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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-24-11, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Default A Warped Perspective

It's that special time again- I've got too much free time on my hands!

--------


++There are untold quadrillions upon quadrillions of humans in this galaxy- so many in fact that the Imperium of Man would not even attempt to take the census. Millions are born daily and damned by their birth to toil their lives away at a single job till death takes them. Billions have rarely ventured outside their hives and will never breathe unpolluted air or see actual sunlight. They cannot seek refuge in voice or thought under pain of death even though they would still never be heard amongst the sea of human masses. They are as significant as single atomic components in a snowflake boiling on asphalt and just as short lived. Even the release of death brings no relief as their very essence is fed to the Emperor of Mankind just to sate his voracious hunger.

Life at its best is silent, existential misery. At its worst, it is a cascade of howling nightmares within and without on an indescribable scale.

To be an Imperial citizen is to be the sediment festering deep at the bottom of the world. To be an Imperial citizen is to be nothing. But when you are nothing, you have nothing to lose.

Beyond the confines of humanity lies unlimited potential for those who boast the courage, desperation, ambition or madness to turn against their morbid civilization. To embrace such rebellion is to embrace death… And yet, to confirm to the familiar is to embrace death as well.

This trail is the far lesser travelled, but even then its ground is as moist and red as clay from the untold millions who die along its trail trying to reach the prizes at the end. Unlike this path where death is one of two endings of such a journey, the Imperium offers death and death alone. The stakes are towering and your blood is as welcome as any others, but even with only a one percent chance it is still better than no chance at all. ++

A lone drop pod cuts a swathe through the planet Hubris’ stratosphere. If its Imperial inhabitants ever even got to see the sky, they might have known of the tradition to wish upon a falling star. It would have been fitting as many youths still wish for something more but have nothing to express it to, and this ‘star’ very well brings opportunity for something much, much more…

Hubris' surface dances and shifts endlessly as its desert sands are buffered by hot winds. It is still dark out, but its distant sun has just barely crawled toward the horizon, bringing shades of purple haze with it to color the silken sands. Across from it tower the ugly and menacing Imperial hives that harbor most of the planet's population like overcrowded chicken coops.

The graceful sands are scattered in an explosion. The smouldering drop pod plunged into the sand, turning the land around it to glass.

The glass cracks and crumbles as a pair of great boots bring down a ton of force.

For many of those living within Hubris' dark nodes, great changes are on the way.

/Prologue



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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-25-11, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Dusk: Enter Cassius


1

Don’t think. For fucks sake, don’t think abo- THOUGHT ABOUT IT, I THOUGHT ABOUT IT. Just don’t scream now, that’s not helping. Sidens once said something about swearing helping diminish pain, but he got dragged off so I- okay this hurts why not“FUCK! BY THE EMPEROR’S FLOWING GODDAMN HAIR SHIT FUCKER!”… Oh, oh Throne that was bad. Just a brief slip up- the pain in itself was purgatory. All is right again.

Looking back down at my hand, I can feel it twitching like I’ve put it in greater pain than what I’m feeling from it. Two fingers broken and dislocated, burst skin and blood loss. Don’t think about it, just get it done. I’ve managed to relocate both digits through the feat of brute force, and wrapped enough rags around the skin to clot the thing good, but I don’t see any pain killers in sight.

Don’t think. That’s the one step survival guide around here and I’ll happily follow it. Fuck it, why lie? Happily? Just don’t think and follow it. Every day it’s the same thing here for me in the manufactorum. Clock in, get in line, push the button and read the rites, than flip the lever, and finally get out to sleep maybe 8 something hours, get 2 hours of down time than it’s the same shit. Clock in, get in line, push the button and read the rites, than flip the lever. You do that, you don’t screw up and you don’t get offed for ‘failure to comply to standards’ or even better, get tipped off as some sort of saboteur.
Of course, some moron had to go and do a right lousy job hookin’ up the fuel cells. A shower of sparks, a brief whiff of that promethium filth and I’m one of three people still alive down the line, except I had 200 pounds of metal and rockrete on my hand. Still managed to get it out though!

Rust, oxidized iron and copper. Lots of copper is what the place stinks of now, and no, my section doesn’t deal with that metal. If I had gotten any closer chances are all my inner gubbins would probably be stinkin’ up the place too. There actually isn’t much left in the way of body parts, either. That thing lit up like a pillar of fire! I’d go take a closer look, but I’m staying put. Regulations. I’m not gonna get hassled by the Arbites, oh no. But seriously, the explosion looked like it ripped right through the ceiling. Truth is I haven’t the foggiest idea how big this fucking place is- hell, I’ve never been outside my residential block and the manufactorum. But I can tell when something is gonna rip a structure a new asshole, and that was it.

Right now, I’m content to just do what I’ve always done- don’t think. The emergency power has cast the place in red, only magnifying all the blood and chunky bits… I guess I ought to be terrified, but don’t think. Not thinking is my talent and I’m proud about it. My hand might hurt, but I won’t think about it either- I guess I made a mistake trying to patch myself up moments earlier, there should be some medics on the way- but it was a small enough a moment of leniency that the Emperor would forgive me.

