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The man was shivering, his carrier ship had just crashed only a few kilometres from our base point and such activity around this sector was very uncommon being at such a faraway spot from the usual ongoing conflicts with all other xenos.
We took care of him for a few weeks until he shook off the terror from whatever he had seen and was able to talk about it openly. He had partly been maddened and lost bits and pieces of recollection as to what had happened.
What he could tell us though was like a story, every day or so he would remember something further, sort of like chapters, this is why we archived them that way.Rogue Fleet Immensia
Chapter 1: Death gives no Notice
“It started so fast, we just did normal routines, day in day out, as always it was dusty, dry and scorching hot, but we only had to do patrols outside for such short amounts of time that it really didn’t bother anyone, we were doing it all in the Emperor’s name and even though it got long and very tedious at times, when evil was to come, we would throw its face in the dirt and crush them.” The man’s eyes closed and his speech paused while tears forced themselves out of his sockets and heavily dropped onto his bed sheets, I left him alone for that day to rest and would visit early tomorrow, as the one assigned to archiving this man’s memory of a possible accident on a border post of this sector I had to keep visiting often, it also saved me the grief of going through eastern recon for as long as it took, which I was more than glad to do.
I arrived to his ward the next morning just about sunrise, I entered his room only to see him staring in front of him, he was still in tears and looked like he hadn’t slept at all since yesterday.
“Are you ready to disclose more on the events you went through?” He looked up at me as I said that with uttermost unwillingness in his eyes but started talking almost straight away, I guess he had to talk about it to someone just to keep himself from breaking down, I was going to be his friend for the time it would take for him to remember I was sure of that. He started with the same quiver in his voice he had ended the day before.
“Things started going sour when the sky would go into a strange yellow colour, unnatural compared to its usual orange nature. The air seemed to be thicker too, we just figured it was a change in weather patterns, but it was obviously much more than that, we could all feel it inside, this new air was intoxicating in ways we couldn’t explain even to ourselves. No one talked about it, we just kept right on going with our usual duties and tried as hard as we could to ignore it hoping it would just be a phase and everything would be back to normal within just a matter of time. As the weeks went by everyone who had any duties to do with the outside started developing a husky cough, but the medical unit told us all the same thing, that there was nothing out of the ordinary with our bodies and that we were all as far as they were concerned perfectly healthy, that the cough would just go away with time.
Time, that seemed to be the answer on everyone’s lips, it was as if that was the only cure to everything, little did we know it was actually a fatal mistake to just wait, if we had run extensive scans on the space regions around our world we would have easily caught the threat out earlier and possibly called in some sort of reinforcements, at this point it seems the Emperor’s Holy Marine Servants themselves would have been nothing short of crucial help.”
I interrupted him at this point as he was mentioning a lot of important factors as to not only what had attacked them but which outpost or even planet he was talking about, we still hadn’t figure it out and it would be hard without his input if this world he came from was further to the north, where mandatory contact was only obliged every few months, the next one being too far away to risk if this threat was major, heck even if it was moderate.
“So what was it which led to the downfall of your post, and which planet was this post on anyway? We need to know this, it’s crucial to our investigation and report”
He stared blankly at me just as I had seen him do when I had entered the room.
“I… I don’t remember right now, it’ll come to me I’m sure, but for now… I just… I can’t remember, no, not at this time, no. Please now, I’d like to rest.”
I could tell what he was saying wasn’t all truth, he did in some way or form know these facts, but his mind seemed to close itself not even letting himself into his thoughts. This didn’t matter at this point anyway as time for my routine base patrol was getting close enough for me to be late, and I didn’t need a negative mark on my evaluation report, not to mention a ranted lecture from my superior. I left without saying a word, but I was planning to force some more information out of him another time, it was too early at the moment to do so but in time, I would have to speed up the progress. As he had said himself, time was the cure, all I needed was time.
I was called down to the armour docks later that day to be briefed on the findings of his wrecked ship so far, also to disclose what I had discovered myself from that first encounter and interview. Needless to say my input on the matter was disappointing even for only a day and a half’s work, although the findings from that rust heap of a ship more than made up for my lack of results. Turned out I got my ranted lecture after all.
