Into that Vast Expanse

Quintus Ruminates (#2)

There Ain't No Party Like a Death Cult Party

Cause a death cult party has Captain Satrius playing the harpsichord and me trying my hardest to make a damn fool of myself.

So while I’m in the underdecks fraternizing with the crew, Jemidar’s astropaths hear some psychic distress call from an imperial vessel. Seems that a psycher transit ship has lost control of its human cargo and the crew is loosing the battle to fend them off. Not a pretty predicament to be in. Captain wants to go out and blow the whole thing to smithereens, but kind-hearted Jemidar is all worried about saving the crew. Don’t think I’ve ever seen her so worked up about something. She actually stormed out on the captain, leaving the matter all unresolved.

Of course Vesper and myself are there watching the whole thing unfold and the shark-toothed bitch has the gall to question Jemidar’s loyalties. Pious Jemidar! As far as I’m concerned, a little conversation about the fate of this ship never hurt anyone.

Anyway, so it’s into the warp again. I fucking hate the warp. I figured I’d start to get used to it, but it only seems to be getting worse. Now it’s giving me nightmares.

I wake up on New Radius, but not in my bunk. In the crew lodgings on the lower decks, as far as I can tell. It’s dark and hot and quieter than it has any right to be. And before I have time to start wondering what I’m doing down there I hear him. The telltale thunk of his peg leg on the metal floor. How foolish of me to think I was free of him.

He calls out my name, echoing down the rows of bunks, making my breath catch in my throat. I’m running for the door, scurrying between the bunks, hoping that the shadows hide me from his sight, but I’m out of luck. He sees me, outlined by the light from the other side of the door. It slams closed a moment short of my dash for freedom. I have no choice, I must face him.

His voice bellows and I can hear the revving of his chainsword. All I have on my side is speed. I climb to the top level of a bunk and when he passes by in search of me, I jump, wrapping my arms tight around his throat and holding on for dear life. Somehow I manage to wrest the chainsword from his grip and it spins across the floor. Before I can think, I have it in my hands. It cuts through the flesh of his neck so smoothly, spattering me with his hot blood. I can taste it in my mouth. And I remember, as his body flops to the floor: I never saw him die. I never saw him die.

So I wake up in my own room sweating and gasping for breath. I figure it has to be an effect of the warp. My brain’s pretty good at leaving what’s in the past right there where it belongs, and it’s a good thing, too. There’s no curse quite as bad as a good memory.

And after all that, I have this damn death cult dedication ceremony to go to. Seems that the crew has realized what really happens to the people summoned to the black-eyed bitch’s quarters, and instead of being repulsed, as any reasonable being would be, they want to worship her. Fucking death cult.

It’s all verbose sermons and saccarine hymns, so I stand in the darkest corner I can find drinking the strongest liquor I can find, trying to ignore the fact that this is a group of people who honestly believe that the point of life is to toil for the Emperor only so one can die and toil for the Emperor for all eternity. Not much of a payoff if you ask me. Fucking death cult.

Anyway, seems that I made some uncouth comments about our excellent and admirable abomination of a navigator before Jemidar had me swept off to my room. Good old Jemidar. Piousness and freaky eye-sockets aside, I’ve met very few people in this world who genuinely care about others, and she’s one of them.

By some terrible twist of fate, the priest she sents to take care of me has a goddamned peg leg. I almost put a bolt into him through my door. Good thing I thought twice about that.

So we came out of warp in the middle of nowhere and Captain and Jemidar are back to arguing about how to deal with the whole psycher ship issue. I just want something to do. Something to shoot.

And then I remember: I’m not worried about not seeing his body. I know I did not fail. It is only that I wish that I was there to see him – to see all of them – die.

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