Articles of Faith

5/5 (2)

Weira Axelle>Notes>Fifth of Secondus 004.M31>Aqualiculum 

Catella Arnaud is late for my interview. I really should spend more time in the Aqualiculum. It smells like stale ale and grease but the people-watching is incredible. It’s been over an hour. Drinking a pint helps with the smell and the food tastes better than it looks.

Lady Arnaud’s sculptures adorn the palaces and gardens of the rich. An Arnaud original is expensive. So, why’s she here?

I’m impressed with what I’ve seen of her work, and I’m not easily impressed. 

She’s been studying the Astartes, and I heard she wants to sculpt the Phoenician himself– must ask about that! I need a tour of her studio.

 

BEGIN VOX TRANSCRIPT

‘You must be Weira- I’m so sorry, I often get lost in my work.’

‘The vox thief always gives me away.’

‘Actually, it’s the intense look in your eyes. I find the eyes of documentarists fascinating, always so… open.’

‘It would be hard to do this job with my eyes closed.’

‘You’re funny. That’s not a common trait among your kind.’ ‘You would be surprised, my lady.’

‘Rarely. Well, what is it you want to know? That’s usually how these things work, correct?’

‘Yes. Well, I guess, since we’re skipping the preamble, I want to know why a revered artist, with sculptures sold to dozens of Terran nobles-

‘I have pieces in the Palace.’

‘Exactly! Why would you leave what must’ve been a wonderful life for this?’

‘Why did you leave yours?’

‘Your usual Lady Arnaud.’

‘Thank you, Risjean. One for my guest please-‘

‘Oh no thank you, I’m-‘

‘Please let me, I have standing credit.’

‘If you insist, I’ll have the same.’

‘So why did you leave your own wonderful life, Weira?’

‘What about my eager acceptance of free drinks makes you think my life was wonderful?’

‘But you think all artists want to be rich? A rather unsophisticated view of art.’

‘I don’t mean to offend you, I just meant that the majority of the artists joining the Remembrancer Order are talented, but aren’t quite at the pinnacle of their careers.’

‘You think my career has reached its zenith and it’s all descent from here. That would make for a salacious editorial.’

‘I’m really stepping in it here-‘

‘Actually, I like you, Weira Axelle. There’s not a lot of… fluff about you.’

‘Thank you, I think.’

‘Now if you’d be so kind as to answer my inquiry, tell me why you’re here. Indulge me, documentarist Axelle.’

‘I guess, I’m here to see them. In the flesh, or armour, so to speak.’

‘The pinnacle of human ingenuity… So that’s why you’re here? To see the Legions up close?’

‘I’m fascinated by the human form, and these… beings are the apotheosis of humanity. The perfect, human form extrapolated to flawlessness. It has to be captured.’

‘But you could look at picts, there must be mountains of images of Astartes back at home.’

‘Do I strike you as the kind of artist – the kind of person – that does anything in small measures?’

‘Definitely not.’

‘Did you notice the one at the table just behind you?’

‘What?’

‘Don’t look!’

‘What did you expect me to do?’

‘Something a bit more tactful?’

‘Then maybe don’t tell me there’s an Astartes watching me.’

‘Doubtful he’s watching you.’

‘Lady Arnaud, tell me what your subject is. What makes being cast out into the vastness of space, in the middle of a war, worth it? I mean, it would have to be something, or someone incredible.’

‘So, this interview is about the rumours.’

‘If you want rumours to be the focus of my story, fine but I’d rather talk about your great work.’

‘Just when I was starting to think you truly were unsophisticated, you surprise me.’

END VOX TRANSCRIPT

 

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Experimental Notes 098.004.M31 – Vox Recording

Previous experiments suffered from a dearth of quality biological materials. Serfs are frequently undernourished and subject to sporadic contagion. Thus, I have expanded my collection area to include the upper decks. Subject 27 was collected from second-class quarters, deck fifteen forward. I’m confident this attempt will be more successful than the last. 

Complete removal of dermis following exsanguination under anaesthetic and cervical dislocation supports visualisation of the musculature. Observing the vasculature remains a challenge. I am infusing a large volume of phosphorescent liquid through the heart, and have devised a sizeable submersion chamber which will allow the entirety of the specimen to be suspended in solvent. 

