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“The faithful return to their thane! But what power does an idol have, except that which we ascribe to it?”

The newcomer takes Pieter by surprise and he bolts up out of his seat, rudely awakened from his peaceful contemplation. He takes a short glance at him then looks away, as if hoping there is still a chance that he won't be seen.

"This is a statue of the God-Emperor. It is empowered with the majesty of him-on-Terra. To doubt that is heresy." Pieter says matter-of-factly, like a child being asked to explain something they have only the simplest knowledge of.

"Yes, yes of course..." the man replies, his voice soft and smooth like a pur, comforting if not for the overtly disingenuous tone. "...but tell me, how do we know that it is Him On Terra? What if he is a false idol? Tell me oh faithful one, how do we know we are not deceived?"

Pieter's eyes never raise from the fixed point on the ground ahead of him and a little to his right, away from the piercing eyes of the newcomer. Yet still he begins to seethe with anger, balling his fists until his knuckles turn white and shaking with impotent rage. "Who are you to come into this holy place and question the God-Emperor? We are not deceived. Who are you to-!? Who are you!?" he demands.

"No no no no, dear child. We are watched and judge, of that I am certain." the newcomer says, seemingly ignoring Pieter's outburst. "I simply ask where it is these eyes that watch us, or other, truer eyes." he stares up at the grand statue of the Emperor, fixing it's gaze in challenge.

Pieter shakes his head and digs his fingertips into his head, clawing at hair far too short to grasp.

"No no no no. I know what you speak of. They taught us. I will not speak it's name."

He turns away and falls to his knees, facing the statue. He makes the sign of the Aquila across his chest and presses his forehead into the ground in absolute subservience. He begins praying in a low murmur, hurrying his words desperately so they many are only half formed.

The man snorts derisively. "We are watched by powers and that much is true..." he says, seemingly speaking to the statue as much as Pieter "...but whatever god watches us is certainly not benevolent. A loving god would not allow such a massacre. Whoever's eyes watch us, they care nothing for our lives or our well-being. We are but ants, playthings for them to toy with and burn when we cease to amuse." He looks down at Pieter's praying form, his voice dropping to a warm whisper. "If it is our sovereign Emperor, I would stay silent, lest you draw his wrathful gaze to this planet a second time."

The man turns and begins to leave. A small metallic clang echo's around the room but neither man seems to pay attention to it. Slowly the newcomer exits and for a time the only sounds are Pieter's desperate hurried prayers. Several minutes pass until Pieter begins to feel safe again and slowly gets to his feet and looks up at the grand statue. "Do not forsake me. Guide me in these times of darkness." he says finally and turns away.

As he makes his way down the aisle he spots the source of the earlier clang. An small coin catches the faintest hint of light from the puddle of dark dry blood it had bounced into. Pieter picks it up, wipes it on his overalls and inspects it. Though he doesn't fully know what it is, he knows enough to recognise the markings of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

He hesitates, worrying that the man may still be outside. He waits several more minutes, then tentatively walks back out onto the street.

Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn!
1,727 Posts
Dr. Holst moved onwards, calling out to the orange dressed woman yet to no avail. He kept walking, hoping that when he would reach the junction ahead he will not be greeted by a bullet, or something worse.
As he kept moving he started hearing something, it resembled a loud thud followed by a squishing sound, as he moved faster the sounds were intensifying around him, turning into a cacophony of grunts and shouts. The sound he heard earlier was most definitely that of meat squishing.
Upon arriving at the junction he was greeted by a gruesome scene, the woman he saw before was chasing down a crawling man, he tried to scramble to his feet, his eyes, clearly wide and bloodshot, a common sign to drug abuse, which was not that surprising in the underhive. Samuel couldn't even begin to count the times he had to treat addicts or save them from an OD...
Opposed to the crawling man the woman seemed to now sport a dent in her helm, a metallic stud was lodged there, most likely a bullet. It seemed that the woman was looking for this guy, as he kept pondering the situation the man turned and stood up, quickly drawing a relatively rusty knife and trying to protect himself with it. This was obviously not going to end well for the man, as the woman in orange swung her wrench furiously at him, clipping him in the shoulder and sending him spinning face down towards the ground.

