The missionary’s running footfalls echoed into the dark, cavernous underhive chamber before he came into view from the adjoining passageway. Trauma grinned at the thin, young man as he raced towards her, seated atop the crumbled rockcrete statue where they had arranged to meet. The golden thurible slung over his shoulder clattered against his pack which overflowed with prayer candles and other Ministorum artifacts. He clutched a pair of large leather bound texts tightly to his sweat stained crimson and gold vestments.
He slowed to a stop below Trauma’s perch to catch his breath and smiled up at her, ‘Sorry I’m late, Bishop Gherrin asked me to perform the evening sermon.’
‘No worries, Father Benny,’ Trauma chuckled and ran a hand across her buzzed scalp before hopping down.
‘Please child, call me Benedict.’
Trauma bit her lip to hold back from laughing at his pious arrogance, ‘Sure thing, Benny.’
Benedict’s cheeks flushed a bright red. ‘I just wanted to reiterate how honored I am that you’ve asked me to conduct your Confirmation of Imperial Devotion,’ he sighed.
‘I wouldn’t want it to be anyone else,’ she said causing the priest’s face to practically glow. After a pregnant pause she added, ‘I invited a few friends who are also interested. I hope that’s okay.’
Trauma sauntered towards the nearby set of battered double doors. The missionary jogged to catch up with her.
‘Of course… my duty is to spread the word of the Emperor. To show all that His light shines even in the darkest of places.’
She smiled and threw the doors open. Within the dimly lit, dusty, and rubble strewn remains of the ancient chapel stood a half dozen men and women dressed in the same stained coveralls tied around their waists and tank tops as the young woman. Trauma stepped inside and gestured for Benedict to lead the way.
Benedict gasped, ‘Wow, this is wonderful. We have more than double our normal attendance. How exciting to have so many interested in reaffirming your faith!’
He shuffled to the small pulpit and set down his religious instruments. He hurriedly arranged the candles and filled the golden font at the center from a small flask. The members of the assembled congregation crept closer to the missionary.
Benedict turned to address them, ‘Before we begin, I unfortunately must request that all weapons be left by the door. I ask that all who seek salvation come… unburdened.’ He nervously glanced towards one large man, a pistol grip protruded from his waistband.
Trauma strode up next to the missionary, ‘Xane! Come on! Get that out.’
Xane removed the autopistol and aimed it at Benedict. ‘Like this?’ he said with a smirk. The others around him chuckled.
Benedict shot Trauma an anxious look. She shook her head and smiled at him.
‘You know I almost forgot, I should probably get this out too,’ she said drawing a long, slender dagger from her boot and pressed it into his side. ‘And maybe you should leave your stuff here while you run back home to the mid-hive.’
Benedict’s eyes widened. ‘Don’t do this,’ he pleaded. ‘Your souls can still be saved. But I warn you, the Emperor’s wrath will strike down all those who befoul His loyal servants.’
Trauma snickered, ‘I’m sorry, Benny. There isn’t some ‘God-Emperor’ somewhere who gives a crap about what happens down here. It’s a bunch of stupid stories. There’s no saints, no Astartes, nothin’. You take what you can for yourself and that’s it.’
She tapped the tip of her dagger gently against his chest, ‘While you’re at it, leave the robes too.’
Trauma whistled and spun the thurible on its thin iron chain as they approached the trade’s rendezvous point. Water dribbled down Xane’s throat onto the stolen priest’s vestments as he drank from the golden font. The juves, Myra and Rivets, lugged the rest of the loot while the others kept lookout.
Two black robed figures stood sentinel waiting for them flanking a stack of crates. Trauma allowed the golden canister to slowly swing to a stop and nodded a greeting. They lifted the lid of the top crate to reveal the cache of freshly minted bolters. She removed one of the heavy guns and pulled back the slide with a satisfied grin.
“Hey, wh-” Xane’s shout was cut short as his head erupted, splattering Trauma with warm blood. She looked towards the robed figures with rage. A pair of glowing green eyes pierced the darkness behind them. She saw the second muzzle flash a millisecond before the explosive bolt round ripped her arm from her shoulder and threw her to the ground.
The pair drew autoguns from beneath their robes and cut down two of her fellow gangers in a hail of bullets. Trauma lunged at the nearest one quickly gutting him with her dagger. A line of autogun rounds chased her into cover behind the crates.
Myra and Rivets charged towards the second gunman. The green eyes emerged from the shadows revealing a colossal warrior clad in burgundy power armor. In one gauntleted fist it brandished a maul, with a head stylized as a chrome skull, and with one swift strike he caved in Rivets’ skull and shattered Myra’s face on the backswing. All the while, the bolt pistol in the Space Marine’s other hand barked death, slaying the remainder of Trauma’s gang.
Trauma dragged herself along the ground away from the towering Angel of Death. “Please God-Emperor forgive me! I’ll repent! Please spare me so I may serve your will!”
“My poor child,” The Space Marine’s baritone voice bellowed, amplified by the helm’s vox, as he stepped over her broken body. Her friends’ blood streamed down his armor staining the icon of a burning daemon embossed on his pauldron. “You pray to the wrong gods.”
About the Author
Alex Watt is an aspiring writer and non-profit professional living in Washington, DC with his girlfriend and their extremely spoiled cat. A fan of Warhammer 40,000 and its fiction for almost twenty years, he enjoys having the opportunity to tear open his own small section of the Warp to wreak havoc on his favorite grim, dark universe and share it with other like minded fans.