Commissar Techpriestess love story

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Commissar-Techpriestess Gelt love story.

No summary here, read the story. It is too complex to reasonably summarize.

The epic tale is not yet complete, but for now love lives.

Author Information[edit]

Written by the littlest krieger, in response to a request by a femanon for a love story because her boyfriend of four years broke up with her over the phone to travel to India to find himself. Also she has a massive girlboner for commissars.

first thread here

second thread here

third thread here

downloadable text version here

Orktavia's looted story[edit]

Looted by da HUGEST flashgit, dis story iz a fing of bauty, fer all da boyz ta see, looted because we'ze orkz can loot anfing. See below the normal story for those bits looted. Looting not finished as the loot is not fully made yet.

The Story[edit]

Chapter 1[edit]

Commissar Rogal "The Bull" Hephastus was a man amongst men. Standing almost as tall as an Astartes and built like a Leman Russ, his commanding presence inspired all around him. A voice that boomed just as easily barking orders as it did in laughter would sing out in bass tones so rich that Slaaneshi whores had stopped to hear him speak. With dark hair, eyes like unpainted ceramite, and a chiseled jaw, many wondered why he had not been picked up by the propaganda department decades ago.

Many times Rogal had been approached, not only by the department propaganda, but civilian pictmakers and even a convent of sisters, but each time he politely declined. He knew his place, he was just a tool of the Emprah, to smite the heathen, cleave the xeno, and crush the traitor, that was his mission.

Or so he said in public. The real reason Rogal never left his post, was his burning need to help his fellow man. He had been assigned to a combat engineering battalion, and had seen how much good they would do not only in combat, but out of it. Rebuilding homes for the survivors, defending field hospitals, truly they were doing the Emprah's work.

So Rogal stayed with his battalion, his huge frame allowing him to help out where he could, broad shoulders to carry supplies, nimble fingers to help wire defensive mines as well as rewiring an errant power coupling under the eyes of one of the many engineers attached to the battalion.

It was during the rebuilding of a backwater town, on a backwater world, of no real significance aside from the few thousand lives that had been lost defending it from orkish raiders, that Rogal had found himself with another calling.

With a grunt, the fireteam hefted the heavy wooden beam that would form the main support for the mess hall that was under construction. Rogal grinned as he doffed his hat and wiped his forehead with the back of his arm. The men were making good time, the roof would be up by nightfall, and the men would be able to eat a good mess cooked meal, the first one in a matter of months. The Orkish raiders had all but been driven off, but the occasional band would launch a harassing strike, orkish bloodlust was a fiendish thing. Returning his cap to his head, Rogal boomed, "TITUS, MIND THE CABLE, LEFT BOOT"

The fire team halted, Titus looking to his feet. In front of his left boot sparked a live power cable, which had he trodden on it, would have thrown him across the room. Titus grinned, "Thank you, Sir" The team shuffled sideways away from the cable, before heading forward once more, "TECHPRIEST? TECHPRIEST!" Rogal boomed, looking around for a red robed adept, such hazards needed to be avoided. There was a soft cough behind him, and Rogal turned. Looking at its boots, evidently chastised, stood a diminutive techpriest. The top of its head barely reached Rogal's chest, as he looked down at its hooded head. "Techpriest," He began, his tone warm, but firm, "who was responsible for the cabling in the mess?" The robed figure, mumbled quietly, barely audible above the sound of construction, "Say again?" Rogal commanded "Me, Sir." A soft, melodic voice responded, heavy with shame, "I apologize profusely, and will suffer any punishment you see fit." A pair of green glass orbs looked up Rogal, set in an elegant, blushing face.

Techpriestess Octavia was one of those cases where genius overruled just about everything. A mind like a monoscalpel, but prone to flights of fancy, absentmindedness and a sometimes crippling shyness, she was nevertheless the darling girl of the battalion. Every tank bore an image of her on the side, and her expert skills on its parts. Petite, her augments hidden expertly under her robes, Octavia now stood dwarfed in Rogal's shadow. Her augmented eyes drank in every detail of his form, the jaunty angle of his hat, the warm smile on his face, shoulders broad enough for her to lounge across, she felt her potential coil tingle with extra energy, produced, she noted somewhere in the back of her mind, from her body jumping to a fully excited state.

Her scan continued down his massive frame, the perfectly fitted carapace armor around his chest, adorned in onyx and gold, his shirtsleeves rolled and tight against his sculpted biceps. A faint network of scars formed a patina on his forearms, his hands strong, as he dusted the front of his uniform. An errant thought ran through Octavia's mind, causing another jolt to her potential coil, and a whimper to escape her lips, "Techpriestess? Are you alright?" Rogal asked, stooping to get closer. Octavia nodded, managing a quiet "Yes, Sir. Just a slight overcharge to my potential coil. I will see to the cabling issue at once." Gathering her robes around her, Octavia hurried off, her vision taking a memnorpict of the commissar, for future reference. At the bottom of the image, hastily added to the description was "Subject appears to be blessed with proportion, must investigate further."

Rogal stood there for a moment, watching the red robed figure disappear once more into the bustle of quickly forming camp. He sighed, and returned to the huge tree trunk he had been sawing, his hands taking up the blade once more. Brute strength saw the log turned into planks, the planks into boards, and skilled hands saw those boards made into benches. Rogal smiled to himself, admiring his handiwork, he was truly blessed by the Emprah to not only be able to defeat his enemies, but to care for his children too. A mechanical howl tore Rogal from his thoughts, as the sounds of construction quickly became the sounds of combat.

The Stormboyz dropped out of the afternoon sun like an earthshaker round, spreading chaos where they landed. Lasguns were brought to bear, and the cacophony of war once again filled Rogal's ears. "MEN" he roared, his saw in one hand, las pistol in the other, "LET NONE SURVIVE" The cries of the battalion filled his ears, as Rogal charged forward, bellowing in rage, these foul xeno destroying all he and his men were working to create. A Stormboy took this roar as a challenge, and with a great WAAAGH charged back, igniting his rocket with a howl. Rogal may have been big, but was far from slow, ducking low, he buried the saw in the ork's howling maw, before turning as the greenskin overshot him, and sending a well-placed lasbolt into the rocket on its back. The Orkish missile bucked, rocketing skywards, before exploding, tearing rocket and owner apart in a blaze of promethium. The men cheered, as the greenskins were beaten back, and Rogal served the now ruined mess.

Octavia reeled, this was not what was supposed to happen. She staggered away from the generator she had been working on, disorientated by the lights and noise. Her augments struggled to process all she was experiencing, as she huddled behind an overturned supply crate. She had no weapons in her body, and loathed the idea of xenos blood on her mechadendrites. All around her, chaos reigned, Octavia curled her mechadendrites around herself protectively, and began to repeated the litany of mechanical preservation.

Her whispers were suddenly joined by another voice, "Allo, what we got 'ere" Octavia's emerald green eyes went wide, and she screamed.

Rogal's head snapped around, years of training kicking in. Supply crate, ork, human in danger. His long legs bounded, as he roared in anger, unleashing a fusillade of lasbolts at the ork, the ruby shots pinging from the xeno's bolted armour, or just burning out. Rogal swore, throwing the now depleted pistol to the side, and grabbing one of the benches he had made, he leapt, swinging the solid timber seat with all his considerable might. Indigenous hardwood splintered, as the ork was beaten back. Now between the supply crate and the ork on the ground, Rogal stood, his chest heaving, a ragged wooden plank in his hand, "FOUL XENO'S, HOW DARE YOU PROFANE THIS PLACE" He bellowed, belting the ork across the head, "YOU DO NOT." another swipe at the ork rewarded him with the sound of bone shattering in the arm thrown up to protect an ugly face, "HARM THESE PEOPLE," The next swing threw the jaw to a disgusting angle, "YOU WILL NOT" the ork whimpered, as the plant drove into its ribcage, "HARM THESE PEOPLE" the plank shattered, sending splinters flying. Grabbing the Ork's dropped choppa, a huge, ramshackle abomination of an axe, Rogal hefted it, his muscles bulging at his sleeves, "AGAIN." And with a roar of effort, he buried the choppa up to the hilt in the ork's torso.

Silence. As silent as a freshly ended battlefield could be at least. Men and women lay wounded or dying, moans and cries carried hauntingly through the air. Rogal stood, hunched, covered in blood and dust, his great chest heaving. He swung his head to look at the crate behind him, wondering what had gotten the greenskin's attention. That scream had been chilling, never before had he been affected like that. He crouched down, looking into the darkness of the crate. A pair of emerald green lights stared back at him. A sob, quiet at first, became louder and wracking. Covered in dust, her mechadendrites limp, Rogal gently pulled Octavia from the crate, lifting the surprisingly heavy techpriestess from the darkness. Cradling her in his arms, Rogal stood, bellowing for a medic, as he carried his red robed bundle as if it were the most precious thing in the world.

Chapter 2[edit]

Octavia's mind reeled, the greenskin, its grotesque teeth, the stench of death and unwashed fungus, still played through her head, no matter how many times she tried to delete the memory, how many instances of the replay she closed, it wouldn't leave her alone. She sat on a table, her legs dangling, a mug of hot recaf in her cool metal hands, her mechadendrites, busying themselves with trying to clean her robes, powered by nervous energy. Beside her, leaning on the table, stood Rogal, still covered with dust and thick brackish xeno's blood. He stood, jaw set, as he watched the clean up, work benches righted, damaged tools set aside for repairs, as the work began once more. Rifles were set aside, tools were picked up, and a cold, somber mood set over the to be constructed mess. With an angry grunt, Rogal pushed himself from the table, and returned to the wood pile. In his anger, he didn't notice he was followed. Grabbing an axe, he selected the biggest hardwood log he could find, set it on the block, and began to hack into it.

Octavia followed the hulking commissar, obeying some deep rooted instinct buried in her fleshbrain. She tried to distract herself from the memories of the ork by trying to find out a reason for this, but all that did was push the movies past the ork, and to when she had seen the commissar. Her mind now tried to reconcile what she had seen, how he had moved, such strength, such raw power, used to destroy something so utterly, now, being used to create. She found a stump to sit on, and began watching the commissar once more. Her mind noted how his axe swing was flawless, perfectly done to minimize wasted energy, and maximize chopping power, how the muscles moved in his arms with each swing. She watched as he removed his Armour and his shirt, leaving him clad in a thin white singlet, now wet with perspiration. Her potential coil surged to life, and her mechadendrites began to primp and preen, various unexplained commands being logged to her memnorbanks.

Rogal grunted with exertion. Chopping wood in full carapace was a dumb idea. Combat was one thing, he was fueled by adrenaline, and the slight heat problem was nothing compared to knowing he would stay in one piece. Now however, it was just uncomfortable. He undid the straps at his side, and pulled the armour from his chest, dropping it beside him with a thud. His shirt was peeled off next, not for any heat reasons, but the thick, sticky orkish ichor that had soaked into it was worse than any sweat. his shirt was dropped atop the armour with a wet slap, as Rogal stretched his neck from side to side. A breeze blew, taking the stench of combat away, replacing it with the sweet smell from the fields to the south. Hefting his axe once more, Rogal hewed into the wood, letting the rhythmic action sooth his nerves. He hacked the log into a pair of manageable pieces, and lifted one over his shoulder. To Rogal, this was nothing major, his father had done the same, as had his father before him. The men however, saw the commissar hefting over his shoulder a log that would have taken three of them to lift. Octavia just sat, and watched, before following Rogal silently back to his workbench.

As the pair made their way back across the mess hall floor, Octavia looked back to where she had been trapped. The crate had been righted, refilled with whatever it had been filled with, (nails, box of, 1000, pin head, her mind absently noted) when something took her fancy. This fancy of course, was highlighted by multiple notes flashing across her vision, as she spied the commissars hat sitting beside the crate. Covered in dust, like everything else in the mess, looking worse for wear, but never the less, still commanding, Octavia glided over and picked it up in her hands. Mechadendrites moved gently forward, dusting and patting the hat, picking wood chips and splinters from its fabric. She turned to look at the commissar once more, standing at his table, the muscles in his back rippling as he sawed the logs into planks.

Rogal sawed. His mind wandered, as he said his prayers to the Emprah to guard the souls of the men who had died that day. Casualties had been light, considering, but a loss was a loss, and six men had died, for humanity to continue, and in defense of their fellow man. He continued to saw, letting his anger at the orks turn cold and focused. This is why he hated the Xeno's. He continued to saw, near oblivious to the world around him.

Octavia pushed herself up onto another table with her mechadendrites, still holding the hat in her hands. Again, her eyes drank in information about the Commissar, her augmented lungs feeding her information of how he smelled of sweat and sawdust, her eyes documenting how the muscles moved in his body, and how efficient he was. His feet planted, he used his upper body as a reciprocating weight, rocking back and forth with the saw, the light of the afternoon sun lighting his muscled frame. He was sweating, which would impair his efficiency. She looked around, her eyes scanning with a strange sense of urgency, for a thermos or a canteen. She spotted one behind her on the table, and a mechadendrite lanced out to grab the metal container. Hat in her hands, and canteen wrapped in her thermos, she approached the hulking Commissar at his workbench.

Rogal grabbed the plane, and started smoothing the rough edges of the planks. wood shavings tumbled, and he inhaled deeply. The scent of sawdust had a special place in his heart. He set down the plain and grabbed a different saw, more suited to delicate tasks, and began to cut the dovetails into the end of a plank. He needed no pencil, or ruler, his eyes having been long accustomed to working without them.

Octavia coughed politely, hoping to gain the attention of the towering commissar. His back to her as he continued to work, she noticed how he used no marking implements, yet his cuts were as straight and accurate as any machine. She coughed again, still no response. Gingerly, a mechadendrite reached out, pausing before tapping the commissar on the back. The muscles under the thin cotton were solid as ceramite, as Rogal paused from his work. Placing the saw down, he turned, looking side to side, before looking down.

Rogal looked down once more into those emerald green orbs, and couldn't help but smile. Looking up at him, hat in her hands like a gelt novel urchin, stood the techpriestess. Letting out a sigh, he felt his anger melt away, as Octavia offered him his cap. "Your hat, Sir." Octavia said, "It was on the ground and getting covered in dust, which I believe would violate your uniform code, which would require to you be punished for sloth." Octavia continued, as upon her augmented vision, a copy of the commissarial dress code scrolled by. "In addition, you appear to have been perspiring, which if not tended to would result in a drop in efficiency. As a result, I have brought you this canteen of water. Please take it." The mechadendrite slithered out offering the canteen to Rogal, somehow managing to give off the same awkward if submissive vibe as its owner.

Rogal couldn't help but grin. The techpriestess obviously had never been in this situation before, and Rogal recognized the after effects of shock. "Thank you, Priestess," He said, as he took his hat, and went to dust it. Pausing, Rogal inspected his cap, it was already clean, pristinely so. Gently, he placed it on the crate beside his workbench, "Much obliged."

Octavia offered the canteen again, "Please, Sir. You must drink." The mechadendrite bobbed again. Rogal smiled warmly, "Thank you again, Priestess, you are far to kind to this lowly servant of the Emprah" Rogal said, before taking the canteen from the mechadendrite. Octavia's body came alive when they touched, a surge flooding her potentia coil, numerous unexplained command exploded across her neuralOS. She whimpered quietly, her eyes unable to drag themselves from the man in front of her.

Rogal took the canteen and unscrewed the lid, tipping the cool, refreshing liquid into his mouth. Taking a long draught, he stopped and wiped his mouth on the back of his arm, before splashing his face with the water remaining in the container. Placing the container on his workbench, He lifted his singlet and wiped his face on it.

Octavia's ocular augments nearly overloaded. She had no logical idea why, but her fleshbrain was near thrashing. Her eyes took memnorpict after memnorpict of the commissars exposed physique. She felt her cheeks go hot, as the commissar looked at her, everything below his eyes covered by cloth. His eyes went wide, as he quickly pushed his singlet back down. Octavia's eyes had cycled through the spectrums, noticing that the commissar, though not appearing to, was blushing almost as furiously as she was. Her fleshbrain continued to writhe in near ecstasy, and it was only her blessed augmentations that allowed her to keep it in check.

Rogal was a simple man, some would say just a good old backwater boy from a backwater planet. Hard working, a simple man, doing what needed to be done. That was true. That also meant that Rogal had a very strong sense of right and wrong. That sense had been triggered, he had just been nearly half naked in front of this techpriestess. He quickly tucked his singlet back into his trousers, and coughed. "Thank you kindly again for the drink, Priestess. Is there anything I can do for you?" Octavia just stood there, her mind going faster than she had ever thought possible. She managed a quiet "eep" Rogal leaned closer, "Beg pardon, Priestess?" "...eep" Rogal knelt down, now looking the petite techpriestess eye to augmented eye, "Beg pardon?" Octavia's fleshbrain took over, and the last thing that was logged to her command memnorfile was swoon.emt

Rogal's arm's leapt forward, catching the limp priestess before she hit the rockcrete floor. "MEDIC! TECHPRIEST!" He roared, scooping Octavia's limp form into his arms once more.

Chapter 3[edit]

Octavia awoke in the medical tent, under crisp clean white sheets. To her left stood a medic and her fellow techpriestess Caelistis, discussing the charts detailing her flesh and machine health, to her right, sitting, facing her, was Rogal. He looked like he hadn't slept in days, a dusting of stubble across his jaw. "I think she's awake," He said, getting the attention of the Medic and Techpriestess. The pair turned to their patient, the medic flicking through the charts once more before handing it to the techpriestess, and walking away. The techpriestess coughed for effect, "Physically, you are fine, there was just a psychosomatic overload to your potential coil, which lead to a stack overflow of a few different psychoemotive centers in your cognitive augments." Octavia looked at her friend, her eyes lidded, still groggy, when a small txtcom window popped up in her vision. "U swoon'd lol," It said "What?" Octavia mentally sent back, "U swoon'd lol, check your memnor." Caelistis sent, followed by a string of laughing animotes. With a sigh of effort, Octavia pulled up her memnor files, and felt the colour flood her cheeks once more. She had swooned. She followed the command trace, the swoon had come from everywhere at once, her fleshbrain overriding so many things. Slinking back down in the cot, she glanced over at Rogal, who caught her eye, and then looked away. He got to his feet, "She seems to be making a recovery, I want a report on my desk by midnight tonight, understood?" Caelistis nodded, "As you wish, Commissar." Rogal marched from the tent, his mind tumbling.

Rogal left the tent and sighed. He had been worried, almost irrationally so, by the techpriestess's fainting. No one had any idea what had happened to her, and he had felt compelled to stay by her side.

"How long was I... inactive?" Octavia asked, pushing herself back up the bed with her mechadendrites. Caelistis folded a pair of mechadendrites under herself, using them as a seat, "About thirty six hours, standard terran. Everything nonessential shut down, I believe, and your crashlog supports, as a safety precaution." Octavia furrowed her brow, "Safety precaution? What do you..." Her eyes widened as the crashlog scrolled past, huge energy spikes, unexplained biological reactions, all sorts of unusual commands being sent from nowhere to nowhere. Caelistis laughed, a slightly digital sound, "You my dear Octavia, are infatuated." "I am not." Caelistis sent another burst of links to files in Octavia's memnors, "Oh, really?" Her eyes widened, as Octavia let out a small "eep".

Scraps of .drm files flitted past, along with the various memnorpicts that had been taken recently. All of them, containing in one way or another, the Commissar. Various notes and addendum showed how she had noticed things, from his efficiency at chopping wood, "To how he appears to be well in proportion," Caelistis said, before giggling, "You're infatuated." Octavia pouted, folding her arms and a set of mechadendrites, "I am not. maybe. We'll run some tests then?" Caelistis laughed again, "Yes. Tests. Whatever you want to call them. Look, why don't you go and take your report over to him, and test all you want?" Octavia just sat there, pouting. "Fine, but not yet. I want some comfort food. This is embarrassing." Her friend just smiled, "I thought you would say that, so I talked to the cook, to see if I could get some of those confections you like. He said no." Octavia sighed sadly, "However," Caelistis continued, "Once your commissar heard his decline," "He's not my commissar, he is the battalions commissar," Octavia corrected "Your commissar heard that, he told the cook to make it happen, or else he was up for summary execution for crimes against humanity. You should have seen the thermals on the cook, wait.." Caelistis sent the footage to Octavia, "See, his extremities go cold, and look, I think he soiled himself," Caelistis said, giggling, highlighting the hot patch at the cooks crotch.

Rogal stared at himself in the mirror, water trickling in rivulets down his face. His stubble was gone, his hair was tidied, his teeth brushed. He grabbed a cloth and wiped his face, before returning to his bunk. He sat down. He stood up. He paced. He lifted some weights he had improvised from empty bolter ammo containers and cement. He sat on his bunk and tried to carve. Sighing, he threw the lump of wood at his desk and flopped back on his bunk. Rogal hadn't slept in over two days, and he felt every minute of it. Normally he slept soundly after combat, the lull after an adrenaline high helping him, but with Octavia. He corrected himself, The techpriestess, fainting on him, he had been worried sleepless. He had found himself unable to leave her side. Something about her face, those delicate features, those emerald green eyes, looking out from under that hood that framed her face so well. He shook his head, what was she doing there. How did she get there, and why couldn't he get her out. Sighing loudly, Rogal rolled from his bunk and started doing pushups. Why didn't he want her out of his head. Hundreds of pushups later, Rogal dragged himself back to his bunk, and collapsed into it, asleep before his head hit his pillow.

Octavia's mechadendrites primped and preened, smoothing her robe, flicking away specks of dust that only augmented eyes could see, as she stood outside the Commissars tent. In her hands, she held the report, and a pair of mechadendrites held a ration pack. Caelistis had insisted on her bringing the rations, Octavia knew not why. "You know how he is... inefficient, as you put it," she had said with a grin, "So what's to bet he inefficiently forgot to eat?"

Octavia stood outside the commissars tent, looking at her feet. No one actually noticed, but her feet looked like boots, and as such, she happily walked around bare footed all of the time. It was a small freedom she allowed herself, reminding her of her life before the Mechanicum. Swallowing, she braced herself, "Commissar Hephastus?" Her voice was barely above a whisper, "Commissar Hephastus, sir?" She called again, a little louder, but still, no reply. A passing guardsman saw her plight, "Here, engineer, allow me," He said, grinning at his good fortune to help the famous Octavia, "Commissar Hephastus. Sir. You have a visitor," He called, and was gifted with a groggy reply, "Let them in," The Guardsman pushed the tent flap aside, "Go on in, Gifted one," Octavia nodded in thanks and slipped past him, into the dim light of Rogal's tent.

Rogal rolled over in his bunk, bundling the blanket around him. His officers knew he needed his sleep, and had learned from long experience that he was prone to sleep talking. Octavia made her way carefully though the tent, her movements deft and silent, her eyes flicking through the various low light modes they were capable of. "Commissar Hephastus, sir?" The blanketed lump made a noise, "Commissar Hephastus, Sir. I have your report here." Octavia said again, her voice still small, but audible. Again, a non committal noise came from the lump on the bunk. Octavia moved a little closer, her green eyes glowing in the dim light, "Commissar Hephastus?" A mechadendrite snaked forward, prodding gently at the slumbering giant, "Commissar Hephastus?" The mechadendrite responded to its owners annoyance at being ignored, and jabbed harder. With a roar, Rogal jumped from his bunk, landing in a crouch, fists raised. Octavia fell back in surprise, landing with a thud on the floor of the tent, her mechadendrites splayed out to cushion her fall, and protect the rations. Rogal activated the glowglobe, before turning to his guest.

"Emprah on earth, Octavia, are you alright?" Rogal asked as he knelt down beside his guest and helped her to her feet, "I had no idea anyone was in here." Her mechadendrites straightening her robe, Octavia looked away, avoiding eye contact and praying to the Omnissiah that she isn't blushing. "I tried to get your attention but you didn't hear me, then a guardsman called out and you responded so I came in, and then I tried to wake you but you didn’t respond so I tried some more, and you still didn't respond, and it frustrated me so I made sure you would wake up and you did and you nearly scared the machine spirit out of me, and..." Octavia turned to look the commissar in the eye, but was met with an eyeful of abs. Having helped her to her feet, Rogal had since stood up straight, still groggy from his rest. "And?" He asked, looking back at his guest. Her hood had fallen back, revealing chocolate brown hair, up in a simple ponytail. He averted his eyes, she averted hers. "And," Octavia continued, "I believe it its considered improper behaviour for a Commissar to be in such a state of undress when in the presence of a member of the Mechanicus, outside of medical treatment, as defined by article seven dash thirty two G,"

Rogal looked down at his bare chest, over at Octavia who seemed to have taken a great interest in the ceiling, back to his chest, and then back to Octavia, whose eye he caught, before she looked back to whatever had taken her fancy. Rogal blushed, and fumbled for his blanket, wrapping it around his shoulders like a cape. He thanked the Emprah he had at least the sense to fall asleep with his trousers on.

Octavia looked away as her mind tumbled into action. The testing had begun and already data was not showing the results she wanted. Adrenaline was up, dopamine was up, a host of other chemicals she shouldn't be needing were up. Her fleshbrain purred contentedly, repeating over and over the images of the commissar with the blanket as a cloak. Octavia eep'd against her will, as she forced herself to stare at the ceiling. Her fleshbrain whimpered that one more look wouldn't hurt anyone.

Behind the distracted techpriestess, Rogal fumbled around for his uniform, finding his boots, he pulled them on, thankful for also leaving his socks on, before he pulled his dress jacket across his shoulders, focusing more on being presentable, rather than being properly dressed. He pushed his shirt under his bunk with a toe, before coughing politely. "I must apologize for that, Priestess. That was very rude of me. Would you like a seat?" He asked, gesturing to the table and chairs in the corner of the tent. Octavia nodded, and Rogal crossed the tent in a couple of strides, pulling a chair out for his guest, "M'lady, if you would?" Octavia sat down, and pulled herself to the Table, as the Commissar took his seat opposite of her. "Now, how may I help you?"

Octavia felt her spine stiffen, as she fumbled around for the report. "You asked for this, Commissar, and Techpriestess Caelistis told me to deliver it." She explained, placing the data slate on the table and pushing it towards the still bed haired Commissar. Rogal reached forward, his hand dwarfing the dataslate, and as he pawed it towards him, their fingers met. Octavia's potentia coil surged, sending a charge down her arm, and a spark jumped from her fingers to his. The pair jerked, and inwardly, Octavia cursed the Omnissiah for not protecting her from such a malfunction. Rogal shook his hand to clear the tingling sensation, before awkwardly stammering "Are you okay, Octavia?" Blushing at the use of her name, she turned away, suddenly finding the weave of the tent wall fascinating, "I am fine, Commissar. Just a small hiccup in my digital power coupling. Nothing whatsoever to do with the physical contact between the two of us. Nothing at all." Rogal coughed nervously, before turning his attention to the dataslate. He scanned down, absorbing the information, "psychosomatic something something psychoemotional something something potentia coil inverter something something measurements of 34 26 34 something something likes her men like she likes her tanks..." Rogal stopped, his simple farm boy brain rereading the last couple of lines, before he felt the blood rushing to his face, and to other parts of him. He coughed awkwardly, before attempting to make small talk, an attempt that was cut short by his stomach grumbling loudly.

An awkward silence filled the tent. Rogal looked one way, Octavia the other, as her mechadendrites moved of their own accord and placed the ration pack on the table. Octavia looked at it first, unaware of her own mechadendrites movements, before she broke the silence, "And Caelistis also said you may have forgotten to eat, and seeing as your body still requires a large amount of nutrients to function at full efficiency, I thought I would bring you a ration pack and maybewecouldshareitanditwouldbelikethosegeltromancenovelsthatCaelistisreads..." Octavia stopped herself, realizing the rant she had embarked upon, and quickly ran back over the log of what had just happened. So many psychoemotional errors and overrides from her fleshbrain.

Chapter 4[edit]

Rogal just sat there, his brain somewhere in limbo, looking at the ration pack. He knew he needed to say something, or to do something, and that it was important he not do something stupid, but for the life of him, he could not think of a single thing. He knew he was hungry, and he needed to eat, and that was what he would do, but he just, couldn't find the right order of thoughts.

Outside, a feminine chuckle was heard, before the hum of a generator was silenced.

The pair looked up as the glowglobe hanging from the ceiling slowly faded. Octavia's eyes glowed dimly in the darkness, as Rogal tapped his earbead, patching in to the base voxnet. "Tiberius, what is the meaning of this?"

In the vox tent, Lieutenant Tiberius grinned and gave Caelistis the thumbs up, "Nothing major sir, just some trouble with the generator, the cogs are looking at it now. Should be back up in a few hours."

Rogal nodded, tapping the earbead again, severing the link. Octavia just looked at him, "The generator is down?" Rogal nodded, before rising from his seat, "Now just you wait here, M'lady, I have a" there was a thud as Rogal kicked his foot locker, "Lumestick somewhere" Another thud as he hit his desk, "around here". With a crack, he ignited the lumestick, and set it on the table, bathing the tent with soft flickering white light. Octavia smiled despite herself, noticing the direct correlation between this situation and one of the many that her and Caelistis had read back when they were still apprentices. Rogal set the lumestick on the table, before moving back into the tent, "Would you like a drink?" He called, crouching over another footlocker. Octavia froze; this was matching too many gelt romance situations. They were just fantasies, fiction for the masses, entertainment, not fact. She hesitated, letting out a small "eep" "Beg your pardon, M'lady?" Octavia forced herself to answer, "Do you have any amasec?" Rogal grinned, "But of course"

Grabbing a couple of glasses, and a miniature barrel of his finest amasec, Rogal returned to the table. Placing the glasses down with a slight clink, he removed the stopper from the amasec. "I hope it's okay," Rogal said as he screwed a spigot into the barrel, "I made it myself." Octavia's eyes lit up, she may have been on her way up in the Mechanicum, but there was one thing she would never loose, and that was her appreciation for a good amasec. The fact that Rogal brewed his own, her fleshbrain delighted in telling her, just made him more "delicious" "You brew your own amasec?" She asked, as the commissar filled her glass. "Yes ma'am. It's a little difficult sometimes, but basically, that foot locker, I had converted into a miniature distillery." Realizing what he had just said, Rogal added, "Helps with morale." Octavia held her glass up to the lumestick, admiring the brilliant amber coloring of the drink, before taking a small sip. The smooth liquid washed over her tongue and down her throat, warming her stomach. A small infographic popped up in her vision, explaining the exact composition of the drink, but she dismissed it for a future time.

Rogal prayed to the Emprah, begging him to bless that cask, so that his guest would like it. He had scrimped and scrounged and even made a deal with the quartermaster just to get the ingredients he needed, and then keeping the still functioning during the past few months had been harder than expected. This moment, he knew, would let him know if it had all been worth it.

Octavia's face lit up. She had drank a lot of amasec in her time, from the cheapest swill her and Caelistis had synthesized, to fancy bottles that had been... 'appropriated' from various sources. None of them however, compared to this.

In the dim light of the lumestick, Rogal’s face beamed with pride. The contented sigh that spilled from his guest’s lips said more than words ever could. She liked it. She liked his amasec. He watched her take another sip, which was followed by another contented sigh, and before his eyes she seemed to shed all the stress that had built up over the past few days. He watched as her emerald green eyes glinted in the lumesticklight, her delicate porcelain skin, the intricate scrollwork on her mechanical hands. Octavia suppressed a shiver, the amasec was amazing. She leaned forwards, resting her arms on the table, and surveyed her host in the lumestick light. Her vision flicked through the spectrums, picking up on the heat emanating from his body, how he traced the rim of his glass with a finger, the faint scars on his hands and face, the slightly lopsided smile, caused no doubt by some old wound. Her fleshbrain and sacred cognitor faced off. The man was still that, just a man, her cognitor argued, made of weak flesh. Weak flesh? Her fleshbrain questioned, You’ve touched the weak flesh, and it’s stronger than us. You read the report, YOU made the report. Her cognitor tittered nervously, as she took a longer draught from her amasec, say something, her cognitor urged, anything. Her fleshbrain sighed, desperately flicking through the thousands of possibilities she had thought of. Her mechadendrite tapped the ration pack gently. “Shall we eat?” Octavia managed to say, gripping her glass tightly.

Rogal’s brain registered the request, but no answer came forth, instead he just continued to look at his petite guest. Octavia coughed politely, breaking the commissar from his revelry, and with a nod, he reached forward, pulling the lid from the ration pack. “Sorry, priestess, I’m still a little tired. Weak flesh and all that,” He said, with a small smile, as he handed her a packet of biscuits. A mechadendrite snaked out and took the silver pack, as another reached to open it. Rogal opened the small jar of spread that the ration pack contained, setting it down in the middle of the table, before reaching back into the box and removing the two serving trays contained within. “I’m sorry I don’t have anything better,” The commissar said, tugging at the plump soup sachet, “I wasn’t exactly expecting a guest tonight,” A puzzled look crossed Octavia’s face, as her cognitor attempted to make sense of that statement. She saw no reason for the Commissars apology until an errant scrap of knowledge flitted past her vision. Combining the strange statement with the body language, and his thermal readings, and a small note from Caelistis, explaining how he would say something like this because of the infatuation.

Rogal watched his guest’s attention drift away, her nose twitching as she pondered whatever mysteries a servant of the machine god pondered. He contented himself with preparing the meal for the two of them, pulling the tab on the soup sachet to engage the heating mechanism, before pulling the staple packet from the bottom of the pack. Rogal grinned, the Emprah was kind. The staple packet contained the converted string pasta with grox mince sauce. The soup was nothing special, just a simple grox broth with some herbs, designed to be eaten with the small loaf that came in the ration pack. The string pasta with grox mince staple however, was considered the best rations to come from the pack, and he had heard stories of guardsmen trading packets of lho sticks for a single serve.

Octavia silently cursed her friend, for always being right. No matter how she looked at it, the data she was collecting pointed to one thing, and one thing only, an irrational infatuation with the commissar. Caelistis and her had been together since as far back as either of them could remember, and every single time, Caelistis would find a way to be right. Octavia’s fleshbrain interrupted her musings to point out that the meal had been prepared, and it was damn foolish of her to just be sitting there twitching her nose. Blushing at the realisation that her host had prepared the meal while she had been day dreaming, she let out a quiet eep, before looking down at her tray. “My apologies, commissar, I had some urgent data to repackage.” She mumbled, Rogal just smiled, “Duty always calls.” He said, taking up his spoon and dipping it into his soup, “And please, call me Rogal.” Octavia smiled, feeling her cheeks grow hot, as her fleshbrain rebelled. “Just like in the gelt romances,” her fleshbrain pointed out, “just think, we can eat, and then drink, and he will be attracted to us, and us to him, and he will pin us down, and tear our-“ Octavia eeped and dropped her spoon, splashing soup across her robe. She sighed angrily, looking around for a napkin, her mechadendrites attempting to brush the liquid from her chest. A white kerchief was gently pressed into her hand, “Here, use this,”

Rogal knew of Octavia’s perchance for absentmindedness and flights of fancy, but this was “Adorable” Looking up from sponging the stain on her robe, Octavia was puzzled, “Did you say something Commis- Rogal?” Shaking his head and praying his blushing cheeks couldn’t be seen, Rogal replied, “No, nothing at all. How are you finding the soup?” Taking another spoonful, Octavia daintily sipped, swirling the broth in her mouth before swallowing. “It’s good, thank you.” Her mechadendrite continued to wipe at her robe, only making the stain larger. Octavia sighed angrily, and shrugged out of her robe, her mechadendrites moving to drape it over the back of the chair. Rogal felt his breath catch in his throat. His mind went all but blank, as he watched his guest in the lumesticklight. A mechadendrite brushed a stray lock of hair from her face, as Octavia took up her spoon once more. Rogal managed to swallow the mouthful of soup he had taken before clumsily taking another spoonful. Light glinted gently from the band of silver electoos around Octavia’s neck, and from the smooth red plates that made up her elegant cyber mantle. Her obsidian black mechanical arms met with pale porcelain flesh at her shoulders, more silver electoos splaying out from the contact point. A simple, if delicate white top covered her chest, her cyber mantle acting as a corset, clinching the fabric in. The table obscured any further view, but for Rogal, that view was enough. He thanked the Emprah for blessing him, for creating this woman of exceptional beauty. Rogal had met many women in his time, from governors’ daughters, to celestines of the Ordos Famulous, but none of them compared to Octavia.

Noticing the attention her disrobing had brought, Octavia blushed, bringing her arms together in modesty. This however, her fleshbrain noted with glee, had the complete opposite affect of enhancing her already ample cleavage. Blushing even harder, Octavia whimpered quietly, her cognitor begging her fleshbrain to stop thinking of things that had to do with tables and pinning and ravishment. She cursed her fleshbrain for reading all those gelt romance novels, and her cognitor whimpered as it tried to find some action to perform that would get her back to her comfort zone. The staple pack opened with a soft pop, indicating its readiness for consumption, as the tantalising smell of grox sauce filled the tent.

Chapter 5[edit]

Rogal coughed, breaking the silence, “Foods ready,” Octavia placed her spoon down beside her now empty tray, and reached for the serving tongs in the ration pack. Her tiny hand was dwarfed in Rogal’s grip as he attempted the same, and the pair stopped to look at one another. Emerald Augmentations met Ceramite grey eyes, as Rogal gently prised Octavia’s fingers from the serving tongs. “How much would you like?” Rogal asked gently, lifting the steaming pasta from the packet, “Are you hungry?” Octavia nodded, pushing her plate forward. Keeping her body functioning at peak efficiency demanded a high intake of food, and due to her customised potential coil, she had a near perfect metabolic conversion rate. Her curvy body was a side effect of this, ensuring that she always maintained a reserve of fats just in case. Rogal gently placed the pile of pasta on her tray, “More?” Octavia nodded hungrily, “Yes please,” Another tongueful of pasta, “A little more, if you please?” Rogal smiled, the juxtaposition between his tiny guest and her now highly piled tray amused him. He let out a low chuckle, deep and rumbling, like a Leman Russ in low gear. Octavia blushed, realising how this must look to her host, and she tried to stammer out a reason, “I have a very high metabolism… Potentia coil needs it, keeps me functioning at peak efficiency…” Rogal’s chuckle became a laugh, “My dear Octavia, please. If you are hungry, you eat.” The commissar paused, looking at his guest, and then at the large amount of pasta still in the staple pack.

