Hey guys new story.
This is a spin-off/tribute to the Death Korps of Justice by Lord-of-Change. I made this with his permission.
I am not the best at 40K lore, but from what I have gathered about Tech-Priests is that they are universally considered very 'weird'. Sure they get the job done but they are almost universally considered off and not very relatable unless you really get to know them.
I purposefully left Cardsharp's description vague because he hides a lot of his form under his red robes. But you will come to see more of him in the next chapter.
Would love to hear your thoughts on it.
Subsector Marxian, Segmentum Ultima. A backwater system if there ever was one. Average production, above average recruitment, self-sufficient, loyal Imperialists and altogether quiet.
Its purpose was little more than a brief supply point for those poor souls heading to the front lines. It was such an uneventful place far from danger that many soldiers cannot even recall visiting it.
So of course Chaos would try and invade it.
How it turned to Chaos would be an issue to be dissected by the Inquisition. All that mattered was that in a few short weeks Chaos was taking root. The loyalist put up a fight and sent an emergency distress beacon to any and all who would listen.
The subsector itself and the citizens that lived in it held little strategic value. The fact that it was Imperium territory and Chaos wanted it was enough for the arm-chair generals at Segmentum Command.
They wanted a victory and they needed it to be decisive and quick. Cue the Tallarn 94th Desert Raiders, a regiment with history of being both. The regiment descended from the skies like a dark storm, taking what was once lost from the foul forces of Chaos.
Six unspeakably bloody months in and they have reached the capital of the subsector, the planet Kant.
The 4th Company stood in the loading bay of the Lunar-class Cruiser Titanfall, their captain providing them with a sort of 'motivational' speech.
"Alright listen up you sad sacks!" Captain Melak yelled. "It's been a long road, but now it's coming to a close. The Inquisition are behind us and want to pick up the pace. A regiment of the Death Korps of Krieg has been rerouted to our location, but I will be dammed before I let them steal our glory. This is a Tallarn victory! A 4th Company victory!"
Many soldiers jeered in agreement.
"The entire regiment is counting on us," Melak smirked, "and I will not let those sand diggers in 8th company have the satisfaction of completing their objectives before us."
Many in the company chuckled, their rivalry with 8th company was a friendly joke in the battalion. Many of the senior officers have been known to take bets on which company will come first; in war, everyone has a hobby.
"Memorise your strike packages and check your equipment before we land." Melak stood tall and proud. "Let our shots be true and may the Emperor be with us. Commissar Gevin, do you have anything you wish to add?"
A tall imposing man with man scars and no evidence of having ever smiled stepped out behind him like a phantom. "Well said Captain." He growled in a way that made people uncomfortable. "This is a bastion of Chaos. There are no innocents on this world, only cowards and heretics. You are to shoot on sight. Anyone that is not shooting at what I am shooting at, becomes what I am shooting at." The penetrating gaze of the uniformed officer glared at each soldier before him. "I have served with you since the beginning of this campaign, I know you will each do yourselves, you captain, your company and your regiment proud."
The words 'or else…' while not said but definitely communicated in his voice. Gevin was reasonable for a commissar. However, regardless of his personality, whether he was liked or even that he turned a blind eye to the occasional infraction; he was a commissar. That alone was enough to be wary of him. "The Emperor protects." The Commissar bowed his head and stood back in the shadows.
"Confessor Vallah is available for those who wish it." Malek stood forward again. "We have an hour. Everyone grab something to eat, and check your bloody equipment. I will not have a repeat of Furvos XI. Dismissed."
The company replied with a crisp salute and slowly left the landing bay. There was only one who shuffled about his duties unabated. A red-robed adept of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
The Tech-Priest of Mars shuffled along several Chimera Tanks, repairing minor damage to the hull. The last battle on Kobat Moon left a majority of their tanks in bullet-ridden shape. Using his servo-arm he slowly bent the armour in place, sealing it with a high powered torch stored in in right little digit. Another satisfied Machine Spirit.