Success with the extracerebral vasculature is the first step toward full characterization of cranial vascularisation which will be critical to the development of both a phenotypic and functional typification of faithfulness. The Lord-Commander hypothesises that faithfulness is a failure of the human mind, evidence of its weakness. I posit that it can be identified, characterised, and known completely. Once such a characterisation is complete, it can be excised. 

 

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Weira Axelle>Notes>Tenth of Secundus 004.M31>Arnaud Studio

Her workspace is cavernous. The privileges afforded to the rich don’t seem to be limited to Terra. Catella Arnaud’s studio is easily ten times the size of my quarters, as big as the Aqualiculum. She is extraordinarily prolific. ‘Full’ doesn’t do justice to how crammed her studio is with works. It is overflowing with statues. Sculptures. Figurines? Effigies. Effigies seems more appropriate. The works are breathtakingly real. Some of them are painted but the majority are bare ceramite. All are of Astartes. Some are armoured, others are bare. I find it hard to distinguish one from another but clearly Lady Arnaud does not. Among the painted sculptures I can see more of her in her work. The colour choices are true to our host legion, regal purples and shining golds. Her brush strokes are sure, arrogant even. The paint is technically perfect, but it seems put on as an afterthought.

As beautiful as they are, and they are extraordinary, I find them disturbing to the last. All the figures are mid-action; swords striking, chainaxes raised overhead. Some are in combat with enemies; swords thrust through alien ribcages, severed heads gripped in gauntleted hands. Even the unarmoured ones are terrifying. The size of them makes me uncomfortable. If I’m honest, they make me uncomfortable in person, even after all this time aboard their ship. The smallest of them towers over me. Some of the figures are in repose though, there’s an edge to these as well, like the ease of an apex predator before a strike. Their muscles bulge and ripple, seemingly frozen in motion. Rendered in this striking detail it is obvious that this is the human form crystalised, distilled down to its purest parts, refined, and assembled into something that I would say is not quite human. Arnaud has captured something essential to the nature of the Astartes surely, but what I see is not what I think she intends. 

 

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Weira Axelle>Notes>Nineteenth of Secundus 004.M31>Forward Observation Deck

I’m excited to meet Lord Krito this evening. I have never been in the observation bubble. I heard he’s been on the flagship.

 

BEGIN VOX TRANSCRIPT

‘I’m fine with your vox thief Madam Axelle, although I don’t give command performances, so please do not ask for one.’

‘Not for commoners?’

‘I don’t appreciate your implications.’

‘My apologies. I had heard that you exhibited some of your compositions during a closed concert in this very space, for the officers and our gracious lords.’

‘The acoustics here are exceptional. Though I would expect a documentarist to validate their sources. Your gossip-mongers have it wrong; it was not a private concert, it was collaboration, amongst friends.’

‘You count Astartes among your friends, my lord? Impressive.’

‘But of course, Lord Fulgrim’s noble sons appreciate complex composition, and their auditory acuity is unmatched.’

‘Was Mistress Arnaud involved in this collaboration?’

‘Are we here to talk about my work or to spread idle gossip?’

END VOX TRANSCRIPT

 

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Weira Axelle>Notes> Twentieth of Secundus 004.M31>Aqualiculum

Two or three legionaries are here today. No one seems bothered. Except for me I guess.

Apprentice Physik’s photos are incredible. 

Granted unfettered access to the enginarium and weapons decks, the bridge, and he participated in the Laeran cleansing. I can’t imagine watching Astartes in pitched battle against xenos. Especially a xenos species as capable as the Laer are reported to be. We’re not supposed to talk about that- they say scores of legionaries were lost. What takes on one of them and survives?  Are picts of Astartes casualties to gauche?!

On time, that’s new.

 

BEGIN VOX TRANSCRIPT

‘Lady Axelle?’

‘No “lady”, Weira will do just fine.’

‘Then call me Ran, please, what are you drinking?’

‘Something I can’t afford. Courtesy of my… patron, I suppose.’

‘Risjean, I’ll have what she’s having!’

‘Expensive taste?’

‘Not really, but your legionary can afford it, no?’