“Would it bother you,” Rogal said quietly, years of commissarial training keeping the embarrassment from his voice, “If I just ate straight from the packet? I’m just rather hungry, and it’s easier” Octavia smiled at her hosts awkward, “and adorable” her fleshbrain added, behaviour “If you are hungry, Rogal, you eat. However you wish to.” A huge grin spread across the commissar’s face, as he hefted his fork, “In that case, here’s to you and here’s to me, and the Emprah smiles on all he sees. I hope you enjoy this meal.” Octavia smiled, how quaint her host’s manners were. Taking her own fork up, she began to eat. Daintily at first, acting in accordance with proper Mechanicum formal eating practices. Rogal however, was tearing into his meal, having hardly eaten in the past day, his fork powering between mouth and packet, pausing only when he took a mouthful of amasec. Octavia’s fleshbrain squealed with joy, “Look at him, a man. A real man. Not like the cogfuckers” Her cognitor tried to chastise her fleshbrain for its choice of words, but it continued undaunted “He’s like a perfect machine, a machine of flesh and iron will.” Watching her host wolf down his meal, Octavia realised how hungry she too was, and began eating faster, casting aside the mealtime formalities in favour of getting more of the delicious grox sauce covered pasta into her stomach.

The pair ate in silence, the meal disappearing as quickly as it had arrived. As she ate, Octavia looked at the side of the ration pack, absentmindedly harvesting the nutritional information on the side. Average kilocals per hundredweight… average energy per serve…. Will feed five guardsmen. Her fleshbrain’s metaphorical eyes went wide, five guardsmen? Her cognitor quickly brought up how much she had eaten, what was left on her plate, and compared it with the standard serving size. Slightly over the standard amount, but that was normal. She looked over at Rogal as he scraped the last of the sauce from the bottom of the packet up onto his fork and then into his mouth. A thin trickle of the dark sauce spilling from the corner of his mouth. The man had just devoured, in the same time it had taken her to eat a standard serving, four times the amount. Rogal sighed contentedly, taking a napkin to wipe his mouth. Leaning back into his chair, he raised his glass to Octavia “To good food and good company” Fumbling for her glass, Octavia managed to raise her own, “To good food and good company.” The pair knocked back their respective glasses, returning them to the table slightly harder than either intended. Rogal grinned, “I know that noise,” Octavia looked puzzled, “What noise?” Leaping from his chair, Rogal returned to his foot locker, grabbing a fresh pair of amasec bottles. “That’s the noise of a girl who knows how to drink.”

Octavia blushed, and looked around nervously. She had, in the past, drank, and drank hard. Her augmented body quickly burning the alcohol for energy, fueling the catalytic converters that would allow her to drink more, but that was a classic Mechanicum colledge game, who had the most efficient body, and who could counter the amasec the most effectively. Caelistis had always beaten her, but Octavia was no slouch. Her fleshbrain started dancing, the amasec already in her system having already being used to undo social inhibitors and other things her fleshbrain considered an inconvenience. Her blessed cognitor just shook its proverbial head, trying its utmost to keep up its quickly fading façade of disapproval. A quiet “eep” left her lips as Rogal stood with the two bottles, swinging them happily, “Shall we?” Octavia closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Her olfactory senses reveled in the smell of the commissar’s tent, of the meal just gone, and of that enticing smell of sawdust and metal that Rogal was bathed in. “I should warn you, Rogal,” She said, grinning, “I’m augmented, this is hardly fair,” Rogal just placed a bottle in front of her as he sat down, “Is that a challenge, little lady?” He asked, a cocky grin spreading across his chiselled features, “Cause where I come from,” A strong hand twisted the lid from the bottle, “That’s a challenge.”

Octavia’s fleshbrain and cognitor chorused together, something that hadn’t happened since her time in the colledgia, “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.” Mechadendrites snaked out, grasping the bottle Rogal had given her, and prising the lid off. Smiling sweetly, Octavia poured herself a fresh glass, “So where do you come from, Rogal?” She asked, “And by what rules are we drinking?” Her cognitor looked shocked, where had this sudden confidence come from, this was so risky, so forward. Her fleshbrain rolled languidly on the metaphorical floor, her hands in her hair, smiling with red cheeks, “We haven’t drunk since that time with Caelistis and the Russ, remember?” Octavia’s cognitor blushed with horror, as she hoped her body was ready for this. Raising his own glass to study the liquid in the lumestick light, “Rules are simple, ask a question, take a drink. Answer a question, take a drink. Find a reason, take a drink. Things are pretty simple where I come from.” He said, grinning awkwardly. Octavia laughed, a musical, melodic sound, “So binary roulette?” Rogal looked confused, “Binary roulette?” Octavia nodded, “one equals drink, zero equals anything else, but if zero occurs, then one must occur. Binary roulette.” It was Rogal’s turn to laugh, “Cogboy drinking games, who knew.” Tipping his glass to his guest, Rogal downed half the glass. “Anyway, you wanted to know about where I come from?” Octavia nodded, before taking a drink from her own glass, “If you don’t mind, that is?” “I’d be a terrible host if I denied my guests anything. I grew up…”

Octavia sat and listened as Rogal told her of his homeworld, of growing up in the schola progenium, of the forest around him, of growing strong by the swing of the axe and dexterous by the blade of a carving tool. The pair drank and laughed as he told of how he and some other cadets had made a trebuchet to help the convent attached to the schola train their sisters in the art of the jump pack. “So this one sister, absolutely Emprah crazy, thinks she can just launch herself and that the Emprah would protect her,” Rogal said, before chuckling, “So she just climbs on in to the basket, and demands we launch her.” Octavia put a mechadendrite to her mouth in horror, “and then what happened?” “Well, I saw what was happening, so right at the last moment, just as Ambrosios pulls the leaver, I wrench the thing sideways. You should have heard her squeal, sounded like an earthshaker round.” Melodious laughter spilled from Octavia’s lips as she took another sip from her glass. The bottle in front of her was half empty now, and her fleshbrain was reveling in the fact. Her cognitor was desperately trying to burn the excess alcohol away, but her fleshbrain kept pouncing on her, trying to let the her blood alcohol level rise. Rogal grinned, taking a mouthful of amasec before continuing, “We launched that white haired Emprah-botherer straight into the lake. She came out, soaked to the bone, and we learned that day why the heretic fears the angry sister.” The pair laughed in unison, clinking their glasses together, before Rogal leaned in, “So what about you, little lady? How did you grow up?”

Octavia blushed; she wasn’t good at talking about herself. “Well, I was born. No, I was grown? That’s not right either, umm, how to explain this. When a Mechanicum couple wants to have a son or daughter, they, well, take the genetic material from both parents, and, combine them, and then they stick the now growing embryo in a special vat, and we develop in there,” Rogal nodded, “Like they do on the farms?” Her already flushed cheeks grew hotter, “I guess you could put it like that. But there is so much more to it, the parents tend to their child, ensuring it develops strong and healthy, correcting any issues that may arise before they can affect the child, it’s a beautiful thing, the machine is literally like a third parent, it nurtures us, it cares for us, the strong machine caring for the weak flesh, so we may become like the machine someday, and care for it in turn.” Rogal’s face was dumbstruck, he had never thought of it like that. Cogboys had always just seemed strange and foreign to him, but when explained in such terms, it made sense. “So I grew up, got my first augment at eight years standard terran, became an apprentice at thirteen years terran, and got into one of the most prestigious Collegia Mechanica on the world at eighteen standard.” Octavia continued, explaining her learnings and what she had done, her translations and understanding of technology allowing for small advancements where it could. Rogal nodded, feeling very aware of what a simple and backwards man he must seem. Here he was talking of wood and simple mechanical levers, while his guest had been cracking atoms and building plasma engines. “I must seem like such a simpleton,” Octavia paused, realizing her guest's discomfort, “Sometimes, simple is better.”

A small hand reached out to touch a larger one, “Your work is just as valid as mine. You put as much heart and soul into your work as any Mechanicum priest, and that is to be commended, and respected.” Rogal smiled, “Thank you Octavia, you’re far to kind to this humble servant of the Emprah.” His hand gently took hers, and the pair just sat there in the flickering lumestick light, emerald augments and ceramite eyes sharing a moment that both wished could last forever. Suddenly, Octavia leapt to her feet, “Inverted flux capacitors, look at the time,” Rogal turned in his seat, looking at the chronometer beside his bunk, the dull red numbers staring sullenly back at him. The planet was on a 36 hour day, so the night was still young, but it was still late in the morning, “I haven’t done my duties, there are tanks to be consecrated, lasguns to be serviced,” Octavia began hurrying about the tent, mechadendrites nearly blurs as she tidied the table, “Octavia,” Rogal said, reaching out to stop her, but she just brushed past him, “Octavia,” Rogal tried again, but was ignored. Sighing with frustration, his hand whipped out, “Octavia. Stop.”

Chapter 6[edit]

Every nerve ending, real and artificial in Octavia's body jolted. Around her arm, Rogal's huge hand held firm. Not so firm as to be uncomfortable, but firm enough that her fleshbrain would pounce upon the situation. “THIS IS IT,” her fleshbrain cried, rolling and writhing on the metaphorical floor of Octavia’s mind, running its conceptual hands and mechadendrites up and down its body, “He’s being so firm and forceful, feel that power,” She moaned, as her cognitor looked on, mute and frozen. Rogal turned his guest to face him, his hands moving up her arms. Looking her in the eyes, “Octavia, please. Stop this. If you need to go, then go.” He said, his voice tinged with sadness at the end of a wonderful evening, Octavia looked back, her mind instantly sobering as her cognitor purged all alcohol in her system, “I have to go. Thank you for the wonderful meal.” Her fleshbrain cried out in anguish, why was this happening, it cried, as her cognitor steered them towards the tent door. She stepped outside, the tent flap closing behind her, as thousands of thoughts flashed through her mind at once. Sighing at herself, she began her walk back to the Mechanicum complex, when Rogal’s voice cut through the still night air “Octavia, wait,” He called, jogging up to her, “You forgot your cloak,” Clutched to his broad chest, he gently held her red outer cloak, folded neatly. She looked up at the awkward smile on the commissar’s face, as he offered the bundle to her. Taking it in her hands, she clutched the bundle to her own chest, and smiled back up at him. He coughed, and clasped his hands behind his back, “I was wondering, if you aren’t busy tonight, if you would like to have dinner again? Only if your duty doesn’t call, that is?” Taking a step closer to the commissar, her fleshbrain shoved her cognitor aside, and gently she rested her head against his stomach. “I would like that.”

Rogal paused, unsure how to react to this close physical proximity, his hand absentmindedly stroking down Octavia's hair and spine, the jarring cold of her cyber mantle meeting his fingers snapping him back to reality. “I’ll meet you in the Mess hall at twenty hundred? We can decide what we want to do from there?” Octavia nodded her, a sudden wave of tiredness washing over her, the side effect of her body's effort to remove the alcohol from her system. She snuggled her face into Rogal's coat, feeling his warmth through the wool, her mind wandering as she marvelled at the thousands of reactions that would be powering his massive frame at that time. He coughed politely, “Octavia, shouldn’t you be going?” She blushed and pulled away, “Of course, my apologies Commissar.” Rogal coughed, “We’re not on duty, Priestess,” He said with a grin, “Goodnight Octavia.” “Good night Rogal.” The commissar watched as the petite techpriestess pulled her cloak back around her, a mechadendrite throwing her hood forward, as she crossed the base. He looked around, the generators still weren’t working, which was strange. Tapping his earbead, he patched himself back into the base’s voxnet.

“Tiberius?” His Vox was filled with a burst of static, before the battalion's head vox officer’s voice entered the channel, “Sir?” His voice was strained, and Rogal could hear his breathing, louder than it should be, “Tiberius, what’s keeping the cogboys? Does it really take that long to repair a generator?” Tiberius was heard to converse with someone in the background, a female voice, Rogal knew that much, but his thoughts were distracted as the vox officer replied, “I’m told their just about done, Sir.” As Tiberius spoke, a deep thrum rolled through the night air, and a warm glow filled the night sky as the generator came back online. Rogal nodded to himself, “Good. Make sure they run a full diagnostic, I don’t want that happening again.” “Yes, Sir.” “Hephastus out.”

Tiberius waited for the click of disconnection, before letting out a loud and heavy sigh. Beside him, Caelistis checked her cabled hair in a screen reflection, pushing some errant MIU cables behind her ear with a mechadendrite. Another gently massaged Tiberius’s shoulder, as he leaned back in his chair. “You realise I’m up for summary execution if he ever finds out about this?” Caelistis laughed, “Live a little, meatbag. Such things keep life exciting.” She said as she wrapped her cloak around her. Her mechadendrite gently traced down Tiberius’s neck, “And besides, I owe you now.” The vox officer looked up, Caelistis winked at him. “I need to go, my little fleshsack, but if you drop by the armory around lunchtime, I could do with your help… calibrating some rather sensitive equipment.” She looked over her shoulder as she gently dragged a mechadendrite across Tiberius’s shoulders as she walked away, he caught the mechanical cable, and kissed it, “Goodnight, goodnight, my technological temptress, may cherubim sing you to your rest cycle,” He said with a grin.

Octavia threw the door to her quarters open with a mechadendrite, another pulling the cloak from her shoulders, as she strode through towards her bed. She stopped, her fingers splaying through her hair, pulling the cable tie she had used to put it up out, and throwing it behind her, her mechadendrites began undoing the clasps at her hips, releasing the long skirt that covered her augmented legs. She looked over her shoulder at herself in the mirror she and Caelistis shared in their quarters, a mechadendrite gently tracing the lace like electoos at her thighs, decorating the line that separated pale flesh from onyx bionic. She threw her blanket aside and herself onto the mattress, her mechadendrites splaying out behind her like wings. Her fleshbrain writhed on the ground, howling complaints about wasted chances, as her cognitor just went dumbly about its duties, still numb from the nights excitement. Lifting an arm, she studied her hand, the same hand that had met Rogal’s so many times that night. She thought of his hands, so large, and powerful, the electrical pulses that she had sent through them had fed back a muscle density on par with vat grown muscle, far stronger than any normal man. Her fleshbrain called forth images of him holding her arms, his presence so powerful and daunting. Octavia felt her body go hot, her cognitor telling her to ignore her fleshbrain, it was just a side effect of the alcohol clearing.

Her fleshbrain had other ideas, pulling a memnorvox clip, she heard him, in those rich deep tones, “Octavia, please,” Her fleshbrain writhed in pleasure, her mechadendrites following the strongest signal. They snaked around her limbs, trailing sensuously across her, the heat in her stomach rising even further. Her cognitor whimpered in a corner of her mind, blaming the alcohol, blaming bad wiring, blaming everything it could except itself, as her fleshbrain took full control. Images of him holding her by the arms, pinning her to the table, her mechadendrites wrapped around his strong arms, pulling them closer. Octavia’s lips parted, a breathy sigh escaping, followed by a whimper. Her mechadendrites constricted around her tighter, as she buried her hands in her brown locks. Her back arched, as a pair of mechadendrites gently slid across the flesh of her upper thighs. Her cognitor managed to exert one last order, before being overwhelmed, and that was to pull the rich red blanket back over their body. Octavia’s fleshbrain took over, her mechadendrites dancing over her body, as little warning runes signalled across her vision. She paid them no attention, lost in her thoughts, her fleshbrain conducting her movements like a maestro in front of an orchestra. “Rogal...” she whispered to the darkness, her emerald green eyes half hooded, her mouth open, panting, “Oh commissar..”

Caelistis quietly closed the door, and made her way to her bunk. Looking over at her roommate, she smiled, gently reaching out with a mechadendrite to pull the twisted blanket that covered Octavia a little straighter. Octavia whimpered in her sleep, as a mechadendrite twitched lazily. Gently pulling her boots off, Caelistis shed her robe and climbed into her own bunk, content with her nights work. A libertine at heart, Caelistis couldn’t stand to see her friend not enjoying the few things that kept her human. That was after all what had caused the iron men to revolt, a lack of humanity. Pulling her blanket around her, she rolled over, closing her one human eye, and powering down her other. From across the room, she heard Octavia talking in her sleep, “Oh commissar, I’m in violation of uniform code eight eight oh three five nine, and need to be punished,” Caelistis smothered a laugh with her pillow, her mind wandering back to Tiberius, and how he looked with her mechadendrites around his neck, and drifted off to sleep with a smile on her face.

Caelistis groaned, opening her human eye, lights, bright, and the noise of, something. Pulling herself up to sitting, she looked around, her quarters were spotless. That wasn’t right. Her Augmented eye clicked to life, as Octavia walked in, rosy cheeks and bright smiles, with two cups of recaf. “Good morning, Caelistis,” she said, handing her friend a cup, her mechadendrites folding Caelistis’s robe as she continued talking, “How was your evening?” Caelistis grinned, “Just had to fix up a rather disobedient generator, and yourself?” Octavia blushed, “We had dinner, it was nice. Rogal is a nice person. I like him.” “What do the tests say?” Caelistis asked, “That was the whole reason why you went, remember?” Octavia’s cheeks went redder, as she fidgeted with the mechanospanner she had picked up, and let out a small eep. “Well?” Looking away from her friend, Octavia sent the results. Caelistis roared with laughter, the autotuned noise filling the room. “What do I do?” Octavia asked, as she sat on her friend’s bed, looking down at her augmented feet poking out from under her dress. Caelistis put a comforting hand to her friend’s shoulder, “I think you already know what you’re going to do,” she said, as she gestured to the now impeccably clean room, “Bring him back here, I can cover the night shift easily enough,”

A wolfish grin crossed Caelistis’s face, as behind her, her mechadendrites began constricting around her pillow. With a squeal of joy, Octavia hugged her friend, before pulling away, “Do you think you could, adhere to the standard uniform code, before we do that again?” Caelistis looked down, her bare chest pale in the glowglobe light, before grinning at Octavia, “You never complained back at the colledgia,” Grabbing a pillow, Octavia hit her friend, “Behave yourself, Caelistis.” Never one to let a chance go by, “Or what, you’ll get your big commissar to punish me?” Caelistis retorted. Octavia’s face went pink once more, as Caelistis rolled over and onto all fours, her blanket still covering her lower body, “Oh Commissar,” Caelistis moaned, “I’ve been a bad little techpriestess, won’t you and Octavia punish me,” She emphasized the punish by smacking herself with a mechadendrite. Octavia blushed harder, letting out a small eep at the sound of the smack, a hand and mechadendrite covering her mouth as she looked away. Caelistis laughed again, a mechadendrite fishing undergarments from under her bed, before putting them on as their owner got out of her bed.

“Stop teasing me,” Octavia said, hugging the pillow to her in a huff. Caelistis ruffled her friend’s hair affectionately, “But it’s so much fun. Such things keep us human, stops a second iron man rebellion. Anyway, get dressed, we can grab some food on the way to the armoury, your skills are needed. A hydra is having targeting problems, needs your touch.” Caelistis explained, as she pulled a robe over her head, smoothing it down her slim body, before throwing her cloak over the top, “Hood’s up, let’s go.” Octavia nodded, her smile returning, as she followed her friend out into the base once more.

Chapter 7[edit]

The night had been long for Rogal. He had tried to sleep, to no avail. He had done push ups, chin ups, carved half a regicide set, polished his… laspistol, and finally managed to get to sleep. Blearily he had dragged himself to the mess hall, and grabbing mug of recaf, he flopped down at the officers table. Resting his head on his arms, he let the smell of hot recaf slowly fill his mind. “Morning Sir,” Tiberius beamed down at the tired commissar, “I brought you some breakfast.” With a grunt, Rogal pulled himself up to sitting, as the vox officer slid a tray piled high with hot food in front of him. “Thank you, Tiberius. Much Obliged.” Clapping his friend on the shoulder, Rogal grabbed his fork, oblivious to the pained look that flashed across his Tiberius’s face. Gingerly, the vox officer rolled his shoulder a few times, trying to ignore the pain from the bruise that had just been hit. He sat down beside Rogal, and dug into his own plate. “So, Sir, I hear you had a date last night?”

Rogal stopped mid chew, his fork dropping into the pile of scrambled eggs. He swallowed nervously, and took a swig from his recaf. “What?” Tiberius grinned, he and Rogal had been promoted to officer and full commissar at the same time, due to some rather fancy work they had done with a damaged voxcaster, a truck full of explosives, some paint and a rather irate cultist. He knew what he could get away with, and this was one of those things. “There’s a whisper on the voxnet that you had a date last night.” Rogal forced himself to keep a straight face, taking up his fork once more, “Oh, really?” “Yes, my friend, really.” “And with whom did I have this, date?” Tiberius raised his mug in respect, “They say, you had a date, with her.” “Her?” Tiberius nodded towards the serving station, and the two robed figures there. Octavia had filled her tray with bacon and hash browns, her a couple of ploins wrapped in mechadendrites, a cup of recaf in another, and a third feeding her a slice of toast. Beside her, Caelistis stood with her own tray, a large bowl of the hot porridge steaming, as she added spoonful upon spoonful of the sweet brown sugar that sat at the condiments table. Rogal just watched as the pair walked off, before slowly resuming his chewing. “Her. The darling girl of the Mechanicus, she who saves our asses and makes our lives easier. Emprah on earth, it’s like a gelt romance. So, is it true?” Rogal set his fork down, “It is true that we shared a meal.” “So it was a date?” Rogal tried not to smile, “No, she just brought some food with her when she came to drop off a report I had asked for. I was starving, so, she stayed, and we ate, and then she noticed the time and she left.” “That’s it?” Rogal nodded, taking another mouthful of food and chewing happily, he turned his mind to the tasks for the day. “There’s also a whisper, Sir, of there being another rendezvous between yourself and the priestess tonight.” Rogal nearly choked. Coughing loudly, he drained his mug, and stood, “We’re not finished here,” He growled to Tiberius before he went and refilled his mug. This mug was drained, before being filled again, and Rogal returned to the table. Tiberius grinned at the commissar as he sat down once more, “So there is another meeting?” Rogal looked around, feeling like he was back at the schola, before he leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, “Yes, we’re meeting again tonight. You tell anyone,” Rogal patted his holstered laspistol, “You explain yourself to him on earth.” Tiberius just laughed, “Fine, fine, this stays between you, me and the Emprah. But, if I may, sir,” Tiberius saluted, “Damn fine job.” Rogal just sighed, “Actually, I could do with some help, there are some, items, I need.” “At your service, sir”.

The day passed without incident, Rogal continued to work, that day making bunks for the new barracks that were being raised. Octavia placated the hydra, rebuilding its targeting core in record time. Both, however, seemed to always be not quite with it, despite their excellent work. Day passed into night, and Rogal dropped into the quartermasters shed. The grizzled, bearded quartermaster looked out with his one good eye and grunted a welcome. “Evening Atticus,” Rogal said, nodding at the scruffy man behind the counter, “Did those items arrive?” Another grunt, and the old man disappeared back into the rows of shelves behind him. He returned with a crate, thudding it down on the counter top, “Don’t this constitute some form of abuse of authoriteh or sommat?” Atticus grumbled, pushing the requisition form across to Rogal, who just sighed, “It would be, if I wasn’t trading you three bottles of amasec,” Rogal retorted, signing the form and pushing it back across the counter. He then reached down and grabbed the box at his feet, placing it on the counter beside the now completed requisition form, “And there’s an extra one in there, just between friends,” Atticus laughed hoarsely, “You have fun tonight now sir,” He croaked, taking his items and returning to the darkness of the shed.

Octavia sat in the corner of the mess, watching as guardsmen and women came and went about their nightly duties, waiting patiently. Her mechadendrites absentmindedly stroking at her robes, as she pondered how she would exactly conduct herself tonight. Her cognitor had not stopped running situations since she had awoke, and her fleshbrain had been chattering near incessantly, only placated by a quick… recalibration inside the hydra. She could feel her fleshbrain exerting its control, once more, as she ran a hand through her hair. She heard a polite cough behind her, and turned in her seat. Standing with a crate almost as big as her over his shoulder, stood Rogal. He smiled warmly down at her, “My apologies for keeping you waiting, priestess.” Octavia smiled timidly, “Your early commissar, nothing wrong with being efficient” Rogal offered his hand, “Shall we?” Her small hand dwarfed in his gloved one, he helped her to her feet, “I was thinking we could have a picnic, there is this wonderful spot over by the vox tent,” Rogal explained as they walked from the mess, oblivious to the numerous pairs of eyes watching them.

Octavia looked up at the crate on Rogal’s shoulder as they walked, marvelling at the size of it. He showed no sign of difficulty in carrying it, but judging from the reinforced nature of the crate, Octavia guessed it would have taken a couple of guardsmen to carry it. Looking further up, she saw the twin moons slowly drift behind a cloud, bathing the small hill they were climbing in diffused light. Her emerald eyes shone in the darkness as they crested the hill, dwarfed by the huge voxspire beside them. Releasing her hand, Rogal lowered the crate to the ground and popped the clasps, the crate unsealing with a hiss.

Octavia drank in the view, as Rogal busied himself with the crate. She heard clinks and pops, and as she turned, Rogal presented her with a glass of amasec. “It took a little work,” He explained, as he rose to his feet and stood beside her, “But I think you will like dinner tonight. The Pair looked out over the base, unaware of the clouds rolling in behind them. The wind picked up slightly, blowing Octavia’s robe against Rogal’s leg, and she reached down to pull it away. Their hands met, gingerly at first, before Rogal’s huge hand once again enveloped hers. Octavia looked up at her companion, and found him looking back, his lopsided smile plastered to his face. “How was your day?” He asked, as he led her back to the picnic he had set up, a checkered blanket lying in front of the crate, laden with food. Sitting on the crate, Rogal patted beside him, and Octavia obediently sat, pressing herself close to the burly commissar. He leant down and grabbed a plate, loaded with small green fruits and thinly cut cheese. With his free hand he pulled one of the fruits from its stem and offered it to his guest. Octavia’s nose twitched as she sniffed at the morsel, “What is it?” She asked, as her cognitor scrambled to identify the fruit, “It’s called a grep, apparently,” Rogal said, twisting the small sphere between his fingers, “They’re very nice,” Timidly, Octavia opened her mouth, and took a bite from the offered fruit. Her face lit up with delight, as she quickly chewed and swallowed, opening her mouth for more. Rogal laughed, “I take it you like it?” Octavia nodded happily, “Yes. More please.” Rogal gently pushed the rest of the grape into her mouth, the leather of his glove caressing her bottom lip, causing her to shiver. Her fleshbrain tittered happily, as her cognitor quickly dismissed the idea of sucking on his finger.

Rogal smiled, offering the rest of the plate to his guest, as he put his arm around her. She seemed so fragile and delicate, he thought, despite knowing she was more durable than him. He looked out to across the base, the lights of the tents and buildings like a patch of stars fallen to earth. A small cough brought him from his thoughts, as Octavia offered him a grep rolled in the cheese, “Sir, you must eat.” She said, her emerald eyes looking up happily, her face lighting up as he carefully took the cheese wrapped fruit between his teeth. Her fingers softly brushed his stubble as she pulled her hands away, and Rogal chuckled, “That tickled,” He said, noticing Octavia’s puzzled look, “You touched my stubble, it tickled,” “Oh…” Octavia said, smiling happily again, “Does that really tickle?” Rogal nodded as he lifted another plate, this one piled high with a salad filled with leafy greens, chicken, bacon and cheese, “Yes, it really does tickle. Would you like some salad?” Octavia nodded, taking up one of the forks that had been stabbed into the meal. She offered the mouthful to Rogal, smiling happily, “You really must eat, such a body must require a lot of nutrients,” Rogal smiled around the fork in his mouth, nodding happily. He chewed and swallowed, and Octavia offered him another forkful of salad. He took it gladly, and the forkful after that, and the one after that. Octavia beamed, now kneeling on the crate as she fed her host. With the plate nearly empty, Rogal stopped, “Shouldn’t you have some?” Octavia tilted her head, “Oh, yes. I suppose I should, shouldn’t I?” Rogal took the fork and speared a mouthful of salad on it, “Yes, you should. My turn,” Octavia opened her mouth, wrapping it around the forkful of salad offered to her. She suppressed a happy sigh as she chewed, the crisp greens and tender chicken flavourful in her mouth.

A cold drip interrupted the happy pair. Looking skyward, dark dark clouds stared back. Another drip, this one patting on Rogal’s peaked cap. A third, then a forth drip, as the rain began. Rogal cursed inwardly, how could he have been so stupid as to forget to check the weather. He near leapt from the crate, bundling food quickly back into the collapsible containers that were their plates. Octavia stood, her mechadendrites grabbing the checkered blanket and folding it, as her host quickly threw the now full containers into the crate. The rain started thudding down, droplets the size of stubber bullets pounding down. Rogal pulled his coat from his shoulders and wrapped it around Octavia, who looked up at him, her eyes glowing from under her hood, “The Mechanicum complex is closer, come with me,” She called, grabbing Rogal’s hand and pulling him forward. With a grunt Rogal pulled the crate up under his arm, and the pair began running through the rain. Octavia nimbly moved down the hill, her augmented legs letting her keep pace with the thudding boots of the commissar behind her. The rain beat down as the pair ran under the cover of the main Mechanicus building, leaving a trail of water behind them. Octavia slowed, leading Rogal past the secutors at the main bulkhead, and down the maze of corridors that lead to her room. Opening the door, she let her guest in, and with a thought activated the glowglobes, bathing the room in soft even light. She turned to face her guest, and her fleshbrain squealed with joy. His chest heaving, soaked to the bone, Rogal stood in the doorway, crate over his shoulder, his white shirt plastered to his chest. He took his hat off and wiped his brow with his arm, a futile gesture, as it just moved the water around. He smiled sheepishly, “Do you have a towel?”

Chapter 8[edit]

Octavia’s eyes went wide, and her mind into overdrive, where were the towels, she had spent all morning cleaning and now could not remember where she had put the towels. Letting out a small eep, she hurried into the bathroom, her mechadendrites wrenching the linen cupboard open, her eyes scanned up and down the shelves. Her towels were small, made for people the size of her or Caelistis, not for someone as broad shouldered as her guest. Her fleshbrain pointed out that this was not a problem, so long as he was dried off eventually, that was all he needed. Her cognitor ceded the point, and she grabbed a fluffy red towel, before returning to the main living area. Rogal stood with his back to her, his hat on the table and his shirt in his hands, as he wrung it out over the sink. Octavia’s breath caught in her throat, as she watched the muscles in Rogal’s back twist and move as he wrung the water from his shirt, rivulets from his hair making their way down over corded muscles. She let out a small whimper, and forced herself to move. Taking the towel in her hands, she gently dabbed at Rogal’s back, causing him to stiffen. “Octavia?” She let out an eep, before composing herself, “Rogal?” Pausing from wringing his shirt, Rogal stood up, “What are you doing?” Octavia reached up as far as she could, her mechadendrites helping her to dry her guest’s broad shoulders, “You are my guest, I am being a good hostess.” Rogal shrugged, “I can dry myself, you know,” Octavia nodded behind him, “I am aware of that,” She said, her fleshbrain relishing the feeling of Rogal under her mechanical fingertips, quickly added, “But this is Mechanicum hospitality, now please, take a seat.” She said, pulling a chair out from the table in the middle of the room. Rogal sat, as Octavia draped the towel across his shoulders.

She lifted his jacket from her shoulders with her mechadendrites, draping the water soaked coat over the back of another chair, before removing her own cloak. She shook her head, small droplets flying, before returning to her guest. Taking the towel in her hands, she began to dry Rogal’s hair. He sighed happily as she buried her hands in the towel and his hair, ruffling this way and that. Her mechadendrites slunk out and over his shoulders, finding knots in the muscles and working at them. Rogal moaned happily, his head sinking forward. Octavia left the towel and moved her hands over the broad nape of the commissar’s neck, her nimble fingers tracing across the muscle bundles. Her mechadendrites wrapped up and under his arms, as Octavia went up on tiptoe to hug her guest from behind. The sound of rain on the roof of the complex was the only thing that could be heard. Octavia sighed, “Thank you for saving me,” she whispered, her heart fluttering in her chest. Her fleshbrain hugged itself with joy as her mechadendrites lazily traced lines across Rogal’s broad chest. She felt his breathing, the steady thump of his massive heart, how the muscles in his shoulders were tensing once more. A deep rumble started in his chest, “I couldn’t let them hurt you,” He whispered back, reaching up with a huge hand to cup her face. Her chest went tight, her fleshbrain cheered, this was it, he was going to turn her head, their lips would meet, and- He gently stroked her cheek as he stood. “We never had dessert.” He said, grinning awkwardly. He crossed the room in a couple of strides, and opened the crate once more. From within he produced a small domed item and a packet of red fruits. Octavia’s eyes went wide, “Are those?” Rogal nodded, “Strawberries, I heard somewhere that you liked them,” he said as he sat down again, placing the punnet of strawberries down beside the bronze domed egg.

Pressing a button on the side, the dome popped open, a chocolatey smell filling the air. “I also heard that you like chocolate,” Rogal said, his lopsided smile beaming. Inside her head, Octavia’s fleshbrain squealed with delight, her cognitor joining in, for the love of chocolate. Her mouth watered, as she watched Rogal dip one of the bright red strawberries into the dark chocolaty pool, pulling it back up with a skilful twist and offering it to her. Her lips locked around the morsel and she bit down, leaving just the green stem in Rogal's fingers, and she whimpered happily. The pair sat, as Rogal prepared another strawberry. Pulling her knees underneath herself, Octavia knelt on her chair, leaning over the table to get closer to her guest and his gift. He presented her with another, which she took hungrily, her lips skimming his now ungloved fingertips as she bit down. Her eyes half closed with delight as she chewed, she sighed happily. Taking a strawberry for himself, Rogal dipped it into the molten chocolate, his attention more on his hostess than on his actions. His fingertips dipped into the rich dark liquid, and he jerked his hand back, strings of chocolate dripping. Octavia licked her lips, and looked at her guest with wide eyes. Rogal felt his insides melt like the chocolate dripping from his fingers, as he offered Octavia the strawberry. She took it greedily, and her fleshbrain took its chance, her tongue flicked out and across Rogal’s fingers, collecting as much of the chocolate as she could. Her cognitor stood mute as she moaned happily. Rogal’s brain just froze, his manhood taking over in his moment of weakness. His other hand reached up to Octavia, and buried itself in her hair, as he pulled his other hand away, leaving a small trail of chocolate at the corner of Octavia’s mouth.

Her tongue darted out, licking hungrily at the chocolate, as Rogal dipped a strawberry for himself and threw it into his mouth. Octavia nuzzled her head into his hand, and pulled herself onto the table, crawling forward. Rogal’s mind barely registered anything, lost now in her emerald eyes, as his primal brain took over, reaching forward to take an augmented hand in his own. Octavia’s fleshbrain moaned happily, “I never got to thank you for saving me,” She whispered huskily, as their faces got closer, Rogal’s hand tightening in her hair. He leaned closer, his nose brushing against hers, her breath hot against his mouth. With a crash, they both gave in to their humanity, their lips meeting with a literal spark as Octavia’s potential coil fired. The pair jerked, before coming back together, Rogal’s broad hand sliding up her arm to her shoulder and pulling her closer. Octavia whimpered, her mechadendrites snaking forward to wrap themselves around the commissars neck and over his shoulders. Rogal stood, Octavia rising to kneel on the table, her hands splayed across his chest, before he leaned over her, pinning her down by her arms. Her fleshbrain cried out in happiness, “YESYESYESYESYES” it cried, as her cognitor hoped the table was strong enough to support them both. Octavia moaned into the kiss, her tongue flicking out to meet Rogal's, and was overpowered by the broad muscle. A mechadendrite twitched, activating the auto seal feature on the chocolate pot, before it fell, rolling off the table with a thud. Only Octavia’s cognitor noticed, as her fleshbrain indulged itself, arching their bodies back, pressing against the steely muscles of their guest. Rogal pulled back, taking a deep lungful of air, before burying himself in the nape of her neck, his tongue running across the electoo at her throat. Octavia bucked, the little licks at her throat causing shorts in her electoos, and spasms of pleasure down her spine.

Her fleshbrain writhed in ecstasy, moaning loudly. Her cognitor managed to silence most of them, but the occasional one slipped past. She felt Rogal shudder against her, as her mechadendrites dragged themselves across his back. Her cognitor picked up sounds from outside the door, and tried to tell someone, but was promptly drowned out by more moans and smutty talk from the fleshbrain. The door lock clicked and the pair froze. Rogal slowly lifted his head from Octavia’s neck, as she tilted her head back to look. Caelistis poked her head into the room, “Oh, Octavia, I didn’t know we were expecting guests this early,” she said, with a sly smile on her face. Rogal gently released his grip on her arms and stood, Octavia’s mechadendrites trailing lazily from his shoulders, before slowly dragging their way down his chest and back to beside their owner. A mechadendrite subtly moved down her leg, straightening her skirt. Rogal bent and picked the egg heater from the floor and set it on the table, before sitting down and pawing at his hair nervously. Octavia had rolled off the table and now stood beside it, her mechadendrites playing with the edge of her skirt. Caelistis grinned, “Well, if that’s the case, I should get going, I was just stopping by for a change of cloak, but I think I have a spare in the work shop.” She tapped her forehead in mock salute, “Commissar, Octavia, have a good evening,” The door clicked shut, and the sound of rain on the complex roof was once again the only noise in the room. Caelistis closed the door and walked down the hall. She rounded a few corners before bursting into laughter. She had not intended for that to happen, having expected her friend to remember their old code from the colledgia for letting the other know they had guests.

