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Uplink Four: Meeting

Sugar Dancer sat hunched in the corner of his cell mumbling to himself. He had been alone for a long time, he didn’t know how long exactly. The orb above him never went out, always buzzing in his ears, buzzing in his head, buzzing when he slept, buzzing when he was awake. The metal snakes in his head and skin. A constant pain that brought him back to reality. He tried counting the seconds but always lost track eventually. Too many numbers. His mouth tasted like bits, his mane was shaved, and several plugs lined his spine. He was glad their wasn’t a mirror in his cell, he was terrified of what he would find in it. Every once in a while the slit at the bottom would open and a single apple would be slid inside. He always ate it in a hurry, then regretted not rationing it since the next one would show up for longer than it took him to get hungry again.

Seemingly at random the tall narrow door would slide open and one of the shiny red wraiths would enter. Sometimes they just stood there. Watching him with there gem eyes before leaving for unknown reasons. Other times they would get close to him.

He no longer resisted them. He was weaker now and he always lost. They would take him and then inject him with something before he woke up again in his cell with a new scar or bit of metal sewn into him.

He couldn’t even tell if it was the same cell. The dark metal was too hard for his hooves to scratch so he couldn’t even mark the passage of time. All he could do was sit and wait until either food arrived or the door opened again.

Then as if summoned by his thoughts without warning he heard the hiss of the door opening.

Turning from his sobs he saw it was another of the red wraiths like always. But this one was different.

They all looked the same in some way, some may have even been the same, since his imprisonments he only saw them one or two at a time. But this one was definitely a new one.

It’s body was wider and squat the head came to a cone shape. Instead of the tubes and wires below the eyes, this one had what could best be described as a speaker. It’s shoulders had metal plates on them, not unusual for the odd beings but these were of a different style to the others, they were more rounded for one. It still wore the robes but beneath he could make out thicker armor. The creature entered on tracks instead of legs and at first Sugar feared he would be taken yet again backing against the wall. But instead it stopped and tilted its head at him. It didn’t even bother closing the door.

Then it made a low humming noise in its speaker before saying something that would finally break Sugar Dancers fragile sanity.

“Hello.”

+++


Connection reestablished

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Auto shunt found
Designation: Settra
Rank: Magos
Location: Byzantium Meeting Center 00987 “The Round Table”

Uplink successful

+Circuit Preserve Us+

The room was heavy with the smell of incense and smog from the activation ritual. Around a hemispherical metal table 6 feet in diameter, four tech priests sat or stood around the circumstance opposite at least one. Cog wise around their was: Magus Biologus Shearia, Dominus Primus Catherine, Magus of Astrogation Settra, and of course Arch Magus Captain Cassius.

All four tech priest were hard plugged into the table by primary data spikes at the base of their spines. The Round Table was a piece of archeo tech dating back to the mechanicums earliest known records, it aloud non verbal communication within its confines free of any eves dropping thanks to the outer shell nullifying any communication. The Round Table would later delete their meeting so it was only stored in the tech priests presents own engrams. Though it cost them their perception of the outside world while in use. That is why they had guards outside, and a single door to the chamber that could only be opened from the inside. They were alone in this room, aside from the company of one another, the artifacts machine spirit, and the Omnissiah of course. With the ritual completed and pleasantries out of the way, they began their meeting in earnest inside the black table.

King: Status update, Shearia.
Bishop: We have made considerable progress in deciphering the equinus language my lord. Thanks to all the wonderful specimens provided by Dominus Catherine. We should have a full verbal translation in 5 rotations local time.

Outside the table Catherine nodded, despite the fact no one could see her do this.

King: Progress is always desirable... in moderation of course. Any way to decipher the meaning of the glyphs on their hips?
Bishop: None yet. However I can confirm they are not branded on.
King: Clarify.
Bishop: From the test I have conducted the brands are... how to say?... a part of them.
Bishop: They can’t be removed or altered by any means available to us, aside from extraction of the flesh around it. We have also encountered no duplicates of the marks. Once more they hold a certain... influence over the owner, but do not total control.
King: Elaborate.
Bishop: During testing, when presented with various objects. 8.666666667/10 times they will gravitate towards the object similar to the one branded on them.
Knight: What about specimens with more... abstract branding?

Catherine asked. She was curious as to the meaning of the cloud and prismatic lightning bolt she had encountered days ago.

Bishop: Those are... difficult.

She admitted.