Quick steps caught Samuel's attention, looking back he saw the fluttering shape of a child turning around the corner, disappearing towards the room he slept in, "shit" he muttered, Kirai must have gotten scared hearing the scuffle unfolding.
Holst turned his attention back to the fight in front of him, he was unsure of how to proceed, both sides seemed to ignore him, he could help any of them, he could move past them, though, if the situation was not defused now both Kirai and him risk getting caught in the same situation again.

He did not like what he was about to do, but desperate times... The woman was obviously the stronger contender, the only way he would gain her trust is by doing something for her, and sadly, that something, involved the other person in the room.
Samuel would have never done something like that under normal circumstances but everything changed, he came to the realization that the new world, created in the wake of the "Event" did not have room for remorse or a strict moral code, sometimes... You have to survive...

He snuck as quietly as he could, he was not a coward, but he was not used to participating in fights, at least nothing as bloody as that, he doubted anyone could say they did not fight ever in the Underhive.
He unsheathed his knife, slowly, deliberately, he had after all a surgeon's precision. He waited around the corner as the battle got closer and closer, the man barely defending against the woman's onslaught.
And as they rounded around the corner Holst jumped out slashing at the mans leg, around where the artery should have been.
He screamed in surprised as Holst drove the blade inside his leg, panicking Holst let out a scream as well, leaving the blade lodged in his leg instead of pulling it out... He was not a fighter obviously.
The woman did not hesitate for a moment and pressed her assault.

Samuel coward back into the shadows, hoping against hope that he did the right thing, he might have made a better equipped ally, but he might have met a new enemy just as well. He could not know.
Now he will just have to watch the scene unfold...

2,071 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 ·
“Since the ‘Event’ the Lower Hive of Thessalonica had not been governed by the regular rhythm of night and day, instead dwelling in perpetual twilight. That abrupt shift was enough to fracture the strained psyche of several of the residents, but not most. Most found other rhythms to fall into. However, even such twilight was not permanent. The lights of the Lower Hive slowly began to increase their luminescence to near blinding levels. Then, suddenly, the whole city went dark.”

Kirai "The Rat": You cower as far back in the vent as you can go. Behind you is a T-junction in the vent system, with one path leading up and the other vertically down. You can hear the slight murmur of noises and some voices, although it could equally be Dr Holst talking to the fighters as it could be them over-powering him and talking amongst themselves. It is a few minutes and Dr Holst still has not come. He may be looking for you, or he could be dead or injured and the others could be looking for you.

While you ponder, or try not to ponder as the case may be, these possibilities, the light outside of the vent begins to grow brighter and brighter. The vent grill, still in place but easily detachable if anyone tried, and the fact that you are far back in the vent shields you from the majority of the light so you are able to watch the light grow brighter than you can ever remember it being before you see it abruptly die. This situation is familiar to you; stuck inside a vent whilst your only ‘family’ is outside potentially in danger. What do you do? Do you continue to hide and preserve yourself or do you brave looking for Dr Holst? Alternatively, do you retreat further and go down the vent to escape what, if anything or anyone, is outside the vent.

Gabriel Frost: (Awaiting previous update. PM me if you return and I’ll add an update to follow on.)

Samuel Holst: What you witness is nothing short of unhinged brutality. The man drops to one knee, clutching his leg as blood leaks slowly from the wound, the knife lodged in there stemming the blood flow. He looks at you aghast and furious. Then the woman is upon him, her wrench smashing into his head with a bone-crunching smack. The force of the blow spins him onto his back. The woman pounces on his back and proceeds to repeatedly smash his skull with her heavy tool. The force of her blows cave in the back of his head but she keeps going for several blows after that, smearing his blood and brain matter into the floor. After he’s dead, she squats on-top of him still, panting from exertion. Finally she reached back and grabs your knife, now slick with arterial blood and offers it to you. “I believe this is yours, Dr Holst.” For someone you just watched cave in someone skull, she is surprisingly calm and well spoken.

