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This is an experiment in hopefully-unconventional story-telling. I hope you enjoy it, and give me feedback.
In the void, It waited.
In mid-step, his rhythm almost faltered as he heard clearly, distinctly, that which he could have sworn he had erased every foul trace of from this world. So did It.
In blue, what's true, he heard. Leaving the message not a moment's though, he stepped up his already brisk pace, hoping to reach his so-called 'headquarters' on this Warp-spawned ball of dust before they left. It also heard.
In the year of our Emperor 989.M40, by order of the High Lords of Terra and Inquisitor-Lord Sprenger, Inquisitor Shetach of the Ordo Hereticus was despatched to the feudal world Ashkelon V, situated in the Reductus Sector of the Segmentum Tempestum, to investigate reports of an increase of heretical preachings and possible witchcraft, there to restore the Emperor's light to those whose souls could yet be redeemed. He was not alone.
Far from it.
Springing up the steps, he called out to his servitors. One answered.
+What Does My Lord Desire+ it grated in its tinny monotone, not a hint of sincerity or deceit in its voice. Inquisitor Shetach liked servitors. They were mechanical, predictable, completely devoid of surprises.
They were perfect.
"Servitor - bring me my servant Athelstan."
+By Your Command, Lord+ As the machine-man left, another entered the room, though unseen.
It left in its usual medium-to-fast pace, knowing exactly what to do and how to do it and nothing else. Blessed were the man who could live surrounded only by beings like that.
Something caught his eye, something different to how it had been when he left - a piece of paper. Picking it up from the dust-covered surface, he read in white ink on blue paper: Seek truth in the colour of the skies.
Frowning, he rumpled up the paper and threw it on the floor. No sound. He looked down. No sign of the letter. And, on the table, the dust lay undisturbed. It enjoyed this game. What next?
Sending regular reports to Earth from Ashkelon via astropath, he expressed great concern over the spiritual well-being of this people. More convinced with every missive, he argued more and more strongly that this world was irredeemably lost. Suggestions of exterminatus were dismissed as being premature by the Inquisitor-Lord.
Another, too, was watching now.
She had grown more and more concerned with every hour, every day. The strain of terror eventually tears upon one's mind; by the third week, she had grown erratic. In the fourth, she was found in her room, dead, with a message scrawled, apparently by her, in her own blood, on the wall: Ocean is the lense.
He was watching. She was watching. It was watching.
The rest of the Inquisitor's retinue shrugged. Astropaths! There was always something strange, something unnatural, going on with them. Might they not be just as well off without her?
But they were unaware of each other.
By the time contact ceased, it came to light that the Inquisitor's sanity had been in question for quite a while among those closer to him than most. An operative was despatched.
But now, It was tired of waiting. It flexed.
Walking through the deserted forests in the night, far away from the benighted souls of this wretched outpost, the Inquisitor and loyal Athelstan the sage were quietly conversing.
"I am troubled, my old friend," the Inquisitor confessed; "Lately, it seems this place is growing more and more shadowy." Below them, He crawled.
"Indeed - this world holds it share of secret, I think, many of them old and best left forgotten. Behind them, She crept.
I am an old man, my good friend. I have seen places like this before. Never anything good to find in them, that's for certain." From beyond, It struck.
However, the operative never returned. Neither did the Inquisitor, nor any member of his retinue. What had come to pass, none could say. The next vessel to pass Ashkelon could only report that the Inquisitor's ship was no longer anywhere nearby.
The forest was thick and dark, and as they walked, the Inquisitor's well-honed ears would catch the odd sound - a branch cracking, a pebble sliding, the sort of sounds the animal life of a planet tends to.
"Let us talk about more cheerful things for a moment, friend. This topic weighs heavily upon my mind, and my mind is heavy enough as it is. Pray tell, what kind of wild beasts live in these forests?" They snuck through the forest. They were close, now. So close...
Athelstan stiffened. Then he whispered, "My lord - there are none."
Just then, It ordered the charge.
Watching from the shadows of a nearby copse, She saw the Genestealers rushing towards the two humans. Cursing herself for not reading the signs correctly, she launched herself from the bushes and stormed.
But He was patient.
All that was found of Ashkelon was a dead wasteland, devoid of life.
All the impressions seemed to come at once - his friend jumping at him, pushing him out of the way, the wretched Xeno scum tearing him into small, fleshy pieces, and the sudden burst of speed from the bushes. So, when the Culexus assassin shouted for him to flee, his subconscious had long ago seized control of his body, and decided to do just that. He was far gone before the battle met its outcome. Not that it mattered. The last thing he saw was perfection.
It bellowed with rage to have been thwarted so near to its goal - the human-thing with the potential for adding to the hive. It then focused all its strength on fighting the other one.
He was not to be denied, now. The one without the impure had been taken. She would serve. The one with the impure sleep had been silenced. And the one who filthies many at once was being driven back. Yet another step. The universe would be theirs.
She screamed, and her scream shattered like crystal. She floated, and the only thing with her was the thing of power. She was afraid. She was fearless. She was no more, and was new instead.
The world has since been attempted resettled twice. Both times the settlers mysteriously vanished. A single, brief pulse of energy once flickered from that world, and an Explorator team was promptly despatched. They returned, having found nothing, but inexplicably driven by a cold horror. Nothing has since been reported concerning this world. My most humble and worthless opinion, should you wish it, great Lord and Master, is that the world is best left alone and undisturbed. For surely, it can be naught but the wroth of the Emperor as cause for events such as these?
Your most loyal servant,
Scribe #275, C.C.R.
By your request.
Last edited by Tutankhankh; September 9th, 2008 at 02:04. Reason: A story with Tyranids set in the wrong end of the galaxy.
Argh! My head, it is exploding!
That said, it's certainly different. A bit hard to follow with so many threads running through it, but I think I got the general gist of the story...
Or I completely missed it... not sure.
I like the idea though! Makes you pay attention.
I know. It's ugly. A true child of its father. I blame the formatting options ( ).
Glad you liked it. One question, though: Was the "use highlighting!" thing hinted at too strongly or not enough?
You mean, "use highlighting to read the text that you can't see?"
I saw the first line, had to highlight that to read it, then just continued through highlighting most of it to make it easier to read.
It was reasonably clear that there were some 'hidden' bits to the story. Don't really see how you could make it clearer.