= Chimera Model TS84309502395091-4-1204488 repaired =
= Outstanding Chimera repairs: 26 =
= Commencing repair on Chimera Model GH3095203923-093-4Z =
The Tech-Priest's name was unpronounceable with a human tongue, needless to say he was blessed with the moniker Cardsharp by Segmentum. But was affectionately known in the Tallaran 94th as-
"Yes Captain Melak?" The red robed cyborg replied turning to face the company leader, the commissar trailing behind.
"I need you to iron on the kinks on the Sentinel's. We need everything we have if we are going to take this world down." Melak asked.
"What of the Chimeras?" The Tech-Priest uttered a series of clicks and static. "Not all of them have been healed."
"No time." Melak dismissed the cyborg's concern. "We have an excess of Chimera's and will make do with what we have."
"You should have informed me earlier Captain Melak, I-"
"Sharp, don't." The commander softened a little. "I know you have a lot on your plate, especially since Tech-Priest Kyriz died. But I need those Sentinel's, and I need them now."
The servo-arm jerked slightly but Sharp made no other indication that he heard them. The Captain Melak and Commissar Gevin shared an odd look. "Sharp, you are all I've got. I need those Sentinels. Can you handle it?"
"Of course." The Tech-Priest called Cardsharp bowed slightly to the metal tank next to it before moving on to another part of the hold, where the bi-pedal Sentinels were waiting.
= Mission: Chimera repairs. Status: terminated =
= New mission: Ensure Sentinels are functional =
"He's a bit odd." The Commissar's eyes narrowed, suspecting something was wrong. "For a tech-priest I mean."
"Tech-Priest Kyriz was killed in the last battle." Melak shrugged. "Cardsharp is now acting Tech-Priest for the company. He's probably rattled."
"I don't like it." The Commissar frowned. "Our only tech-priest and no one to verify his work."
"If you are suspecting heresy Commissar Gevin, you need not worry." The captain began walking out of the loading bay. "Cardsharp's a fighter and loyal to the cause, he's never let us down."
"What do you know about him?"
"Not much, you know tech-priests; they keep to themselves." The captain scratched his chin. "All I know is that this is his first mission out. He is young, but knowledgeable. He joined our company just before the campaign as an acolyte to Tech-Priest Kyriz. With Kyriz gone, he's all we have left."
"Hmmm." The commissar mused trailing him in kind. "I don't feel comfortable trusting a critical mission to a novice."
"Maybe." Melak quipped. "But he's all we have."
Cardsharp whittled with the time he had left. True to Melak, he did not let them down. He managed to get all the faulty sentinels back on line. The last of the sentinel's hummed back to life as he connected the generator back to the main fuel nacelle. "Blessed Machine Spirit, I see you have awoken."
= Sentinel BY983798372987-34928749187 repaired =
= Outstanding Sentinel repairs: 0 =
The on-board computer beeped several times, the diagnostic board showing all green. "Excitable I see. Do not fear Machine Spirit, you shall serve the Emperor in due course."
"So Sharpie, I see this one is up and running too. Well done." The Tech-Priest turned to see Dan, leader of squad 12. Lieutenant Dan as he called himself was not exactly a friend per se, but he was more approachable and kinder than the rest of the division. Tech-priests are not exactly welcomed nor involved in social activities unless they are told to fix something, hence why they keep to themselves. Dan used to invite Cardsharp and Kyriz to their poker games, emphasis on 'used to'.
"I did nothing. The Machine Spirit is eager to join the fray." Cardsharp gently patted the control panel. "She desires a fight."
"She's going to get it." Dan chuckled. "Sharp, I'll need you to stick close to us. I need you to ensure the Sentinel's stay online. According to 2nd company there is a heck of a firefight going on down there."
= Error = One of the many limbs, his mechadendrites twitched involuntarily. They were a part of him just as a hand was part of Dan. "You okay bud?" Dan's brows furrowed.