Caelistis almost skipped back to the vehicle pit, and when she arrived, walked to a particular chimera and knocked on the back hatch. A knock responded, and the hatch opened, Tiberius’s grinning face popped out and looked around, before opening the hatch wide. “Thank you, Tiberius,” Caelistis said, before stifling a giggle, “You won’t believe what I just did.” Rogal tapped his fingers against the table nervously, waiting for his simple brain to come up with something to say. A witty quip, a reassuring statement, anything to break the tension. When he retold this part of the story, he would claim the Emprah himself was applauding him, as a peal of thunder rocked the complex. Octavia screamed, half jumping, half collapsing into her chair once more, her tiny shaking with fear. Her mind flashed back to the battlefield, the booming of the orks landing, the terror as she scrambled to find a safe place. Her mechadendrites lashed around her protectively, as her mind flowed unbidden with memnor files. The Ork’s gruesome maw, the stench of blood and ozone, the warm feeling of someone’s arms around her. Her mind paused, that wasn’t right, her cognitor complained, no one hugged us. Opening an eye, Octavia found herself face to face with her commissarial guest, wrapped in his powerful arms. “Easy there, little lady,” he whispered softly, stroking her hair, “It’s just the storm, no orks.” With a whimpering sigh, Octavia leaned into Rogal’s chest, and hiccupped. A mechadendrite snaked around his arm, as she pulled him closer, “It was horrible,” she mumbled, “So green, so angry,” Rogal just nodded, “I know, it’s going to stay with you for a little bit,” he said gently, Octavia feeling the rumble in his chest as he spoke. Her fleshbrain seized its chance, “Can you, stay with me, for a little bit?” she asked, looking up with her emerald eyes.

Rogal stiffened slightly, as a mechadendrite slid around his chest and stroked at his back. Another crack of thunder boomed, and Octavia whimpered, burying herself in his chest even deeper. He curved his shoulders around her protectively, whispering a soothing litany in to the top of her head. Looking around, he spied the egg heater, and the remains of the strawberry punnet. He reached out, activating the egg once more, the rich chocolate smell filling the room. He quickly dipped a red berry in the molten confection, before offering it to Octavia, “Here, It’ll make you feel better,” He said, gently pressing the coated strawberry to her lips. Those pink lips parted to accept the morsel, biting down slowly, a droplet of juice trickling down her chin. Rogal wiped it with a finger, as his hostess ate happily, sighing as she leaned against his chest once more. The rain got heavier, and thunder boomed once more, shaking the complex, but there in Rogal’s burly arms, Octavia felt safe. The pair stayed like that for a while, Rogal’s huge form kneeling beside her chair, his arms around her, her mechadendrites wrapped around him. Time passed, quiet nothings were murmured, before Octavia looked over Rogal’s broad shoulder to the ornate chronometer on the wall, “We should sleep,” She whispered, trailing a hand down Rogal’s chest, tracing the outline of the muscle, “I should go then,” He whispered back, going to pull away. Octavia’s mechadendrites tightened around his arms. Looking up at him with her brilliant green eyes, Octavia pouted sadly, “Cannot you, stay? Please? You stopped the flashbacks before. I need to sleep. Please, stay?” Octavia’s cognitor nearly retched, how pathetic she sounded. Her fleshbrain growled, pointing out her cognitor’s inability to stop the flashbacks, and how this was the most efficient option.

Chapter 9[edit]

Octavia’s cognitor retorted with claims of hormonal instability and the weakness of flesh, before Rogal’s soft voice interrupted everything, “I suppose I can stay. For a little while longer,” He said quietly, gently nuzzling at the side of her face, his stubble rough on her cheek, “At least till the rain stops,” Octavia slid a hand around his neck, “Thank you, sir,” Gently disentangling her mechadendrites from around his arms, she stood, pushing her chair back, She stroked Rogal’s sideburns with the back of her hand, before turning, leading Rogal by a mechadendrite wrapped around his wrist to her bunk. The pair paused, looking at each other with puzzled looks.

The bunk was standard issue, made for one man, of average size. Rogal was far from average size. “This could be a problem,” Rogal said, sitting down on the bunk gently, hoping his weight didn’t upturn it. Octavia nimbly climbed beside him, her augmented eyes taking in the situation. Diagrams and figures scrolling past her vision, a smile slowly spreading across her face. “This is no problem,” she said happily, dropping down to her knees on the bed, “You see, it’s quite simple. You do not intend to sleep here, do you?” Rogal shook his head, “Sorry, no.” Octavia just smiled, “That is okay, you would not get optimum sleep here anyway, my fellow techpriestess sleeps loudly, and you lack the augments to block it out. However, you can lie with me for a while, can you not?” Octavia put her hands on Rogal’s trunk like thigh, as a mechadendrite ruffled his hair. The commissar couldn’t help but smile. “I can,” “And you would wish to minimise the amount of disruption your departure would cause, wouldn’t you?” Rogal nodded “In that case, I have a solution.” Octavia’s fleshbrain grinned in triumph, as her mechadendrites moved around Rogal’s body once more, pulling his arms this way and that, lowering his body to her bunk.

Rogal’s legs hung off the end of the cot, but that was the last thing on either his or Octavia’s mind. The petite techpriestess pushed the commissar’s arm perpendicular to his body, draping the other across his broad chest, before lying down in the hollow she had created beside him. She snuggled close to his broad chest, her head on his bicep, her mechadendrites pulling his forearm over her waist. She could hear his powerful heart thudding in his chest again, a slow pounding rhythm, supplanted by his lazy breathing. Her fleshbrain had melted to the floor, moaning happily, hugging itself with its mechadendrites, as her cognitor began her nightly preparations for rest rituals. Memnor files were logged and, backups were started, her power down self-test began running, as her bright green eyes dimmed, before she closed them. Her cognitor sent out the signal, and the glowglobes powered down, leaving the studio like quarters bathed in the soft blue light of various other machines in the room. A contented sigh escaped her lips, as Rogal’s finger gently traced a spiral on her hip and thigh. Her fleshbrain curled into a happy ball, her cognitor sat in its metaphorical chair, and Octavia drifted off to sleep, a mechadendrite lazily coiling around Rogal’s arm. The commissar lay there, staring at the ceiling, for a long time. Was this heresy? He shook his head, this was about as far from heresy as he could get. He was being human, and Humanity was what the Emprah cared for. Not for machines, that was the realm of the Omnissiah, not for the xenos, but for Humanity. He let out a sigh, his mind twisting as he tried to make sense of his situation. He was just a simple man, who did what he was supposed to. That’s what was bothering him, he didn’t know what he was supposed to do now. He lay there, the cool metal of Octavia’s mechadendrite gently caressing his arm, her tiny frame cradled beside his own, as he considered his life. His past, his future, and how the small techpriestess fitted into it all. The numbers on the chronometer clicked past as he pondered, before, with a small sigh, he gently disentangled himself from his hostess. She whimpered in her sleep, her mechadendrites pawing at him as he sat up. He gently placed a pillow under her head, before he stood, suppressing the groan caused from his stretching. Grabbing the blanket that had been bundled at the end of the bed, he draped it over the sleeping techpriestess, her mechadendrites pulling it closer to her. Quietly, he collected his shirt, coat and hat, and lifted the supply crate. With a quiet click of the door, he stole away into the night.

On the table in the middle of the room, the egg heater sat, its operational light blinking quietly in the dark. Tiberius winced as Caelistis rubbed the ointment over his back, “Could you be a little gentler?” Digitised laugher filled the chimera cabin, “Oh you weak little man. It’s just a bruise,” “Just a bruise? My back feels like it’s been run over by a baneblade,” The Vox officer said, before biting back on a grunt of pain, “It looks like it too, the bruises make this wonderful banding pattern. Sometimes, just sometimes, your weak squishy flesh is quite beautiful,” Caelistis said, dragging a mechadendrite down Tiberius’s spine, admiring the purple lines on the man’s back. Her hands and another mechadendrite soaked a cloth in ointment, before dabbing gently at the bruises. “Yeah, well this weak squishy flesh still has feelings, you cold, hard, mechanical marvel.” Tiberius said, reaching behind him to playfully squeeze at Caelistis’s thigh. The techpriestess smiled. Humanity was a wonderful thing, she mused, as she kissed the vox officer on the back of the neck.

Rogal returned to his tent, dumping the crate to the floor with a thud. He threw his hat to the table and his coat over the chair, before sitting heavily on his bunk. Running his hands through his tousled hair, he let out a grunt of frustration, flopping back to stare at his ceiling. Reserved to his fate of another sleepless night, he rolled off his bed and stripped down to his undergarments. Stretching his powerful limbs, the commissar warmed up, before starting his night time workout. It wasn’t long before he was covered in a thin sheen of sweat. The hours melted away as the commissar huffed and grunted, his huge muscles burning, before he finally crashed back into his bunk.

Rogal’s eyes opened to slits, his chronometer’s alarm blaring. He silenced it with a slap, and rolled over in his bunk, wishing to the saints for a few hours more sleep. Instead, he knew he had to get up, duty needed to be done. He rolled out of bed, his blanket wrapped around him as he shuffled to the sink. Rubbing his stubble, he looked at himself in the mirror, tired eyes looking back at him. Stifling a yawn he took his razor and began to shave, hoping it would be a quiet, uneventful day. Octavia’s mechadendrites moved, searching for her guest in her bed. With a saddened sigh, she confirmed what she already knew. He wasn’t there. Propping herself up on her elbows, she looked around blearily, her augments filling in the details of the night before with the light that now flooded the room. Where they had sat, how his huge frame had left the sheets disturbed, the egg heater still on the table, his gloves sitting beside them. Her cognitor jumped - his gloves. He needed his gloves. Uniform codes demanded he have his gloves.

Throwing her cloak around her shoulders, Octavia yelled a hurried good morning as she raced past her still sleeping roommate, the door slamming behind her. Caelistis moaned, rolling over and pulling her blanket over her head. Her augmented feet were soundless as Octavia ran, her red cloak streaming behind her, caught by the wind. She deftly avoided the morning bustle of the compound as she made her way to Rogal’s tent, his gloves clutched to her chest, her mechadendrites gently pushing people out of her path.

Rogal hummed to himself as he continued shaving, savouring the cool lather on his cheeks. The blade sounded like a knife over toast as he dragged it over his stubbled face, before flicking the white foam into his sink. He finished shaving, washing his razor and replacing it in the little cup by his mirror, before burying his face in a fluffy black towel. Wiping his now smooth face, he threw the towel over the bar, and returned to his bunk, flipping the lid of his foot locker with a boot. He knelt down, unpacking a fresh uniform for the day ahead. Socks were joined by trousers, and then undergarments, and a small pile of clothing took its place at the end of the Commissar’s bunk.

Octavia saw her objective and put on an extra burst of speed, bounding gracefully forward towards the tent. Rogal threw his blanket back onto his bed, and peeled off what he had slept in. Octavia threw the tent flap open with a mechadendrite, skidding to a halt, the flap closing behind her with a gust of air. “Rogal, you forgot your-” Her words caught in her throat, as her fleshbrain squealed like a juvie on Emprah’s day. Rogal stood frozen, bent over his bed, dogtags around his neck, a fresh set of undergarments in his hands, and his… laspistol openly carried. Octavia’s cognitor spluttered, questioning the compatibility of her hardware. Her fleshbrain lounged languidly on a metaphorical couch, ducking down and peeking over the arm, and muttering about lascannons.

An eep escaped from Octavia’s lips and the pair of them blushed a deep crimson. Rogal’s body powered into action, snatching his blanket from his bed and throwing it around himself like a toga. He then pulled his undergarments up, looking sheepish, his weapon now holstered. Octavia’s mechadendrites had leapt to her mouth, one breaking off to fan his mistress, as she desperately forced the Memnorpicts from her mind. “Priestess, to what do I owe the pleasure?” Rogal managed to stammer, his body snapping to parade rest. Octavia’s fleshbrain marvelled at the man before her, such perfect proportions, she noted, perfect proportions. Her cognitor continued drawing a diagram of a piston, pointing out how a piston needed to fit in order to work. Her cheeks still flushed, Octavia offered her bundle forward, “You forgot your gloves, which are a part of your uniform. Which means that without them you are in violation of uniform codes alpha three niner seven, and section delta two four. Both of which carry a punishment of five lashes.” Her fleshbrain conjured images of her tied to the lashing post. She shook her head to clear them, offering the gloves to Rogal once more. He grinned nervously, reaching out to take the leathery items from metallic hands. “Thank you, Octavia,” He managed to say, “But, do you mind, calling out first?” Octavia blushed harder, “But this was the most efficient way to get to you, what if you were to be inspected? You would have been strung up on the post and flogged and your back would be covered in scars and-” She was silenced by Rogal’s finger to her lips, “It would have been mine to bear. You’re too kind to this humble servant of the Emprah,” He said, before pulling her close to hug her, his hand stroking down her spine, “But thank you. You’re a shining light of the Emprah’s work. I’m truly blessed to have you in my life.”

Chapter 10[edit]

Octavia froze, unsure of how to react. Her fleshbrain cried out for her hug back, to wrap her mechadendrites around his neck and chest once more. Her cognitor said to go, she had work to be done, her efficiency had already been impacted upon enough for the morning. She hadn’t eaten, her cognitor pointed out, and she required sustenance. Her stomach grumbled, and Rogal pulled back, “You’re hungry?” Octavia nodded, “I may have moved my standard sleeping pattern forward a couple of hours, due to, other commitments,” she said, fidgeting with the hems of her sleeves, “And in my hurry to bring you your gloves, I may have neglected to eat.” Her cognitor chided her for letting her fleshbrain have such liberties. Her cognitor pointed to all the dips in her work, and the correlation to Rogal’s actions or her fleshbrain’s activities. Her fleshbrain grabbed her cognitor, and pointed to the commissar, explaining quickly the finer points of human nature and male anatomy and its effect it could have. Her cognitor tittered sheepishly, before ceding control once more to Octavia’s fleshbrain. She breathed in deeply, the smell of soap, sawdust and clean linen filling her head. Rogal released her from the hug, “In that case, it’s very rude of me to keep you. If you give me a moment,” he said, tugging at his blanket, “I will dress and escort you to the mess? If you would like, that is?” Nodding happily, the petite priestess of the Mechanicum took a seat, watching the Commissar. Rogal looked around the tent nervously, “I’ll just go change then,” he said, collecting his uniform from the bed and disappearing into the bathroom. Octavia’s cognitor clipped her fleshbrain over the back of the head, “Really?” It asked, “You really thought he would act like a gelt romance character and change in front of you? You really should be tied to the post and lashed,”

As that thought left her metaphorical lips, Octavia’s cognitor realised its mistake. Her fleshbrain giggled, filling Octavia’s mind with images of her shackled to the post, her hands high above her head. Her cyber mantle prevented flogging in the traditional sense, but there were other parts of her that were still sensitive to punishment. Her fleshbrain weaved a scene, Rogal standing, shirtless, a disciplinary lash in his hands. Her Cognitor struggled to suppress a moan, valiantly trying to distract Octavia with the new plan for networking the hydra’s targeting cores into an overlapping defensive pattern that would maximise shot effectiveness. Her fleshbrain thrashed, as the imaginary Rogal tore her skirt away from her, before standing back. Her mechadendrites gripped to the chair and around her arms, as her cognitor tried desperately to sever the links her fleshbrain was making. It could hear Rogal pulling on his boots, he wouldn’t be long. If they were seen like this, her cognitor wailed, it would be the end of all they were working for. It promised to help her fleshbrain if she would just stop her imaginings right now. Her fleshbrain ignored her, the imaginary Rogal stood at his full towering height, and snapped the lash across his gloved palm. Her cognitor heard the click of the door being opened and begged her body to open its eyes. The imaginary Rogal raised the lash, the shadow cast across bare flesh. The Real Rogal walked towards his guest, buttoning his jacket. Octavia’s sat smiling, her eyes shut, her head on her hand, leaning on the table. “Octavia?” Rogal called softly “Octavia,” The words from the imaginary Rogal were firm, the lash started its downward arc. Rogal reached out, gently tapping his guest on the shoulder. The lash snapped down across pale flesh, leaving a bright pink mark. Octavia’s eyes snapped open, as her mechadendrites crushed into the wood of the chair.

Rogal looked at her, puzzled, “Are you alright, priestess?” He asked, slowly pulling his hand back from her shoulder. Octavia smiled, trying to ignore the heat in her cheeks and stomach. Her cognitor forced her to her feet, her mechadendrites releasing the chair from their vice like grips. Rogal looked at the chair, his brow furrowing further, as Octavia replied, “Sorry, I am still undergoing my morning power on self testing. It was delayed by my journey here.” She lied, smiling as sweetly as she could. Rogal reached past her and picked up his hat, putting it under his arm. “You realise I have no idea what that means?” He said, as he put his hand to the small of his guests back, gently guiding her towards the tent flap. Octavia nodded, her mechadendrite going to push the tent flap open, but Rogal’s huge hand beat it, pushing the heavy fabric from their path. The sun shone down, bright and warm in the morning sky. Setting his cap at its favored jaunty angle, Rogal pushed the petite priestess forward once more. The base was still wet from the storm the night before, but the grass and trees that were present had taken on a freshly watered lustre. If there had been any doubts about there being something between the burly commissar and the dainty priestess, their walk to the mess destroyed them as completely as an exterminatus. Guardsmen and Mechanicum alike watched the pair walking together, Octavia taking two or three steps to each of Rogal’s long strides, as they smiled and talked about nothing in particular. As the pair entered the mess, the chatter became a whisper, as hearts broke, bets were won and lost, and then a cry went out. A mug shattered, and Rogal’s head whipped around. Grinning sheepishly, Tiberius shook a recaf covered hand, blowing to try and cool the burning sensation. Rogal rolled his eyes, tucking his hat back under his arm.

Octavia looked up at her companion, and he looked down, “Save me a spot, I’ll be right back,” He said quietly, pushing her towards the serving line. Rogal strode across the mess to his friend, his smile quickly growing as he approached. He saw the patches hiding at Tiberius’s neck, as the vox officer wiped his hand with a napkin. “A good night then, Sir?” Tiberius asked, as he scrunched the napkin and tossed it into the bin beside the recaf table. Rogal clapped a hand down on his friends shoulder, savoring the jolt of pain he knew he had inflicted. Tiberius’s hands clenched as tightly as his jaw, his breath escaping from between his teeth with a hiss. “An excellent night indeed. Yours?” Tiberius winced as Rogal’s hand lifted, blood surging back to fill the new bruise. With a tired grin, he replied, “Yeah, wasn’t too bad at all sir. I have some new reports coming in from the fleet you might be interested in, so I’ll see to it you get the slates.” Rogal nodded, “Much obliged as always. Any new whispers on the vox I should be aware of?” He asked, tipping his head to other officers as they passed. Tiberius shook his head, “Nothing really, just how you and the priestess with the blessings were seen leaving your tent together.” With a sigh, Rogal poured himself a mug of recaf, drinking down the warm beverage in a long draught, before pouring himself another. “Right, well, do what you can to quash that, I’ll be around later to look at those slates.” “As you wish, Commissar,” Tiberius said, tapping his forehead in mess hall salute. Rogal strode back to the serving line, taking his spot beside Octavia once more.

A mechadendrite offered the Commissar a tray, as they shuffled forward in the line. “People are watching us,” Octavia whispered, her other mechadendrites swaying warily behind her, “We’re somewhat of an item, apparently,” He whispered back, feeling the colour return to his cheeks. Rogal just wanted things to be simple. They shuffled down the line, the cooks serving the breakfast all smiling at him, giving him nods of respect, as he grinned awkwardly. Years of good relationships and firm but fair justice had enamoured him to the battalion, his willingness to only be a commissar when he needed to be, and to act more like an NCO cementing his good standing. Their plates loaded high with food, the pair made their way to an empty table at the back of the mess. Rogal placed his tray on the table, before pulling chairs out for his red robed companion. Taking her seat, Octavia set her own tray down, mechadendrites reaching out to stabilize her mug of recaf and grab a napkin, as she twirled her fork between her fingers. Rogal set his cap down as he took his seat, inhaling the delicious smell of the fresh cooked meal. “Where’s your friend this morning?” Rogal asked, before taking another mouthful of cereal, the crisp grain flakes crunching as he chewed, “My friend? Priestess Caelistis?” Rogal nodded, shovelling more food into his mouth. Octavia shook her head, “I have no idea, it is strange that she should be late. She was in our quarters when I left this morning, but I have not seen or heard from her since. Why do you ask?” Rogal swallowed, clearing his throat before he spoke, “You two seem close, I’ve seen you together quite often. Seems odd she isn’t here, is all,” Octavia pondered her friends absence, her mechadendrites buttering her a slice of toast, which she took in a metal hand before nibbling.

“Caelistis often works strange hours,” Octavia explained, “So it is possible she is on a different diurnal cycle than standard.” Her cognitor ran over all her interactions between her and Caelistis in the past few days. Rogal watched as her nose twitched, a mechadendrite drawing in the air absentmindedly as she pondered, “However, she has been working different shifts than usual. She has assigned herself to chimera maintenance twice, both during the middle of the day, and across the second and third night shifts. Chimera’s don’t need that much maintenance,” She said, thinking out loud, Rogal nodding as he ate. Tiberius walked past the table, “Oh, just so you know sir, I will be out of the vox tent from eleven hundred to around fourteen hundred, Cleo will be taking care of things,” He said as he took a seat, sitting across from the commissar and the Techpriestess. “Are you two busy today?” Rogal nodded, “We’re working on another barracks today, should have the frame up by nightfall, and enough beds to fill the first.” Octavia placed her fork down on her now empty tray, taking her mug of recaf from the mechadendrite offering it, “The hydra defence grid is being overhauled. After the incident on trealsday,” Octavia stumbled over the strange name, “We found the gap they exploited, so we are reconfiguring the targeting cores to form a tighter scanweave over the base.” Octavia’s eyes brightened as she continued, her cognitor relishing the chance to do what it was good at, “By tightening the scanweave, and then synchronising the firing algorithms via a low band noospheric connection, we not only increase protection, but lower the amount of wear on the hydra batteries, as each tank will fire fewer shots individually, but as they fire in concert, the same volume of fire is reached.” Tiberius’s face was blank, he had stopped listening after hearing about the defence grid being overhauled.

Rogal had been lost at the idea of low band noospheric connections, but he understood most of it, “So each hydra only fires once?” Octavia nodded, “A four round burst, but that’s only one flak shell per barrel. The hard part is getting everything synchronised properly, but that’s why we’re using low band noospherics, as opposed to high or very high vox.” A concerned look crossed Tiberius’s face, “Does that mean you’re going to be around the Vehicle pits today, priestess?” He asked, as nonchalantly as he could, Nodding happily, “Of course, where else would I be? Aside from the command centre, for when we set up the overarching targeting hierarchy, or the noospheric server system, for calibrating the low band synchronisation,” Her cognitor paused, before continuing, “So I suppose I could be around the vehicle pits, but I could be many other places.” Her fleshbrain sighed, shaking its head at her cognitor’s obsession with details. “Why do you ask, vox officer?” Octavia’s cognitor pushed for information, watching with curiosity as subtle facial tics spread across Tiberius’s face. “Oh, no reason, priestess, just curiosity.” Rogal’s ears pricked up, Tiberius was never just curious. “Just curiosity?” The commissar echoed, his grey eyes piercing with commissarial strength. Tiberius looked away nervously, before tapping at his ear, “What’s that Jenkins? Right? Yes? Yes. I’ll be right there, Out.” The vox officer said, before standing, pushing his seat in with his leg, “That was private Jenkins, something about some new codes not being accepted by the voxnet, I’ll see you two lovebirds around,” He said, winking before he ran off, praying to the Emprah to not feel a lasbolt at his back. Rogal and Octavia sat dumbfounded, watching the cheeky Vox officer dodge his way through the mess and out the door.

Chapter 11[edit]

Octavia’s fleshbrain giggled, lovebirds, she liked the sound of that. Her cognitor sighed, taking advantage of the fact it was dominant again, and continued its work on the noospheric topology she needed to create. Rogal stood, collecting both their trays, “I’ll see you at lunch?” He asked, reaching down for his cap. His hand hit table and he looked down. Octavia’s mechadendrites were offering it to him from where she sat, smiling up at him, “If it pleases the Commissar,” she said, “Will you meet me at the vehicle pit?” Rogal nodded, taking his hat from her mechanical tendrils, “Sounds like a plan,” Octavia’s mechadendrite traced down the Commissar’s hand, craving to be near him for just a little while longer. His gloved hand twisted, wrapping a mechadendrite around his finger, before gently pulling away. Octavia watched as he turned on his heel and strode away, the crowd in the mess parting to let him through. She sighed happily and took her recaf mug in both hands, taking a sip and collecting her thoughts. “Well that was sweet,” Caelistis said, plonking herself down on the table beside her friend, a piece of toast clutched by a mechadendrite as she pulled her hair and cables up into a ponytail. Octavia blushed, “So you were watching?” “Me and everyone else in here,” The slender techpriestess said, before taking a bite from her toast, “You really are living a gelt romance, it’s sickening.” Octavia hid her mouth behind her mug, taking a sip to cover her discomfort, “It’s not that bad, we just-“ “Just so happened to be performing some rather complicated and delicate calibrations on our table?” Caelistis said quietly, her grin wolfish. Octavia went a brighter red, her mechadendrites pulling her hood further forward. “You just happened to end up in his tent this morning?”

“That’s a misunderstanding, he had forgotten his gloves, I was merely returning them,” Octavia said plaintively, “I didn’t want him to get lashed, you know that he would have gotten ten lashes for that? Ten lashes!” Caelistis grinned at the idea, a man that husky could take a lot of punishment. His commissarial training would make him hard to break, so feisty, so defiant. She giggled, “Yes, ten lashes, and he wouldn’t have blinked,” A pair of mechadendrites folded themselves angrily as Octavia pouted, “No. Don’t you start with that. I know what you’re like. Don’t think I don’t remember what happened between you and Phanes,” Caelistis put a hand to her mouth in mock horror, “Oh, that? He was fine, I replaced his mechadendrites and arm myself,” “His arm?” The taller techpriestess looked away, “Oh, right, you didn’t know about that bit. I, well, I may or may not have disassembled his arm a little.” She said sheepishly, “But that’s beside the point.” Octavia looked puzzled, “There was a point to that?” Caelistis shrugged, “Probably, you know I’m no good in the mornings. Anyway, I just dropped by to get some breakfast, tell you I won’t be around till late again tonight, and see how your night went,” Her grin turned wolfish again, “But if what I saw last night was anything to go by, you had a very, very good night,” Octavia smiled, “You could say that,” She said quietly, her augmented eyes brightening. Caelistis’s eyes went wide, “You didn’t?” Tilting her head, Octavia just looked at her friend, her small smile stilly playing on her lips. Caelistis reached out with a mechadendrite, planting it on her friend’s slim shoulders, “Did you?” “Did I what?” Octavia’s fleshbrain entertained itself with the idea of what could have happened if she had.

“Did you and he…?” Caelistis mimed some rather suggestive actions with her hands and mechadendrites “No, we did not. He was a perfect gentleman. He stayed for a while longer, we talked, and he left.” Her cognitor forbade her from letting any more details slip, citing that any number of ears could be listening. Her fleshbrain just noted that he could have been a perfect ruffian, and she wouldn’t have cared. “Speaking of last night,” Octavia continued, looking at her attractively disheveled friend, “Where were you?” “Vehicle pits, Chimera maintenance.” Caelistis said, before taking another mouthful of toast. Octavia’s cognitor opened a new menornote, adding a few lines about chimera maintenance. Her fleshbrain wondered how she could get that same messily attractive look as Caelistis, running metaphorical hands through conceptual hair. “Right, chimera maintenance. Same again tonight,” “You know it,” Caelistis continued to look away, taking another bite of toast. Rising to her feet, Octavia excused herself, “I’ll see you in pits then, enjoy your breakfast.” Pushing her chair in with a mechadendrite, the petite priestess made her way from the mess. Her cognitor buzzed, pulling up information on the chimera maintenance schedules, her friends working hours, and the strange anti bruise ointment smell that had been around her a couple of times that morning. First with Vox officer Tiberius, and now again from Caelistis, her cognitor found it most curious. She wandered, lost in her thoughts, her cognitor multi-tasking, allowing her to dodge and avoid the bustle of the base as she made her way to the vehicle pit, while still keeping focus on the quickly expanding web of intrigue that Caelistis had begun. She greeted her mechanics team, as she walked into the main workshop, a chorus of staticy binary based good mornings and hellos chattered back at her.

Logging into the workshop noosphere, files were quickly shared between Octavia and her team. Without a verbal word, the team merged their collective consciousness under Octavia’s command. Her fleshbrain sat quarantined, happily lounging on an imaginary couch, as her Cognitor orchestrated the collective consciousness of the mechanics team, each magos, artificer, and coder working together, fabricating and constructing the new noospheric server, as well as the broadcasting antennae and receivers for each hydra, and all the associated codes and programs. The morning quickly progressed, seconds blurring into hours.

Rogal tapped gently with his chisel, the small scrolls of wood falling around his boots as he worked. The sounds of construction filled his ears, as one of the men started singing, the hymnal of work carrying clear in the air. Soon, more voices took up the tune, before Rogal himself joined in, his powerful voice rumbling along with the bass line. The men worked, the sun shone, and Rogal felt like the Emprah himself was smiling down on them. The men worked hard, the new barracks frame coming together quickly, as teams moved in concert, hewing logs into planks, sawing those planks to size, the pneumatic whump of nailguns puncturing the crisp morning air. Rogal paused from his work, putting down his tools and taking up the drinks crate. Hoisting the box to his shoulder, he moved about the worksite, handing out drinks and compliments, and generally maintaining morale like a good commissar should. He walked up to a team of rookies, laughing and rough housing as young guardsmen did, offering drinks and other refreshments. The young men downed their tools eagerly, the one closest to Rogal dropping his nailgun a little too enthusiastically. The pneumatic tool bump fired, three whumps in quick succession, followed by a roar of pain. The crate tumbling from his shoulder, Rogal clutched at his arm, blood trailing from the nails that had speared through.

Bottles smashed as the crate hit the ground, soldiers racing over, the unfortunate rookie slammed to the ground roughly by his commanding officer. A medic shoved his way to the crowed over, shouting to be let through. The nails in his arm looking like silver icicles, bright red blood dripping down, seemed so foreign to the commissar’s eyes, as he studied them with detached fascination. He flexed his hand experimentally, and grunted with pain, white hot lances firing up his arm. The rookie soldier had been dragged to his feet once more, his face pale as he faced the consequences of his actions. Rogal’s breathing was laboured, as the sergeant spoke, “What shall we do sir?” Rogal roared in pain again, as the medic gingerly poked and prodded at his wounds, before Rogal shoo’d him away with his good hand, before he took a good hard look at his assailant. “Gross negligence is heresy,” Rogal began, his voice strained, “how old are you, son?” The guardsman whimpered, his sergeant delivering a swift punch to his ribs, “Nineteen, Sir,” He gasped out, coughing from the blow, “Right, well, think yourself lucky. I’ve heard of men getting thirty lashes for things like this. You’re only getting ten. Sergeant, take care of the rest.” The rookie was dragged away, his face pale, as his sergeant was heard to mutter, “You’re a damn lucky fool, the Commissar is a good man. You owe him.” The Medic tutted impatiently, “Really sir, I need to have a look at that arm.” Rogal sighed, offering the injured limb up for inspection. The nails had punched straight through the massive muscles of his fore and upper arms, and by the grace of the Emprah, not hit a single bone. The medic whistled, “Impressive, Commissar. Him on earth seems to have claimed you as his own.” Rogal just winced as skilled hands with nimble fingers pressed and prodded around the metal spikes.

The medic looked up at the Burly commissar, “Now, we can do this quick and simple here, or you can go to the infirmary.” Rogal sighed, he hated the infirmary. Turning his head, he straightened his arm with a grunt. The Medic just sighed, “You’re a brave man sir,” Reaching into his medkit, he pulled out a rubber block, some vials, and a couple of bandages. Offering the block to the commissar, the medic said, “You might want to bite down on this. Things are going to hurt.” Rogal nodded, as the men upturned the crate for him to sit on. He handed his hat to another guardsman as he took his seat, placing the rubber block in his mouth. Offering his arm to the medic, he looked away again. “Ready sir?” Rogal nodded, his reply muffled by his gag. The medic grabbed a pair of pliers from the workbench near by, and grabbed a hold of the first nail. Rogal’s roar was muffled by his gag, as his arm jerked, blood spraying as the medic tore the first nail out of his arm. His breath ragged as he panted, his jaw tensed against the rubber block, as the medic tipped the content of the first vial over the bright red wound. Rogal howled again, pain lancing up his arm, his vision going white at the edges. He spat the rubber gag away, sucking in huge lungfuls of air. He managed to grin at the medic, “You were right, that does smart,” The medic smiled, allowing himself some black humor to lighten the mood, “Could be worse sir, you could have wanted it chopped off,” Rogal nodded, “Yeah, could be worse. Next one, please?” The medic nodded, “Ready?” Another grunt, another spurt of blood, and Rogal howled at the sky, before the medic grabbed his arm and dumped another vial worth of liquid on the second wound. The Commissars broad shoulders heaved as he gasped for air, grunting and growling at the pain.

Again, his breathing slowed, the white hot pain shooting up his arm fading to dull aching embers. The slightest movement hurt, the muscles protesting against the nerves, who were in turn hating anything they could. Taking a deep breath, Rogal nodded at the medic, “Last one,” “Last one. Ready sir?” Rogal nodded, a small part of him wondering if this had really been such a good idea. The medic grabbed his pliers once more, and pulled at the silvery rod buried in the meat of the commissar’s arm. With a bellow like a rampaging grox, Rogal tore his arm back, the nail ripping free, blood spraying across the ground. The medic threw his tool to the ground, grabbing the final vial and dumping the contents over the gash in Rogal’s arm. His free hand balled in a fist, Rogal lashed out at the workbench beside him, his powerful fist pounding into the side. The whole bench shook, as the hulking Commissar stomped his boots and hit the bench again. The Medic started binding his arm, the first white bandage covered in red by time he had finished wrapping. The second bandage stayed cleaner, as he fastened a sling around Rogal’s neck. “You’re going to need to keep it elevated, sir. You can’t do much else today,” Rogal looked down at his bandaged arm and sighed, gingerly trying to flex his fingers. He was rewarded with lances of pain. “How long till I can use it again?” The medic thought for a moment, as he packed up his kit, “A few days. That stuff I put on there will speed the healing, though you might want to see the doctor for some pain killers.” Rogal sighed and nodded, “Understood,” “Look on the bright side, at least it’s lunch time.” The Commissar sighed, as he placed his hat on his head, “At least it’s lunch time.”

Chapter 12[edit]

Standing outside the Vehicle pit, Octavia waited, her mechanics team finishing up their mornings work. The warm sunlight beat against her hood, a complex microfilament mesh absorbing the heat, keeping its occupant cool. She checked her chronometer, the lunch break had only just started. She looked around, waiting for her Commissarial companion, when a young guardsman ran up to her. His face was haggard, his eyes red, as he leaned over, panting with exertion. “Priestess,” He gasped out between breaths, “I have been sent to inform you that the Commissar waits for you in the Mess. He sends his sincerest apologies, but says he will explain everything.” Octavia nodded, “Thank you, Private.” The Guardsman smiled weakly, wincing as he left. Octavia’s Cognitor noted his strange behaviour, but thought no more of it, her mechanics team piling out from the workshop. Octavia smiled happily as she made her way back to the mess tent, surrounded by her chattering mechanics team. The foremost reached the double doors of the mess and swung them open, clearing a path for the petite priestess. Her augmented eyes scanned the mess, locating Rogal in a matter of seconds. Breaking off from the group, she made her way over, her cognitor noting how strangely early he was, the lunch break having only just begun. He should have been later, having come in from the construction sites, but there he sat. The white sling was stark against his obsidian uniform, Octavia’s eyes flipping through the spectrums, infographs popping up as she approached. Her Fleshbrain quickened her steps, her cognitor running as many diagnostics as it could. Vox chatter filled her ears, as she went over everything that had been said on any channel about injuries and the commissar. Rogal sighed unhappily, slowly lowering his spoon into his soup. He hated using his non dominant hand, which twinged with pain in agreement.

Lifting his spoonful of soup to his mouth and blowing across it, he watched the tendrils of steam twisting in the air. “Rogal?” He looked away from the misty spirals, and straight into Octavia’s concerned face. “Are you okay? A guardsman said you would meet me here, then I saw your sling, and then I heard the vox chatter, Isawtheincidentreportandthedisicpllineryactioandareyouokaycanihelpatall?” Her mouth fired off, after which she took in a deep breath. Rogal pushed a chair out with his leg, nodding for her to take a seat beside him. She climbed onto the chair and kneeled, her mechadendrites questing out to stroke at the commissars injured limb. He winced as she gently prodded, small electric shocks being sent out to assess the damage. Her fleshbrain held its hands and mechadendrites to her conceptual mouth, horrified at the damage done, her cognitor just tutting, pointing out on the commissar’s medical records the other times he had been injured much worse. She looked at his face, how unhappy he looked, and wracked her cognitor for something to say. A few options presented themselves, her fleshbrain dismissing them as callous, or inane, before her cognitor pointed out she had only a short time to respond. “You should heal up quite quickly,” She said, her mechadendrites slipping away from around his arm, the Commissar nodded in agreement, sighing unhappily. “It’s just so frustrating. I don’t like not helping. I don’t like being helpless. I enjoy building, I’ve been doing it since I was a boy.” Octavia patted at an uninjured part of his arm reassuringly, “You’re not useless. You will be able to still use those skilled hands, once you recover. Think of it like,” Her cognitor paused, looking for a suitable comparison. She had never been in his situation, any damages to her limbs were quick and simple to repair. The longest she had been inactive due to damage had been three hours.

