Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 71, last but one update)

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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 66)

Postby L'Arpenteur » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:00 pm

It's just damn good. I am astonished about the quality of your work. "Bravo" ! :D In fact I just registered for your story after having reading Lord Lukan "Age of Dusk". I wanted to understand who were these enigmatic Fatemakers and what were their Odyssey.

And now...now I am not relieeeeeveeeed !! Did I miss something or did the story end ? Please, tell me that you're still writing it up !

The Emprah may be gone, but yet, Fate has to remain !
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 66)

Postby Meaneye » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:20 pm

Hmm... I have not logged in for a long time, apparently :D

L'Arpenteur: Thanks for the praise, and you are right, the story is not fully resolved - in fact, there are four more updates missing. I do have some extra time to kill right now, so give me one or two weeks to finish all four parts, and then I upload everything.
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 66)

Postby L'Arpenteur » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:31 pm

Ahaha yes, it has been time, I hope your warp travel went well ;) and thanks you Meaneye :D it would have been a tragic waste of talent here, if your story didn't end properly, but don't hurry up, if you need more time to finish parts, take it ! as long as you say that you will complete your story, everything's fine ! :D And besides, do you have other projects after this one ?
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 66)

Postby Meaneye » Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:42 am

L'Arpenteur: The problem is that I have stories in my head, but I lack the time to write them down. Who knows if I will put anything down on virtual paper again? It takes at least half an hour to write a page, and this one is about 4-500 pages long in my Word file. I cannot afford the time to start anything similar again.

I have written a few other short stories (one of them even appeared in a local fantasy magazine - a fact I am immensely proud of), but I am Hungarian, and unless you are too, you would not be able to read those :P. This is my ony English project.


Anyway, time to update. three more parts are coming :D








Apart from the creaking noise the Opportunity was making, the Fatemaker was completely alone.

He was slowly moving down a long corridor towards the closed reinforced door at the end of it. The only light came from his headlamp: there was no energy left in this section of the ship to illuminate anything. He would have never thought just how lonely it could get in a man-made ship once all life had left her. Nevertheless, he had a task, and his life may still have been in danger, so he pushed these gloomy thoughts from his head and focused.

He arrived at the door and slowly placed a hand on it. Naturally, the door no longer reacted to his presence – in lack of energy, its sensors and its motorized hinges did not work – and there was no way for him to find out exactly what was waiting for him on the other side.

He leaned forward and pressed his ear on the panel.


[Initiate Loriant?]

Even as an initiate, Loriant was too well trained to jump back when the voice addressed him in his head – especially when his brain registered a familiar tone in it. He put together a response in his mind.

[Librarian Akichi. Are you on the other side of this door?]

[Yes. Step back.]


Loriant jumped back, and the two wings of the door came apart in a screeching noise. Loriant’s headlamp fell on the lonely figure of the Librarian standing a few feet away from the door, raising his power staff. Loriant felt the kinetic energy swarming through the doorframe.

Akichi lowered the staff and the door stopped moving. The Librarian stepped through. As Loriant looked at him, he saw a strange tenseness in his eyes. He looked haunted.

‘The battle is over,’ Loriant reported. ‘We won… even though the Opportunity received heavy damage. We are trying to make a perimeter and sweep through this section of the ship. Internal communication is down, so we can only operate within vox-distance.’ He looked past Akichi’s shoulder. ‘Can you confirm that the rest of the deck is empty, Librarian?’

Akichi grimaced.

‘It is… for what it’s worth. Have you any news of the Captain?’

‘The Captain lives,’ Loriant said and saw the relief on Akichi’s face. ‘If this section is secured, we should join the others.’

‘Show me the way,’ Akichi ordered. The pair turned and went back the way Loriant had come from.

‘You mentioned others,’ the Librarian said. ‘How many survivors are there?’

Loriant said nothing, but he slowed down. Akichi did likewise.

‘How many of us survived the battle?’ Akichi asked softly.

Loriant opened his mouth but closed it right away. Finally, he said, ‘With the two of us, my lord… five.’

Akichi glared at him for a few seconds.

‘Five,’ he echoed. Loriant merely nodded.

‘Show me,’ the Librarian finally ordered.





The temporary perimeter was set up in one of the small chapels on the top deck. There was one simple reason why: this was one of the few places on the ship where aesthetic considerations were considered in any form, and so the roof of the hall was reinforced stained-glass window with a view to space.

When Akichi and Loriant entered, the Librarian saw that the protective panels had been pulled back and the purple hue of the Warp-anomaly gave a ghostly illumination to the hall. Two of the three figures inside were standing and looking up at the anomaly and the various-sized wreckage of the Wrath of God flying by. Now they turned and looked at the duo.

One of them was Captain Malistrum in his chipped and blood-soaked power armour. The other was Magos Brakk, although it was difficult to recognise him because his red robe had almost completely been burned away. The rest of his body seemed similarly burned. Although most of him had to be augmented, along with his brain and the pain-receptors in it, there was a stiffness and slowness in the way he moved his head, which suggested great physical injury.

The third person was Chaplain Uskovich. He was sitting on the ground with his knees high up, his arms folded around himself. When the initiate and the Librarian entered, he was having his head cast low, and although he looked up at their approach, he almost immediately cast his head back down. The Librarian could barely feel his mental presence in the room.

None of the five said anything. They did not need to greet one another, or ask questions. There was nothing left for them to say.

Loriant had reported to the Captain as soon as they had got into proper vox-range, so Malistrum was not surprised to see the Librarian alive. He merely nodded to him and turned back to the roof window. After a moment of hesitation, Akichi joined him, while Loriant dutifully stood at the door to guard the chapel.

The two remaining officers stood still for a while.

‘I do not need to tell you what it is,’ Malistrum murmured and gestured with his head towards the anomaly.

‘No, my lord,’ Akichi answered. ‘It is the Warp-anomaly we had seen in my Tarot before the Emperor died and the madness started.’

‘The very same. We have almost made a full circle,’ Malistrum mused. ‘To think that this was how it should have been. Our fate would have been to have a freak Warp accident in this battle and be sucked into this anomaly, only to end up in our past in the Borshak system.’

‘My lord…’ Akichi started, but Malistrum’s mind was clearly wondering somewhere else.

‘Maybe we should have accepted it. After all, even if our name is Fatemakers, who are we to rebel against our own destiny? We have done it far too often in the past, and look where it got us. Perhaps we should have closed the circle. Perhaps I should have closed the circle an hour or so ago.’

‘The circle, my lord?’

All of them – with the exception of Uskovich – turned and looked at Loriant. The young initiate was standing at the entrance, but he was clearly listening to the Captain. Malistrum nodded in understanding.

‘Of course. The higher echelon was privy to the concept of the circle, but certainly not the initiates, were they?’ He thought for a second, then nodded again. ‘I suppose you have the right to know. At the end of all things, I think whoever stayed with us deserves to know it all.’

‘Before that, my lord…’ Akichi started again, but the Captain hushed him.

‘Later, my Librarian. I clearly see you have something to say, but if it has anything to do with our current state, I think it is better if Loriant knows how we got this far.’

He took a few seconds to collect his thoughts before starting with it. He began with the Belandon Incident; the last proper mission the strike force had managed to undertake. He told Loriant about the warning signs of the Tarot as well as the figures it had shown Librarian Akichi: the shadowy Discordia, the Warp-gate which had looked just like the one outside the window, the Astropath in the form of the dead Fatemaker Navigator, the empty Mandatio card and the Emperor, the final, impossible card which had not supposed to appear in any divination cast at all. He told the initiate how the main officers had pondered upon the meaning of these cards while finally deciding to try a greater Astrophatic séance in the Cephola System.

He went on to tell his tale, and Loriant listened intently. He knew most of the story from that point on because he had already been aboard the ship, but he did not know all the truth, and now Malistrum told him everything. He told him how they had realized in Saint Menthas that humanity was doomed to extinction. He told him how they had found out that the Chapter reserve fleet had set off for Terra. He told him how Uskovich and Akichi had fashioned the soulstones after the original Eldar models to act as a kind of soul-dampener at the moment of death, thus cheating Warp-predators of their prey. He told him about Borshak and how it had turned out that the entire Astartes Chapter was destined to fail miserably.

He told them how they had used Astropath Lucas to predict the route the reserve fleet had taken so they could follow them. He told him how the Fatemakers had waged a war for the same Astropath with another Space Marine Chapter, the Howling Griffons. He told him what had really happened between Chaplain Uskovich and the Twilight Monk Chaplain at Valinko outpost, and how it had turned out that their old enemy had more noble goals and more realistic plans for the future of Mankind than the Fatemakers themselves. He told him how they had found the wreck of their brother vessel in the Khadmus system, and how he had decided to ruin his own strike force in a rushed battle to obtain further data about the reserve fleet. He did not need to tell him what that data had proven to be, but he did tell him about the debate between him and Sergeant Essen: how it had ended with splitting up the remaining strike force into two units: the one which had left to survive, and the one – theirs – which had moved on to face their renegade chapter master.

Finally… he told Loriant how about the confrontation between him and Narmantu just before the beginning of the attack. By the time he finished, he had realized just how far his strike force had gone, in distance, time and spirit like. Telling somebody the whole story was, in a way… cathartic.

‘So this is the whole truth of it, at least the truth as we see it,’ he finished. Loriant stood still. He had obviously struggling with taking in all at once, although he finally nodded.

‘I think… I understand now, my lord.’

‘To think how we ended up here,’ Malistrum mused. ‘The last five member of the strike force, the last true Fatemakers in the Galaxy, with the possible exception of some of the remaining strike forces, whom we will never see again, thanks to my crazy fellow Captain. It is perhaps fitting this way. The Chapter was flawed in a way which this new world could no longer tolerate. We had to disappear.’

At this point, the Librarian opened his mouth again, but Malistrum went on anyway.

‘We have done our duty,’ he waved at the others and towards the space beyond the viewport. ‘We saved the Galaxy from ourselves. We sent as many people from the Chapter away as possible. I am sorry about you. You came with me voluntarily, you stayed alive… and the last remaining task ahead of us is merely to decide how we want to die.’

‘No, it is not, my lord.’

The heads turned.

‘No, it is not, my lord,’ Akichi repeated. He was looking at the Captain straight into the eye with fierce determination on his face.

‘What do you mean, Librarian?’

‘I… believe… we have one more chance, my lord,’ Akichi said. There was something strange in his eyes, which all the others noted. ‘A chance not only to get out of this place… but a chance to…’

Akichi’s voice faltered for a second.

‘My lord. It is important to listen to me. I have a theory, and if I am right, we will still be able to save everything. I believe that we have a chance to reverse all this.’

‘All what, Brother-Librarian?’ Magos Brakk asked.

‘The past two years. The past two years, including the Extinction. I do believe that in this place, we have the chance to alter history and save the Emperor.’

It was impossible to say how long the five people stayed immobile. The last remnants of a broken Chapter on a dead ship, with the sinister purple hue of an unknown Warp-rift illuminating them stood still while their minds were trying to process the implication of the Librarian’s words.

‘This is no ordinary Warp-gate, right?’ Akichi went on. ‘We know that much. This is a gate to what Navigator Yasmilda referred to as the Deep Warp. It works a lot differently than most other Warp-anomalies. We also know this because we know that this is the anomaly which is supposed to throw the Opportunity back to the past and force us into the circle which will – would – eventually kill us all. Except for me because I am supposed to die by the hand of my own past self.’

He looked at the others. Nobody reacted. ‘A time portal!’ he finally burst out. ‘This anomaly has the chance to take us back in time! It is supposed to do just that! If we can control our journey, we can choose where we want to go! We can travel back as far as we want! We can go back just in time…’

He paused.

‘To warn the Emperor while He is still alive. We could change history. We have a second chance.’

Malistrum sighed and started to pace up and down the hall. The other three continued to look at Akichi: Loriant with a frown on his face, Magos Brakk with his impassive, metallic eyes and the dead pale Uskovich, who was still sitting on the ground. None of them seemed to understand just what the Librarian was suggesting.

‘It could work,’ Akichi said firmly. ‘We need the Geller-field, and we need to repair the Warp-engines, provided they were damaged at all. Magos, you are specialized in the very Warp-engines we need. Could you lead the ship into the anomaly?’

‘You do realize just how much of a long shot are you taking right now?’ Uskovich asked.

‘What else do we have? Magos! Is this possible? Is this theoretically possible?’

Brakk did not respond immediately.

‘I can… start the engines,’ he finally said. ‘I think I can also turn the Gellar-field back on. However, I must disappoint you, Brother-Librarian. Even if this anomaly has the potential for time-travel, I do not know of any way to travel through this… Deep Warp, least of all how to exit it at an appropriate time coordinate. Nobody has done anything like this before.’

‘It is the Warp,’ Akichi stated. ‘Dep Warp or not, it is still the warp. How did we use to travel through the Warp?’

‘We used a Navigator, which we no longer have,’ Uskovich said.

‘And we know why we needed the Navigator. We needed Yasmilda to look at the Astronomicon and calculate our position relative to our destination. But every strong psyker was able to see the Astronomicon. I saw it. I just lacked the ability and training to navigate through it.’

‘You are suggesting that you would be able to navigate through the Deep Warp,’ Brakk stated.

‘Yes, I do,’ Akichi retorted.

Uskovich chuckled and looked back down at the floor. Malistrum looked back for a second, then continued pacing.

‘That is not possible.’

‘It is. Granted, I know nothing about Warp-navigation. However, I can find one thing with absolute certainty – even in the Deep Warp.’

‘And what is that?’

‘The Emperor,’ Akichi said. ‘He is the source of the Astronomicon, but I am not talking about that. The moment He died, I was performing an Astropathic séance in the Cephola system. When this whole madness happened, when that assassin stroke at Him, I was there, in his throne room. The last thing He did before He succumbed to that bastard was look at me.’

He sighed.

‘His psychic image burned into my mind for all eternity. I think I would be able to see that image from the other side of the Universe if he had still been alive. If this anomaly is indeed a time portal, I could use His image to lead us to the past, to a point where He was still alive. This rift could take us through space as well. We could go to where He is. We could reach Terra through this portal. Once we are there, once we can send a single warning…’

Uskovich raised his head. ‘The theory is… well, it is crazy mad, but it could work. Except for one thing.’

Akich looked at him The Chaplain evidently composed himself somewhat, but he still looked broken, and he did not seem the least bit impressed by the Librarian’s plan.

‘If we want to go to the past, we will first need to enter the Warp-gate,’ Uskovich said. ‘And, unfortunately, we know exactly just how that would turn out.’

Nobody seemed to understand for a second, then Magos Brakk made a sigh-like noise.

‘Of course,’ he stated. ‘The Warp-gate which threw the future Opportunity in front of us in the Borshak system. This is how the ship would be finally destroyed. We saw the pict-recordings of the vessel. It was clearly battle-damaged, which coincides with our current situation. In the light of those events, the logical conclusion is that…’

‘…that we would enter this gate, but in this damaged state, the ship would not be able to make it, and an accident would eject us at Borshak, about a year in our past.’

‘Where we would die,’ Akichi finished. He cast his head down. ‘The circle would be complete.’

‘I believe we have already broken that circle.’

Everybody looked at Malistrum. The Captain stopped pacing up and down and looked back at his crew.

‘Since the very first day I found out about that cursed circle, I have been trying to find a way out of it, he said. ‘I had no idea how, so I took what information we had about the accident and what the future Akichi told us, and I tried to find a way around his words. I thought I did everything I could when I sent most of the strike force away from the ship and ordered them to merge with the Twilight Monks, but now I think we did more than that.’