"I'm fine." The tech-priest climbed out of the Sentinel.
"You want to talk about it?" Dan asked. "I mean I know that Kyriz was your mentor and the way he went-"
"I do not need to be reminded. I know." One of the many unpleasant looking bionic machines attached to his back twitched in irritation. "I just need to get my equipment."
Dan nodded; he was not exactly sure how old Sharp was, but he had to guess he was still young if death still bothered him, specifically Kyriz's. Though Cardsharp would never admit it, deep down he was still human.
The exact moment the doors were dropped, the 4th company were fired upon. It was only by the grace of volley from the sentinel's did they Tallarn soldiers have time to leave the ship and take cover. Soldiers rushed out of the transport ship, equipment and all leaving a lone 'man' to walk calmly onto the battlefield. Cardharp's 'equipment' was his Omnissian Power Axe, something no tech-priest should be without, two independent ballistic mechadendrites and an eradication ray for close encounters.
Floating above Cardsharp's head were his favoured (and only) two servo-skulls KA63 and KA64, but everyone else called them Tongue and Pardon respectively.
KA63 was a Guardian variant. Bestowed Tongue because of its large repeater rifle on its underside imitating someone sticking their tongue out. This is one of the few opportunities for Cardsharp to let it loose and perform the duties it was created for.
KA64 was more frequently seen, a Monotask variant, it was usually seen hovering over Cardsharp assisting in a variety of methods, most notably repairs. However, in this case its original programming was replaced with advanced targeting and tracking allowing Tongue to blow whatever it looked at to smithereens. It was given the name 'Pardon' because if always responded to any request that was not Cardsharps with 'pardon me?'
Sharp's mechanical eyes absorbed the situation quickly, they were on the outskirts of the capital in the south west. What was once a grand city was a metropolis of rubble, most of it old, clearly Chaos was having fun. The skies were reddened with warp taint, black ships of the Emperor's faithful descended to the planet. Rockets, lasfire and harsh insults flew in all directions.
Amongst the violence and the screams, Sharp took the opportunity to kneel, his hand resting on the iron hull of the transport ship. "Blessed Machine Spirit, I give thanks for our safe arrival. May yee find honor in our cause and help-"
"What are you doing you fool?!" The tech-priest was spear tackled to the ground, lasfire erupting above them. Cardsharp's mechanical tendrils immediately zeroed in on the attacker, only to face the grim expression of Commissar Gevin. Commissar saving someone; that was a first.
"The Emperor's faithful deserve to be thanked, machine or not."
"Maybe, but you can do that when we are not in the middle of a firefight!" The commissar bellowed, attempting to haul the cyborg to his feet, with little success. "Get your ass to fourth squad or so help me I will shoot you now!"
"Of course." The tech-priest used the strange attachments to upright himself and moved alongside what was left of a wall rendezvousing with his entourage, the 4th Mechanised Squad.
"There you are Sharp!" Dan jeered. "Come on, you're going to miss the party!"
"We fail to see how invading a chaos infested city is a party." Sharp beeped.
=Repair Mode Activated=
Nonetheless, the Sentinels moved forward, the tech-priest in tow. Laspistols sounded across the city interrupted by the volleys of heavy cannon fire.
"Leman Russ! On the right!" Dan cried out seeing the metal behemoth crash through building, the symbol of chaos painted on the side in an unpleasant red colour. The Sentinel's rounded their guns but the corrupted Leman Russ managed to get a shot off. Only Cardsharp's sensors were detailed enough to see the cannon deploy a Hellfire Round and watch it slam into Dan's cockpit.
Fortunately that was the only shot it could get off. The rest of the Sentinel's fired upon the enemy destroying it utterly. For shame, Cardsharp thought, two perfectly good Machine Spirits destroyed.
"Dammit! They killed Dan! What do we do now?!" A soldier cried.
"We keep moving!" Another answered. The Sentinels continued down the road, mostly having to deal with commandeered tanks and with each destruction, Cardsharp groaned in sadness. So many Machine Spirits lost.