‘Oh no, she’s not Astartes.’

‘Oh, I just assumed-‘

‘Do a lot of remembrancers have Astartes patrons?’

‘Damassine, with the house compliments.’

‘Many thanks Risjean.’

‘Patrons?’

‘I thought you wanted to talk about my picts?’

‘Well, I do. You just piqued my curiosity. Should I be in the market for a legionary? Is it that common?’

‘It’s not my business what other remembrancers do with their free time-‘

‘Of course not.’

‘We’re lucky to have been placed in this legion, many of the lords are artists themselves, so they appreciate talent when they find it.’

‘So it is common.’

‘Definitely not, the bigger the talent, the more likely it is to attract a patron.’

‘And there are some big talents here.’

‘Myself not included?’

‘That wasn’t my meaning, your pictographs are captivating.’

‘Thank you, really but I’m not exactly…’

‘Catella Arnaud?’

‘Yes! Exactly! I couldn’t believe it when I caught sight of her at the spaceport.’

‘You’re a fan? I’m writing about her. Actually, she’s my patron, of sorts.’

‘You’re featuring her in your editoriae?’

‘And yourself. I’m composing a piece on the remembrancers, all of us. Maybe multiple pieces.’

‘I was at the bottom of my class in the Scholam Ars, I couldn’t have imagined being mentioned alongside Lady Catella Arnaud. You interviewed her? What is she doing here?

‘Now who’s gossiping?’

‘I’m sorry, it’s just, well, she’s quite a name.’

‘Indeed.’

‘So?’

‘What?’

‘What did she say she’s working on? Because I heard the Phoenician modelled for her, can you believe that? I mean they are one thing, but a primarch?’

‘You’ve seen her with the legionaries?’ 

‘Lady Arnaud and I aren’t necessarily part of the same social circle, but she does come to the Aqualiculum, we all do. So do they.’

‘And?’

‘And it isn’t uncommon for a few Astartes to grace some of the more fashionable remembrancer sets. Like the table at the back there. Dansk Krito, composer, master of the viol and the lute.

‘And a pompous bore.’

‘I have heard that, but supposedly some officers fainted at his last concert from the emotion his pieces evoke.’

‘That’s dramatic.’

‘Exactly what I thought.’

‘So he does give concerts?’

‘More like, private audiences for the fashionable. I’ve not actually heard him in person, but everyone has heard vox recordings. You have, right?

‘I have, very impressive; and Catella has a fashionable circle, including Astartes?’

‘Lady Catella Arnaud is the reigning queen of fashionable circles.’

‘I wonder if she has a patron.’

‘You’re hilarious, and you’ve got good taste in ale. Absolutely, she has patrons. I hear her studio is a hangar bay, you’re drinking unlimited damassine on her coin. Only an Astartes could swing that.’

‘True. Maybe in exchange for being her subjects.’

‘No better way to be memorialised if you die in service to the Imperium. No better person to memorialise you than Catella Arnaud. If I died, I’d want her to sculpt me.’ 

‘You haven’t seen her works.’

‘You have? That’s incredible! She’s so secretive.’

‘If I’m to be immortalised in ceramite, I think I want someone with a little more subtlety to do it.’

‘A little hypercritical, Weira.’

‘No offence to her, it’s beautiful work, gorgeous, but it unnerves me somehow.’

‘It’s realism! I once listened to a vox cast interviewing her and she went on and on about how the human body represents the ultimate realisation of life in the galaxy and how our physical bodies represent mankind’s mastery of the universe! Did you know that they use her sculptures as part of training for chirurgeons and medicae?’

‘I did not.’

END VOX TRANSCRIPT

 

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Experimental Notes > 139.004.M41> Vox Recording

My hypothesis continues to expand. If we assume that faith is extrinsic and learned, we could posit that in the relative vacuum of the ship there must be a source of learning. From here we can extrapolate that a single source of faith may have infected the closed system. This supports the theorem that faith can spread from man to man like a contagion, changing the way the human mind works, the way the host makes decisions, and interacts with its surroundings. 