Glancing over, I can see this one guy- I think his name was Bulle. All hunched up, his eyes lit up and bugging out. Definitely thinking too much- poor bastard.

The Reverend did always tell me “The mind is your inner sanctum- never venture outside its gates when strange things are near and never, ever let them in. “

Dana was caught in the explosion too- it’s a shame, really. I was planning on marrying her- out of convenience, of course. She worked right next to me every day for the past 6 or so years of my life, so it would have been really easy. She’s around here somewhere now, though. Well, all over the place probably, but no harm done. Don’t think and it don’t bother my ass.

Oh throne, Bulle’s sobbing now- he’s even rubbing his face in anguish, the dumb fool! Blood on his face and utterly hysterical- I ought to warn him the Arbites will take a keen interest in that, but then I’d be involved. That’s no good. I’ll be content here, cradling my hand and idly searching for Dana’s remains.

For people like Bulle, who do such a terrible job at defending themselves against the outside, this probably is the most interesting day of their lives. Possibly one of their last, too.

For me? It could be, but that golden rule: Don’t think!

Just another fine day at the manufactorum.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-26-11, 04:28 AM
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Default Great story.

I am glad I stumbled upon this story. Real good read. Will there be more to add on or not? I felt the fear and inner struggle of the man. I would give you rep. but the stupid system says I have to spread it around befor giving it to you again. So I will when I am allowed.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-27-11, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Oh yes, there is plenty more to be had! I will probably be a bit slow with it though, given I'm going to be pretty busy the next couple weeks- but I've enjoyed it so far and interested to see where I will take it.

Speaking of which...
----2----

They arrive! I totally called it! I’ve remained put and sure enough, the Arbites have arrived… Though I must admit, even I’m surprised by how many. To be fair, plenty died today in the explosion, but it’s not uncommon for accidents here. The total number of days without some sort of incident in my section is at least four days in a similar explosion nearby. The record was… Ah, maybe two months. Nobody cares, truly. A loyal servant takes his part and takes his risks, knowing whatever happens he may walk in the elysian fields beside his savior. So it’s particularly peculiar that the Arbites would send in more than a single patrol group.

Curiosity is a most vile temptress, however. Seduction is her craft and to deny her talent is to boast arrogance. Shun her regardless, and stride forward on the true path. Deny the thought, and you deny the temptress. In denial, she withers and dies like a weed plaguing those elysian fields beyond this mortal shell. To succumb to her is to become her slave, and then only those such as the Arbites may liberate you through His Mercy.

I am one of the strongest amongst my group, as many are older, gone to fat or malnourished. Even then, it’s humbling to be in the presence of the Arbites. I might be even in height, but like knights they are clad in armor and blessed with purity seals. There is an aura of power and authority, like they are the Emperor’s hand. Truly they are, but I know some who treat them with respect out of fear rather than respect for the sake of having earned it. It’s a pity to see doubt, but respect is such nonetheless. Who am I to judge? Nobody.

I straighten up and lock on with an approaching officer’s aquilla badge for fear of offending him with attempting to make eye contact.

“Speak, I charge thee.” He stated in a voice you might imagine would come from the legendary astartes- strong and flat. I perk up, but again go to the lengths to avoid offending him; all the ceremonies and sermons in the world can never prepare you for the sense of power and fear they emit. It's mighty, but threatening. “I-I’m honored, sir. “ He doesn’t even flinch at my compliment, but such is the way of a loyal servant! “Can you tell me about the incident here? “

Ah! A chance to contribute! “Most certainly, Officer! I was working my shift at workstation H-235 as I do every day. I must confess I get so caught up in my duty that I often lose focus of the world around me.” “There is no shame in such a thing.” He boldly states, and I feel a swell of pride- but I do not betray my composure. “Well, I’m afraid I cannot be of much aid because all I remember in the midst of imprinting metal shits with the Double Headed Eagle was the deafening explosion further down the assembly line… I looked up to see an inferno rush down the line, claiming dozens before finally surging upward… That’s when I was struck by debris.”

He suddenly cocked his head. “You failed to report an injury?” I feel the blood rush to my face instinctually. Oh, the shame of it! Play it off and quickly! “I-I didn’t want to waste the resources of His greater servants who have much more important matters… Better pain in body than corruption of the soul, s-sir.”

He pauses for a moment- the only glimpse of the man beneath such mighty, black armor was his mouth which was suspended in a drawn out expression.
“Very well. It is selfless of you and that is amicable, but remember that we must know every account of an incident, no matter how seemingly insignificant or irrelevant.”

Happily complying, I raise my hand to him. “Might you take note of it then?” His mouth slid into an expression that hinted at minor repulsion, so I quickly lowered it. He shook his head. “That’s not a priority, go about your business.”

“The Emperor protects!” I throw in, making the sign of the Aquilla even with my injured hand... Their presence is stiffling- it truly is a challenge picking between what they fill you with. Dread or security. One or the other. I'm not sure which, truthfully- don't think! Ah, the little phrase never ceases in aid.

