Thursday, May 6, 2010

Zeta Zaku's SRWQG: Pieces and Parts

Sciencegar says on IRC this might not be canon due to aversion to named Warhammer 40,000 characters. Nevertheless, The Emperor gives His blessings.

Pieces and Parts
-Have Sash, Will Travel-

I know I’ve said it before, but when you serve a career as long and as…exciting as mine, it bears repeating: the Emperor has a strange sense of humor.  Personally I’ve always believed He had been too busy keeping the galaxy spinning on its axis to bother keeping a personal watch on us little people, but if you’ve read up to this point you may agree with me that He makes His will known in strange ways.  Just once, I’d like it if he did so in a way that didn’t involve me and some depraved cultist lusting after my body parts, or whatever the regiment or Amberley were chasing around the sector at the moment.  Not that the latter doesn’t have its perks, mind you.
But I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself.  As usual, the start of this mess could be traced back to perhaps my least favorite of my everyday abominations that haunt my dreams, the Necrons.  As usual, we had been stationed on one of their tomb worlds on routine maneuvers.  They did not take too kindly to that, but then again, they never do.  One thing led to another, and somehow I had found myself behind their lines as the Necrons, led by some grotesque parody of man and Daemon at once led their unstoppable forces across the planet, harvesting whatever they could find.  The last thing I remember was our Salamander’s mad dash for one of their sorcerous warp gates, faithful Jurgen at the wheel like always, as the Daemon thing laughed and taunted us.
I awoke to…well, even now, I suppose it’s difficult to explain exactly how it felt waking up where I did.  Suffice to say I didn’t recognize it, and not just because the surroundings were unfamiliar.  The architecture itself seemed almost alien, but not even in a way I could recognize.  It was closer to home then the hard, cruel sculpts that made up the Eldar reaver citadel I had been held in, for example. 
Naturally, waking up in an entirely different place after launching myself through a Necron warp portal immediately set me on edge.  I had awoken in what appeared to be a medical facility of some kind.  This was both somewhat reassuring and alarming.  I was unrestrained, so at least I was apparently not a prisoner of some sort, but this meant I was at the mercy of whoever had abducted me in the first place, not to mention I could have been suffering from some unknown ailment even then.  The fact that my unknown caretakers had seen fit to strip me down and dress me in a gown that felt strangely like parchment was a lesser, yet still disturbing concern.
Fortunately for me, whoever it was had been polite enough to leave my uniform on a chair in the corner, along with my carapace vest.  They had even seen fit to clean and press my greatcoat and include my weapons, throwing more holes into the prisoner theory.  Glad to find I hadn’t lost my possessions as well as my senses, I donned the familiar attire.  It helped ground my thoughts somewhat, especially when who appeared to be an orderly of some sort came in. 
She didn’t appear to be wearing the uniform of a Guard medic, Sisters Hospitaller, or any others that I could reasonably recognize, and when she started rattling off questions in alien tongues I was all but stricken back into frightened dumbfoundedness.  I was all but ready to execute her for speaking in tongues when I finally caught a few words in Low Gothic.  Thanking the Emperor for small graces, I held up my hand in hopes that she would understand the gesture, which she did. 
“Ah, good,” I said far more sedately then I felt.  “Now that we can work with each other, maybe you could answer some of my questions.”  Hopefully adapting the appropriate tone to match my Commissarial uniform would get me some quick answers out of her.  Of course, what did happen was entirely different then what I was expecting.
“Oh!  You speak Caladosian.  That will speed things up.”  She was a bit startled by the tone, but apparently the uniform meant nothing to her.  This was a bit shocking, but not without precedent, as there were several Imperial worlds that had little to no military presence to speak of.  What really caught my attention was her entirely alien name for Low Gothic.  We were obviously speaking the same language, so why the entirely different name?
“Caladosian?” I responded.  “Unless I am horribly mistaken, this is Low Gothic, although I can’t say I’m familiar with your accent.”  I frowned and crossed my arms across my chest.  “If this has anything to do with those other tongues you were speaking in a moment ago, I’m afraid I will require an explanation.”  Having just woken up, I was rather not in the mood to have to execute yet another cult of xeno-worshipping heretics if I could avoid it.
“Well, your documentation did say you hadn’t been informed yet,” she responded, throwing my entire assumption out the window.  I would have to later check if my sanity had gone with it.  “You may want to sit down for this…”


