Hi Guys, thanks for the support.
And thanks again to Lord-of-Change for letting me do this.
I realise that each member of the Imperium has their own way of doing things and as most of you guessed, Tech-Priests have their own way of dealing with the 'undesirable' element.
Also at this stage, I know other iterations of this involve an alternate universe but I was thinking of making this a form of time travel. Please let me know what you think.
That being said here is chapter 2. I hope you like it.
Selina Kyle was a wealthy woman, she did not need to steal. But she wanted to, for the sake of the hunt if nothing else. Everyone has that one thing that gives them a rush whether it's art, sex, or travelling. For Catwoman it was theft, the art of taking something that did not belong to you.
Catwoman had standards of course, she did not rob anyone who could not afford it: the people who lived paycheck to paycheck, the middle class up to their ears in debt, good people just trying to get by. They were left alone.
Thankfully this was Gotham City, there were not many of those people. It was a city populated by the rich, greedy, corrupt and insane. Not necessarily in that order of course.
Case in point: Gotham Museum. This place of culture, was being used to commemorate a new exhibit. Some rich billionaire wacko recently died and they decided to take the opportunity to show off his amazing private collection: art, statues, rare manuscripts, one of a kind antiques…jewels. Apparently it was a private collection that could fill an entire wing of the Smithsonian and the Louvre.
Surely he won't miss a few things, he is dead after all.
Security was ridiculously light which was not really surprising; cutbacks were a thing in Gotham. All they had was a young nightwatchman reading a magazine instead of watching the cameras that barely worked; he wasn't even armed he just had a standard police baton and a radio.
Catwoman smiled under her mask as she climbed out of the ventilation into the exhibit below and slowly crept through the museum careful to avoid the security cameras and trip lasers.
They have not even bothered to change security methods. Ugh. Selina focused as she located the room she was looking for. She dared to pull out the electronic scrambler in her back pocket but she had to check something.
Beep. Click. The door opened.
Are you kidding me? Selina sighed. They did not even change the door code?!
Her annoyance was quickly curtailed by the sight of the room's contents; Selina Kyle was in thief heaven. The exhibit glowed under the moonlight emanating from the skylight above.
Sparkling emeralds and shined sapphire and perfectly cut diamonds, oh my. Catwoman grinned as she helped herself like a kid in a candy store.
This stuff was written as priceless but everything can be sold for a price on the black market, but that does not mean Selina won't keep a gem or two for her own private collection. She felt the sack become comfortably heavy before deciding it was time to call it quits. The last thing she wanted was the guard to show up or worse still Batman. That being said, having him around might not be so bad after all. It would be fun to spend some 'quality time' together… Catwoman frowned, unless that brat Robin shows up, then he's not fun whatsoever.
Then her eye caught something…
A beautiful blood red ruby the size of her fist stood out amongst the rare precious stones. Catwoman never beheld a colour so pure or so alluring. Well maybe one more wouldn't hurt….
The thief looked down at the setting to see if it had a name, as did all precious jewels. It had one:
'The Eye of Chaos'
Selina picked up the ruby only to surprisingly realise it was encrusted with another stone; onyx or jasper she could not be sure. But it was strangely forged, eight points spreading out from the centre jewel; like a star. It was so black it seemed to drown out the light around the ruby.
Oh I am definitely keeping this. Catwoman grinned as she allowed a finger to caress the centre jewel, it seemed to gleam brightly under her touch. The red gemstone glowed hypnotically as she gazed at her new prize. However, something seemed off and the thief's mind clicked back to reality, the precious collectable was actually glowing. She was actually glowing. The star shaped jewel emanated a red aura covering her form like a fine mist.
Uh oh, Catwoman tried to drop the collectable but her body would not obey her, as if she was paralysed. The red stone blinded her in bright light.
The light vanished and the mist evaporated into nothing.
Selina blinked as she found herself in the exact same position she was in having full control over the movements. Catwoman was confused, one minute nothing, then red glowy stuff, then nothing. "Huh…that was weird."
Then the skylight above her crashed open.
Seven human sized objects crashed through the glass ceiling screaming as they fell to an unpleasant heap on the floor. Small exhibits and glass breaking their fall.
Selina hit the floor on instinct when one of these monstrosities landed almost right on top of her. Her mind whizzed through the possibilities; SWAT, another heist, Joker being bored? It certainly wasn't Batman, he would never be that loud. So who was it?