It was only till they reached the city square did something go wrong. Cardsharp's sensors noticed to late the place with rigged with mines. "It's a trap! AMBUSH!" But the damage was done, the ground itself erupted with explosions. The Sentinels toppled over, their Machine Spirits groaning in pain, taking their pilots with them.
It was only when Cardsharp's optics filtered the debris did he realise to very bad things; one the Sentinels he slaved over to heal were wrecked and he was completely alone and surrounded. "Machine Spirits, forgive me."
If there were no Machine Spirits to heal, then Cardsharp had to resort to secondary protocols.
= Repair Mode Deactivated =
= Skitarii Protocols Activated =
Power was rerouted throughout the tech-priest's body, shuffling into the tendrils and feet to ensure maximum agility. The ballistics began to unfurl out of his robe already locking on targets. He finally pulled out the eradicating ray and aimed it into the smoke.
= Yellow Alert. Standby =
Several soldiers, lost souls who turned away from the Emperor's light stepped from behind derelicts. Amused looks on their faces. "Ha! Told you they would fall for it." A man with rotten teeth cackled.
Another soldier, one taller stronger shook his head. "Maybe, but the Master will not be pleased that we had to lure them so close to a tear to do it."
= Targets: 15 humans. Initialising weapon systems, targeting vital organs =
"Yeah but – woah what's that?" One of the traitors squinted through the rubble looking at the tech-priests blurry form. That's our cue.
= Engaging =
The one with the rotten gums was the first to go, his head exploded in a flash of light from lasfire. The second barely had time to blink when he two lost his head.
"A survivor!" Someone called out. "Kill HIM!"
= Analysing fields of fire. Calculating trajectory =
Pardon emitted a red laser from its eyes sockets tracking the most efficient method of lining up the assailers. Tongue unloaded its barrels in sync with where Pardon's laser was pointed mowing down the traitors so fast they did not have time to seek cover.
= Targets: 0 =
=Skitarii Protocols on Standby=
Cardsharp stepped out of the dust and rubble surveying the damage.
= Diagnostic Mode Active =
As Sharp feared, the Sentinels were damaged beyond repair, their Machine Spirits lost. Their pilots dead. "Blessed Machine Spirits, forgive me for not saving the shells that protect you. May you find peace in the light of the Omnissiah and Emperor-ack!"
Cardsharp felt the lasers penetrate and sear his frame, metal and flesh alike. Pain shot through to his brain causing his vision to blur into static.
=Alert: Sustained Damage. Calculating trajectory of impact. Rerouting KA63 and KA64 to intercept =
Tongue and Pardon rounded on the source only to be shot down in sparks and electricity.
= Alert: Communication with KA63 and KA64 severed =
Cardsharp could feel their connection wither and sever from the mind. Their machine spirits abandoned him, sucking the air from his lungs. KA63…KA64…No…
KA64 had been with him from the beginning, assigned to him when he first became an adept.
KA63 was a parting gift from Tech-Priest Kyriz.
= Alert Damage Assessment: Servo-arm damaged. Visual sensors 2 through 6 offline. Cardiac Implant 3 damaged. Mind Impulse Unit offline. Four structural failures detected =
= Alert: System Failure. Rerouting in progress =
"Well that was easy." A voice chuckled. Sharp's auditory sensors locked in on the source. A man walked from behind a broken wall. He wore the uniform of an Imperial Guardsman, a major judging by the insignia on his breastplate. He also carried the MK63 Segmentum Ultima Variant Lasgun, and it was pointed directly at Sharp's head.
The tech-priest's eyes zoomed onto his shoulder plate to see the Aquila scarred and burnt replaced with an eight-pointed star. The symbol forged from something that looked suspiciously like blood.
= Error =
"Oh a tech-priest I see." The heretic grinned revealing blackened gums and stained teeth.
