Emergency Stations

++ From Crusade Commander Operations – Bulk Transport Ser Amandus Tyr to transport Volpone Bluebloods and Roane Deeper combat tunnellers to Hisk with best speed.++




Danius Knight, the Commanding Officer of the Ser Amandus Tyr, received and understood the undertones of the order.  Best speed.  Best speed meant different things to different people.  Best speed meant, ‘I need more men for the meat-grinder’; best speed meant, ‘I need specialists on my position now’; best speed meant, ‘I need bodies to soak up the Enemy’s shells and I don’t care where they come from’.  Best speed meant quantity not quality. Best speed meant, to Darius Knight, I want as many soldiers as I can in the quickest time possible.

Looking up from the order, Danius turned his steely gaze on his Bridge. There was a low, professional murmur of noise from the servitors and crew who were focussed on keeping the ship at full operational capability as they transited through the void. With a calm, barely raise voice, Danius ordered maximum cruise velocity and as the murmur of voices rose in response, so did the output from the Enginarium and the Ser Amandus Tyr surged forward making best speed to her destination.




Moving as silently as possible through the dark, Benarl shuffled his feet to avoid kicking items on the floor.  He knew that any excessive noise would lead to a whole world of pain.  The only noise was the constant hum and drone of machinery and the ventilation system – which to him was as silent as it would normally get when travelling between the stars. Stooping to avoid hitting his head, he made sure that the grip of his overalls didn’t catch on fittings and thus cause any unnecessary noise.

Using a cupped hand over a hand-lumen he could just make out his target.  Creeping up slowly, stepping over a discarded boot, he got within touching distance of his victim.  Raising his hand, he slowly parted the curtains in front of him, slid his hand into the murky darkness, before pausing a second to make sure it was the correct mark.

Confident that he was in the right position, he grabbed a handful of sweaty, naked flesh and started shaking it violently.  The body he had grabbed suddenly sat bolt upright – or at least it tried to before it cracked its head on the bunk above it.

‘What the warp?’ exclaimed the sleepy voice in shock and pain from his banged scalp.

‘Up you get shipmate, you’re on watch in 30 minutes,’ whispered Benarl.

’30 minutes?  What time is it?’

‘Use your gakking nose and work out what time it is,’ sniggered Benarl.

Taking a deep breath, the recently sleeping man could smell fried grox meat and burnt grains wafting through the ventilation system. ‘Smells like someone’s murdering the food, so it must be breakfast time – I swear that cook could burn a pan of boiling water,’ grumbled the watchkeeper as he swung his legs out of his bunk.

‘Are you surprised?  Imperial Navy cook is the hardest course in the entire Universe.’


‘Yup.  It’s so hard that no one’s ever passed it,’ chuckled Benarl as he slunk away out of the bunk space leaving his shipmate to get dressed.




Now fully awake, Surman quietly slipped on his overalls and his boots, and stalked silently out of the bunk space, ensuring that he didn’t wake up any of the other sleeping personnel.  During a normal voyage, when they’d be transporting war matériel and munitions, he’d sleep in a three-man cabin; however, the transport was currently filled with multiple imperial guard regiments, and his cabin had been given over to some guard commanders.  All available space was used for the embarked forces and this meant that the Ship’s Company had to sleep in the 60 men mess-decks.  For the lower ranks they hot-bunked, which meant that once the 60 men of Primus Watch got up to do their six-hour shift, those 60 men of Secundus coming off watch would get straight into the still-warm beds for their down-time.

Exiting the bunkspace, he emerged into a brightly lit transit passageway that ran the length of Section Theta.  From forward to aft, the vessel was split into multiple different sections that could be completely shut-off from the rest of the vessel. In the event of any emergency, such as a void breach, gas burst, fire or something worse, the Section could be remotely isolated from the bridge to protect the rest of the ship. To his right he could make out the vast blast door that separated Section Theta from Section Eta. 