The 4 Arbites regroup with each other after a brief skimming of the scene and then talked. Turning away, I glance at the few other survivors from the explosion. Most of them are pretty blank, except Bulle. The poor fool is still shaken from the incident. I walk over to the group. I reach out to try and console him, but he turns from me… Troublesome, really.

“Bulle… Don’t turn inwards- you’ve got us.” I utter, and I must admit I feel bad that I did such a poor job of voicing my disinterest in contrast to my conversation with the Arbites. He shoots me a glare. “The Emperor has received Dana… He’s guiding all of their souls now. Why are you so choked up?” I cut straight to the point. He sniffs and shakes his head. “Their faces… They were friends, Cassius. You wouldn’t understand that, would you?” Did he really just go there?

This is what I get for reaching out! The gall!... No, patience. Hate should be saved only for the heretic, mutant and alien… Yet, the nerve! No, it's not my position to judge. That is what the Arbites are here to do for us. “Bulle, that’s hardly appropriate- I just wanted to help. Why would you choose to take such an action as opportunity to insult my pious devotion, something that has helped me retain composure in such…Events.”

He sighs. “Don’t bother… Not now. It will be a waste.” The others pretend not to be paying attention… Catching a nervous glance from a shorter, portly fellow, I follow his path to see several of the Arbites approaching. A natural bit of fear flows through my system. Fear of being mistaken as that we rightfully loathe most.

One of them gets close, towering over several others who dare not move, lest it be mistaken for gestures of guilt. “What’s the quarrel?” He points to Bulle. “You earned our notice already, so what’s the matter?” Bulle sucks it in. “…Appearently I am forbidden to be shaken by such events in the eyes of my more critical brethren.” He turns to me briefly- clearly having been pleased by my behavior, he turns back to him. “Pointing fingers is often a sign of guilt. I’d be cautious, citizen.” Bulle nods back. “My apologies, sir.”
Without a word he turns back, the other approaches. She’s far more decorated with purity seals and even what might be mistaken as a rosary.

“Given the damage to the equipment, productivity would be less than satisfactory as it is- you may all disperse for the night, but expect to be needed again tomorrow as our techpriests do not falter in their own duties either.”

We exchange blank expressions like usual, but I’m personally content having both pleased the Arbites and evaded any incidents. Looking back one last time, I glance to the mess. A horrible mess indeed… To think someone could allow repeated failures like this! Only He could redeem such an individual for such incompetence now, wherever he may cower.

But enough of that. Grabbing my admittedly shabby overcoat on the way out of the work cell, I take to the streets of my home with the others. On my way out the door though, I couldn’t help but admire the view from the balconies before me. As a middle class citizen of the Hubris Hive city, I have a spectacular view of the world beneath me and the world above me.

The whole landscape was a cascade of values, a landscape of grays, blacks and whites. Far below me the hives descended into darkness with the exception of twinkling lights below. I can see the heads of statues dimly illuminated, ever vigilant of their world. Turning to the great biome above, the world is a forest of needles budding amongst each other, cast against the drab of the dome. Encompassing the whole hive system to protect it from the lethal world, it is a permanent sky of iron and lighting arrays. Vast, deep and great, it truly is a feat of our own…

… Is that a hole in the biome? I hesitate in my steps, suddenly fixated on the small shard of strange radiation peaking out from behind the spire right above our manufactorum. Don't think! Perhaps it is curious, yes, but you should go and tell the Arbites immediately!...

No, they're busy. Plus, it's not to invite thoughts in if you merely observe, but... Wait... I feel myself lean forward and look in, the gazes of my camaraderie running through me like some strange ghostly wind. Yet I care not for that. What is that?

It's a glow unlike any light source here... I've been around for 28 years and I've never seen such a strange, colorful aura. It rolls along like some sort of flowing liquid. How queer indee- No! No! That is thought! Stunned at myself, I quickly whip around on my heel and trail after the others. I ought to make sense of this, but no good will come from the temptress that is curiosity. Ever.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-27-11, 04:58 AM
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Default Too good.

I am truly enjoying the story. The talent around here is truly getting better and better. I will check back ever so oftain to check for add-ons.

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----3----

I can’t sleep.

Oh Emperor, I’m frightened.

If a closed mind is like a fiercely defended fortress, this profane image must be a conqueror of a thousand fortresses before me for it has taken root in my mind and will not leave. I do not know if it is the image that leaves me sleepless or the fact that I have humored it’s visit for this long.

Don’t think.

Don’t think.

You’re only nurturing it now.

Don’t think.

…I can’t do it. I’m mesmerized.

A flowing pool of blue whisking white trails of fluffy communes. What is it? Could it be that which we hate? Could It be the world within our world? The place that harbors all the damned souls? What if they invade? What if my decision to tell or not determines the fate of the whole plan- NO! STOP. THINKING.

I should go see a priest before it’s too late… No, I can’t. I have to make it in to my shift tomorrow.

I’m under siege by my own thoughts. I will not let them take me. Let their cries drown in the ignorance of the righteous! A moment of leniency spawns a lifetime of heresy and I shall not be found wanting!

