Big Game V – Chapter One: Signs and Portents

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Sangamon caressed the giant crystal of Atrus’ psychic amplifier. Atrus, mighty as he was, could barely be detectable as a psyker without this device. What, he wondered, would it be like if I used it? The flash of Brother Jundai’s face, twisted in agony, erased such thoughts from his head. Jundai was the head of the Librarium at the time Atrus’ Psychic Amplifier was created, and died testing it. Amplifying a normal psyker was asking to be ravaged by the perils of the warp. Sangamon reached out with his mind and checked the resonance of the crystal. His mind was filled with the golden glow of the Astronomicon. Tech Servitors clanked around him, performing routine maintenance to the rest of Atrus’ imposing Dreadnought body. Sangamon turned to Brother Jelnac, who was replacing a damaged armour panel on Atrus’ left leg.

“Brother Jelnac, how go the repairs?”

“Routine maintenance complete, Brother Sangamon. Is the Amplifier tuned properly?”

“It is. I see no further need to keep him in stasis. His standing orders were to keep his downtimes to a minimum. If he suffers discomfort during the fine tuning, well, it’s his own fault.”

“I agree.” Jelnac said, turning to his cadre of servitors. “Bring forth the Sarcophagus!”

Chains clattered as winches pulled a huge metal slab from the stasis units on the wall. A Book with a brilliant blue flame was emblazoned on the front. As the slab neared the still form of Atrus’ body, it slowed. Jelnac reached up with both of his servo arms and gently grasped the sides of the sarcophagus. He eased it into the shell, and then began detaching cables and re-attaching them to the Dreadnought’s power supply. A roar filled the workshop as the mighty Dreadnought-Librarian’s form came to life.

“Sangamon, I left specific orders to be kept down no more than a day.” Atrus boomed, his amplified voice echoing around the workshop.

“Jelnac!” Sangamon shouted. As if on cue Jelnac snatched an autoscroll from one of the tech servitors.

“Sir…” he began “you have been unconscious for only nineteen hours. You should not have even been aware of the time discrepancy.”

Atrus was silent for several seconds.

“Had I bothered to check my internal chronometer, I would have seen that.” Atrus intoned solemnly. “My apologies, Jelnac, you and Sangamon have served well. What is our current heading and destination?”

“The same as before the maintenance, we were to rendezvous with Fleet Episcopus to assist in their planetary assault of Tigrawn.” Jelnac replied.

“Patch me in to the Bridge. Now.”

Jelnac extracted a slim wire from the wall and fed it into Atrus’ sarcophagus.

“Atrus to Bridge. Signal the fleet: All Stop, take us into realspace as soon as it is safe. Emergency meeting of the senior command structure in His Hammer II’s Dreadnought Maintenance Workshop in one hour, priority one. Repeat message twice and ensure confirmation. That is all.”

“What is going on?” Sangamon asked, trepidatious of whatever could have upset Atrus so quickly.

“Perhaps nothing. Perhaps everything. Pray it is the former.” Atrus replied.

Sangamon prayed.

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