I have extracted the encephalon of subject 35. All observations indicate a healthy human male of above-average intellectual capacity. I have co-opted components of the servitor processing machinery to allow interface with the subjects’ processor. Using a novel paralytic of my own formulation and an advanced encephalotomy technique, I have successfully maintained complete processing capacity of the extracted unit. 

This system allows for the exposure of the unit to select external stimuli. Planned stimuli include auditory, and eventually optical representations of faith. The output system is rudimentary. However, there is sufficient resolution to receive information on biophysical chemistry. This data will support a biological understanding of the effects of faith on the functional capacity of the human brain. Further refining this system will allow me to design experiments which assess the transmissional capacity of faith from an affected processing system to control systems. There is a high likelihood that the data generated in these experiments will be sufficient for preliminary review by the Lord-Commander. 

 

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Weira Axelle>Notes>Twenty-seventh of secundus 004.M31>Aqualiculum

I like the noise in here. It makes writing easier. Gets me out of my own internal monologue and lets me put ink to parchment. Risjean and I have become friends, of a sort. He keeps a small table set aside for me, to the left of the doors so I can watch the foot traffic. He’s taken to bringing over two glasses of damassine whenever a guest arrives and when things slow down he visits me. Ran Physik skipped our meeting last cycle. I wanted to get a little more atmosphere for some of his battle picts. It’s unlike him to miss an appointment. I still need some local colour. His loss is my gain.

 

BEGIN VOX TRANSCRIPT

‘I’m no remembrancer, no need to record me.’

‘Maybe not, but you know all of us. The Aqualiculum is the nexus of our little remembrancer cult.’

‘I was just a rating in maintenance with a penchant for homemade amasec, and now I’m here pouring the real stuff for lords and ladies.’

‘I’m not a lady.’

‘Well, we won’t hold that against you Weira.’

‘Thank you. Can you tell me a little about what remembrancers are like, in general?’

‘Generally? ‘cepting yourself Miss, full of hot air. Oh, and ‘ceptin Lord Physik- he helped me patch this water pump a few cycles ago. Can’t fault a man willing to get his hands dirty, nor one been to battle and back.’

‘No, I guess not. Have you seen Ran? We had an interview scheduled but he never showed and I haven’t seen him around.’

‘Now that you mention it, I haven’t seen him since the pump broke. Maybe four cycles past.’

‘Could you point me to his quarters?’

‘I think he’s in with most of the remembrancers on novum, aft.’

‘That’s just three decks below mine.’

END VOX TRANSCRIPT

 

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Weira Axelle>Notes>Twenty-eighth of Secundus 004.M31>Novum Deck

I’m worried about Ran. The doors to his quarters whispered open, unlocked. Seems like he would be more careful. His absence is nagging at me. He was always punctual, and polite- fun, even. I miss his company. Inside his chambers I found the usual disarray indicative of artistic genius. There were data slates and pict recorders everywhere. I found a pict recorder on the floor near his cot, it had been damaged in a fall. Carelessness again? The recorder is damaged but not inoperable, maybe I can salvage the picts and find out where he’s gone. Ran isn’t the only person I’m worried about. 

 

BEGIN VOX TRANSCRIPT

‘I’m startin’ to think your whole tale is about me, Weira.’

‘Well, you are fast becoming the most important man in my life, Risjean.’

‘You stop that, or my wife’ll have your head.’

‘Does it seem quieter in here to you?’

‘Could be, I ‘spose. Seems like artists can be fickle, maybe I’ve gone out of style.’

‘Impossible!’

‘You joke, but it happens.’

‘Even Krito’s usual court is missing.’

‘Lord Krito hasn’t visited in a host of cycles. I assume he’s holed up in his studio space, making music.’

‘Let me guess, novum aft?’

‘Lots of late night sweets to novum aft.’

END VOX TRANSCRIPT

 

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Weira Axelle>Notes>Twenty-ninth of Secundus>Novum Deck

Lord Krito’s studio space is abandoned. It looks as if no one has been here in days. The room is cavernous, it has an orchestra pit. The empty chairs are haunting. There is a small office behind the orchestra. A fight happened here. Krito’s desk is piled high with data slates and vellum, all of it indecipherable to me. His handwriting is immaculate but flourished. Every note and letter has swirls and curlicues, and they are packed tight on the pages and screens as if there was too much music in him to be contained. The floor is littered with loose parchment covered in the same stylised script. All of it is covered in blood. It has dried to a deep rust, and it flakes when I move the pages. Whatever happened to Dansk Krito, it was catastrophic to say the least. There’s dried blood all over the desk, and a massive puddle on the floor behind it. There’s so much that the centre of it is still tacky to the touch. 

