View Full Version : The Witch and the Tech-priest

19-05-2010, 05:07

“Come little children,” the Magos’ voice cooed. “It’s time to go out and play.”

I remember watching the Magos’ mechadendrites waving about as if possessed of a life all of their own. Her voice was haunting, sweet and inviting, and it chilled me to my core. Her colleagues had abandoned their failing larynxes for voxcoders long ago, their voices emulating wide ranges of digital crescendos. I’m not sure what could have been more frightening for those children: the strange creatures that surrounded them with whipping metal tails and raspy howls, or the one that lured them in with a golden tongue, promising sweet fantasies.

It took me a moment to realize that one of the children was crying. I watched as my Magos brushed a lock of the young girl’s hair back reassuringly. The other three were huddled at the back of their hab-cell, something making them more unsettled than normal.

“My dearest Olive,” She paused, placing a gentle kiss on the child’s forehead. “Why are you so afraid? You’re staining those adorable cheeks with your tears.”

I noticed the child sniffle, before wiping her face clean with her sleeve. “There are monsters, Lilly.” Her trembling voice was peculiar, a hoarse whisper.

“Monsters? Wherever did you come up with that, my little Olive?”

“I hear them,” her nose was dripping nasal lubricants, the way children do when under such duress. “Howling, whispering, screaming.”

A servitor’s grinding pace broke my attention. Annoyance flushed through me when I realized it had locked up. The adepts had left this one neglected too long, its mind frozen by a fatal algorithm loop. I logged a data-reminder to scold the junior engineers as I performed the ritual of maintenance, sending the servitor off with a new purpose. As its droning steps faded, I returned my attention to my Magos. Her words had calmed the children considerably and she was in the process of herding them along, the girl’s hand wrapped firmly in hers.

“Psykana-Major Bishop,” My Magos’ voice erupted suddenly within my reinforced skull. Her strict and demanding tone pleased me. I always found her habit of addressing us by rank, regardless of familiarity or time together, a logical professionalism I admired. “Keep a close eye on Olivia. She’s showing signs of contamination.”

“Yes Magos Sedah,” My thoughts raced back as I felt a tinge of a smirk beginning to manifest. Quickly recalling the Omnissiah frowned on such displays of emotion, I turned my gaze on the child. She was the smallest of this latest batch, her biological age only numbering six standard terran years.

The fifth batch this year, test group gamma. That would make the girl’s designator Gamma 5-02. I never referred to them by their names – they never lasted long enough to impress upon me a memory of their existence. Something abhorrent about that bothers me on occasion, but to this day I’m not sure what it is. I compare it at times with the feeling that washes over me when a favored haemoncolyte expires prematurely. Magos Sedah, on the other hand, always made it a point to address them by their birth-names, creating a bond so they would trust her. And trust her they did. What little choice did they have? For the last few years, almost half of their lives, we were their family.

My pondering came to an abrupt end when we arrived at the genesis-chamber. A labyrinthine machine of coiled cables and wires connected to four cerebral-thrones, servo-arms and mechadendrites hanging ominously overhead. A control node was being monitored by a junior adept, flanked by two adjacent Luminen who were already mid-way through the Rite of Activation to launch our magnificent device to life. The penultimate work of three divisions, it never left me disappointed even with the setbacks. Each experiment, and each batch, we received vastly superior results than the last. It was only a matter of time before we achieved our goals.

One of the male children screamed suddenly - Gamma 5-01. Restraints were tightened even as he struggled. Worry spread amongst the others faces. Then panic as adepts forcefully placed the others into the holy machine.

My Magos touched her fingertips to the boy’s lips then. “Hush now my children, it must be this way.”

A tingling sensation made the hair rise on my natural limbs as static electricity became a furious storm. I could hear the test subjects weeping frantically now as the cerebral injectors plunged into their spinal cords. All the while I continued to monitor the holo-screen for fluctuations in the burgeoning warp field that was opening overhead.

“Weep not poor children,” My Magos commanded. “For life is this way. I’ll show you the way through the pain and the sorrow.” Turning to the node-controller, she gave a small nod. I have to admit, I felt anticipation for what was to come next. With a pull of a lever empyrean energies were ripped into existence, pulled straight from the warp and funneled directly to the test-subjects mind. The humming and buzzing of the servo-arms and plasma cutters coming to life were drowned out by the lashing ether flames being caught by super-conductors. As one, the children’s eyes popped open with their retinas replaced by murky black even as their bodies were being embalmed.

“Complete Synchronization in twenty, nineteen,” The node-controller said matter-of-factly, undisturbed by the storm raging around us, admirably I noted. As the count grew down I looked hungrily at the data flowing into my console. 5-02 was approaching 75% synchronization already, soaring past our last recordings.

Then the readings spiked, soaring into the triple digits. “Omnissiah squared!” I swore as I almost jabbed the controls. Had I taken my eyes off my data-slab for even a moment, I would have seen the child metamorphosing and undergoing the empyrean flesh contamination. I had seen it happen enough times and with much blood shed many times over the past year to care to waste time. I redirected the cutting implements to sever her limbs and a stand-by breacher to rip into her sternum. Even then, she now horned-skull was chattering unintelligibly and she tongue gashing about.

“Synchronization complete,” The controller stated.

“Power it down!” My Magos commanded.

The warp hole collapsed instantaneously once the Luminen disengaged from the battery ports, collapsing from the strain of sustaining such energy. As the tempest fled, the near-deafening storm was replaced with the humming of gears and rotors winding down into stand-by. The looming silence welcomed its return.

“Magos Sedah, we achieved 35% synchronization.” I announced almost proudly. I was pleased to see she was satisfied with the results. “Praise the Omnissiah!” I cited out of habit, which was echoed by the junior attendants.

My Magos bared her teeth into a rictus grin and stretched out her arms as our latest creations fluttered to life. Three cherubim encircled, hovering about as if they rejoicing angels. Arcs of kinetic energy erupted from their now eternal-black eyes, infused with the power of the warp.

Another failure, yet one step closer to the perfecting the vessel.

“Come little children,” My Magos laughed then, as she always did. “The time’s come to play.”


21-05-2010, 22:52
i like this - it would be good to see it expanded?

22-05-2010, 01:21
Thanks Exitas. This is actually part of a bigger story, being told through the memory-logs of the main character. So yes, it will be expanded. =D