There wasn’t a lot of blood.
This wasn’t much consolation to Brian. The majority of his flesh had been sliced away and replaced with cold, clean metal, as was the Omnissiah’s will. His body ran to mechanical perfection, muscles replaced with servos and bones shot through with an impulse-bearing skein of wires. He didn’t need blood.
He needed oils, electrolytic fluids, symbiotic nutrient gels, substitute plasma infusions and enriched blood-analogue liquids. That’s why, as he lay crumpled in a slowly spreading pool of vital, life-giving fluids, the least of Brian’s worries was the blood that dripped from behind his mask. He tried to lift his head, but all that happened was a whirring, clacking noise in the back of his skull. Something was badly broken. In fact, it felt like a lot of things were badly broken.
Brian stared up at the massive marine standing over him. He couldn’t see much past the bulging breastplate, but he could hear the thunderous booming of the armoured warrior’s tirade:
“Brothers! Once more unto the Enemy we have brought Our Emperor’s Most Holy Light! By His Grace, His Vigilance and His Unerring Wisdom we have triumphed once again!
Cheers rang out all around. Brian heard the clang-clang-clang of power-armored applause and felt thunderous tremors as the gathered marines stamped their approval.
“This worm, this twisted, vile creature that infects our Sacred Brotherhood of Mankind, has been shown the fatal weakness of its kind! With one final blow, I, Mortimus Maximarius, will purge another stain from Our Most Beneficent Emperor’s Glorious Galaxy of Man!”
This was too much to bear. Brian clicked open his vox-caster:
“Um, excuse me, I -”
“SILENCE!” boomed the looming marine.
An indignant chorus rose from all around. Restless noises and muttering came from the crowd. Brian tried again.
“No, it’s just that I -”
“SIIIILENCE!” the marine roared into his face. He bent so low that Brian could smell the incense and sweat, and see the enormous veins bulging on the warrior’s forehead. He looked annoyed.
“Tell the heretic to be quiet!” came a voice from the crowd. The captain continued:
“As I was saying . . . we have sought out and cleansed our enemy. Brothers, by his grace . . . I mean, by His Grace, we have triumphed once more, and we have shown ourselves to . . . we have shown that we are . . . “
“The Sword of the Emperor’s Justice?” thundered a voice from the crowd, heavy with centuries of service and duty.
“The Instrument of His Wrath?” came another, deep and strident, filled with authority.
“How about “The Sword of the Emperor’s Wrath, Justice and Contempt”?” boomed a third voice, sonorous and weighty with a lifetime’s sacred obedience. “That has a nice ring to it.”
“Brothers, please, I am making the speech! It’s my turn, then it’s Brother-Captain Maximus Fidelius, then Chaplain Incredulus Enormitus, then Brother-Sergeant Fabulus.”
The gathered marines fell silent. Brian felt the ground shudder as a dozen mighty power-armoured transhumans shuffled their feet in embarrassment.
“Very well, brothers. Now, fiend, I deliver you unto the Emperor’s Justice, returning you unto the Light you scorned in life. May you find what pity He Blesses upon you, though you be undeserving of His Beneficence.”
The captain glared down. He raised a fist crackling with enough power to breach fortress walls and split open the hulls of starships. He looked Brian in the eyes and spoke quietly, fiercely, his eyes blazing with hatred and contempt.
“You’ve completely ruined this for me, I hope you’re happy.”
BANG! – the fist came down, and Brian blacked out.
Brian fought some Space Marines. It didn’t go well for him.
I’ve nearly finished adding a pair of Kastelans to my force (just bases to go), so hopefully this month he won’t end up the subject of a pompous death-speech!