Tentatively you take it from her. For a few moments words fail you, but once you have regained your composure the lights begin to glow white hot. The light becomes so intense it is almost blinding, forcing you shield your eyes. The glow of the light between your fingers dies suddenly and you find yourself in total darkness. You fumble quickly for your glow-globe and turn it on. The woman remains in much the same way as she had been before, although he wrench is slightly cleaner, her jumpsuit is not so much. “Your usefulness continues to prove itself doctor.” She says nodding at your glow globe. “We should leave. It’s not safe here.” She makes moves towards the staircase. Do you slip away, hoping to part ways with the blood-stained woman? Do you follow here? Do you try to convince her to look for Kirai with you? If you do the latter, you will find that she cocks her head quizzically, her tongue running along her teeth under her lips before saying “You aren’t worth dying for doctor. I’ll give you 10 minutes, then I’ll leave you and your child to whatever awaits you.” Then she will follow you in however you choose to look for Kirai.

Kanis Strike: the barking of the cyber-mastiff disappears into the distance, obviously content that you came no further rather than feeling the need to pursue you. You and the man you have just met run for several minutes towards the East Side of the town. By the time you both stop, panting slightly, you can make out in the distance the air filtration plant slightly to your left. However, the majority of what surrounds you is hab blocks, market stalls, although there is a minor manufactorum down the street to your right. The man you have just me pants and puts his hands behind his head and begins to laugh softly. “I thought they were joking when they said we’d face the Emperor’s Justice. Still, looks like we gave them the slip! Just like old times…” He mumbles the last part, almost to himself as if trying to convince himself. Clearly he remembers your servo-skull’s threat, but whatever has damaged his psyche seems to have twisted it to allow him to maintain his delusion that you are his son.

“Come on then, time we get back. Your Mother will start to worry.” He begins to walk briskly ahead of you. As you follow, the light overhead becomes lighter, almost light midday light. Then it keeps getting brighter. Soon the man has disappeared into the light and you have to shield your eyes. “Son! Son where are you?!” You hear the man call but it sounds far away. After a few moments you tentatively un-shield your eyes and find yourself in total darkness. As your eyes struggle to adapt to the darkness, you hear footsteps leading away just ahead of you. You begin to follow them before you hear a voice to your left call out “Son!”. As your head turns to the source of this new sound, to your right you hear “Son! If you can hear me, follow my voice!” Still ahead of you, you hear footsteps leading away from you. Which, if any, of the noises do you follow? Or do you simply make a dash for the nearest hab block and hope to find a source of light or wait for the light to return on its own?

Callista "Cally" Santigue: You find several bowls in a nearby cupboard and serve yourself and your new companion a portion of the broth. Whilst it is most certainly stale, it is warm and tastes nutritious to you. The man takes several spoonfuls of his and says to you. “I doubt there’s much point. I doubt he survived, I just thought maybe…” the man’s eyes drift off into the corner of the room as he continues to shovel broth into his mouth. He finishes quickly and sets the bowl down on the floor and breaths deeply, as if trying to overcome some feeling. “I saw it.” He says abruptly. He fixes you with an intense stare. “I was in an Arbites holding cell. Drunk and disorderly conduct they said. The lights died and everyone started screaming. One tried to hide in my cell and I saw it grab him, the muzzle flair lighting it up. It…” The man begins to squint and shield his eyes, as do you.

The light-strip on the ceiling begins to glow white hot, eclipsing even the light of your fire. You cover your eyes as the light intensifies before abruptly dying, leaving you with only the light of the fire. The light of the fire illuminates the hallway and you notice that all the windows are black too. Evidently this black out is not restricted to this building but you have no idea how far it does extend. The man springs to his feet “I’ve said too much. It heard me. It’s coming for me.” He practically whimpers. He sprints out of the room and into the corridor knocking the fires slightly as he goes. What do you do? Do you stay and trust in the light of the fire to keep you safe? Do you hide in this one of the nearby rooms in a wardrobe, cupboards, locker of such thing were the light still reaches you? Do you follow the man or do you simply retreat into the shadows on your own, hoping to find safety in darkness?