I reported Krito missing to the head of the watch. They took me back to his studio, but I could tell from their faces that this was beyond ship security. I told them about Ran, showed them his quarters. I gave them the pictcorder and  my vox recordings, pleading with them to talk to Risjean, to interview the other remembrancers. I got the distinct impression that some papers would be filed, somewhere, and maybe someone would do something, eventually. Someone would miss Krito. But nobody would miss apprentice pictographer Ran, not for a long while. Definitely not without some pushing. The push would have to come from someone who mattered. Someone fashionable. 

 

BEGIN VOX TRANSCRIPT

‘Thank you for letting me see these works again, Lady Arnaud.’

‘You’re welcome anytime, I’ve added your genecode to the security protocols. Hopefully your piece does justice to how prolific I’ve become since joining the expedition.’

‘Absolutely my lady. I do have to confess that I’m here for two reasons…’

‘Oh? Do tell?’

‘Have you ever met the pictographer Ran Physik?’

‘I think so, the war pictographer?’

‘Yes, that’s him.’

‘I’ve seen some of his work. Derivative but good, if you like that sort of thing.’

‘He’s missing, and honestly, I think something terrible has happened to him.’

‘Terrible things happen to people in wars, Weira.’

‘This terrible thing probably happened to him on this ship.’

‘I think you’re being dramatic, Weira.’

‘What about Dansk Krito, I know he travelled in your circles.’

‘If I were you, I would not go around casting aspersions about who does or does not travel in which circles.’

‘You mean you aren’t concerned that one of your friends is missing under mysterious circumstances?’

‘Krito was hardly my friend, barely even an acquaintance. Maybe ask some of those talentless dregs he’s surrounded himself with lately.’ 

‘I saw you with him, in the Aqualiculum weeks ago, he joined you at your private table, a legionary was there. I don’t understand what you’re hiding.’

‘You don’t understand anything. Maybe I was right, and you are exactly as unsophisticated as you appear.’

END VOX TRANSCRIPT

 

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Weira Axelle>Notes>First of Tertius 004.M31>Aqualiculum

The atmosphere in the Aqualiculum is spoiled. The few remembrancers and crew here are committed to drinking. More than just drinking, getting drunk. The cheerful banter is gone. The playfulness of rubbing shoulders with the privileged is gone. Even Risjean seems reserved. I admit that I’m obsessed with finding out what has happened to Ran and the others. Risjean suggests I wait for the gathering post-third shift. Supposedly there are many remembrancers present. There are maybe 15 all told. They seem friendly, happy even as they push a few tables together. This is more commotion than the Aqualiculum has seen in weeks. Risjean is right to stay open so late, he must sell more amasec at these meetings than he does all cycle. The happiness and comradery feel infectious. Ashrel recites a poem. No one seems to mind my lingering and taking notes. No one has seen Ran for days. Somehow, I feel like I’ve caught my parents in bed, like I’m intruding on something private. I don’t need to press my luck, I have good range on this vox thief.

 

BEGIN VOX TRANSCRIPT

‘Rejoice, for I bring you glorious news.’

‘God walks among us.’

‘These are His sons’ words. How could we ignore the teachings so plainly written? Written by one of His great avatars?’

‘We cannot.’

‘Exactly so my friends.’

END VOX TRANSCRIPT

 

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Weira Axelle>Notes>Seventh of Tertius 004.M31>Aqualiculum

The frequency of meetings has picked up. I never get any sleep. I suppose that’s fine as my dreams are terrible. The numbers are growing, there are maybe 30 people, never any Astartes. Risjean has given the back storage room over to them. He shoved some tables together and filled the centre with chairs. As long as no bottles of amasec go missing or get broken, he’s content to let them gather. Also, they’re paying customers. Ashrel is always there. She has the mania of youth, annoying but adorable. Life will take that shine off her eventually, but she has a long time before that happens. 