Moving down the transit passageway to the smell of “murdered food”, he started to make mental notes of pressure readings from the gauges he passed, any defects such as lights that needed to be replaced and any unusual vibrations from the ever-present machinery that might need to be reported to the enginseers.  Turning a corner, he stepped into the mess hall to get some breakfast.  Benarl was already seated at one of the bench seats with two  cups of recaf and a fried-grox bun in front of him. Casting his bleary eyes around the rest of the mess hall, he was surprised by how busy and noisy it was with planet-dwellers.

‘Extra strong, just the way you like it,’ gestured Benarl at the cup of steaming recaf.

‘Thanks, I’m going to need it to steady my nerves after the terror-shake you just gave me.  Who are all these noisy ork-sons cluttering up the Mess? Haven’t they got drill to do or weapons to clean?  I bet they’ll just stay in here all day watching the vide-caster and getting in my bloody way!’

‘I was speaking to one of them last watch, bloke called Coppet from the Roane Deepers.  They’re all bunked in Section Theta with us.’

‘They look like a bunch of scruffy planet-borns.  Doesn’t look like a single one of them has shaved in a week.  Lack of standards if you ask me,’ grumbled Surman.

‘I wouldn’t be too hard on them.  They’ve seen a lot of action at Vervunhive, and are now getting dropped into the grinder again at Hisk. I gave them the safety brief last watch, so at least they should be able to keep themselves alive if anything goes wrong. A couple of them really struggled with the emergency rebreathers, and kept getting the hoses from the masks tangled up when they were moving.  A couple of times they accidentally unplugged some poor fether’s mask instead of their own.  If it wasn’t for the presence of some of their Commissars then there would have been a few black eyes, I’m sure.

Anyway, I need to get my head down, so let me give you a handover on what occurred during the last watch,’ finished Benarl, before pulling out a data-slate, which contained details to be covered during the handover.’




Surman squeezed his body through another tight space between the machinery in the Auxiliary Atmosphere and Chemical Control Space.  In peacetime, all the vital equipment in this compartment would be monitored by the Mechanicum Adepts, supported by a team of servitors, to monitor and maintain the vital machinery.  Like most things in the Imperium, there was a hierarchy of perceived importance, and a mere transport vessel was deemed to be much less important than the fighting ships of the Imperial Navy.  The result of this perception was that stores, spares and personnel were always prioritised to combat vessels and the troop transport, and fuel freighters had to make do as best they could.  The Ser Amandus Tyr should have had a full complement of Tech-Priests and Enginseers to oversee the operation of the machinery in the name of the Machine God; but instead, only a handful were onboard.  This, combined with the poor state of the equipment, and control systems onboard caused by re-directed stores, meant that a select number of Naval personnel were seconded to the Mechanicus, to act as their eyes and ears for some of the machinery.  Surman had volunteered for this new duty in the vain hope that it would be different from the usual drudgery of monitoring the gun crews, cleaning the decks, and polishing the brass.

‘Frak you, and the frakking Arvus you rode in on!’ Surman muttered to himself, as he burnt the exposed skin of his wrist on a hot pipe connected to the carbon dioxide scrubbers.  The scrubbers were part of a complex system of machinery that was designed to ensure that the atmosphere onboard remained breathable whilst travelling through the void.  For the crew to survive, void-ships needed to create their own ecosystem, so that there was sufficient food, water, and oxygen. The crew breathed oxygen, drank water and ate food.  The waste products were carbon dioxide and sewage.  Ancient technologies converted the waste products into reusable resources.  The scrubbers reclaimed carbon dioxide generated by the crew, combined it with captured gases from the sewage tanks and produced three essential products – oxygen for breathing, water for drinking and fertiliser for the hydroponic farms for food.

Being seconded to the Mechanicus, Surman was required to conduct rounds of the machinery, making notes of readings and outputs on the various gauges and cogitator screens; and then bringing any anomalies to the attention of his Mechanicum overseers.  He continued on his route, passing the humming electrolysers, the massive oxygen storage tanks, and the hoppers of reprocessed fertiliser.  The noise and heat were far greater in the compartments than it was in the bunk space, and he used all of his senses to make sure the machinery was operating within defined parameters – touch to feel the vibration of running pumps; taste and smell to try and identify any chemical leaks, and listening for any differences to the operation of plungers, pumps and pistons.

