A Sharing of Knowledge, After the Fact
Aurealogi Belsepanium > Anni Aureum > The Silence of Griddish

[tabula anima sub 6 :: servitor transcriptus 23.1.b :: signo temporis 4.261.805 M41
Transceptus Capitis :: Ordo Missio Fortress :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla]

Continuance, tabula sub 5.
G: Adept-Militant Grambald
R: Inquisitor Lammis Ru-Tariy

G: He was a good man, and let's forget the rest. But reth, we're not here so's I can catch up on your happenstance this past year. Where was I?

R: Captain-Designate E, the "rething bastard."

G: Rething bastard. See that? See my hand? Servos twitchin' like they want a jug of tranc every time I think about him. That's why I let you distract me with yer tall stories.

[R shrugs]

G: Them Ordo Mallus mindwipes act so naffing high and mighty. Glorified servitors like her here [B gestures towards Transcription Unit 23.1.b] if you ask me, just less flash and metal polish. Oh, he'd stick macro-cannon up the arse of anyone who'd blew us to plasma, but he'd take his rething time about it, make good and sure he had something to revenge.

[R drinks from a flask, guestures for G to continue]

G: Reth, sorry. So the great and glorious Black 2 and rething bastard E was our ticket to Griddish, thanks to strings pulled somewhere. You's ridden Mallus ships, so you know where the glint falls. It's a tomb for the living - no tranc, no cards, no dice, no women can do more than make the blank face. Long weeks in Master Frek's needleship, middle of Hold 3, nothing to do but listen to Frek pray the same prayer under the aquila and Ume and Ve tell the same rething stories over and over. Reth, I was there for half of them, and they still can't get it naffing right!

[G motions for the flask, takes it, sniffs it, passes it back]

G: Shoulda known it wasn't the good stuff. All this time in the void, Admar - sorry, "Inquisitor Sertel Admar" to the likes of me - was holed up with the mindwipes and Jonus Toll in the Black 2 datastacks, trying to make a catch of the thin line that dragged us to Griddish. Something to prove, both those two. One of these years they'll figure out you don' have to plan it out quite so rething much, and the last place yer going to find the answers to what's about to bite yer arse is in a dataslate.

R: Your "thin line" would be the last Astropathic communications from Griddish prior to the silence, regarding a xenos strain taking root in the beremoth herds. They were ambiguous, yes.

G: That's the sort of word Toll'd use. Probably used it a lot, not that I saw. Why not just send a transport and some poor guard rethers to poke at the beasts and see which end was which, that's what Ume and I said. But no, someone knew something, and there we were on Black 2 - and it was burning Admar something hard to not be the one who knew. "I feel it's important" says Hrald, by way of one of that message servitor we all hate the look of, and you know how that is.

R: Indeed.

G: Here's what burned me. Every day, sharp at the same time, like the crack-slap in sub H of the old hab, there's be rething bastard Captain-Designate E at the hold watch station. Looked at the needleship like it was a wart on his face for the count of thirty, and back again to the bridge.

R: It begins to sound like a pact of mutual admiration.

[G glares at R]

[tabula anima sub 33 :: servitor transcriptus 23.1.b :: signo temporis 4.262.805 M41
Transceptus Capitis :: Ordo Missio Fortress :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla]

Continuance, tabula sub 5.
B: Adept-Militant Bothe Ume
R: Inquisitor Lammis Ru-Tariy

B: Now - you know the Master isn't like that. Frek's the Emperor's own when he isn't at the control pulpit, holy as an Ecclesiarch, makes the rest of us look like war-muscle warmed right from the vats. I've never heard him tell anyone where he learned to pilot. No, no war stories, just like last time.

R: The Emperor protects.

B: That he does, and glad I am of it when the Master is piloting.

[B makes the sign of the aquila]

I wouldn't say scrapping and lasfire flying make me feel comfortable and homey, back in the bunkers and pollen fields, but it's a step up from being strapped in the Thin and Narrow, upside-down and flying sideways, waiting for the other boot to drop.

R: Shooting back is powerful medicine.

[B nods sagely]

B: I'll have to learn to work those pin-guns on the needleship one of these days. It can't be much harder than raking flak at the Vervai's servitor drones from a moving Hydra. I haven't talked Ve and Frek into it yet, though - they say I wreck every vehicle I touch.

[R laughs]

R: There's a certain truth to that - I've heard the stories. The Arbites Leman Russ in the mid-level hab riots two years ago? The stride-tank on Heth?

[B laughs harshly]

B: Heth. It was Hesh, after Mirel went blind into the war-fields. [B pauses] Did I ever tell you how much I loathe the Mechanicus?

[Pause of 14.6 seconds]

R: The Mechanicus, then, let us pick up there.

[B sighs]

B: The lance strikes on Griddish that Ve's auspex work picked on the way in from where Black 2 left us. That was Magos Kergan's vessel. An explorator sphere, old as old, and no doubt just as rotten. I'll tell you this: I'm glad I didn't have to go face to face with the Magos and tell him the God-Emperor's will.

[Pause of 3.2 seconds]

They look like wet squus, you know, washed up on the beach below the ghostfire line on the dunes - poisonous, slimy. Except the tentacles are made of metal. The ship was just like that, spiny and wrapped about with tentacles. Docking was like being eaten by a giant squus, flex-arms twenty times the size of the Thin and Narrow shoving us in.

R: No other Imperial vessels at all?

B: Eaten, for all we knew. Griddish never sees much beyond trader deephulls for the slaughter season. Not a scrap of orbital docking, or so Ve said, and it wasn't slaughter season. Just us and the Mechanicus squus; the Mallus ship that brought us was long gone by the time Magos Kergan was telling Inquisitor Admar that we were "quite mistaken" about the lance strikes. "Quite mistaken" - just like that.

[Pause of 1.7 seonds]

B: There's another thing: squus can't lie through their shiny, metal vox-plant, and they don't come packing armored regiments of tech guard. Mechanicus redcloaks don't know what the truth tastes like anymore, and there's the God-Emperor's own number of them. I'll take the squus any day. So I watched the needleship with Frek and Jonus, while the Inquisitor and the others went inside to lay down the Imperial law.

[ Posted by Reason on March 24, 2008 ]