Several of the forms began to groan and twitch standing up. Selina hid under a nearby table taking in the uninvited guests and they did not look friendly. They were draped in a greenish grey uniform that screamed military. But they looked like they just came out of a firefight; they were covered in dust, soil and something that looked blood. Their faces were scarred and ugly, covered in muck and eerily disturbing tattoos.
"We're alive!" One cried out. "The Chaos Gods have granted us their favour!"
"Where in the blasted Warp are we?!"
"Spread out!" The new arrivals began to break things and uplift furniture.
Uh oh, that does not sound good. Catwoman sleeked across the floor careful not to make any noise, doing her best to keep out of sight, the Eye of Chaos still in her hand. I think it is time I made myself scarce.
Cardsharp emitted a mechanical groan from his damaged vox.
=Alert Damage Assessment: Cranial damage, broken humerus and clavical. Neural relays 8 through 12 damaged =
The Tech-priest's mind throbbed in pain at the sudden burst of information. Cardsharp was not alone.
= Alert: 6 targets detected =
Six heretics came through the Warp tear with me. Cardsharp frowned as his damaged auditory sensors picked up the heretics' inane ramblings.
The Tech-priest attempted to stand, but his body flesh and metal alike would not comply.
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: Operational efficiency at 5.6% and falling. System crash in 10.76 minutes =
That is not good. Cardsharp murmured as the fatal information registered in his mind. Part of the Tech-Priest was surprised that his spark was not already extinguished with the amount of damage he has taken. Then again, he is not some Imperium grunt, a Tech-Priest is not bound by the weakness of flesh. His body was kicked over to its side, the perpetrator of the attack was Calig. "Well, well cog-boy seems Khorne truly smiles upon me today." He cackled as he looked to his men. "Find anything?"
"Nah, no one here." A heretic shrugged. "This place does not look that familiar. Where are we?"
"The Chaos Gods took favour on us." Calig smirked. "They spared us so we can continue their work. A planet ripe for corruption."
"Yes, but first we get to have a little fun." Calig grinned down at Tech-priest imagining the horrible things he could do the adept. The surviving heretics stranding around Cardsharp aiming their weapons at him with malice deciding how best to end his life.
Cardsharp had little in terms of defence; his two ballistic mechadendrites were damaged, his servo arm shot to pieces and most of his other defensive systems were back on Titanfall. His entire frame, both mechanical and biological were shredded with lasgun fire and KA63 and KA64 were missing.
But he did have his eradication ray, and he had his trusty Omnissian Power Axe.
The best part about all this is that the heretics: the stupid, stupid heretics are now bunched up surrounding him and in striking distance. Don't these idiots know that you should never get that close to a Tech-Priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus? Cardsharp snarked. Activate Skitarii Protocols.
=Warning: Sustained critical damage. Rerouting and Self-repair programs are priority=
"What do you think?" A heretic asked, ignorant of the internal processes occurring within the fallen Tech-Priest.
= Rerouting and Self-repair programs deactivated=
= Skitarii Protocols activated =
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: Operational efficiency at 3.1% and falling. System crash in 4.14 minutes =
"Nah," Calig sighed disappointed that he could not prolong the Adept's suffering, "we don't have the luxury. The Imperium has probably put all sectors on alert. We have to get out of here before those corpse-worshipping fools find us."
Cardsharp felt his body begin to buckle and die off with mechanical whirring. Death will be upon him soon, but if anything for the sake of his pride as a Tech-Priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Sharp had to take them down before they do more harm. Overclock structural frame.
= Alert: Overclock will result in critical failure. Predicted length of functionality 1.25 minutes. Confirm command =
"We'll have to make this quick." Calig placed the barrel of his lasgun against the Tech-priest's head. "Blood for the Blood God!"
Cardsharp blinked realising what will happen as a result of his actions, the human part of him…the weak part of him wanted to run. But the Adept inside him sneered at his own weakness and at Calig's presumption that a headshot would kill a tech-priest. Command confirmed.
= Overclock of structural frame authorised. Technical systems operating at 93%. Pain Inhibitors at 100% =
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 1.25 minutes and counting=
= Glory to the Omnissiah =
Glory to the Omnissiah, Cardsharp finished the prayer. A surge of power flow through his body, his mind racing into overdrive. What seemed like one instant became precious seconds.
Time slowed…or rather Cardsharp sped up.
With five optical cameras he had a clear view of Calig's finger pulling the trigger of his lasgun, the look of malicious delight on his face. Cardsharp smirked at wiping that stupid grin off that face.