Stepping out of the humid compartment, he took a deep breath of chemical free, but still heavily recycled air in the passageway, and checked his data-slate.  Casting his eyes down the readings he made a note to report a slightly elevated pressure in No. 4 Oxygen Storage Tank to the Tech-Priests.  Making his way back down the passageway, he checked his chrono to see if it was time for him to wake Secundus watch.  It was, and with a wry chuckle, he happily made his way back to the bunk space to give Benarl, a particularly vigorous and nasty wakeup call, before getting another six hours off watch.





Surman was out of his bunk and pulling on his overalls before he even fully woke.  Silence was bad.  Silence meant something was wrong.  Silence meant that the ventilation systems had been crash-stopped to prevent the spread of smoke or contaminants.  Pulling on his boots, his mind, now fully awake and buzzing with adrenaline thought of the potential scenarios – an enemy attack, a potential collision, a void-breach. A servitor’s voice blared out:


As the mechanical voice over the ship-wide vox-system blared, Surman charged down the passageway to the Damage Control station. One of the first people there, he ripped open the doors to the storage cabinets and grabbed a firefighting suit.  Despite his skin tingling with adrenaline, his mind was ice cold and focussed.  He quickly ran over the possible outcomes and scenarios – the fire could be extinguished by members of Secundus Watch who were in the vicinity of the initial flare up.  If they failed, then the automatic fire suppressant systems should already be activated which, would mean that all he would have to do would be to enter the compartment to assess the extent of the damage.  Or, his blood ran cold, he and his team, would have to use fire-suppressant hoses and nozzles to fight the fire themselves.  

There was something in the psyche of the sailor, including those that navigate the stars, that resonated through the ages – the fear of fire.  From the days of wooden sailing ships, through metal behemoths, to the first steps into space from Old Terra, fire was the worst outcome.  An enemy you could avoid or outrun, a flood you could plug or isolate, but a fire? A fire stole your vision, stole your breath, and could it not be contained until beaten, or it had consumed the whole vessel.

As he was pulling on his firefighting boots, he saw a couple of the Roane Deepers round the corner towards him.  They were wide-eyed and close to being lost in the terror of hopelessness.  They weren’t trained for this and couldn’t affect the outcome. Brave warriors who went where most men feared to go, tunnelling under enemy fortifications with the ever-present risk of enemy counter-miners breaking through into their tunnels; but this was a situation where they felt totally hopeless, and at the mercy of the God Emperor, supported by the Imperial Navy.

‘Get your re-breathers on,’ shouted Surman.  ‘That fire will be consuming the oxygen and spreading contaminants throughout this Section.  In about 30 seconds you’ll have about 2 breaths left before you collapse,’ he continued, as he pulled on his own re-breather connected to a portable air supply.  Tapping the vox-microbead in his firefighting helmet, he informed the Lieutenant in charge of the Damage Control effort that he; and looking round, the rest of his three-man firefighting team were ready to be deployed.

‘Surman, I need your team right now.  There’s been a big explosion in Gamma-Epsilon-5 which has broken the automatic fire suppressant systems.  We’ve contained the fire in the compartment and have teams conducting boundary cooling on the external walls, but I need a team to conduct a re-entry immediately.’

‘Immediate re-entry to Gamma-Epsilon-5, Surman acknowledged.’ Gamma-Epsilon-5 was one of his compartments.  One of the ones he was responsible for conducting rounds on and one which held the electrolysers that produced oxygen and then stored it in the pressure tanks.  By the Throne, if those tanks were breached it could set off a chain-reaction of explosions caused by the stored oxygen.

Hot breath fogging his eye-visors, he steered his team to the re-entry point – a heavy metal door that entered at the top of the compartment.  Not ideal as the hot gases from the fire would collect at the top of the compartment, and if not managed carefully, could lead to a backdraft explosion; which would wipe out his team and spread the fire to adjacent compartments.