Octavia’s cognitor sniffed haughtily, pointing out the superiority of metal over flesh. Her fleshbrain pouted unhappily, before countering with the fact that even injured, his flesh was stronger than her augments. “Think of it like a three day leave.” The commissar nodded as he reached for his spoon with his good hand, but was stopped by a mechadendrite at his wrist. Octavia took the spoon and dipped it in the soup, before offering it to the burly man beside her with a smile. “I just said, I’m not helpless,” he complained. Her fleshbrain paused with a squeak. Shouldn’t he like this? Isn’t this what happened in romance situations? Her cognitor just shook its head, throwing big signs that said LIFE and FICTION. Her green eyes dimmed slightly, as she began to lower the spoon. Her arm stopped, the spoon had been interrupted on its way back to the bowl. Rogal smiled tiredly back at her, the stem of the silverware poking from his mouth. Swallowing, he released the spoon, sitting back in his chair, “That being said, I do appreciate your kindness. It would be rude of me to rebuke it.” The commissar said, a boyish grin crossing his face. Octavia’s fleshbrain melted, but not before it delivering a series of obscene gestures to her cognitor. She bounced happily on the chair, moving closer to her husky charge, offering another spoonful of soup. The mess was filled with sunlight, and every occupant, guardsman and Mechanicus alike, felt slightly happier. A navigator in transit found his mouth agape, as a thin tendril, no thicker than a hair, spiralled off from the huge white beam that was the Astronomicon, and seemed to gently poke at a planet, before whipping back. He gave praise for the miracle he had just seen, despite his complete lack of understanding what exactly it meant.

Octavia fed the hulking commissar as they sat and talked, taking the occasional spoonful for herself during lulls in the conversation. She had just finished explaining the basics of noospheric clustering, which was the basis of the new hydra defence system. Rogal had managed to keep up, quite well for a weak fleshling, her cognitor added. He had used interesting metaphors, comparing the noosphere to a water tower, and the various connections as pipes and valves. Her cognitor pointed out the flaws in such concepts, but it worked on a simple level. The bowl of soup sat empty, Rogal taking to his feet. “Sit down,” Octavia said, before a hand and mechadendrite clamped to her mouth, Rogal looked down, surprise replacing the slightly pained look on his face, “Beg pardon, Priestess?” Octavia shook her head, blushing furiously, “I’m sorry,” Rogal continued, surprise morphing to a smile, “I could have sworn I heard you try to give me an order,” Octavia shook her head furiously, “NO. No, I never meant to give you and order, I just wanted you to sit and rest, I will get us more sustenance.” Rogal sat, the smile not leaving his face, “I thank you for your hospitality Priestess.” He said, leaning back in his chair, “But we will discuss your behaviour when you return,” The commissars teasing tones sent multiple shivers up and down Octavia’s spine. Her fleshbrain quivered with nervous delight, its metaphysical mechadendrites wrapping themselves around her limbs and squeezing tight. Her cognitor shook its head setting up a few more barriers between her fleshbrain and any control of their body.

As she crossed the mess, her fleshbrain grew more excited, the thought of what manner of chastisement she would endure at the strong hands of the rugged commissar. Conjuring a couch into the metacognital space, her fleshbrain flopping onto it languidly, her legs splayed over the back and the arm, as ideas fell on pieces of paper fluttering around her. Her cognitor directed her body to the line, ignoring the giggles from her fleshbrain. Just to be thorough, her cognitor reasoned, she had better check what was the punishment for trying to countermand a commissar. Information scrolled past her vision as she waited in line, her mechadendrites collecting empty trays as she passed the stack. Insubordination, she read, was a medium level offence, punishments ranging from chastisement and extra duties assigned, to in the most extreme cases, summary execution. The most common punishments was three lashes and a few hours hard labour. Her Fleshbrain rolled off the couch, pointing out an addendum another techpriestess had added. In some cases, the pair read, there has been a noted precedent of commissars using low level infractions to gain an assistant. In the majority of these cases, the perpetrator has been female, and has also been punished by taking on such roles of domestic servitude to either the commissar or other ranking officers. A small gasp emanated from the petite techpriestess, her cognitor struggling to keep her mobile as she shuffled forward in the line. Her fleshbrain flashed images in front of her eyes, burrowing through the pict dump associated with the page she had been reading. Here, a techpriestess in the stocks, there, one serving meals to an entire table of officers, her fleshbrain pausing as she watched a small loop of priestess getting lashed. Octavia’s cheeks burned, as she offered the trays to the cook, nodding as the trays were piled high with cold meats, leafy greens, and crunchy bread.

Eeeping in thanks, before hurrying back the table as quickly as she could, Octavia’s fleshbrain highlighted the bright pink marks on the skin of the lashed priestess, and the starkness of the black leather lash against her pale flesh. Her breath was quick as she placed the trays down on the table once more, before she climbed back to kneel on her chair. Sitting on her calves, she looked down at her hands in her lap, her hood covering her face, her emerald eyes bright. “Your meal, Sir,” She said, gesturing with a mechadendrite, and she heard a deep chuckle from the commissar, “I thank you, Priestess, for your kindness.” He said, as he dragged his tray towards him with his good hand. Octavia looked up from underneath her hood. Rogal sat resplendent on his chair, his injured arm merely adding to his commanding presence. The priestess eeped again, wringing her hands as her mechadendrites smoothed at the robes on her legs. “I apologise profusely for my insubordination, commissar,” she began, the words springing unbidden from her cognitor. Her fleshbrain stood strangely mute, blushing and mumbling nervously, “And will accept any punishment you see fit.” Looking up, she locked her eyes with the massive man sitting opposite her, her augments brightening. “However,” she continued, “I would like to point out the following cases, in my defence,” A puzzled look crossed the Commissars face, as he leaned towards his petite companion, “Go on?” Producing a dataslate from under her robes, a mechadendrite plugged into the I/O port, her cognitor shovelling the many cases of Commissarially mandated service to the slate. The transfer bar scrolled across merrily, Octavia’s fleshbrain in awe of her cognitor.

The metaphysical construct that was Octavia’s cognitor turned to its fleshbrain counterpart, explaining that while her fleshbrain was a weak, hormonally driven, bundle of illogical fallacies and strange ideas, she was her weak, hormonally driven bundle of illogical fallacies and strange ideas. Her fleshbrain squealed happily, hugging the conceptual representation of her cognitor happily. She handed the slate to the commissar, who placed it on the table to read. He smiled, as he scrolled through the various articles. Octavia sat, watching as steely grey eyes flicked back and forth, his finger gently stroking the screen as he worked his way through her evidence. With a satisfied nod, he picked up the slate and handed it back to her, “In light of the information provided,” He began, the smile never leaving his face, “I here by, under my powers as a commissar, find you guilty of insubordination, class four. Do you accept the charges?” Octavia’s eyes went wide, before she hung her head and said quietly, “Yes, sir.” “As you have admitted your guilt, I will be lenient. You are here by sentenced,” He paused for dramatic effect, Octavia looking back up at him, smiling nervously, “To assist me in any way, until such a time as I am fully recovered from the wound to my arm. Do you accept the sentence?” Octavia’s cognitor clipped her fleshbrain over the back of its head, as it stood there, dumbfounded. Its eyes went wide, metaphysical mechadendrites and hands climbing to its mouth, as it let out an excited squeak.

Chapter 13[edit]

“Yes, sir!” she said happily, and Rogal laughed. Her mechadendrites scooped the dataslate back under her robes and into the pouch it came from, as she propped herself up on her chair. The commissar pulled himself a little closer, grabbing his mug of recaf. He took up his fork with his good hand and speared a slice of meat, chewing it thoughtfully, before he spoke, “So, I’m thinking,” He said, after swallowing, gesturing with his fork, “That I really could do with a nice, personally cooked meal tonight.” Octavia’s mechadendrites froze, her the fork in her hand quivering in the air above her meal, “Do you want me to…?” “Cook me dinner? That’s a wonderful idea.” The commissar said, a boyish grin crossing his face. Octavia felt her face go pale, “With all due respect sir,” She said, staring intently at her meal, “That is not a good idea.” “It’s really not,”

The pair looked up, Caelistis smirking at the pair. “Really, Commissar, you do not want her to cook.” The Commissar looked from priestess to priestess, as Octavia’s mechadendrites pulled her hood further forward and she wished she had a peziochamoline layer in her cloak. “She might be a miracle with a servowrench, but she can’t cook to save her life. However,” The slender priestess’s grin turned wolfish, “She is creative, I’m sure she can think of… something, to make it up to you.” Octavia’s cheeks burned hotter than she had thought possible, her cognitor flailing wildly as it fought to keep control of her body. Her fleshbrain twitched, near overwhelmed by the idea. Caelistis just leaned predatorily on the table, continuing her little speech, “I mean, look at her, Commissar. Surely one of you can think of some other form of, disciplinary action,” The techpriestess purred the last words sensuously. Rogal forced himself to keep a straight face, clenching his injured hand, sending a lance of pain up his arm to keep him focused. He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, before he finally spoke, “I’m going to the medical tent. Octavia, my tent, five minutes. Priestess Caelistis, I thank you for your advice.” The towering Commissar took to his feet, collecting his hat, and quickly exited the mess. Caelistis waved at his back, before glancing at her friend, “I just did you a huge favour there, I hope you realise?” she said, a mechadendrite snaking out to spear a leaf from Rogal’s abandoned tray, bringing it up to its owners mouth. Octavia leaned forward, running her hands through her hair, a worried sigh escaping her lips, “What am I going to…” She glared at her friend, who smiled back, chewing the leafy green cheerfully, “do?” “You think, we? That? Really? But he’s…?” Caelistis finished the leaf she was eating and turned to face her friend fully, planting her hands on Octavia’s small shoulders, “Look. For once in your life, take what you want. I know you hate it, I know it’s not in your nature, but you have a chance. Don’t waste it. Such chances only exist because of chance, and you know how messy probability can be.” Octavia looked her friend in the eye, a tiny smile spreading across her face, “Very.” Caelistis patted the petite priestess on the head, “And promise me you’ll tell me all the juicy details,” Octavia looked away, her cheeks burning bright again, as she let out a small squeak, “Juicy details.” Caelistis growled, closing her face with her friends, “juuuicy details,” “Okay, fine, just let me go, I have to run, you’re making me late. I don’t need to be in any more trouble,” Octavia cried, her mechadendrites pushing away her friend as she stood, Caelistis standing to watch her petite friend’s departure, “JUICY DETAILS,” she cried across the Mechanicus cognivox, various Mechanicus staff looking around, as Caelistis laughed, helping herself to the meals left on the table.

Rogal left the mess, jamming his hat on his head, as he turned to head for the infirmary. His body obeyed its own rules, as he quickly covered the distance. Pushing the door open, he entered the quiet white building, his eyes scanning for someone to help him. A field doctor approached, a puzzled look on his face, “Can I help you, sir?” Rogal paused, his brain scrambling away from the various other things flying through his head. “Pain killers, something that will let me use my arm.” The doctor looked at the black uniformed commissar, “Give me a moment,” He said, shaking his head, not wanting to get involved. He pulled up the Commissar’s file, consulting what the medic had done to his arm, and what manner of medicine to give the hulking man. Scanning down the file, the doctor frowned. Rogal looked at him, coughing politely, “Is there a problem, Doc?” The doctor shook his head, “No, Commissar. Nurse?” A buxom young nurse appeared at the stubbled doctor’s elbow, “Sir?” “Get the commissar a bottle of Atryme,” The nurse looked at the doctor puzzledly, “But isn’t that?” “Look at him,” The Doctor said, “It’s the only thing that will work.” Shrugging, the nurse disappeared into the dispensary. The leanly handsome doctor looked at the burly commissar, “Congratulations sir,” He said, flicking some new files across on his dataslate, as Rogal smiled nervously. “Also,” The commissar began, “I need some,” The doctor didn’t even look up from his dataslate, his hand fishing into his white coat pocket. “Here. No questions.” Rogal nodded, “I owe you.” The doctor just nodded, as the nurse returned. Rogal hurriedly stuffed his gift in his pocket. The nurse smiled as she handed him the small white bottle. Rogal nodded in thanks, turning on his heel and jogging from the infirmary.

Tearing the lid from the little white container, popping a couple of the small white capsules and swallowing them dry. He rounded his tent, his eyes locking on the small red robed figure waiting for him. He strode up to her, grabbing her by the hand, and pulled her into the tent. Octavia’s eyes were wide as he slung her down onto the chair she had been sitting in that morning. Pulling his hat from his head, he threw it onto the table, taking his seat opposite his petite guest. “Octavia, look,” The commissar began, “About what your friend said,” The petite priestess blushed, a mechadendrite slowly creeping forward to touch her host’s leg, “Rogal…” she whispered, as his hand slid to meet the mechanical tendril, gently taking it between his fingers. Octavia’s mechadendrites slid forward, carefully undoing the sling from around the commissar’s neck. Her fleshbrain quivered, as the husky man came closer to her, her mechadendrites responding in turn, spiralling around his arms. Their faces came to within centimeters of each other, her cognitor logged the exact distance down to the micron, as her fleshbrain tittered nervously. She had wanted this moment, and here she was, panicking. Her whole body felt alive and overcharged, her cognitor calmly venting the excess power via her feet to the ground. Rogal felt his hairs stand on end, as slowly, he edged closer to the petite priestess in front of him. Octavia’s eyes lidded, her breath coming in slowly and deep, her augmented olfactory senses filled with the masculine smell of her host. His breath hot on her slightly parted lips, she let out a small moan, before a small spark jumped from her mouth to his. Rogal surged forwards, pulling Octavia’s slight frame onto his lap, their mouths crashing together like an earthshaker shell meeting the ground.

Octavia’s fleshbrain snapped out of its fugue state, squealing with happiness and hugging her cognitor, before losing herself in the moment. She pulled herself up the Commissar’s chest, her elfin hands clutching at the gold braids on his chest, kissing him hungry. His huge hands sat on her hips, holding her firmly. A mechadendrite made its way up his neck, before burying itself in tousled dark locks, as the commissar pulled her closer. Gently he lifted her from his lap, sitting her on the table, as he stood over her, his broad chest framed by the glowglobe above them. Breaking the kiss, they both gasped for air, both having forgotten their respective needs to breathe in their passionate embrace. The Commissar smiled down at his guest, as she lounged back onto the table, her mechadendrites freeing themselves from around his arms, and trailing sensuously over her hourglass figure. Reaching out, Rogal stroked a blushing cheek, as mechadendrites roved Octavia’s body, unlocking the clasps on her outer robe and pulling the red material away from her body. The highly polished red plates of her cyber mantle gleamed in the glowglobe light, as she felt her host tense over her. His eyes roamed her body once more, the hourglass figure, ample bosom, and clinched in waist, her augmented legs clamping together, a hand to her mouth. Running a hand down her side, Rogal sighed happily, “Beauty,” He whispered, calling to mind a scrap of literature he had once read, “They say comes in many forms, each one a gift from him on earth,” Octavia giggled, “The writings of the Philatius, I’m impressed,” she coo’d, as her mechadendrites snaked around the broad shouldered commissar once more, “But I don’t deserve such kind words,” Rogal shook his head, “Are you trying to tell me what to do again?” He asked, his breath hot on her neck as he buried his face in her nape, the sweet smell of her hair mixing with the metallic tang of her body.

Octavia moaned, bucking against her host, as her fleshbrain cried out for her to hurry up. Her cognitor nodded, any more of this and she risked blowing a fuse. Lifting the commissar’s head from her neck, she looked him in the eye, “I want to say thank you for saving me,” she said, her emerald eyes shining bright, “but, actions speak louder than words,” Her mechadendrites slid down Rogal’s muscled back, as she bucked up against him again. He grinned back, burying his face in her neck once more, his hands questing down her curved sides till they reached the clasps at her hips. With a single powerful motion, he pulled, the clasps releasing, as Octavia’s red skirt was thrown over a chair. Giggling headily, she pulled closer to the man standing over her, a pair of mechadendrites working their way up his chest, undoing buttons as they went. Another pair snaked around his arms once more, holding tight, as the third pair fumbled with his belt buckle. Breaths were coming quick and hard, as their mouths crashed together once more, Rogal pressing his broad chest down on top of his metal plated love, as her slim legs made their way either side of his waist. A cool metal hand traced over warm flesh, as Octavia smiled shyly, lifting her head to undo the bow behind her neck. Her mechadendrite freed itself from around Rogal’s arm, meandering over its owner’s body, to undo another clasp behind her back, before pulling sideways. With a quiet flop, her top was cast aside, pale breasts exposed to the cool air of the tent. Rogal’s slightly stubbled chin grazed lightly over sensitive flesh, before he caught a firm pink nub between his lips, and began suckling gently. Octavia moaned, her back arching, mechadendrites spasming slightly, at the stimulation.

The pair of mechanical tendrils at Rogal’s trousers had finally undone his belt and buttons, and began pushing the commissars pants down. They trailed over huge hard muscles, before lightly making their way back up, gently probing at the huge bulge in the commissar’s regulation black trunks. Rogal’s hand pushed behind her head, burying itself in her hair, as he slid his other down her side to her hip. Fingers danced as he searched for another clasp, before a mechadendrite guided his hand to the clip. With a click, the centrally locked snaps undid, Octavia spreading her legs and lifting her hips, as Rogal’s huge hand pulled the dainty piece of material away, adding it to the pile forming beside them. He groaned lustfully as Octavia’s nimble mechadendrites stroked his lascannon, focusing his attention to her chest once more. The mechadendrites at his waist pushed down at his regulation trunks, pulling this way and that to free what they contained. At his chest, mechanical tendrils slid under his jacket, trailing coldly against his back, as their owner arched her back with pleasure. Her hands were buried in his hair, her glowing green eyes half hooded, her breath coming in lazy gasps. Raising his head from her chest, the commissar looked down at his petite lover, who gazed back at him with smouldering eyes. He adjusted his stance, as her mechadendrites finally freed him from his undergarments, pushing them down to his knees to join his trousers. He stood tall and proud, her cognitor noted, and oh so very very very much in proportion. Her eye’s widened at the sight of his, lascannon, her fleshbrain offered, as the husky commissar paused, reaching for his pocket. He smiled at her sheepishly as he withdrew a regulation prophylactic, “The Emprah always needs soldiers, but, I don’t think we’re quite ready,” he said, and the pair giggled.

Chapter 14[edit]

A moment later, and he was over her once more, his powerful arms either side of her chest, “Please, no more waiting,” she begged, her mechadendrites wrapping around his arms and chest, her eyes bright in the commissars shadow, “As you wish, M’lady,” He said, somewhere between a whisper and a growl, gently guiding his massive self into his petite lover. Her hips bucked, as Octavia whimpered, her body crying out in a chorus of pleasure and pain. A concerned look crossed the commissar’s face, as he slowed his thrust, but Octavia just fanned her face with a hand, “Keep going, for the love of the machine, keep going,” She moaned. The husky commissar slowly moved his hips forward, before stopping, and slowly moving back, his petite lover gasping in pleasure. He repeated the movement, just as slowly, again, and again and again. Underneath him, Octavia writhed, her mechadendrites pulling against him, her augmented limbs cold against his warm chest and hips. He began to build up speed, his thrusts becoming harder, Octavia whimpering as he drove into her. She alternated between fanning her face and covering her mouth, her eyes going wide as she gasped and moaned. A metal hand grabbed at Rogal’s jacket and balled, scrunching the thick wool as Octavia blushed. Her Cognitor watched in rapt fascination at her body’s reaction, her augmented heart pounding in her reinforced chest, her upgraded lungs pushed to their limits as they tried to suck as much oxygen as they could from the air. Her potential coil surged, powering these extreme reactions, as her fleshbrain bucked and whooped. Rogal could feel every hair on his body stand, and watched with awe as small sparks seemed to dance around his lover’s neck. Her electoos venting excess power as safely as the could, Octavia let out a breathy moan, her fleshbrain finally finding something to say, “Please,” Rogal knew she had said something, but hadn’t quite heard, “Beg pardon?”

“Please,” Octavia whimpered again, her mechadendrites tightening around the commissars body, “Just there, yes, please, oh please, oh yes,” Her cognitor’s conceptual face went pale, as it noticed a bar rising. Her fleshbrain continued to focus on one thing and one thing only, enjoying itself. Mechadendrites clenched in time with the commissar’s thrusts, as he continued to drive into the petite priestess relentlessly. Her electoos sparked, sending small shocks into her lover, her hands buried in his hair and his jacket that hung down around her like curtains on a four post bed. The bar grew higher, nearing the end, as her cognitor hunkered down in a secure part of her mind. Her fleshbrain thrashed along with her body, throwing itself this way and that, its metaphorical mechadendrites and hands running all over its body. The Commissar started thrusting faster, the bar tipped, and began flashing, her mechadendrites tightening, she bit into the commissars shoulder, muffling a loud moan, as her potential coil reached full capacitance and shorted, a loud crack tearing the air. Rogal’s body seized as the shock kicked through him, leaping from his back to the glowglobe and blowing it. The glowglobe blew as his lascannon discharged, his hips bucking with the recoil. He let out a grunt, collapsing to his elbows, his huge chest heaving as he rested atop his lover. Octavia was mute, her mechadendrites spasming slightly, her chest rising and falling in deep breaths. The tent was filled with the smell of ozone, as Rogal managed to collect his thoughts enough to say something, “Wow,” He said, his mind still fuzzy, as he shook his head, “Wow,” he repeated, his mind still not having found anything else worth saying. Octavia just nodded, her mechadendrites now lazily dropping from around the commissar to help vent heat away from her body.

Octavia fanned herself with a hand, as Rogal gently dipped his head to her neck once more, kissing the electoo there gently, before lifting himself from atop her. Carefully, he withdrew his weapon, Octavia moaning despite herself as he did, before gingerly removing the casing from around it. He threw it to the bin, and pulled his trousers up, before collapsing into his chair. His bare chest glistened with sweat in the diffuse light from the skylight, as he sucked in great lungfuls of air. His guest continued to stare at the blown glowglobe above her, relishing the cool air on her skin, and the immense feeling of satisfaction that pervaded her body. Propping herself up on her arms, she looked at the husky commissar, who smiled back at her tiredly. “Wow,” he said, again, still not finding any other words, his guest just nodded. “I haven’t done that in a while,” Octavia said, a mechadendrite reaching over to the pile of her clothing and grabbing her top. Gingerly, she pushed herself up to sitting, using her other mechadendrites to support her, her flesh still weak from the exertion. Her top replaced, the mechadendrite quested out for her undergarments, when the huge commissar forced himself to his feet. “Move over,” He said, his voice low and commanding. Her fleshbrain responded at once, both with an eep, and pushing her body along on the table. Turning, Rogal sat up upon the table, before lying down, extending an arm out to the side, “Lie with me, please?” He said, his voice regaining its warmth. Octavia obeyed, snuggling close to her huge lover. Her mechadendrites replaced her undergarments, as Rogal’s huge hand rested on her hip. He let out a yawn, “You will have to excuse me,” He said, clearing his throat with a small cough, “But that really takes it out of a man. Can we just lie here?” Octavia nodded into his chest, “We can, after all, it is still lunch time,”

The pair lay there, trading small chitchat, between lying in the relative silence, languishing in the afterglow. Octavia rolled, propping herself up on her lovers chest, as she looked over him with her emerald eyes. His lopsided smile beamed back at her, as her cognitor slowly watched her dopamine levels stabilise. Absentmindedly, a mechadendrite played with a shard from the broken glowglobe, as Rogal gently stroked at her back. “You do know I was joking right?” He asked his guest, feeling very much the luckiest man in the Imperium. The petite priestess giggled, covering her mouth with a hand and mechadendrite, as she shook her head, “Really? You thought I was…? Well,” He paused for thought, “I suppose I could, if you’d like?” He lifted his head to study his lover, as she smiled shyly, her cheeks flushing with colour once more, her head bobbing as she nodded, “I would like that,” She said, her fleshbrain nodding hungry, seconding the idea. Rogal nodded, stretching his other arm up in front of his face. Octavia felt his body tense, puzzlement flooding her features, “Is something the matter?” She asked, looking up the commissars raised arm. Red. So much red. With a few bands of white from where her mechadendrite had spiralled around his arm. The bandages were soaked in blood, and the Commissar’s face was pale. “DRAGONONMARSISYOURARMOKAY?IMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRY,” Octavia wailed as she pulled the arm towards her with her mechadendrites, cradling it gently in her arms. Rogal fumbled for his pocket with his good hand, pulling the small white jar of pills out. “It’s okay,” He said, pulling himself up to sitting, “I took these, Doctor said it’d let me use my arm.” Octavia snatched the bottle with a mechadendrite, rotating it in front of her eyes, “Rogal,” She began, her tone firm, “Do you know what this is?”

The commissar shook his head, “It’s Atryme.” Rogal looked at her blankly, “So?” Her cognitor whacked its forehead to its palm, “Atryme is an advanced opioid combined with a neural inhibitor and some other suppressants,” The blank look stayed fixed in place on Rogal’s face. “They use this to sedate captured bioforms.” “It’s a horse tranquilizer?” The simple part of Rogal’s mind made the connection, “Not a tranquilizer, but along the same lines. Your arm could have been taken off and you wouldn’t have noticed.” She said, concern flooding her voice, “We need to get you to the Infirmary, now. You could be bleeding severely.” Rogal sighed, shrugging his shoulders. He had been surprised by the amount of blood, but he felt fine now that he had thought about it. Octavia had other ideas, leaping to her feet, before grabbing the table for support, the fleshy parts of her legs still weak, as her mechadendrites gathered her skirt around her once more. Grabbing the Commissar by the hand, she pulled him towards the door. “Can I at least,” Rogal said, standing his ground, pulling his petite lover back towards him, “fix my uniform?” Looking away and blushing, Octavia stepped back towards the towering commissar, her mechadendrites working in a matter of seconds to tuck in and rebutton Rogal’s shirt, before she was pulling at him again. “You don’t need your jacket, you’re wounded, uniform codes don’t apply, even to commissars,” She said, as she pulled him out of the tent. The huge commissar sighed, a smile playing across his lips, as Octavia pulled him along. He could hear the concern in her voice, and it pulled at his massive heart strings. As a commissar, he wasn’t used to people caring about him, at least in this sort of way. Guardsmen would care because it stopped them getting shot, Civilians would care because of the same reason.

Octavia cared, because he meant something to her. He looked up to the sky, and to his Emprah, and smiled, He cared about Octavia, because she meant something to him too. Something that he knew would change things forever. Octavia’s mechadendrites threw open the doors of the infirmary, as she marched the still goofily smiling Commissar up to the nearest doctor, the same lean and stubbled one that Rogal had visited before. He raised an eyebrow questioningly, “A rough lunch sir?” He asked nonchalantly, taking in the blood soaked bandage on the Commissars arm. Rogal shook his head, “I just, bumped it.” The doctor sighed, “You took the pills I gave you?” Rogal nodded, and the doctor sighed again, “Right, that explains everything. Nurse?” The buxom young nurse appeared at his shoulder again, “Prep me a room, and get me a suture kit.” He paused, looking at the commissar’s huge frame, “Actually, make that two. Commissar? If you would just wait here.” The Doctor strode off, the nurse having already disappeared to follow her orders. Octavia looked up at her muscle bound love, and couldn’t help but smile despite the situation. He may have been just a weak fleshy unaugmented human, but, her cognitor and fleshbrain agreed, that from here on out, he was hers. He Squeezed her tiny hand gently as he smiled down at her, relishing the adorable smile he got in return. He was a simple man, with a big heart, and the petite priestess of the machine god beside him, had found her place within it. He cleared his throat, “I’m not much good with fancy words,” He explained, “But, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for caring. You’re far too kind to this simple servant of the Emprah.” Octavia shook her head, before leaning against the huge commissar, “And you to this humble servant of the Omnissiah. So let’s call it even?” Rogal laughed, “Deal.”

Chapter 15[edit]

The Doctor snapped his gloves on, sighing to himself as he called for the commissar to enter the treatment room. The Lumbering man ducked under the doorframe, his petite friend in tow. “Right,” The Doctor began, gesturing to the seat beside the treatment table, “Take a seat, and let’s see what you’ve done to yourself.” Hefting his arm to the table, Rogal took his seat, Octavia standing by the door, watching curiously. The doctor slid his scissors underneath the red bandages, cutting quickly upwards, before gently peeling the coverings aside. A bright red ragged gash gently wept blood, and the doctor shook his head, “You certainly did a number on yourself, Sir.” Rogal’s eyes widened, he knew the wound had been bad, but not this bad. Octavia marvelled at how the ragged cut looked, the strangely rubbery texture as the doctor began wiping his arm with a prep pad. The smell of antiseptic filled the air, and the doctor silently thanked the Emprah that the commissars drugs were still working. “I didn’t know it was that bad,” Rogal admitted, marvelling at the bright blood that was mingling with the amber antiseptic, as the doctor took up his suturing needle. Rogal felt the pressure of the needle entering his skin, the little tugs as the suture was pulled tight, but no pain. How fascinating her cognitor found the surgery, as it gently stroked her fleshbrain as it whimpered about her poor man being injured. Her cognitor tried in vain to point out that she had nothing to concern herself with, Rogal having enough Atryme in his system to stop him feeling any discomfort for a good few hours more. Her fleshbrain just moaned and hid her face, throwing its memory back to the activities just past. With a sigh, her cognitor let her go, focusing on how the doctor used an oddly slanted stitch, and pondering the reasoning behind it.

The doctor finished his suturing, standing to collect a fresh set of bandages. Octavia slunk over, looking at the pink, puckered wound, the black of the stitches stark against them. Her fleshbrain flashed an image of the techpriestess getting lashed, and she eeped quietly. Rogal moved a finger experimentally, watching as the muscles in his arm moved, the stitches moving with them. The Doctor returned, opening a bottle of powder and sprinkling it over the commissar’s arm. A biting tang filled the air, Rogal’s nose wrinkling, “What is that?” he asked, looking down at his arm. “It’s a quickheal powder, sealing the wound with a form of chemical cauterization, hence the smell, before creating a breathable barrier over the injury.” The Commissar nodded, not really bothering to try and understand the medical terminology, Octavia’s cognitor filing the information away for future reference. The Doctors skilled hands quickly rebandaged Rogal’s arm, before he stood, taking his gloves off throwing them into the bin, “Right, firstly, no more Atryme,” The doctor said, putting forth his hand in expectation of the bottle. Rogal patted his coat pockets, before extracting the white jar and handing it back. “Secondly, give that arm a rest. No more of,” He paused, looking at Octavia with a grin, “Of whatever it is you were doing. If your arm does give you any trouble though, commissar, please come back and see me.” Rising to his feet, Rogal nodded his head respectfully, “Much Obliged Doc,” He turned, Octavia’s hand grabbing his, and the pair left the treatment room, Octavia looking over her shoulder and waving with a mechadendrite, “Thank you Doctor Shepard,” She called happily.

The massive commissar followed his petite mistress as she lead him through the vehicle pit, to the massive open workshop that she and her mechanics team worked in. The servants of the machine god looked up, the static like binary chatter dying down as Octavia approached. Her cognitor fired a concentrated data burst, explaining the entire situation across the workshops private noosphere. Various acknowledgements and witty comments came back to her, as the team began their afternoon’s work. She walked Rogal over to a workbench, clearing space for him to sit with her mechadendrites. Pulling her dataslate from its pocket in her robe, Octavia handed it to her guest, “Here, this contains a full rundown of what we are doing, you might find it interesting.” Octavia said, smiling shyly, “However, this also has access to a range of other information, including,” mechadendrites tapped at the screen, “The local sector’s Mechanicus sanctioned do it yourself archives.” Data scrolled past the commissars eyes, Octavia’s mechadendrites guiding the browser to the wood working section. Rogal’s face lit up, as he pulled his red robed love close and kissed her on the top of the head. The workshop went silent, and Octavia blushed, pushing away from the burly commissar. “Not in front of the others,” she whispered, poking the commissar in the ribs with a mechadendrite, before she turned to her mechanics team. “Yes, you all saw it. He is affectionate. Now we have a job to do,” she said, “This new defence net won’t build itself.” Those capable of smiling did, and smiling emotes flashed across the noosphere from those who lacked the ability. Quickly, the team remerged, synchronising quickly from years of practice, as the workshop was filled with noise once more. Rogal sat and watched, each priest of the machine god seemingly working on a different task, but somehow, still working together.

One would pass another a servo wrench with a mechadendrite, not looking up from its welding, a third flicking away an ember from the first, as it walked past with an arm full of memnorplates. In the middle of the flowing, almost fractal like workflow, sat Octavia, her mechadendrites bobbing , nimble fingers darting out to grab a part from a box, before taking up a minitorque, screwing together another item which would be fitted into a housing that was placed on her workbench, before being scooped away by another techpriest. The whole workshop moved in a complex dance, a joyous expression of praise to the Omnissiah, as each priest became a part of a greater machine. A static hiss slowly grew, as the Priests began to sing in binary, their praises filling the vehicle pit like heavy rain on a metal roof. Rogal watched in awe as all around him, red robed priests moved as if possessed, as even the pangs of servohammers and clicking of ratchet wrenches merged into the music that seemed to pervade the workshop. He found his chest tightening with excitement, as he was struck by the ethereal beauty that surrounded him, drawing parallels to the feeling of joy and purpose he felt as he worked with timber. The joy of construction, to create something new and pure for humanity, he realised, was what drove the Mechanicum. He smiled, turning his attention back to the dataslate, having found an article that took his fancy. He consulted a list of the bases current stocks of timber and building supplies, as his mind clicked over into its own design mode, the simple geometries which he had been trained to use to create anything moving about inside his head. Hidden away in a chimera parked in the middle of the fleet of transports, Tiberius gasped for air, a mechadendrite tight around his throat, his wrists straining against the cable ties. A crackling buzz filled the small space, cold light flickering across a slender form with a wicked grin on her mouth.

Rogal’s concentration was broken by a buzz from his personal dataslate. Placing the one Octavia had loaned him down on the workbench beside him, he fumbled in his jacket for the oblong item. Pulling it from inside his coat, he smiled triumphantly, thumbing the passcode and reading his new notifications. Two new datacasts, one high priority, he saw, as he pressed a rune of access, opening his inbox. The pair had come at almost the same time, and he felt his chest tighten as he read the author of the priority message. [REDACTED] stared at him in bright red letters, as he poked at the message, it popping open to fill his screen. The hidden sender meant one thing and one thing only, Inquisitors. His eyes scanned over the datacast, To, Commissar Hephastus, R, From: [REDACTED] Subject: Investigation pending: Possible corruption.

His face impassive, he continued to read. “Commissar Hephastus,” The Datacast began, as the majority of them did, “It has come to our attention that a pair under your jurisdiction has been found in possession of a number of heretical traits. One Lieutenant, Baracchus, Tiberius, Vox officer,” The datacast continued, listing Tiberius’s serial number, vox officer class, and clearance level. “As well as one member of the Adeptus Mechanicum, A Magos Radigan, Caelistis,” He paused, that was a surprise. “Have been found engaging in what we believe to be possibly heretical activities. These activities include, but are not limited to the following.” Rogal scrolled down, and down, and down, and down. The list ended, the datacast continuing, “We request immediate action on this issue. Failing this, we will have no other option but to enact our own protocols. Faithfully in his name, Inquisitor Jehoel Geergori, Ordo Hereticus.” Rogal sighed, placing the slate on his lap, as he looked up to the ceiling of the Vehicle pit, his mind racing.

He had never overtly suspected Caelistis, he thought, as he pondered his next course of action, but reasoned that there was no reason for her not to be. He pocketed his slate as he stood, before turning back to the workbench. He quickly left a note on Octavia’s slate, detailing the reasons for his departure, before he carefully made his way from the vehicle pit. He quickly crossed the compound, having escaped from the vehicle pit without interrupting a single techpriest, throwing the flap of his tent wide as he strode in. Placing his slate on the table, he went to his footlocker, throwing it open and rifling through it, pulling a second slate out, before returning to the table. He quickly began copying files from this second slate to his primary, tapping a few runes here and there, leaving the dataslates to work, as he collected a drink from his food locker. His primary slate pinged quietly as he returned to his seat, a bottle of some local fruit nectar in his hand. He pressed a few runes on his primary slate, taking a swig from his bottle and clearing his throat, before pressing a final rune. A small light blinked from red to green, and the Commissar began to speak. “Sir, Inquisitor Geergori,” He began, the Dataslate acting as a transcriber, “In regards to your recent datacast concerning one Lieutenant Baracchus, Tiberius and Magos Radigan, Caelistis, I wish to thank you for bringing the matter to my attention. However,” He continued, “I would urge you to read my correspondence with Sir Inquisitor Cohnager, who I imagine you have taken over for in regards to the detection and prevention of heretical behaviour. In any case, I wish to inform you that the lieutenant and his companion are free from any heretical acts.”

Chapter 16[edit]

“To this end, I also put myself forward for a full evaluation to ensure the purity of my own soul.” He said, smiling with satisfaction to himself, before he continued, “I shall, as it would seem to benefit both my own and the Inquisitors work, also investigate the Magos, Radigan, Caelistis, to ensure that no possibility of taint exists. If there is anything else Sir Inquisitor requires, please do not hesitate to ask. Working in the name of Him on Earth, Commissar Hephastus, Rogal, of the battalion.” His Dataslate chimed once more, signalling its completion of its task. The Commissar reread his datacast, making a couple of changed manually, poking at the screen based keyboard with his good hand, before sending the datacast. He pushed the slate away, and sat back in his chair, taking a long draught from his juice bottle, before setting it down, and waiting. Minutes past, and the commissar sat, running over the information he had received. Caelistis and Tiberius, he mused happily, that explained everything. His friend’s strange behaviour about Octavia’s presence at the Vehicle pits, the strange presence of oil on his uniform. The other behaviour was normal, Tiberius usually was bruised from one woman or another, and his charming nature meant he was never at a loss for someone to give him a bit of a bruising, but, the commissar reasoned, Caelistis was perfect for the job. Pulling her file up, Rogal began to read as he waited for a reply from the inquisitor. As he read, his smile just got bigger, his gut instinct about the slender priestess of the Mechanicum confirmed by what he read. He laughed as he read some of the lesser [REDACTED] files that his commissarial position allowed him to access, glad to know that his friend was in good hands and mechadendrites.

