Internal Enemy/Rot and Ruin. Rejected Submissions

Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim, dark future there is only war.

Internal Enemy/Rot and Ruin. Rejected Submissions

Postby MalkyDel » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:50 pm

Here we go again; my rejected submissions from last year, for everyone's perusal. Thoughts welcome.

Internal Enemy

The lights of the laboratory flickered on as Senior Medicae Arlen Cedeno stepped into the main Mortis hall. The trundling servitor unit which served as aide, instrument trolley and recording device slipped from one dark corner, turning to regard him with its cold gaze. He nodded to it in passing, inexplicably cheered as always by the lobotomised thing’s presence. He began to absently hum a tune as he picked up a dataslate from a waiting body bag, regarding the flickering text with tired bemusement.
Arlen was a man slowly slipping to the bad end of middle age. His brown hair was greying from the common stresses of life and the added pressures of having the lives of others in his hands. One eye was the blue-grey of autumn skies, half obscured behind the steel trimmed monocle he wore, more out of affectation than anything else. The other was a clicking bionic implant, a flickering crimson orb that had paid for itself a hundred times over in diagnostics. He was dressed in white, one shoulder marked with a healer's helix. He had already tied a disposable apron about his waist, to shield him from the more unsightly aspects of his duty, pale green plastek crinkling against his body.

As the dedicated technician of the Mortis hall, he was responsible for every corpse which found its way here. He had seen the human form rendered quiescent through a multitude of methods, from the obvious trauma of a stubber round to the creeping insidiousness of contagion or malignancy. Tonight, the expectation lay with the latter. The scrolling pages of the slate had settled on a blinking warning sign, indicating that this body was no ordinary dead patient or discovered guttersnipe.

It bore the seal of the Adeptus Arbites.

Arlen sighed. He enjoyed a beneficial relationship with the Judges, an extended stipend in exchange for particularly troublesome corpses. He'd seen the taint of mutancy cross his slab, had to pull embedded information from the truly desperate...The thought sent a shudder through his body as he reached for the zipper and pulled.

“Hm.” He muttered to himself. “And here I was expecting so much worse.” The corpse was that of a shaven headed male, Arlen guessed him to be in his mid to late thirties. A number of bullet wounds marred the man's chest, like bloody eyes peering from the black leather that enshrouded him. “Let's see what we've got here then.”

Once the body was removed from the bag and from its clothing, he had began a cursory examination. The servitor was at his side, occasionally clattering as it recorded his observations about height, weight and surface appearance. Eventually his hand brushed across the steel tray that had replaced one of the things hands. His fingers closed around a scalpel, holding it as gracefully as an artist might hold a brush or a philosopher his electro-quill.

He drew the blade across the bare chest of the man, ignoring the trickles of blood as he made the first incisions, baring the ribcage and underlying tissues to the open air. The raw odour of dead flesh rose to mingle with the scents of preservatives that haunted the dissection chamber. He could see where one of the bullets had shattered a bar of rib, the fragments imbedded in the ruined intercostal muscles. He reached over and took a small saw from the servitor unit, which chirped with brainless excitement at the contact. Slowly he pressed the whirring blade to the pale white bone, pressing downwards until it had passed through entirely. Soon enough, the whole thing slid free.

“Preliminary report regarding the corpse of an unidentified male, shot and killed by Arbiters. Initial rounds seem to have broken the fourth rib, the other is embedded in the shoulder. Organs appear healthy, mostly intact...Huh.”

He paused. His augmetic eye adjusted and whirred, enhancing sections of extraneous tissue. “Possible tumour growth surrounding the lungs, extending...” He was silent for a moment. He felt a lump catch in his throat, stopping him from swallowing, stopping him from breathing. Something wasn't right. “Atypical tissue surrounding...Query, history of mutation? History of rad exposure? No, even then...” He had found his voice, dredged up from his throat, drenched in the bile he felt in his clenched guts.

The tissue was a purplish red mass, threaded throughout the abdomen. It coiled and encircled organs, pulsing with a network of veins and arteries, riven through with nodules of nerve. It seemed to be everywhere, an all-pervasive infestation. It even coiled down towards the uro-genital tract, insinuating itself into every nook and cranny. The more he looked at it, the more he hated it. There was an instinctive revulsion that he had never felt with even the most disfigured mutant.

His shaking hand tried to replace the cutting tools on the tray but he slipped, knocking a number of them to the floor. He didn't bother to pick them up, he was already moving to the communications annex. He had to tell someone, the Arbites seemed like the most logical choice- they would know what to do with this, whatever it was.

He never made it to the terminal.

He felt his stomach contract and bulge, and he braced himself against a wall as vomit surged up his oesophagus. He gasped, the putrid stink of half-digested food joining the other pungent smells within the hall. How could he explain what he felt? The twisted corpse lay silent and cold, as though accusing him with its hollow humanity. He had to tell someone, had to warn someone. They had to know what lurked beneath the innocuous façade.

It was not, could not be human. It was an affront to the Emperor and the Imperial Creed, it was a blight on every oath he had ever sworn.

Alien.