20 metres from the door, his heart pounding and his breathing heavy, he mentally went through the steps he’d need to take to attack the fire.  First, collect the hoses and advance to the door.  He would be behind the two firefighters holding the hoses – one nominated firefighter and the other nominated waterwall.  Once at the door, he would order the waterwall operator to open up his hose, to produce a disc of water and chemical suppressants to seal the door; and thus prevent rapid oxygen ingress and a potential backdraft explosion.  Once sealed with the water and chemicals, he would order the firefighter to push open the door.  Once open, the next priority would be to cool down the compartment by spraying water into the combustible gases at the top of the compartment.  If they then had enough air left in their tanks, they’d then enter the compartment like a Space Marine boarding party, crouched low behind their waterwall shields, whilst firing their hoses at a living, breathing enemy – fire.

They were at the door. Surman could feel the heat radiating from the door, and through the built-in thermographic displays in his helmet, he could see that the door was hot enough to make a Tallarn Desert Raider break out into a sweat!  This was it. Heart racing, breath hot, mind ice cold.

‘Waterwall – seal the door,’ he voxed, over the microbead. ‘Firefighter – open the door and fight the fire.’  As the door opened, the heat him them like a Leman Russ.  Crouched low, the team hosed the combustible gases at the top of the compartment.  Water was dripping from his helmet, obscuring his view even more, as he placed a firm hand on the shoulders of the two men in front of him.

‘Advance as one,’ he shouted over the sound of the inferno, and pushed his team into the inferno.  Still protected by the waterwall, he surveyed the compartment and found the source of the fire on the deck below.  He directed his team to target the fire from above.  Black smoke and steam were billowing around the compartment reducing visibility to zero, except for the glowing heat source.  As the conflagration started to subside, he advanced his team closer and closer.  Whilst the waterwall advanced towards the seat of the fire, the seal on the door they had come through was broken and the smoke and steam escaped out of the compartment further back down the passageway.  This had the benefit of improving visibility in the damaged compartment..

‘The fire is out, the fire is out.  The fire in Gamma-Epsilon-5 is out,’ voxed Surman to the Damage Control Team Leader.

‘Fire is out. Understood,’ came the reply. ‘Priority now is for atmosphere readings and damage assessment.  Continue monitoring the compartment for signs of reignition.’.





As the smoke cleared slightly and visibility improved, Surman surveyed the damage.  The source of the fire appeared to be a hydraulic fluid leak that had dripped onto a control panel.  The electrical impulses in the cabinet had ignited the hydraulic fluid, causing damage to the control panel for the carbon dioxide scrubbers and storage tanks.

‘Relief team inbound.  ETA five minutes,’ voxed the Damage Control Team Leader.  Surman breathed a heavy sigh of relief as his display was telling him that his team only had 15 minutes of air left in their tanks.  They needed to get out of the compartment and connect their re-breathers to the hard-piped couplings situated throughout the ship. Turning round to prepare his team for their exit, he caught a glimpse of a dark shape against the forward bulkhead. He swung his lumen round to get a better look at the shadow – and a wave of bile and vomit rushed up his throat into his mask, followed by a silent scream.  The shadow was a person in the foetal position, curled up next to an emergency escape hatch.  It was impossible to tell who it was through the thick black soot covering the body, but what was unmistakable was that they had the chance to don an emergency re-breather, before succumbing to the heat – the rebreather was now melted to their lifeless scorched face. ‘Throne’s light,’ thought Surman – that could have been me.  Based on the severity of the fire, he thought that the dead voidsman probably wouldn’t have suffered too much – then he slowly moved his hand-lumen a little higher to look at the metal escape hatch – and saw the scratches made by the corpse’s fingernails in the bare metal.  He vomited again.




Surman staggered back to the  Damage Control station.  Feeling dehydrated and with vomit caking the back of his throat, all he wanted to do was rip off his re-breather and have a drink of anything. preferably something with a bit of a kick to it; however, the atmosphere was still not breathable.