It turns out the ship came from a tiny planet which had been passed over so quickly due to its size that it became way behind on its colonisation progress, barely a quarter of the planet had even been scanned and even less had had been checked, scouted or secured. Someone had screwed up; luckily for them the trail had been cold for a while so they rested easy, wherever they were right now. The ship’s black box couldn’t be found but the weird thing is that it seemed to have been removed carefully, therefore by human hands or at least humanoid, compared to all the scratch marks the hull of the ship had suffered this not only told us that whatever had attacked them was a xenos species, and a savage one at that, but also that the black box was removed by a humanoid, as it was fitted in a groove no claw bearing alien could possibly attain without ripping it apart first. This was going to come up at my next encounter with the survivor.
Other than that most other key finds were the remainders of a male guard’s body which was going under a biopsy first thing in the morning; another item we found were scratches made inside the ship’s cargo bay, they were huge about 40 feet up on the right wall, from the bay’s entrance you could clearly make out a gigantic emblem of sorts, it was sketchy but looked like some sort of head, definitely not human either, surrounded by a three quarters circle with arrows pointing away from the head attached to the circle. I quickly took out my logbook and crudely sketched the symbol, another thing which was to come up with this survivor. This matter only raised more questions than answers in the end.
After a few days the regular check ups on the survivor became much more comfortable, for one, I managed to get his name, Bentley. Now I wasn’t officially allowed to call him by his given name but since the only times I saw him were in his secluded ward I didn’t take too much into that policy. The higher ups along with the medical chief staff decided that ‘although no infection could be found on or in the survivor’s body, we still need to take precautions and whoever is to have any contact with this person will need to wear a standard issue respirator at all times blah blah blah…’. These issues were only done because these higher ups have nothing to do in this base as nothing ever happens in this sector of the galaxy and doing little titbits of work like this shows their higher ups in turn that they are a crucial part of the mechanics of the base, avoiding them being sent to more active parts of the Imperium’s reach. Anyway this didn’t really matter as of lately Bentley had revealed very little and for this next session I had been permitted an entire day off my other duties so this time I could possibly get more key information from him which would advance us on our so far slow moving investigation.
I entered the room, only then realising that every single time I came to visit him he was staring straight ahead of him, without fail. It was like he never slept and simply stayed in that sort of trance all night, every night. I just ignored it and went for the usual chair next to his bed, clearing my throat and adjusting my respirator, all of this before talk preparation was just a way to make sure he wasn’t in his trance and was fully aware that we were going to start talking about something he definitely would’ve preferred to leave aside, although if we did that he would be transferred to this base’s roster and sent to regular duty faster than the drop of a foot.
“Well we have all day today to do this, so you’ll have to try harder to remember because the sooner we can unlock the mystery to whatever happened on your post and the sooner that happens the sooner you can get assigned a comfortable desk job and never have to worry about fighting ever again”, this was a blatant lie but he chose to buy it, or at least that’s what the smile on his face was saying, he needed some sort of comfort, you could tell his mind was eroding itself slowly, being him was like constantly fighting within yourself, I guess that’s what the whole trance thing is about. He raised his head noticeably higher than usual and turned his head to face me on an angle that made him seem bizarrely threatening.
“Terry, Terry was the first to get worse than everyone else, we found him down in a supply closet, he had been dead for an hour, from the looks of him you would’ve guessed at least a month, his face was… was caved in, maggots had already basically covered his entire corpse, and they didn’t come from the outside either, those maggots had been living inside of him for quite some time, just about the time the sky started to turn yellow”. His hands clenched the bedside tightly, his hand bruising from the sheer force put behind it,
“That precise moment where I saw his body was the moment I had confirmed to myself, time was no answer”.
Originally Posted by swntzu
NIce. This is a very interesting way to tell an Nid story. You are doing a good job of telling a story and not giving the hole story away at once. I look forward to the next part.
Why use science and education when ignorance and superstition will work just as well.