"You heretical scum." Cardsharp's vox albeit damaged conveyed his anger and intense hatred in cold metallic monotone. Sharp tried to move his arm to shoot the filthy heretic in the face with the eradication ray, but tech-priest's arm was not responding.
= Alert Damage Assessment: Neural Relays 3, 9 and 7 damaged. Operational efficiency at 16.8%. Rerouting in progress =
"Having trouble are we?" The ex-major laughed. "Well you can't have everything I suppose. You should consider yourself flattered, your about to witness the straw that breaks the Imperial Guard's back." He lowered his weapon downward. The tech-priest thanked the Ommnissiah for being blessed with a stupid Chaos heretic.
Sharp needed time so the tech-priest decided to humour the traitor. "Explain."
"Do I need to," the major twirled around, "look at where you are."
Sharp complied, absorbing ruins and finally noticed the strange symbols surrounding the ambush site…and the strange emanations that ebbed from them. "Warp tear."
= Redundant System 432A online. Rerouting in Progress =
"See, I knew you could solve it." The Chaos heretic reached to a pack and pulled a small object, a blackened talisman. Sharp did not bother to scan the readings that emanated from the thing, a Chaos relic of some sort.
= Alert: Proximity Warning. New targets inbound =
Sharp paled as a group of fourteen traitor Guardsman came pouring forth from the north, an uncomfortable gleam in their eyes.
"You okay, Calig?" One of the traitors raised a brow.
"Perfectly fine." The major shrugged.
= Relay 15623C activated. Neural Relay 9 online =
= Alert: System Failure. Rerouting in Progress =
"We're about to be overrun." The traitor guardsman reported. "What do we do?"
"Fear not." The major held up cursed relic. "Reinforcements are one the way."
"Hey what do we do with this guy?" One of the guardsman tapped Sharp on the head with the tip of his lasgun.
"Leave him," the major waved off his concern, "he's no threat now. Besides what better way to earn the Dark God's favour by offering him a sacrifice?" The guardsman laughed sending an unexpected electrical surge down Sharp's spines. "Let me begin the ceremony."
= Cardiac Implant 2 Online =
= Alert: System Failure. Rerouting in progress =
The Tech-Priest could feel his limbs twitching back on. The mechandrites on his back were still not working, but he could feel more mobility now that he did a minute before. Sharp urged patience, panic would only make things worse. Still being offered as a sacrifice to a demonic being is not something anyone wants to be.
= Rerouting in progress =
The major called Calig began to chant something and the energy that emanated off the Chaos relic increased tenfold, a tear of hellish red light split the air above them. Sharp cursed.
= Rerouting in progress =
Sharp looked at the gate to the warp and his cardiac bionic seized up when he saw the warp stare back with countless eyes. Come on, faster, faster!
= Rerouting in progress =
Sharp's mind turned to Tech-Priest Kyriz, and the pain he went through as he was devoured by the Daemon. Tech-Priest Kyriz: his superior, his mentor, his friend.
= Error = The look of horror on Kyriz's face and his distress of binary and static as he died said it all. Cardsharp may be a novice, but the tech-priest would not go out like that.
= Mechandrites offline. Servo-arm offline. Operational efficiency at 20.4%. Alert: System Failure. Rerouting in progress =
Cardsharp took what he could get, moved his hand closer to the eradication ray. Closer, closer.
"ARE YOU READY TO MEET YOUR NEW GOD?!" The major laughed with sadistic glee.
"No." Cardsharp grabbed the eradication ray and pointed it at the Chaos relic and pulled the trigger.
The relic exploded in a wave of energy destroying the arm of the one that held it. Calig screamed in pain, his arm spraying blood across the ground. The warp tear sputtered and seizured, the creatures on the other side roaring in pain and outrage.
Calig will probably die from his wounds. Cardsharp what little satisfaction he could get before inevitably being shot at by the rest of the traitor Guardsman. But they did not shoot him, instead they screamed in horror as they were being lifted into the waning warp tear. The tech-priest would have laughed, but his vox was still damaged, and he felt himself being pulled as if gravity had reversed itself. Oh damn.