‘Surman, we’ve got a problem,’ said the Damage Control Team Leader.  Based on the size of the fire, we should be able to get the ventilation fans back on to spread the contaminants throughout the rest of the Section; which should make it breathable, but carbon dioxide levels are far too high to do that.  It looks like some of the storage tanks of carbon dioxide, or maybe all of them, are venting into the compartment.  I’ve spoken to the Command Team, and they don’t want to open the bulkheads to the other Sections, until the carbon dioxide issue has been resolved.  They’re worried that if all the reservoirs of carbon dioxide vent into the atmosphere, there will be mass casualties and fatalities in the other Sections.  They’d rather lose the Roane Deepers and us, than potentially endanger the rest of the cargo, especially those Blue Blood gak-header’ he spat.

‘How much air do we have left in the emergency system, based on the number of personnel in here?’ asked Surman.

‘Normally we’d have a few days worth of air; however, with the number of embarked forces we’ve got crammed into the Section, we’d be lucky if it lasts two hours.’

‘Can we not get the tech-priests on it?’

‘That’d be the ideal solution, but there aren’t any in this Section with us and the fire has damaged the control systems.  They can monitor the systems but can’t control anything. As you know the compartment and the equipment requires Mechanicus input, I want you to get a brief from the Tech-Priests and get this fixed; otherwise you, me, our shipmates and a ship-load of the Guard are going to end up sucking rubber soon.’

‘Frakkin’ wonderful,’ breathed Surman under his breath.




Surman looked at the eight-man team in front of him through the lenses of his rebreather.  He had known all of them, including Benarl, since he had joined the Ser Amandus Tyr; and trusted them with his life – which is exactly what he was doing now.

‘Right teams.  I’ve had a brief from the Tech-Priests – and it was difficult to decipher what the techno-heads were saying through their servitors, but I think I finally understand it.  The control panel for the carbon dioxide system is burnt out and the reservoirs are venting carbon dioxide into the Section.  There is no means to control the system remotely, so we’re going to need to go in there and manually operate the valves to isolate the reservoirs.  There are eight valves that need to be ratcheted shut.  Now these are big valves, and it’ll take a lot of man-draulic power to shut them.  The compartment is still hot, and we’re going to have to do this whilst wearing our portable tanks as the ship’s air system is damaged in there.  The limit will be the duration of your tanks.  Now, as you know, we’d normally get 60 minutes of air; however, with the rate we’re going to be working operating these valves, it could be as low as 30 minutes based on how much you huff and you puff!  We’re going to split into 4 teams.  Team A and B will go in first, when your air runs low, you’ll be replaced by Teams C and D.  I’m in Team D with Benarl.  The rest of you pair up and come with me.’

Teams A and B entered the compartment with the huge ratchets for manually operating the valves. Surman and Benarl waited outside with their rebreathers attached to the ship’s systems but with primed tanks on their backs.

‘Any regrets about joining up?’ asked Benarl cheerfully, trying to make light of a dark situation.

‘Throne no!’ exclaimed Surman. ‘It was either volunteer for this, or go to prison for some crime or another on the Mother World. Or a fate worse than prison, I could have been press-ganged into joining one of the gun-crews on one of the battleships.  At least this way I get a cabin – or at least I did until we embarked those bloody Guard!  What about you?’

Benarl grinned, ‘ I joined up to drink, smoke, and fornicate my way rounds the stars!  This seems a small price to pay to the Emperor for having him transport my genitals from star-port to star-port.’

They both smiled as they inwardly reminisced about some of the adventures and escapades they had got up to together at various star-ports.  Their introspection was rudely interrupted –‘Team A and B coming out.  Low air.  Four  out of eight valves shut.’

‘Time to earn our pay,’ chuckled Benarl, as they connected their rebreathers to the portable tanks; and made their way into the compartment, shutting the metal door behind them as they entered.