‘I have a pict-screen on my cogitator about the future Opportunity,’ he continued. The other four were listening tensely. ‘The screen showed clear battle damages on the starboard section. That side of the ship was hit by what I now know was a broadside from Narmantu’s ship. It gutted the Opportunity, and if this was the reason why our future mission will – would – fail, I am not surprised. The only thing I could do to avoid that fate was to make sure the ship herself would avoid any similar damage.’

‘But the ship is still damaged, my lord,’ Loriant protested.

‘Yes. On the portside.’

The others tensed in sudden excitement as they slowly realized what this meant.

‘I deliberately kept turning only one side of the ship towards the enemy in any space battle we have had since Borshak,’ Malistrum said. He went closer to his men to face them completely. ‘As far as I know, the portside is destroyed, but the starboard is still intact. In our current state, we would not have the same outcome even if we actually went through the Warp-portal and it threw us back to Borshak. We have already changed history.’

Uskovich slowly stood up.

‘The difference is almost negligible, my lord,’ he said. ‘Instead of a ship crippled on one side, we have a ship crippled on the other. Would that be enough to avoid our fate?’

‘I have no idea,’ Malistrum admitted. ‘As far as I can say, it will be like the toss of a coin. It can be heads or tails, life or death, success or failure. This way, however, we still get…’

‘…a fighting chance.’

‘By the Throne,’ Loriant breathed. ‘We can do this. We can actually do this!’

‘Yes,’ Uskovich murmured. ‘Maybe. Maybe we can…’

Magos Brakk was still unconvinced. ‘My lord, I do not want to disappoint you, but even if we successfully enter the anomaly and somehow warn the Emperor, there is a good chance that it will not save our Galaxy.’

Malistrum looked at him.

‘What do you mean, Magos?’

‘If we avert the events which lead us to our current situation, we would also alter our own personal history,’ the Magos explained. ‘In this altered timeline, we would not arrive at the point where we would come here and go through the anomaly. This would create a paradox.’

‘Can this paradox be solved?’

‘Not as far as we know, my lord. We know from various sources that time-travel is possible in the Warp, and we Warp-specialists have our own theories about this… discrepancy. The best theory we could formulate – a theory still unproven, I might add – is that whenever a time-altering event might occur, instead, an alternative Universe is formed which continues to function parallel to the original one, but bears the consequences of the alterations. In this case – if this theory is correct – the consequence would be an alternate Galaxy where the Emperor still lives and life goes on for Mankind.’

Malistrum slowly nodded. ‘In another Universe. But not in ours.’

‘This is my logical conclusion, my lord,’ Brakk bowed. ‘Even if this plan succeeded, we could only save another Galaxy. Ours would remain as it is.’

‘With our Chapter dead and Mankind facing extinction…’ Uskovich whispered.

‘Yes.’

Nobody said anything for a few moments. Then Malistrum looked up.

‘It does not matter,’ he stated firmly. ‘Our destiny was never to save the world, only to give others a fighting chance. The people in that alternate Universe would be just like us. A Galaxy full of humans… and Space Marines. Our Chapter would exist in that alternate timeline. Even with criminals and madmen like Fiffito and Narmantu, they deserve to live and fight for themselves. If we cannot save ourselves, we can at least save others. This alone is enough of a reason to try.’

The other four exchanged quiet looks, then looked back at the Captain. Akichi was the first one to nod, the fever returning into his eyes. Magos Brakk simply bowed his head, a quiet agreement to do the unthinkable. Initiate Loriant obviously needed more time to process all what transpired between them, but he understand that they now had a new mission and a minuscule chance to carry it out, and this was seemingly enough for him. He nodded too with a serious expression.

This left only Uskovich, the broken Space Marine. He no longer had any conditioning left in his mind, and just mere hours ago, he was ready to give up entirely. Only the Captain’s will made him move and function again, but this faint sliver of hope might just be enough to give him a fighting chance as well.

Uskovich took a deep breath and nodded too. Malistrum smiled.

‘I am glad we agreed on this,’ he said. ‘Let’s do it.’
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 67)

Postby L'Arpenteur » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:02 am

Ah sadly, no one is perfect right ? and I am not Hungarian ahah ;) Nice update though ! But it's like a new circle beginning now. Won't it expand too much your story ? And will you have time and will to carry it out ? Anyway I love it, so "LET'S DO IT" yeaaaaaahhh !
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 67)

Postby Midgard » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:24 pm

This is another excellent addition. I am glad I checked back to see if this story has been updated... as always, great stuff!
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 67)

Postby Meaneye » Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:15 pm

Time for another update. Originally, I did not want to break up the story this way, but I feel that this deserves its own part - which means there are still going to be three updates left.


Aboard the Opportunity

One thousand six hundred and seven days after the Emperor’s death





Three years, Malistrum thought. Three miserable years to get this far.

He was standing in the one chapel which had survived the battle with Narmantu, waiting for the ritual to start. It was a lengthy one, one of the few the practical Fatemakers could afford, and as he had no part in this phase, he had the time to think. He had a lot to think over.

He still wasn’t sure if the plan would work. He was not even sure it was possible, but what other choice did he have? He and the other four people all knew that any other option was to slowly – slowly – wither and die under the baleful watch of the Dark Torch. As a strike force, as a Space Marine Chapter, they were done. By all human account, they had no more say in the history of the Galaxy. Still, this desperate plan gave them enough motivation to attempt the impossible and challenge Fate itself.

It was been difficult to repair the ship up to the point where it could move again. The fact that it was not impossible was a small miracle in itself. The Opportunity was a ruin, no doubt: with its hull torn up and its main weapon systems disabled, she was no longer in any condition to be called an Imperial vessel. On the other hand, this mission only required some manoeuvrability and enough energy, air and food for five people to survive on board for a while, which were all still more or less available. The five of them did not consume huge quantities of anything any more, which meant they could have survived for even a decade on board.

It turned out they only needed three years. Most of that time was devoted to making the ship capable of movement again. The engine room had become irradiated during the last fight, which killed Magos Brakk’s remaining staff, but the Magos himself stayed alive, and he was able to filter the radiation out of the whole section over a period of several months. It had been obvious even then that the reparations would mostly require time and patience, both of which the Fatemakers now had enough. If they failed, they would only die – an insignificant consequence compared to the fate of the Galaxy – and if they succeeded, well…

Nobody had tried to think about the future consequences too much during the reparations – at least Malistrum knew he did not. The whole idea of changing the past, or even creating an alternate timeline, was so ridiculous that only terminally desperate man would have considered it. The five Fatemakers knew they were that desperate, but they were perhaps too afraid to hope any more. Every time they met up to discuss that day’s tasks, they spoke curtly and business-like, concentrating only on the next stage ahead of them. They knew they had a mission, and that was enough. To consider the enormity of that mission was too much for them in their current state.

Of the five survivors, only two were really indispensable, although nobody was inconsiderate enough to mention this. Magos Brakk, with his versatile experience in engineering, Warp-drives and his extensive knowledge of the layout of the ship was vital to give the Opportunity her basic functions back. After three years of tinkering and kit-bashing – an activity which was normally considered heresy among the teach-priests – the ship started to function again. She still looked torn and battered, but at least she could move again, and she had her electric grid restored along the three most important decks.

This was no life for a machine, merely an imitation of it, akin to necromancy. It was a testimony to the Magos’s own desperation to still go with it.

The other indispensable person aboard was Librarian Akichi. Nobody, not even the Magos understood how exactly he meant to guide the ship through what was now described as the “Deep Warp”. He clearly had an idea, and he was working on something, which involved salvaging the wreckage which used to be the Navigator’s cabin and slowly carving and re-processing all the precious psycurium from the containment deck. He spent days alone, studying certain very classified Warp-theories which would have normally earned him an investigation from the ship’s Chaplain. When he stopped reading those texts, he spent his time carving microscopically regular lines onto the floor of the engine room, which he then filled out with the psy-sensitive material. He was making a set of runes, which he not even denied were parts of some dangerously exotic ritual. Normally, this would have been problematic as well. Now, not even risking their own soul seemed to be too high a price for the salvation of Mankind. The thought of a ritual with possible demonic origins was no longer of any concern.

The big concern was that it may even work.

The other three Astartes tried to help wherever they could. Malistrum did the only sensible thing and focussed exclusively on the tasks at hand, not stopping to consider the bigger picture. There was no point in it, and a rational analysis of their situation would have only suggested giving up completely, which he refused outright. He had already gone too far, and even a ridiculous plan was better than nothing at this point.

Uskovich worked with a newfound zeal. He had already given up life itself at the end of the battle with Narmantu, and it was only the determination of his Captain which propelled him forward for a while. In this last attempt, he seemingly found some form of strength. He did not talk much, but there was a haunting look in his eyes which spoke volumes of his anguish and desperation. If they had failed at any point in this, Malistrum knew the Chaplain would collapse again, this time forever. He needed salvation more than anyone else, and so he worked for three others. He spent a lot of time with Akichi, using his somewhat limited knowledge he had gained at the Inquisition to assist in creating the focusing runes; he worked tirelessly to help Magos Brakk in the long and monotonous task of re-wiring the electric grid on the main decks; he spent long hours, even days in cold vacuum on the hull of the ship whenever some task required him to work in space. He slowly but surely steeled himself for the mission ahead, and even managed to build up some of the Astartes conditioning in his mind. Malistrum did not know whether to feel pride or pity at this.

Initiate Loriant was the one person to be the least affected by their miserable situation – or at least he was the one who did not show any sign of desperation. Perhaps this was because he was still very young even by regular human standards, or perhaps because he did not have to carry the full burden of the past few years, but he remained in surprisingly good humour. He worked just as hard as the others, but at the Captain’s insistence, he also continued certain aspects of his Astartes training. He was not a full-fledged battle-brother, and although even he expected only a short service as a Fatemaker, the other four agreed that he deserved to become a fully accepted member of the Chapter. He repaid this attention with energy and enthusiasm which rubbed off on the others as well: Malistrum often found himself spending time with the initiate and speaking to him, only for himself to feel better after their discussion.

He had hoped he would live long enough to repay this to the initiate. It seemed the day when he could give something back finally arrived.

Malistrum nodded to his right to Uskovich, who stepped forward.

‘Initiate Loriant Vekhamar!’ he declared loudly and clearly.

A lonely figure appeared at the entrance. Initiate Loriant was wearing his regular, although freshly cleaned training outfit; a completely unnecessary thing seeing as how he had been in full power armour for the past few years. Custom dictated that this was the way he had to present himself, and so he donned his old garments – for the last time in his life. He walked towards Malistrum and the Chaplain at a slow pace, allowing the Captain to talk.

‘Has the initiate shown dedication towards the Emperor, the service of Mankind and the Fatemaker Chapter?’

This was a question normally answered by the initiate’s drill-sergeant. Essen was not present – who knew if he was alive at all? – so Malistrum addressed the other two people present at the ceremony.

Magis Brakk, who was standing on the other side of the Captain, nodded. ‘I am here to witness,’ he said in his metallic voice. ‘This initiate has passed all the necessary tests, and his physical condition is within the acceptable parameters. He is fit and able, a worthy addition to the Chapter.’

Librarian Akichi also bobbed his head. ‘I am also here to witness,’ he said quietly. ‘I saw the dedication of this initiate. He is intelligent and willing. His mind and soul is ready to serve Mankind.’

‘Normally, an initiate is supposed to take the mantle of a scout and serve for full five years before he would become a battle-brother,’ Malistrum put forward. ‘These are not normal times, but I am still asking you, the last of our Chapter: has he proven himself enough so we can circumvent our regular process and accept him as he is?’

Loriant was already halfway through to the four Astartes. His features were disciplined and calm, but Malistrum could still feel his excitement, as it was supposed to be. He had no doubt of the answer to his question, but he decided he needed to ask anyway.

‘Loriant fought in our battles, shed our enemies’ and his own blood alike,’ Akichi said. ‘All we ask of anyone in our Chapter is to be ready to fight, kill and die. We are embarking on the last mission any Fatemaker will ever undertake. He deserves to be a full-fledged battle-brother in our final days.’

‘I agree,’ Uskovich said. ‘We are all risking our soul and our very existence by entering the Deep Warp. It is his right to become one of us.’

‘So be it,’ Malistrum said. Loriant reached them and looked at the other four expectantly. The Captain stepped to him and placed a hand on the initiate’s chest.

The chest which had a functional gene-seed in it, the only one which remained aboard the ship. When the rest of the strike force split away, the Captain made a point of sending all the gene-seed with them, even going as far as removing the ones within the chests of those who remained. There was no point in wasting any of them. Every single one meant a potential future Astartes warrior, and Malistrum felt he needed to give as much fighting chance to Essen and his pears as possible. However, when he had found out that initiate Loriant was staying with them, he made sure that one seed stayed aboard. Somehow, he felt that this initiate would have the chance to undergo the ritual and become a Space Marine, a descendant of the Emperor Himself, in every sense of the word.

Originally, Malistrum had got some technical reservations – the Apothecaries dead or gone, Magos Brakk had to perform the operation, which was not really his field of expertise. Still, the implantation was a success, and Loriant recovered in an amazingly short amount of time. It was almost as if the Emperor finally smiled upon them – in this reality or from another, it mattered little at this point.

The Captain made a truly genuine smile, the first one for a long time.

‘You have made it,’ he told Loriant. The young Astartes nodded and made a reserved smile, his pride and happiness tempered by the gravity of the occasion.

‘I don’t think we need to make long speches,’ Malistrum continued. ‘I just wanted you to know that win or fail, if you are the future or the last of our Chapter, I am glad that you decided to stay with us – and I am proud to call myself your brother.’

Loriant merely nodded again, although this time, it was mostly because he was now clearly struggling with his own emotions. The Captain stepped back.

‘Take the garment of an Adeptus Astartes, and wear it proudly,’ he said. There was an armour rack next to the altar, with the pieces of a polished and fully functioning power armour arranged on it. Loriant stepped out of his outfit and started to don the pieces with practiced ease. He had been training in this armour for more than two years now, and knew it inside out, but this time, it was different. So far, the armour had been a piece of equipment – now, it was about to become an extension of him.

The four others were watching approvingly as Loriant put on the armour. This was no test in any way, but it somehow felt good to see another Fatemaker come into being. The ceremony was just as much for them as it was for the former initiate.

Loriant finished, with only the shoulder plates and the gloves remaining on the rack. The others now stepped forward. It was customary for the officers of the strike force to assist the initiates with the last pieces, a symbolic representation of accepting them into the fold. Each of the remaining Fatemakers – the three Astartes and the one tech-priest – took a piece of armour and attached it to its place.

When it had been done, they all stepped back and marvelled at their new brother. He was tall and strong, but there was more to him than merely physical prowess. He was determined but balanced, ready for action, but lacking hastiness and accepting his part in the grand scheme of things. If he was truly the last of the Fatemakers, he represented a worthy closure in the Chapter’s history.

‘Welcome among us, brother,’ Malistrum simply said. Loriant smiled, this time in earnest.

‘It is good to be here with you, my brothers. Whatever comes.’

‘Good.’ Malistrum turned to the others. ‘We are as ready as we can be,’ he stated. ‘The Opportunity is mobile again, and the Warp-engine is prepared. Before we set off, it is time for us to pray.’

They all kneeled down at the altar. Even though the Emperor was dead in this reality, He may be still present in that other, so far non-existent one. If they succeed, there will be someone again, to whom they may continue praying. It was to this hope that they were addressing their prayer.