I don’t suppose there is really any adequate way to describe how such news affected me.  The assumption that I had been simply carted across known space by techno-sorcery was taxing enough, but an entirely new plane of existence?  It not only shook the foundations of everything both the Ecclisiarchy and the ScholaProgenum had hammered into me, it outright destroyed them.  Emperor forgive me for writing this, but I believe that it may have been my sheer lack of devotion to His worship that may have saved my sanity.  I can think of several more pious individuals that would have killed themselves on the spot.  Though I do admit I would have loved to see old Beije’s expression on that pudgy face of his.
I inquired about my aide, and was told that yes, whatever witchcraft had thrown me here had indeed thrown him here as well.  The nurse, who I would later learn was named Leanna, showed me to a nearby ward.  Jurgen himself had just woken up, and seemed no worse for wear.  Even his perpetual odor had survived our transition completely intact, much to the dismay of whomever had been assigned to watch over him, I imagine.  He was rather nonplussed by the whole state of affairs as I explained it to him, but this being Jurgen, I could have told him we had appeared in the Eye of Terror itself and he would have barely been fazed. A quick check revealed our commbeads still worked as well, but without a network to tap into, it would be strictly point to point for the time being. 
“Well, I don’t suppose you know of any other survivors that have been recovered?” I asked, turning around and directing my attention back at the young nurse who had lead me here.  Truthfully, I suppose I only asked out of force of habit and the need to uphold my reputation, but it did give the impression that I cared for my men.  Given the way things turned out, I may have chosen to reconsider. 
Leanna looked thoughtful for a moment.  “Mmm…nope.  Can’t say anybody dressed like you two were found at the crater.”  I was struck by how cheery she seemed to be, in a run-down building full of confused, wounded people like myself.  It was somewhat irritating.  “Or at least I didn’t see any.  You could ask the doctor when he comes back.”
I frowned.  “Doctor?  Shouldn’t he be here with you then?”
“Oh!  Nonono, not that kind of doctor!” she abruptly responded, nearly dropping her clipboard in her jerky flailing response, and causing me to lose even more faith in her as a medical professional.  I was beginning to wonder how bad off things really were if someone like Leanna was assigned to watch over recovering patients.  “Dr. Kageyama is a linguist who volunteered to work with G-Force after they started putting up want ads.  I was one of his students…I don’t really know all that much about medicine to be honest,” she finished, suddenly looking somewhat ashamed. 
“I think I’m beginning to see the picture here,” I responded.  I exchanged glances with Jurgen for a moment, but he was unreadable as always, eager to let me do the talking.  “But what is this ‘G-Force’ of yours?  Are you some kind of paramilitary group?” I asked, expecting them to be something along the lines of PDF forces.
“Hardly,” Leanna sighed, suddenly looking far more tired then she did earlier.  Perhaps her work was far more taxing on the young girl than I originally thought.  “We’re not even official members, just a relief group of volunteer workers sent out on a goodwill mission after Toholon opened its borders.”  She gestured out the window, turning my attention to the decrepit cityscape outside.  It was quite different then anything I had experienced beforehand, but almost completely in ruins, with several buildings missing their roofs or entire walls.  Some even intersected each other at impossible angles that reminded me of Chaos architecture, only far less insanity inducing.  “Not every city made it through the Transition intact,” Leanna continued behind me.  “So far we’ve come across dozens of ruins like this across the Patchwork.  Plus there’s cases like yours, with people just appearing out of the blue in the middle of nowhere.”
“I see,” I said, even though I felt far from it.  “I’d like to talk with this doctor of yours, as soon as you could arrange a meeting, if possible.”

“Oh, sure!”  Leanna immediately perked up at that, making me think she may have some sort of emotional disorder.  “He’s out at your crater with Mr. Tachibana and his team.  They have to have all sorts of questions to ask you, since they’ve been camped out there for the last two days.”  The three of us finally moved out of Jurgen’s room.  Privately I wondered how much time I had lost, both here and back in the Imperium.  My thoughts turned to Amberley, and if I would ever get the chance to see her again. 
My lack of attention had cost me however, and when I returned to awareness I found myself in an unfamiliar, crumbling wing of the building.  I cursed myself for such an amateur mistake, yet had I known where all this would have led me I probably would have done far worse.  I turned back and attempted to retrace my steps to a more familiar junction when I was rudely intercepted by a young lad heading the direction I had just come from.  I turned to admonish the boy for his lack of respect, but came up short when I got a good look at him.  He was dressed in the same fatigues I had seen on Leanna, but they hung on him at odd angles, reminding me of Jurgen and how his uniform never seemed to properly fit him.  This boy was different, and as he turned to enter an adjacent corridor, I could see why.
It wasn’t just his uniform that seemed ill-fitting, but he moved as if his entire body burdened him in ways he was not yet accustomed to.  His gait was a strange combination of lope and limp as he moved down the hall, and his eyes burned with a purposeful gaze as he glanced up and down the hallway, sending me behind a corner and away from his gaze.  Apparently I had escaped his detection for the moment, as he slipped inside a featureless room identical to the many others in the building. By now, of course, my palms were tingling enough to itch, as though I needed more indication that this was increasingly hazardous to my health and well-being. 
In retrospect, I’m unsure why I bothered following him in.  Perhaps it was a subconscious desire to follow the principals hammered into me at the Progenum.  This boy was obviously a mutant of some kind, and that meant that he had to be purged.  Of course, those standards did not necessarily apply to my current situation, and as I would later learn, the opposite was quite true in some cases, though perhaps they would be better off if they were. 
I loosened my laspistol in its holster and cautiously nudged my way into the room after him.  The room itself was unremarkable, aside from the boarded-up window and various small holes and cracks in the walls.  Apparently this one was home to a young woman who still remained unconscious.  Strikingly, her head was completely shaved and dotted with what looked like electoos of some sort.  Admittedly, I was paying less attention to her and more to the monstrosity that occupied the foot of her bed.
The boy was perched on the edge of her bed like some decorative gargoyle, his back turned to me.  A slick, moist thread of almost translucent whiteness trailed from her prone form up to his head, and as I watched from behind the doorframe, I could see a growing pool of it at the base of the bed.  It was after a few seconds of mortified fascination watching it that I realized he was cocooning the girl.  That was enough to override my sense of self-preservation for the moment as training kicked in.
I threw the door open, drawing my laspistol and lining up a shot at his braincase.  “I may be new here, but I don’t believe that qualifies as proper medical pro…” My hasty introduction was cut off as he turned around, giving me a good look at exactly what the abomination I was facing down was.  His face had apparently been torn open from the inside, exposing a furry mess of slick, red eyeballs.  Dominating the lower half were four stubby, waving appendages.  The inner two sporting wicked, dripping fangs and the fluid trailing from between them, while the jointed outer pair writhed angrily in my direction.  The demon before me reared back and screamed, bringing me out of my shocked stupor as scores of extra appendages erupted from its back like groundworms.  I had just enough time to curse my principals for getting me into this before it lunged at me.

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