Saturday, July 26, 2014
The Pursuit of Knowledge (part 1)
His search began on the edge of known space, a city long ruined by some unknown invader. Centurion Nevia looked once again to his companion, they had been friends once, long before. “thiiisss waay” came Seeker Matalio's psychic voice, as always a raspy hiss in his mind. They had been working together so long that he wasn't bothered by it any-more. “furrther into the ssity” Matalio said out loud, speaking this time to the battle brothers that stood in a perimeter around him. “the pssycchic sssignal leads furrther in” the battle hardened veteran next to him nodded and began calling orders, within a few moments a full squad had formed up around him. He spoke another two names and the other squads, less experienced but no less professional, began moving cautiously into the ruins ahead of them, in less than a minute the square was empty as the silent warriors continued after the elusive signal.
Far above them Iron Lord Heifestos Cratus looked grim. He stood imposing in the command section of his battle barge, his many subordinates bustling around him. Officially he was in this emperor forsaken system to hunt down some of the miserable outcasts known as the Raven Guard and much of his Clan was doing just that, but in truth he had come searching for a mysterious psychic signal. He looked back to the pict of the planet, the insignificant dust ball of Mallis, its inhabitants dead and gone for a 1000 years. He looked back at the tactical map and frowned. It appeared that the men he had sent to investigate the signal had been engaged. He would have to do something about that, he turned walking back to his grav chair thoughtfully. An absent wave of his hand summoned a Centurion from the edge of the room. “take your men to assist Nevia at once” he said as he sat down “his mission must succeed”
Nevia ducked instinctively as heavy bolter fire stuttered out across the abandoned city. He checked the positioning of his men and the direction of the fire then activated his vox “Sergeant Malaris, analysis of that fire?” he said to the leading sergeant
the vox hummed as Malaris replied in a unemotional monotone. “single stalker class sentry currently engaging us. two squads of ranged combatants definite moving to engage, probable additional combatants melee also moving to engage. Most likely direction of attack from them is the ruined building directly ahead. Feeding you the locations of the definitives now.” the second the report finished Nevia could hear the sounds of bolter fire from his vox. He considered the tactical data for a moment then began broadcasting rapid orders in Heifesian combat cant.
When Nevia awoke he was on a triage cot, in a room with grey metal walls and ceiling. He looked over and spotted a armoured apothecary in iron hands colours at work over another bed. As he got up a medical servitor moved over to him and extended out a screen. It displayed his new orders, that he was required to either consent to transfer to the immortals or to kill himself to erase the shame failing to achieve his objectives. the orders came from Iron Captain Zaus and were countersigned by Heifestos himself. Scrolled after that was a detailed report of the battle highlighting his failing's to counter assault the enemy flamer unit when it got within range, leaving a squad open to three simultaneous assaults and bunching his men up enough that his enemy could ambush him on two sides. Nevia was about to reach for his pistol, though whether to kill himself or the servitor he didn’t know when it beeped again and extended a scroll. He took it and was surprised to find that a single sentence was written on it. “Join the Immortals I still have uses for you” and then Heifestos's signature. He dropped the scroll, maybe there was still hope for him.
“My lord, we have found the source of the psychic signal. It appears to be a marker of some kind.”
Heifestos smiled “Lorekeeper Coeus is on his way. Secure the area and wait for him. Command out.” he said. He allowed himself a short moment of triumph and then opened a new vox channel to the lorekeeper. “Coeus, the marker has been found. Move immediately to examine it and report back to me, we have been on this world too long already.”
there was a bang through the vox and then it crackled to life “already in motion my lord.”
“Amazing, to all sensors it appears to be nothing but stone, but it radiates a psychic aura beyond anything I've ever seen” Coeus stood in front of the tall stone marker, all around him Iron Hands fortified the area. “Forgefather Promethi what do you think” he said looking at the imposing Iron Hand next to him.
“I've never seen anything like these carvings. The age analysis is impossible, literally. The machine is either showing yesterday or a trillion years. When I tried to take a sample to run through my system the servitor exploded. This is definitely not normal stone. Have you tried to psychically probe it yet?”
“not yet, I was waiting for the translation of the writing, which seeing as the cogitator we brought to do just that has been spouting gibberish for the last five minutes and has” he paused as the cogitator exploded in a shower of sparks “just exploded, I guess that wont be happening.” he sighed “well I best start before Heifestos voxes us again. He picked up his force staff and aimed it directly at the marker then closed his eyes and stretched out his mind through the conduit of the staff.