Whispers in the Warp
He woke to the pain. It lanced through his entire body. A loud screamed echoed in the darkness, bouncing off of metal walls. Was it his voice? He did know. His eye darted back in forth as he tried to move. He couldn’t. The blackness of the room was oppressive, and it became even more so as the scream died to a whimper. This wasn’t right. What had happened? He tried to remember. It came back to him slowly as the last whimper faded into silence. He had been in a mine. He remembered the tight spaces, the dirt, the smell of machinery and earth. He had been doing something, investigating something important.
It was hard to think. The pain came in crushing waves as he tried to move. He stopped. It was too much. He focused on his breathing. The sound of each intake of breath, then the slow exhalation was the only noise. Was he blind now too? One good eye left and now his sight was gone from it? Breath in…. breath out…
His mind slowly became clearer as he focused. There was a fight. Something awful had attacked him and his companions. He couldn’t remember though. What was it? Then he remembered falling. After that there was nothing. But this wasn’t a mine. At least he didn’t think so.
He was just piecing something together when everything changed. The room was flooded with a bright fluorescent light, brighter than anything he had even seen. He closed his eye tight but it wasn’t enough to block it out. He tried to move his arms, to cover his face, but his arms wouldn’t respond. The sharp pain was ever present, and when he tried to move it only got worse.
He heard the loud squeal of hinges as a door opened. So he was definitely not in a mine. How did he get here? Stray thoughts raced through his mind as he caught the click and clack of shoes on the floor. A voice echoes through the room then, it was rich and velvet soft but so very cold. “Awake at last. Maybe we will finally get some answers.”
He tried to open his eye, to see who was talking to him. But he couldn’t. The light was too bright. He tried to speak but the words would not come. He was a broken man.
“Well… It looks like you aren’t quite ready. But you will be.” That voice again. There was something in it he didn’t trust.
Fingers wrapped around his arms and the pain flared stronger. Then he felt the sharp prick of a needle. The man left the room quickly after that and then the light was gone. He struggled to recall everything but his thoughts began to slip, draining away into the darkness. Dorn dropped into unconsciousness.
Dorn paced now along the dark confines of his cell. He could still see nothing. It was too dark. No light filtered into the room. But he new it’s dimensions well. He would start from one side and pace, ten and a half lengths of his feet one way, then eight and a half the other. There was no furniture any longer. The hard bed he had rested on while healing had been removed at some point. The floor was always cold and hard. The walls were some kind of metal.
He had no idea how long he had been here. If he guessed he would probably say few months now. It could have been much longer, or much less. He had no way to tell. His days (or nights) always passed one of two ways. He would wake to find food and water had been placed at one end of his cell. Sometimes the food was warm, like it had just been put there, others it was cold like it had waited for him for hours. He had never seen who brought him his food. Never seen a door open. He assumed there had to be a door, how else would the get in? Some days he would run his fingers long the wall closest to the food. He thought he could feel a small crease there. So perhaps he was right.
After the food he tried to find ways to occupy his time. He would get what little exercise he could in the cell or speak out loud to himself, reciting the events of his life. His voice, or his own movement were the only sounds he ever heard in the dark. He would recount the details, down to the smallest detail of that last battle. Even though he tried he could not remember how he got here. The last thing he could recall was the chilling fear of the fall, the sudden stop, the pain and then nothing until he woke here. He would usually do this until he grew too tired or too bored, and then he would sleep again.
Sometimes he would wake and the room would be filled with a bright searing light. Even in these times he could not make out the details of the room. He could barely even crack open his eye without it watering beyond belief. And always when that light was on he would be met by the man with the voice. That same voice over and over again, always asking questions. How had he survived? Was he corrupted? Was he working for the Daemon that had killed the rest of my squad? At first Dorn held silent. Why should he answer his questions if he would get no better treatment than this. Days, weeks, month passed without a single word spilling from his lips to the faceless man.
He could only hold out for so long though. Eventually Dorn began to answer. Slowly at first, then with more urgency. He would tell the faceless man everything. How is squad had died at the hands of the Daemon, some shredded, others, himself included, thrown down a mineshaft. How had he survived? Luck perhaps, or maybe fate. He lost track of how many times he answer the questions, but every time he became a little more desperate. How could they not believe him?
It did not take long before he not longer answer the questions again. He would only beg the faceless, pitiless man for his release. He needed out of this prison. But always the man would only ask his questions. These sessions always ended the same way, a strong arm would grab him and he would feel the sharp prick of a needle. Then he would slide into sleep.
Dorn looked out across the vapid wasteland before him. It was a relief to be free from that room of nothingness but he could take time to fully appreciate his new prison. They moved him here for a reason and he would need to know why. He did know this specific prison world but he knew others like it. It would be a hot, arid desert of rock and little else. The prisoners would be left largely to their own devices, but there would be surveillance from orbit to prevent any escape.
He was already at a severe disadvantage. The cybernetic leg they had outfitted him with was of inferior quality. He now walked with a limp from the bone knitting poorly in his other leg. He had not spoken in what he assumed was over a year, after so long of answering the Golden Voiced man’s questions Dorn had finally shut down. Oh, and if these god emperor be damned convicts saw his Adeptus Arbites tattoo on his should he would be in for a world of hurt.
He would have to find a way to adapt. He had trained for undercover missions that could take years but he had a feeling he would never be leaving this place. He couldn’t pretend to be a hardened convict here. No, He would have to be the damned dirtiest piece of scum they had ever seen. The Adeptus Arbites had abandoned him. It was time to find a new way.
The heavily armored guards following him finally stopped and pointed forward. It was a small backwater looking town. Just like home, he thought. He could make do here.
The guards didn’t follow him as he walked into the town. They had already disappeared, not wanting to risk entering. That was not a good sign. A tall, thin, shifty eyed man with a weasel face watched him for a few moments before approaching. When Weasel Face spoke his voice was fast, and occasionally his face twitched in such a way that it caused his words to cut off suddenly. “Hey buddy! I can.. can help you! Yer new here, don’t, don’t know how things work. It can be rough for a new! Newcomer like yerself. I can get ya something to help though, a small, small gun. Help maybe keep the bigger an’ meaner fellas off! off ya! Just just know that you’ll owe me… someth… something in the future.”
Dorn stared a Weasel Face. It was a bad trade. There was no telling what this man would want in the future. But he had to start somewhere. And if he was gonna start out a criminal empire of his own on this dusty rock well, he would have to make friends. He tried to give the man a smile. Judging from the started look on the mans face he doubt he succeeded. A gun would be no good to him. He doubted his hands were steady anymore, and his one eye would be a hindrance to shooting. Dorn then said, “N… N… No g… g… gun. SH… Shiv!”
It took Weasel Face a moment. Dorn’s voice was cracked, dry from lack of use. But finally Weasel Face grinned from ear to ear. “Sure! no problem buddy. I think this is the start of a wonder! Wonderful relationship! I can te… tell you are going places Newcomer!”