I was rummaging through an old hard drive and found a character background that i had written for an old Dark Heresy (40k RPG) game that Russia had run. Thought i'd share it.
As the wail of the last few emergency klaxons began to fade the ancient colossal machines around the manufactorum began to sputter slowly to life. It seemed as if the great fabricators had sensed the danger had passed. Due to protocol dictated during an extreme emergency, the mass production facility of Solstice Theta-5 had closed up tighter than a class 7 conduit cap around an IC thamantine wire. The Great ancient blast doors of the factory permanently caked with grease and soot had not been closed since 154 M.41 and they protested loudly as they yawned open slowly waking from their sleep with the groans and creaking of old war veterans. The cool night breeze began to waft down from the upper levels of the factory as ventilation shafts began to reopen like the valves of a great beating heart.
The sickly green luminescence of the security data scanner blipped a solitary marker on itâ€™s display breaking the awkward silence that now engulfed the world of Adeptus Mechanicus Linetech #358481 Epscillis Tantalon. The bold pulsing circuitry of his electoos flashed a panicked emerald at the sound. Clammy hands fumbled with the device scanning frantically for data while he cross-checked the parameters, calculated the variables and concluded the coordinates of the intruder before realizing it was his own biometric signature displayed in the data column. With a cautious relieved exhaling of breath Tantalon peered around the las scorched side of his work station to get a better evaluation of the factory floor.
It seemed a nightmare. Crimson streaks of blood and gore were splashed fresh across the usually dull gunmetal of the assembly Line. Tantalon screwed up his nose at the smell of gore and gunpowder. Bodies lay littered around the work stations. Servitors, factory security, scum and mutant hab workers, diagnostic drones and even the few other district Mechanicus Linetechs were sprawled across the checkerplate floor the blood seeping from their bodies matching the colour of their robes. 722 working personnel all dead, though which bodies were from his own district and which were from the floors below was another matter. Tantalon spotted the limp form of his superior in the sea of bodies. Alpha level Linetech #248933 Xerxis Crux lay in two halves split down the middle by some sort of laser cutting tool. Probably a MK 6 yraid pattern torch. Tantalon frowned thinking of the valuable knowledge lost within Cruxâ€™s memory coils. Exactly 42.33 minutes ago everything was satisfactory in this district.
42.33 minutes ago Tantalonâ€™s scheduled maintenance of his assembly lineâ€™s servitors was proceeding as expected, albeit a few seconds ahead of schedule. The power trigger mechanism assembly servitor a model branded â€œJonusâ€ was working much more productively after itâ€™s maintenance 3 hours beforehand. The modifications Tantalon had made to itâ€™s armature had been well worth the scolding he had received from Crux. Though he supposed that wasnâ€™t so much an issue anymore. Tantalon had rubbed his neck and cursed his weak flesh after craning his head up to peer at the levels above him. For kilometres in every direction the factory sprawled away like a maze of metal and little else. Tantalon wished he had linetech #468055 Copsa Garixâ€™s eyes. Tantalon sighed. He had heard that there was unrest in some of the lower districts and gazing up through the sprawl of tech Tantalon was glad he was at least not on the bottom of the proverbial ladder. Some weeks before City Arbites had visited the lower Deck District #T48 investigating a rumour of warp infected twists infiltrating the smelting habs. Tantalonâ€™s choler rose just thinking about scum of the great enemy tampering with the Mechanicusâ€™ sacred machines. The search had turned up nothing, though rumours held that several lesser linetechs had since disappeared. This had caused stirrings in the lower levels that had troubled several of the senior magos. They had dispatched binary coded briefings detailing the incident through the noosphere network. Though they were a time wasting effort neither confirming or denying the rumours.
Epscillis Tantalon had been working as a Linetech for the past 43 years and though only 78 standard years of age he had a wealth of experience in the rigours of factory life and manufacture. Manufactorum Solstice Theta-5 was an imperial manufactorum that eclipsed All others on the planet. The size of several city blocks Theta-5 was the cornerstone of the planets booming economy. It produced everything from the ceremite hab structures placed in new settlements to standard calcite paste tube caps. There was nothing that could not be conceived or constructed here Tantalon thought quietly to himself. He had secured a position at Theta-5 during his youth and was only just starting to make his way up through the bureaucratic inner workings of the Tech staff. Run entirely by the Disciples of the Adeptus Mechanicus Theta 5 was one of the most secure locations on the planet- On the upper levels at least. A virtual think tank of the Mechanicus best and brightest, The High offices of theta-5 were a training ground for the most promising of Magos.