Despite a broken shoulder and arm he grabbed his Omnissian Power Axe with one hand and the eradication ray in the other and went to work.
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 1.23 minutes =
= Glory to the Omnissiah =
He swung the power axe right across Calig's lasgun redirecting the fire to a nearby heretic's leg.
Cardsharp aimed his eradication ray at a second solider and pulled the trigger, and in a bright flash of light the heretic vanished into red mist. Using his servomotors, the Tech-priest launched back to his feet and kicked Calig in the chest sending him hurtling through glass and wood.
= WARNING: Projectile target lock = Cardsharp briefly paused as he felt a lasgun aimed at the back of his head. "DIE YOU CORPSE-WORSHIPPING TOASTER!"
=Overloading Electro-grafts 5-10 =
= Glory to the Omnissiah =
Before the third heretic had the opportunity to pull the trigger, one million volts of holy electricity shot through the epidermal layer of the tech-priest's skin and latched onto the closest foreign element.
The lasgun shattered under the weight of a lightning bolt travelling along its metal frame into the hands of its heretical wielder. Forgive me Machine Spirit. Cardsharp prayed silently. May you find peace with the Omnissiah.
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 1.18 minutes =
= Glory to the Omnissiah =
Information travelled to his brain detailing how the two remaining dumbstruck heretics were slowly levelling their weapons at him.
Realigning his power axe, Cardsharp swung in through them severing them at the waist. They fell with slowing grace with a look of confusion and surprise on their faces.
Now for Calig. The Tech-Priest bent on fulfilling his oath to the Imperium, rounded on the last known position of the heretical leader.
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 1.11 minutes =
= Glory to the Omnissiah =
The Tech-priest's hunt was short lived when he was stabbed him the throat, sparks and electricity shot out of the wound like blood. How in the name of the Machine Spirits did that happen?!
=Alert Damage Assessment: Neural Relays 1 through 4 destroyed =
= Calculating trajectory =
An optical sensor zeroed in on the heretic, it was the one that was shot in the leg. He must have hidden in a blind spot.
=WARNING: Significant damage sustained. Overclock Failure =
= Alert Damage Assessment: Internal systems overheated. Operational Efficiency: 3.2% and falling=
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 0.58 minutes =
Cardsharp's mind slowed to a crawl, his strength left him. He could feel both flesh and vital computer chips melt from the intense heat of the overclock.
= Alert: Incoming assault. Brace for impact =
"You will not deny me my victory!" A heretic kicked the Power Axe out of Cardsharp's hand, "I have been chosen by the Dark Gods!" The punches that came rattled Cardsharp like a bag of blots, he could feel internal systems falling apart inside his on body.
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 0.50 minutes =
The tech-priest turned to face the final heretic grappling his hands, knife still embedded in his throat. Cardsharp tried to rip the treacherous soldier's arms out of their sockets and beat him to death with it, but the power escaped him, he has suffered too much damage.
"You can't do it." The treacherous guardsman laughed. "You're running on empty!"
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 0.42 minutes =
= Glory to the Omnissiah =
"You will be with your filthy Corpse-Emperor soon!"
Cardsharp fed power to the torch stored into his right digit. "And you will be with your heretical Dark Gods right now."
A flame of roughly 2,000 degrees Celsius shot out of his hand and seared through the heretic's head and burst through the other side. Cardsharp was not the least bit satisfied, at that temperature chances are the heretic did not even feel the searing heat.
Thank the Omnissiah it's over. Cardsharp allowed the body to hit the floor. I did it Kyriz…I did it. Now I just have to deal with the major. No…wait.
=Scanning. Targets: 0 =
Calig was gone. Oh no. No. No. No. No! Segmentum must be warned.
= Deploying distress beacon =
= Skitarii Protocols deactivated =
= Rerouting and Self-repair programs activated=
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 0.30 minutes =
Cardsharp's shoulders sagged in defeat. Calig escaped, and there was no way he can persue all that was left was to wait out the clock. But something was off, one of his optical sensor's tracked something behind him.
= Alert: 2 targets inbound. Calculating trajectory=
Cardsharp's reflexes were too damaged to intercept the threat. He slowly turned around to see the new arrival land.
The tech-priest analysed the new opponent, a strange human wearing all black armour with a yellow symbol on his chest. His frown was pronounced and his stance indicated he was ready for a fight. Next to him was a child wearing red and black jumpsuit and a cape, he looked less angry and more worried. They were not Chaos followers. At least none Cardsharp had ever seen.
