With all this awesome Dreadtober action going on I couldn’t help but get caught up in the spirit. With all my paints and models packed away I decided to get involved another way, by writing a short story of newly fallen brother being interred into a Dreadnought.
As this is my first ever public short story I really hope for some feedback and if you like it, I have a few more story ideas floating through my head.
The thick, acrid smoke clung to the walls like bloated slugs. Brother Tons re-adjusted his optical augurs to compensate, the lenses straining to focus on the intricate work. The flickering candles were drowned out by the surgical light but still managed to create an irritating motion in the peripheral.
As the next binaric chant began, his gloved hands paused briefly before the autosenses re-calibrated to block out the frequencies. Reflexes honed by training reminded him of the importance of the chanting to appease the machine spirit, but it did not mean he had to listen to it.
“Lateral capillaries inserted,” the words coming out in an almost intentional cacophony with the chanting. Brother Dral’s intricate mechandrites stuttered at the interruption before quickly realigning the amniotic fluid flow.
Brother-Captain Rothn made a barely noticeable twitch with his otherwise statuesque head. The honor guard standing next to him taking no notice as they silently observed their brother’s transformation. If only they could do so elsewhere.
“Vitals maintaining acceptable levels,” adept Aoldi’s voice was soft, almost meek. Rothn scowl lessened only slightly, he knew the most critical connections were yet to come.
Dral’s armor reflected a bright crimson in the operating light as he moved around to the top of the sarcophagus. Images of the wounded brother as he lay upon the battlefield flashed through Tons’ mind.
So much blood, Astartes were not supposed to bleed that much before the clotting stopped the flow. Tons forced the thoughts of the rent armor out of his mind and back to the operating table.
As Dral incanted the initialization hymn for the spinal interface, Tons made the incisions for the bio-mechanical interfaces. Fresh blood spilled over his white gauntlets before turning black. Many of the wounds at the neck were still raw from field surgery and Tons thought again of the horrific battle that nearly took his brother’s life.
The xenos bodies had been piled around Brother Gud, his honor blade thick with gore and ichor. Tons had already removed his helm and about to administer The Emperor’s Peace when Brother-Captain had ordered the internment.
While Tons knew Brother Gud would be able to continue to serve the chapter honorably, he could not help but to feel pity, and a bit of guilt as he attached the living prison around Gud’s mutilation.
Thoughts were interrupted with penetrating beeps and the Brother-Captain’s heavy footfall as he took an impulsive step forward.
“Increase the flow rate of pychoadrenaline and add 200cc of perralastic.” As the silence returned, Tons nodded to Rothn, his white helm providing little comfort, but Rothn returned to continue his vigil.
Fresh incense and candles were brought in by the serfs as another hour passed with the silenced chanting. Incision, bionic implant attached, hymn of activation, sutures, and verification of successful interface were repeated 173 times. Each with greater risk while Tons’ hands stiffened under the strain.
“The Mind Impulse Unit is receiving clear signals,” the static in Dral’s voice was grating in the silence. “activating the power plant.”
The chanting increased in intensity, causing Tons to re-calibrate the autosenses again to block it out. Even his genetic enhancements were being tried with the constant focus and he glared through his lenses at the unaware serfs.
As the power plant spun up, the internal life support systems activated sequentially. Green lights flickered inside the sarcophagus and Tons’ medical readouts showed increased heart rate and brain activity.
A scream enhanced by physco-activated speakers reverberated through the room. Many of the serfs covered their faces in terror and Tons could smell that a few had soiled themselves. Even the honor guard reflexively grasped their side arms.
“Peace brother, your continued service to the emperor is required.” They were not the words Tons had wished to speak but he continued the tradition as the scream abated. “Honored Brother Gud Kaninkarr, state your condition.”
Muffled footsteps had replaced the chanting as the spent serfs were removed. Cognators spun and data links were abuzz as Gud’s mind awoke to its new situation. Tons could see the adrenaline spike and subside as years of training fought off the fear and dissolution.
“Brother Gud Kaninkarr, Ironclad class dreadnought, designation two-four-two, second company of the Mentor Legion chapter. My service is to the emperor and the chapter, I am honored to continue this service.”
Brother-Captain Rothn continued the ceremony by stepping forward. “Honored Brother Kaninkarr, your service to the emperor and to this chapter has been recorded in the Book of Deeds and your honored sacrifice to protect your captain upon Tharinor will be remembered. Your continued service is yet required to continue our chapter’s mission.”
“By your command Brother-Captain.”