Arms burning, back aching, thighs shaking and eyes stinging, Surman and Benarl moved the ratchets back and fore slowly shutting the valves.  The needle on the valve position indicator crept infinitesimally towards the shut position.  There had always been a healthy competitiveness between Primus and Secundus watches; which was evident now as Surman and Benarl looked at each other through fogged lenses, and commenced a child-like game to see who could get their valve shut first.

Benarl let out a triumphant yell that was muffled by his rebreather as the needle on the valve position indicator reached the fully shut position.  Almost immediately after, Surman’s valve indicated it was fully shut as well.

‘Better let the boss know the situation,’ shouted Benarl, clearly still smiling behind his re-breather.  Surman touched his vox-bead to talk to the Damage Control Team Leader.

‘Valves seven and eight fully shut.  Team D exiting the compartment.  How long is left on the Section air supplies?’

‘It’s not looking good.  We’re down to 30 minutes.  We need to get the valves shut within the next ten minutes to allow the working scrubbers to get control of the levels.  Once the level is trending downwards, Command has agreed to open the bulkheads, which will spread the contaminants throughout the rest of the ship.’

Suddenly another voice piped up over the vox. ‘Team C exiting on low air. Valve 5 fully shut.  Valve six partially shut.’

Surman and Benarl, who had been listening to the communications, shared a knowing look. ‘Damage Control Team Leader.  Team D moving to Valve six.  We’re low on air reserves, but should be able to shut the valve quicker than getting the relief team down.’

‘Team D shutting Valve six. Understood,’ came the reply over the vox.

Moving through the cramped compartment was difficult at the best of times and almost impossible when wearing portable re-breathers.  Valve six was on the top level almost within view of the exit door.  As Surman and Benarl reached the valve, they agreed that they’d take it in turns to operate the ratchet handle for 30 seconds each.  That way they should get it shut as quickly as possible.  Sweating, shaking and breathing heavily, Benarl finished his stint and staggered backwards.  As he moved backwards, the hose from his portable re-breather snagged on an exposed bracket and tore.  The hiss of escaping air was clearly evident, even over the sound of their own heavy breathing.  Without thinking, Surman grabbed Benarl and shoved him towards the metal door.  Opening it inwards, he mustered the nearly unconscious Benarl out into the passageway, and into the arms of the other teams.

‘Get him a new hose and on the ship’s air supply now!  He’s had a hose failure,’ screamed Surman.  They grasped the limp form of Benarl and started to connect him to the ship’s air supply, as Surman stepped back into the compartment and pushed the door shut.  As he was stepping away, he could see Benarl through the small armoured viewing window taking huge gulps of air from his new air supply.

Rushing back to Valve six, Surman started to operate the ratchet handle as if his life depended on it – which it, along with everyone else’s in Section Theta, did.

Back burning – curse Crusade Command.  Should be some Mars-spawned-tech-priests or servitors doing this, if they didn’t go all of the glory-hunting, medal chasing officers on the Battleships!

Arms aching – curse Ship Command.  Not being honest to Crusade Command that we don’t have enough stores, spares, people or time. Not drawing a line in the sand!

Eyes stinging – curse the Guard.  Without them, we’d have more time to try and get this issue sorted!

Thighs screaming – double curse the Archenemy.  Without them, we’d be moving ceremonial regiments to the next Lord High Governor’s ball or cocktail party!

Heart pounding – triple curse Team C and Benarl for not pulling their weight… actually… scrub that… that’s the  only reason I’m doing this.  It’s not for the Emperor, it’s not for Crusade Command, Ship Command or the Guard, it’s for my shipmates!  It’s for those who’ve got my back and those who…


The ratchet stopped moving suddenly, which took him by surprise, as he was consumed by his own internal musings.  He checked the indicator, and could clearly see that Valve six was now fully shut.

Tapping his micro-bead he said, ‘ Valve six fully shut.  Surman coming out.’

‘Valve six fully shut. Understood.  Conducting atmosphere analysis.  Bloody well done Surman,’ voxed the Damage Control Team Leader.