Rot and Ruin

The Chimera trundled over the slick earth, occasionally struggling in a patch of cloying, clinging mud. Outside, the rain lashed off the iron skin of the transport, seeping through corroded holes in the ancient armour. The atmosphere within was almost as oppressive as that without, reeking of sweat, burning lho and some putrid incense likely wafted at the vehicles consecration by a half-mad Enginseer. The Rusted Triumvirate’s pet techpriests were craven, gibbering things far removed from the warriors ensconced within.

Wilhelm glanced around the barely lit interior, seeing reflected in each face a facet of humanity. Albrecht sucked at his lhostick, trying desperately to escape from the reality that faced him, while another man whispered his prayers to the Grandfather- eternal infective peace in the Garden, a place at the putrefied feast. Some simply stared into space, problems and cares drowning in some unfathomable internal reverie. He was lucky none of them were weeping. These were men of the vanguard, men who had been chosen for their faith and strength of character. Not all were veterans, but each man had sworn an oath to die in the Grandfather’s name.

That was all any man could ask.

Wilhelm was about to close his eyes and meditate on the battle to come, grasping at his own sense of inner calm, when a rough voice cut through the tension.

“I always knew I’d die in the rain.”

Every eye turned to the speaker. Old Krath, a veteran of the revolution, was staring at the floor, his lips no longer moving. There was a tremble in him, passing through his muscled bulk and up to his ruined face. A rogue lasbolt had taken his eye during the skirmishes for the Governor’s palace. He had always refused augmetics, instead allowing the wound to fester as a living mark of devotion to their God. A thin line of rheumy pus was dribbling from the wound, as though the man were weeping in his surrender.

Voices were raised; some in support, some in anger and others with the apprehensive jabbering of fear. He ignored them all, caught in his turmoil, lost in his despair. “It’s true. Always knew I’d die in the rain, only ever rains on this sodding world when something bad happens.”

“We won’t die.” Wilhelm was almost surprised to realise that he had spoken. He stood, gripping a support cord. His cold gaze turned to every soldier in turn, as though his eyes alone could sear through a man.

“I’ve fought with many of you, others I’ve yet to see in action. You all know me. I’m a hero, they say: father of the revolution. You think I’m some anointed hero at the right hand of the Grandfather, I’m not!” He paused, gauging each man. This was the moment. This would make or break them. He reached up and thumbed a comm button. Suddenly his voice would be everywhere, echoing across open channels and blared from the loudspeakers atop the Chimera. His words cut through the cold rains and winds that battered Zarrberg like a flaming sword.

“I know you’re all afraid, you would not be men if you weren’t. We’re not like the sons of Mortarion. Yet we are still the grandchildren of a God! We are the chosen people. We drove out the false Emperor and his lackeys, we enshrined truth and ushered in a blessed future- a future of love. They cannot take that from us. No matter that they come with hate and fire, ignore their blandishments and their heresy!

We are the blessed of Nurgle! And we will show every last one of these Imperial bastards what it means to cross the God of Death, the very Lord of Decay!”

The Chimera exploded into zealous praise. Men punched the air and cheered, even Krath grinned his toothless grin and raised a single fist. They were ready. They could face death with open hearts and clear minds.

“Let’s go!” The words were out of Wilhelm’s mouth before the hatch had even swung open. “Let’s show these simpering heathens how heroes fight and die.” Wilhelm turned and walked from the transport. As one they rose, ready to follow him out into the night. Ready to take whatever the universe threw at them. Ready to go forth and fight.

*

The town of Zarrberg barely deserved the name. An agglomeration of makeshift shelters and slum housing in the swampy wastes to the east of the Hives, it had never amounted to much. Many of his troops had come from humble beginnings like this, lured to the city for a military stipend and the honour of wearing the uniform.

Wilhelm stood atop one of the ramshackle habitations, gazing at the lights in the distance. These were not the comforting lights of home. They were the landing lights of the enemy, come to strike them from this world out of spite and hatred and envy. He loathed them, just as he loathed the Imperial Creed which had once strangled his birthworld. Now they were drawing ever closer.

“Are we ready?” he turned to regard his adjutant, who nodded simply. “Good. The men are where they should be?” The man nodded again. “Excellent. Give the order.” There was a muttering as the man turned to fiddle with the vox. A second later, his voice was muffled as the artillery began to pound down.

It fell like thunder upon the Imperial landing craft, Basilisk launchers firing in a constant rolling barrage. The ground shook, Wilhelm watched as boards and bricks tumbled from the nearby buildings. No one moved. No one flinched. They were waiting.

Waiting for him.

He drew his sword, a gift from the forges of the Rusted Triumvirate in the wake of the revolution. It was an elegant straight blade, marked with ritual corrosion and glimmering with a greenish power field. Rain evaporated with a tortured hiss as it struck the blade, held straight out towards the foe.

“Kill them, men! In the Grandfather’s name!”

A fusillade of lasfire erupted, drowning out the storm.
MalkavianDelirium

<3 Fan of Erebus <3

Then one day at Istvaan III,
Horus came to say.
"Fulgrim with your clothes so bright,
won't you help me slay tonight?"
Then all the rebels loved him
And they shouted out with glee.
"Fulgrim the Traitor Primarch,
you'll go down in history!"
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