I clasp my sheets and listen to the slow churning of the city outside my apartment cell. My roommates are all asleep by now, so I can just hear the sound of the hives forever persisting in their existence, like slow mechanical breaths. The lights are all out, and I’m left to stew alone in the darkness here, the lights from outside occasionally rushing by and skimming my cot like prying eyes.

I’ve never felt this way before and it’s maddening! The Emperor protects- I shall not be lost in thought! I deny the thought, I deny the temptress! This is how it should be, and it shall be so. I’ve spent my whole life like this- who am I to believe I could possibly fall so quickly? If I were to do so, I would deserve it. Ha! Repel the thought!

I ease back into my cot and close my eyes. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Focus not on anything other than your own pulse, the timer ticking down your remaining service in His name. In, out. In, out.

I can do this. I will do this.

There is nothing faith can’t conquer- especially curiosity. Tomorrow I will head back in to my shift and continue my duty till death takes me to those fields beyond. We lost many people today, and we don’t want to lose production output to that or then we’d ALL be in trouble. The needs of the many far outweigh the few.

And yet if my position may determine whether or not we are successful in output… Would the circumstances change? If I’m… Emperor forgive me, but this makes me important, doesn’t it? I suddenly have a power, a value that isn’t measured in total anonymity… I must not abuse this. I will be in tomorrow and I will lead our group back to success!

I feel a newfound sense of zeal and morale. This is my chance to further in blessings- blessings which will help me stamp out the recent incursion of thoughts! As I let myself drift off again into sleep, the light filters through like a new age creeping in. Now the only thing keeping me from sleeping is the damnable light, and so I roll onto my side to face away from it.

That’s when I glance the figures far down the hostel hall. Three figures talking amongst each other in hushed gestures. I’m not the only one awake. My blood runs cold with this realization. They look like three ordinary hivers, although their faces are obscured from here… No disguises, no veils, nothing. Terrified that they might notice my gaze, I roll back and choose to face the lights again. Better no sleep than whatever is going on over there…

Don’t think don’t think don’t think don’t think…
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----4----


Days have passed. Days? Weeks. Weeks? I’m not sure anymore. I’ve been sleeping in this bed for weeks and I cannot move. I cannot quake. My eyes… They’re open. Wide open. Figures… Figures talking, hiding in the dark, I’m hiding in the dark. Am I hiding in the dark? Aren’t we all hiding in the dark?

I have spent days here… And I can no longer be certain as to why. I can just feel this place, filled with waste. My body… It’s atrophied, I can feel no muscles in my skin. I’ve been too afraid to leave this place since those figures, and my pious faith has lead me to stay here, away from the danger. Days merged into weeks, and weeks have merged into months… And now, for the first time, I can feel my body stir. A tingle, perhaps.

No. Nonono!

For the first time in weeks my body churns, and I cling to the edge of my cot rolling in sweat… What is this? Is this bile? Stop! This isn’t clean! Where are the figures?! Don’t think! Don’t think! Zone it out and you’ll be safe… Safe?! Is it always so dangerous when one strays from ignorance?! My body is tingling, tingling with a thousand needles, all hot. All too hot and it’s hurting! My skin! Sweet grace of the Emperor, my skin! Stop that! You belong to me! Stop hurting me! The needles, put them away!

Hopping to my feet, I run for the window, howling out in words I can’t quite understand anymore. All I know is that there is fear and my bowels are full of fiction. My bowels are squirming, pressing against the needles! No! Make it stop! Stop thinking! Don’t think about the pain, do not think about it! Do not… Oh Emperor… I’m in agony!

The needles turn to tides of heat as my nails cut through the hostile skin, I’m just so desperate. Its like rough glass, scraping against the bones and raking it with gashesmake it stopstopstopplease!

My skin comes free, and I shriek aloud but for what reason I’m not sure as the pain has left with the damned skin. All the weight is trickling free of my body, and as I glance down I can see the floors flooding with blood- all of it mine? I am growing weightless as the blood frees itself from my body.

Don’t think.

My skin is floating across it like some sort of rubbery raft.

Don’t think?

It’s twitching, crawling. It’s swimming through the blood.

Don’t think!

The blood sucks it under, bubbling and boiling in its place.

Don’t scream.

…What?

Don’t scream.

The voice is not my own. Following its path, I look down into the blood and see my reflection. I have no skin, and my eyes are ablaze with purple…Oh Throne, my eyes! My flesh! Searing, cooking! The meat peels back in charred blisters, revealing my skull, grinning at me without rhyme or reason.

Don’t scream, it whispers.

Suddenly he is hidden away as my face crawls back onto my head, and now I am pale. Stitches adorn my face like seams. Everything is getting dizzy, dizzier… I hobble through the sloshing broth of red, staining the bleached white of my anklebones. Dizzier… Too dizzy… I fall forward and my knees snap against the floor submerged, my face first into the cot. I have to leave… Stop thinking… Have to leave… Frantically scrambling onto my cot, I feel it sag with blood… Clenching the sheets, I see the figures in the blood beneath my crimson cloth.

As it gives and breaks beneath my weight... As I am swallowed by the ocean of red, my eyes burn out as I look above to see an even brighter, blazing inferno of blue above me. The white things... The white things drifting within its azure hell...

