my dour and grim employer. I also asked why the entire ship wasn't destroyed to make certain the ruinous seed could not spread. Unknown, but have to assume the heretics that held sway were responsible for that. Funny. My life spared, if only for the moment, by treacherous scum. Of course it was put in deathly peril in the first place by that scum, so it evens out to an extent.
Just what, if anything, had I learned other than this foulness could use a living host as well as a corpse? In M39 451 this ship had once served in a mercy mission to the Narn system at the end of their assasin wars. It was, in theory, possible that the spore had gotten lodged in at that point, been overlooked by careless mantinance and successive cleaning crews hadn't thought to look through because the ship had already been scoured.
The conduit that ran through the substation I was investigating had been installed shortly after this supposed scouring while still within the Narn system. Suspicious that a refit would have been allowed in a system that was still deemed under quarintine, but prior and further examination showed no outbreaks, no crewmembers up until my own encounter had been exposed to this. Logical seeming cause, but the lack of previous cases was telling. If this were included on ship then surely any case of infection or other hint at spore would have also been noted.
At least one of the Magi on board deals in gene-seed modification and alterations. Perhaps he had brought the foulness with him as a preferred means of removing unwelcome opposition where he could blame the ship's history on anything later found. Even if that wasn't true before the news of this being found would have surely alerted him to the possibility. Perhaps the call to clense and thoroughly sanctify the other less-used corners of this vessel were to purge any other forgotten traces, or perhaps to scout for more samples to use as ammunition against their opposition.

My mind has been conditioned as part of my training, yet it also can recall in too-vivid detail all those pulp and campfire tales of the great Caiciphus Cain, Cadian Guard verses all manner of Mutaint and Xeno menice, and Pirates by the dozen. Here I was sitting in one of these stories of heresy and heroics. My child-self would have been thrilled at the prospect. My current-self, however, wanted nothing more than to go back to the quiet contemplation of study and the occasional ritual.

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And with this segment we're back up to date.

[9]
I lay on a bed that was far more comfortable than the pallet I was used to. A gap existed in my memory. One moment I was laying strung out from my brother's assault on my mind. The next was void, and the one after that I lay here being tended to by a young hospitalar. Pure and radiant mercy was she. White clothes dotted here and about by tools and viles.
"Ah, finally awake." I tried smiling at her but the effort was just too much for my worn out body. "You were found collapsed in miss Sterling's quarters babbling something about dust and ruin. Do you remember anything?" Calm and professional. Heartening to put one's life in the hands of someone who was competent and caring of one's welfare.
"I..." Thoughts rearranged themselves with pleasing quickness and percision. "Sister Ming Wa had directed me to seek the likeliest root cause for Saint Vitas Calamity to be on ship." I finished, expecting the horror of this to be enough to explain my shaken and weakened state.
The Hospitalar gave me a sympathetic look. "It is a most horrible thing and you have my sympathies. Yet this does not explain where you were found."
Logically there was no good reason for me to be there. Logic and Sacrid Proceedure dictated I report first to Sister Ming Wa with my findings before all else. Yet I do not remember giving any such report. Confusion must have been plainly visible, that or fear. "Don't worry." Soft hand patted my shoulder gently. "We all have friends we go to in times of stress. Be at ease now. You are safe and well in body, if not in mind."
Mental sigh of relief. They had assumed Miri and I were merely having some sort of affair and I had sought her out to help order my thoughts. Possibly, that or I had been discovered and they wished to keep me at ease. I did not like dwelling on that thought so I filed it away. "What of the lady?" Weak but steady voice. With my brother's influence removed my aches were only ghostly, remembered pain rather than continued strain.
"She's the reason you were brought to us. Though she was questioned after I am given to tell you she is in no danger and that she acted out of concern for you." What was she getting. I smelled incense. Different than the sort I used in cleansing rituals, but related.
"What is that Sister? It smelles vuagely familiar." Easy conversation. Something to keep the mind from slipping back into obvlivion. Could not afford to continue idle while events moved around me. "Clarintine's Thornbrush?"
"Extract of Marlow Root mixed with Dragonscale seed actually." Calm voice. soothing. "Rest now."
I struggled to sit up and failed. "Forgive me but I canot be inactive. Not with this investigation-"
"That has moved along fine without you Novice Falco." Stern now her voice was. "You will rest. Those are your orders both from your caregiver and from Sister ming Wa herself. You will rest until I deem you ready to leave my care." No room for argument she left me.
Did not want to sit there. Couldn't afford to not be moving. What if I was found out? What if- Smelled nice. What...? Maybe a nap wouldn't be so bad after all.