Pausing briefly to stretch out his aching muscles, Surman checked the levels on his re-breather.  Totally focussed on the task at hand, he hadn’t even noticed the alarm on his display informing him that his air reserves were in the amber region.  Not a problem as that still gave him 15 minutes of air left.  Moving back to the door, he could see Benarl’s visored eyes through the armoured-glass viewing portal followed by a swift thumbs up – job well done – followed by a slightly more crude gesture; which was meant as a mark of respect amongst fellow voidsmen.  Surman returned the gesture with a huge smile that was masked by his rebreather.

Moving to the door, Surman felt his ears pop and put it down to the high efforts of exertion that he had just performed.  As he went to pull the door open towards him his vox-bead chimed.

‘Surman, the auxiliary scrubbers in Section Theta are taking up the slack now that the burst has been isolated. Carbon dioxide levels are falling and Command are opening the bulkheads.  We should all be off our rebreathers in a few minutes once the ventilation fans get started.  Pretty sure that some of those Roane Deepers will be wanting to buy you a drink once we’ve fallen out from Emergency Stations.  Gakking well done.’

‘That’s the best news I’ve heard all day.  I could really do with a cold one right about now.  On my way out now,’ replied Surman.

Reaching for the handle of the door again, he pulled to open it, but it wouldn’t budge.  Benarl on the other side, though he might have been on the edge of exhaustion, leant his weight to the other side of the door.  

It still didn’t budge.  

Checking the securing mechanism, they tried again but to no avail.  By now, a rising panic was starting to set in, and the other members of the repair team added their weight to the door.  The door still didn’t move.  Surman looked around and found a cogitator near the door.  Punching the keys to pull up data that he used to collect on his rounds, he noted that the compartment pressure was rising.  The elevated pressure in the compartment was preventing the door from being opened.  It was at this point that he remembered his ears popping.  He wasn’t a Tech-Priest, but he guessed that some of the pipes on the carbon dioxide tanks had become damaged in the fire.  Not a problem when there was a vent path into the rest of the Section; but now that the valves had been shut, gas was leaking into the compartment, which increased the pressure preventing the door from opening. Feth!




Benarl sat at the bar, nursing a large glass of some home-made spirit that stripped his throat raw. In front of him was another untouched glass of the same drink.  It had been months since the fire in Section Theta, and he still couldn’t come to terms with what had happened.  Every waking and sleeping moment was haunted by the events of that day. Nothing he did dampened the clarity of those last moments.

He remembered the vox-cast to remove re-breathers.  He remembered the hands removing his mask, even as he kept his eyes focussed on Surman. Tears streaming unashamedly down his face, he kept looking into Surman’s eyes, trying with willpower alone to save him.  After what seemed like an eternity, Surman took a few shuddering breaths and his re-breather fluttered against his face – a sure sign that his air supply has run out.  Taking off his re-breather, Surman stared back into Benarl’s eyes and smiled a huge smile.  Raising his hands he pointed to his eye, made an obscene gesture with both hands, pointed to his chest, and pointed directly at Benarl, then pointed at his behind.  Holding his gaze with his finger pointed straight into Benarl’s soul, he collapsed from view as Benarl held on to his last communiqué – I fething love you, you arsehole.

‘Another one?’ asked the barkeeper, interrupting his maudlin reminiscence.

‘Aye, make it two.  One for me and one for absent friends,’ said Benarl, gulping down the contents of the second glass.

‘You here on shore leave?  Which ship?’ asked the barkeeper.

‘Aye, I’m here for a few days, and I’m from the Surman’s Tomb,’ replied Benarl.  As the barkeep went to get the drinks, he thought to himself that he better keep his eye on this one in case he’s trouble.  His overalls clearly said ‘Ser Amandus Tyr’, but he pronounced it ‘Seuman’s Tomb’ – what to do with a drunken voidsmen?

About the Author

Bob Church has been immersed in the 40K universe since 1993, coinciding with the release of 2nd Edition. Nearly 30 years later, the stories contained within the Codex Imperialis and Wargear Book remain foremost in his brain. Whilst serving his country as a submariner tech adept, he immersed himself in the 40K universe and is keen to contribute to this epic library of stories.