His primary dataslate hummed at him, a blinking rune indicating his new datacast. A few taps and the message filled the screen, Rogal leaning over to read the response. “Commissar. In light of your prompt response to our enquiries, we have redacted our suspicions of heretical behaviour. However, we do ask that you unofficially and as clandestinely as possible interrogate the magos. We ask you to do this as we wish to avoid any potential cross jurisdictional friction between us and the Mechanicum. We also ask, however, that both the lieutenant and yourself report to your unit’s sanctioned psyker for a delta level psychsweep. He has already been briefed, and will take the necessary actions required. We hope you understand this is merely a formality, not an accusation of heresy. May His Light be your guide, Inquisitor Geergori.” Rogal sighed, closing the message. He hated psychsweeps, they gave him headaches and left him with a metallic taste in his mouth for hours. Tapping his earbead, he patched into the voxnet, a warm, sultry voice filling his ear, “How can I help, Commissar,” The voice purred, “Cleo, is Tiberius there?” “No sir,” disappointment tingeing her voice, “I really can’t do anything for you?” Rogal sighed, every voxgirl treated him like this, which is why he preferred to let Tiberius handle his communications. “Cleo, listen, I need to get in contact with Tiberius, can you please patch me through using the following vox id?” “I suppose I can, Sir,” She purred happily, “Right, go ahead,” Rogal rattled of the vox id code, and was rewarded by the quiet beeps of it being entered and connecting. The ringing tone of connection sang quietly in the commissars ear as he paced his tent, waiting for his friend to pick up. The rousing strains of The Hero’s March, second movement, filled the inside of the chimera, its two occupants pausing, staring at the crumpled pile of clothes on the floor.

Disentangling himself from his mistresses grip, Tiberius scrambled, fishing in his pockets for his dataslate. He tore the thin metal slab from his jacket pocket, before jamming his earbead in and pressing the connection rune. Caelistis pouted, her mechadendrites coiling back towards her, as she sat down on one of the seats inside the APC. “Rogal?” Tiberius croaked, “This better be urgent,” The slender techpriestess adjusted the tight leather around her chest, but paused, seeing her lover tense, the lean corded muscles in his back bulging. The biospex feed in her vision registered his elevated heart rate, the flooding of O2 in his system, heightened adrenaline, and various other anomalies, before she whispered, “Is everything okay Tiber?” The vox officer waved at her to be quiet, as he listened to his commissarial friend. The slender techpriestess stood, moving closer to her troubled lover, her mechadendrites reaching out to gently stroke his back, tracing over the welts and bruises that covered him like red and blue striped camouflage. Tiberius nodded, “I understand, I’ll see you soon. You’re one of the Emprah’s own, you know that right?” Caelistis heard a muffled voice from the earbead in Tiberius’s ear, as he tapped it, turning to face her with wide, worried eyes. Concern entered her face, as she raised a hand to the vox officers bare chest, “What’s the matter, my little fleshbag?” “The Inquisition.” Caelistis felt her artificial blood go cold, “The inquisition?” The Vox officer nodded, as he refastened his trousers, shrugging to reseat his suspenders over his shoulders. “You know my little, issue. Well, this happens every so often, usually when a new guy comes on the beat. Rogal says the rosette carrier wants us to just go see Hjarl and let him give us a deltasweep.”

The slim priestess cocked her hip to the side, crossing her arms, a mechadendrite throwing a stray cable back over her ear, “So, because some heresyhound doesn’t like our… affectionate nature, he wants you to have your mind groped by some half crazed, all creepy aether sniffer?” The Vox officer nodded, wincing as he sat, smiling despite himself. “That’s it,” He said, groaning as he leaned forward to grab his boots. He felt cold tendrils coiling by the side of his face, lifting his head to look at his leather clad love. “You better come back taint free, or I’ll never talk to you again. I’d threaten to kill you or make you wish you were never born,” “But I like that,” He said, a small chuckle spilling from his lips as he continued to tie his boots. The slender priestess of the Mechanicum bent at the waist, leaning down and kissing Tiberius on the forehead. “Just come back, okay?” He nodded, standing and embracing the leather clad servant of the Omnissiah, “I will. I’ll make it up to you, dinner at mine tonight?” Caelistis nodded into his neck, “I’ll bring the amasec,” He kissed her roughly before turning on his heel and slipping from the chimera’s hatch, leaving his barely dressed sweetheart alone with her thoughts. Shaking her head, Caelistis returned to her own pile of clothes, her mechadendrites releasing the black leather strap from around her chest, the cool air colder against sweaty skin. She sighed, running a hand over her cyber mantled stomach, the small scale like plates rippling under the pressure. Pulling her red with black trim dress over her head, a mechadendrite doing the zipper up behind her back, she forced her breathing under control. The inquisition wouldn’t risk confronting the Mechanicum over her. The system of checks and balances maintained by the servants of the Omnissiah severely reduced the capacity for conventional heretical acts.

Rogal sat in the air conditioned lobby of the Administratum bunker, leafing through an old quartermasters ordering manual, as he waited for his friend. Hearing the double set doors hiss open, he looked up, Tiberius looking like he always did, handsomely disheveled. The Hulking commissar stood, offering his hand to the vox officer, “Here we go again, old friend.” He said softly, the same reassuring words he said every time the had to do this. Tiberius nodded, shaking Rogal’s huge hand, “Once more into the breach.” The pair walked up to the secretariat at the main desk, the commissar commanding her attention with a small cough. Looking up from her dataslate, she nodded, “You boys must be here to see Hjarl,” She said, tapping at a few keys, Rogal nodded, “Just a moment, sirs.” The secretariat tapped her headpiece, whispering quietly, looking at her slate once more. Behind her, an elevatus chimed, and she smiled, looking back at the huge commissar and his lean friend, “The elevates already knows where to go, just step inside. The Emperor protects.” The pair did the sign of the eagle, before circling around the main desk to enter the elevatus chamber. Stepping inside, the pair turned, years of training putting them at parade rest, as the doors slid shut with a hiss and a click. With a hum, the elevatus began to descend, the numbers clicking down. Rogal took his hat off and ran a hand through his hair, before he spoke, “So, looks like I’m not the only one who’s got a taste for metal,” “With all due respect sir, shut your mouth. I’m about to have old Hjarl grope my cortex, I do not need him seeing detailed versions of what I’ve been up to.” Rogal laughed, “Come now, it’s Hjarl, he’s seen worse.” A grin split Tiberius’s face, “Oh, yeah, whole screaming maw of the empyrean, right. Did you hear he found a lady?” Rogal shook his head, “Administratum has its own Commissar, not my jurisdiction,”

Tiberius stifled a laugh, “Right, so you didn’t know?” “No. What’s she like?” the hulking commissar asked, gingerly pulling himself up to his full height. His head hit the ceiling, and he sighed, hunching over and leaning against the wall. “From what I hear, she’s rather, normal, for someone in her line of work.” Rogal laughed, “So, still a few shots short of a charge pack,” Tiberius nodded, “But he’s happy, which is what counts, Emprah smiles on his happy children and all that,” The commissar nodded, as the elevatus chimed, coming to a stop with a slight jerk. The doors opened with a quiet hiss, a bespectacled secretariat waiting for them. “Gentlemen, follow me.” Rogal tilted his head, Tiberius sighing as he lead off, the burly commissar ducking as he left the elevatus. A low hum filled their earbeads, the vox officer tapping his out of habit. The Secretariat looked over her shoulder, “I will ask you to please deactivate your earbeads, the shielding down here renders them useless anyway, but please observe protocol.” Tiberius rolled his eyes, tapping his earbead, Rogal following suit, as they continued down the stark white hallway. The secretariat stopped outside a door, turning on her heels, which clicked smartly on the tiled floor. The pair looked at the heavily armoured hatch, the faint light of protective sigils seeming to glow from under the metal. Their host swiped her passcard, the door rumbling as it receded back, before its locks disengaged with a cascade of clicks and thuds. Ice cold air assaulted the trio, as the secretariat bowed politely, “The Hjarl will see you now.” Tiberius nodded, folding his arms against the cold, as he stepped across the threshold, Rogal putting his hat to his chest in protocol mandated thanks, before following his friend into the frosty darkness.

Chapter 17[edit]

Their eyes adjusted to the dim light, as they shuffled through the gloom, the chattering and murmuring of the psykers around slightly unnerving the vox officer. Rogal sighed as they continued, the metallic tang beginning to fill his mouth. The pair reached the middle of the room, where sat, upon a raised dais, sat, “Hjarl?” Rogal called, the ornate throne rotated, a huge grinning man turned to face them, a huge grin on his face, “COMMISSAR,” he boomed jovially, “HOW GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN,” Rogal smiled, bowing his head respectfully, “It’s good to see you too, Hjarl,” “RIGHT, WELL LETS NOT WASTE ANY TIME, TAKE A SEAT AND LETS HAVE A LOOK AT THOSE SOULS BOYS”. Tiberius rolled his eyes, taking the seat offered, leaning back and closing his eyes. Bright lights flashed behind his eyes, as Hjarl dove into his mind, fractal patterns spiralling through his mind. He felt the psykers laughter reverberating within his skull, before he felt the horrifying feeling of being hurled high in the air, before being slung back into his chair. His eyes snapped open and he took a deep gasping breath, slumping forward. Hjarl laughed uproariously, clapping a hand on the vox officers shoulder, eliciting a groan of pain from Tiberius. “YOU’RE CLEAN, LITTLE MAN. A KINKY ONE, BUT CLEAR FROM TAINT. HIM ON EARTH IS HAPPY WITH YOUR SOUL.” Rogal helped his friend from the chair, and into another, a kindly low level pexpath handing him a cup of water. The commissar flopped into the chair, his long legs splayed out in front of him, as Hjarl rolled his wrists, flexing his hands before clamping them over Rogal’s temples.

The taste of metal filled Rogal’s mouth, as his consciousness feeling like it was being squeezed through a tube. Images of his life flashed by, he saw his childhood home, on a farm on a backwater world, before the war came. His parents had left him at the schola, like so many parents did. He saw his days in the schola, days spent in the workshop, the smell of sawdust filled his mind. Literally filled his mind, he saw and understood the metaphysical representation of the smell of sawdust as a concept, a spiralling sphere of light. The commissar saw his graduation ceremony, his first assignment, how he and Tiberius had earned their promotions. He saw the first time he noticed Octavia, months it seemed before the present day, he saw how he had noticed her every day since, unaware of his attraction to her. The commissar heard as if under water, the laughter of Hjarl, before his mind was thrown back into his head and he slumped forward. Sucking his tongue to the top his mouth, he tried to scrape the metallic taste from his mouth. “SHE’S A GOOD WOMAN, I CAN SEE WHY YOU LIKE HER. THE EMPRAH SMILES UPON YOU BOTH, “ Hjarl boomed happily, “YOU’RE CLEAN COMMISSAR. NOW BOTH OF YOU GET YOUR SIMPLE MINDS FROM MY HALLS,” Rogal shook his head, trying to clear his head, as he pulled himself to his feet. Tiberius patted him on the back, as the pair made there way out from the psyker’s complex, the armoured doors opening, a wave of heat washing over them. The Secretariat was waiting there for them, a smile on her face, “Thank you for your time gentlemen,” She said, “Right this way,” The pair looked at each other and smiled. They had passed, again, had they not, they knew the Hjarl would have crushed their heads and their souls in a matter of moments. Following the secretariat, the entered the elevatus once more, the apparatus humming as they returned to the lobby.

Rogal stretched his arms out, relishing the warm afternoon sun on his face as the pair walked away from the Administratum building. Beside him, the lean vox officer tapped on his earbead, patching himself back into the sea of communications, feeling whole once more. The commissar checked his chronometer, looking at his companion and clicking his tongue. The metallic tang hadn’t left his mouth, and he knew it wouldn’t for hours, but, there were ways to get around that. “Officers club?” The burly man asked his companion, who nodded tiredly, “That is the best idea I have heard all day,” The pair walked through the well-established Administratum complex, and Rogal felt a pang of jealousy that his men were only just getting a barracks, while the paper pushers were here in relative luxury. He sighed, knowing that it was just a side effect of how war was waged, and that any complex like the one they inhabited would be divided up like this. The world was sparsely populated, so this was the main guard base on this land mass, and had only ever supported a couple of regiments. With the orkish invasion, those regiments had been bolstered by forces from across the sector, the majority of guardsmen in tents and other temporary shelters, spread across the base. The Administratum had claimed the main parts of the base, and the Mechanicum the vehicle pits, which had grown nearly over night as prefab shelters were assembled all around, expanding the workspace threefold. Ducking his head, the Commissar followed his friend into the officers club, soft lights and pleasant music greeting them as they strode up to the stairs to the main bar. A couple of officers shot sidelong glances at Rogal and his onyx uniform, before returning to their games of cards and regicide. Tiberius knocked his knuckles on the bar, a barmaid walking over, she smiled at the pair, “What can I get you boys?” She asked, bright and cheerful.

“I’ll take an amasec triple over ploins,” Tiberius said, leaning forward, “What about you, Commissar?” Rogal smiled warmly, “An amasec combination seven, neat, on ice, if you please,” “As you wish, Sir’s,” The barmaid said, grabbing a pair of coasters and glasses, placing them on the bar with a clink. Rogal turned and leaned against the bar, looking at his scruffy friend, “So,” He began, “You and Caelistis, details, now.” Tiberius chuckled, shaking his head, “What sort of details?” “We can start with the how’s, why’s come next, and then the what’s, after I have a few drinks. I don’t know if I want to know what you get up to.” The vox officer laughed, “Oh, there are things that woman can do that would make you eat your hat and like it,” “Fifteen Thrones, boys,” The Barmaid said, interrupting the pair. Tiberius fished out his wallet, flicking out a crisp twenty throne slip, and handing it to the barmaid, “Can we get some crispseeds to go with them?” The bar maid nodded, pulling a bowl from under the counter and filling it with the salted seeds Tiberius had asked for. Rogal took his drink and scanned the club for a table, spotting one in a corner booth. He nudged his companion, nodding towards the seats, and the pair moved off. The commissar took a seat in the corner of the booth, his long legs extending out under the table, his friend sitting to the side, the bowl of crispseeds between them. “To another successful test of purity and faith,” Tiberius said, raising his glass, “May we continue to make him proud,” “To the Emprah,” Rogal concluded, clinking his glass to his friends. The pair drank, Tiberius finishing first. He took a few crispseeds and chewed them thoughtfully, Rogal watching him with steely eyes, “What?” “You, Magos Caelistis, details, now.”

Tiberius sighed, “We met when she came to repair a malfunctioning vox relay. She was all feisty and making jokes and we got to talking. This would have been about the time you were out at the front, helping disrupt those maglev shuttles the greenskins were using to transport supplies.” Rogal nodded, taking a pinch of the seeds for himself, flicking one into the air and catching it, “So I take her out to dinner at that little place over the other side of the Administratum area? Panachatto’s. We ate and talked and drank, and made plans for the next week.” “Right.” Tiberius smiled as he continued, “So we meet up the next week, she asks me over to her quarters, and tells me to bring all this stuff, I think nothing of it. We have dinner, and she’s constantly asking me to hand her things, or do something.” Rogal laughed, “Oh, how terrible for you.” “I know, so I go with it, escalate things a little, and next thing I know, she’s got me pinned to the wall with her dendrites and she’s whispering things that would make a cultist blush in my ear. The rest, as they say, is history.” The commissar nodded, “Sounds about right for you. Does she know about your little, quirk?” Tiberius took another handful of the crispseeds, picking through till he found a particularly large one, “Yeah, I told her about a week in. She understood, told me if it ever got too bad though, she would drag me to the doctor herself and get me medicated. She, just, gets me.” “You’re very similar,” Rogal said, a smile spreading across his face, “I saw a little bit of her file when I was replying to the inquisitor.” “Oh really?” the vox officer asked, leaning in conspiratorially, “What did you read about my mistress,” “Do you have to call her that?” Tiberius nodded happily, his commissarial friend just shook his head, “Well, she got in some trouble with her collegia back when she was on Peretaraus."

Rogal paused, taking a sip from his glass “Something involving the faculty generators and a rather unfortunate junior magos.” “What did she do?” The commissar laughed, “Well, she apparently engineered something called a sequential magno pulse launcher? Anyway, she apparently fired her hand using one of them at said junior magos, in an incident that got reported by the student voxnet as “The greatest spank”.” Tiberius chewed on his crispseed, the corners of his mouth twitching, “She had put the junior magos in a set of stocks,” Rogal continued, smiling as his friend tried not to laugh. “Report says her hand was embedded in his augmented ass so hard it took a pair of servitors half an hour to work it free,” Tiberius coughed and spluttered, his resolve broken, as he laughed. The commissar joined in, managing to gasp out, “Best bit is, she got in more trouble for making the magno gun thing than she did for actually hitting that cogboy,” The vox officer took a few deep breaths to calm himself, the grin still plastered to his face. “I love that woman,” he said, raising his glass once more, “To techpriestesses, and the men who love them,” Rogal knocked his glass against his friends, “To techpriestesses,” The pair drank to their women, Tiberius lowering his glass first, “We should bring them here. For dinner. Tonight.” Rogal looked around, the officers club was a nice place, the ornate architecture pleasantly light on skulls. Shrugging his shoulders, “Sure, why not.” Tiberius clapped his hands with glee, “Mistress will be so pleased. I’m a good boy,” Shaking his head, the commissar took another swig from his glass, “That’s kind of creepy, Tiber,” The vox officer looked at him apologetically, “Sorry, you know how it gets sometimes,” “Easy old friend, don’t worry about it,” Tiberius smiled, “Thank you. Anyway, what about you and the darling of the Mechanicum?”

“What about me and Octavia?” Rogal asked, his face impassive, “You’ve been spending a lot of time together, anything, interesting happened?” Tiberius raised an eyebrow suggestively, “Some carnal calibrations?” The commissar shook his head at his friend, “Commissars ask questions, we don’t answer them.” Tiberius grinned wolfishly, “Oh, so something has happened?” “We don’t answer questions,” Rogal repeated, a smile spreading across his face. Tiberius tilted his glass at his friend, shaking his head with amusement, “Right, well I’m going to take that as you have done something with her. Good work, sir,” Rogal just nodded, as he pulled his dataslate from his pocket. “If we’re having dinner here,” He said, thumbing to his datacast manager, “We should probably invite our guests, shouldn’t we?” Tiberius nodded, pulling his own slate from its pocket on his chest. The pair sat in silence, typing their messages to their respective women. Rogal finished first, placing his dataslate on the table, and taking a few more crispseeds. Tiberius finished his message, following suit and placing his slate on the table, grabbing his glass and taking a drink. “So there’s a whisper on the vox that we’re closing in on the orks, should be one final push, and we’ve retaken the planet.” Rogal smiled, “About time, enough blood’s been shed here,” “Blood of the martyr is the seed of the Imperium,” Tiberius quoted, “But what’s more interesting is they want to build up a presence here.” “You mean garrison the planet?” Tiberius nodded, “Get the population up a bit, start tithing the place.” Rogal nodded, taking a few crispseeds and chewing them as he pondered his friends information. The burly commissar sat, considering his options. He had been waiting for a chance like this, and now with Octavia quickly becoming a major part of his life, maybe it was time to take that chance.

Chapter 18[edit]

“Tiberius,” Rogal began, tapping a gloved finger on the table as he spoke, “Have you ever thought about what you would do if you were on a garrison planet?” The vox officer shook his head, “Never thought I’d live long enough. Why do you ask?” The commissar rubbed at a mark on the table top, “Just curious.” Tiberius just shrugged and sipped his drink. With a buzz, his dataslate chimed, a new datacast waiting for him. He poked his slate with a finger, smiling as he read the message, “Caelistis says she will join us soon, she’s just finishing up on whatever an ECCMS unit is. She also says that she will bring Octavia with her.” Rogal nodded, as his own slate hummed. He pressed a few runes, pulling up Octavia’s message, which he quickly read. Tiberius signalled at a barmaid, and she sided up to the table, “What can I get you, sirs?” she asked, and Tiberius grinned at her, “Another amasec triple over ploins and an amasec combination seven, neat,” “On ice, if you please,” Rogal added, gently swirling what remained of the cubes in his glass. “Oh, and some more crispseeds, that spicy flavour, if you have them, otherwise plain will do,” Tiberius continued, “As you wish, sirs,” The barmaid said with a small bow. Tiberius watched her saunter from the table, and Rogal shook his head. “Should you be doing that?” The commissar asked, before draining what was left in his glass, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I should. Mistress thinks it would be fun if I had a friend.” Rogal snorted, clamping his hand over his mouth. With an effort, he swallowed, coughing to clear his throat. “What?” “You heard me. Mistress thinks I have been good enough to deserve a friend, so she told me to keep an eye out. She also told me to make sure this friend was female, with dark hair and eyes, and of a similar figure to mistress.” Rogal let out a sigh, rolling the cool glass against his forehead, “Forget I asked. Please?”

Tiberius let out a bark of laughter, “Don’t you want to hear how mistress will tie us both up?” “No.” “How she’ll lash us for being impure?” “No.” “How she cleanses our souls with-“ “No, and if you continue, I will make sure you’re sent home with a gallantry discharge and be forced to live out your days a hero.” Rogal said, placing his glass down with deliberate slowness. Tiberius’s eyes went wide, “You wouldn’t…” “I would. By the saints, I’d even put you in for a medallion estanza.” The pair stared at each other, before Tiberius grinned, “You’re a nasty piece of work, Commissar.” Rogal laughed, “Just how I was raised. But really, can you keep the mistress talk to yourself.” “As you wish,” The vox officer said, a devilish grin on his face, “Master,” “Dorn’s beard man, enough already.” Tiberius laughed, and finished his drink, picking the slice of ploin out of the glass with the toothpick, and popping it into his mouth. Rogal shook his head, Hjarl was right, Tiberius was kinky. His mind however, wandered slightly, an image of a bound Octavia, dressed in an ordos famulous uniform, curled on his bed creating itself. He shook his head to clear the image, and it left, but promised it would be back. The Barmaid returned, placing a drink in front of the commissar, “An amasec combination seven, neat, on ice, for the Commissar,” She said, running her eyes appreciatively over Rogal’s massive frame, before placing the other drink down beside Tiberius’s first. “A triple amasec on ploins, and a bowl of spicy crispseeds for the lieutenant,” She purred, as Tiberius grinned back, leaning a stubbled chin onto his hand, “Are you working all tonight?” The vox officer asked, returning the look the waitress was giving him, as she nodded, hugging the tray to her chest, which boosted her already ample cleavage, “I am, Sir,” she said, and Rogal let out a quiet sigh at their behavior.

“In that case, can I ask you a huge favour?” Tiberius continued, his lean and stubbly charms working their magic on the barmaid. She nodded again, “Anything, sir,” “My commissarial friend and I are having some guests for dinner, and I was hoping you could maybe, look after us tonight,” “We don’t have a reputation for the best service this side of Sol for nothing.” The barmaid said, pushing her hair over her ear with a finger, “I’d be happy to serve you.” Tiberius grinned, “Thank you my dear?” The questioning inflection compounded by his arched eyebrow. The barmaid smiled back, “Elsa, sir,” “Thank you, Elsa,” Tiberius said, “I’ll call you when we need menu’s” The barmaid nodded happily, “As you wish, sir,” before she turned on her heel, and sauntered away once more. Tiberius grinned at his commissarial companion, who just took his drink and shook his head. “Your incorrigible, you know that right?” Taking a crispseed, the vox officer threw it into his mouth, “I don’t even know what that means, but thank you.” Rogal sipped his drink, his mind wandering again. He saw Octavia, bound, gagged and blindfolded, the bodysuit and bustle of the ordos famulous replaced this time with a guardswoman’s uniform, the front torn open, exposing pale flesh and gleaming metal, and decided he liked that idea a lot more than the Ordos famulous. Her mechadendrites flailed, trying ineffectually to undo her bonds, as he lifted her, bending her over the- “Hey, look, they’re here,” Tiberius said, backhanding the commissar’s arm and pointing. Rogal followed his friend’s gesture, a grin spreading across his face, as he laid eyes on his petite lover. Emerald green eyes glittered back at him, a pink lips smiling, as a mechadendrite flicked her hood back. Rogal stood, his huge frame moving the table, as Octavia near leaped into his arms, her feet dangling in the air as she was hugged by the huge commissar.

Caelistis shook her head as she hugged Tiberius, nibbling his neck gently, a mechadendrite wrapping itself possessively around his wrist. “Good to see you’re not a warpcharred corpse, meatbag,” She whispered in his ear. “I made you a promise, remember.” She squeezed him affectionately, before disengaging from their embrace, to find a shocked Octavia looking at them from her seat in Rogal’s spacious lap. “Yes. Vox officer Tiberius and I have been seeing each other for a while now. You know how I keep things to myself,” Octavia nodded, disbelief still apparent on her face, “But, he’s…” “Weak flesh? Hardly,” She said with a smile, as the pair sat, one of Caelistis’s mechadendrites snaking over her lovers shoulder. Octavia shrugged and snuggled close to Rogal again, looking up at him with her bright green eyes, “How was the rest of your afternoon?” She asked, a mechadendrite lazily collecting a crispseed from the bowl, “Aside from having my consciousness groped by Hjarl, very pleasant,” he said softly, “and yours?” The petite priestess beamed up at the commissar, as she began telling him about how they had done a test run on the hydra targeting cores. Tiberius leaned in close to Caelistis and nuzzled her ear, before he spoke, “So, about that friend for me you were thinking about?” The mechadendrite at the vox officers shoulder moved to stroke his neck, as its owner smiled, “Yes, my little fleshling? Have you found someone for your mistress?” Tiberius nodded, “She meets your specifications, and is already well accustomed to taking orders,” Caelistis’s smile turned wolfish, the mechadendrite around Tiberius’s arm tightening with excitement, “You will have to show her to me,” She whispered back, her mind racing with the potentials.

“So tomorrow,” Octavia concluded, “We’ll do a live fire test. It’s so exciting.” Rogal smiled happily, he loved the passion the petite priestess had for her work, he felt the same when he was working with the men, making chairs and tables. “Right, well if you two lovebirds are finished catching up, I’m starving, can we get some food?” Caelistis said, “And drink, I need a drink.” Tiberius grinned, “As you wish, mistress. Elsa?” he called, and the barmaid appeared, smiling as she came to the table, menu’s hugged to her chest. A sultry smile crossed Caelistis’s face, and Rogal shook his head. “Sir’s, m’ladies, your menus. Can I get you any drinks?” “I’ll grab another Triple amasec on ploins,” Tiberius said, smiling in his charming manner, “If you please,” “And I’ll have the same,” Caelistis added, leaning forward, a mechadendrite flicking an errant cable behind her neck, “I love that bracelet, can I ask where you got it?” she asked, reaching out to take Elsa’s hand. The barmaid smiled shyly, but didn’t pull back, as Caelistis traced a hand over her wrist, eliciting a small gasp as metallic fingers met smooth flesh. “I got it from this little shop a bit further in the complex, it has some really good stuff,” The barmaid said rotating her slender wrist and showing off the chain that was shaped like little tank treads. The real reason Caelistis had wanted to make contact with the slender barmaid was to fire off a quick biometric scan. Elsa felt her hand tingle at the touch of the Techpriestess, and she smiled. “Really? You will have to give me the address,” Caelistis said, looping a finger through the bracelet and studying it a little closer, as the biometric scan fed back to her. Data scrolled past her vision, as she ran the bracelet between her fingers “Look at me, taking up all your attention, you better take the Commissar’s order, or he might punish you”.

The biometric scan showed a burst of chemicals, and Caelistis grinned, releasing the bracelet and sitting back. The barmaid would do nicely, but they would need see her outside of her job. Rogal shook his head as he sat up, “I won’t punish you, but I will have some water, could you bring us a jug? Octavia?” The petite priestess thought for a moment, a mechadendrite tapping on the table, “I’d like an Emperors mercy, please?” Elsa typed the orders into her dataslate, before dropping it into her apron pouch and bowing, “As you wish, I’ll be back in a moment,” The slender barmaid walked off, her hips swinging, both Tiberius and Caelistis watching. Octavia sighed, gently tapping Rogal on the leg to get his attention. “I should have warned you about Caelistis,” she whispered, as the commissar leaned down to listen to her. “She is very much a libertine,” Rogal chuckled quietly, putting his arm around his red robed sweetheart, “I know, I read some of her file while I waited for the rosette agent to reply. What’s a sequential magno pulse launcher?” Octavia laughed, “Oh, you read about that?” The commissar nodded, “How the in warp did she do it?” The petite priestess’s eyes glowed brighter as she began to explain, “A sequential magnetic pulse launcher is a type of slug thrower. Designed to take any magnetic item, in this case, Caelistis’s hand, it hurls it forward using a number of magnetic pulses, that fire in sequence, down the barrel of the launcher. We don’t use it because there’s a lot of issues with managing the sequencing, as well as power bleeds and a few other things. Caelistis only fired it once, which was that time, and they made her disassemble it as punishment.” Rogal nodded, he sort of understood how the gun worked, but the idea that it could do what it did still baffled him. “She’s very creative, and very kind.” Octavia continued, “She looked after me at the collegia”.

Rogal smiled as Octavia told stories of how Caelistis had stood up for her, helping her to market her amazing skills, the petite priestess repaying her friend with her expertise in fabrication and programming. Caelistis had always been the face of their team, and Octavia the intellectual brawn. “And that’s why she shot him with her hand, because he was the one who had epoxied my mechadendrites together, and she had said she would slap him harder than anyone had thought possible. So she did.” Rogal laughed heartily, “Seems fair to me. He had it coming, little barrel stuffer,” he said, taking a sip from his drink. Elsa had returned halfway through Octavia’s story, delivering drinks and asking for entrée orders. Caelistis and Tiberius had ordered the toasted local flatbread and selection of dips, the commissar and Octavia opting to share a salad. The vox officer and his slender mistress had been whispering to each other conspiratorially, their eyes following the slim barmaid as she went about her business, waiting tables and taking orders. “I am glad she is happy with Tiberius,” Octavia said, taking her tall and ornate drink in both hands, suckling on the straw, “He seems a good man,” Rogal nodded, “He’s as good as they come. I’ve seen him do some crazy things, but those crazy things have saved more lives that he will ever admit.” “Really?” “You wouldn’t think it to look at him, and he is a vox officer, so they’re not supposed even see combat, but Tiberius has an honorifica to his name.” Octavia’s eyes went wide, “Tiberius, an honorifica holder?” “He never accepted the award, he’s far too humble. But yes, he saved half the battalion at great personal risk.” “How do you know?” Rogal grinned, his smile particularly lopsided, “I was there. But that is a story for another time. I think our entrée is here,” he said, as Elsa approached the table, their orders in her hands.

Chapter 19[edit]

The couples dug into their respective meals, Tiberius feeding himself and his slender mistress as she lounged back, Octavia and Rogal spearing at the salad with their forks, idle chat playing between the four. “So then, I plug the alternating capacitance unit back in, and the chimera roars to life, and that uppity sergeant nearly jumped through the glacis plate.” Caelistis said with a laugh, swinging her drink happily, the rest of the table laughing with her. Elsa returned to the table once more, her smile brighter than when she had last been, “Who wants to order dinner first?” she asked cheerfully, her dataslate in hand. Caelistis ruffled her man’s hair affectionately as she read the menu, “I’ll have the seafish fillet, battered, on a bed of raavoli, with a light salad on the side,” The slender priestess said, her voice commanding yet sensuous, a smile playing on her lips as her thermal vision saw the barmaid’s body temperature rise. “My friend here,” she continued, “Will have the shredded grox steak and salad, with an attillian sauce.” Elsa’s fingers flew across her dataslate, “As you wish, m’lady,” she said, and Caelistis grinned, watching the heat flow to the barmaids cheeks, “You’re a good girl, Elsa,” she said, continuing her nefarious plan. Rogal and Octavia just looked at each other, rolling their eyes, before the Commissar spoke, “I’d like the grain fed Aarcturian Grox, a thousand weight if possible, or the biggest you have, still pink on the inside, with the roasted vegetables, and with lots of gravy, if you please?” Elsa nodded, “And for you, M’lady?” “Oh, um,” Octavia’s eyes scanned the menu, her fleshbrain sitting up at the idea of a wonderfully decadent meal, helped her search, “May I have…” She trailed off again, her mind running through all the possible combinations that the menu provided, searching for the one with the highest match to her nutritional needs.

“May I have the honey, brown sugar and spiced porklet ribeyes wrapped in graal slices, with the fellbard sauce, on a bed of brown grain, and a small serve of the potato salad, please?” Octavia said in one breath, the rest of the table looking at her with amusement. Elsa nodded, “Of course, M’lady. Do you require anything else, more drinks?” Caelistis raised a mechadendrite, “I’d like another one of these delightful drinks you brought me earlier. And my handsome little meatbag here would like another triple amasec on ploins.” “One righteous fury and a one triple amasec on the ploins,” “There’s a good girl,” The slender priestess said, a coy smile spreading across her face as she ran a mechadendrite around her neck, “Your manners are impeccable,” Elsa bowed, “Thank you, M’lady,” “Now run along, we’re getting hungry,” “Yes, M’lady,” The barmaid hurried off, her hips and hair swinging as she moved, and Caelistis let out a happy noise, “She makes that uniform look good enough to eat,” “Indeed, mistress,” Tiberius agreed, before offering his lady another slice of toasted flat bread. “Really, Tiberius?” Rogal said, chuckling, “Really?” The vox officer waved an obscene gesture at his friend, “Yes, really. You don’t hear me complaining about how you and Octavia are so nauseatingly adorable together that it could-“ Caelistis cut him off with a glare, “Now Tiberius, that is no way to act towards our friends. Behave yourself,” “Yes, mistress. Sorry, Mistress,” He said, before he shot another rude gesture at the commissar. Rogal just laughed and kissed Octavia on the head, “Yes Tiberius, behave yourself,” he added, Caelistis laughing with the commissar, before giving her vox officers hair another affectionate ruffle, “You have a point though, they are nauseatingly cute.” Tiberius smiled triumphantly, “See, I told you so,” he said, and the four laughed.

Octavia snuggling closer to the commissar, her fleshbrain driving her to be as close as she could to the hulking man. Her cognitor pointed out the inefficiencies of this course of action, citing her reduced ability to move, as well as how it was a waste of time as she would need to sit apart from the commissar in order to eat her meal. Her fleshbrain countered with the fact that she had mechadendrites for such things, and that her body was doing this of its own volition, the metaphysical manifestation of her more human side just happened to agree with it. Her cognitor sighed, ceding the point, and found herself strangely drawn to the fact that in the event of a catastrophic disaster, that were she was, cuddled up to Rogal’s huge chest, significantly increased her chances of survival in the majority of cases. Her fleshbrain put an arm around her cognitor, smiling happily. Her body reached out and pulled her huge drink towards her, the little umbrella swinging to the side as the drink left the table. She took the straw into her mouth, sucking quietly, the warm peach flavoured liquid filling her mouth, savouring the taste of as many levels as she could. Her mind wandered to the tidbit of information she had gleaned during the afternoon. The Mechanicum was going to keep its establishment, as the world was being garrisoned. Octavia had hated travelling almost as much as she hated the war, but now a chance to settle down on a nice relatively peaceful planet presented itself. She had run the odds of such a thing happening, and the results were still pending, but the chances of it not happening had just clicked over to the hundreds of millions. Her fleshbrain showed an image of her and Rogal, together, and then her favourite permutations of their children, and she smiled to herself. If the chance came, she would take it.

The four continued to chat as they waited for their meals. Laughter and merriment filled the establishment as other officers and higher ranking Administratum staff filled the bar, making the most of the relative peace. Even now, Rogal mused, in the grimmest and darkest times mankind had ever faced, humanity endured. He looked around, here a pair of grizzled old veterans who had seen far too much shared a drink and still managed to find good times to reminisce about, there an Administratum secretariat and her friends celebrated her engagement. Smiling happily to himself, he pulled Octavia a little closer, giving silent thanks to the Emprah that he was blessed to live in such a time. The skirmish of a few days ago was almost forgotten, having barely affected the base, though the official funeral rights were yet to be performed for the honoured dead. Their bodies would be the first laid to rest in the new base’s cryptarium, their names etched on the wall as martyrs of the Imperium. Caelistis and Octavia’s conversation continued across his massive frame, as Rogal considered how he would be remembered. Octavia looked up with curiosity, “Has something got your attention?” She asked, before suckling on her straw once more. The huge drink was aptly named; many people who had drank it often wished for the real thing when they woke up the next day. Rogal snapped out of his pondering, smiling back at his petite priestess, “Just, thinking about things,” Tiberius laughed, “Here we go, he’s going to say something deep and poignant,” “Then you’ll get all lovestruck,” Caelistis added, “And I and Tiberius will need insulin shots from the sheer saccharine sweetness of you both.” Rogal chuckled, “I am sorry. Not all of us need to hogtie one another to show our affection” he retorted, and Tiberius gave him a gesture that would get him flogged on a shrine world.