 

BEGIN VOX TRANSCRIPT

‘It’s good to see you writing again Ash.’

‘It’s good to be writing again, honestly. You know how it is.’

‘I do, sometimes you just get stuck.’

‘Right! I just needed a little bit of a push.’

‘And these gatherings helped?’

‘There definitely is a sense of… kindling, when we meet.’

‘Lit a fire under you, as they say?’

‘Undeniably, I feel like I can finally appreciate the beauty of this voyage, of myself, of us, and what it means for, well, humanity.’

‘It is definitely a daunting task, to be writing history, so to speak.’

‘We’re more than history Weira, we are a great beacon in the universe. Oh, that is painfully lovely, I have to write it down before it slips away.’

END VOX TRANSCRIPT



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Weira Axelle>Notes>Eleventh of Tertius 004.M31>Aqualiculum

Went to another meeting at Risjean’s suggestion. The things they talk about would get you put away back home, but he was right; so many of the Remembrancer Order are here. The fashionable set graces us occasionally. Lady Arnaud makes a rare appearance. She has a ladies’ maid with her and she’s carrying out enough amasec to tranq a grox. Her maid lingers in the doorway to the storage room while they wait for her order. She seems annoyed that her maid has such a vested interest in the gathering. She hands a slip of parchment to Ashrel. When she catches my eye, she looks angry. She was brusque on my last visit. I thought she was busy with her work maybe, but now I wonder if I’ve offended her. The novelty of being the star of my piece must have worn off. She was so eager to get rid of me, but I didn’t let her brush me off this time. She might be just the push I need to get the watch really looking for Ran and Krito.

 

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Weira Axelle>Notes>Eleventh of Tertius 004.M31>Aqualiculum>Cont.

Damn me for being too stubborn to use a picter! I have to write it down while it’s still fresh in my mind. I followed Ashrel after the gathering. Usually we sit and talk. She plucks her poetry out of her mind and scribbles it down wherever she is, so she always has crumpled bits of parchment in her pockets and ink on her fingertips. She rushed out of the Aqualiculum as soon as the group broke up, clutching the scrap of parchment from Catella Arnaud. Sometimes my brain is like a canid with a bit of gristle and I can’t let go of an idea. I followed her. I know I should not have, but I’m glad of it now. Only, I’m not sure what to do next. 

She headed aft, and I followed her at a distance. I thought she might be headed for novum deck to see Catella but she took the express lift, headed for the aft observation deck. A view of the stars. The passages were empty post-third shift, so I took a local lift and made it to the observation bubble only a few minutes after her. The lights were dimmed to near darkness, the lights of distant stars were clear and twinkling through the glasscrete dome. Three passageways intersected the observation bubble. Ashrel looked down at the paper again, she huffed, and sat down on a bench staring at the missive. I hovered in the rear passageway behind her, where I could use the curve of the hallway to conceal myself if needed. She must have been expecting someone. I thought it would be Catella. It was not. 

She wasn’t there for more than a few heartbeats before I heard the low snarl of servo motors. At first, I thought it might just be the quiet hum of space travel that had become the background music of our lives, but then I picked up a barely audible tread. I could see the western arterial, but it was draped in darkness. The eastern arterial was out of my line of sight, and invisible to Ashrel from where she sat staring out into the glittering void. I’m not sure I have ever seen anything that large move that fast, and with such an ingrained economy of motion. If I had been anywhere else, I would say I saw a phantom take her. Considering our surroundings, I knew what it must have been. When you see one of them in motion, even when they move slowly, it is overwhelming. Not a single movement was wasted. Every twitch of gauntleted fingers, every step, was a part of the strike. The efficiency alone was ruthless and beautiful. Some lost reptilian part of my brain locked my limbs in place and stole the scream in my throat as I watched the space marine descend on Ashrel from behind. There was a wet crunching sound but nothing else, and then it was gone. Ashrel was gone. 