I throw myself up from my cot, the sweat still thick on me. Still clinging to the cot, I lean over and look at the floor. There is no blood. My fingers, they surely still are my own, trail down my face. No blood, no blisters… No needles.

I lurch over and retch. I feel so dry… And yet, water begins to flow from my eyes. I’ve never felt this before. I’m bleeding water from the eyes, and every bit of my being is afraid. So afraid. My vision blurs, but I can still make out our sleeping chambers… Everyone is still asleep. Through all of that… Was any of it real?... Oh by the Throne, somebody tell me what just happened… What is this liquid? Am I leaking? Did part of me break?

Somebody tell me I’m going to be okay! I want to cry out. I want to wake the others, I want to wake up Bulle and ask him if I’m going to be okay. I look down at my trembling hands, and all the meat is still on my bones, safely packaged beneath my skin. I want to ask him, I want to shake him and ask him what day it is. How long have I slept?

And yet… I know I cannot say anything. I know the answer to that question, that question of how long I have been in this bed.

The water keeps pouring from my eyes, and my only solace is that it is indistinguishable from the sweat.

Don't scream.

--------------------------


I have no good excuse for why I slacked off with this- I apologize. Rest assured, I have not forgotten it either.

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----5----

It was a momentary weakness! I’m not sure what powers that cascade from beyond the hive walls boasted, but they could not keep me for long! Such is the power of faith, truly. Perhaps it could shake me, but it will never corrupt me, that vile thing. My duty is to stand here and operate this device, and I will live out that duty until death takes hold of me. Perhaps I will never be remembered, but I will die knowing I was a must devout hardass and that is good enough for me…

My mouth stretches wide open, and before I know it I’m yawning. Startled, I reel back and force my jaw shut. The heat briefly flushes to my face, but the other workers are all too busy with operating their on devices along the line. Operating, ah! I surge forward and work magic on my own, the heat rising with the realization I slacked off for a moment. A moment of laxity may spawn a lifetime of heresy! Just as Reverend Chars would say.

Push the button, cut the steel. Push the button, cut the steel. Sanction the machine spirits in the name of the Emperor.

Push the button, cut the steel. Push the button, cut the steel. Divine these steeds in the faith of the Imperium forever more.

Recite and repeat.

Push the button, cut the steel. Push the button, cut the steel. Sanction the machine spirits in the name of the Emperor.

Push the button, cut the steel. Push the button, cut the steel. Divine these steeds in the faith of the Imperium forever more.

Recite and repeat.

Push the button, cut the steel. Push the button, cut the steel…




…Divine these steeds in the faith of the Imperium forever more.


Recite and…. Recite and…

The metal is looking at me. The metal is smiling at me. Wild, toothy grins. The same grin my skull gave me when it peeked out to say hello last night… I’m here again. No! No! I won’t let you! Panicked, I look up and down the line. Skinless people bash their heads against their machine interfaces, causing the machines to chatter and shiver like giant, frightened insects. Haphazardly they arrange the metal sheets, carving them into the double headed eagle, the Aquilla. Then, without warning, the conveyor belt reverses, and they lie down one by one on the machine.

My hand mashes the button instinctively, and I watch as the machines carve their content, skinless faces apart into the Aquilla…. Dozens… Dozens of identical skinless, faceless people… I feel myself grow drowsy, and while I’m so very afraid, I am overwhelmed with the sensation not of agony like before, but sleepiness.

I shake myself and throw my wide eyed gaze upwards. What has overcome me? Fatigue?! I bite down on my lip. No. This cannot, WILL not happen. I must set the example for my group! I’ve done a usual fine job for the past six hours; I have never been late, never missed a day, never failed to keep up with the production…

…I guess that means its forgivable if I let myself slip up just once… That dream kept me up, it seems… Cannot serve properly if I’m tired…

Push the button, cut the steel…

Push the button, cut the steel…

Push the button, cut the steel…

I stare bleakly outward towards nothing. My finger pushes the button without any word from my mind, it is so rehearsed. The others continue, buried face down in their devices as the life drips from their bodies. Bulle is twisted and shadowed, only the sparks exhaled from his machine illuminating his features. They all look so discontent, and yet they’re accomplishing more than I am, and I’m the most pious servant…

I look down at the assembly line rolling before me, watching the sheets roll by, scuttling along like strange creatures. I do not press the button. The world doesn’t end if I do not press it, and nobody has shot me in the back of the head. They just roll on like little creatures. Another metal sheet rolls by, and another, and another, an endless marching line. Sheet after sheet after sheet… Flat, long and untouched, they look like scales of some endless slithering wyvern the Reverend might warn us of. The Wyvern’s trail is suddenly broken as a foreign creature follows its tail. It’s fat and square, flashing green. It has a face, and it smiles up at me with jaws and twitching eyes.

Don’t scream.

I won’t. I’m dreaming.

Good. That you are.

Don’t think, don’t scream. I do neither, instead smiling as I let the interloper continue down the line- you won’t kick me up into the same frenzy you did this morning, weak willed trickster! I will not falter from my work again!