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 0.23 minutes =
"Who are you?" The armoured man asked. Cardsharp tried to answer his question, but he felt his legs give out, making him lose balance. His vision short-circuited blinding his ability to see.
Segmentum had to be warned. Cardsharp reaffirmed relaying precious energy to his vox. "Chaos is here. You are all in danger. Alert Segmentum Command." Cardsharp's voice croaked, "Be on the lookout for traitor guardsman Major Calig. Kill on sight."
The Tech-priest was not the least bit thrilled at the looks of confusion on their faces, clearly was being said was not being heard.
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 0.12 minutes =
"What's happening to him?" The young human asked.
"He's dying!" The armoured man shouted. It was the last thing Cardsharp saw before his final optical sensor shutdown. Cardsharp felt precious seconds tick by, but duty replaced fear, there was nothing he could do but commend his spark to the Omnissiah and pray he looks favourably upon him.
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 0.09 minutes =
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: System crash in 0.01minutes =
= Glory to the Omnissiah =
=CRITICAL SYSTEM ALERT: SYSTEM CRASH =
Batman and Robin soared over the rooftops making a beeline for their target: Gotham Museum. With the amount of precious items open to view and the fact Gotham has the highest crime rate anywhere it was a only a question of when someone would try and make a play for it.
So Batman took the liberty of planting his own devices on top of Gotham Museum's 'basic' (read atrocious) security in place. Sure enough he got a hit, unsurprisingly it was Catwoman who decided to burgle the place.
"So what's the plan?" Robin asked as he kept pace.
"We go in make her put everything back." Batman growled.
"That it?" Robin raised a brow. "I swear you coddle that one too much."
"Catwoman has done good things for the city, more so than bad." Batman explained as they finally settled on the top of the museum his protégé in tow. "Besides she's just a thief, compared to the rest of people we have to deal with she's a downright saint."
Robin stared silently at Batman for what seemed like forever.
"Boy you have got it bad for her, don't you?" Robin chuckled. "Why don't you just ask her out?"
"Business Robin. Mind it." Bruce was grateful his mask hid his embarrassment.
"Yeah, yeah, okay." Robin held up his hands in surrender "All I'm saying is-"
"Blood for the Blood God!"
BZZAP! There was a scream and the sounds of fighting.
"DIE YOU CORPSE-WORSHIPPING TOASTER!"A man cried out before being drowned by the sound of what could only be described as lightning. Years of training immediately kicked in as both vigilante's crouched down and quickly made it to the top of the roof, zeroing in on the broken skylight.
They heard the voices coming from the room below. They saw a group of four men in military issue uniforms lying dead on the floor still holding weapons that were not of any make and model Batman had seen, and he knew all of them. There was blood everywhere. Two of them looked cleaved in half.
At the centre of the bloodbath stood two individuals: a man of a similar attire as those that have fallen and a sixth whose form was obscured by its long flowing red robe. "You will not deny me my victory!" the soldier screeched, "I have been chosen by the Dark Gods!"
Whatever their quarrel, they seemed dedicated to killing in each other. And the red-robed warrior seemed to be losing. I have to stop this. Batman nodded at Robin to get their smoke bombs ready.
"You can't do it." The soldier laughed. "You're running on empty! You will be with your filthy Corpse-Emperor soon!"
The red-robed warrior groaned out something in a mechanical voice. "And you will be with your heretical Dark Gods right now." And fire erupted from the warrior's hands, burning the man's skull clean and all.
"Holy shit..." Robin gazed in horror. "What do we do?"
Batman's eyes narrowed at the warrior's posture and form, he was bleeding and his movements were sluggish. However he killed the solider took the last of his strength. "Follow me."
Batman landed behind the warrior with Robin in tow. The warrior turned to stare at them a grisly blade sticking out of his throat at an odd angle. His face was obscured by a mask encompassing the lower part of his face, the upper part shrouded by the hood itself. Though Batman could clearly make out several red lights boring into him from the shroud. Whatever this thing was it was not human.
However, the warrior did not attack, that seemed to be a good sign. Batman was not so accommodating, people are dead. "Who are you?"
The red-robed sputtered a combination of electricity and black ooze which smelt like motor oil. It began to shift and sway uncontrollably. The warrior fell onto its back, as if its legs suddenly stopped working. "Chaos - - - -danger-Seg—tum -." The warrior's voice fizzled and cracked distorting his words in static, "—lookout - traitor - Cal-"
A warning or a threat? Batman glanced to Robin giving him the sign to call the Watchtower. Could he be an ally?