Octavia let out an eep, as her fleshbrain, powered by the steadily growing amount of alcohol in her various systems, filled her mind with images. Her cheeks went pink as her fleshbrain showed her, Rogal’s belt around her wrists, his commissarial sash gagging her, her mechadendrites bound together with electrical tape as was dangling over his shoulder, his arm around her waist, claiming her as his own. Caelistis grinned, noticing her petite friends reaction, as she leaned forward to rest her chin in her hands. “I wouldn’t be quite so sure about that,” The slender techpriestess said, Octavia letting out another eep. Rogal looked down at the petite girl beside him, and she avoided eye contact, suckling on her straw innocently. Or as innocently as she could with bright red cheeks. Rogal’s lopsided smile grew, as his simple farm boy brain realised what was going on. He patted Octavia’s side reassuringly, “Not that there’s anything wrong in it,” He said quickly, Octavia looking up at him, her emerald eyes smiling. His mind flashed again with the image of Octavia in the guardsman’s uniform, tied now with his commissarial sash about her wrists, her flak armour open, exposing the porcelain skin and gleaming augments underneath. He felt his mind begin to wander once more, but was interrupted by, “Order’s up, Rogal,” Tiberius said, pre-empting Elsa’s return, her arms laden with their meals, her smile wide on her face. “Right, for the commissar, one thousand weight Aarcturian Grox steak, rare, with roast vegetables, and gravy” she said, placing the huge plate in front of the equally huge man, “For the lovely lady of the machine god, the battered seafish fillet, bedded on raavoli, with a light salad,” The meal slid gracefully from Elsa’s arm to the table, freeing her to hand out the cutlery from the pocket in her Apron.

“The shredded grox salad for the Vox Officer,” another clink, as the plate piled with leafy greens and brown shreds met the wooden table top, “And finally the spiced porklet ribeyes wrapped in graal , with fellbard sauce, on a bed of brown grain, potato salad on the side,” She said, placing Octavia’s meal down in front of the petite priestess of the machine god. She leaned over the table to hand out the napkin wrapped cutlery, pausing in front of Caelistis, giving the slender priestess a wonderful view, smiling at her coyly, “Will there be anything else, M’lady?” The Priestess shook her head, “That is all for now. You may go,” she said, watching with amusement as Elsa stood, “But, if we do need anything, I will call,” “As you wish, M’lady,” Elsa said, her smile returning. She hugged her dataslate to her chest as she bowed, boosting her ample cleavage once more, before she turned, sauntering off once more. As she walked, her swinging hips bumped another table, sending the small table number placard to the floor. Caelistis grinned, the mechadendrite around Tiberius’s leg squeezing with excitement, as the slender barmaid bent at the waist to pick up the fallen item. “Emprah on earth,” Tiberius whispered, “I want her,” Caelistis agreed, her augmented eye snapping memnorpicts, “Such shape, such definition,” “You could bounce a gelt off that,” Tiberius said, before he took a bite from his fork. Rogal had busied himself with his steak, digging in hungrily, as beside him, Octavia continued to blush, her fleshbrain continuing to show her all the different ways Rogal’s commissarial sash could be used. She speared a piece of meat and daintily bit into it, savouring the flavour. She smiled, as she watched Rogal eat, and beside him Caelistis and Tiberius continued to discuss the pretty barmaid.

Life seemed so simple to Octavia in that moment, surrounded by happy people, her lover beside her, the Emprah was on his throne, and all was right in her life. Her cognitor attempted to point out the highly unlikely chance of this all occurring, but her fleshbrain hushed her, putting a metaphorical arm around her, and telling her to just enjoy the moment. She suckled on her drink, the brilliantly golden drink was finally half full, and she was beginning to feel the effects of that much amasec. Her fleshbrain giggled, appraising Rogal in his uniformed glory, as he continued to devour his steak. Such a simple man, she mused, content with the simple things in life. Her cognitor again tried to point out the sheer complexity that went into the husky commissar, but her fleshbrain hushed her once more, filling her mind with his muscled body, his powerful limbs and his… lascannon. She sighed happily, placing her drink down and continuing her meal.

The night continued, meals were finished, and Octavia sucked the last of her drink from the bottom of her glass. Gingerly, her mechadendrites lowered the huge stein to the table, as their owner let out a small hiccup. Her fleshbrain rolled around happily, its mechadendrites hugging around her metaphysical stomach, as her cognitor tried in vain to vent the excess alcohol from her system. She could feel how warm her cheeks were, and how funny everyone seemed, and how handsome Rogal was. The huge commissar stood, offering her his gloved hand, Caelistis and Tiberius having already left to go corner that barmaid they had been watching all night. The petite priestess giggled, that poor girl had no idea what she was in for. Octavia may have never seen exactly what her friend had done, but she had heard enough stories, cross referenced them, and come to her own conclusions.

Chapter 20[edit]

Those conclusions were incredibly risqué, her fleshbrain noted with glee, pulling up memnor files of her idle musings on the matter. Here, an idea of how Caelistis used that particular kink she had in her third mechadendrite, there, a puzzlement of how someone could actually manage to do that inside a sentinel. She giggled as she tried to stand, her spatial recognition wetwear corrupted by alcoholic interference, and she flopped back onto her seat. Her cognitor pointed out she wasn’t in the colledgia anymore, and how she hadn’t finished an emperors mercy that fast since her heyday as a drinker. Her fleshbrain shushed the logical thoughts from her cognitor, pointing out how fun this was, and how good her Commissarial cuddles officer looked, and how strong he was, and his powerful arms could just pin her down and-. That thought was cut off by her cognitor pointing out how silly commissarial cuddles officer was as a concept. Her body tried once more to stand, pulling on Rogal’s huge hand to help lift her, and she stood, for a moment. Her petite body leaned too far forward, caught just in time by Rogal’s large hand at her stomach. She giggled and looked up at him, her cheeks rosy, “I may,” she said, the words rolling off her tongue slowly, “be a little bit intoxicated,” The huge commissar nodded, as she got in under his arm, hugging him from the side, “I’d say that’s about right.” A girlish smile crossed Octavia’s face, her mechadendrites wrapping clumsily around her massive lovers muscled arm, and she giggled, “Just a little bit, blood alcohols only just past point oh six four, I’ll be fine,” she said, as she tottered forward, bumping into Rogal again. His huge hand splayed across her back, pinning her against him, as he looked down, “I think,” he said, a smile spreading across his face, “It might be easier if I just carry you,”

Her fleshbrain rolled of the psychoemotional constructed couch she had been wallowing on, hundreds of images filling the metaphysical space. How would he carry her, would he scoop her up in his arms, carrying her like a blushing bride? Would he throw her over his shoulder like a spoil of war? Would he just carry her under his arm, like he carried his hat? Over both shoulders, her wrists and ankles held in his huge hands? She giggled, her blush getting brighter, and she just snuggled against him. Her cognitor pointed out, with surprising glee, that her last idea was the most likely, that she would end up draped over his mighty shoulders, because that was the standard carrying procedure for wounded in the guard. Her fleshbrain tilted its head, thinking, before nodding happily. Rogal took a step, Octavia trying to follow, but, again, she stumbled. The hulking commissar let out a sigh, and leaned down. Huge arms snaked around the petite priestess of the machine god, under her knees and her back, and with no noticeable effort, Rogal stood once more. Octavia eep’d at the sudden change of position, before giggling again. The husky commissar leaned down to collect his hat, handing it to the red robed bundle in his arms. “Hold onto this, will you?” He asked, as they crossed the officers club in a matter of strides. Octavia nodded happily, running her mechadendrites over the highly peaked cap. Rogal nodded at the Doorman, who fought down a smile as Octavia tried to put Rogal’s hat on his head. Awkwardly, her mechadendrites dropped the cap on the Commissars head, it falling to the side, as she tried to right it. He let out a chuckle and flicked his head back, righting the hat with practiced ease. Resting her head against his massive chest, Octavia smiled contentedly, letting out another small hiccup. Inside her headspace, her fleshbrain whimpered happily.

Octavia’s fleshbrain was relishing the feeling of strong arms around her, the rhythmic bass kick of his heart beat from inside the huge chest she rested on, the feeling of firm muscle protecting her. “Where are we,” she said, pausing to hiccup, “Where are we going?” Rogal looked down, the lights playing bright above him, “I was thinking, I would just take you home,” The petite priestess shook her head, “Nooooo,” she complained, “Caelistis will be brining people home, and they will be noisy.” Her fleshbrain grinned, and began dancing around, clapping her hands at the wonderful idea she had just had. She reached out with a mechadendrite, stroking her lovers cheek, before asking “Can’t I just stay with you?” Rogal felt his chest go tight, he didn’t think it was possible for this woman in his arms to be any more attractive, but she had managed it. He swallowed hard, beating back the images that tried to fill his mind, before Octavia added, her voice low and breathy, “Please? Sir?”

With those two words, the floodgates opened in his mind, his simple farm boy brain doing what it did best: Think simply. Octavia whooped with laughter as she was slung over a broad shoulder, his pace quickening. Inside his head, his brain argued with itself, his commissarial mind demanding that yes, he take her home, but he put her straight to bed, and he would sleep at his desk. His simple farm boy brain pointed out that right now, getting back to the tent was the most important thing, because that’s what Octavia wanted. His not so simple farm boy brain pointed out a rather interesting point, but was ignored by the two heavyweights of his mind. His creative mind just sat, in the ornate wooden chair it had carved in the commissar’s psyche, with a smile on its face. “I suppose you can stay,” He said, glad that the petite priestess couldn’t see the grin on his face, and how it grew with her reply, “Really?” came the excited reply, Octavia wriggling happily on Rogal’s massive shoulder, her shapely rear bobbing happily in the air. Her fleshbrain was ecstatic, here she was, thrown over a broad muscled shoulder, like in one of the books Caelistis owned, but she had read, from time to time. Warmth surged in her stomach, as she remembered, the sweet innocent guardswoman, her hands tied in the belt of the inquisitor who carried her over his shoulder, how she was thrown down to the floor of her cell, his augmented hands tearing through her flak jacket like it was paper. She let out a louder than intended eep, and Rogal slowed his pace, “Are you alright?” He asked, looking over his shoulder and Octavia praised the Omnissiah for the hood on her robe. “I’m fine, why do you ask?” Rogal grinned, “You made that noise again.” “What noise?” Octavia asked, feeling her cheeks burning once more.

The huge commissar let out a chuckle, “You make this, eep, noise,” Octavia’s eyes went wide, as she bit her lower lip, chewing it nervously, as Rogal continued, “Like you made it tonight, when Caelistis said about someone else liking being tied up,” The petite priestess sucked in a breath, her fleshbrain sitting bolt upright, here she was, over his shoulder, his hand around her waist, clearly claiming her as his. Her mind flashed again with images of her being bound, Rogal holding her down by the sash that held her hands together, as he pressed against her, “Oh, I did?” She managed to say, “Really?” The hulking commissar nodded, “Yes, you did. What was that about?” “Oh that, it’s nothing,” “You made it twice actually. Once when I said about people needing to be hogtied,” Octavia’s fleshbrain flopped back, images of her bound and tied filling her head, as she bit her lip, stifling the eep that threatened to escape, as the commissar continuing, “And then again when Caelistis said about their being someone else who likes being tied up.” Octavia forced herself to relax, “Oh, yes, that noise, it’s nothing, really,” she lied, her cognitor pointing out the fruitlessness of such an action against a commissar. Rogal chuckled, “So if I was to say, have an idea of tying you up with my sash,” The commissar said huskily, as they walked through the moonlit night, “bending you over my table,” Octavia let out a whimper, her fleshbrain’s mechadendrites sliding over its body sensuously, her mind filling itself with images, as her hulking lover took her from his shoulder and stood her on the ground, leaning in close to her ear and purring “And ravishing you, like a lady should be,” Octavia shivered, her muscles tensing, acutely aware of Rogal’s huge hands around her waist, the smell of sawdust, and the fact that her knees were going weak.

Octavia’s mind was flooded with the moans of her fleshbrain and the images it created, Her pale flesh, mechadendrites held in a strong hand, Rogal pressed against her, filling her, tugging on her mechadendrites, relentless, overwhelming. She shuddered, as the huge commissar made eye contact. She bit her lip, her fleshbrain’s back arching, letting out a particularly loud moan as it imagined her on the commissars table, on all fours, his sash around her neck, tying her down. The eep was quiet, and breathy, and her eyes went wide as it escaped from her lips. From its throne inside Rogal’s head, a laugh of triumph spilled from his creative mind’s lips, as it reclined on its carved throne. The Commissar pulled back and smiled, “You eeping would be completely unrelated,” Octavia blushed furiously, her mechadendrites fidgeting with one another, as she said quietly “Yes, completely unrelated.” Chuckling, the huge commissar lifted his petite lover to his shoulder once more, covering the short distance to his tent in moments. Her mechadendrites didn’t stop twitching, her fleshbrain crying out for more, begging for another sweet release like she had gotten earlier in the day. Weakly, her cognitor cried out against the need for it, before it was swamped entirely, her fleshbrain taking full control of her body. Rogal threw aside his tent flap and strode into the darkness of his tent, Octavia’s eyes glowing brightly in the gloom. He gently took her from his shoulder, sitting her on a chair at his table. “I’ll just go change my coat,” He said, smiling at her, his face lit by her eyes, before he went to his room, switching the new glowglobe that had been installed during the afternoon on to its dimmest setting. The tent was filled with soft light, Octavia watching as the huge commissar take a fresh jacket from his foot locker, and slip into his washroom.

Her fleshbrain leaped into action, despite the weak protests of her cognitor, pointing out the highly illegal action that was going through a commissars personal effects. Her fleshbrain pinned her cognitor down, explaining that this was a good idea, and that the illegality would be quickly forgotten. Her mechadendrites lifted the footlocker lid, her eyes scanning quickly, searching for what she needed. Her hands darted out, grabbing a crimson sash, as she tore herself away from the locker, the lid slowly closing on its gas powered struts. She wrapped the sash around her neck, her mechadendrites throwing her robe aside as she climbed onto the table. Her fleshbrain squealed happily, directing her body like a puppet, images swirling around her head, as her mechadendrites tied her wrists together with the sash. Her metal knees slid on the smooth wooden table, and she righted herself, her heart shaped rear in the air, her back dipped in an elegant curve, her chest pressed against cold timber. She let out a quiet moan, her mechadendrites moving to help stabilise her on the table, knocking a cup to the floor. The metal hit the ground with a pang, bouncing loudly, and Rogal appeared back in the tent, his coat and shirt open, his hat still on his head at a jaunty angle. Octavia’s head snapped around, hidden behind her arm, the mechadendrite responsible for knocking the cup now trailing slowly up her leg, lifting her skirt slightly. “Octavia?” Rogal said, confusion evident in his voice, overpowering the difficulty he was having in focusing. His eyes drank in the scene, Octavia on his table, tied with his sash, looked at him with wide eyes, realising her position. She opened her mouth to speak, but the Commissar cut her off, a smile spreading across his face, “That’s my sash, isn’t it?”

Chapter 21[edit]

The petite priestess tried to hide her face behind her arm, as the open shirted commissar approached. He walked around the table, in front of Octavia, tracing a finger over the crimson sash, from her wrists, to her neck, and then down to the free end, which he took in his hand. He looked down at her, a smirk on his face, as he asked again, “This is my sash, isn’t it, Octavia?” Her fleshbrain squealed with joy and terror, was this it? It asked, would he ravish her? Had she gone to far? Her mind went blank, every nerve ending, biological and artificial, on high alert, as she nodded, “Yes,” The commissar coughed politely, “Yes, Who?” Her cheeks went red, as she looked up at her lover, holding the red sash in his hand like a leash, her fleshbrain gleefully noted, “Yes, Sir.” The Commissar nodded approvingly, “That’s better. Now, do you know what happens to someone who takes a Commissars personal belongings?” He said, his creative mind making sure he put just the right amount of cold dispassion in his voice to elicit a response from his guest. Octavia shook her head, “No, sir.” The huge commissar knelt down, adding a new knot to his sash, which held it tight against the pale skin of Octavia’s neck. She let out a quiet moan, nuzzling towards the commissars still gloved hands, but he pulled them away, moving further down the sash. He pulled down on the sash, tying it around the table leg, tugging it to make sure the knot was fast, before he stood. Octavia felt a thrill go down her spine, her mechadendrites twitching excitedly, as the huge commissar circled the table. “Such, infractions,” He said slowly, trailing his hand up the petite priestess’s back, “Are punished”.

The huge commissar emphasised the word punish with a firm backhand to Octavia’s shapely rear. A gasp tore itself from her throat, and she tried to lift her head to look behind her, but the sash around her neck pulled tight, preventing the motion. It still stung from where Rogal had struck her, and she whimpered, hearing the sound of fabric moving behind her. She tried again to look behind her, to see what Rogal was doing, when suddenly, she couldn’t see at all. Her eyes flicked through the spectrums automatically, struggling to see, as she felt the soft fabric of another sash on her cheeks and forehead. Blindfold. He had blindfolded her with his sash. Her fleshbrain moaned lustily, relishing the complete lack of control she had. She gasped as Rogal leaned against her, feeling his immense size pressing against her, “How then” he whispered, his breath hot against her ear and cheek, “Shall we punish you?” Octavia whimpered as she grinded back on the huge commissar, her mechadendrites reaching back to try and undo his trousers. She felt Rogal stand, and then gasped at the sharp tugging sensation of the commissar grabbing her mechadendrites in his hand. He held the mechanical tendrils firmly, tutting at the red and white garbed priestess, who merely whimpered again. “I asked you how do you think you should be punished, you were not asked to, or told to do anything else,” He said, firmly, tugging gently on Octavia’s mechadendrites. Her fleshbrain moaned lustily, relishing her submissive position. “Please, Sir,” she begged, trying to wriggle against him, her mechadendrites pulling at his grip feebly. The huge commissar grinned, trailing a hand up a steely leg, before it met pale, soft skin. Octavia moaned, pulling at her leash, trying to get closer to the commissar. His gloved hand ran over her undergarments, before coming to rest on her tailbone.

Octavia wriggled her rear underneath his hand, “Please, sir,” she begged again, “Please?” Her pink lips were open, her breathing fast, as she felt him lift his hand. With a pop, the clasps that held her skirt on were disengaged, as Rogal tore it from her hips. She let out a gasp and whimper, very aware of how exposed she now was. She felt her lovers gloved hand return to her tailbone, resting lightly on her hip, his fingers drumming. She tried again to free her mechadendrites, but his hand held firmly around them, and she heard him chuckle. Her fleshbrain let out a sigh of pleasure, he was so strong, and firm, how he held her now, so exposed, made her feel so wanton. “Please, Sir?” she begged again, and this time, she got an answer, as the huge commissar leaned over her once more. “Please, sir, what?” he whispered, his warm breath against her neck making her shiver with delight, as she pressed up against him once more, his immense holstered weapon pressing back. He could feel the heat from her through his trousers, and he smiled, gently nudging forward with his hips. Octavia moaned lustily, “Please!” she hissed, “Ravish me, Ravish me like a lady should be,” she begged, and Rogal’s reserved façade came crumbling down. He grinned, his stately movements now frantic, as he released her mechadendrites and planted both hands on her hips, his fingers curling around the elasticised sides of her undergarments and pulling them down, letting them drop to her knees. Octavia’s mechadendrites followed suit, a pair curling under their mistress to cup her now heaving bosom, the other pairs snaking back to help the commissar with his trousers. With a few quick movements his weapon was unholstered, as he pulled a fresh prophylactic from his pocket, sheathing his lascannon in a protective film.

Octavia moaned quietly, as her mechadendrites slid against her sensitive body, the spiralling metal casing of the mechanical tendrils stimulating the densely packed nerve endings nestled between her legs, before letting out a gasp as Rogal’s huge hands clapped down on her thighs. Strong hands moved her hips to the right angle, her cognitor wrapping itself in a few extra layers of surge protection, as her fleshbrain groaned with wanton lust. Her mechadendrites whipped out, securing her as best they could to the rest of the table, as Rogal removed a hand from her side, to guide himself in. Her back arched, and she let out a gasp, as the very well-proportioned Commissar entered her. The gasp became a moan as he slowly buried himself inside her, with little bouncing increments. Her legs twitched, his massive hands clamping themselves in the curve of her waist, her hourglass shape so very apparent from his top down view. He smiled, she was so beautiful to him, her pale flesh and gleaming augments, hour glass figure and bright green eyes. He built up to a stead rhythm, his huge hips bumping against her, eliciting a moan or a gasp with every thrust. Slender hands grabbed onto the crimson leash that tied her to the table, holding tight with pleasure as the Commissar continued, powerful, relentless. Like a titan, her fleshbrain managed to think between waves of pleasure. A mechadendrite slid from its spot anchoring her to the table, to stab down into the floor, grounding the priestess, after a struggle by her cognitor to avoid what happened earlier that day. Her hips bucked, as the commissar put on a burst of speed, driving harder and faster into her, and she bit into the soft flesh of her upper arm, the power surging through the electoos making her teeth tingle.

Rogal slowed, adjusting his stance, before thrusting at a new angle. His movement was rewarded with a lusty moan, and he reached forward to grab Octavia’s ponytail. She gasped as he wrapped a huge hand around it, before arching her back further as he pushed her head down. Her fleshbrain moaned happily, this was better than she had ever imagined, and she was good at imagining things. Her body sang with pleasure, as the massive commissar continued at his steady pace, driving into her like a piston. She had lost track of time, and of most things, her fleshbrain enjoying this very human act to its fullest potential. “Please, Sir,” she pleaded “Ravish me,” such words from her mouth just drove her more into a frenzy, her mechadendrites crushing into the solid wood table. Behind her, the commissar switched his technique again, driving her to even higher heights of pleasure, the little bar in her head flashing wildly, her fleshbrain thrashing about in ecstasy. “Hit me,” She cried, her mechadendrites pressing into the solid timber, as Rogal’s concentration was broken, “What?” “Hit me!” Octavia pleaded, her shapely rear bobbing as Rogal continued thrusting. He slammed up to the hilt in her, pausing, his uninjured hand swinging out before backhanding her across he rump. Inside her head, lights flashed, as the bar tipped past the end, detonating into billions of tiny pinpricks of light. Her body seized, her hips bucked, and she clamped down on the commissar’s weapon, causing it to fire as she let out a shuddering moan. Rogal gasped as his lascannon discharged, his own hips rocking back with the recoil, and he sank forward, his hands moving from Octavia’s hips to the table to support him. His breaths came in deep gasps, his massive chest heaving, his hat, still on his head at its jaunty angle.

Octavia whimpered, her limbs heavy, as she slumped to the table. Her mechadendrites went limp, Rogal leaning over to untie her from his sashes. Bright light switched to dull as her eyes readjusted, and she blinked a few times. Gently, huge hands undid the knots at her wrists and neck, and she stretched out, her slender limbs glinting in the dim light. She rolled over to look at her lover, who lounged satisfied in his chair once more. He gently stroked her leg, humming happily to himself, smiling lopsidedly with post coital smugness. Wordlessly, he scooped her up in his arms again, carrying her towards his bed. A mechadendrite pulled her undergarments back up, and she snuggled into the commissars broad chest. Gently, he lay her down, pulling his blanket over her, and kissing her on the forehead. “I need a shower,” He whispered, “Back in a moment, my pet.” Octavia smiled happily at the term of endearment, snuggling down in the blanket, her mechadendrites wrapping her up in the warm fluffiness. She watched her lover collect a fresh set of undergarments and disappear into his bathroom once more. The sound of the shower filled the small tent, as Octavia lay, staring at the sloped ceiling. She threw the blanket aside and got to her feet, making her way to the bathroom. Quietly, she stripped from her garments, laying them beside Rogal’s pile, before slipping into the shower behind the massive commissar. Steam surrounded them, and she gingerly reached out to touch his back, tracing the lines where water streamed down. “I wasn’t expecting a guest,” he said, turning side on, letting Octavia closer to the water stream, “But there’s room enough.” Warm water cascaded over her curvy body, Octavia relishing the feeling, as rivulets flowed between the segmented plates of her augments.

Rogal stood behind her now, gently scrubbing at her upper back. Her mechadendrites moved lazily, playing with the water, her hands moving to cup her full breasts, the commissars arms moving around her waist to hug her to him, as he nuzzled at her neck, “You’re beautiful, I just wanted to tell you that,” He whispered, before nibbling gently at the back of her neck. She shivered happily, reaching up to tousle his hair, “You’re a handsome man, a very handsome man.” She whispered back, leaning her head against his. He reached forward to turn the water off, and the pair just stood there, in their dripping embrace. A mechadendrite snaked out and snared the towel, wrapping it around them both, before Rogal pulled it from his shoulders, wrapping Octavia in the black fluffy fabric. He stepped out from the shower onto the mat, water still dripping off him, reaching out to the shelf to grab another towel. The petite priestess of the machine god stepped out beside him, her mechadendrites patting her dry with the towel. The pair towelled themselves off, Rogal pulling on his commissarial issue sleeping trunks, Octavia slipping back into the crisp white undergarments, smiling happily. The huge commissar stretched, before letting out a yawn, “Well, my pet, shall we hit the sack?” Octavia nodded happily, “That sounds like an excellent course of action.” Rogal smiled, “And this time, there’s room enough for us both,” he said, before flopping back onto his bed. The petite priestess crawled up beside him, rolling onto her side, her head on a massive bicep, her mechadendrites pulling the blanket up to cover them both. The huge commissar yawned again, then leaning over to kiss his lover on the forehead.

Chapter 22[edit]

“Goodnight, my sweet Octavia, Omnissiah bless and keep you, sweet dreams, sleep well,” Rogal whispered into her hair. A mechadendrite reached up and stroked his face, as its owner rolled, lifting her head to kiss the commissar on a stubbled cheek, “Goodnight, my commissar, Emprah guard you as you rest, Omnissiah munus efficacius ad te tuta et,” The petite priestess replied, snuggling close, her mechadendrites splayed possessively over the commissars chest. Octavia closed her eyes, her fleshbrain sleepy but content with the nights adventure. Slowly her cognitor began her sleep cycle, shutting down the various parts of her mind and body, and she smiled, her commissar was with her. The Emprah was on earth, and all was right in her world. She felt Rogal's strong heart beating, his slow breathing a lullaby, as she snuggled down, drifting gently off to sleep. Meanwhile, at one of the more popular clubs in the entertainment district, Caelistis and Tiberius’s nefarious scheme to woo and seduce Elsa the barmaid, continued. The fact that the slender priestess had already convinced the leggy brunette to wear a collar and leash, explains how well the scheme was progressing. Tiberius grinned, maybe the Emprah wasn’t as disappointed in him as he had thought.

Octavia’s eyes powered on, opening to slits in the morning light. She stretched out, her mechadendrites gently sliding over her lovers chest as he still slept. She rolled over, folding her arms on his chest, looking at the chiselled jaw, covered in stubble, the thin hairless line of a jagged scar now apparent on his cheek. Her fleshbrain lazily wondered the story behind it, her cognitor busy with her morning wake up process. The huge commissar opened an eye, looking back at her, a smile spreading across his face, a massive hand scratching at his chest. “Good morning,” He mumbled happily, moving a hand to stroke gently down her spine. His fingers played over the recessed ports where her mechadendrites plugged into her lower back, sending shivers through her cyber mantle. She smiled sleepily back at him, “Good morning, Sir,” she said, giggling girlishly and burying her face in her arms. The broad chest beneath her bounced, as Rogal laughed. She looked at him from behind her mechanical arms, her emerald eyes bright, “It is your title, Sir.” She continued, onyx arms hiding the smile on her lips, “As a member of his imperial highnesses Commissariat, you are to be addressed as either sir or commissar, as dictated by-“ “The Commissarial Edict, article sixteen, clause ninety. I know, I know,” The commissar said, throwing an arm over his face. Octavia giggled, again, a mechadendrite gently tracing a complex pattern over the commissar’s broad chest. The pair lay there, snuggled together, daylight streaming from the skylight in the ceiling, the faint sounds of the mornings bustle in the background. Octavia hummed a Mechanicus hymn happily to herself, the day had started wonderfully. She traced a mechadendrite over the hairless line on her lovers face, “How did you get this scar, Rogal?” The commissar lifted his arm from his eyes, lifting his head to look at the petite priestess.

“You remember how I said I was there, when Tiberius did what he did to earn his honorifica?” Rogal said quietly, lying back onto his pillow. Octavia nodded, pulling herself up further on her lover’s chest, “Yes?” “Well, I got that scar then. It’s why when I smile, it’s all lopsided.” He said, a tone of finality in his voice. “So you won’t tell me how you got it?” Octavia pleaded, “Please Rogal?” The huge commissar shook his head, “Not now, not today. It’s not a nice story. I will tell you one day, I promise, but please, don’t ask about it till then.” Octavia was taken aback by the sadness in her lover’s voice, so she snuggled closer to him, her slim arms wrapping around his barrelled chest. “You’ve seen some terrible things, haven’t you?” she whispered, a mechadendrite stroking at the commissars dark hair. He nodded, “Such is the life of a commissar. We are the thin black thread that helps hold the line. We see what the guardsman fears, and we face it with them, lending them our strength so that they may overcome that fear”. Octavia hugged her man tightly, “You’re a good man, Rogal Hephaestus.” “I try.” The huge commissar sat up, his blanket falling to his waist, his broad shoulders rippling in the morning light. Octavia sat in his lap, as he put his arms around her, returning the hug. “What time is it?” He asked, before burying his face in her neck, nuzzling gently at the soft skin and cool electoos. “Ten in the morning, local time. The mess would still be serving breakfast, if your hungry,” The petite priestess said, running a hand through the commissars hair, before ruffling it affectionately. Rogal’s stomach growled in agreement, and the commissar grinned, “Yes, I’m hungry. Shall we?”

Octavia nodded happily, standing up on the commissars bed, her petite frame backed by the bright light from the skylight, her mechadendrites splayed out behind her like wings. Rogal smiled, she really was a saint, at least to him. The petite priestess stepped down from the bed gracefully, landing on her augmented toes without a sound. She picked up her skirt and began reattaching it, her nimble fingers working quickly. “Praise be to the Omnissiah, he who cares for the great machine, who powers the great machine, who fabricates its parts,” She sang quietly, “May we come to know you in your infinite complexity, may you come to love us in our elegant simplicity”. She looked up at Rogal, stretching his arms as he made his way to the bathroom. She smiled as she heard the Commissar’s morning start up procedure, and thanked the Omnissiah she no longer needed to resort to such primitive methods. Her body was hyper efficient, and she only needed to change a filter once a week. Her cognitor smiled proudly, finally able to point out a fact where her mechanical augments were superior to the weak fleshy needs of the commissar. Her fleshbrain shrugged, not caring in the slightest, happy with the image of rippling muscles it had taken moments before. The sound of Rogal shaving filled the tent, as Octavia straightened her skirt and top, pulling straps snug and generally making herself presentable. The commissar returned to the main living area, grabbing his uniform from the foot locker and pulling his shirt over his head. Dexterous fingers did up small buttons, before he pulled on his socks, and then his trousers. His boots were pulled on next, before he paused, looking around the tent. “Have you seen where my sash got to?” He asked, moving towards the table. Octavia shrugged, her eyes scanning the room for the crimson fabric.

“Found it,” Rogal said, grabbing the red sash from the seat of the chair. He wrapped it around his waist, and then again, before tying it off with an elegant knot. His sword and pistol belt went on next, followed by his jacket. Octavia threw her cloak around her shoulders, mechadendrites pulling the hood up, as the commissar picked up his hat from the table. Tucking it under his arm, he grabbed Octavia’s hand with his own, and pulled her towards the door. He stopped just shy of the tent flap, leaning down to kiss is petite lover, “Sorry I didn’t do that earlier,” he whispered as he pulled away “Better late than never,” the red robed disciple of the Omnissiah replied, smiling sweetly. The pair stepped out from the tent and into the morning bustle of the base. Rogal looked around, confusion crossing his face, “It’s rather busy today,” he said, as he lead Octavia towards the mess, “Very busy, strangely so,” Octavia’s eyes scanned the crowd, density was up, guardsmen were in full gear, and a strange excitement seemed to dance in the bases noospheric umbrella. “Maybe there’s a drill on?” Octavia offered, her cognitor deciding this was the most logical reason for the current situation. Rogal shrugged, “I hope so, seems odd I wasn’t warned though,” “Inquisitorial matter, maybe?” Octavia tired again, her mind praying she was wrong. The commissar shook his head, “I would have heard about that.” The pair arrived at the mess, Rogal grabbing them a both trays as they entered the queue. They shuffled along with the rest of the line, Rogal piling his plate with hot food, Octavia opting for a more balanced menu. They had made their way to their favourite table, and were about to start eating, when Tiberius ran up, slamming his hands on the table. “Orders just came in,” He said excitedly, “This is it, the final push.”

Rogal nodded grimly. He had expected this, but not so soon. He knew the orks had been pushed back to the huge crippled warship they had arrived on, which now acted as their final bastion. The navy couldn’t just shoot it from orbit, to do so would detonate the plasma cores, blowing a crater three times the size of the ship into the planet, throwing thousands of tonnes of irradiated fallout into the air. The only option was to go in there and tear the greenskins from their hole. Rogal knew this, and he hated it. He looked at his longtime friend, and let out a sigh, “Let me guess,” the huge commissar said, leaning back in his chair, “They want us to dig in around them, bunkers and trenches five rows deep, under heavy fire from both sides.” Tiberius grinned, a strangely honest gesture, “Traitors be damned they do, isn’t it exciting?” Rogal shrugged, “If you say so, old friend.” “Oh, I say so. Do you know if the Capitan has organised his entourage yet? Does he still need a voxman?” Rogal shrugged again, “No idea, Tiber. I only just found out about the push. Give me half an hour, my slate will be packed with information for you.” He said, before taking a bite from his meal. Octavia sat quietly, poking at her cereal. Considering the night he had just lived, Tiberius was amazingly energetic, throwing himself away from the table, “I’m going to find out, Vox me if you hear anything,” he called over his shoulder as he bounded off. The massive commissar let out a sigh, poking at a slice of meat with his fork. Octavia gently stroked his arm with a mechadendrite, “The Imperium needs you,” she said quietly, her fleshbrain in shock, her cognitor pointing out that this was an inevitability.

He nodded, looking at his petite red robed love, “I know.” Octavia’s cognitor took over, her fleshbrain collapsed into its metaphysical couch, sobbing. “Just, come back alive,” she said, her emerald eyes piercing, Rogal nodded again, gently taking her hand, “I will. I promise.” A siren blasted across the base, before a polite cough was heard. “ATTENTION ALL SOLDIERS OF THE IMPERIUM. TODAY, AS ORDERED BY HIS LORDSHIP, GENERAL SHCTATTERSBURG,” Tiberius’s voice boomed across, “WE ARE TO MOBILISE TO RID THIS PLANET OF THE GREENSKIN MENACE ONCE AND FOR ALL. ALL UNITS ARE HEREBY PLACED ON FULL MOBILISATION ALERT. I REPEAT, ALL UNITS ARE NOW ON FULL MOBILISATION ALERT.” The mess exploded into chatter and activity, guardsmen began wolfing down their meals. Rogal stood, before leaning over to his lover. “I have to go, you know that. I promise you, by Him on Earth as my witness, I’m coming back alive.” He kissed her roughly, before striding away into the bustle of the mess, leaving the red robed priestess alone with her thoughts. Inside her head, her fleshbrain wailed in sadness, her body folding its arms and burying her face in them, her mechadendrites limp. Octavia felt an arm around her shoulders, and she looked up from under her hood, her vision blurry with tears. Caelistis hugged her, wiping away her friends tear with a mechadendrite. The pair sat there for a while, before the taller techpriestess spoke, “Come on, we need to do our part. Their more likely to come back if we give them the best chance of survival,” She said quietly, to reassure Octavia and to reassure herself. The petite priestess nodded, wiping her eyes with the corner of her sleeve, “By his grace, the Omnissiah brings them home again,” “Exactly,”

Chapter 23[edit]

Rogal stood beside Capitan Brian Erriksson, the afternoon sun obscured by clouds. The battalion stood, ready to mount up and move out. The past day had been chaotic, as full mobilisations always were, but now, they stood ready. The Capitan finished his speech, offering Rogal a chance to speak to the men. He squared his shoulders and looked out over the battalion. “You all know I hate speeches, so let’s keep this simple. You are combat engineers, that means you’re a special type of crazy.” A chuckle ran through the battalion, and Rogal continued, “A type of crazy needed so much in war that Him on Earth saw fit to make an entire Astartes legion dedicated to it. You all stand here, regular men, you have no fancy armour, you have no giant gun. What do you have? An entrenching tool and more courage than anyone else. So we’re going to do what combat engineers are best at. Digging a hole and letting the enemy die in it. The men barked out in agreement, as Rogal filled his massive lungs with air, “FIRST WE DIG THEM,” he bellowed “THEN THEY DIE IN THEM” The battalion roared back, “YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT THEY DO, NOW MOUNT UP, WE GOT SOME GREENSKINS TO KILL.” Capitan Erriksson howled over the noise of just over a hundred and fifty engines roaring to life. Rogal climbed up into the turret of the Leman Russ Exterminator, removing his hat to put a headset on, before jamming the peaked cap down firmly.

“Welcome back sir,” came the friendly voice of Danarius, the driver of the behemoth, revving the engine experimentally as they waited to move out. “Good to be back, Danarius,” the commissar responded, settling as comfortably as he could in the turret’s seat. His huge frame made riding in an enclosed vehicle bothersome, so he opted for turret duty as much as he could. “That pretty little priestess of yours sure did a good job on the old girl, even fixed that ghost image on the targeter,” Rogal smiled to himself, that was his girl. He swung the pintle mounted storm bolter, left and right, testing the bearings it was mounted on. The huge gun moved smoothly, responding perfectly to Rogal's touch. He opened the ammo box to check the feed, and was greeted with a small white envelope with his name on it sitting atop the huge bullets. A huge hand reached out for the delicate paper, the commissar admiring the penmanship before he flipped it over. A small white wax skull and gear sealed the envelope, and Rogal smiled. He reached down to grab the spare combat knife he usually used to carve with, and sliced the end of the envelope open, puffing into the packet to free the letter inside. The tank beneath him lurched forward, Rogal quickly storing the envelope down in the turret, Danarius’s voice filling his headset, “We ride in his name, we ride for his glory,” the driver intoned, and Rogal quickly made the sign of the Aquila. Danarius had done that before every journey in the tank, and it had always brought him luck. The commissar grinned, he didn’t believe in luck, he believed the Emprah helped those who helped themselves. As the huge metal behemoth surged forward, Rogal unfolded the letter, and began to read, using the pintle mounted gun to protect the thin paper from the wind.