I laugh triumphantly at it as it ignites in a blazing pillar of rage, defeated by my iron devotion. Once more the world fills with blood and skin. I watch as the others are freed from it, their eyes too igniting before releasing their skulls, laughing as they do. The machines roar and howl in anger as their nightmare falls apart around them, crashing as molten beams and crackling rubber entrails. They fall down on top of the cackling workers, painting the floors red with their pastels. The pain returns to me as my skin sizzles and cooks from the nearby heat, and I shriek aloud “FEAR DENIES FAITH!” repeatedly, determined, confident that I shall succeed. Use the pain, take your enemy's strength and turn it against him!

The great conveyor belt whimpers as the raging nightmare promethium goes billowing down the trail, and dies into quietness. It’s just like last night… The blood filling the halls, the skin swimming in the meat… The flames cause the machines to squirm and ooze with molten bits.

As they writhe and roar, it tears itself apart like the other dream as I freed myself from the flesh. I will watch, but I will not follow. The ceiling peels itself free, and I yell as I stumble backward, falling into the blood.

Above me, the bright blue inferno waits! I clench my teeth and my bowels tighten like a fist at the sight of such a thing- it is vile, but I shall not falter in my service! It reaches out for me, but I deny it. I am your better, wretched temptress! I laugh in the face of evil, knowing I am in the right. But the laugh twists into a yawn. A yawn?

I shift around, stretch my neck and look at my hands. They’re indeed my hands, and I’m indeed tried… And I’m indeed sitting in a pool of blood. I pluck at the flaking, cracked brown and red skin on my forearms, already disfigured and sore from yesterday. It blisters open and vomits blood, contributing to the floor below in a burst of blinding white pain.

I’m not dreaming.

A moment of laxity spawns a lifetime of heresy.

Don’t scream. Please don't scream. I didn't mean to. Please don't scream.

Last edited by C'Tan Chimera; 07-30-11 at 02:16 PM.
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----6----

Blood. Blood everywhere, flowing everywhere. Oh make it go away, make it go away! I curl up only to discover I’ve smeared the blood all over myself. This isn’t the same as before, though. I did this. I have allowed myself to let my guard down, and now… I have failed. I have failed the Emperor, the Imperium… I’ve failed everything.

I try to get up, only to slip on the fluid and bring myself face first into the thick blood. In a day I’ve plunged into damnation. Damnation! No! No!
It starts again, the water… I can’t pretend anymore… Humbled and humiliated, I catch myself sobbing, and all I can think of was how high and mighty the pedestal I was on when I viewed Bulle . I have fallen, and… And…

I look into the reflection in the blood, unsure whether my mind is even my own anymore. My face is painted with the blood of my brothers and sisters. The face looking back up at me is a sniveling whelp, dragged through the slime and the mud, let alone his camaraderie. And yet, having come this far my mind no longer fears thought… Can I truly call them my brothers? Truly? I knew not their names except Dana and Bulle… Bulle…

Digging into my lip till it contributed more blood, I struggle to my feet and walk through the blood slicked hall. Where is Bulle?

Splish, splash.

Swish, splash.


Blood keeps talking.

Sploosh, splotch.

Stop talking, I’m looking for Bulle.

I’m drifting. I’m drifting back to those forbidden blue skies and the terrible things that wait there.

“Bulle?” I croak it out. My voice doesn’t sound right anymore. Weak, innocent…Naďve.

“Bulle?” I squeak it out louder.

My bloody lip trembles… My fortress walls…They’re cracking, crumbling, and all I can do is watch helplessly.

“By the damnation Bulle if you’re dead too I’ll desecrate whatever I find left of you!”

Anger. Why am I angry? Fucking Bulle, he’s infected me! Doubt! He gave me doubt and when I need him he’s gone! The bastard! If none of this had happened last night I’d be happy! Happy and loyal! Here I am a failure by no fault of my own! That damnable sky, the filthy temptress is mocking me! I can hear her, giggling! The bitch! BITCH!

My foot flies out and kicks a hunk of flesh into a nearby wall. My other foot stomps down into the blood and visceral silt beneath it. I’m a pious defendant! I’m pious! Why is this possible?! How is this possible!? The others have found the release from duty in death and yet here I am, the most devout of all, still standing?! Still standing in a pool of gore! The gore of my brothers! My sisters! Gore! All on my hands? The failure painted all over my skin! That dream, that damn dream…

…Prophetic, perhaps? What of this giggling? It’s still there, but leaning nearby, my senses treat me to the realization that in my despair, I’ve mistaken the dying gasps of the agonized machine spirits for her taunts.

I begin to twitch. I am confused. I can feel something tickling me, ghostly but ever present… A sensation? I’m not sure, but it leaves a sickly feeling in my heart. The image of my fortress burning, pillaged comes to mind as the sensation turns into a tingling. That deep sound, the machine spirits death rattles… Why do I feel myself tingle?

My skin! Has it become tainted by something? Asides from the physical burns, there is no reason I should feel this way… No pain at all. A blessing, or perhaps a curse? As the sensation grows, so does the anger of the dying machine. It begins to rumble and roar, like a load of iron was being tumbled through its guts.

Voices!