And so they prayed. The four Astartes to the Emperor, Magos Brakk to the Omnissiah, He Who Is His Representative on Earth. The young Astartes who wished for a future to take part in; the Chaplain who was nothing without faith of some sort; the Librarian who wanted to believe he was still of purpose; the Magos who merely wanted order in the Galaxy; and, finally, the Captain who wished for all four things, even though he was afraid of hoping. He had not prayed since Saint Menthas, almost four years earlier, but now he found solace in the familiar rituals, and, through what he believed would be the last prayer in his life, he was finally, for a short time, at peace again.
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 68)

Postby L'Arpenteur » Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:35 am

as cool as ever :)

"No one knows what it's like,
to be hated,
to be fated,
to see the Emperor dieeees"
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 68)

Postby Midgard » Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:49 am

Every few months I check this site, and see more of this story. It is as good as ever, and I can't wait for the next part!
My Amazon writer page - check out my novel and short stories!
MIDGARD - my melodic death metal band's new album is now on BandCamp
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 68)

Postby Meaneye » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:44 pm

What do you know, it didn't even take half a year to make a new update? :D

At this rate, it will be the end of this year by the time I finish the story. It doesn''t matter. Exactly two more updates are left. It will happen.

Enjoy this one.





Two hours later.

‘It is time,’ Malistrum said.

The prayer had been the last small comfort the small group of Fatemakers could afford. Immediately afterwards, they had split and gone to their separate stations, ready to face the greatest challenge of their life. The Captain was now standing in a small chamber located under the ruins of the control tower. This room was supposed to be an emergency station, only used for maintenance and system check-up, but now that the bridge was completely destroyed, Magos Brakk re-wired all the consoles to allow at least rudimentary control over the Opportunity’s engines. The chamber had no viewports and half the instruments were not even turned on, but it would do. It had to do.

‘We are still in position,’ Loriant stated. He was the helmsman now, if that title had any meaning at all in their current situation. It was obvious, even at the beginning, that the ship’s engines could not be repaired and maintained to the degree that would allow much navigation. An alternative way had to be found to lead the Opportunity through the anomaly, which meant makeshift improvisation. After months of toiling, it was now possible to actually start the engines, which was a miracle in itself. No real manoeuvring was possible, but then again, it was not really needed. All Loriant needed to do was activate the engines and pull a lever at his console which would push the ship forward – right into the Dark Torch.

Malistrum nodded. He was sitting at the observation console, although he had no access to the remaining few outer cameras. The auspex in front of him displayed the ship’s relative position, as well as the largest pieces of debris and the anomaly in front of them, but even so, his role in all this was more or less nominal. The Opportunity had been moved into the right position through weeks of short activations of the secondary engines. Thirty seconds of propulsion, half an hour of waiting as momentum and inertia pushed the city-sized wreck a few hundred metres away. The five men had learned a lot about patience during those weeks.

The Captain leaned forward. ‘Magos, are you ready?’ he asked into the vox. He then waited a few seconds for the reply. The answer would not come from his ship.

‘I am in position,’ Magos Brakk reported. He was not aboard the Opportunity, but on another piece of debris which used to be the engine section of the Wrath of God. The enemy ship died and all crew aboard was killed, but some parts of her could be salvaged, including the Warp-engine.

This lucky find allowed them to formulate a safeguard against unforeseen accidents. Even though Captain Malistrum claimed he had managed to alter the future by somewhat preserving the Opportunity, no one could deny the dangers of entering the Warp anomaly with such a damaged vessel. The Future Opportunity they had seen was spinning out of control, while being ablaze at the same time. It was impossible to say what could have caused that kind of erratic motion, but with their engines ruined, the most likely cause could have been the Warp-engines failing. By activating the Warp-engines of the other ship and opening a Warp-gate right in front of the anomaly would allow the Opportunity to move to the Warp through a familiar, stable path. Entering the anomaly from the Warp’s side theoretically made the transition smoother, eliminating any chance of an error which would destroy the ship or worse – hurl her back in time to start the circle and seal the fate of the whole Chapter.

At least that was the theory.

The Magos hesitated for a second. There was something… amiss. Not with the engines – he knew himself enough to be sure there was nothing overlooked. No, it was something else. During the three years they slowly formulated and implemented their plan, he sometimes had an uneasy feeling. He could not say for sure, and the other Astartes did not feel the same way, so he let it go, but still… every now and then, he sensed a presence aboard the Opportunity, as if somebody or something had survived and was now observing them. Perhaps it was even helping: the Magos had been sure it would have taken far longer for them to get this far, but time and time again, they had been extremely lucky with their reparations. They always seemed to find the right tool, the right missing component, just another crucial energy source that enabled them to carry on with their work at an optimal level.

He had mentioned this to the Captain once, only for the crew to waste a whole week searching through the ship only to find nothing. In the end, this was what decided it: his instincts were telling him they were not alone, but he was a tech-priest, an ardent believer in logic and reason. He had his calculations, and they had to be enough.

‘I am ready,’ he said. Only another tech-priest could have found the small hesitation in the tone of his voice.





‘Librarian?’

The voice startled Akichi. He slowly looked up from his meditation.

He was sitting in the middle of the engine room. It was not ideally suited for this task, but this was the place which was the most reinforced against Warp-energies. The Gellar-field was working, but what was needed now required every little help it could get.

The tech-priests who had worked here would not have recognised the place. Most of the equipment was removed or wired to the emergency chamber: the consoles were cut out to make room for a big esoteric pentagram which the surviving Fatemakers carved into the floor and filled up with psycurium.

Esoteric.

A cowardly word, one used to hide from the truth. The runes around the pentagram were Chaos runes, pure and simple. They shielded against the Warp and focussed Akichi’s powers, but they did so by using Warp-related knowledge. The Librarian had opened a lot of classified and proscribed files in the ship’s databanks to get exactly what he needed: a means to be able to see through the Warp as well as a true Navigator would.
The plan was not complicated, and the end justified the means: the Opportunity would fall into the Deep Warp, which would hurl her through not only space but time as well. With this pentagram, he would be able to locate the Emperor and lead the ship to Him, so they would be able to give a final warning before He would be assassinated. History would change, and anew timeline would be created, in which the Fatemakers would not have to die out.

At least that was the theory.

Something disturbed Akichi, and it was not the ethical considerations. Even if they were now little more than Chaos-using Astartes – Chaos Space Marines, if you like – he would have gladly sacrificed his own soul for the survival of the Imperium. The prospect of failure, however, still instilled a sense of dread in him. Failure was naturally an option here, of course, but this went beyond the already crazy nature of their mission.

They had forgotten about something. This was not the right time.

The Opportunity was, in principle, in a different state than she was supposed to be, which meant that the original accident which had created the time loop would not occur. Still, he remembered all too well that his future self had arrived at the Opportunity with one of the Strike Force’s own Thunderhawks, Thunderhawk Three. The plane was covered with exotic runes from the inside, which suggested some form of Warp-influence. This was the state of things at the moment of the ship’s time travel.

Thunderhawk Three was still intact, but there were no runes to paint it from the inside. Akichi was not even sure what kind of runes they had been, and he was definitely not able to re-paint them even if he had intended to. Those runes were an anomaly, indicating that the Fatemakers should have encountered some outside force which at the very least taught them how to draw them in the first place. The first Opportunity cannot have made the jump back in the past from this point of time.

Akichi had talked to the Captain about this, but he doubted he had understood it, especially as the Librarian himself did not fully comprehend how these things worked. The one thing they could agree on was that at least this way, the Fatemakers would definitely break the circle once and for all.

Can we do this? The Librarian asked himself one last time. The answer came immediately.

Do I still think I have a purpose to fill? Do I still think the Emperor spared me for something greater?

Akichi let out a deep sigh.

‘I am ready,’ he voxed. It was too late to turn back now. From this moment, he would be committed.





‘Chaplain?’

Chaplain Uskovich was sitting in Thunderhawk Three. Cursed, miserable Thunderhawk Three, the only vessel that remained intact aboard the ship.

He was not needed for the navigation. He could not help with the engines. He would have only disturbed Akichi with his presence. He was serving only as a backup plan: in case the Magus could not return from the other ship in his own small shuttle, he would have gone out and returned him. Once the Warp-gate was open, the Magos was sure the Wrath of God could have kept it open for at least an hour, and the Fatemakers had no intention of leaving anyone behind any more.

He was as focussed as he could be. He tried not to think of anything. This was his one chance to make things right, and by the Emperor, he would have his amends.

Then he might as well have the Emperor’s peace for all he cared.

‘I am also ready,’ he said.





‘In the name of the Emperor, open the portal, Magos.’





Reality split open.

It was a slow process, a straight line appearing in space between the Opportunity and the engine section of the Wrath of God. The line widened and become a slit with pulsating blue light coming out of it. The light was disturbing to the eyes of the only person who actually saw it, but Uskovich knew from experience that this colour was actually the sign of a stable Warp-gate. The slit opened wide and became an oval. Lightning was dancing around the edge and the blue light seemed to vibrate at a rhythm that was somewhat nauseating to behold. The gate opened barely a few hundred metres from where the edge of the other Warp-anomaly started. Some of the lightnings latched onto the anomaly, and the portal started to swell. In a matter of seconds, the portal grew five times of its original size and folded onto the anomaly. It seemed now that the purple-coloured anomaly had a window on it, offering a somewhat more navigable route through it.

The console in front of Malistrum came alive.

‘Warp-gate opened, Brother-Captain. The path seems to be stable.’ Mags Brakk paused for a second. ‘It appears we have succeeded in the first stage.’

Malistrum took a deep breath.

‘Congratulations,Magos. You may return to the Opportunity.’ He turned to Loriant. ‘As soon as the Magos arrives…’

Only Uskovich saw the blink of the portal.




But all of them felt it. All five of them on both ships felt it at the same time. The Magos felt it in the closed engine section; Akichi felt it in his chamber, regardless of all the protective wards around him; Malistrum and Loriant felt it in the backup command section. Uskovich saw it too.

It was a flash of an impossible colour, one that had no right to exist in the material Universe, one that was none of the basic colours of this Universe, not even the absence of light, but some form of opposite of all colours. It only took a fraction of a second, but it was enough to make the Chaplain scream out in brief but mind-numbing fear.

The anomaly and the portal on its surface both started to ripple and change, as if the Chaplain were looking at some form of weird skin with something was crawling under it. Something that was trying to come through or even be born – even though Uskovich suspected that a natural occurrence like birth had nothing to do with what was happening out in space.

Then he heard the voice.

He was not alone there. Everybody heard it. All five Fatemakers, no matter which ship they were on, heard that terrible, impossible voice. It resonated in their head, in their very bones, filling them with cold dread.

[I welcome you, children of this reality, at the Convergence that is me. I thank you for opening the gate which led me to your dimensions. I welcome the chance to feast upon this Universe. Hear me, see me, feel me, sense me – bow down to me who will become the Fifth and soon all Eight. Tremble before the name I choose in this world.]

[Tremble before Besneherofax.]





It took long seconds for Malistrum to compose himself. The voice physically pushed him back into his chair, and even in spite of his Astartes physiology and mental conditioning, he felt he was about to have a stroke. He leaned forward with uncertain movement, and for the first time since his indoctrination, he had to fight against being overwhelmed with dread.

‘Who… who is speaking?’ he whispered. He cast a glance at Loriant, and the boy looked back with trembling hands and fear in his eyes. ‘Who are you?’ he asked again, somehow feeling that the voice could actually hear him.

He was right. The voice addressed him, and as the words of that… thing… washed over him, Malistrum felt its terrible joy and victory.

[I am what I am. I am the stretched out hand of what you ignorantly call the Deep Warp. I am the herald. I am the gatekeeper and the open door through which it will come through. There are other points of its like in this universe, where the Warp flows deep enough, but this one is special. This is open now and so we can be together. We can all be together.]

‘The anomaly,’ Malistrum heard another voice, a familiar one this time. He had no idea how, but he could hear what Uskovich had just whispered, even though the voxlines were off. It seemed that the thing that called itself Besneherofax created a link with all of them, so they could all speak with and understand it. ‘The Dark Torch…’ Uskovich continued, with the dawning shock evident in his voice, ‘…a portal through space and time?’

[Space and time AND realities. Your Emperor is dead in many of them, and many of you Fatemakers end up at the Torch in most of those Universes. Some of those many realize what the gate is, and a few of those some try to open it to same your lord. Out of those few, only you succeed.]


‘Impossible,’ Maogs Brakk’s voice chimed in. Even the otherwise stoic tech-priest sounded shocked now. ‘Do you want to say…’

[Yes,] Besneherofax boomed. [The Deep Warp is ready to wash over this realm. I, Besneherofax, am not the first to pass. Four are with you already, and a Fifth is being born – but the Four and the Fitfth are no longer needed now that I am here. I can be all: the Four, the Fifth and all Eight eventually. I can seek out the realities which are similar to this one and force them open as well. Every Universe where you Fatemakers exist, every possibility where you try to open the gate belongs to me now, its denizens to be used as I see fit. I can open and bleed this Universe from its creation to its demise – and I can do the same with other realities now. So, so many realities…]

‘No’, Malistrum said with dry mouth. ‘No, no, no.’

[Yes. Countless universes perish. Countless versions of the Fatemarker chapter are damned. All that destruction… and it is all thanks to you.]

Something snapped in Malistrum. He leapt out of his chair, his dread forgotten and replaced by rage.

‘NO!’ he shouted, shaking his fists to the ceiling of the chamber. ‘We will stop you, demon!’

[You are powerless to stop me. And now you can witness the power that is me.]





Besneherofax said a word. None of the Fatemakers understood, and it was good that they did not because that word had immense power in it but did not feel it had any right to exist in the real world. Malistrum felt for a moment that he was no longer looking at his own reality, but rather countless overlapping pictures of the chamber around him. Overlapping pictures with slight differences in the room’s arrangement, with overlapping shapes occupying the space where the wide-eyed Loriant was sitting. Then the world solidified around him, and he returned to his own reality again.

But he and Loriant were no longer alone in the room. Three dark shapes emerged from nothing: three vaguely humanoid, grotesque forms with terrible, inhuman faces, sharp claws and fangs and a nauseating stench. The Captain only had to look at them to know what they were.

Demons.

All three of the demons leaped at Malistrum with a terrible scream, and Malistrum’s conditioning kicked in. He met them head on, drawing his power sword and slashing with it through the torso of one of the enemies with the same movement. The sword did not kill the demon – if it could be killed at all – but it fell nonetheless on the ground thrashing and screaming. Malistrum ducked under the flailing arms of the other two, leaped forward and then turned back to face them. By then Loriant had also jumped next to him, drawing his own sword.

The two pairs of enemies clashed. Malistrum was fighting with a fury he had not felt for decades. Not even during their long and arduous voyage had he felt such betrayal and anger. His rage was a match for that of the demon facing him. Loriant was swept away from him by his own opponent, but Malistrum did not care. He hacked and slashed, cutting off parts of the demon: fingers, chunks from its abdomen, a good portion of its face. As he was circling around the demon, he found an opening and he jumped in to finish the abomination once and for all.

Then he slipped as the third demon on the ground grabbed his ankle. He reacted immediately and hacked the monster’s head off, but by then the other had the opportunity to smash into him. The strike flew Malsitrum over to the other end of the room, and he blacked out for a second. He tried hard to compose himself and instinctively braced himself for the next attack, the warning cry of Loriant ringing in his ears.

‘CAPTAIN!’

The demon leaped at him, then stopped. A power sword suddenly pierced its torso from behind. Malistrum had no time to think: he swung his own sword and cut off the head of this demon too. As the monster fell on the ground and started to rot immediately, he looked as his helper turned back and jumped to aid Loriant with his opponent.

Malistrum looked with dawning realization as the third Space Marine hacked down the last demon. He was turning his back to the Captain, but there was no mistaking of the armour he wore or the shockingly familiar power sword he wielded.

Both belonged to Malistrum – in fact, he was wearing the armour and holding the same sword at that very moment.

The third demon died, and the newcomer stepped back from Loriant, who was looking at him with an open mouth. He slowly turned and Malistrum looked into the familiar face.