The huge commissar looked up at the night sky, the clouds of the afternoon having dissipated, leaving a clear black expanse, peppered with pinpricks of light. The huge moon hung low, softly illuminating the swarm of vehicles as they drove. Rogal reached into his jacket, pulling the letter from its pocket, and reading it once more. He looked up at the moon, Octavia’s words in his head, “And when it is night, I will go out and look at the moon, and wonder, are you looking at it too?” He smiled, and wondered if his petite lover was doing the same. The vehicular tidal wave slowed as they approached the blasted clearing where the orkish warship sat, their campfires bright through nightspex, before coming to a halt at the line where plains stopped, and burnt, cracked earth began. Orders were barked across the voxnet, as troops began dismounting from their vehicles. Rogal sat in his turret, watching as a sniper team shouldered their packs and disappeared into the gloom. He gave them a quick salute, hoping the Emprah would watch over them. Fire teams broke off, the crack of lumesticks filling the air, as they began to dig. Octavia sat, staring at the package that lay on her table. Caelistis said it had been delivered earlier in the day. The small note pinned to it with an official commissarial hat pin told her more than she wanted. Her fleshbrain mewed weakly, and a mechadendrite slid forward to unpin the note. A mechanical hand took the folded paper and opened it. In writing that was elegant in its simplicity, she read, “I know you’ll miss me, and I already miss you, but this should help keep you warm at night.” Her fleshbrain let out a squeak, her small hands grabbing for the package. The sound of tearing paper filled the room, Caelistis poking her head in out of curiosity.

Mechadendrites held the huge black coat up to the light, golden braiding gleaming. Tears welled up around augmented eyes, as Octavia hugged the onyx jacket to her chest. Her tiny shoulders heaved with sobs, Caelistis quietly coming to hug her petite friend from behind. The slender techpriestess stroked gently at her friends hair, whispering soothing nothings in her ear, trying her best to comfort her. Octavia sucked in a breath, Rogal’s smell filling her with a sense of longing. She knew he was a solider, and that he would have to go and do what every solider did, but her fleshbrain didn’t care. Her cognitor tried to reason with it, but was rewarded with sulky silence. “Look, ‘Tavia,” Caelistis said quietly, “if you want to wrap yourself in that jacket and sleep in my bed, I won’t say no” Octavia sniffed, wiping her face with her sleeve, “I don’t want to be alone tonight,” “I know, that’s why I’m offering,” The slender techpriestess said with a grin. Octavia scowled, “No funny stuff though, and I’m only sharing with you. No friends of yours, you understand?” Caelistis put the back of her hand to her forehead in mock horror, “But whatever will I tell Elsa? I promised her I would cuddle her tonight,” Octavia glared at her friend, “I mean it Cael, you try anything like you tried back in the collegia, and I will personally make you into a servitor.” The cable haired priestess laughed, “Alright, alright, I was kidding, just trying to cheer you up.” She said, before producing a dataslate, “Look, here’s something to take your mind off things. It’s ghosting the noospheric connection, so it appears to connect twice, but doesn’t connect at all, and the screen skips sideways if you try to run any motomated content. Fix it for me?” Octavia folded her arms and glared at her friend, who softened, “Please? Octavia? For me?”

Rogal still sat in the turret of the exterminator, his long legs over the rim of the hatch, as he chewed pensively on a mouthful of jerky. He was on watch, the relatively quiet sound of men digging and fortifying the position around him a whisper in the background. His dataslate buzzed, and he pulled it from the holder inside the tank. A datacast was unusual, especially considering the voxteam had barely set up. He thumbed the rune of opening and was greeted by another message from inquisitor Geergori. “Commissar Hephaestus, by a quirk in the will of him on earth, we no longer require you to investigate Magos Radigan. She has made contact with another of our agents, and has been found clean of taint. We wish you luck on the battlefield. The Emperor Protects.” Rogal let out a sigh of relief, he had not wanted to deal with the inquisitor in the slightest, and he gave thanks to the Emprah for providing for him. He took another bite of jerky and leaned back, his eyes scanning the sky. He hated this part of war the most. The waiting. It would take a few days for the trenches to be built, a few more spent playing glorified slapsies, before they got down to the real thing. The huge commissar sighed, swallowed his mouthful and took another. He hated waiting. The night wore on, as did the next day, and the next. Rogal busied himself with helping dig trenches and build bunkers, almost relishing the few times where an orkish scout team was “discovered” and slaughtered. The men enjoyed themselves, the commissar making himself content with standing back and taking potshots, his sword arm still not fully healed. Every night, he lounged in the tank turret, and looked up at the sky, penning a short letter to Octavia that would be sent with the morning dispatches. The voxnet and noosphere were on full combat alert, so no personal messages, even commissarial ones were allowed through.

Octavia stifled a yawn, her mechadendrites pulling Rogal’s massive coat around herself tighter as she shuffled over to Caelistis’s bed. The slender techpriestess hadn’t returned from her adventure, and Octavia was tired. She crawled up onto the gigantic bed, pulling pillows this way and that, fashioning a fort around herself. She rested her head on her arm, and studied the fine gold braiding at the wrist of the jacket. She sighed to herself, breathing in the scent of sawdust that permeated the dark woollen fabric. Had he found the letter, was he okay, had she done everything right when she serviced the tank, these thoughts and more whirled around her mind, her fleshbrain sitting wrapped in a copy of the jacket her body currently lay under. Her cognitor sent a signal to dim the lights, her lithe body curling up, and she tried to sleep. Emerald green eyes dimmed, her cognitor beginning the sleep sequence, when the door was thrown open. Caelistis staggered in, talking loudly to herself, bottles in her mechadendrites. “Ochtavia,” the inebriated techpriestess slurred, throwing her outer robe over a chair “I am home now, and I am so very pretty,” She took a nip from one of the bottles, pulling it away and shaking it, confirming its emptiness with great disappointment as she sat down beside her friend. A mechadendrite began undoing the clasp of her tunic, the heavy red fabric falling to the bed with a whump. Octavia pulled herself up to sitting, Rogal’s jacket over her legs, as Caelistis put an arm around her, “Ochtavia, I am home now, and am so very pretty, and also my tunic is open,” she said, giggling merrily. The dark haired priestess sighed, taking one of the full bottles from her friend and drinking deeply from it. Lowering the bottle from parted pink lips, Octavia sighed heavily.

Chapter 24[edit]

“What’s the matter cutiecogs?” Caelistis asked, “Are you worrying about your big strong commissar?” Octavia nodded, taking another nip from the bottle she cradled in her lap. Caelistis hugged her closer, “Look, I know it’s hard when they go off to play solider, but believe me, he can take care of himself. He wouldn’t have lived this long if he couldn’t.” Her cognitor concurred, the fact that Rogal was still alive meant that he did possess excellent survival traits, no one tended to survive long in the guard without them. Still, her cognitor reasoned, the odds of survival dropped every time he went into combat, and now, with it being a pitched battle, versus orks, with his injured arm. Her thought process was thrown by Caelistis poking her belly with a mechadendrite, “No, don’t try and work out the odds. No good ever came of that. Listen, did he ever tell you he has an honourifica?” Octavia shook her head, “No?” Her slim friend grinned, “Figures, Tiberius said he wouldn’t talk about it.” “He said Tiberius has one?” Caelistis nodded, “He does. He doesn’t talk about it much either, but he told me he has one, and he showed me the report. The pair of them pulled off a suicide mission like no other, staggered back to the base bloody and bruised, and were, yeah, awarded an honourifica each.” Octavia’s fleshbrain perked up, her Commissar was an honourifica recipient. She pulled up his service file, her eyes working from side to side as the data scrolled past her vision, when she heard Caelistis click her tongue disapprovingly. “They both asked for it to be redacted from their files, neither of them felt they deserved them.” She said, taking another draught from another mechadendrite borne bottle. Octavia stopped, the bright red [REDACTED] blinking. She sighed again, before downing more of the smooth amasec her roommate had brought home.

Caelistis, flopped back on her bed, her free mechadendrites pulling a pillow under her head, and she rolled to face her petite friend, “But, that’s beside the point. If we’re going to snuggle like a couple of collegia girls, you need to tell me gossip.” Octavia gave a small smile “What sort of gossip?” The taller priestess of the machine god giggled, trailing a mechadendrite over her friends stomach, “JUICY DETAILS” she cried, clapping augmented hands together with a metallic crack, “You promised,” The smaller priestess lay back, covering her head with the obsidian coat she was using as a blanket, and pulling the bottle she was drinking from underneath the jacket with her. Caelistis poked at the coat covered lump with a mechadendrite, and was rewarded with a nervous giggle. She poked again, and was rewarded with Octavia slapping away her mechadendrite with one of her own. “Cael, stop, I’ll spill my drink,” “Then get out here and tell me what you and that mammoth man have been doing!” Octavia pushed the coat down with her mechadendrites, her cheeks pink, “We’ve been, snuggling.” She said quietly, her mechadendrites wringing nervously. Caelistis grinned wolfishly, “That’s not juicy, I want juicy, intimate details. I want to hear how he pinned you down and ravished you, or how he lifted you up and ravished you, or anything, so long as there is ravishment,” The slim priestess said, taking swigs from three different bottles. The small disciple of the machine god whimpered nervously, her friend turning to face her, “JUICY DETAILS, I SAY!” she roared happily, amasec thick on her breath. Octavia took another long drink to calm her nerves, as her fleshbrain began working out exactly what to say.

“Well, I took the chance, like you told me too.” Octavia began, a blush beginning to spread across her cheeks, “ So he pulled me inside the tent, we tried to talk…” Caelistis grinned goofily, “Like that was going to last,” Emerald eyes narrowed in annoyance, “Hmpht, we did talk, a little, but then…” A dreamy smile crossed Octavia’s face, her fleshbrain reliving the lunchtime romance. A mechadendrite slid under the coat to stroke her thigh, but froze when she was interrupted, “But then?” “Butthenhethrewmeonthetablecauseiaskedhimtoandweforincatedlikeapairoflumbunnies,” Octavia blurted out, quickly clamping a hand and mechadendrite over her mouth. The taller techpriestess tried in vain to keep a straight face, and failed miserably, throwing herself back on the bed laughing. “You, making like a lumbunnie. I can’t believe you said lumbunnie.” She managed to gasp out between bursts of laughter, as Octavia took another drink to hide her nervousness. She had always been shy, but somehow, Caelistis had always managed to get her to open up. The inebriated techpriestess calmed herself, rolling onto her stomach and crossing her ankles in the air, “So then?” Octavia looked around nervously, “So then, hewaslikeamachine,relentlessandpowerfulandhedidthingsthatmademypotentiacoiloverload” the blushing brunette paused for breath, “andishockedhimandblewtheglowglobeaboveus. Then we snuggled, and realised we had damaged his arm.” Caelistis looked confused, “What was that last bit?” “We realised we’d damaged his arm?” The slender techpriestess shook her head, “No, before that,” “We snuggled?” Octavia said, realising what her friend wanted to hear, and deliberately avoiding it, “Little more,” Caelistis purred, relishing the blush that now covered her friends cheeks, “Something about a glow globe?” The brunette priestess eep’d, before mumbling an answer.

Octavia let out a quiet eep, and her friend grinned. “See, and believe me, when I say affectionate, I mean, affectionate. He won’t want to let go of you,” “Cael, stop,” Octavia pleaded, but the cable haired disciple of the machine god continued, “There’s nothing like being very aware of your own mortality and the fact you survived another battle to make a man want to show his woman how much he loves her, in the most passionate ways possible, it’s true.” “I suppose then, that said woman, having been very afraid for her man, would return the favour,” Caelistis winked at her, “Exactly, so you might want to pop over to the infirmary to, stock up,” The petite priestess finished her drink, “Right, well, I will make a note to do that.” The conversation drifted to small talk, which eventually lead to Caelistis stripping down and snuggling up to the jacket covered ball that was Octavia. The libertine priestess kissed her friend on the cheek, cuddling her close, a mechadendrite pulling the blanket over her, “G’night, ‘Tavia,” “Goodnight, Cael” Caelistis slipped off to sleep quickly, the amasec in her system accelerating the fact. Octavia lay awake, staring out at the dark room, the little blinking lights of various appliances trying to lull her to sleep. “Omnissiah, protect him, Omnissiah bring him home, though he is made of weak flesh, please treat him as your own,” She whispered to the night, praying to the machine god to watch over her Commissar.

Chapter 25[edit]

Morning came without event, the pair going through their morning rituals, before making their way to the barely populated mess. A skeleton compliment of troops were left at the base, as well as the standard Mechanicum staff, so the line was short, the food still basic but hearty. A guardsman walked into the mess, carrying a box, “Mail call,” He yelled, and everyone in the mess looked up. The guardsman called names, guardsmen and Mechanicum moving alike to collect their mail. “Radigan, Caelistis,” He called, “Persephone, Octavia,” The pair stood, and made their way over to the mailman. He handed them their letters, before calling out the next set of names. “Letters, how quaint,” Caelistis mused as she took her seat once more, tearing the envelope open with a mechadendrite. Her eyes scanned the brief note from Tiberius, smirking at his cheeky comments, and imploring her to enjoy herself while he was gone. Elsa was more than happy to oblige her, she thought to herself, folding the letter and tucking it into a pocket on her work apron. Octavia gently prised the flap on her envelope open, unfolding the parchment within. Rogal’s simple handwriting filled the page, telling her of his day, of the ride through the night, and the other small details that seemed so important to him at the time. She smiled, the warmth in her belly spreading from the love and affection the letter was filled with. He missed her terribly, she could tell, something in the slightly whimsical nature of the letter spoke of the longing he had for her. She sighed, folding the letter and placing it back in its envelope, which was then slipped into her cloak. “Well, best be off, there’s work to be done, war never changes, no matter how far behind the lines you are,” Caelistis said, standing from her empty tray. Octavia nodded, following the tall priestess from the mess.

This was Octavia’s life for the next week or so, wake up, mess hall and mail call, morning shift, lunch with her mechanics team, afternoon shift, dinner with Caelistis, and then sitting around their apartment, drinking and tinkering with whatever took their fancy. Every night before she fell asleep, the brunette priestess would read all the letters her commissar had sent, wrapped in his massive coat. She would giggle at the story of the orkish infiltrator who tried to sneak in, hidden in an empty oil drum, only to bump into the tank Rogal spent his off hours lounging in. He apologised for getting xeno’s blood in the treads, but explained it was the easiest way to kill the foul beast. She would swoon slightly, her cognitor preventing another swoon.emt crash, at his simple farm boy compliments, how he used the simple things in life to describe her, her beauty, how much she meant to him. This all changed however, the day after he told her that the final push was on. The massive commissar sat in the turret of the Leman Russ Exterminator, checking the ammo feed for his pintle mounted storm bolter one last time. This was it, the final push was on. The guardsmen’s line fully encircled the ruined warship, trenches and bunkers bristling with weapons. The plan was simple; Orks loved to fight, so they would draw them out from the ship with artillery and a false charge. The Charge would halt before the minefield, thinning the ork lines, before the two forces would slam together in brutal close range fighting. Rogal sighed, many good men would die, but the Imperium would live on, stronger for their sacrifice. The combat engineers would push forward under fire, laying mines and caltrops where they could, and generally causing as much havoc as suicidally brave men with high explosives can.

He thumbed the safety on the storm bolter, as the word rippled across the voxnet. “SAFETY’S OFF.” Below him, the machine spirit of the tank awoke, “He-llo friend. Are WE going to kill SOME xenos, today?” Dararius laughed, “That’s right girl, it’s xenos killing time.” “I can’t WAIT. TarGET acquisition mode, active. Scanning…” The turret swung lazily to the left, the massive twin barrels of the auto cannons sweeping across the front line. Rogal sat steady in his gimballed seat, the familiar thrill of combat beginning to fill him. All across the front line, guardsmen whispered nervously, a sense of excitement filled the air. The turret let out a soft beep as it finished its arc, swinging back towards the right. The commissar checked his chronometer, watching as the mechanical dial slowly clicked towards the hour. “ALL UNITS,” Came the generals voice across the Voxnet, the dial at Rogal’s wrist clicking to the new hour, “OPEN FIRE.” The turret swung to face the orkish lines, “WARNING, Dispensing imperial righteousness. Death to the enemies of man,” The machine spirit said happily, over the chattering bark of its autocannons firing. The ground shook as earth shaker shells slammed to the ground, the opening artillery salvo lighting up the orkish camp with huge explosions. The gargantuan artillery batteries began firing in sequence, a constant dull pounding, the drum beats of the imperial war machine. Rogal watched as the green tide began sweeping towards them, spilling from the belly of the downed warship. A noise began to make itself heard over the pounding of artillery fire, a bellowing, animalistic roar. “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH,” Massive green apes charged, oblivious to the death and carnage around them, sprinting forward with glee in their piggy eyes. “Steady boys and girls,” Rogal said to those on his local voxnet, “Let them come a little closer,” He checked his chronometer again, looking up at the oncoming green tide, and then back to the dial. Smiling grimly, he jammed his cap down harder on his head, and took up the controls to his pintle mounted weapon. The click of a voxnet change tapped in his ear, “RIGHT, JUST AS WE PLANNED IT, COUNTER. CHARGE.” With a roar, the imperial line surged forward, boots pounding hard earth, and cries of “FOR THE EMPEROR” filling the air. This challenge only served to enrage their foes, who bellowed louder, putting on a burst of speed. Rogal grinned, snapping off a few shots into the green tide, as beside him, guardsmen continued to run and yell. He saw the checkpoint, and the tank slammed on its breaks, the guardsmen around it dropping down into the prepared trenches. Had he brought his binoculars, he would have seen the look of confusion on orkish faces, as the first line of them hit the minefield. A ripple of explosions ringed the ship, as the charge continued, having built up too much momentum. “Just as the General planned,” Rogal mused to himself, the autocannon beneath him twitching left and right, sending round after round into the green mass. The orks continued coming, despite the horrific casualties the guardsmen were inflicting, inching closer and closer to the imperial lines. Valkyries screamed overhead, hellfire missiles deploying from their undersides, lasers and bolter shells spitting from their guns. Still the ork’s came, stampeding over their dead toward the imperial lines. Their numbers had thinned, the green tide slowing now to a trickle, those who survived however, were a combination of the luckiest and the strongest orks on the planet. Another wing of Valkyries howled past, thinning the lines further, but not enough. The orks passed into lasgun range, and with a sound like static, the imperial line started strobing red. Rogal squeezed down on the trigger, the storm bolter bucking against its mount, the pleasing ping of empty casings drowned out in the cacophony of combat. The low ammo warning blinked atop the gun, Rogal slamming the old ammo box from its cradle, and grabbing a reload from the bay provided in the turret. He linked the old chain to the new box, before ramming it home in the cradle and resuming his fusillade. The green tide was reduced to a green river, albeit a river filled with rapids and orks, but a river none the less. The orkish line passed the minefield, and Rogal gave a silent prayer to the Emperor, he just wanted to go back to Octavia, alive. The Generals voice filled the voxnet once more, “THIS IS IT, WE DRIVE THESE FILTHY XENOS FROM OUR WORLD ONCE AND FOR ALL. IN THE NAME OF THE EMPEROR AND THE IMPERIUM OF MAN, CHARGE.”

Guardsmen surged forward out of the trench, lasguns firing on full auto. Behind them, heavy weapons teams continued to fire, the chatter of autoguns and the dull thud of mortars a constant drone in the background. The tank beneath him rocked, Danarius, coughing as smoke filled the interior, “Sir, that’s a mobility kill,” “Just S- so SO you know, WE DO-N’T hate you. WE HATE THE XENOS.” The machine spirit said calmly, despite the distortion in its voice. Rogal sighed, nothing was ever easy. He unclipped the storm bolter from its mount and hefted it with his good arm. His nearly recovered right grabbed the firing controls and he leapt down from the tank, his massive boots sending a cloud of dust out around him. “MEN OF THE IMPERIAL GUARD,” He roared, “LET NONE SURVIVE,” A squad reformed around him, and they charged forward, Rogal’s mighty storm bolter punching ragged holes in orkish chests. The gun clicked, empty, the commissar dropping it with an apology to the machine god, before drawing his pistol and sword. He snapped off a couple of shots, before ducking under a ragged machete, slicing clean through the green arm it was held in, the ork rewarded with a face and chest full of lasbolts and bayonets. A deafening roar pulled the commissars attention, charging towards him in slabs of crude armour, was a nob. The orkish elite roared some garbled gothic at him, its massive metal jaw muffling the sound, but Rogal got the gist “You, me, winner takes all.” Rogal roared back in acceptance, his long legs carrying him forward. A stray boltshell exploded beside him, shrapnel filling his leg, the commissar stumbling. The Ork took its chance, bringing its massive axe down, intent on bisecting the pointy hat wearing git. Rogal dropped to his knee, his injured leg screaming in protest, his pistol cast aside so he could use both hands to block the blow. The Ork roared, its hulking green muscles bulging as it pressed down on the axe, lasbolts pinging from its armoured form. Rogal grunted, slowly being pushed back, the stench of orkish breath in his face. He prayed to the Emprah, to give him strength, to let him survive long enough to see Octavia again, maybe settle down, have some children, live out his days in relative peace, not die here to some foul xenos. He felt the wounds in his arm reopen, and he realised this was it. He gritted his teeth, the pain lancing up his arm, his vision going white at the edges. “No,” He whispered,” Not like this,” The ork grinned psychotically, driving the axe down further, “NOT LIKE THIS,” Rogal roared, throwing his weight forward, almost losing his vision to the pain. He managed to throw the ork’s axe back. His wounded arm continued forward, as he scooped his laspistol from the ground. With a sickening sensation, the Orks axe hewed though the guard of his sword and into his forearm, tearing away the limb in a shower of blood. His vision fading, the Commissar drove his pistol into the howling green maw, and pulled the trigger. He heard the faint cries for a medic as he collapsed to the ground atop his vanquished foe. A tear streaked down a dust covered face, as his world faded, he saw Octavia, smiling at him, her brown ponytail swaying as she tilted her head, before she too faded to black.

Chapter 26[edit]

Rogal felt like he was under water. His body seemed to float, and he caught snatches of conversations. “More sanguination fluid, he’s lost a lot of blood.” “Big guy, big wound, hand me another clamp.” The commissar opened his eyes to slits, warm white light surrounding him. He lay there, letting the cool sensation of, whatever it was, wash over him. Peaceful, he thought, very peaceful. He heard footsteps behind him, and more snatches of conversation, “Emperor on earth, please guide my blade, this commissars life, we wish to save,” “Look at him, how is he still breathing?” Rogal rolled over, looking for his guest. Massive golden boots, his mind registered, and he looked up, a huge, even to his standards, armoured gauntlet was being offered to him. Weakly, he threw out his hand to take it, and was hefted to his feet. “ON YOUR FEET, COMMISSAR.” The voice said, not loudly, but with such force that it caused the massive man to stagger. He looked up at his guest, a chest plate as wide as his shoulders, huge Eagles either side, and a face that was all at one regal and haggard. “Sorry sir, I’m just so tired.” “I KNOW, MY SON. I KNOW.” Rogal stood, gingerly putting weight on his leg, which buckled, the gigantic golden hand catching him around his chest, “MY SON, YOU MADE A PROMISE, I AM HERE TO ENSURE YOU KEEP IT,” “Octavia.” The commissar said, his strength returning to his voice, “You’re him, aren’t you? The Emprah,” The massive golden being let out a chuckle, nodding as it knelt down to look the commissar eye to eye, “I am but a fragment of him, yes, our full might would have wiped you from existence had you seen it.”

Rogal dropped to his knees, “My lord,” The Armoured god lifted the commissar to his feet once more, “NOW NOW, NONE OF THAT, YOU HAVE MUCH LEFT TO DO,” he said, placing the peaked cap back on Rogal’s head, “IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP ROGAL HEPHASTUS, TIME TO FORGE YOURSELF A NEW DESTINY.” Snapping his heels together as best he could, the commissar saluted, the stump of his arm waving in front of his face. His arm, he thought, looking at the stump, where was his arm, he needed that arm to create things, to carve and to saw, to gently caress Octavia, to hold her close.

The huge commissar bolted awake, screaming, IV drips popping from their quick seal and release ports. “MY ARM, WHERE IS MY ARM?” he bellowed, looking around frantically, a nurse hurrying over to calm him, “Easy there, easy commissar.” She said in soothing tones, stroking at a massive arm, “Look at me, you’re alright now. You’re in a MASH unit, we’ve been waiting for you to wake up.” Rogal sucked in a deep breath, trying to calm himself. He rubbed his face with a hand, his stump waving in his face, “Nurse, where is my arm?” The auburn angel of mercy shook her head, “I’m sorry sir, you lost it in the final push. Earned yourself a shiny medal from it though, look,” She said, nodding towards the black box on the bedside table. The commissar sighed, and shook his head, “I don’t care about the medal. Look, I just need some time, something to eat, and to know where my hat is, can you do that for me?” The nurse nodded, patting his arm reassuringly, “Sure thing, handsome,” “Oh,” He added, “Can I also have my dataslate? It should be in my coat pocket,” “As you wish sir,”

The nurse left the hulking commissar in his bed, and he looked down at himself. His arm now ended in a dull grey augmentation cradle, the flesh around it pink and raw. His broad chest was bandaged, his other arm covered in small sutures. He scratched his leg, and instantly regretted it, pain lancing through his body where he poked fresh wounds, but he thanked the Emprah his lasgun was still intact. He leaned over to pull his chart from the end of the bed, quickly absorbing the information contained within. The nurse returned with his dataslate, and his hat, handing the, both to him with a smile, “Here you go, sir,” He smiled back, “Thank you, nurse. Just looking at this chart, I seem to be eligible for release, and I would hate to take up a bed that someone else could be using,” The nurse laughed, “I can see why you’re a commissar, but it’s been a couple of days since the battle, all the cases that needed to be moved have been, and well, you’re fine just where you are.” Rogal’s eyes went wide, Octavia would be worried sick, he had said he would write to her every day, and now, “Nurse, under my full commissarial authority, I demand you release me and get me on the next flight back to base. Do I make myself clear?” Rogal said, his voice low, steady, and commanding obedience. The nurse looked at him, her eyes wide, “I’ll just go get you a doctor”. She hurried off, and Rogal checked his dataslate, thumbing the new datacast rune. The slate started loading, and froze, an error screen flashing up, proclaiming there was a severe malfunction, and the slate would be shut down. The hulking commissar growled dropping his slate to his lap, the nurse returning with a doctor in tow. Octavia was a mess, two day’s now, and no word from Rogal. She tried her best to busy herself, servicing weapons, and fabricating replacement parts for the various orders that came in, but it didn’t help. Her fleshbrain kept seeing him eviscerated, or shot, or blown apart, and she would never see him again. Every night she drank herself to sleep, cradled to Caelistis chest, Rogal’s coat wrapped around her. Her slender friend tried to reassure her, explaining how mail got lost all the time, or how he could be just doing what soldiers do, but assuring her he was still alive. Her cognitor busied itself with the side project it had made, quietly engineering and designing while her fleshbrain alternated between the horror of her lovers possible death, and all the things she would do to him upon his return.

Rogal glared at the white coated man in front of him, his voice low and deliberate once more “Doctor, under my full commissarial authority, I demand you release me and get me on the next flight back to base. Do I make myself clear?” He repeated, the Doctor looking over his chart, “Sure, why not, I’m not about to tell you no. I’ve seen what you can survive,” He said, with a shrug, “Nurse, fetch the commissars things, he’s going home.” “As you wish, Dr Alda,”

Tiberius sat in the back of the chimera, bouncing along on the way back to the base. The mood was that of solemn triumph, the cost of lives taking the shine off a total victory. He poked at the bandage under his tunic, as he thought of the best way to tell his story to Caelistis. His mind however, kept drifting back to what he would have to tell Octavia, when Rogal did not return with him. The last the vox officer had heard, the Commissar was being rushed to a MASH unit, and that was all he knew. “Attention Mechanicum staff,” The binary chatter blared across the vehicle pit, “Magos Persephone, you are requested to landing bay four. Magos Persephone, landing bay four.” Her eyes glowing brighter as the wielding shields deactivated, Octavia put the plasma cutter down and turned from her workbench. Her mechanics team looked at her, and she shrugged, a Mechanicum transport vehicle pulling up outside the workspace. “’Magos Persephone? I have orders to take you to the landing bay, as fast as possible, apparently,” The driver said, still puzzled by this request. The petite priestess climbed nimbly into the passengers seat, “Then let us not keep them waiting,” With a scream of tires on plascrete, the transport took off. Rogal stood, putting his weight on his good leg and the walking cane he had been given, leaning against the wall for support. He released the cane and slung his duffle over his shoulder, before taking the walking stick once more, and hobbling towards the exit ramp. The few other guardsmen on the Valkyrie parted to let him though, bowing their heads respectfully. The huge commissar limped down the loading ramp, the wind pulling at his tunic. He looked around, sadly, wondering how he would be able to face Octavia in his now crippled state. A horn blared, and he whipped his head around, watching as the Mechanicum transport screamed to a halt, a tiny red robed figure leaping from the passenger seat. “Rogal?” He heard her call, and his heart started pounding, “Octavia!” He bellowed back, limping towards her as fast as he could, ignoring the pain that shot up his side with every hurried step. The Valkyrie took off once more, the downdraft blowing his tunic from his shoulder, his missing arm now fully visible. Octavia stopped dead, staring at the empty space where once there was an arm. Rogal came to a stop in front of his petite lover, her tiny shoulders rising and falling with sobs, “I’m home,” He whispered, and Octavia just let out squeal of anger, pounding against his chest with her fists and mechadendrites, “YOU SAID YOU WOULD WRITE, EVERYDAY. DO YOU KNOW HOW WORRIED YOU MADE ME? NOW I COME HERE, AND YOUR MISSING AN ARM. DON’T YOU EVER DO THAT AGAIN. EVEREVEREVEREVEREVEREVEREVER.” She yelled at him, before slumping against his chest, sobbing once more. He put his stump around her, hugging her close, “I won’t,” he said soothingly into her ear, leaning over to hold her close. “Your arm? What happened to your arm?” She asked pulling back, to look at the basic augment. “Ork, big one.” Rogal said, “I’ll tell you about it later, right now, I have a promise to keep,” He said, before gently pressing his lips to hers. Her fleshbrain fainted, her cognitor barely suppressing the swoon.emt file from being fully compiled. She melted in his arm, her mechadendrites lazily making their way behind his head, as the pair kissed like it was their last moment together. A few guardsmen cheered as they passed, and Rogal grinned. Octavia broke the kiss, wrapping her mechadendrites around her commissars stump, and pulling him towards the Mechanicum transport. “Driver, my workspace, as fast as you can,” Rogal looked puzzled, “Can we stop by my-“ “No. You need a new arm. We’re making you one. Drive.” The low level enginseer nodded, flooring the accelerator pedal, the transport roaring forth once more. As they drove, Octavia patched into her workspace noosphere, “Listen up everybody, we’re making an arm. The best damn forearm augment we have ever made. Plans are here, I’m bringing the patient as we speak. Warm up those fabricators and plug yourselves in, we’re not stopping till it’s done.”

She smiled as the team responded with smiling emotes and various agreements, the prospect of a challenge thrilling them all. The junior enginseer threw the transport into the corner, Rogal holding his little lover to his chest, bracing himself with his legs. The transport jerked forward as the driver slammed on the brakes, skidding to a halt inside the vehicle pit. Augmented eyes watched as Octavia hopped gracefully down from the seat, landing silently, her commissarial companion throwing his duffle down with a thud, before carefully making his own exit. At the sight of the huge man limping and missing an arm, static filled the air, and was silenced just as quickly with one look from Octavia. The tallest techpriest pulled a comfortable looking padded chair out into the middle of the workspace, and gestured to Rogal to have a seat, “If the commissar pleases, we have work to do. Your new flesh will make that slab of meat feel clumsy in comparison,” Removing his hat, the commissar glared at the techpriest, “I happened to like that, slab of meat, as you put it,” Octavia barked out a burst of static, and the techpriest hung his head, “I am sorry Commissar, we have a different approach to the loss of a limb.” Rogal nodded, dropping onto the seat, the red robed servants of the machine god gathering around. “I’m sure you do.” The huge man said, smiling to himself as Octavia shoved her way to the middle of the group. Gently she moved his arm, placing it on a table beside the chair. Static hisses filled the air as the group discussed the project ahead, before Octavia spoke in low gothic once more, “So you consent to us building you a new arm?”

Chapter 27[edit]

Rogal nodded, “So long as you’re the one in charge,” Octavia blushed, nodding, “I am. This is what is going to happen,” she began explaining. They would redo the augment mount, adding a fully integrative neural bridge, as opposed to the standard interface that was provided, as well as anchoring the entire mount to his bones via biografting techniques, rather than the both sheath method. The arm itself, she explained, was based on the older JENSEN design, but would be using the newer DENTON arcology system, which allowed a far greater measure of control and dexterity, matching and in some cases, exceeding his old arm. Rogal nodded, the majority of the complex terminology going over his head. “So I will still be able to carve and work timber like I used to,” Octavia nodded, clapping her hands excitedly, “Oh yes, of course you will, and given time to get used to the new abilities in your arm, you might even do it better. The arm will also feature full modular capabilities, as well as interface ports for the most common linkages, as well as for standard imperial powerfists.” Rogal nodded again, “Right, well, that sounds about right then. Should I be awake for this?” Octavia paused for a moment, “I suppose you could be, if you want to watch, we’ll just use a local rather than general anaesthetic, but it’s really up to you, sir,” The commissar shook his head, “I’d rather not. Just put me to sleep and do what you do best,” Octavia smiled at him, pushing her way out from the group and circling behind him, “I will. Just think, a little bit of me will always be a part of you now,” she said, going up on her tiptoes to kiss her lover on the cheek. “I like that,” Rogal said, gently stroking Octavia’s cheek, “I like that a lot.” He pulled himself forward to kiss her, their lips dancing for a moment, before he pulled away.

“Well, if you don’t mind, I’ll take that anaesthetic now,” the commissar said, settling into the cushioned chair, “Let you get to work,” A priestess gently cupped a mask over his face, and Rogal breathed deeply, drifting off to unconsciousness once more. Octavia gently stroked at his hair, her lover looked so peaceful. A couple of emotes popped up in her vision from various techpriests and priestesses, smiling or ‘dawwwing at the moment. Octavia clapped her hands to get their attention, a hiss of binary spilling from her lips. The mechanics team began moving as one, a pair moving in on Rogal’s arm to replace the mediocre mounting point, the rest spreading out to work stations, the chatter and whine of fabrication filling the workspace once more. Slowly, the arm took shape, ceramite bones were wrapped in complex fiber bundles, layering over one another, twitching as small currents flowed through them. The mounting point now gleamed, obsidian metal only interrupted by the golden connection ports that would interface human nerves and complex circuitry. Actuators were fabricated, nano genus mechadendrites pushed to their limits. A hand took shape, matching as best it could to Rogal’s remaining one, the fingers long and skilful, the actuators within stronger than his flesh ever could be. With a click, the hand met forearm, the fibre bundles writhing as they interfaced, the fingers curling in and out. Hours had passed, many cups of recaf had been drunk, and Octavia sat at the table, inspecting every aspect of her lovers augmentation. The mechanics were done, the arm now an obsidian and silver parody of the flesh it replaced. A wet hiss filled the workspace, as the coverplates were quenched, gleaming black ceramite plates of various sizes being laid out, Octavia’s nimble mechadendrites manipulating them, etching litanies of durability onto the back of each one in her flowing script. The plates were then installed over the arm, the small silver self-locking screws pulling each plate tight over bundled muscle. Octavia plugged a mechadendrite into the access port, data streaming past her vision as she coded the augment, feeling for the first time Rogal’s digital self. Her cognitor gasped, the sheer power contained within his body astounding it. Her fleshbrain smiled smugly, pointing out how she had been right all along. Her cognitor waved her over, showing her how the commissar’s muscle memory was automatically superimposing itself into her programming, and gave praise to the Omnissiah. Complex algorithms detailing the precision of his old muscles astounded the priestess, as she watched with fascination at the melding of man and machine. The hand moved now of its own accord, gracefully going through the test motions. The code compiled, her cognitor sat mute, words failing her, as the arm’s machine spirit finished itself, rearing up in the form of a massive Clydesdale. The metaphysical construct trotted towards her cognitor, stopping at the fence where the arm ended and the coding sandbox began. Her cognitor reached out and stroked the machine spirits muzzle, and it whinnied happily, nuzzling back at her. Her fleshbrain smiled, her cognitor finally understanding what she saw in the massive man. Patting the machine spirit one last time, her cognitor left the sandbox, and with a click, her mechadendrite unplugged from the port, The anesthetist pulled the mask from Rogal’s face, Octavia brushing her hair from her face with a mechadendrite, before leaning over to kiss her still sleeping lover. He groaned, opening his eyes to slits, “Is it over?” Octavia nodded, gently stroking his new arm, the commissar grinning at the sensation, “Yes, my love, it’s over.”