I woke to soft-spoken prayers and the smells of blessed machining oils mingled with incense. My vision focused and I saw Acolyte Carpenter leading a small circle in prayer around me. "-wish for the return of your servant to well-being so that he can continue in Your Service."
Touching really that they would go to the trouble. I moved weakly, but enough to call attention to myself. "I thank you." Weak but steady. It felt like all I needed was rest. "Who has been taking over my duties?"
Acolyte Carpenter. Big man, a face and expression I would always associate with joy no matter the hardship. He grinned at me. "While you have taken your ease Malak I have been tasked with shouldering the extra load." He motioned for me to keep quiet. "It's nothing and I'm sure you would have done the same were our positions reversed. Now. How do you feel?"
"Tired in mind and body, but that is nothing getting out of this sickbed won't put right." With only a little help I managed to get to my feet. "Too much idleness and too much time for my mind to roam unfocused."
Several of the others, all freash faced and it shames me that a few already were ranked higher than I, explained that they had been sent by Sister Ming Wa to collect me when I was deemed fit to leave. Why though? Nothing good could come of her wishing to hurry things along. Even so I was glad to be away from that place. Comfortable it was, but even putting aside fears of conspiricy and psychers and whatnot my place is not here. Good riddance and Throne bless those that must work this depressing place.
It was only after I had reached my sparce quarters that I realized a note had been tucked into my robes.

'Malak I know not who elsewill read this so I will be brief. On learning of our.... situation ...Sister Ming Wa had me taken for questioning. Though her manner fair and questions reasonable I believe she wants us to mantain a respectful distaince from eachother lest my influence interfere with your duties. I believe she is willing to allow several periods where we may go about our matters, but for the time being we must be apart.'

No signature. Crisp handwriting with what looked like iron ball ink and a newly cleaned styalus. I read the note again and frowned. Plain language with no hint of a cypher. We hadn't really had any sort of unseemly relations no matter what my flresh wanted whenever thoughts of her came to mind. Still, that is what others assumed and it was better to own up to an expected and straightforward offence than to have to explain a thing you've been sworn on pain of death and excommunication to keep silent.
That we would see eachother later both made me glad, as Miri was a most capible Regicide player and an apt pupil in spite of my not having time or authority to teach more than the base and common rites and sanctifications. At thesame time there was the unfortunate problem of reality. She was beholden to Mr Gloomy Inquisitor and there were heretics on our ship. That took importance over all else.
By the time I'd changed into clean robes, checked to make sure my laspistol was going to be in easy reach beneath the fresh set and that my sparce sleeping area was tidy I set out to meet with Ming Wa now that I was presentable.
A face made mostly of prosthetics is hard to read and an artificial voice just as difficult to sort subtleties from, so I tried to tell the paranoia building in me she really was a direct and to the point person rather than putting on some form of act for the past century and a half.
"Sit Acolyte Falco." She gestured to an uncomfortable looking metal chair opposit her desk. When I did as requested she got to her feet and loked dow nat me. "What am I to do with you?"
"I... am afraid I do not understand Sister." I did my best to keep my voice meek and my expression neutral. "Why must anything be 'done' in the first place?"
She grunted, "Improper relations with one of the ship's administorum, your... unorthidox behavior tolerated and to an extent encouraged by Magos Feynman,"Her gaze moved to where my laspistol was holstered, "you also going about armed." Interesting, I had heard of implantable auspex but I had discounted the idea as superstition and heresay from the unenlightened masses.
Silence. I sat there and waited. In the strictest inturpretations of proceedure I would be lucky to be cast out after having my augments removed. Being blind and without any posessions is lucky compared to the far stricter punishment of becoming a specialized servator. So I waited until she spoke next or indicated it was my turn to say something.
After letting this sit and soak for several moments she continued onward. "Yet at the same time you have achived swift resolutions in several situations where we would normally have to use unpleasent and oft counterproductive measures that would have taken months, rather than hours, of our time. You have also, outside of your eccentricies, shown yourself to be a capible learner and effeciant worker. It would be a shame to lose you as well as the Magi you served under."
Again I waited. What was I supposed to say, 'don't frak with my brain please ma'am' 'Please don't take my eyes'? She was likely building up to something wit hthis meeting.
Nor did my intuition dissapoint. She sat again and pulled a thick brass bound book covered in holy runes and affixed with the late Magi's personal seal. "Malak Falco." Her voice taking on an official quality to it. "Magos Feynman Elrich named you as successor and inheretor to his Life Quest. He also had placed, via astropath, put in a formal request for your elevation."
My mind didn't quite grasp that. The honored Magi had made it his Life's Quest to find the Omnissiah's Right Hand. An artifact of great and terrible power that could lay entire worlds to Oblivion, or bring life to otherwise sterile Dead worlds. I had assisted in his search as soon as I was deemed fit to leave Schola, before I was truely fit to leave actually as I was to complete my last year of training while under his tutalage.
"Acolyte Falco." Dim recolection of where I was.
"I hear you Sister." Slightly nervouce, which was a bare fraction of how I felt. I was to complete his life's quest.... and I would be elevated so that i stood at equel rank with those that had tormented and hounded me. Most of them anyway.
A humorless smile, or rather an attempt at one, made the corners of her lips move. Amazing that one couldn't see the microscopic servators and cogwheels moving her face. The wonders of technology at work. "As tragic as Feynman's death was our duties ever move onward."
A datum pad was slid across the desk towards me. "You will be expected to assist in the operations of this ship until we disembark. Once planetside a conclave shall be called to make official and record your new position and duties. Congradulations Techpriest Falco."