I lean in close as the machine seems to rise from the brink, the walls alive with bellows. Through the wall, I hear a voice.

“-has pirated one of our bolt pistols! Repeat, he’s taken a bolt pistol and now armed! We’re down here in Node 12’s man-“

The chorus of metal breaks out into madness as a great deal of iron fury echoes, rattling even my bones.

“-VE OF THE EMPEROR SOMEBODY SEND FOR BACKUP RIGHT NOW!”


My ears leave me before I even make sense of the enormous fist bursting through the thick, smoldering wall.

Last edited by C'Tan Chimera; 08-01-11 at 01:36 AM.
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Enter Thotep

----7----


So much for laying low, you louts had to go and fuck it all up! You’re just an inconvenience at worse, and I’m gonna deal with you like one. Plowing through the rusted sheet, I have little trouble turning on the heel of my armor, the corvus suit proving nice and dexterous. Level the bolt pistol on the nearest of the grunts- oh man, he knows what’s coming alright…

And there he goes! And there goes the other! Arbites were geared to kick around children, it seems. Some of my first kills for the cause… Not much to brag about, but I shouldn’t be too surprised. Still, after spending a month in the sands I’m not gonna reject what I'm offered. Out of habit, I pull out the magazine to check the shots left- it’s clinking pretty loudly aaand only four shots left. Damn! It’s time to be pulling out.

It reeks of blood in here. Cooked flesh. A khornate might find pleasure in this, maybe, but even in this helmet I can taste the copper. Perhaps I’m still just new to this. Whatever, focus. Need to make my exit. Just follow the conveyors… Or what’s left of them. This isn’t my work. Did they drop down some other agents too behind my back? Just keep going, I can wonder about that later. I can feel the ground quake beneath me, and while some of the other initiates might have found something satisfying in this I don’t care to accidentally break through several flights of a…Aaargh! Fuck! I’ve been training for years and I still hate that feeling! They MUST have dropped another agent down behind my back because I can feel the warp stench on him!

Stopping in my tracks, I scan the room. Where the hell is that coming from? I’ve yet to enter the Eye but that feeling… You’d have to be an Imperial bootlick to not know that flare of warp energy. This place has taken a beating since I was last here and that was only several days back. I can investigate later, but damn, what I wouldn’t give to have all my implants by now. Just blood, meat, bone and rust. Lots of it. Everything is damn warm, so it was recent… Just rust, lots of it- it’s cumbersome and ugly. This is taking too long. Gotta keep moving. But that clawing sensation… Not going away.

Wait.

I can feel it at the back of my skull. Turning around, my jaw curls into a grin as I see the source. An Imperial grub, cowering right next to where I made my entrance and absolutely saturated with terror… That power, that raw, untapped power… That’s a psyker, alright. Maybe I could leash him. Maybe. My plan went to hell this morning anyway. Why not? I halt in my tracks and point to him with my free hand- might not help that it’s covered in the pulp of one of the Arbites, but I doubt he’ll notice with all the blood everywhere as it is. This part is always the best- I love my position.

“YOU. You there, son?” I shout across the catwalks. Grubs are so ignorant of the world around them, it actually hurts a little on the inside, but they’re so fun to fuck around with. “I said son, are you there?” I take a few steps forward, the blood staining my unpainted armor. He’s not too small by citizen standards, but that look on his face and the aura he’s giving off… He ain’t gonna last too much longer on his own, and that’s for real. Will be a bone-pick for the harpies in no time. He’s covered in more blood than I am, but that look on his little face tells me all I need to know about his role in it. Absolutely quivering, eyes deadlocked on my form.

“I’m here to help, but you’re in danger.” Lies flow like honey, they do, and just as delectable.

His mouth is twitching, trying to grasp words that may or may not come… Get on with it, kid. He looks like some sort of dumb fish that hoisted itself on land. Might be fitting actually considering that warp aura he’s giving off. Hustle it! Come on! “I..I… Didn’t do- I mean I was just… You’re a space marine, you know I wouldn’t…”

Oh, by the four winds this is gonna get nowhere at this rate- Ahaha! You arbites have your uses after all, pouring out the reinforcements on me. Lumbering oafs all of 'em, can spot them all the way from here, but I’ll play on it. Hope that kid can still process gothic through that thin skull. Probably just a few goons sent to investigate, but they’ll have more crawling up this place in no time.

“LOOK OUT!” I shout. “GET DOWN.”

Lurching forward, I thunder towards his position and push down the air with the palm of my free hand as a gesture to get the point across. Come on, moro-there we go! That look on his face, it’s practically comical!

Here come the squad of arbites… Just shotguns and a power weapon. Easy enough prey. Swing up the bolt pistol, watch for the kid’s movements… Okay, he’s not budging. Good. Only have 4 shots, make them count. If you budge and get a new breathing hole, you’ll have nobody to blame on but yourself, kid. The group moves in front of the civilian, making a sort of V formation- damn fools have no idea who they’re trying to protect. The big boy squad leader’s toting a shield, but he seems to have forgotten what marines are capable of. Power weapon might be a problem though.