Rubbing his face with his hands, he let out a yawn, “I had the weirdest dream, you had bought this horse for me, and some stuff happened and I can’t remember much else, but you bought me a horse.” Octavia giggled, as techpriests and priestess’s congratulated one another on a job well done. They had fabricated the arm from scratch in record time, which would entitle them to a bonus in requisition power for the next month. “The dream was just the machine spirit bonding to you. It’s a good arm, it’s strong, like you.” Rogal smiled, pulling Octavia onto his lap and kissing her cheek. She giggled again, lifting his new arm up to the light so they could both study it. Rogal chuckled, looking at the tiny hands that held his massive arm aloft, “We match,” He said, putting his hand next to hers, Octavia nodded happily, “Same basic model, mine’s got a few more peripherals, but I figured you wouldn’t need many.” The commissar nodded, hugging his woman close, “I’m a simple man,” “I know, that’s why you got basic functionality, but a massive boost to durability. That’s ceramite plating, you could stop a bolt round with it, or an orkish axe.” She added the last bit with a macabre giggle, and Rogal sighed, “Yeah, right after I need it,” He said, before laughing. The priests and priestesses dispersed, some going for more recaf, others headed for their bunks, leaving the pair alone in the workspace. The vehicle pit was quiet, the bustle of the day replaced with the sedentary buzz of night. The pair sat, Octavia still in Rogal’s lap, enjoying the quiet, the techpriestesses mind slowly wandering. Her man was home from war, wounded, but alive, and now with a glorious augmentation of her own building. That augmented hand now rested on her inner thigh, as he gently nuzzled at her neck and cheek.

Octavia jumped, and Rogal pulled his augmented hand back, his fingers blurring. With a click, they stopped, and he looked at the woman in his lap. “What is that for?” Octavia blushed, her fleshbrain now excited, he was learning the features of his new limb. “I thought, seeing as you work with wood, that having an in built orbital sander like capability would be useful,” Rogal looked at his hand again, switching through the various vibrational settings his hand now had, the low hum quickly escalating to a whine, before clicking off. Caelistis’s words rang in her head, about seizing moments, something which was now driven home after seeing her injured lover. She twisted on his lap, straddling him on the reclined chair, her Emerald eyes shining happily. Her mechadendrites opening her robe, she guided his hand to her stomach, “Of course,” She added, her cheeks burning now with her wanton comment, “There are other uses,” The huge commissar grinned, moving his hand over polished plates and up to the soft flesh covered in white fabric. The techpriestess let out a low moan, as augmented fingers flicked over firm perky nubs. Rogal switched his hand to its lowest setting, smiling contentedly at the reaction it bore. On his lap, Octavia jerked, her back arching as she planted her hands on his chest. “Little lower,” He gasped, her tiny hand having slapped down on where the Ork’s spiked kneepad had punched into his lung. Octavia pulled her hand back, a stream of apologies on her lips, “Omnissiah’s cogs, I’msosorryRogalI’msoclumbsyand-“ The petite priestess was cut off by the commissar pulling her down to kiss him. The slow, powerfully vibrating hand made its way from her chest and down her spine, sliding down over her elegantly curved rear and back to her thigh. Octavia let out a shuddering gasp, having missed the commissar’s touch. Her fleshbrain moaned in ecstasy as her potential coil surged to life. Rogal’s cold hand traced longingly over the pale flesh at the top of her legs, his ceramite fingertips causing sparks to fly from the lace like electoos. She moaned into the kiss, her tongue flicking across his lips hungrily as she pulled herself closer. Rogal’s massive hand splayed across her back, fingers and mechadendrites entwined, as the passion that separated lovers reunited share fuelled them both. Octavia’s mechadendrites moved of their own accord, opening the buttons on her lovers shirt, as his hand splayed against the burning heat between her legs, humming softly. Throwing her head back, she moaned, as vibrations hit that massive cluster of densely packed pleasure feeling nerves, the commissar burying his face in her neck, nipping and biting with reckless abandon. Her hips gyrated down on the huge bulge in the commissar’s pants, her mechadendrites working at his belt buckle. The crisp white fabric that covered her was pushed aside, and Octavia gasped again, the night air cool, and Rogal’s mechanical finger cooler against the blazing heat inside her, as gently, he worked a humming finger inside her. Back arching even more, Octavia bit her lip, moaning wantonly, grinding down harder on the commissar, “Please, sir,” she begged, her mechadendrites finally undoing his trousers, “It’s been so long, I need you,” Rogal grinned, “As you wish, M’lady,”

He fumbled for his pocket, Octavia giggling as she reached into her own in her robe, pulling out the protection her lover sought, “Caelistis said I should stock up for your return, so I did,” Rogal grinned, “Oh she did, did she?” Octavia nodded, as she tore the packet open with her mechadendrites, taking the rubbery disc and rolling it over Rogal’s lascannon. Passion overruled everything as the pair crashed together, Octavia bouncing atop her lover with unbridled lust, the massive commissar unable to keep his hands off her. Frantically, and with passion derived from the fear of never seeing one another again, and making sure they made the most of their time together, they indulged their humanity. Octavia gasped and moaned, her fleshbrain writhing with pleasure, realising how much she had missed the huge man beneath her. His buzzing hand ticked at her chest, teasing tender buds, his other clenched firmly around her waist. She began to slow, her body not used to the exertions, the commissar understanding instinctively. He deactivated his hand and stood, lifting the petite priestess with his unaugmented hand underneath her. He swept tools from a work bench and sat her down, her slender legs either side of his waist, as he began powering into her. His massive frame stood over her, tiny hands now balled in his shirt, as he drove into her again and again. Throwing her head back, she moaned, “Yesyesyesyesyesyes, by the Omnissiah’s grace, rightthere,yesyesyes,” she babbled, a mechadendrite plugging into the grounding port as the little bar in her mind neared its terminus. The huge commissar put on a burst of speed, and Octavia clamped a hand over her mouth to muffle the ecstatic cry that threatened to come out. Her back arched, her fleshbrain cried out for more, and the little red bar hit full. Her hips bucked, and she clawed at the commissars back with her mechadendrites, her hands splaying out against his chest. With a grunt, he fired his lascannon, his hips moving back with recoil, before he let out a shuddering breath. He grinned down at her, their heavy breathing synchronised. “I love you,” He whispered, lowering his head down beside hers, nuzzling gently at her ear. Tiny hands slid up over his massive chest, as she whispered back, “I love you too,”

Chapter 28[edit]

The pair quickly tidied themselves, Octavia putting the commissars hat back on his head with a tired smile, “My apartment is closer,” she said, “You should stay there, less of a walk for you and your injured leg.” Rogal grinned, as he picked up his duffle in his new hand and slung it over his shoulder, taking his cane in the other. “Sounds like a plan, lead the way,” Her tiny hand was dwarfed in his mechanical one, as the petite priestess lead her massive lover down the corridors to her apartment. As they walked, Rogal told her of the battle, how he lost his arm, and how his last thoughts before he blacked out were of her. Octavia felt tears well up in her eyes, as she hugged the massive man around the waist, “Don’t you ever do something like that ever again,” she sobbed at him, his augmented hand gently stroking her back to sooth her, “I can’t make any promises,” he said sadly, “But, I’ll do my best.” “You better,” she said, “Or I’ll…” “Or you’ll what?” The commissar asked, a smile playing on his lips, “I’ll downgrade that hand of yours to a glorified bulldog clip.” She quipped back, nimbly skipping away and giggling, poking her tongue out as she turned. Rogal just laughed, “Alright, alright, no more fighting the elite of the orkish forces.” The pair rounded the corner, Octavia racing ahead to the door of her apartment, “Welcome back, sir,” she said happily, unlocking the door with a mechadendrite. The pair walked through the doorway and stopped. Tiberius looked up from the dataslate he was reading, Caelistis paused from dabbing at his back, and on the bed, a very embarrassed Elsa looked at them, a blanket clutched to her chest.

The Looted Tale of Orktavia[edit]

“Stop teazing moi,” Orktavia said, crushing the pillow to him in a huff. Caelistis ruffled her friend’s hairsquigs affectionately. "But it’s so much fun. Such things keep me human, stops a second iron man rebellion. Anyway, get dressed, we can grab some food on the way to the armoury, your skills are needed. A hydra is having targeting problems, needs your touch.” Caelistis explained, as she pulled a robe over her head, smoothing it down her slim body, before throwing her cloak over the top, “Hood’s up, let’s go.” Orktavia nodded, his massive iron gob clattering, as he followed his friend out into the base once more, stopping only momentarily to crump a servitor.

The night had been long for Rogal. He had tried to sleep, to no avail. He had done push ups, chin ups, carved half a regicide set, polished his… laspistol, and finally managed to get to sleep. Blearily he had dragged himself to the mess hall, and grabbing mug of recaf, he flopped down at the officers table. Resting his head on his arms, he let the smell of hot recaf slowly fill his mind.

“Morning Sir,” Tiberius beamed down at the tired commissar, “I brought you some breakfast.” With a grunt, Rogal pulled himself up to sitting, as the vox officer slid a tray piled high with hot food in front of him. “Thank you, Tiberius. Much Obliged.”

Clapping his friend on the shoulder, Rogal grabbed his fork, oblivious to the pained look that flashed across his Tiberius’s face. Gingerly, the vox officer rolled his shoulder a few times, trying to ignore the pain from the bruise that had just been hit. He sat down beside Rogal, and dug into his own plate. “So, Sir, I hear you had a date last night?” Rogal stopped mid chew, his fork dropping into the pile of scrambled eggs. He swallowed nervously, and took a swig from his recaf. “What?” Tiberius grinned, he and Rogal had been promoted to officer and full commissar at the same time, due to some rather fancy work they had done with a damaged voxcaster, a truck full of explosives, some paint and a rather irate cultist. He knew what he could get away with, and this was one of those things. “There’s a whisper on the voxnet that you had a date last night.” Rogal forced himself to keep a straight face, taking up his fork once more, “Oh, really?” “Yes, my friend, really.” “And with whom did I have this, date?” Tiberius raised his mug in respect, “They say, you had a date, with it.” “It?” Tiberius nodded towards the serving station, and the two robed figures there. Orktavia had filled her tray with squigbacon and squigbrowns, his a couple of ploins wrapped in cybork arms, a cup of fungus beer in another, and a third feeding it a slice of human gubbins. Beside her, Caelistis stood with her own tray, a large bowl of the hot porridge steaming, as she added spoonful upon spoonful of the sweet brown sugar that sat at the condiments table. Rogal just watched as the pair walked off, before slowly resuming his chewing. “It. The darling xenos of the Mechanicus, it that kicks our asses and makes our lives more hilarious. Emprah on earth, it’s like a gelt romance. So, is it true?” Rogal set his fork down, “It is true that we shared a meal.” “So it was a date?” Rogal tried not to smile, “No, she just brought some food with her when she came to drop off a report I had asked for. I was starving, so, she stayed, and we ate, and then she noticed the time and she left.” “That’s it?” Rogal nodded, taking another mouthful of food and chewing happily, he turned his mind to the tasks for the day. “There’s also a whisper, Sir, of there being another rendezvous between yourself and the mekboy tonight.” Rogal nearly choked. Coughing loudly, he drained his mug, and stood, “We’re not finished here,” He growled to Tiberius before he went and refilled his mug. This mug was drained, before being filled again, and Rogal returned to the table. Tiberius grinned at the commissar as he sat down once more, “So there is another meeting?” Rogal looked around, feeling like he was back at the schola, before he leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, “Yes, we’re meeting again tonight. You tell anyone,” Rogal patted his holstered laspistol, “You explain yourself to him on earth.” Tiberius just laughed, “Fine, fine, this stays between you, me and the Emprah. But, if I may, sir,” Tiberius saluted, “Damn fine job.” Rogal just sighed, “Actually, I could do with some help, there are some, items, I need.” “At your service, sir”. Rogal’s eyes opened to slits, his chronometer’s alarm blaring. He silenced it with a slap, and rolled over in his bunk, wishing to the saints for a few hours more sleep. Instead, he knew he had to get up, duty needed to be done. He rolled out of bed, his blanket wrapped around him as he shuffled to the sink. Rubbing his stubble, he looked at himself in the mirror, tired eyes looking back at him. Stifling a yawn he took his razor and began to shave, hoping it would be a quiet, uneventful day. Orktavia’s cybork arms moved, searching for his guest in his bed. With a saddened grunt, he confirmed what he already knew. He wasn’t there. Propping himself up on his massive elbows, he looked around blearily, his augments filling in the details of the night before with the light that now flooded the room. Where they had sat, how his tiny frame had left the sheets disturbed, the egg heater still on the table, his gloves sitting beside them, the massive number of bullet holes riddling the entire room, the burning drapes. His mekbrain jumped, his gloves. Dat git needed his gloves. Humie codes demanded da git have his gloves. Throwing his cloak around his shoulders, Orkavia yelled a hurried goodWAAAUGH as he raced past his somehow still sleeping roommate, the door slamming behind him with enough force to crack the wall. Caelistis moaned, rolling over and pulling her blanket over her head. His cybork stompas belched smoke and steam, grinding noisily as Orktavia ran, his red cloak streaming behind him, caught by the wind. He clumsily smashed through the morning bustle of the compound as he made his way to Rogal’s tent, da git's gloves clutched to his chest, his cybork mechgubbins smashing pushing people out of his path, stopping only to unleash an occasional hail of lead from his kustom-shoota. Rogal hummed to himself as he continued shaving, savouring the cool lather on his cheeks. The blade sounded like a knife over toast as he dragged it over his stubbled face, before flicking the white foam into his sink. He finished shaving, washing his razor and replacing it in the little cup by his mirror, before burying his face in a fluffy black towel. Wiping his now smooth face, he threw the towel over the bar, and returned to his bunk, flipping the lid of his foot locker with a boot. He knelt down, unpacking a fresh uniform for the day ahead. Socks were joined by trousers, and then undergarments, and a small pile of clothing took its place at the end of the Commissars bunk. Orktavia saw his objective and put on an extra burst of speed, stompin forward towards the tent. Rogal threw his blanket back onto his bed, and peeled off what he had slept in. Orktavia threw the entire tent behind him with his powerklaw, skidding to a halt, the tent flying behind him with a gust of air and the shouts of those still living. “Rogal, ya furgot yer-“ His words caught in his throat, as his braingubbins squealed like a tortured motorboat engine. Rogal stood frozen, bent over his bed, dogtags around his neck, a fresh set of undergarments in his hands, and his… laspistol openly carried. Orktavia’s cyborkbraingubbins spluttered, questioning the compatibility of his bitzware. His braingubbins yelled something about squiguse and mukkin about. A wut escaped from Orktavia’s iron gob and the pair of them blushed a deep crimson and green respectively. Rogal’s body powered into action, snatching his blanket from his bed and throwing it around himself like a toga. He then pulled his undergarments up, looking sheepish, his weapon now holstered. Orktavia’s mekarms had leapt to his gob, one breaking off to randomly claw at the earth, as he desparately tried to figure out what da humie gubbin had been. "Xeno, to what do I owe the pleasure?” Rogal managed to stammer, his body snapping to parade rest. Orktavia’s braingubbins audibly fizzled at the man before him, such puny proportions, he noted, puny humie proportions. His mekbraingubbins continued sketching a drawing of a piston, showing how a piston needed to fit in order to work, and as an afterthought Orktavia imagined the piston crushing some grots. His cheeks still flushed, Orktavia offered his bundle forward, “Ya furget yur gloves, ya git. da pointyhatboss iz gonna stomp ya!" His braingubbins conjured images of him tied to the lashing post, before breaking free and burning da humies wif his chest mounted combi-skorcha. He shook his massive head to clear them, offering the gloves to Rogal once more. He grinned nervously, reaching out to take the leathery items from massive metallic klaws. “Thank you, Orktavia,” He managed to say, “But, do you mind, calling out first?” Orktavia blushed harder, giving off enough energy to vaporize a passing insect, “But dis wus da bestest way ta get ta ya, wut if you wer to be zoggin zapped? Ya wuld 'ave been strung up on the post an' flogged and yer back wuld be covered in tuff-scars and-“ He was silenced by Rogal’s finger to his iron gob, the movement of his massive metallic teeth nearly taking da gits hand off, “It would have been mine to bear. You’re too kind to this humble servant of the Emprah,” He said, before pulling him close to hug him, Orktavia's massive frame nearly crushing him beneath its weight, “But thank you. You’re a shining light of the Emprah’s work. I’m truly blessed to have you in my life.” Orktavia froze, unsure of how to react. His instincts cried out for him to crush the puny git, to wrap his klaws around his neck and squeeze him to bits. His mekbraingubbins said to go, he had work to be done, his dakkamaking had already been slowed upon enough for the morning. He hadn’t eaten, his mekbrain pointed out, and he needed squigstenance. His stomach grumbled, and Rogal was nearly shaken to the ground, “You’re hungry?” Orktavia nodded, “Oi may 'ave slept a bit late ya git,” he said, fidgeting with the hems of his leathery humanskin smock, “'nd in moi 'urry ta bring ya yer gloves, Oi may 'ave missed da squigs.” His mekbrain chided him for letting his braingubbins have such unorkyness. His mekbrain pointed to all the dips in her dakkawork and choppy-addition (he thought of the many Russes that still lacked deathrollas), and the correlation to Rogal’s actions or his braingubbins’s activities. His brain gubbins grabbed his mekbrain, and pointed to the commis-com pointyhatgit explaining quickly the finer points of orky nature and humie anatomy and its effect it could have on da boyz. His mekbrain growled sheepishly, before ceding control once more to Orktavia’s braingubbins, after only two or three electrial shocks. He breathed in deeply, the smell of soap, sawdust and clean linen filling his head. Rogal released him from the hug, suddenly being afraid of being drawn into the mekboyz huge maw, “In that case, it’s very rude of me to keep you. If you give me a moment,” he said, tugging at his blanket, “I will dress and escort you to the mess? If you would like, that is?” Nodding happily, the massive warloving mekboy took a seat, watching the Pointyhatgit. Rogal looked around the tent nervously, “I’ll just go change then,” he said, collecting his uniform from the bed and disappearing into the bathroom. Orktavia’s mekbrain clipped her braingubbins over the back of the head, “OI YA GIT” It asked, “WAAAAAAAAUGGGGH”

As that thought left gis meta-metapo fakebitz gob, Orktavia’s mekbrain realised its mistake. His braingubbins WAAAUGHED, filling Orktavia’s mind with images of him shackled to the post, his huge klaws high above his head. His mekgubbins prevented flogging in the traditional sense, but there were other parts of him that were still sensitive to punishment. His braingubbins weaved a scene, Rogal standing, shirtless, a disciplinary choppa in his hands. His mekbrain struggled to suppress a furious roar, valiantly trying to distract Orktavia with the new plan for giving the hydra's twice as much dakka by strapping them together. His braingubbins thrashed, as the imaginary Rogal tore his dirty smock away from Orktavia, before standing back. His mekklaws gripped to the chair and around Rogal's skull, as his mekbrain tried desperately to sever the links his braingubbins was making. It could hear Rogal pulling on his boots, he wouldn’t be long. If they were seen like this, his braingubbins wailed, da boyz would call him an elfyboy. It promised to help his braingubbins if he would just stop his imaginings right now. His braingubbins ignored him, the imaginary Rogal stood at his full towering height, and screamed in fury, bringing the choppa up even as his mighty skull resisted being crushed. His mekbrain heard the click of the door being opened and begged his body to open its eyes. The Imaginary Rogal raised the choppa , the shadow cast across bare flesh. The Real Rogal walked towards his guest, buttoning his jacket. Orktavia’s sat smiling, his eyes shut, his head on his hand, leaning on the table, which was cracking and bending ominously. “Orktavia?” Rogal called softly. “Orktavia,” The words from the imaginary Rogal were firm, the choppa started its downward arc, while blood from Rogal's ever more furious head dripped onto Orktavia's imaginary klaws. Rogal reached out, gently tapping his guest on the huge cybork shoulder. The choppa hacked into green flesh, leaving a massive bloody wound. Orktavia’s eyes snapped open, as his crackling klaws crushed the chair entirely.

Rogal looked at him, puzzled, “Are you alright, xeno?” He asked, slowly pulling his hand back from his metallic, crudely checkerboard painted shoulder. Orktavia smiled, trying to ignore the heat in his cheeks and stomach, desperately deactivating his chestmounted combi-skorcha. His mekbrain forced him to his stompin feet, his mekarms dropping the shattered remains of the chair. Rogal looked at the wooden wreck, his brow furrowing further, as Orktavia replied, “Sorry, Oi've not 'ad me coffee-squig. Oi came here foirst.” He lied, smiling as sweetly as he could, unintentionally presenting Rogal with a nightmarish of her massive teef, still encrusted with squigbits and humiechunks, some teef were actually inhabited by tiny creatures, Rogal noted. Rogal reached past him and picked up his hat, putting it under his arm, desperately trying to forget the sight he had just seen. “You realise I have no idea what that means?” He said, as he put his hand to the small (a rather contradictory word) of his guest's back, guiding him towards the former location of the tent flap, nearly passing out from the exertion. Orktavia nodded, his irongob clattering against his chest as he lifted the broken tent fabric from the ground, but Rogal’s tiny hand beat it, pushing the heavy fabric from their path. The sun shone down, bright and warm in the morning sky. Setting his cap at its favoured jaunty angle, Rogal pushed the massive ork forward once more. The base was still wet from the storm the night before, but the grass and trees that were present had taken on a freshly watered lustre. If there had been any doubts about there being something between the burly commissar and the truly gigantic warbeast of an alien, their walk to the mess destroyed them as completely as an exterminatus. Guardsmen and Mechanicum alike nervously watched the pair walking together, Orktavia taking one step which Rogal desperately attempted to keep pace with, as they smiled and talked about nothing in particular, Orktavia managing to not kill anyone on the way, against all odds. As the pair entered the mess, the chatter became a whisper, as hearts broke, bets were won and lost, men dived behind makeshift barricades, and then a cry went out. A mug shattered, and Rogal’s head whipped around, and a small automissile streaked from Orktavia's forehead. Grinning sheepishly, Tiberius shook a recaf covered hand, blowing to try and cool the burning sensation, then, noticing the deadly projectile at the last minute, he dived to the side, causing the missile to instead annihilate a random trooper. Rogal rolled his eyes, tucking his hat back under his arm.

Orktavia looked up at his companion, and he looked down, “Save me a spot, I’ll be right back,” He said quietly, pushing Orktavia towards the serving line. Rogal strode across the mess to his friend, his smile quickly growing as he approached. He saw the patches hiding at Tiberius’s neck, the bruises on his arms, as the vox officer rose from the ground, picking shrapnel from his injuries, “A good night then, Sir?” Tiberius asked, as he scrunched the napkin and tossed it into the bin beside the recaf table. Rogal clapped a hand down on his friends shoulder, savouring the jolt of pain he knew he had inflicted. Tiberius’s hands clenched as tightly as his jaw, his breath escaping from between his teeth with a hiss. “An excellent night indeed. Yours?” Tiberius winced as Rogal’s hand lifted, blood surging back to fill the new bruise. With a tired grin, he replied, “Yeah, wasn’t too bad at all sir. I have some new reports coming in from the fleet you might be interested in, so I’ll see to it you get the slates.” Rogal nodded, “Much obliged as always. Any new whispers on the vox I should be aware of?” He asked, tipping his head to other officers as they passed. Tiberius shook his head, “Nothing really, just how you and the filthy xenos were seen leaving your ruined tent together.” With a sigh, Rogal poured himself a mug of recaf, drinking down the warm beverage in a long draught, before pouring himself another. “Right, well, do what you can to quash that, I’ll be around later to look at those slates.” “As you wish, Commissar,” Tiberius said, tapping his forehead in mess hall salute. Rogal strode back to the serving line, taking his spot beside Orktavia once more.

A cyborkarm offered the Commissar a ruined, bent tray, as they shuffled forward in the line. "DEM GITS IS LOOKIN AT US POINTYGIT,” Orktavia shouted, his other cyborkarms randomly flailing behind her, a few attempting to maim those behind them, “We’re somewhat of an item, apparently,” He whispered back, feeling the colour return to his cheeks. Rogal just wanted things to be simple. They shuffled down the line, the cooks serving the breakfast all smiling at him, giving him nods of respect, as he grinned awkwardly. Years of good relationships and firm but fair justice had enamoured him to the battalion, his willingness to only be a commissar when he needed to be, and to act more like an NCO cementing his good standing. Their plates loaded high with food, the pair made their way to an empty table at the back of the mess. Rogal placed his tray on the table, before pulling chairs out for his greenskin companion. Taking his seat, which groaned ominously under his weight, Orktavia set his own tray down, cybork arms reaching out to catch his squigs as they attempted to escape, as he jammed more and more squealing food into his huge gob. Rogal set his cap down as he took his seat, inhaling the delicious smell of the fresh cooked meal. “Where’s your friend this morning?” Rogal asked, before taking another mouthful of cereal, the crisp grain flakes crunching as he chewed, “Dat mekgit wif da gubbins?” Rogal nodded, shovelling more food into his mouth. Orktavia shook his large head, “I dun know, dat gits alwayz doing git fings loik mumbling over dakka 'nstead of making it DAKKIER!” Rogal swallowed, clearing his throat before he spoke, “You two seem close, I’ve seen you together quite often. Seems odd she isn’t here, is all, ”Orktavia pondered his friends absence, his cybork arms buttering him a slice of guardsman he had taken from a neighboring table, which he took in a metal klaw before munching.

“Da mekgubbinsgit is weird,” Orktavia explained, “So da gits probly still sleeping like a git.” His mekbrain ran over all her interactions between he and Caelistis in the past few days. Rogal nervously watched as Orktavia began emitting smoke from his head, a mekarm waving a chair in the air absentmindedly as he though, “SHE AKTING WIERD,” he said, thinking out loudly, Rogal nodding frantically as he ate. Tiberius walked past the table, still injured, “Oh, just so you know sir, I will be out of the vox tent from eleven hundred to around fourteen hundred, Cleo will be taking care of things,” He said as he took a seat, sitting across from the commissar and the Mekboy. “Are you two busy today?” Rogal nodded, “We’re working on another barracks today, should have the frame up by nightfall, and enough beds to fill the first.” Orktavia placed his squigspear down on the heavily damaged table, taking his mug of fungusbeer (or what the gits here called fungus beer, Orktavia was pretty certain they didn't even ferment it in boots) from the mekarm offering it, “Afer dat fing few doiyz back dem hydras gotten REAL dakka,” Orktavia twitched slightly at the thought of his explosive handywork, “Dey wanted betta shooty so Oi tied two of dem Hoidra fings togetha and den Oi gave em STOMPAS with zap guns for dat wunderful dakka while you dakka.” Orktavia’s piggish eyes brightened as he continued, his mekbrain relishing the chance to do what it was good at, “Den Oi decided dat dat wazn't choppy enuff zo Oi gave 'em missile launchas dat foire gretchen! Wif CUSTOM CHOPPAS! DAT EXPLODE!” Tiberius’s face was blank, he had stopped listening after hearing about the defence grid being overhauled.

Rogal had been lost at the idea of how Hydras with legs could be useful, but he understood most of it, “So each hydra can walk?” Orktavia nodded, “Nah, dey wud fall ovva. So Oi put rokkits in dem, dat way dey can use krump da foightabombas with da powerklaws loike a real orky fing.” A concerned look crossed Tiberius’s face, “Does that mean you’re going to be around the Vehicle pits today, xenos?” He asked, as nonchalantly as he could, Nodding happily, “Yup, less dem shiny bosses at kommand make me 'splain why dey are paintin' da tankz red agoin." Rogal’s ears pricked up, Tiberius was never just curious. “Just curiosity?” The commissar echoed, his grey eyes piercing with commissarial strength. Tiberius looked away nervously, before tapping at his ear, “What’s that Jenkins? Right? Yes? Yes. I’ll be right there, Out.” The vox officer said, before standing, pushing his seat in with his leg, “That was private Jenkins, something about some new codes not being accepted by the voxnet, I’ll see you two lovebirds around,” He said, winking before he ran off, praying to the Emprah to not feel a lasbolt at his back. Rogal sat dumbfounded, watching the cheeky Vox officer dodge his way through the mess and out the door, barely avoiding the irritated volley of gunfire Orktavia launched at his back for being a git.

Orktavia’s braingubbins thought, lovebirds, wut did birds 'ave ta do wif him and his pointygit? His mekbrain growled, taking. advantage of the fact it was dominant again, and continued its work on how he could fit a rokkit on a bunker so gits could krump while dey foight. Rogal stood, collecting both his and Orktavia's goresplattered tray, “I’ll see you at lunch?” He asked, reaching down for his cap. His hand hit table and he looked down. Orktavia’s mekarms were offering it to him from where she sat, somewhat frighteningly using his kustomshoota arm, “Yup, ya pointygit,” she said, “At da vekile pit?” Rogal nodded, taking his hat from his deadly mechanical appendage, “Sounds like a plan,” Orktavia’s shoota traced down the Commissars hand, craving to be near him for just a little while longer, managing to only fire a single shell into the air near his head. His gloved hand flinched, accidentally sticking his finger down one of the many barrels of the shoota, before hastily pulling away. Orktavia watched as he turned on his heel and strode away, the crowd in the mess parting to let him through. He grunted happily and took his fungus beer mug in both klaws, taking a sip and shooting at the crowd in happiness. “Well that was sweet,” Caelistis said, plonking herself down on the table beside her friend, a piece of toast clutched by a mechadendrite as she pulled her hair and cables up into a ponytail. Orktavia blushed, “Git? Ya was watchin?” “Me and everyone else in here,” The slender techpriestess said, before taking a bite from her toast, “You really are living a gelt romance, it’s sickening.” Orktavia ineffectually tried to hide his massive gob behind his mug, taking a sip to cover his discomfort, “Not a bad git, we was juzt-“ “Just performing some rather complicated and delicate calibrations on our table?” Caelistis said quietly, her grin wolfish. Orktavia went a darker green, his mekarms pulling his grisly skull trophies further over his huge frightening skull. “You just happened to end up in his tent this morning?”

“Dat dumb git furgot 'is gloves, Oi waz bringin' 'im dem,” Orktavia said plaintively, “Oi didn't want 'im ta get smacked abut, demm humie gits is somfin' frag-fragi eazy ta smash!” Caelistis grinned at the idea, a man that husky could take a lot of punishment. His commissarial training would make him hard to break, so feisty, so defiant. She giggled, “Yes, ten lashes, and he wouldn’t have blinked,” A pair of mekarms armed themselves angrily as Orktavia pouted, “Na. Dun ya 'tart wif dat. Oi know wut yer lioke. Dun fink Oi dun rememba wut 'appened wif you and and dat Phanes git,” Caelistis put a hand to her mouth in mock horror, “Oh, that? He was fine, I replaced his mechadendrites and arm myself,” “'is arm?” The techpriestess looked away, “Oh, right, you didn’t know about that bit. I, well, I may or may not have disassembled his arm a little.” She said sheepishly, “But that’s beside the point.” Orktavia looked puzzled, “wut?” Caelistis shrugged, “Probably, you know I’m no good in the mornings. Anyway, I just dropped by to get some breakfast, tell you I won’t be around till late again tonight, and see how your night went,” Her grin turned wolfish again, “But if what I saw last night was anything to go by, you had a very, very good night,” Orktavia smiled with far more teef than necessary, “Ya cud say dat,” He said quietly, his mek eyes shining like a small inferno. Caelistis’s eyes went wide, “You didn’t?” Tilting his head, Orktavia just looked at his friend, his massive smile growing larger. Caelistis reached out with a mechadendrite, planting it on her friend’s slim shoulders, “Did you?” “wut?” Orktavia’s braingubbins grew more confused with the current topic, wondering wut the mekgit was talking about, when he had merely found a supply of teef he had hidden a while ago last night.

Throwing his chair at an unaware human, Orktavia began to leave the mess. His mekbrain buzzed, pulling up information on the chimera maintenance schedules, his friends working hours, and the strange chemical smell that had been around her a couple of times that morning. First with Vox officer Tiberius, and now again from Caelistis, his mekbrain felt that there was a 97% chance of mukkin about. He wandered, lost in his thoughts, his mekbrain multi-tasking, allowing him to think of five different shooty fings at once while he smashed his way through a rapidly panicking crowd towards the vehicle pits, while still keeping focus on the quickly expanding human mukkin about that Caelistis had begun. He yelled at his mek team, as he stomped into the main mekshop, a chorus of frightened screams and worried greetings chattered back at him.

Logging into the workshop gretchencube, files were quickly given to Orktavia by his team. Without a pronounceable word, the team ran about doing good mekwork under Orktavia’s command. His braingubbins sat quarantined, happily punching an imaginary boy in the face, as his mekbrain screamed at the collective terrized team, each magos, artificer, and coder desperately working together, fabricating and constructing the new stompa hydras, as well as the leg rokkits and klaws for each hydra, and all the associated handwritted notes and taped over holes. The morning quickly progressed, seconds blurring painfully into hours.

Standing outside the Vehicle pit, Orktavia waited, his terrified mek team finishing up their mornings work. The warm sunlight beat against his skull, grot with a small umbrella desperately attempting to keep its master cool. He checked his time grot. The lunch break had only just started. He looked around, waiting for the pointyhatgit, when a young guardsman ran up to him. His face was haggard, his eyes red, as he leaned over, panting with exertion. “Xeno,” He gasped out between breaths, “I have been sent to inform you that The Commissar waits for you in the Mess. He sends his sincerest apologies, but says he will explain everything.” Orktavia burst into motion, crushing several mechanics and gretchin in his sudden rage. He flailed about with klaw and mekarms, shooting at everything at moved until nothing did. He then took out his fury on the ground and sky, before slowly calming down. The Guardsman poked his head out from behind a piece of rubble, wincing as the mekboy left. Orktavia’s mekbrain noted that he should install a stikkbomb launcha so he could get at those hard to reach targets, but then thought no more of it, the survivors of his mechanics team slowly coming out of hiding before following the huge ork.

Orktavia snarled happily as he made his way back to the mess tent, surrounded by his terrified mechanics team. The foremost reached the double doors of the mess and swung them open, only to get trampled by the massive boots of Orktavia as he came up behind him. His piggy eyes scanned the mess, locating Rogal in a matter of minutes. Breaking off several limbs from the group, he made his way over, his mekbrain noting how irritating having to grow your own lunchsquigs was, as he had so far failed to build a squig sandwich producing machine. His squiggyporter had been close, but he has sadly closed down that avenue of research after teleporting a squiggoth directly into a command meeting. Oh yeah and da pointygit was early or sumfing but Orktavia really didn't care. The white sling was stark against his obsidian uniform, Orktavia’s eyes flipping through the spectrums on his trinoculars, hologram gretchin popping up as he approached Rogal. His braingubbins quickened his steps, his mekbrain running as many diagnostics as it could. Vox chatter filled his pointy ears, as he went over everything that had been said on any channel about injuries and the commissar. Rogal sighed unhappily, slowly lowering his spoon into his soup. He hated using his non dominant hand, which twinged with pain in agreement.

Lifting his spoonful of soup to his mouth and blowing across it, he watched the tendrils of steam twisting in the air. “Git?” He looked away from the misty spirals, and straight into Orktavia’s terrifying face, mere inches way from his own. He very nearly fell out of his chair “HAHA GIT, YA FIND A GUD FOIGHT?” His gob fired off like a cannon, spewing unidentifiable bits of food all over Rogal's face. Rogal wiped his face clear, and then pushed a chair out with his leg, nodding for her to take a seat beside him. He climbed onto the table, before grabbing Rogal under each arm and lifting him up and turning him about like a agonized doll, looking for injury, the table groaning beneath him. His braingubbins, as he comprehended the extent of Rogal's injuries, began to fume and grunt with repressed anger at the damage done to HIS git. He looked at Rogal's pained face, how unhappy he looked, and wracked his mekbrain for something to shoot with. A few options presented themselves, his braingubbins dismissing them as too Rogal killing or insufficiently DAKKA, before his mekbrain settled the issue by firing his skull mounted ZAP gun directly at the ceiling, revealing a glimpse of a burning Valkyrie suddenly plummeting from the sky.

“Well dats nofink Oi'v 'ad wurse usin da little grot's squig,” He said, his mekarms dropping Rogal roughly back into his seat. The Commisar grunted in pain before righting himself and regaining his composure. “It’s just so frustrating. I don’t like not helping. I don’t like being helpless. I enjoy building, I’ve been doing it since I was a boy.” Orktavia patted at an uninjured part of his arm reassuringly, thus making said label suddenly inaccurate. “Ya'll just gotta go kill sumfink, dat'll make ya feel lots betta,” His mekbrain paused, looking for a suitable target. He had never been in his situation, as Orks were far too tough to suffer from a simple crippling injury. The longest he had been inactive due to damage had been three hours, before he'd managed to get his head back on.

Orktavia’s mekbrain scoffed haughtily, pointing out the superiority of orks over humies. His braingubbins grunted unhappily, before countering with the fact that even injured, his flesh was stronger than most gits. “Get OVVA IT YA GIT!” The commissar nodded as he reached for his spoon with his good hand, but was stopped by a mekarm at his wrist. Orktavia took the spoon and dipped it in the soup, before jamming into Rogal's mouth with a toothy smile. “I just said, I’m not helpless,” He complained after swallowing, His braingubbins paused with a squeak. Shouldn’t he like this? Isn’t this what happened in humie situations? His mekbrain just shook its head, throwing big signs that said HUMIES and CRAZY. His beady red eyes dimmed slightly, as he began to crush the spoon unconsciously. His arm stopped, the spoon had been interrupted on its way back to the bowl. Rogal smiled tiredly back at her, the stem of the silverware poking from his mouth. Swallowing, he released the spoon, sitting back in his chair,

“That being said, I do appreciate your kindness. It would be rude of me to rebuke it.” The commissar said, a boyish grin crossing his face. Orktavia’s braingubbins melted loike, loike, loike one of dem humies getting shot by one uf dem melta fings, but not before it delivering a series of obscene gestures to his mekbrain and the room at large. He bounced happily on the table, nearly buckling it beneath his weight, offering another spoonful of soup. The mess was filled with sunlight, and every occupant, guardsman and Mechanicus alike, felt slightly happier. A navigator in transit found his mouth agape, as a thin tendril, no thicker than a hair, spiralled off from the huge white beam that was the Astronomicon, and seemed to gently poke at a planet, before whipping back with two huge green things hanging on, a loud shouting echoing in his ears. He gave praise for the miracle he had just seen, despite his complete lack of understanding what exactly it meant.