‘You,’ he murmured.

Andorias, who was wearing Malistrum’s power armour and was holding his sword, looked just as shocked and clueless as Loriant.

‘Captain?’ he asked in a trembling voice. ‘You… live? What happened? How…?’

He had no time to finish his question.





‘Impossible,’ Magos Brakk whispered to himself. He was not prone to such impulses, but now he felt he was way past any rationality. Even without genuine human emotions, he felt that the shock would overload his systems.

‘This is not possible,’ he said again, checking his instrument over and over again. None of the data made any sense to him, but he had heard the speech Besneherofax made, and he knew with absolute certainty that he wanted none of the future the demon had in store for them.

‘NO!’ he heard the defiant cry of his Captain. ‘We will stop you, demon!’

[You are powerless to stop me. And now you can witness the power that is me.]

Brakk felt the same disorienting change as Malistrum, although his attention was fixed solely on his console, which remained more or less the same. As the nauseating feeling of seeing multiple facets of different realities passed, he shook his head – another pointless human reaction – and set a few dials on it.

‘We made a fatal mistake, Captain,’ he said, to no one in particular. ‘But I will end all this.’

‘No, you won’t.’

Something grabbed the Magos from behind and hurled him away from the consoles so hard he flew over the entire chamber. He crashed against the wall hard and fell on the ground. His systems could block out the pain, so he did not yell, but even so, but he felt a moment of helplessness and defeat as the same systems informed him of all the broken bones and augmentations in his body. He would not get up from the ground again.

He looked up. It took a few seconds to interpret what he saw, but his mind was shaped to analyse and theorize. It only took those few seconds to get it.

‘Why?’ he simply asked.

‘Why not?’ the Magos answered.

It was him, Magos Brakk, although only vague traces remained of the once proud tech-adept. He His face was gone entirely, replaced by a metal mask which echoed the features Brakk used to have as a yet un-augmented initiate. His red robe was similarly replaced by a shroud made from the same metallic material as his face, and even though the face did not move, the shroud did: it was twitching and waving as if it had a mind of its own. Three pairs of mechadendrites protruded from the Magos’s back, also moving to some unknown rhythm. The figure oozed power and a certain unnatural state which made the lying Magos’s senses revolt.

‘You are my alternate version from another reality,’ he stated.

‘Correction,’ the other replied. ‘You are my alternate version from another reality.’

Brakk struggled for a moment to keep his damaged lungs circulate air.

‘You have augmented yourself with forbidden technology.’

‘I did,’ the other admitted. ‘I used the Necron technology on Khadmus IV – and also used the Chaos-runes we found in the Ongoliant Triangle.’

Brakk sighed ‘human, machine, demonic… and Necron?’

‘The perfect combination,’ the other Brakk answered. He stepped towards the console and positioned himself between the instruments and the Fatemaker Magos. ‘You need all advantages you can have to survive in this world.’

‘How did the others let you… do it?’ Brakk asked. He tried to push himself up from the ground but fell back, exhausted.

‘They didn’t have a say in it,’ the other said. ‘Not after I infected them with a modified version of the Obliterator virus. Now they serve me.’

‘I reiterate: why?’

‘This world – your or mine – makes no sense,’ the answer came. ‘There is no higher purpose to it: not the Emperor, not the Omnissiah. If this is true, you are the only true maker of your own fate. Surely you had the same crisis of faith after encountering the Metal Men?’

‘I did,’ Brakk said. ‘Then I decided to move on regardless.’

‘So did I,’ the augmented Brakk said. ‘In my own way.’

The Magos looked on. He could find no trace of himself in his other version – not in the way he moved or he spoke. Whataver man he was in that other reality, this abomination had destroyed him for good.

‘I thought I was the perfect being when I changed,’ the other said conversationally, turning to the instruments, ‘but now I see there is still room for improvement. The Deep Warp has so much potential. It was worth coming into this system after all.’

‘You are deluded,’ the Magos said. He had to struggle to keep his systems active now. ‘The Deep Warp will consume everything!’

‘Eventually, yes,’ the other agreed. ‘But until that point, this demon will need servants to further its goals. I will serve it, and I will learn from it. I will become part of the Deep Warp.’

‘If you have ever been me…’ Brakk stopped for a second. The pain was slowly overcoming his senses now. ‘… you must remember what it was. You must feel how wrong this is. Help me. Help me stop it.’

‘There is no stopping it.’ Even with his impassive metallic face, the other Brakk sounded almost apologetic. ‘You have no idea how far the tendrils of this entity reach. Do you remember the last mission of the Chapter before the Emperor died? The Chaos-cult we exposed there? Do you remember the Ongoliant Triangle?’

The Fatemaker Magos did not answer.

‘You have no idea, do you? If you had bothered to check the data... if you have used your knowledge of the Warp and taken the energy signatures of this anomaly… if you had experimented with the Chaos Runes from the Triangle… If you have opened the head of Librarian Akichi and scanned his brain to find out about the Warp-attacks of the cultists… it is all connected, you see? All the cultists we have encountered lately… they all used Besneherofax’s power. The entity is entering our reality at this point in our timeline, but it has already converted Chaos-cults in the past. It has already infected this reality and is slowly moving down the timeline. It is the one who created the circle for the Fatemakers. It will and has already won.’

There was silence for a second, while the augmented Brakk was busy working on the consoles. The other Brakk was lying immobile on the ground. It seemed for a few seconds he has already died.

‘You never tried to mix with them, did you?’ he finally asked.

The other turned back and looked at him. ‘Clarify.’

‘The crew,’ Brakk groaned. ‘You never tried to engage in any conversations with them, did you? It was difficult for me at first too, but I took the effort and tried to fit in with the Chapter. I became… one of them. I am… a Fatemaker.’

‘I can live with that loss,’ the other answered.

‘Not really. If you… were a true Fatemaker… you would think like them. You would count… with every eventuality. You would have a backup plan… even for this situation…’

The Magos pondered over this for a second.

‘You are talking about destroying the engine section,’ he stated. ‘It is powering the Warp-gate, which is in turn keeping the gate to the Deep Warp open. It will not work. You are already too damaged to stand up and oppose me.’

‘I don’t have to stand up.’ the Magos coughed up blood. ‘You are disappointing me. You are not thinking far ahead. Or perhaps… you look down on the world and no longer care about simple solutions? I was to return to the Opportunity… but things could have gone wrong even in the very last minute. We needed a final failsafe…’

‘A self-destruct order?’ the Magos asked. ‘I can block any incoming message from the Opportunity.’

‘Granted.’ the Magos pulled a small box from his robes. ‘Can you block the same impulse from inside the room?’

The box chirped and the other Magos jerked. He emitted a high-pitched shriek, and the box went silent.

‘Yes,’ the Magos answered, and he leaped at the Fatemaker.

The Fatemaker Magos died three seconds later, but it no longer mattered. His last moment was filled with a bitter sense of victory. He judged himself well enough: even in this abominable state, his monstrous self was thinking in what he perceived as rationality. The box’s signals were blocked – the box was no longer dangerous. It could be ignored.

And so, as the augmented Magos lashed out with all six mechadendrites at his pureform self, he paid no attention to the box – a simple vox-unit with no remote control abilities – as the real Magos Brakk used his remaining strength and hurled the box across the room with cold, machine-like precision, only for it to hit and activate a very big red button on the console.





The explosion vaporized the remains of the Wrath of God, and the anomaly shook as the Warp-gate started to recede and collapse around it. For a second, it seemed that the Magos’s sacrifice actually paid off, and the gate would close on the demon.

Then the anomaly pulsated once more, and its impossible, sickening colours returned. It was total silence for a heartbeat, then the demon spoke again.

[You are too late.]

Then it said another word, and reality trembled.





Another ship appeared next to the Opportunity. She did not come out of the Warp, merely materialized out of the vacuum of space. To Uskovich, the only person to see her, she looked frighteningly familiar. She was a spitting image of the Opportunity herself, except for two things. First of all, she was intact and battle-ready. Secondly, even though her weapon configuration, ancient battle-scars and even energy signatures were completely identical to the Fatemaker vessel, she bore the name Favoured by Chance on her side.

Another ship appeared, somewhat identical to the other two and bearing the name Opportunity. This ship, howewer, had Chaos iconography and wore the colours of the Blue Avengers – one of the predecessors of the Fatemakers which was supposed to be dead for centuries.

Other ships appeared in front of the Chaplain’s eyes. Imperial and Chaos vessels, familiar and unfamiliar configurations, all sharing some basic characteristics. Magos Brakk was right from the beginning: parallel universes existed with small variations in the actions of some people living hundreds of years ago resulting in different alternative histories and alternative Fatemaker Chapters. All ships, all strike forces who managed to arrive at this point and time in their own universes were slowly pulled into this world as their own reality started to merge with this one.

The roar of Besneherofax pulsated through the portal, which blinked and cast its dark purple light into the void around it. New ships arrived, and then new ones, Opportunities in different forms, carrying different crews convened around the Dark Torch. In a few minutes, the handful of vessels became dozens.

Then the dozens became hundreds.

Then the hundreds became thousands.
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 69)

Postby L'Arpenteur » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:44 pm

HELL YEAH ! I didn't give up u see ;) again, great work, didn't see that coming. But is your story still fitting in The Age of Dusk ? Or is it diverging at this point ?
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 69)

Postby Midgard » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:14 pm

A new chapter, and I was not disappointed. I did not expect this twist. Your work is one of the primary reasons I keep checking this site - keep it up!
My Amazon writer page - check out my novel and short stories!
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 69)

Postby BigDaddyCalgar » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:37 am

I have been binging this story over the course of a week, and I just have to say that you are a brilliant author. I have read many forms of fiction over the course of my life and I can say with the utmost confidence that this is one of the best. Keep it up, and I hope the Fatemakers don't learn the true power of the Nex-[I have no mouth and I must sceam SCREAM SCREEEE-] err, sorry about that, but I hope final 2 segments of the story are of the same quality as the rest.
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 69)

Postby BigDaddyCalgar » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:00 am

Also, how is Besneherofax related to the Nex- [CORRUPTION DEATH MISERY TAINT- NO]
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 69)

Postby L'Arpenteur » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:20 pm

I wander among the dust. I lost the meaning of time. My feat is sealed. My armor rusts and nothing is mine. Of all theses cities in ruin, of all these sacred bonds shatered, my will was the last to break ; my soul the first to be soiled. And I wander. Oh yeah I wander my fellow brothers. Amid the horrors of our dark future, amid the wastes, I'm seeking redemption. I wander and I wonder : is all hope tarnished ? Are our spirits consumed by the endless burn of Terra ? Are our ideas faded by the burden of time ? In face of such adversity and destructions, I have decided to hold. I will hold for you brothers ! I will never give up and I will be back for you, each day, seeking your tales and your magic. As only darkness reigns, resistance is the only choice against oblivion. FATE BROTHERS ! OUR FATE HAS NOT YET BEEN ENDED ! NEITHER OUR COURAGE ! LET IT BEGINS MEANEYE, LET IT BURNS !! LET YOUR TALE IGNITES THE SKY AND BE OUR TESTIMONY, our last fight.
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 69)

Postby Meaneye » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:58 am

Hello L'Arpenteur (and all),

It will happen. I have not completely let go of this project, I'm just having a major writer's block. However, half of the next chapter is done, and I will work on the rest as well. I mean, there are only like two updates left, it should not be so hard to finish it, right?

Right? :D
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 69)

Postby Meaneye » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:33 pm

Happy New Year, everyone!

It seems this last part got a little longer than I imagined, so I will still make two more updates after this one.

Let's see where we stand :D






’No,’ Uskovich whispered.

He jumped out of the Thunderhawk and stared into space through the open hangar wall. He had thought he would never know shock the way he had experienced as he learned about the fall of his Chapter, but he was wrong. This was a lot worse.
Space was full of starships in front of him. Various Opportunities from different timelines and alternate realities materialized out of nothing. Imperial and Chaos-aligned vessels were sitting next to each other, some of them already firing at the more opposite-looking ships. More and more appeared, and the chaos seemed to increase by every passing moment.

Chaos.

Cold, dreadful panic gripped the Astartes priest. He was no longer mentally controlled enough to block out the feeling, and the implications of what he was about to see was terrifying. He did not know what was happening, and what little he understood from the boasting of the demon Besneherofax was not enough to get a clearer picture. But what he saw was enough. There were already hundreds of ships out three, perhaps more. All of them various vessels from other Universes, concentrated in this small region of his own reality. He felt it. He felt the strain on the fabric of reality, ready to burst under the immense pressure of other intrusive dimensions. If reality collapses… if enough Opportunities appear to further tear up the space anomaly, deeper and deeper, right down to the Deep Warp…
It may be that they did not simply sentenced this Galaxy to death. It may be that they sentenced all Galaxies to death…

Everything.

‘Shit,’ he groaned and ran back towards the entry of the hangar bay. He needed to reach the others.
He needed to reach Akichi.

He may have been their only chance left.




‘Captain?’

There was a trembling in Andorias’s voice which Malistrum had previously not remembered – not that he did not understand the man’s shock. He was similarly shaken to see his dead brother drawing breath. He had to believe his eyes, and the thought that his Sergeant returned from the dead was not the most outrageous thing he had experienced today. Nevertheless, he was an Astartes, and his mind almost unconsciously started to scan the face and figure of the other Astartes, looking for some sign that the man in front of him was not what he looked like.

‘Is that really you?’ Andorias stretched out a hand and Malistrum took it. The Sergeant helped him stand up.
‘It is me, Andorias,’ the Captain murmured as he slowly took in all the details on the other. This was indeed Andorias, or else he was an extremely good fake version of him. His face, the scars, the augmentic eye, all the subtle mannerisms which would have been impossible for an untrained human to recognize on a Space Marine – all this told Malistrum that the person in front of him was indeed his trusted Sergeant. As the two of them stood facing each other, the Captain could only name two things which were out of the ordinary. The first was the shocked expression on his face, which could be explained with the situation they were in.

The other was the fact that Andorias was wearing the Captain’s own power armour and were holding his own power sword the ones Malistrum was still wearing.

‘You… are dead,’ Andorias stated, and it was then that Malistrum understood it. The Opportunity was about to enter a portal which would have hurled her through the Deep Warp to another reality where they would have had a chance to save the Emperor from death. This indicated that there were other realities out there, and now that their attempt at opening the gate had failed, apparently, other realities started to intrude into his own.

‘When did I die, Andorias?’ he asked softly.

‘In the dual with Brother-Captain Barandya,’ the other answered, and now the final piece fell to its place. If the leader of the Howling Griffons had killed him in the other reality, leadership would have fallen to Andorias, just as he had instructed Chaplain Uskovich before the duel. ‘After the duel, Uskovich named me your successor. But Captain… don’t you remember?’
‘Captain!’ the warning came just as Malistrum was about to open his mouth in reply. It was Brother Loriant, leaning on the observation console. The other two Space marines looked at him.

‘There are vessels out there, Captain,’ Loriant reported. If he was surprised to find the Dead Sergeant alive again, he could mask it very cleverly – although after what he had gone through recently, it was possible that such surprises were trivial to him now. ‘Most of these vessels identify themselves as the Opportunity. As us.’

He was right. What few instruments they had there were all indicating that other ships were appearing out there, and their identity codes more or less marked them as other versions of Strike Force Four. Malistrum sighed. This only confirmed what he feared.

‘Ships from other dimensions,’ he stated, thinking aloud now. ‘This portal is now open to alternative realities, and apparently, ships and people can now travel into ours. And if they can travel here…’

He looked up to the ceiling.

‘Is this your plan, Warp-fiend?’ he shouted. ‘Do you want to enter and conquer new realities, not just ours? Is this why you did this all?’

