The area is coated with grime. Every surface is covered in a mix of blood and rust. Servitors’ frames lay dead and mutilated. Kymass looks to his master, the towering arched form working on his ultimate creation on the surgeon’s table—an AI. The kind only seen since the Dark Age of Technology. The master is a shadow of his former self. The priest inserts the cable wires in the artificial spine he stole from a servitor. The mass of arms and appendages spilling from the black robe of the magi.
‘Enginseer, bring forth the processor.’
Kymass moves on spiked iron feet to the metal tray on the edge of the operating table. He picks up the chip that took twelve minutes to print. He hands it over into the three-pronged claw of a silver tentacle. The magi takes it greedily as he has done before. The creature is a blob of pulped flesh over a metallic frame of iron rods and pistons. Wires and cables spurt out of the fat flesh. A range of crudely fashioned weapons replace the arms of the beast. The head is a stitched mess of dead flesh—faces of the servitors stitched together into a hellish collage. The master slots the chip into a side port on the creature’s head, the flesh opening to accept the component.
‘We are this close apprentice. By Horus, we will be free. Those bastard admech will regret ever giving me enough to escape.’ The tech priest senses Kymass’s emotions like he had before.
‘What’s the matter Enginseer? You seem distant. We are just about to create life itself. An AI able to free us out of his infernal cell. You should be proud to witness the birth of such a creation by my hands.’
The master activates the power supply he had forged out of scrap left in the cell. Internal lights inside the flesh glow, piercing through the bloated stitched flesh, muted in brightness by the blood and skin.
‘Only a few seconds now, and it will be ready,’ the master repeats like he had done before. Kymass looks at his chrono counter. Three seconds left. It is too late, as it always is.
‘We’re too late again, master,’ Kymass states. The master turns suddenly. Even through the lens orbs, he could see the emotion. The chrono counter strikes zero as the AI rises up like a newborn, only to pause as a psychic force grips it.
The great bell rings. The echo runs through the metal cell. Kymass only sighs like he has done a million other times as his body is teleported into the hold. A small chamber attached to the main cell holds the heretic in the moment. They begin their torture, returning them to the age when they arrived, ensuring no heretek can escape through death. The bell chimes on as psychic energies flow through the cell, visible in the hold via the thick glass door. Their creation is torn asunder. Every stitch and piece of technology is reversed, chemical reactions undone, circuits rewired. Nothing could survive the Infernus Temporal: the Demon’s Clock.
Kaymass can only watch on as the creation is torn down. Flesh is returned to the servitors, steel and iron are reforged into their original form. Kymass feels nothing anymore watching. He used to feel anger at the loss of such a piece of creation. He has seen it too many times now. He knows every detail of the process. He can’t even remember how many times now: a million, a billion, maybe more. How many days have passed since his imprisonment, he cannot say. Time has no structure of night and day; it is now a constant stretch of existence, long and unending.
This is their hell, a punishment against those who stray from the Omnissiah. Their innovation is to be torn down again and again. The effort gone into it lost in seconds—an endless, inescapable cell of unending punishment. No matter how much they innovate and work to escape, it is all for nothing. All will succumb to the Demon’s Clock.
Kymass can only stare once again as the cycle is reset. There is nothing he can do. He can’t die. He can only hope for madness. He cannot understand the sheer impossibility of it all like his master does. His mind had broken a hundred cycles ago, maybe millions. Even a cybernetical-enhanced mind like his could not begin to comprehend time in such a way. Timescales of millions are not meant to be comprehended by people in such a way.
The master’s broken mind can only now replay the one cycle. Stuck on a loop doing the same events for centuries, unaware that time has even passed, unaware that the clock would indifferently smite down his creation. Perhaps it is a blessing to go mad, to not understand such an eternal hell. It is freedom, in a way, now that death is barred to them.
The cell is now bare, reduced to its original state. Servitors now return to their original state armed with stubbers and shock staves, supposedly for containing the incarnated but where, in truth, are lures for the heretek. A temptation to experiment, the carrot before the stick.
The glass door retracts upwards. Kymass steps forward; already, his master has shot forth mechadendrites that bare into the skull of a servitor with a stubber.
‘Come on Enginseer, we have only an hour. Begin the printing of components we will need.’
Kymass fires up his internal fabricator as he has done so many times before. The hum of the cybernetics is as familiar as the rising sun. He only looks on as his master begins another cycle the same way he had done the last. He whispers to only himself. The words so familiar they are like a reflex
‘So it begins, again.’
About the Author
Owen got into Warhammer by chance from a friend he was working with at an local library. He read Avenging Son and was hooked. He is currently at Wolverhampton University studying creative writing and English literature, hoping to make it in writing.