"What's happening to him?" Robin asked. Batman gazed at the cyborg and began to notice the numerous incalculable holes and wounds along its body. Black liquid oozed from the holes along with the unmistakable colour of blood, his breathing was slowing…
Oh, no. "He's dying!"
Batman came closer and tried to get the armour off, but it would not budge, and this 'thing' was too heavy to move by himself. "Don't worry, we're going to get you help."
He reached for the robe and pulled back to reveal something that both horrified and surprised him. He was a human cyborg, his left eye was normal but his right eye was replaced with dozens of glowing red cables twitching around like dancing insects. A large calibre graze was along the side of his head revealing skull, blood and metal.
The lights body began to flicker and sputter, his left eye began to close. "Hey! Can you hear me?!" The lights became dim and the breathing finally stopped.
Dammit, another death. Batman cursed his hands briefly searching the body. Wait a minute, there's something…a pulse? The Dark Knight could not be sure, it looked human but he could not confirm that for sure. Regardless he could feel something beating rhythmically in the warrior's chest. It was faint but it was there. He could hear the sound of police sirens closing in, and Batman was not keen to have to explain what happened here, not when there were too many unknown variables.
"He's alive but barely." Batman took action. "Robin, contact the Watchtower. We need an emergency medical evacuation now! Contact Victor, I think they will need his help."
Catwoman could hear the firefight erupt long after she left. Selina decided to take a break on a rooftop after three blocks.
She was not too concerned, the guard maybe have been reading but not even he could have ignored those sounds; she heard the sounds of sirens in the distance.
Besides, as Selina took off she could make out the distinct shape of a rather large and angry bat on top of the museum. Well if he's there then there is no need to fret.
She reached into her backpack and took another look at the prize, The Eye of Chaos. The red ruby encased in a black star. It was beautiful. She would sell every one of the jewels for a hefty sum. But this, she smiled, this I'm going to keep.
The ruby seemed to glint in the moonlight with a hypnotic grace.
Well hello gorgeous, she grinned. Whether it was a hallucination or a trick of light she could have sworn the gem winked at her.
Minutes later they were teleported into the medical bay of the Justice League Watchtower, the most advanced medical facility on or near planet Earth. Victor Stone, the famed 'Cyborg' was already there. There was not much in terms of staff, but then again Leslie Tompkins was a 'teleport' away and she was the only person apart from Alfred Batman would trust his life to.
Their latest patient, was the strange dying cyborg composed of unknown technology who desperately tried to communicate something, whether it be a warning or a threat.
They had their work cut out for them.
Minutes and hours passed and Tompkins could only promise that it would not be over soon.
Batman was not so patient, and asked to be transported to his own personal lab along with the bodies and equipment of the five men who died along with whatever else was with them.
The entire League were on alert and anxious of the arrival of their unexpected guest. J'onn J'onzz and Clark Kent kept a watchful eye on the skies, careful for any unusual activity or signs of an invasion.
Wonder Woman and Aquaman contacted their respective kingdoms for any disturbances whether it be magical or otherwise. Princess Diana relayed to the League that there was a strange burst of unknown energy in Gotham but it was little more than a blip.
Black Canary and Green Arrow were in Gotham hoping to discern and further clues while Hal Jordan made contact with the Green Lantern Corps for any recent galactic criminal activity.
The lack of any solid lead was not at all comforting.
It was only after a day of constant surgery and transfusions did Doctor Tompkins finally walked out of the medical lab, her eyes betraying her fatigue and her shaky hands revealing her stress.
"Doctor you okay?" Flash asked.
"I'm fine Flash." Her answer was not reassuring. "Tell Batman that the patient will live."
"Doc I don't know how you do it." The speedster smiled.
Tompkins scoffed. "I expect chocolate and a very good bottle of wine for this."
"I got ya." Flash vanished and reappeared in a gust of wind, chocolate in hand. "How about I meet you halfway?"
"I knew there was a reason I always liked you." Tompkins smiled weakly.
Flash chuckled. "I'll let Batman know."
"Do that." The doctor greedily bit into the chocolate. "Tell him he's probably not going to like what he hears."
Well gang, there you go. Hope you like it.
I'll probably get into a more detailed description of Cardsharp in the next chapter.