Big Game V – Chapter Seventy: A Son’s Duty

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Captain Antonius of the 4th Company of the Azure Flames.

It still didn’t sound right in Antonius’ head.  A month ago, he had been an ordinary battle brother, and only a scant few years before that, in scout armour.  He had never heard of one man progressing through ANY Space Marine chapter so quickly.

Captain of the Strike Cruiser Honor.

Antonius had served aboard the Duty and had even held command of it briefly, but now he had his own ship, and a hundred Space Marines with all the equipment befitting a main battle company.

Master of the Marches.

Ceremonies.  Drills.  Those were his purviews now.  He had much to learn.

I had better start now, he thought as he paced down the halls of the Honor.  He made his way to the Armory.  Passing sickbay, brother Luiz reached out and stopped him.

“Yes, Apothecary?”

“Captain, there is something I have been meaning to give you.  Lord Atrus ordered me to give it to you after the battle of Iperin, but with the cleanup of the planets of the Chasma Spica, there was not time until now.  Here.”  Luiz handed Antonius a small glass canister.  It was old, and had residues of liquids long dried inside.

“What is this?” Antonius asked.

“Come in, sit down, and see for yourself.”  Luiz motioned him to a reference terminal.  “Your clearance now allows you to peruse medical files, search for any that involve that serial number.”  Antonius glanced at it, it read: AF 001598-B.  Antonius looked to Luiz, but Luiz motioned to the terminal again.  Puzzled, Antonius sat.  He brought up the search program, and typed in the serial number.  Luiz left Antonius alone in the room.  One file matched the serial number in question, a video of a medical log more than a hundred years old.  Antonius opened the file.  An Apothecary, covered in gore, sat stone faced in what appeared to be a Dreadnought bay.

“Medical log, Chief Apothecary Talman of the Azure Flames, commenting on Tyranid encounter, c781m41.  We have been dealt a great blow this day.  Though the Tyranid menace was pushed back, we have suffered thirty percent losses, including Chapter Master Atrus.  Against my better judgement, I have interred his body in a Dreadnought Sarcophagus, despite the risks of doing so.  Atrus has successfully integrated with the machine parts of the sarcophagus, though his psychic abilities have been reduced, as expected.  I don’t know how our chapter will get by without his constant leadership.  Sadly, due to heavy damage, the primary Gene-seed had to be eliminated.  The secondary Gene-seed is intact, however, and has been extracted.  However, due to Atrus’ prominent place in our chapter’s ideology, it would be unlikely that it will be used.”

The log ended.  Antonius looked up information regarding his own medical history.  There were several text files concerning battle injuries, which he skimmed quickly.  He found the data on the Gene-seed used to make him a Space Marine.  He overrode the security clearance, and held the canister up to the screen.

AF 001598-B.  A perfect match.

The canister clattered loudly as Antonius dropped it.  Antonius sat, quietly, for several hours, mourning Atrus, his Gene-father, and contemplating his destiny.

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