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-10, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Pretty sure I'm shooting myself in the foot here but other than formatting problems anyone have anything to say so far? Commentary and or advice... or even corrections on where I've probably made mince of fluff are always welcome and are kindof the entire point to me posting here as well as in blog.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-01-10, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Moving Onward!

* * * * * * * * * * *


My account, so far, seems to have ignored the fact my morning routine ever since that first invitatio nwas to attend ceremonies inside the invernal prison-box. This is less intentional and more due to nothing of real consiquince going on at these services, by and large, other than the usual sacraments and holy texts being read. That plans weren't being discussed openly unless it was via the machine-language bursts at the begining and close of each service was heartening. Not only was I likely not alone there, but even though he was a heretic and traitor I have to grudgingly admit that Magos Torvhal chose his readings well and had a voice crafted, boht by long practice and via his augments I'm sure, to play to a crowd. I knew he was a heretic, traitor, and a murderer, but one can respect an enemy's skill so long as one isn't seduced in the process.

The morning after my unofficial elevation, for the official recognition and ceremony would only come after we had made planetfall, I was goaded by several of my old tormenters in the form of being ordered to do this or that suitibly disgusting or trivial task in an attempt to get a reaction out of me. It was tempting to tell them they could all frak off, but that wouldn't do. Not only did they still hold seniority over me, but raising to the bait provided was exactly what they would want me to do in the first place.
Still, I enjoyed the look on their faces when I informed them, politely, that their requests would have to fall to others as my promotion brought more important tasks that required immediate attention. Repairing a conference room hololith might not be high priority but it was the first repair I would be leading. Silent prayers of thanks for Sister Ming Wa's giving me something relatively important, but also relatively easy as a first task. I also noted that this assignment would put me well away from where the malfunctioning power relays were.
The whole time while making my way there was spent wondering just how much she knew of my associates. Dishonesty, thankfully or not as you view such matters, has never been a strong point of mine so attempting to find what game, if any, she might have been playing was a puzzle I would leave in someone else's lap.
Of course since i was probably found out by now, or had to presume as such, I double checked the acolyte's preperations. In all fairness they took my inspection with far less hostility than I might have and seemed to believe that it was well within my position to check over their work.
Good thing I did. Even without assasination attempts enough power rolls through these things to cause anything from an embarassing but livable surge that fuses several key components together but little else, to sparking a fire that could kill everyone in the compartment before it could be contained. When I found the problem, and I apologise for not going into detail for the sake of those disinterested in the Omnissiah's Mysteries, I took the entire group aside, though I knew the spot lesson would put me behind schedual, and gave them a brief lesson in what they'd done wrong, how to avoid it in the future, and told them to report to Brother Leon D'Sheliac with my report once we were finished.
Of course even when repairs were complete and they trudged off for whatever punishment Brother Leon saw fit to shoulder them with I had to stay and make sure the hololith worked, at least as much as those things ever seem to and apply the proper amount of physical encouragment for the device's spirit to see fit to keep functioning.


Later, much later, I was cornered by a new threat to my peace of mine. Navy, Guard, I think they were Guard but I couldn't be sure. In any event they had a few too many rounds and were looking for easy amusement, which seemed that night t obe trying to see if a techpriest could shoot better than them at the ship's practice range.
Ordinarily I wouldn't bother as what skill I posess with the laspistol I keep on my person is nowhere up to millitary standards and I normally have more pressing business. That nighth tough I had a free period before evening rest and they were extraordinarily inebriated so I figured why not amuse myself?

Frankly I was lucky none of them killed themselves, me, or anyone in the impromptu audiance that had gathered. Much laughter when I drew my little pistol. It only had a handful of shots and couldn't fire full-auto but by the Throne it was mine, I knew every single one of it's quirks and had kept it in good condition. Twenty shots to their sixty, it was unfair but I had agreed on a one clip rule and though they were drunk they managed to hit their designated targets more often than not. I lost, but even though they whooped and hollered and such there were more than a few approving nods when I inspected my weapon, managed to find a replacement power pack that would fit, and made sure it was secure.

Back to my usual bunk, as most of my Brothers had no real need for sleep I had remained with the acolytes on ship. I wondered if I should risk getting the implants needed to eliminate that weakness in me or not. I'd seen others that had gone through the process that were otherwise capible of social interaction.

I banished the thought with a flick of my will before pulling my lapdesk out to take notes of the day's events. I was accepted, if only marginally. Sister Ming Wa, though disagreeing on a few points with Magos Feynman's methods seemed supportive enough. Lovers compose letters when they are apart don't they? There was no cypher hidden in my message, as I was afraid any I attempted would be broken with laughable ease by my enemies. So I kept it to a simple set of observations of my day and asked when she would be avalible for a game of Regicide.

Throne only knows how badly I would need her company in the comming week. Had I known we would be disembarking and what that would have put on my shoulders now that I had some formal responsabilities other than 'be on hand if anyone yells for help' I'm unsure if I could have kept from running away screaming.

Cheapie Theatre
Updated four times a week. If you want something to read and have ten minutes to kill. Here you go.
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