They’re lining up, buckling down…. Brace yourself now…

There! Throwing my arm out to the right and locking it dead on, I fire off a bolt into the knee of the grunt on the closest right. To his credit, his armor takes the burst, but he still stumbles from shock onto one knee and lowers his shotgun.

“Fire!” the big boy roars, and I kick my footing free of the ground, lunging to my right. The shotgun blasts fill the air with a high pitched shriek and the whistle of shells, and I can feel a couple of them raze my pauldron. Landing on my forearms at the feet of the shaken arbites, I swipe my left arm out while putting all my weight on my right arm. The force sends him off his feet and I snatch up his weapon.

The head honcho is coming for me, trying to get a freebie in with me on the ground. Nope. Fumbling for a brief second with the gun all too small for my hand, I break the grip guard and mash the trigger. Quick to react, he shifts behind his shield, but the force pushes him back far enough to buy me several seconds. Pushing myself off the ground with my coiled elbow, I barrel onto my feet and plunge head first into the other right side trooper’s gun barrel. Pushing my head down, I feel the blast rip through the surface of my helmet with an ear piercing shriek and my back cramps from the blow.

I throw my free arm up, hook it on the inner side of his right arm and pull his gun free of his grip and swing it out wide. Still gripping my bolt pistol tightly, I wrap my other arm around the back of his head and give him a twirl, swinging him up in front of me just as the others fire another volley…You wound up serving me in duty before you died, ahaha.

I haphazardly push the shredded body at them and strafe to the left. The remaining three have made a smaller version of the V shape and load up. I aim for the left one’s head and let loose. First shot bangs him on the helmet, sending him stumbling out of formation. I catch him with my free arm and let him kiss the barrel of my bolt pistol before I squeeze off a shot. Should have made those helmets cover your whole face.

Fuck! The sarge swings out at me with his crackling mace and I manage to barely to stumble out of its range, but close enough to feel the energy. I fire off instinctively at his feet, pushing him back a step. One shot left. Damn. The one guy I knocked down earlier is getting up- I can’t let him do that. Can’t get surrounded. Back pedal, turn, kick him.

Stepping behind him, I push him face first into the blood-submerged floor and bring my foot down on the back of his head. Pushing down harder, I level my bolt pistol again and shoot at the head honcho’s sole surviving crony, managing to puncture his shoulder and make him yell out, but he’s still up. The grunt is still struggling underneath me, so I bring my free knee down on his back to give him some encouragement.

Bolt pistol’s empty. Useless brick, but a brick nonetheless. I rear up and hurl it at his head. Sure enough, it knocks him clear off his feet with a loud clang of metal and a subtle crunch as well. The guy underneath me has finally stopped moving. Now we can fight, officer.

I get up to my full height, towering over him. I kick the body at my feet away and step forward, purposefully feigning a lumbering position. That’s right, go for it. Big slow and clumsy, right? He charges right for me, surprised to find me quickly and lightly sidestep him- corvus armor, my misbegotten friend. They ought to teach you more about the tinier details about marines. I dart for the right and grab the utterly dazed trooper by the leg. With a pop of dislocation in his, I swing him out like a club and smack the leading officer in the side, finally sending him tumbling into the floor.

The human club starts yelling in pain now, and it’s damn irritating. Picking up the shotgun I had crudely improvised earlier, I spend my free moment from the club wielding officer by pushing the barrel into the downed man’s neck and put him down.

Suddenly I’m right down on top of his body as I feel the club go down on my back. Godammit! I can feel my suit ripple from the blow. Another blow keeps me pinned, but between surges of pain I swipe my leg out and knock my assailant off his feet, again. Rolling back, I bring my elbow down onto his chest and knock the air out of him. I scramble to my feet. He throws up his shield and I grab it by the edges, pulling him forward. He brings the weapon onto my elbow and I reel from the hit, but use the momentum to throw him off his balance.

He throws his arm back up blindly and I manage to step out of the arc, but lunge back in to grab his arm. Without much effort, I give him a twist and a squeeze, turning his arm to pulp. Before he can begin to properly scream, I coil my arm around his head and give him a violent jerk, snapping his neck. I let him drop to the ground unceremoniously.

“Still put up a better fight than I expected!” I sneer, but quickly stop- that probably didn’t reinforce the hero image I tried painting with the kid… Getting too into this, dammit. I turn back around to face him, and unsurprisingly he looks like he just saw his precious God Emperor pass a kidney stone. I rush over to him, playing it all out. I try not to take pride in the degree of show I put into my work, but…“Are you wounded, citizen?” I kneel down next to him. He looks up at me, wide eyed and quivering. “N-no sir, thank you sir. I didn’t do it! I didn’t- wouldn’t know-“ I place a hand on his shoulder, could kill him here and now if I had any reason to. “We need to go, now- you’re in grave danger.” He nods feebly. “W-where are we going? Wh-at about you?”

“Don’t panic. We’re leaving the hive.”

I can pick up the sounds and vibrations of hurried marching in the distance, coupled with the faint barking of a muffled voice.

“I said Don't panic!” I bark, and without effort throw the blubbering sod onto my back... How easy was that? Ignorance is a mixed blessing, alright.
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