Pieter Hark: You reach the street and the man is nowhere to be seen, thankfully. You take one last glance back at the statue of the God-Emperor and notice a single crimson tear rolling down his cheek. You blink and it has gone. Is it a sign? What do you make of that? You hear the sound of barking in the distance and two figures disappear quickly into the distance to your right. To your left you notice that one of the rooms of the hab blocks in the distance is brighter than the others and grey smoke is leaking slowly from it.

Before you can decide what to do or where to go, the lights overhead begin to glow light midday light. Although, it doesn’t stop there. They keep glowing brighter and eventually their intensity is too much and you are forced to shield your eyes. Eventually the blinding like dies and you are left in the street, alone and in the dark. Although its light is too weak to illuminate your street, you can still see the light in the hab block to the north. Do you follow it? Alternatively, you know that the nearest manufactorium is to the east and there is another one in a similar direction as the hab block with the light. Perhaps you should journey there and root out the mysterious stranger? Or neither. They are many hab blocks around you could take refuge in if you chose.

782 Posts
As he steps out into the street, Pieter spares one final longing glance back inside the chapel, marvelling for a few more moments at the magnificence of the great statue and lingering in the warmth it brought to his soul. Then there was the blood, a single tear. At least Pieter thought there was. He took one step to head back inside for a closer look but once he had blinked it was gone. Maybe it was just his imagination, or a trick of the light. Whatever it was, he felt no reason to linger here any longer and turned back to the street.

The lights rose and Pieter dropped to his knees, grinning from ear to ear. It was over. This whole terrible nightmare was over. The light was back and surely whatever evil had emerged here had been banished along with the darkness it lurked in. He basked in the light, looked up joyously into the midday sun. Then it grew brighter, and brighter. It hurt his eyes. He started squinting but it wasn't enough. He closed them tight but the light felt like it was burning through his eyelids. He covered them with his hand but the light still pushed through the gaps between his crooked fingers. He turned away and pushed his face to the ground, wrapped his hands around his head and cried as he waited for the sky to explode.

It never did and as swiftly as it had come the light was gone again and once more Pieter was left alone in the dark. Slowly he emerged from the ball he had made of himself, falling sideways into the foetal position first, then stretching out and sitting up. He wiped the tears from his cheeks with his sleeve, cleaning the dirt from his face only to replace it with that from his clothing.

What did it mean? First the tear, then the light.

It struck him like a thunderbolt. The Emperor was unhappy about the light. He did not want his subjects to be left in the darkness. He wanted the light restored and he wanted Pieter to restore it. But how? Sure Pieter had the skills but it was unclear at what point the systems was damaged the cause the blackout. He still held the Mechanicum coin tight in his hand. This was surely a sign too. The Mechanicum ran the power plants, but this did not give him his next move. There were hundreds of plants in the grid.

Inspiration struck him. Picking up a small stone from the ground next to him he carved a groove into the top of the coin, then tossed it into the air, the way he had seen one of the Overseers do it when deciding whether or not to beat one of the workers. Pieter's technique was not nearly as good and the coin spun awkwardly away into the street. It landed and Pieter hurriedly crawled on all fours over to it. The groove in the coin pointed to Pieter's right.

That was his heading, guiding undoubtedly by the Emperor's own hand. Picking up the coin and tucking it into his pocket, Pieter groaned as he pushed himself to his feet and set off down the street.

8 Posts
Callista listened to the story in silence, taking more time with her broth. All it took for her to swill down the last stale gulps was for the light to act up. It made her curious as to what her generator room was doing, or if someone had gotten into it. She watched the man run out, puzzling a moment as she pulled her thick gloves back on. Bowl was set aside, and she opted to pluck up a burning chair leg, if one was handy and able to be held onto without much fuss.

The light had bothered her eyes but that was perfectly fine - she'd cope. A few rubs with a free hand before she set off with the burning article - or another that was torch-worthy - and down the hall she went cautiously. She needed to search out something else but she wanted to work her way back to the generator room she'd come to a rest at in the first place. She'd be slow and quiet, keeping an ear out and the light held high to peer into the darkness, hoping to not need it as a weapon - hoping in all honesty that whatever it was had gone after the old man anyhow, and it wasn't headed her way. Pending she makes it, she'd likely try to hole up and barricade in for the time being to let the dust settle as she had before.
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