The answer came as a soft, inhuman chuckle in their head – or perhaps it was the sound of reality itself starting to vibrate as the demon was exercising its will. The Captain snarled.

‘We will stop this,’ he stated. ‘I don’t know how, but we will put an end to this.’ He turned to Andorias. ‘Sergeant. Captain,’ he corrected himself. ‘The two of us are from two different realities where our counterparts are dead and we lead our respective company alone.

Andorias looked at him with wide eyes.

‘Other realities?’

‘This may be a shock to you, but you have accidentally stepped into our own world and left yours behind. Did your strike force ever consider the possibility of time travel and other realities?’

‘Yes,’ Andorias replied slowly. ‘Akichi has brought it up. He insisted that we should open the Dark Torch and step through it. I… refused. It seemed too dangerous and illogical…’ he looked up. ‘But if you…’

‘Yes,’ the Captain sighed. ‘In our reality, we opened it, and a powerful demon came through. We need to stop it, or it will doom every reality it can reach – including yours.’

Andorias shook his head. ‘This makes no sense’, he stated. Captain, you should be dead. We never tried to open the gate. What you are saying is just…’

‘Please.’ Malistrum raised his hand, and to his vague surprise, Andorias stopped immediately. The Captain sighed again, this time inwardly. ‘Andorias, please help me. I do not know what else is different in your world, but I think I meant the same to you there as I meant to you here. I am your Captain – and I need your help. Our ship is badly damaged, and there are literally a handful of us left. A demon is trying to invade the realm of Man. As a fellow Astartes and your erstwhile commander, I am asking you to fulfill your duty and stand by my side once again.’

He knew this would work. Andorias had always obeyed him without question, which was why he had decided that he should have followed him. Captain or Sergeant, no matter: Andorias would obey him once more.

He was right. Andorias slowly nodded, and Malistrum’s jaw clenched. He was abusing the other now, he knew, but he needed his help, and too much was at stake to worry about the moral consequences.

‘Thank you,’ he said. He turned to Loriant. ‘Brother, can you open a channel to the ships outside?’

Loriant seemed confused. ‘I can, my lord, but…’

Malistrum did not let him finish.

‘We need to salvage this situation. We need to strike back.’

[You cannot.]

The demon’s voice reverberated through the skulls of the three Astartes. All three of them groaned, but the Captain grounds his teeth and wildly shook his head.

‘We will see that, demon. You may have punched a hole in the entire Universe…’ he went over to the communications console and leaned forward, ‘but you also pulled a whole army of Fatemakers through it.’ He managed a grim smile. ‘Let’s see if I misread the nature of our Chapter entirely or not.’




His voice came through all available channels. Space around the growing fleet of ships was already heavy with angry, confused and demanding messages as the others tried to make sense of the chaos. For some reason, his channel – perhaps because he was actually from this universe – was heard by all with crystal-clarity.

‘This is Andros Malistrum, Captain of the Astartes Chapter, faithful to the Empire and the Imperium of Man. What you see in front of you is hundreds of ships, looking similar to you in some manner. Some of you know my name. Some of you may even be me. You are confused and probably think this is some kind of trick, a dream, or sorcery. You are right.’

‘See the anomaly in front of you. A demon is trying to break into my world. In its attempt, it also dragged you along with it. If it succeeds here, it will go over to your world and lay waste to it as well. Some of you may welcome such a thing. Some – but not all.’

‘I have to believe in the character of my Chapter. I have to believe that the majority of you believe in the same principles as I do. You may not believe in the Emperor, you may not care about the human species, you may have lost your faith in our own Chapter. You could not have done all three.’

‘The Emperor demands that we stand our ground and fight against Chaos in every form. Even if this is not your world, not your reality as you know it, His order probably still binds you. In the name of the Emperor, you must fight.’

‘If we lose here, Mankind will be destroyed or fall into eternal slavery. The future of our race demands that we fight and protect humans no matter where they live.’

‘This is the last ship of the Fatemaker Chapter in this reality. This is our last stand. If you value this name, if you call yourselves our brothers, come to our aid and fight.’

‘I think we can still defeat this thing. At the very least, we need to try. Buy us some time. Make a cordon around my ship and protect us from the other vessels who would side with this demon. If you have anything in common with my cause, come and help me. If not…’

‘Then to hell with you.’




Malistrum leaned back from the console.

‘We may go,’ he told Andorias. ‘Loriant, defend this place if something tries to break in again.’

‘Where are you going, my lord,’ the young Battle-Brother asked.

‘I will try to reach Akichi and ask for his help.’

[You are doomed to failure,] the demon’s voice said. This time, Malistrum did not even flinch.

‘So you say,’ he murmured. ‘Let’s go.’





Akichi wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

His fear was so great that not even his Astartes conditioning could block it out completely. He heard what the Demon told the others, and he somehow also heard the Captain’s answer, although in a strangely distorted way, as if he was trying to listen to a conversation underwater. This may have been the effect of the protective circle he was in – if so, he had a slight advantage over the demon as it would probably have the same problem reading his mind as he did hearing it. This was of little use to him right now, however.

He could feel it. In his mind, in his flesh, in his soul, he could feel reality slowly coming apart, revealing horrors the mere Chaos Powers paled in comparison with. The pressure on this reality was growing, and the Librarian knew that this section of space – perhaps all spaces – had minutes, perhaps an hour, before complete annihilation.

Worst of all, he had no idea how to stop it. He was not even sure what had happened outside: the chamber where the engine room used to be had neither windows nor observation equipment installed. He felt waves of energies wash over the ship, and he sensed the reality-shifting nature of the energy itself, but the chamber dampened his Warp-senses. He did not know what his comrades were facing outside.

But there was a sure way to find out, wasn’t there? All he needed to do was open the door and take a look outside. See the change with his own eyes, experience it with all his senses. He needed to find out more of what was happening.

He took a deep breath and stood up. Very carefully, he stepped over the psycurium-circle, making sure not to step on the lines anywhere; the circle was built to last, but there was no point in taking any more risks. He stopped at the door and closed his eyes for a second. He was afraid, and this unusual feeling was almost overwhelmingly debilitating.

Still, he had to do it. He suggested this path, and it seemed he had managed to doom more than just his brothers. It had to be done.

He opened the door.

The blast wave hit him in the chest, sending him flying towards the back of the chamber. He landed on his back and slid into the circle. As he was gasping for air, his Astartes-trained brain was already processing the nature of his attacker. The information reached the conscious part of the brain a millisecond later, and he gasped – this time in surprise.

‘What have you done?’

The tall, imposing figure was walking through the narrow bridge which crossed the artificial chasm between the engine room and the rest of the ship. Akichi could not see his very well through the door, especially from the floor, but he recognized the power armor the other was wearing. The voice was also familiar, almost too familiar. He had faced this figure before: once, in actual person, and a few times whenever he looked into a mirror.

Librarian Akichi in his armor, psychic hood and power staff stopped at the chamber entrance, his dark silhouette somewhat illuminated by the faint halo of light his body was emitting. He looked down at himself.

‘Have you got any idea what you have done?’ he asked with barely controlled fury. ‘You little wretch, have you got any idea how many realities you have doomed?’





[You are doomed to failure.]

Uskovich heard the voice of the Besneherofax, and it made him retch. He was not sure who it was talking to, but he could make a guess at just which one of the remaining four Fatemakers could have had talked to the demon.

It was the Captain. The Captain was still trying to do something.

Uskovich took a deep breath. Even if Malistrum was going to fail, he would at least try to fix this. He cannot let him alone. They still had at least a fighting chance.

‘I am beginning to hate that phrase now,’ he murmured.

He ran on empty and dark corridors, almost halfway through to the engine block and Akichi. He turned into a corner and stopped dead.

The air shimmered in front of him, and a figure appeared out of thin air. It had no discernible features and it seemed hazy, without much contour to speak of. It almost seemed as if Uskovich was looking at a bad pict or holo-screen which needed adjusting. The figure started to change quickly, its form fading away, giving way to new, ever familiar figures.

A distorted version of a Fatemaker Astartes warrior.

A Space Marine wearing a power armour in the color of the long-extinct Silver Halberds.

Another Astartes, his armour in Imperial Fist symbol and color, but covered with Chaos iconography.

A tall and slim figure in battlegear which had the Fatemaker grey and symbol but was, without a doubt, eldar in origin.
A Chaplain in full regalia, holding a crozius just like Uskovich himself.

The shape of the figure consolidated and made a step forward. Uskovich stared at the other and his instincts told him that he was facing another version of himself. In some other reality, perhaps in another timeline, that Uskovich was torn from his world and hurled here in front of him.

He stepped forward and raised his hand.

‘Brother,’ he started. ‘I know what this seems like…’

He almost missed it. Not because he was no longer a mentally conditioned Space Marine, but because it was not supposed to be out of the ordinary. He could barely realize the small inconsistency, but his mind registered it just as the other’s fist clenched around the handle of his weapon.

The shoulder-pads were festooned with devotion papers, in the style of Strike Force Seven.

‘Abomination!’ The other Uskovich yelled and raised the crozius. Uskocvich had barely enough time to leap back as the other swung towards him. The crozius missed him by mere inches, but he was not out of danger. The other Chaplain spun the weapon above his head and attacked.

‘Begone, demon!’ he cried and showered Uskovich with sparks as the second strike of the crozius hit the metal wall where Uskovich’s head had been a second ago. He deflected the next two blows with his own weapon, but the power behind the strikes was so great that he had to step back.

‘Brother! Calm yourself!’ he cried. The other paid no heed.

‘Illusion! Phantom! Get out of my head, demon!’

He was gone, Uskovich realized. The other was wearing his skull-faced helmet, but he had no doubt, what he would see behind his mask. An exact copy of the face he had, but his handsome features would be distorted with rage and zeal. The other Uskovich was a fanatic, no doubt. An ultra-puritan who had no subtlety or doubt in his heart – an obsessed mind who sees something confusing and can only think of destroying it to remove the inconsistency from his world.

Worst of all, he thought as he was forced back by the blows, was that it worked. The other was determined, and his fury was something Uskovich was no longer capable to conjure in himself. The other may have only excelled in destruction, but that was the one thing he needed in this confined space. Conditioning or no, the Chaplain felt he would soon lose this fight.
He leapt forward, under the crozius and beyond the fanatic. As the other Chaplain spun, Uskovich could put some space between them. He jumped on his feet and raised his towards the other.

‘Brother!’ he cried. ‘Listen to me!’

The other slowly raised his weapon to strike.

‘I am a fellow Chaplain, just like you! In the name of the Emperor, please stop!’

The other stopped, his weapon still in the air, as a new voice cut in from behind Uskovich.

‘You may want to hit the ground.’

Uskovich threw himself flat on the ground. An awful roar filled everything, and the corridor came alive with light as dozens of explosive shells tore into the fanatic, splitting him apart. The body flew backwards in two pieces and landed on the floor in a splash of torn flesh and metal.

There was a moment of silence. Uskovich turned on his back and looked at the other Space Marine, who was approaching his prone body with a huge heavy bolter in his hands.

‘I had a feeling this would be a bad day for me,’ he said and stretched out a hand towards the Chaplain. ‘Let me guess: you tried to open the Dark Torch, didn’t you, Uskovich?’

The Chaplain took the hand and stood up, looking into the unmasked face of the other.

‘I wish I could deny it,’ he said. ‘But then again, our kind seems to be just that level of stupid, right, Uskovich?’





Loriant was on edge. He was pointing his weapon towards the entrance of the room, while also checking his instruments every now and then. From what he could see from here, all hell was about to break loose out there in space.

There were footsteps at the entrance, and the Astartes raised his bolter.

‘Show yourself, or I will shoot,’ he cried.

‘That was my intention,’ a metallic voice said, and the figure appeared in the doorframe. Loriant’s finger pressed against harder the trigger, almost pulling it.

‘You?’ he asked, with audible surprise in his voice. ‘What are you doing here?’

The other Space Marine stopped and looked him.

‘Two days before you were taken in by the Fatemakers,’ he boomed through the speaker of his helmet, ‘Lisa from the scholam took you in her bed.’

‘What?’ Loriant lowered his weapon a little.

‘I never told anyone about this,’ he whispered. ‘How did you…’

The other reached up and unclasped his helmet.

Loriant fell back into his seat.

‘This is not possible,’ he groaned.

‘I know, right?’ Loriant answered. ‘But still…’

He went to another seat, sat down and turned towards himself.

‘And now we will have a talk,’ he said. ‘Well, I will talk, and you will listen. And you will listen well, because you will sit in this chair one day, and you will look at yourself on the chair where you are sitting right now. And then you will have to tell him exactly these words, no alteration, or you will change history, and you will probably delete the Universe faster than that demon could. So listen, and take mental notes, because the next time we will speak will be about five hundred years in your future.’




‘You do not seem to be surprised,’ Uskovich said quietly as he had a closer look at himself. The other merely shrugged.

‘Infinite realities theory? We did not try to open the Dark Torch on our side, because, quite frankly, who would be that stupid?’ He made a disappointed smirk. ‘But apparently, not all of my versions had the same common sense…’

The other Uskovich sounded strange. It was not just the subtle way he was acting – the frowns, the tone of his voice, his body language which suggested that he was not Astartes-conditioned any more either – but the more obvious way he was clothed. He was wearing his own power armour – any Space Marine would have recognized his own gear from a thousand seemingly identical ones – but it was not the jet-black colour of a Chaplain. It was plain, unadorned rock-crete grey, the colour of a mere battle-brother. A devastator, judging from the heavy bolter he was holding in his hand.

‘We had to try,’ the Chaplain answered carefully. He did not find this new version of himself familiar at all. ‘The Emperor is dead in our reality. This was our last chance to make a difference.’

‘And you made it too,’ the other agreed. ‘Although possibly not the way you were planning it.’ He sighed. ‘My Captain merely gave up. We killed Narmantu, and we called it quits. We had no wish to add to the misery of the Galaxy with our presence.’

‘This is too bleak, and is against the credo of our Chapter,’ Uskovich protested.

‘And this is better?’ the other waved towards the ceiling. ‘This demon will eat your world, and probably mine too, and all that my Chapter did in my Galaxy will not mean anything. Not that it would have mattered anyway.’

Uskovich stared. There was something fundamentally broken in the other he did not understand.

‘What happened?’ he asked quietly. There was a faint rumble in the distance, but they both ignored it for the time being. ‘You are not surprised to be here. You are not surprised to find two other versions of you here, both of us dressed as a Chaplain. Did you used to be a Chaplain yourself?’

‘Used to be, yes,’ he agreed. ‘Not any more, though. I gave that up after my conditioning broke. I take it this was the same with you?’

Uskovich nodded.

‘I suppose so. You are too twitchy. Just like I am. But then you know the answer to your question. What is the point of being a Chaplain if you no longer believe? Your god is dead, the souls of your flock will go to Hell straight away. It is a wonder to me how you could remain a Chaplain.’

Uskovich pressed his lips in anger.

‘As long as we live, there is hope,’ he stated. ‘We had the potential to do some good. We could still protect. We had the chance to save the souls of those under our protection!’

‘Yes? How?’

‘The fight against the Withdrawal?’ Uskovich retorted. ‘The soulstones? Do those things count for nothing?’

‘Soulstones?’ the other asked back. ‘What soulstones?’

Now Uskovich frowned. ‘The soulstones to protect our dead. Did you not help Akichi to make them in your reality?’

‘Akichi who?’

Uskovich stopped for a moment.

‘Was there a Librarian in your strike force called Akichi?’

‘I have not heard that name before,’ the other shook his head.

Uskovich closed his eyes. ‘Well,’ he said. ‘Different realities, different people. If we have the right combination… we could have hope.’ He opened his eyes and looked at the other. ‘In my world… we had a Librarian. He gave us hope. He constructed… talismans to protect our souls. Working talismans. He was the one who suggested that we open the anomaly.’

