Author Topic: The Ghost Worlds  (Read 1116 times)

Offline Dosdamt

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Re: The Ghost Worlds
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2020, 08:10:40 PM »
Vengeance Incarnate

The Light of Faith, In Orbit over Io’s Lover

Operation Clock - T- 4 hours, 12 minutes, 44 seconds, 43 seconds, 42 seconds….

Qatya Fanham, Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus, loved mornings like this. She hadn’t been able to relax for the previous eighteen months, but now, in high orbit over her homeworld, she allowed herself the luxury of a late morning. The artificial gravity was off, perfect to stretch and let herself simply float for a few moments after she woke up. The feeling of weightlessness was priceless as if all her stresses left her body like gentle lazy steam. The dark bags under her eyes stubbornly clung to her face even with the incredible sleep she’d had last night. Her dreams had been haunted for months by flickering gibbering faces. DuBois, the recently deceased Lord Scaran, several of her staff who had gone missing in mysterious circumstances on Sarum, even trusted associates such as von Horst. They would surround her, hounding her for her failure to finally finish off the Disciples of Rekhan.

She would dream of a giant made of perfect angular diamond that straddled the galaxy. The female form leered from system to system, flexing impossibly large claws as it hunted for prey. The face - clear, edged, etched - would appear over whole solar systems, distending light and bending reality with its gravity. Stars and planets would stretch under the immense gravitic forces, and yet, systems remained intact even as they pulled thin with forced elasticity. The figure would open her colossal jaws like a ravenous python - the jaws would go slack, then dislocate from their holding. Once the jaw was hanging somewhat slack, a torrent of coagulating thick black blood would tear through the system coating asteroids, comets and drown out the stars in the system pooling on the heliocentric plane.

From her vantage point, she watched the deluge coming down over each world in the system as she simultaneously felt the flood of liquid from the surface of every world. She was in all places, experiencing the tsunami of scabs, black platelets the size of houses and rampaging lymphocytes of a tyrannical scale. She drowned in the blood. She was crushed by a platelet. A razor-sharp scab, caught in a tidal swill, ripped her in half. A lymphocyte caught her and disassembled her into primordial goo. She climbed the claws of the diamond primeval titan, searching for a way to strike at the mysterious galactic assailant only to be plucked and devoured by a whole ecosystem’s worth of diamond bacteria that inhabited the skin of the titan.

Each night, she was tormented, each morning she rose again with deepening, blackening bags underneath her glazed red eyes.

But last night, the dreams were gone and she’d finally caught up on her sleep. She used momentum to slip her over the climate controls, where she adjusted the gravity back to a comfortable equivalent of the planet below, approximately the same gravity as Holy Terra. She let herself have another twenty minutes to herself, running through a sequence of stretches and poses to settle her mind and enrich her body. She sat cross legged for another twenty minutes, moving through various benedictions to the Emperor to settle her spirit. She made herself a hot cup of recaf and stood watching Io’s Lover below. The system star was just cresting over the zenith of the planet’s edge, letting shafts of light pierce into her eyes and warm her skin. Fanham allowed herself a soft smile and sense of peace for a few moments as sunlight warmed her skin.

She flicked through notifications on her datapad - intelligence reports had come in overnight. More worrying news on the Disciples; their movements were more erratic now in what she hoped were death throes after the sequence of heavy blows they had landed after the death of the Lord Scaran. Another report from Lorwen on the breaking being done there. The facility had become more efficient of late, and she was pleased with the progress being made across a number of investigations as a result. Several logistics reports on more resource movements across her network required her seal. She authorised the movements and read through each of the intelligence reports on the Disciples. A personal enmity had long since formed between her and the cult. She had the remaining high profile personalities firmly in her sight now, having chased them doggedly across the sector.

The problem was, they also knew her. While she knew she had been careful and complete in hiding her history with the Inquisition and before the Inquisition, that didn’t staunch leaks in her organisation, in her retinue or on her ship.

She’d had her ship crew rotated three times, and each time she had fed the new crew new lies about her origin, her name, and her operation. Nothing threw the Disciples off the scent. She had her headquarters torn apart and rebuilt. She executed thirteen intelligence analysts for their part in several high profile mistakes she had made in recent pursuits of the Disciples. Still, they came after her. She changed her interrogators, she narrowed her inner circle, she dug herself deeper inside a fortified mental bunker and yet she hadn’t been able to shake the feeling that her subordinates were constantly letting her down and disgorging her secrets to her enemies. There was a constant sense of gnawing akin to being eaten alive. Her tendons were being pulled at, raw and disconcerting; twitching her body into monstrous shapes. 

She wouldn’t admit to anyone, but she would see dark shapes on the edge of her peripheral vision. The shapes had twisting horns, hooked talons, and gaping drooling jaws. The monsters would whisper gibbering streams of violent fantasies - some days it took all her willpower not to carry them out. On other days, she would sit and listen to them in the dark, barely clinging to her sanity. Other days they were persuasive, luxuriating voices that whispered her darkest secrets to her. They would repeat them back, changing details each time they spoke. What started out as innocuous fantasies about taking a break on some beautiful fresh world would twist until it was debauched high heresy. The voices would become faces from her past - her parents, her instructors at the Schola, even the Lord Scaran.

Today was, so far, the first day in months, she had felt settled and calm. Nothing haunted her peripheral vision. No voices whispered at the edge of her hearing. There was no itching down her arms, down her back, at the nape of her neck, on the backs of her knees.

What Qatya Fanham, Throne Agent, Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus, did not know was that this was going to be the worst day of her entire existence.

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It is never too late! - Mentirius

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