Bishop: The meaning of the abstract brands seam to be related to... mental characteristics. Such as bravery, or duty to a cause, if I am interpreting the abstract meaning correctly. They exhibit more mental activity in those portions of the brain when displaying characteristics of their traits. Though deciphering their actual meaning is particularly challenging. They may relate to local phrases.


King:Any other reports?
Bishop: The equine specimen brought in by Dominus Catherine displays features... unique to the species. Aside from the obvious wings, hollowed out bones for flight, and enhanced strength typical of the world. Their is also the addition of... I can’t really find the exact words for it. Closest approximation is an “aura” or “shield”. It’s some form of non visual radiation. It’s their... but it also doesn’t exist. I was only able to detect it at all largely by accident when I used an instrument incorrectly. It was. Not detected per say. But their was something interfering with the other readings... it seams unfinished. Like I’m missing something. It might be harmonic with another frequency, but I’m not sure.

Rook: Could this possibly be the radiation of the aether?

Settra asked some what concerned.

Bishop: I wouldn’t rule that out...

King: What of your progress Astrogation? Have you uncovered the mystery of the worlds geocentricity?

Settra straightened in his chair.

Rook: We have made... less than desirable progress then I would like.

He admitted his failure in front of the magos, silently releasing a quick prayer of forgiveness to the Machine God for forgiveness and not punishment from His agents, even though the room was data shielded, he hoped it reached his god. Thankfully no punishment seamed to arrive immediately so he continued his report of what he did know.

Rook: We have ruled out it being a natural occurrence. It is too coincidental for that. And have ruled out automation on par of the surface dwellers. Their tech level isn’t sufficient to move celestial bodies with the ease displayed.

King: Could this be the work of. The Soulless Ones?
Rook: I find the probability low on that. We could find no trace of Necron activity from any of our sensors.
King: Update me at even the hint of Soulless Ones activity.
Rook: Of course my lord. Everyone knows xenos are to be exterminated on site.

All three other magos present remained silent for a time.

Rook: ... Right?

King: Shearia, once you have translated the equinus verbal language, report your findings to Maximal for the construction of a program capable of verbal communication.
Bishop: Of course magos.
Rook: Verbal communication? You are seriously considering talking with xenos? We ARE still going to exterminate them once we uncover the secrets of their world right?

Cassius ignored the astronomer.

King: Once the translation cogitator has been sanctified, I will descend to the world with a squad of five vanguard as my honor guard and negotiate requisition of knowledge from the locals. With your permission of course Dominus Catherine.
Knight: Granted arch magos.
Rook: 'negotiate requisition of knowledge from the locals.'? Sire. With all do respect, this is lunacy. Why not take the knowledge by force once we have the translation?
King: Because a verbal translation is useless for the written language adept.

Even in the dark void of the Round Tables skein, the astronomer could feel the arch magi's anger at being questioned.

King: We need both for a full collection of knowledge. After that I will decide weather or not this worlds inhabitants can be of use to the Ommnissiah. Any further questions?

No one spoke.

King: Matter resolved then. Begin ritual of deactivation. I will sooth the machine spirit.

Uplink Interrupted

New Uplink?

[Y/N]

Y

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Auto shunt found
Designation: Cassius
Rank: Arch Magos
Location: Byzantium Meeting Center 00987 “The Round Table”

Uplink successful

+Iron Shield Us+


In the realm of bodies Cassius’s relaxed. He remembered his youth. Frexxal Prime. The Forgeworld he called home, or used to. Until the three Days of Darkness. The sound of mechanical footsteps in perfect, unnatural sync with one another. The screams. The cries of mercy only to be met with uncaring discussed butchery. The green light. So much green. So much silver. The bodies of his parents crushed under the mechab constructs right in front of him. As he hid in an ammo crate, unable to even cry without risk of being found. They passed him by without even checking as he watched their endless hoards stream down the streets. One after another. Row by row. Ever onward a never ending tide of death. Then one in the back wearing gold and blue with a head crown worked into the design turned it’s dead face to watch him. Voids of long dead emerald star points stared pass his soul as though he where not even their. NO! He wouldn’t allow that to happen again. Any slight hint of Necron presents was enough to make him scrap their plans and wash the surface clean with plasma fire.

His mind returned to the present. 0.0005 seconds had passed while he relived the trauma of his long ago youth. An unexceptionable amount of deficiency to some, but he would never delete those memories. They made him who he was. Reminded him of his dept to the Omnissiah, for protecting him when he needed Him most.


+++Transmission Concluded+++

Author's Note:

Very very sorry for the short chapter where not a lot happens. I promise the next one will be much more interesting narrative wise.