‘So this Akichi gave your world the chance to ruin a thousand more worlds,’ the other remarked.

‘This is not true!’ Uskovich snapped. ‘We needed to move on! We needed…’

‘…a fighting chance?’ the other asked and pointed down the corridor towards the rumbling sound. ‘You have doomed not only yourselves, but others who knew better. Sometimes it is time to lie down and die. But not for you, right?’ His tone got more and more sarcastic. ‘No, you had to be the heroes of the day. You had a chance to open something unimaginably dangerous, and you opened it because it gave you a new chance. Out of countless realities, only you opened that bloody door. Nobody had the strength or the lack of common sense to do it. So… congratulations?’

There was a minute of silence between the two Uskovich felt his face burning. There was absolutely nothing he could have said to the man in front of him.

‘I need your help,’ he finally said.

‘My. Help,’ the other repeated.

‘We need to fix this. We need to correct it…’

‘This is all your doing…’

‘I know!’ Uskovich snapped. ‘I know we frakking did it all! Doesn’t matter! We still need to make it right! The Galaxy will be destroyed! Who will tell me that is was my fault then? There won’t be a single human soul left anywhere!’

The other stood motionless.

‘Help me do something,’ Uskovich repeated a little calmer now. ‘We will probably fail. But we still need to make it right. Perhaps we can close the portal. Perhaps we can trap the demon here, in our reality. My Mankind will go extinct, but at least yours will have a chance. Even if this is not your fight, you need to fight it because what other choice does our kind have?’
The other slowly shook his head.

‘I see no more point in fighting,’ he said. He leaned down and put his weapon on the ground. ‘I fought. I lost. I am done with fighting.’ He crouched down and leaned against the wall. ‘I am done with my Chapter. I am done with myself.’ He closed his eyes. ‘And I am definitely done with you.’

Uskovich looked him with his mouth open. For a moment, he failed to find words to address the other. He knew of the hopelessness and misery radiating from the other figure, but he would have never thought that he could actually sink so low into inaction.

‘You are pathetic,’ he finally said. The other did not react at all. The Chaplain looked at his for a few more seconds, then shook his head in disgust and turned towards the engine section.

‘Uskovich!’ the other cried after him. The Chaplain turned back.

The other Uskovich was looking at him with a cynical smile on her face.

‘You are doomed to failure,’ he said.

Uskovich snarled and ran.




Chaos reigned supreme around the Dark Torch.

Not Chaos itself, although enough ships from various realities served the Powers of the Warp to constitute a veritable army. No, it was just mere chaos, the confusion of thousands of alternate Fatemaker warriors all meeting at the same place. Cold space itself came alive with vox-speech, mostly demanding or disbelieving, coming from different mouths in the name of different authorities. A significant portion of the ships had started to shoot at one another almost as soon as they had seen each other, further enhancing the general disorder as the various other vessels were trying to get clear of the firing line, or, rather, were trying to get involved. Some Opportunities were powering up their engines and moving out of the ever growing fleet of ships, while others stopped dead and were fortifying themselves with their shields. Voices of Malistrums, Andoriases, even some other, less obvious Captains were trying to make some sense of what happening around them, while a good many of them – those who came close to opening the portal in their realities and so knew exactly what was happening – were doing their best to explain what might have happened. Some were desperate, some elevated, all mirroring the status of their own respective Galaxies.

The message sent from the Malistrum in this reality – the Captain who opened the portal – made things simpler. It created sides. It drew a line in the sand.

It did not diminish Chaos, however. If anything, it only amplified it.

In the first three minutes following the message, the cold pragmatism of the Fatemakers took over. Malistrum was right. Most of the ships were more inclined towards an ordered Imperium than disorder. Almost two scores of Captains – all of them Malistrums, all of whom had the support of their respective Akichis and Uskoviches – made a very quick naklonjenost-pact and started to move towards the badly damaged Opportunity in the centre. They were closely followed by a contingent of Chaos-aligned ships. The Fatemakers mostly remained true to their battle doctrines even when they fell to Chaos, so the tainted ones quickly converged around a unique Opportunity, a huge space hulk which the Fatemakers made their flagship in their own dark Universe. The two sides clashed with withering salvos of ordnance and lance strikes.
The death of the first few vessels decided it for the other, so far neutral, ships. In the next few minutes, dozens of ships died on both sides, mostly those who were unfortunate enough to materialize surrounded by their hostile Fatemaker versions. The rest powered up and started to drift towards the middle, the only place of the battle that really mattered. Reaching the original Opportunity was at this point almost impossible, as the first few ships formed a cordon around it, shielding her with their own vessels. The battle became a slow swirl of warships, all circling around the middle, like a great whirlpool sucking in and grinding up machine and soul alike.
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 70)

Postby L'Arpenteur » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:07 am

OH GOD GOD YEAH !

So good I checked this place tonight :P I read it ASAP ! Thanks again for keeping your story live :)
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 70)

Postby L'Arpenteur » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:10 am

Again, what could I say ? It's great Meaneye. All of this while multiplying is coalescing in some uncertain way and it is fierce, it is desperate, it is absurd and somehow there is bravery in it or because of it ^^. Chaos & Defiance. "Panache" we would say down here. I can assure you : I can wait a whole thousands milleniums to get the next piece of it :P

Most of all : thanks. It's great to relieve pressure from this reality and fly into another. "Bravo" !
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Re: Fatemakers' Odyssey (50K) (part 70)

Postby Meaneye » Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:01 pm

Oh. My God.

Another half a year without an update. But i am so close now.

One more update, and the story which I started six years ago concludes.

If there is still anyone occassionally reading this, enjoy.






Akichi’s mind was racing.
He was not contemplating the fact that the person standing in front of him was actually him. He was way past such considerations. He was not trying to imagine how this version of him was different or whether he was Imperial or something else in nature. The question was irrelevant. He was not even wondering why this new Akichi was angry with him.
He was merely wondering how he would be able to kill him.
This Akichi was strong, monstrously so. Psychic energy was oozing from him, and even though he was furious, his discipline did not waver for a second. The Librarian knew what kind of willpower it took to hold so much force inside a human body, even an augmented one like his. This new version overmatched him in every ability he had.
The other Akichi did not hurry. He took a good look at the Librarian, who had been hurled from the door to the back of the engine room. His gaze swept through the Astartes on the floor, then he examined the runes covering the entire chamber. His mouth curled in distaste.
‘Nice work,’ he said. ‘Very effective. You needed to use warpcraft for this, didn’t you? Actual Warp-craft, not sanctioned methods. You little heretic wretch.’
He stepped into the room and grunted in pain. Akichi’s eyes widened as he saw sparks running through the armour of the other one. For a few heartbeats, the other seemed to… fade out.
Then the other Librarian took a deep breath, and his body solidified again.
‘Strong protective qualities,’ he murmured. ‘An anchor in this reality. It almost got me… but it is not strong enough. To think that my world was doomed by a lesser version of myself…’
He took another step towards Akichi.
‘I tried so hard to convince the others that opening the anomaly was a folly,’ he pressed the words through his clenched teeth. ‘At a point, we need to give up. But the other Librarians were against me, and the Captain would have rather listened to them. After all, their idea gave us a ‘fighting chance’, he spat mockingly.
He towered over Akichi.
‘I had to kill the last of them before they could doom the world.’ He seemed almost defensive now, with a touch of hysteria in his voice which had no right to exist in a Space Marine. ‘I killed them all, and prepared myself to die with them. What is the point of living past that? The last of the Chapter… the murderer of his brothers…’ His haze suddenly focused on Akichi, and his eyes flared with anger. ‘Only to find that a piece of shit other Akichi of another time and space had his own plans, actually opened his anomaly and still doomed everything!’
He bore into the Librarian’s mind with psychic fire, and Akichi screamed as his brain started to boil away. He tried to lash out with his own power, which the other deflected easily. He fell back on the floor.
‘Feel my pain!’ he shouted. ‘Feel my terror! If my world has to burn, you will burn first!’
He knelt down and looked into the blood-shot and unfocussed eyes of the Librarian.
‘You are nothing,’ he hissed. ‘You are weak. You cannot hurt me. I have my power. I am still a true Librarian. What are you, weakling? What can you do against me? What have you got that could possibly hurt me?’
The bolt pistol round blew apart the left side of his head and threw him off Akichi. The Librarian gasped as the immense psychic pressure on his brain suddenly lifted. He groaned and heaved for a long minute before he felt strong enough to push himself on his hands and knees.
‘I have…’ he panted, ‘…a sidearm.’
He could not help checking it. Indeed, his other version had no pistol. He was so strong that he probably never felt the need of a physical weapon. Akichi had not been that strong. He had always had to be practical about these things.
He could finally stand up. He pressed his fingers weakly against his forehead, looked at his own corpse – this was the second time, he had killed himself, he reflected briefly – and thought as hard as he could.
The other version decided not to act upon the last slim sliver of hope the Chapter had left, and his world’s fate was still changed from an outside source – from the other’s point of view, they were the real reality and this one was the alternate one. Still, their fate was altered.
Can this be done again? Can Akichi somehow still change his own world’s fate? From an outside force? The portal was open, the ship could theoretically move through it. Was there still a way to reverse all this?
The Besneherofax spoke again. It was talking to the Captain, but the Librarian heard it, and his eyes opened wide with shock.





It was a strange feeling jogging next to his dead Sergeant.
Naturally, Malistrum knew that this Andorias was not dead. No, in that other reality, it was him who had died and Andorias took his place at the helm of the strike force– just as Malistrum himself wanted to arrange it

The Opportunity suddenly sook, and there was a dull, resonating sound, coming not from the corridor but rather from the walls surrounding them.
‘Ship explosion near the hull of the Opportunity,’ Andorias murmured. He had heard similar noises before, just like the Captain. ‘There is a battle around us.’ He squinted at the Captain over his shoulder. ‘It seems you have managed to convince at least some of those ships outside to aid us.’
‘Let us hope they will last,’ Malistrum stated. He put a reassuring hand on Andorias’s shoulder as they ran by. ‘We have two Galaxies to save, you and I.’
Andorias did not reply. The two of them ran on, through empty corridors and passing open, yawning doors. The rumble outside continued.
‘May I ask you something, my lord?’ Andorias suddenly asked.
Malistrum slowed down for a second.
‘Ask me,’ he then commanded and took up a brisker pace again. They were only about halfway to the engine room.
‘Why did you open the Dark Torch?’
Hurry or not, Malistrum had to stop at this. What could he say? That he had no choice? That the future was at stake? This Andorias came from a very similar Universe to his own. He had the same choice, and he was wise enough to refuse. What could be said to him then?
Malistrum cast down his head.
‘I made a mistake,’ he said. ‘A terrible, terrible mistake. It was a grave error to open the Dark Torch. We are just mortals. We should not overreach ourselves.
Andorias sighed and started to walk again. ‘Lord Narmantu said the same.’
Malistrum raised his head. ‘NARMANTU?’
Andorias looked back. ‘Lord Narmantu,’ he repeated. ‘Did he and his strike force not arrive at the Dark Torch in your reality?’
Malistrum stared at the other for a moment.
‘He… did,’ he admitted. ‘Did you confront him as well?’
Andorias looked puzzled. ‘Confront?’ he repeated. ‘My lord, I could finally find a small portion of the Chapter. This was our mission from the beginning. We could finally catch up with them, and he already started to work on a plan to salvage the situation. He…’ He stopped as he saw the look on the Captain’s face. ‘My lord?’
Malistrum closed his eyes. ‘You joined him,’ he said.
‘Yes. His plan was sound. We had to collect the various Astartes forces, build up a sizeable army, and start…’
‘Purging?!’ Malistrum burst out.
Andorias stood with his mouth open.
‘I…’ He composed himself. ‘He had a plan, and I did not.’ He hesitated a bit before finally speaking again. ‘Was this…’ he waved towards the outer hull, ‘… a better idea?’
That hit home. It was now Malistrum’s turn to cast his head down. ‘You were right,’ he said. Whatever misery Narmantu would unleash upon the world, it could only be better than this fate. ‘You were… wiser than I was.’
Andorias’s expression became painful and ashamed. ‘No, I was not.’ He stepped closer. ‘Captain, I must tell you… Captain… I killed Essen.’
Malistrum raised his head again. ‘Sergeant Essen?’
‘He… confronted me after the Greengate siege. He wanted to…’ Andorias was looking for words. ‘He wanted to leave. I could not let it happen. We argued. He drew... a weapon at me.’ He looked at Malistrum with pleading eyes. ‘I had to kill him. I killed a brother Fatemaker Astartes whom I had known before joining the Chapter.’
There was silence for a moment. The world was burning around them, but the two Captains from two different realities existed now in their own personal sphere, which no outside thought could penetrate.
‘I have no right to judge you,’ Malistrum finally said. ‘I killed Narmantu in my own reality. There is Fatemaker blood on my hand as well. I opened the Dark Torch and damned my Galaxy and yours. I did not kill my Essen – but my Essen did not draw a weapon on me when he confronted me.’
He respected me more than you, he thought, but there was no point in telling Andorias about this. The other just looked on.
‘Essen… lives in your world?’
‘I think. ’Malistrum sighed. ‘I sent him and most of the strike force away before coming to the Torch. I pushed them out of the circle. Whatever happens here, they will play no part in it.’
[You are wrong.]
Besneherofax’s voice boomed through the Corridor. Both Astartes looked up in shock.
[There is no escape from the circle,] the demon continued. Its voice seemed amused now. [Time means nothing for a being such as me who is called Besneherofax. Past, future and present becomes one for me. As we speak, I am climbing back in time to the Twilight Monks – before they became the Chapter that they are. As we speak, I am corrupting their leader and turn them into my subjects. Your minion who is called Essen have run into the arms of my people.]
Malistrum paled. ‘You lie,’ he hissed.
There was a soft hideous voice, the demon equivalent of a chuckle that set the two Astartes’s teeth on edge.
‘YOU LIE!’ Malistrum screamed.
The chuckle stopped. Malistrum cast a wild look around and saw Andorias looking back at him with horror in his eyes.
‘Let’s go,’ The Captain seethed and darted down a corridor. He said nothing more. There was less and less to say.





Uskovich, the Devastator looked up.
He heard something. Something loud and approaching. He frowned.
He heard footsteps. Footsteps of running people. How could he have missed it earlier? There were a lot of them, and they were too close.
He heard other noises too. Panting. Snarling.
Snarling?
His gaze swept past the Chaplain he had killed a few minutes earlier, towards the end of the corridor.
The first figure turned around the corner.
Usovich’s eyes opened wide. He tried to stand up and aim his heavy bolter.
He was too slow.





Uskovich, the Chaplain opened the door of the engine room and stopped dead in his track.
His gaze swept past the corpse of Akichi and looked at the other figure aiming a boltgun at his head.
Neither of them said anything for a moment.
Then the other Akichi opened his mouth.
‘The runes on the floor,’ he started slowly, ‘’anchor this chamber onto our own reality. If you are not our Uskovich, you will face difficulties entering.
Uskovich stared at him; the other stared back, the boltgun aimed at his head, unwavering.
Slowly, Uskovich made a single step into the chamber. Nothing happened.
Akichi exhaled and lowered his weapon. Uskovich darted in.
‘What of him?’ he nodded towards the other Akichi lying on the floor.
Akichi was already busy examining the runes in his corner. ‘He attacked me,’ he answered absent-mindedly.
The Chaplain groaned. ‘You killed yourself… again?’
The Librarian shrugged, as if he was no longer interested. He knelt down at the runes, and Uskovich saw the small laser cutter he was holding in his hand. He knew Akichi had used the same cutter when he had been carving the runes onto the floor.
‘We have made a mistake,’ the Chaplain started. ‘We have…’
‘We have doomed our entire reality, and probably other realities too,’ Akichi nodded. The cutter ignited, and he carved into the floor next to the glowing rune. Uskovich suddenly realized similar lines in other sections of the runes.
‘You have a plan?’ he asked with unmasked desperation in his voice.
‘More like an idea,’ the answer came. The Librarian poked towards the corpse with the cutter. ‘He gave it to me.’
‘What is it? Uskovich demanded.’
Akichi sighed, turned off the cutter and stood up to face the other Astartes.
‘You will not like it at all,’ he stated.
The Chaplain made a sour face. ‘Tell me anyway,’ he said.