 

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Weira Axelle>Notes>Thirteenth of Tertius 004.M31>Quintus Deck>Axelle Quarters

I’ve been in my quarters for two cycles. I reported Ashrel missing. I reported Ran missing. What could I say to the watch captain that would even make sense? Fulgrim’s sons are murdering remembrancers? Sounds absurd even to me, and I saw it with my own eyes. I must go back to the Aqualiculum. I have to warn them. I’ll wait past third shift when it’s all friendly faces. Some friendly faces at least.

 

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Weira Axelle>Notes>Thirteenth of Tertius 004.M31>Aqualiculum>Cont.

I tried to explain. I think I did a poor job. I may have damaged my own credibility with the number of glasses of damassine I’d downed to work up the courage to talk. I settled for asking them to travel in groups, but it sounded juvenile even to me. Catella and her maid were back again, collecting amasec and sweets. She glared at me. Somehow, she knows that I know. What is it that I think I know? Now I’m grasping at straws. But she has the answer.

 

BEGIN VOX TRANSCRIPT

‘Careful with those bottles Eleine, they cost more than you.’

‘I’m sorry my lady.’

‘We’ll use the aft lift and I’ll eat in my chambers. I think I’ll put on something flowing, comfort will be the key to getting the features just right this evening.’

‘Yes, Lady Catella. The figures are coming along beautifully.’

‘Beautiful does not even begin to describe them, you foolish girl.’

‘I only meant that even unfinished, they are pleasing, my lady.’

‘Of course they are. The subjects are perfect, and my talent is free from the nonsense of artistic and political machinations for the first time in years.’

‘Yes, my Lady.’

END VOX TRANSCRIPT

 

BEGIN VOX TRANSCRIPT

‘Apothecary Malum.’ 

‘Lady Arnaud, I see the work progresses. These may be your best yet’ 

‘I’m always pushing toward perfection, much like yourself.’

‘You represent the Legion well, my lady.’

‘You aren’t here solely to judge my work then?’

‘Art judges itself, my lady. I have more pressing concerns.’

‘Crew watch has reported several missing remembrancers. I hoped you could enlighten me as to whom among your order might be looking for their lost comrades.’

‘Indeed. There is a documentarist, Weira Axelle. She’s been composing a piece on life as a remembrancer, interviewing notable artists, going to those readings.’

‘Notable artists such as yourself.’

‘Of course. She seemed harmless, dull-witted even, but she has fixated on some of her subjects, and they have, noticeably, turned up missing.

‘She’s not nearly as dull-witted as you think.’

‘What do you mean by that?’

‘She was intelligent enough to follow you here, to be recording this very conversation.’

Memory corrupted. Loss of fidelity 2200:15:36 

END VOX TRANSCRIPT

 

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Experimental Notes>167.004.M31>Vox Recording

Lady Arnaud was correct in her supposition that the artistic mind is more accepting of the faith contagion. Acquisition of a subject exhibiting signs of de novo contagion was fortunate. Subject 35 will be an exceptional positive control. 

Subject 36 was unfortunately damaged in capture. Much of the lower body was regrettably destroyed during acquisition, however I was able to complete the encephalotomy. Despite this damage, Subject 36 retains much of the donor’s personality post-integration. This unit evidences a remarkable capacity to store and interpolate data. Not surprisingly, the Arnaud neural framework is one of the most advanced I have generated. 

Subject 37 has comparable processing capabilities but outperforms previous units in terms of resistance to the faith contagion. It will make an adequate control. I have run several experimental scenarios between the processing units and the result is always the same: if any individual unit begins the scenario with faith-associated chemicals in a heightened state, the others eventually succumb. The speed with which the faulty logic spreads is variable and may be highly dependent upon the individual components of the system, but it has never failed to spread from one to another. It is possible that this phenomenon not only defines faith, but also distinguishes the very human need for society. However, studies to address such a hypothesis will require a larger sample size.

About the Author

E. Nicole Gary is a scientist and Warhammer lover. She received her PhD in microbiology and immunology from Drexel university college of medicine and studies vaccine design and immune responses. When she isn’t writing scientific manuscripts, she’s reading, watching, and writing sci-fi and horror. She loves wine, crochet, chaos, and laboratory mice. You can find her online @NickyinBrooklyn on instagram, twitter, and tiktok, and on the 40k bookclub she shares with her loyalist husband all linked below.

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