That dream was surely shattered now. With all the staff on this level dead Tantalon was sure it was only a matter of time before the senior adepts became suspicious of itâ€™s only survivor. The Adeptus were nothing if not a superstitious and condemning lot. Tantalon made to disconnect his scanner from his work station podium console. With trembling hands he carefully removed the prime modification plugs he had interfaced with the face plate before disconnecting his electoo link. His own access into the system network of this level- #T884 had once been limited . Only Crux had higher clearance. One of the few advantages afforded to him for long term service. Tantalon gazed down the production line. The metal chassis of the jyro engines lying on the conveyors or suspended in integrity fields around the conveyors lay eerily still. Praise be to the Omnissiah they were safe. The damnable heretics had come for them.
Tantalon was well aware of the capabilities of the jyro engines and their potential for destruction. In recent years Jyros had been used in terrorist raids throughout the city. Any idiot with a functioning brain knew it was infinitely easy to Re-route the primary vector strains in the cortex of the engine. Just changing the ignition sequence of the chrono-matrix from 0.2 to .05 breems morphed the device from an engine into a devastating explosive. Level #T884 thus had a higher security spread than most floors. If the engines were to fall into hands other than those of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the consequences could be dire.
The chaos had begun with barely a warning. A vague purring of noise barely heard above the roar of the machines. The mass groups of mixed and furious factory personnel had swarmed from the transport pods or up through hatches and hallways screaming and baying for blood. Tantalon had been exactly 133.4 seconds through the binary litany of purification when the first of the frenzied mob attacked. At first there was mass confusion. Dressed in the same Red and brown uniforms of all Theta-5â€™s employees the mob was barely distinguishable form the rest of the staff on floor #T884 only their faces set them apart. Carved into every face was line upon line of tight bloody binary. Disgusting scrapcode , a chaos infected machine language Pulsing with the unholy energy of the warp. Tantalonâ€™s senses were assaulted by the writhing offensive data. It was in the air too undoubtedly transmitted by some horrible source. The mob began to fall upon the workers of floor #T884 in a tide of bionic fury.
Factory security retaliated and were met by twisted scrapcode versions of themselves sporting strange altered weaponry. Tantalon flinched as a ball of pink incandescent energy engulfed one security soldier flaying the flesh from his frame and melting his augmetics to slag. Groups of mutants swarmed the maintenance crews eager to punish them for years below deck working thankless tasks. Most terrifying of all was the knowledge itself that the rumours were true. Chaos had indeed altered the minds of those in the lower levels, infecting Theta-5 and itâ€™s workers. Now they had come to steal what was property of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Not without a fight Tantalon thought to himself.
Floor #T884 would not to go quietly. A mass conflict ensured with enormous labour servitors serving as makeshift combatants. The great forks of their lifters or the clamps of their bionic claws crushing and impaling the traitors at the direction of their Adeptus masters. Even the linetechs were resisting with the fury of the Machine-god. Linetechs #468055 and #236658 Copsa Garix and Lyko Veare were carving into the mob with vibrating electro glaives taken from the fallen bodies of security guards. Though clearly not great warriors by any stretch of the imagination they fought valiantly. A massive mutant with a chip and a foot on his shoulder turned his attention across the floor to Tantalon and his cache of Jyro engines. In massive leaping bounds it was thundering towards him screaming obscenities. Tantalon barely had time to lunged to his station and pull his auto pistol from itâ€™s dust filled alcove before turning and being slammed to the floor by the mutant leaping over the conveyor.
His pistol spun away out of reach across the floor and Tantalon cursed. The mutantâ€™s massive 3 fingered fists reached down to take his eyes. His electoos pulsed and flickered in fear. With a desperate effort Tantalon altered his Vocal Vox unit that had replaced his mouth and larynx years before, and let forth a screaming blast of pure audio binary. The mutant reeled back clutching itâ€™s ears before itâ€™s head exploded in a shower of bone fragments and gibbets. Linetech #248933 Xerxis Crux stood 12.2 meters away holding aloft a bolt pistol with a smoking chamber aimed at the now cranially impaired twist. â€œTantalon! The Auto defences! Get them operational now!â€ Crux bellowed while transmitting the security codes directly to Tantalon. Crux turned back to the melee firing his pistol with pin-point accuracy.
