Slowly his thoughts arose from their centuries of slumber once more. Chemical stimulants pumped in through the tubes connected to his sarcophagus and washed away the residual grogginess of stasis sleep. The sound of servos activating, lifting his armoured shell from its resting position into an upright stance, heralded the sudden explosion of light that filled his vision before clarifying into a familiar scene. Apothecaries and TechMarines stood before him, data-slates and tools in their hands, and one white-haired marine ahead of all the rest in the centre of his field of view. The decorations on his armour identified him as Brother-Captain. Something seemed a touch unusual about the whole scenario, but he couldn t quite put his power claw on it. No matter. It seemed the time had come again.
WHO AWAKENS BJORN? he rumbled through the Dreadnought s speakers. IS IT TIME FOR WAR? he added hopefully.
It is indeed time for war, mighty Bjorn, the Captain responded. We have awakened you to do battle with our foes! FIGURES. IT S NEVER TIME FOR WAIT, WHAT? There was a stunned silence from all in the room. It lasted a few seconds before the Brother-Captain broke it by clearing his throat. Uhm, yes, ancient one, it is time for war. That-that s not a problem is it? Bjorn did not respond for another several moments. When he did, his words were slow and uncertain. YOU DON T WANT ME TO TELL YOU TALES OF THE OLD TIMES? OF LEMAN RUSS? I I suppose you could, but to be honest, venerable warrior, it is your skill in combat that we were hoping you would display. Again, a pause. A pair of apothecaries at the back of the group began to mutter to each other. Did we get the ritual wrong? I heard them say he was going senile he probably doesn t even remember what he s supposed to do- A sudden booming noise echoed around the armoury chamber. It was a moment before anyone realised that the sound was that of laughter, issuing forth from the Dreadnaught s speakers.
VERY WELL! Bjorn announced, once his fit of chuckling had subsided. I SHALL DO BATTLE ONCE MORE! The worried expressions on the faces of the assembled Marines immediately turned to smiles and relief.
Of course, great one! grinned the Captain. It will be an honour to fight at your side! Bjorn was ecstatic. He was being awoken to actually fight, nobody wanted him to tell stories about fucking Leman Russ, and not once so far had anyone referred to him by his Emperor-forsaken full title. This century was shaping up well so far! If this luck kept up, they d be celebrating their upcoming victories in battle with a complete sacred machine-oil application administered by a pair of Adepta Sororitas Uhm, mighty one? You sort of zoned out for a moment there something about twins? WHAT? NOTHING. WHEN DO WE FIGHT! Bjorn demanded, changing the subject quickly. LEAD ME TO OUR SHIPS THAT WE MIGHT TRAVEL TO WHEREVER OUR ENEMIES DWELL! We are already aboard our Battle Barge and orbiting our target, the Captain informed him. In a short space of time we will be in position to drop assault pods and initiate the battle. If you would follow me to the pod bays, we shall prepare to depart immediately. Ah! So they were already aboard a vessel, and not in the fortress as he had expected. No wonder the situation had seemed unusual when he awoke, for he realized he did not recognize his surroundings. Bjorn approved; anxious to fight as he was, the prospect of a lengthy and boring voyage to the field of battle would not have been a welcome one. With a hiss and a whir, his Dreadnought s motor systems roared into life and he made to follow the Brother-Captain.
LEAD ON, BROTHER. I DO NOT RECOGNIZE THIS VESSEL NOR KNOW ITS LAYOUT. WHICH SHIP HAS THE FORTUNE OF CARRYING US INTO BATTLE? The Captain mumbled something quietly and the other assembled marines looked nervously at each other.
BROTHER, I HAVE SEEN THE PASSING OF TEN MILLENNIA AND MY HEARING IS NOT WHAT IT ONCE WAS. PLEASE SPEAK UP. We we are aboard the Litany of Fury, ancient one. HM. A NEW ADDITION TO THE FLEET, IT SEEMS. THE CHAPTER IS DOING WELL. AND SURPRISINGLY CLEAN! Bjorn remarked, looking upon the gleaming surfaces where hazy red reflections of his and the other Marines armour could be seen. I EXPECT EVERYTHING TO BE COVERED IN WOLF SHI- RED. WHY AM I RED? Oh, shit. Muttered a Tech-Marine, before one of his companions poked him in the side with a mechadendrite.
The Brother-Captain turned to glare at him for a moment before turning back to Bjorn. Why wouldn t you be red, revered Bjorn? Red has always been the colour of our chapter SILENCE! Bjorn commanded, and the group fell quiet. Bjorn took a few steps over to a convenient nearby bulkhead and experimentally scraped one of his arms against the surface before rotating it into his field of view. A familiar bright blue could be seen peeking out from the scratched layer of red paint applied over it.
Now, Bjorn had indeed lived for longer than any other in the Imperium could claim, and the priests of the Space Wolves all believed the long years had driven him senile, but in truth his mental faculties were as sharp as they had ever been. Sometimes, however, they simply needed time to warm up after a long rest. He turned to face the red-armoured group, noting the bird and blood drop iconography featured on their shoulder-plates and the banners adorning the room.
Now, mighty Bjorn, we can explain, the Captain began, but Bjorn silenced him with a shout.
SHUT UP! I M THINKING. This was not something they had expected. All stood worriedly as they waited for Bjorn s thoughts to reach a conclusion.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WOLVES? There was some conferral. Eventually the Brother-Captain stepped forward again and said We are neutral on the subject of wolves? GOOD. I HATE THE FUCKING THINGS. Bjorn leaned forward, as much as was possible for a Dreadnought to do, until he teetered precariously over the Brother-Captain and the slightest tremor from the engines of the ship risked condemning the unfortunate marine to a crushing death. He spoke.
NO WOLVES. NO QUESTIONS ABOUT LEMAN RUSS. ABSOLUTELY NO REFERENCES TO FELL HANDS. ANYBODY WHO ASKS ME A QUESTION ABOUT THE OLD TIMES IS GOING TO BE USED AS PAINT TO HELP FIX THIS SHITTY JOB YOU VE DONE ON ME, Bjorn rumbled. THOSE ARE MY TERMS. AGREE AND I LL PRETEND NOT TO NOTICE WHAT YOU THIEVING LITTLE BASTARDS HAVE DONE. DEAL? The Captain nodded frantically.
GOOD. NOW WHERE ARE THE FUCKING ASSAULT PODS? Bjorn demanded, spinning his power claw and returning to a normal stance, mirth creeping back into his voice. This could turn out to be a very good century indeed.