The rumble was different this time.
Malistrum and Andorias both stopped and looked back towards the end of the corridor.
Something was closing in on them. They did not know what it was, nut they had decades of battle-instinct to interpret what they were hearing.
Attacking enemies.
‘They are running too fast,’ Malistrum said. He knew they still had some distance to close before reaching the engine room. ‘We won’t make it in time.’
‘We won’t,’ Andorias stated. He stood in the middle of the corridor and drew his sword. ‘You do.’
Malistrum’s eyes opened wide.
‘You cannot…’
‘Captain.’ There was great pain and equally great determination in Andorias’s voice. ‘We don’t have time for this. I can win a minute or two for you at best. Let me serve you one last time. Don’t throw this one last thing from me away.’
Malistrum swallowed hard.
‘Thank you, Andorias,’ he simply said and darted towards the back of the ship.
He did not turn back. He did not waste any more glance behind him. He had turned into the next corridor by the time the dim noise of battle reached him.
He simply ran. His Sergeant was sacrificing himself to win a few seconds for him. He could not disappoint him again.





‘You are crazy,’ Uskovich whispered.
Akichi knelt back to the runes and started carving again. ‘I presume you have a better option?’ He asked in a flat voice.
Uskovich raised his voice ‘this is not a plan!’
Akichi said nothing.
‘This is shit! Who thinks of that? This plan bleeds from a thousand wounds!
‘This is the only plan which will give us a fighting chance.’
‘A fighting chance?!’
The Chaplain fumed. ‘I hate this phrase,’ he stated. ‘I hate it, I hate the man who first made it, I hate myself ever using it. Have you got any idea of the consequences?’
Akichi looked up. ‘We could destroy our reality with that plan? Uskovich, you know we have already done that, right? Is there anything we can do to make the situation worse?’
‘YES!’ Uskovich cried out.
Akichi watched on, silent. In the end, the Chaplain back down.
‘No,’ he said sullenly. ‘I don’t know.’ He sighed and shrugged. ‘Oh well, we might as well do it. We wanted to do a time travel anyway, why not change the destination at the last moment? In the middle of a battle, with a mighty Warp-demon outside. No problem.’
He leaned down and took a better look at the runes which Akichi was adding.
‘Will this work?’ he asked.
Akichi carried on. ‘I haven’t got the faintest idea,’ he answered.





Malistrum ran on.
The battle noise dimmed behind him as he left Andorias and whatever was coming towards them behind. He had no idea how much time his Sergeant – or perhaps his fellow Captain – would eventually win him, but he guessed it would only be a few minutes at best. He had to make the best of those few minutes.
He turned right at the next corner and ran towards the exit at the end of the corridor. He knew that behind that exit lay the chasm which separated the engine room from the rest of the ship, with the metal bridge that led through it. Behind the door on the other side of the bridge were Uskovich and Akichi, his last hope to make things right. He had no idea what could be done to save themselves, but he knew he would try anyway.
He ran through the exit onto the bridge. Then he stopped.
‘I knew you would come this way,’ Malistrum said conversationally.
Malistrum looked at him, refusing to move on. The other Captain was the spitting image of him: the armor, the color of his battle-plate and the hardened, tired face he sometimes glimpsed when he passed by a mirroring surface. This mirror image, however, was adorned with Chaos-icons, and the power sword in his hand – still reminding Malistrum of the sword he himself wielded – was pulsing with red, demonic energy.
‘I would have done the same,’ the Chaos-touched Malistrum continued. ‘I would do anything to save my people, even if the chances were slim… even if the price were too high.’ he looked over himself. ‘In fact, I did do anything I could.’
Malistrum said nothing at that.
‘You know,’ the other said, ‘I think fighting blindly in the face of overwhelming odds is the easy way. You know you cannot win, so your attempt really means nothing. Accepting your defeat… making the painful decision to join the stronger force to save your own… now that requires strength.’
He was blocking Malistrum’s way to the engine room and made no attempt to stand aside.
‘It appears you decided to play with reality itself instead of making do with what you had. You opened the portal in this world.’ He shook his head. ‘Really? Time travel? Creating an alternate timeline? This was a better solution than just joining the powers of Chaos?’
He raised his demon sword.
‘I made no pact with this… demon of yours, but I serve Chaos now. And I know my duty. Whatever happens here serves the interest of the Warp, so I will assist in it. I could tell you to stand back, but would there be a point in it? You will fight, we both know that. You seem to be the kind that just keeps on fighting.’
Malistrum still said nothing. The other sighed.
‘As you wish,’ he said. He made a step forward. ‘Let the sword decide between us. You must be just as me, but I have a stronger weapon – and I believe I know more tricks. I will make it quick…’
The shot filled the great chasm and echoed between the narrow walls. The head of the Chaos-touched Malistrum came apart, showering the bridge with gore and metal fragments. Malistrum lowered his bolt pistol.
‘I am sick of tricks,’ he murmured.
He went to the corpse and pushed it off the bridge with his foot. He looked after it for a few heartbeats, then shook himself, as if waking up from a bad dream. He turned towards the engine room.
‘Uskovich? Akichi?’ he called through his vox-link.
‘Captain?’ the Chaplain’s voice came through loud and clear, and Malistrum felt a faint sliver of hope. ‘We heard weapon discharge from the bridge. Do you require…’
‘No,’ Malistrum said. ‘I just killed…’ he paused. ‘Never mind. I am going to the engine room door now. Prepare to…’
He stopped again, halfway through the bridge. He turned back as he heard a faint noise from behind him. His teeth clenched.
Footsteps. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of feet, closing in on him, and closing fast. The same footsteps Andorias stayed behind to face to win some time for his Captain. He won one or two minutes with his life – and Malistrum squandered those precious moments on himself.
‘Uskovich?’ he said quietly to the vox. ‘Enemy is closing in. I will try to hold them up. If you have some plan, try to execute it. Do not come out to help me. This is my last order.’
‘Captain?’ there was a frantic urgency in Uskovich’s voice. ‘What is going on out there?’
‘I’m sorry,’ Malistrum said and deactivated his vox.
The sound of running feet was close to the bridge entry now. Malistrum aimed with his pistol and waited. The weapon did not have a great range, and he was only an average shot. He would need to let them closer.
They came closer. A snarling, panting, growling throng of deformed bodies burst onto the bridge. Tongues lolled out, faces twisted by rage and mutation, obscene marks cut into the flesh – these were the things Malistrum registered before the creatures came within range, and he started firing.
Headshots. Clean, economic shots felling not only the one the Captin was aiming at, but often penetrating their head and tearing apart the one running behind the target. As the bodies began to fell, Malisturm’s mind switched into battle mode and started to analyze the enemies.
What his mind was telling me almost shocked him out of battle conditioning. The faces Malistrum had no time examining while shooting them were all too familiar. His mind started to list the similarities, all the while he continued pumping explosive shells into the mob. The torn rags these mutated attackers were wearing were all too familiar… the coloring was a little different sort of grey, but it was grey…
The attacking mutants were crewmembers of the Opportunity. Not his Opportunity, of course, but crewmen nevertheless. These Chaos-touched wretches were at one point, in one of the alternate realities, were serfs of Strike Force Four before succumbing to Chaos. In that reality, the Captain knew, their Malistrum either failed or abandoned them.
After what he had just experienced, it was even possible that the other Captain did this to his own crew deliberately.
Malistrum snarled, not unlike the mutants attacking him. His perfectly conditioned mind told him he had only five shells left in his pistol. He started to move towards the attackers.
‘Die,’ he hissed, and shot directly into the midsection of the leading mutant. The shell exploded, and swept two misshapen bodies off the bridge.
‘Die, all of you!’ he shouted and fired again. The mob howled in response and rushed forward, trampling the body he had just felled under his foot.
‘To the deepest hellpit of the Warp with all of you!’ Malistrum screamed now, and pumped all three remaining shells into them in quick succession. The explosions put a dent in the vanguard of the mob, giving him a moment of respite, only for him to register the new wave of attackers running through the bridge entry.
He threw the empty pistol at the head of the first mutant with an inarticulate yell, and grabbed his power sword. He ran into them headlong. The blade pulsed with great energy as it cut into the flesh of the attackers. Now the enemy was screaming too as the sword cut into and through them, spraying the bridge with blood and body parts.
For the first time of his life, Malistrum was fighting with fury. This was the end: no more hope, no more fighting chance, just the crazy butchery as he carved and chopped up the people he would have normally called his flock. His mental conditioning reacted to his rage, focused his energy even more, allowing him to make an even greater carnage of the mutant crewmen.
‘You took from me everything!’ He howled, perhaps to Besneherofax, perhaps to the uncaring Universe in general. ‘My crew! My ship! My honor!’
He was scything wildly with his sword, heedless of his own safety. Bodies pressed against him, clawing, flailing, fisting at him, trying to push him to the ground. They all had only a moment of chance to do him harm before perishing on his sword, but the press of the bodies did not cease. He was not present at Saint Menthas when the panicked crowd almost killed Brother Xhiao-Müller, but he was experiencing the same nonetheless, mere flesh slowly pushing back a superhuman clad in power armor.
‘I hate you!’ he shouted as he was knocked back a few inches. He bisected the entire front row with one swoop of his sword, only to be knocked back again as the new wave on bodies slammed into him. ‘I curse you!’ He shouldered into them, and tried to push them back, to no avail. The pressure on him was too great.
[End of the line.]
Besneherofax chuckled, a deep, stomack-scurning sound which drove Malistrum into an unimaginable frenzy. He screamed and slashed at the bodies who were now grabbing at his arm and foot, trying to topple him. He smashed the head of two of them with the hilt of his sword, then swept two more off the bridge with his left arm. The others jumped on his arm, and he fell on his knees.
He was no longer able to swipe with his sword. He head butted one more, and he tried to stand up. The bodies went around and over him. He howled and broke a neck, only to get two more mutants on top of him. Their combined weight finally toppled him on his back.
He cursed, blinked and came face to face with the one who finally toppled him. Distorted by mutation and hate, there was still no mistaking of the features of Mediator Dmitrija.
Malistrum screamed one last time and with his last strength, he stabbed the mutant into the mouth with his power sword. The face sizzled and melted as the energized blade cooked the flesh around it, and both of them made the same, painful and hate-filled scream, which the captain knew would be the last sound he would utter.
Then the blinding white flash came and threw him on his side.
He rolled at the edge of the bridge; only his conditioned reflexes saved him from falling over. The weight of the bodies disappeared, but he was shocked to a degree that even his Astarted body needed time to overcome it. His senses slowly came back to the familiar screaming of the mutants and a new whirring sound.
He sat up and looked. All around him, the bridge was covered with gore and blood, but there were no living enemies nearby. The attacking mob was still running towards him, only to be torn apart a mere few feet from him by long white energy beams. Wave after wave, they died, bisected and immolated by weapons fired from above the Captain’s head.
Malistrum looked up. His eyes opened wide.
A strange creature was hovering above him. It was unlike anything he had ever encountered: clearly mechanical in nature, yet resembling no servitor units employed by the Mechanicum. It reminded him of some sea monster with its eight tentacle-like appendages and a set of red eye-sensors arranged around the bulbous head-section. Even if its origin was unclear to the Captain, its intent was not: slowly and methodically, the machine was decimating the attacking Chaos-touched people rushing towards Malistrum with its potent energy weapons.
The incoming wave of monsters exerted itself and ran out of people. The machine cut down the remaining few stragglers, then hovered down over the bridge and used its tentacles to sweep off those bodies which were still twitching on the ground. Then, finally, it turned back to face the Fatemaker Captain.
Malistrum sighed heavily. He stood up and deactivated his power sword. His battle rage passed away and he felt surprisingly calm as he sheathed his weapon. It seemed that he had let out all the hate and anger he felt at the newest betrayal the Galaxy heaped upon him, and he only felt cold tiredness inside. A machine which looked like a giant metal octopus? Sure.
Come what may.
He faced the machine, and the two of them regarded each other for a second.
‘I am not here to harm you, Captain Malistrum,’ the machine finally said, with a slight metallic sound in its voice.
Malistrum considered this, and shrugged.
‘All right,’ he answered. What else could he have said?
‘You know my name,’ he mentioned conversationally.
‘Yes,’ the other said.
‘Let me guess,’ the Captain added. By the Throne, I am tired. ‘Are you from one of the alternate realities? Like Andorias?’
‘Negative,’ the answer came. ‘I am from your own reality.’
‘Oh?’ This actually surprised Malistrum. ‘I do not know of any construct like you. You do not seem to have organic components.’ He frowned. ‘Which makes you…’ He paused. ‘…an A.I.’
‘Artificial Intelligence, yes. Although your culture refers to my kind as Abominable Intelligence. I have no harmful intention towards you or your crew.’
There was a low, rumbling noise, and the ship shook. Malistrum knew what he was feeling. This was an impact hit on the ship’s hull, a piece of debris or some relatively small projectile. It served as a reminder that they were still at war.
‘I do not have time to explain my origin, Captain Malistrum,’ the machine hummed. ‘My kind exists, and we have been patrolling the Imperium since its foundation. My designation code is MUTO-35145, and I am the scout unit sent to observe the region of space which included the Borshak system.’
Malistrum’s eyes narrowed.
‘I detected the time-space anomaly caused by the time-travel of the future version of this vessel,’ the machine continued. ‘We are aware of the Deep Warp, and we know of the dangers it represents. I did not interfere with your plans as I had the potential to cause an incalculable paradox, but I attached myself to your vessel and started to observe your actions.’ The machine paused. ‘I was not expecting this outcome. If the entity Besneherofax enters into this reality, it will have the potential to destroy not only our reality, but also those it has managed to infect so far – at the current count, approximately seven thousand and five hundred of them, the ones which contain the Warp anomaly you call the Dark Torch. At this point, I decided that my intervention was necessary.’
Malistrum looked at the machine for a few second.
‘I have a lot more questions for you,’ he finally said. ‘A great deal more. However, I understand that we do not have time for that. I accept what you say on the grounds of how desperate the situation is. What are our options?’
‘At this point, we can do two things,’ MUTO-35145 said. ‘We can start the engines and fly into the Dark Torch. The resulting explosion would probably hurl this vessel through time approximately three years into the past and set off the series of events which you refer to as ‘the circle’. The Opportunity would be destroyed, your Librarian would survive, and the circle would start again.’
Malistrum cocked his head aside. ‘How is that good for us?’ he asked.
‘The time loop would close without further anomaly. The realities already affected would suffer, and the entity Besneherofax would probably be able to infect further realities as well.’
[What the little Machina probe says is true], Besneherofax’s voice cut in. [All realities which has this door open will perish because they have already perish and they are perishing now. You are doomed.]
Malistrum ignored the voice as best he could. ‘How many realities would be affected eventually?’
‘Incalculable.’
There was a nauseating, chuckling voice. Malistrum suddenly felt the urge to spit to clean the taste of bile from his mouth. He fought down the urge.
‘What is the other option?’
The machine hesitated for a second. ‘I was hoping…’
‘Hoping for what?’
‘I was hoping… that you would come up with something.’
‘Ah-ha.’ Malistrum sighed. ‘Well, it is worth a try, right?’ He turned away from the machine and activated his vox-unit.
‘Uskovich. Do you hear me?’
‘Captain?’ The relief was palpable in the Chaplain’s voice. ‘We heard gunfire, and… other battle noises. Can we come out now? Do you require assistance?’
‘Not yet,’ Malistrum answered. He went towards the door on the other side of the bridge, and the Machina probe followed him. ‘I am coming to the door. I also have… an ally with me.’
‘If he is not from our reality, tell him to be careful,’ Uskovich said. ‘The runes Akichi made to enhance his abilities also seem to interfere with anything not part of this universe.’
‘Hmm.’ Malistrum slowed down. ‘It claims to be from…’ He stopped. ‘Uskovich. Are you saying the psycurium runes provide protection around the chamber?’
‘It seems to, my lord. Another version of Akichi tried to come in… the point is that the room is protected. Come inside and join us quickly, and…’
‘No.’ Malistrum stepped away from the door. ‘Uskovich, Akichi, do not open the door. No matter what happens, under no circumstances should you open the door. That chamber may be the last untouched space on this ship.’
He took a deep breath. ‘We need a plan to fix this,’ he stated. ‘I am not sure what to do. The demon seems to be able to read our minds, but perhaps if you think of something in that shielded room…’
‘As a matter of fact, we do have a plan,’ the Chaplain’s voice came through the vox. ‘It is not a great plan, but right now…’
‘Right now I will take any plan over no plan at all,’ Malistru stated. ‘Don’t tell me what you are planning. You cannot trust me with it. Can you just instruct me through the vox?’
There was a moment of silence. ‘I can, my lord. Mind you, this is not an ideal plan, and the chances of success…’
[…are none. Whatever your plans, little Chaplain, it is in vain. I will win because I have already won.]
Besneherofax’s voice boomed through the bridge and the chasm. Malisturm and the Machina probe both looked up.
‘I heard that,’ Uskovich said. ‘Captain, this may not work. If the demon knows our plan...’
‘But he doesn’t.’ Malistrum slowly turned around. ‘’Whatever your plans?’ You have no idea what my Chaplain is talking about, do you? You cannot read him through the runes, correct?’
There was no answer to that, and Malistrum made a wide, predatory smile, not unlike the one he made when confronting Narmantu.
‘It seems you will be able to give us one last fighting chance, my friends. What do you need?’
‘We need to enter the dark Torch.’
‘That would only close the time-loop and start the circle again,’ MUTO-35145 intervened.
‘I heard that one too,’ Uskovich said. ‘Who is with you?’
Malistrum looked at the probe.
‘It is… complicated. Never mind that. Do you only need to launch the engines?’
‘As originally planned, yes. And we will also need some preparation time.’
Malistrum suddenly froze. The engines could be started, but there was a need for a small degree of manoeuvring, and that had to be done from the control room. The only person currently in the control room was…
Malistrum quickly switched frequency. ‘Brother Loriant, are you there?’ he asked. Let him be there, let him be there. The smallest of all hopes, and if he was killed…
The vox buzzed.
‘I am here and receiving, my lord.’
Malistrum sighed in relief. ‘Loriant, are you still in the backup control room? Is it still secure?’
‘Yes, my lord. We are guarding the entry point, and at the moment, we are safe.’
Malistrum frowned. ‘We?’ he asked. Who is with you?
It took a few seconds for Loriant to answer. ‘I am… with me.’
‘What?’ The Captain shook his head. ‘Do you mean that you have a Loriant from another reality with you?’
‘No. I have myself with me… from our own reality. Captain, this is a little…’
‘Complicated?’ Malistrum cast a quick look at the Machina probe hovering next to him. ‘I can understand the feeling,’ he said. ‘All right. Chaplain Uskovich has a plan. When he gives the word, we will start the engines, and you will have to maneuver it into the anomaly. Can you do that?’
‘Yes, my lord.’
‘Good.’ Malistrum rubbed his forehead. ‘Uskovich, how much time you need?’
‘At least five minutes, my lord.’ Akichi’s came distant and weak. ‘Perhaps as much as ten.’
‘We may not have that much time,’ the probe said. ‘My sensors are picking up warp anomalies at multiple points around the ship. I am expecting further attacks within a minute.’
Malistrum felt it too. There was something in the air, almost vibrating in his bones. Besneherofax may not be able to read the Chaplain inside the room, but it was determined to stop him at any rate. He also heard a distant noise, resembling an elongated scream closing in. What kind of horrors would the demon unleash on them?
The kind that would kill them, he realized. Whatever comes, it will destroy them. The question is whether they could win enough time for the Librarian and the Chaplain to finish their plan.
‘Do what you must, all of you,’ he said. ‘We will hold… them… back for as long as we can. Uskovich, when you are ready, give the word to Loriant, and you, Loriant, guide the ship in.’
He hesitated for a moment. He should close with something uplifting, or even with a farewell. This would be the last time to speak with them in this life. Perhaps this will be the end for all of them. What can a man tell his friends, his last remaining brothers at the end of his life? After all the fighting, all the betrayal, all the failures?
‘Forgive me for all the wrong I have caused,’ he said softly. ‘And thank you for staying with me until the very end.’
‘Malistrum out.’
He broke vox contact, and drew his power sword. The screaming came closer, almost reaching the entry point to the bridge.
The Captain looked at the Machina probe and sighed.
‘One last fight for us, then. Let’s do this.’