Tantalon scurried to his station and jacked himself into the security network using his electoos. He smiled as he felt his mind blend with that of the Maufactorumâ€™s systems. Immediately Tantalonâ€™s coils were blasted by the lurking scrapcode. No wonder the Auto Defences hadnâ€™t activated, the security network was riddled with corrupted data. Tantalon tried to disconnect his link but the code had trapped him. Forced to face the monstrous program Tantalon focused his mind and began tranmitting the 88th hymn of the machine god directly through his electoo link. The scrapcode faltered at first but then reinforced itself lashing out at Tantalonâ€™s mind. Crouching low behind his work station Tantalon altered his prayer layering the code ten fold and looping it stronger than before. The Scrapcode fought back as Tantalon and the corrupted program locked themselves In a virtual duel. He could feel the foulness of it clawing at his mind. The probing tendrils of corruption trying to force their way into his modified brain. With the utter conviction of the most beneficent Omnissiah Tantalon pushed himself to his limits. With the single minded purpose of his cause and the prayer of the machine god in his heart Tantalon smashed his way past the codeâ€™s defences and expunged it from the security system with a physical and mental scream of victory.
With the Auto defence system now operational Tantalon restored itâ€™s primary protocols. He activated the firing sequence but the turrets did not respond hanging slack from the ceiling. The Scrapcode had damaged the automatic targeting array. If they were to be any help Tantalon would have to fire the cannons manually. Using his force of will and innate Mechanicus training the turrets began opening fire spraying the room with las blasts. It took a moment to gain proper control of the Multi lasers and the guns resisted for a few moments before submitting to his control. Aiming through the targeting lenses filled Tantalon with a roaring sense of power he had rarely experienced. He relished bringing burning destruction to the enemies of the Omnissiah. It was as if the Multi lasers were an extension of his own body. Fetching his personal data scanner from his waist Tantalon jacked it into his console and began eradicating those with a floor I.D clearance lower than his own. It took exactly 1.663 minutes for Tantalon to find who he was looking for. A mutant carrying a bloated bulging Vox transmitter array across itâ€™s shoulders. Tantalon had found the source of the Scrapcode transmission.
Mustering as many of the turrets he could control at once Tantalon opened fire blasting the mutant and the array he carried into scorched fiery chunks and detonating the device spectacularly. The resulting infection caused by the scrapcode fueled explosion could be felt through every level in Manufactorum Theta-5 for days and it took many weeks before the Manufactorumâ€™s systems were fully cleansed of the rogue code. The proximity of the blast meant that all personnel on floor #T884 were killed instantly. If not by the initial explosion then by the massive outburst of scrambled scrapcode and corrupted data. Tantalon only survived due to his link with the security system and the cover afforded to him by his work station.
As Tantalon recounted and logged the last 42.33 minutes of recent events to his memory coils he wandered down the line of jyro engines lightly caressing their beautiful frames. Everyone was dead, but at least the jyro engines were safe. Thatâ€™s what was important. Tantalon looked around at the massacre. He frowned. He may as well have been killed long with everyone else. It was protocol to cleanse a floor of all personnel in the event of taint. It was only a mater of time until some senior Magos; Probably Alpha Delegate #000098 Tritae Citor came down personally to oversee his termination.
Tantalon sat and waited patiently for his end on the side of the engine conveyor. He smiled and gazed at the engines fondly. It wouldnâ€™t be long now. Perhaps he was never meant to amount to great things? Maybe this was it? As he reflected on his life Tantalon found himself falling into a rare deep emotional state and it was the slow hiss of a pressure hatch nearby that broke his reverie and sent his electoos into nervous strobing. The figure emerged slowly from the hatchway and stood before Tantalon visually evaluating him. Tantalon had expected a Magos. Or at least a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Stranger greeted him amiably before showing Tantalon a small icon on the end of an elegant chain.
An Inquisitorial Rosette.