= Alert: Unknown energy surge =
"What have you done?!" Calig cried out. "You fool! YOU HAVE DOOMED US ALL?!"
Cardsharp wanted to rattle off a list of reasons how hypocritical that sounded, but he was more worried about being drawn into the Warp with the traitorous Guardsman.
= Alert: Servo-arm online =
Thank the Omnissiah, the tech-priest prayed. The mechanical servo-arm twirled and buzzed before finally locking onto a steel pipe that was embedded into the ground.
= Servo-arm locked: maximum tension =
Cardsharp's ascent was abruptly halted and surge of relief filled his circuits. All the tech-priest had to do now was wait it out. Then he will re-join the main attack group.
"IF I'M GOING DOWN I'M TAKING YOU WITH ME!" Cardsharp's still damaged sensors saw Calig draw his Laspistol and aimed it directly at him. Before Cardsharp could respond, the traitor major fired. The laser penetrated through the tech-priest and damaged the servo-arm.
= Alert Damage Assessment: Servo-arm offline. Cardiac implant 1 damaged. Neural Relay 1 through 3 damaged =
Amongst the pain, Cardsharp realised his ascent had resumed. Faster than before.
= Alert: System Failure =
Cardsharp's mind whizzed through the possibilities, but nothing was viable.
= Alert: Unknown readings =
The tech-priest realised the horrific conclusion as he was absorbed into the warp tear.
The mechanical eyes, the ones not shot out or disabled were absorbing everything, every horrific and disturbing detail and transmitting it directly into Cardsharp's brain. His bionic heart, the last one still functioning was beating at an accelerated rate.
Tech-Priests are not the most imaginative group in the galaxy, but his mind wondered nonetheless as to what was about to happen. None of them good. Although he was sucked up, he had the distinct feeling of falling down.
Cardsharp could see monsters with thousands of mouths lined with millions of teeth screeching and roaring in hunger. Writhing tendrils of black essence shot out to snatch the tech-priest only to just miss him. Each time the mechanical adept wondered if should be grateful or unappreciative.
Many of the cursed soldiers, the traitors of the Imperium had no need to ponder. Cardsharp could see them below being snatched one by creatures unknowable dragging them screaming into a presumably horrible fate.
But not all of the: the tech-priest could detect the outline of Major Calig amongst the heretics. The traitorous heretic stared hatefully at Cardsharp with weapon in hand firing it wildly above hoping to kill the tech-priest before the beasts of the Warp take him.
The tech-priest did not want to die especially at the hands of Warp monstrosities, but he would be a fool to deny the situation. He was scared.
However, Tech-Priest Cardsharp was not willing to go down without a fight, his fate was sealed. All he could do was deny these Chaos creatures as long as he could, and hopefully commend his essence to the Omnissiah.
Cardsharp would indulge the treacherous meat sack; with the little strength and energy available Cardsharp fired his weapons back.
They continued into swirling abyss, the adept detecting their acceleration towards an unspecified point. Whatever it was, it meant this tumble through hell would be over soon enough.
But then something odd happened.
= Alert: Unknown readings. Brace for impact =
There was a sudden shift in direction, as if Cardsharp was yanked by the scruff of his robes. Bright lights and the sound of screeching of metal against metal overloaded his auditory sensors. The tech-priest's visual sensors scrambled briefly in static, and when they cleared he was no longer in the Warp; no monsters, no warp essence, no imminent fear of being devoured by a Daemon.
…thank the Omnissiah? Cardsharp mused.
But that did not necessarily the situation had improved. Instead Cardsharp was still falling precariously through the air, only this time he could clearly make out the ground beneath him a building of strangely gothic architecture surrounded by a rather small city.
= Alert: Brace for impact =
And the last thing Cardsharp could recall was crashing through a glass skylight.
I hope you liked it.
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