The battle in space showed no sign of slowing down; those vessels which were destroyed were replaced with newly materialized versions. More Chaos vessels were arriving, as if Besneherofax’s grip on multiple realities were tightening somehow. The dwindling number of Imperial ships were now fighting desperately.
Desperation did not weaken Space Marines. As space was getting choked with debris, and targeting with ordinary weapons was becoming difficult, the two sides turned to more traditional warfare. Soon dozens of ships were boarded by various parties, sometimes by multiple parties, some of whom even started to fight against one another when they met. A fearful number of Astartes died, not unlike in the ancient wars of the Horus Heresy. Every single heartbeat of time killed enough Marines to cripple a traditional Chapter; it was Borshak again, magnified a hundredfold.
It did not matter. Both sides, Chaos or Imperial, knew that this battle would decide the future of countless realities. They were truly making fate this day.
A terrifying machine noise cut through space itself. The space hulk Opportunity which led the first wave of attack against the original Strike Force Four broke through the blockade. Most of her decks were aflame, and boarded by three fanatical strike forces led by the Narmantus of their reality, the ship could nonetheless fight herself in a position to aim her remaining weapons on the original strike cruiser.
Dozens of vessels witnessed it and howled on both sides. Time itself seemed to freeze for a second.
Then a lonely strike cruiser, with no living Fatemaker aboard and manned by the surviving mortal crew made the ultimate sacrifice and rammed into the space hulk. The vessel screamed as if she was alive – which she was, in a sense – and her slowly immolating frame started to sink under the main plane of fighting, like a mortally wounded whale disappearing in the depth of the ocean.
But not before firing some of her cannons. Two magma warheads penetrated the side of the Opportunity, and with no shield or protective plating, they ravaged the vessel. The Opportunity shook violently, although, as she was a wreck already, it did not seem to make much of a difference.
The battle went on, and nobody paid more attention to the damage on the original Opportunity. If they had, if they had been from realities similar to the original one, they would have realized what they were seeing. That incomplete salvo wrecked and ruined the so far undamaged side of the vessel, which was now looking exactly like what Malistrum and his crew had seen the day they had encountered their future version in the Borshak system. Malistrum’s plan to change the future and save the ship from destruction ultimately failed.
The circle began to close.





Malistrum felt the shockwave that hit his ship, but he could not slow down to ponder over it. He was fighting for his life.
It was the most terrible fight he had ever fought, and that included the battles his Chapter waged against the Neo-Devourer fleets. He was standing in the middle of the bridge leading to the engine room, working together with MUTO-35145 to keep the incoming horde of enemies away from the entrance.
Besneherofax seemed to have thrown everything at them Waves after waves of different enemies ran at them: mutated Chapter serfs, alternate versions of themselves, demons in all terrible shapes. They killed them all. The Machina probe tirelessly cut the large groups apart with its powerful beam weapons, while Malistrum finished off the few survivors and pushed them off into the chasm under them.
Was it worth it?
The strain was enormous. The Captain’s mind was numb from all the people, all the different yet familiar faces that came at him. People he knew were his friends were clawing at him with hate in their eyes. Miklas, Dmitrija and other human serfs tried to grab him and hurl the two of them off the bridge. Thokk and other Ogryns tried to slam into him and push him to the ground. Battle-brothers with Fatemaker colours were shooting at him, chanting the name of the terrible entities residing in the Warp.
The two of the killed them all as they came. Both of them knew what was at stake. They had to win time – any time for the Chaplain and the Librarian to finish whatever ritual they were planning.
Was it worth it?
I don’t know.

It would not take long now. The enemy was already pushing the two of the back towards the engine room. The Machina probe cannot kill them all, and even it was straining to avoid the incoming fire some of Besneherofax’s minions were capable of directing towards it. They would eventually push Malistrum against the door and leave no room for him to swing his sword. Some of the monsters were strong enough to tear him apart even in his power armour, and the Fatemakers had learnt at Saint Menthas that even a throng of ordinary people can pull an Astartes down and drown in flesh.
Was it worth it?
I don’t know.

Malistrum heard the demon’s chuckle. It was amused by his effort. It did not know what Uskovich and Akichi were planning inside, but it did not seem too worried. Why would it? As a being that can travel through time and realities, it would surely have the means to prevent the Fatemakers’ plan – even before they would start fulfilling it.
Was it worth it?
I don’t know.

Malistrum saw the breaking point. A tight knot of enemies running through the cover fire of MUTO-35145, led by a large Astartes-looking warrior. He was adorned by Chaos-infested Fatemakers insignia, but he did not seem familiar to Malistrum. It could be anyone. Even himself.
If they reach him, they will push him off the bridge.
He leaped forward, a last futile gesture. His power sword went through the faceplate of the other Astartes, leaving him vulnerable to the others. They swarmed over him, and the Captain stumbled.
Was it worth it?
I don’t know.

He still had time to reach down and break the neck of one more. Perhaps it was another Miklas. He had already killed three of them in the attack. Then he was pushed off his feet and felt a familiar feeling in his stomach as he went over the bridge in freefall.
[Was it worth it?]
It was the voice of Besneherofax this time: cold, cruel and victorious. Malistrum sighed as he was falling towards the bottom of the chasm, ignoring the scream of the other Chaos-spawn falling with him, not even hearing the mechanical shout of the Machina probe.
I don’t know, he answered, mostly to himself.
I will never know. But I would do it again.
I would still do it again.
I would d





[Was it worth it?]
Uskovich heard the voice. Somehow, he felt this was not a question for him – but he had an answer for it nevertheless.
‘It is time to go and see,’ he murmured. His mind, his soul was empty. He had nothing left in this world, but this one last act. He activated the vox.
‘We are opening the Dark Torch,’ he said. ‘Loriant, if you are still there, fly us through.’





Loriant was alone. The others left some time ago to be able to escape the ship.
His mind was still reeling of what he had learnt, but he had no more time to ponder over it.
He activated the engines.





The surface of the Dark Torch shizzled again. The Demon Besneherofax roared in triumph as the anomaly ripped open and formed a vortex, not unlike the whirlpools forming on the surface of an ocean.
The Opportunity moved forward. Limping and spilling wreckage on both sides, the vessel went past the warring ships and headed for the entry point. Besneherofax was now screaming, its form hovering over the portal, solidifying with every passing second. For a few moments, everything went quiet as fate was about to seal itself and doom everything into oblivion.
Then the Opportunity disappeared in the portal, and the circle closed.





The advisor leaned forward. This was a crucial point in his plans. If he wanted to lure the governor over to the side of the Council of the Righteous and win Belandon for Chaos, he needs to be at his most convincing.
‘I know this is frustrating,’ he said. ‘It seems the imperium does not understand the problems of this world. There are, however… other means. There are… other allies.’





The servant was nervous.
Not a lot of agents of Chaos could be inserted into the Imperial Palace on Terra. His family had been working for four generations just to get him into position. He knew what he had to do – he just didn’t know why.
It did not matter. The will of Besneherofax must be done.
He short-circuited the small light on the corridor, and went on his work again. The lamp started to flicker behind him. He had no idea, but the flicker would attract a Custodes warrior two hours later, and the Custodes would spend eighteen seconds to examine the lamp. This, and certain other small delays would eventually slow him down enough to interfere with his patrol routine, and force another intruder in the Palace to improvise.
This would cause things the intruder could not possible decipher.





The psyker wiped her forehead.
The strain on her was great, but this work had to be done. Her master was quite straightforward in this regard. She and her cult was to carve the great, continent-spanning rune onto the mantle of the planet with great care, ensuring that it would be visible from orbit.
The Ongoliant Triangle would become a beacon – even though she had no idea for what purpose.





The muster point was empty. The reserve fleet of the Fatemakers had left about an hour earlier, heading towards Vault Double-Oh-Three, then, possibly, towards Terra itself. The beacon they had left to inform the other vessels – should they ever arrive – was floating in space, waiting for a Fatemaker signal to activate it and play out the recording messages.
A vessel entered into the system. It was dark and small, more like a scout-vessel than a proper warship. It had special engines, barely flaring when it exited the Warp. It signatures would not be identifiable within a day.
It went straight for the beacon. It did not try to harm it in any way; instead, it pulled it aboard, then deactivated its engines. The small crew would have a few days of inconvenience until the other arrive and then leave, but they could not risk another Warp-jump right away. That could be detected, and it was essential that their presence were not detecte by the incoming Opportunity. Malistrum had to make his next decision blind.
The Fatemakers had to start walking the circle.





The cultist looked down at the wounded Twilight Monk scout at his feet. He did not know why this one needed to be imprinted, but the will of Besneherofax needed to be done.
‘Glory to his name,’ he whispered.
He turned and waved his men forward. From the corner of his eyes, he suddenly saw movement. He span, just in time to get the blastwave full in his face.
Dimly, he thought to himself, as he was hurled back against the pillar which would break his neck, that this was almost certainly not the will of Besneherofax.





‘What was it like to meet them?’ Loriant asked.
Uskovich removed his helmet, and shook his head.
‘It was arguably the strangest moment in my life,’ he answered.





Two of the Chaos-vessels exploded. The great, now completely solid form of Besneherofax turned around.
[What is this?] it demanded.
A small but compact fleet was approaching. They swept through the other combatants, bypassing those who did not act hostile and wrecking the others with their cannons. Their colours were familiar, but unseen in the conflict. None of the other ships shared allegiance with them.
[This cannot be,] the demon whispered.
The flagship opened vox channels. She completely ignored the demons, and addressed the other vessels around her.
‘Kappa-Delta-Twenty-Four. You all know who we are. Some of you even know this code. We are going to close the portal in two minutes. If you are against that demon, do not interfere.’
Every single vessel fired their torpedoes at the same time. They did not aim at the portal. They went straight for the demon.
Every torpedo was loaded with psycurium and was covered with glowing runes. The one who taught them how to carve them knew everything there was to know about this demonic entity – after all, he had seen its manifestation almost half a dozen times at this point and had centuries of experience to perfect them.
The torpedoes hit home.
The panicked scream of Besneherofax could be heard in sixteen neighboring systems.






As I said, none more update is still left - after all, it needs to be explained just how exactly the Fatemakers won :)

However, I tried to leave a few hints in the above exarpts. I am not sure if it is possible to find out what and how happaned, but everything will be explained in the final chapter - whenever that comes.
Meaneye
 
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