The Curtain Falls
The holy cloisters of Secundus Hive Prime had begun to ring with whispered rumours. The antique Oracles, plugged as they were into the Succundus’ genetic network almost always spoke in incoherent riddles. Now though they muttered of something else, of a new organised religion in the mid-levels, of many hundreds of citizens turning their back on the holy light of the Emporer and embracing new beliefs, defined by promises of salvation from the stars themselves.
There had been several protests in habitation zones that were so far up the hive that one would not have normally associated them with Under-hive belief systems. These protests had been viciously put down of course, but they had been marked by the appearance of well dressed, pale skinned individuals, who spoke in oaths and promises and held an almost hypnotic control over the assembled crowds.
Very few saw a connection with the Temple of the Lizard. That particular cult had long been a well kept secret amongst the upper classes of the Secundus administratum, eager to evade the all-penetrating gaze of the Imperium and its Inquisition, eager that nothing should interfere with the raising of their regular Militarum tithe and the sanctions that it awarded them. The Temple, it had been thought, was nothing more than a nuisance, contained as it was within the lowest depths of the sump. Regular security sweeps had reported encouraging body counts and it was believed that the Temple had suffered and hurt. Hundreds had been slaughtered. Only a few members of the Administratum recognised that those self same programmes of organised slaughter had created more Temple brothers than it had destroyed, inflicting, as it did, so many innocent casualties. In this way the Administratum had been squarely implicated in the radicalisation of its own population.
In this way, the danger had been ignored for far too long.
Many of the religious adepts who occupied the cloisters had been reporting the dreams for months. The dreams were always the same. A shadow falling over the stars, collapsing from the sky itself and appearing to infect the ash wastes and everything between them. The planet shrivelled like a rotten restruct-peach until only a husk remained, stripped bare and barren.
None amongst the higher echelons could afford to lend a sympathetic ear. Instead, the monasteries were investigated for corruption and a number of adepts were subjected to public dissection for the crime of disseminating heresy.
Yet still the dreams continued. And still the upper echelons preferred ignorance to knowledge
Octullus - Salvage Engineer, Sump Shore West.
I saw em first, although old Kirin ‘ere will swear uverwise, won’t you Kirin? E’s a useful little critter to ‘av around. Never ‘ad a better Skull. Me Sneaking Sentry, that’s wot I calls ‘im. He goes aloft whiles I sleeps. Stops the Bone Scraggers from stealing’ me wot nots. Saved me life before, ‘e as.
Them people? They been comin’ ‘ere for awhiles, at least that what the sump fishers tell, and you can’t argue with them can you? They see ev’ryfin.
There were five of ‘em three days back. Pullin’ a covered over cart. Didn’t see what was in it. Heard sumfin’ mind. Sumfin’ big and ‘eavy, like a big ‘eavy animal. Got this scrabbly-scribbly feelin’ as it went past. Like somebody in me ‘ed. Like somebody lookin’ through me thoughts and guts, you know? Could have sworn it had a voice, but wasn’t like normal talkin’, no. More like a pattern be’ind me eyes. Felt right weird it did.
Didn’t sleep that night I can tell you. ‘Ad weird dreams I did. Woke me right up. Couldn’t sleep so I went down to the shore and ‘ad a talk wiv one of the fishers. Theys there all the time you see. Always fishin’, never stoppin’ to sleep or talk or eat. Well, that fisher, ‘e tells me the self same fing. He felt the scribbly feeling in ‘is ‘ed too. Ever since that cart came an’ went. I told ‘im ‘bout me dream and Emporer’s Breath, ‘e tells me ‘e had the same.
Got me finking it as. Right odd. Doesn’t feel right out there no more. Doesn’t feel like the Sump as it ought.
Like a lot of people I've been waiting for the Genestealer Cult for a long time, ever since those early days back in the late 80s when they were first introduced. I was slightly too late to the game when the first metal hybrids were released. Now though, they're back with a vengeance.
I'd been toying with the idea of expanding the Temple of the Lizard. These guys arrived just in time to absorb that cult. They have their eyes set on bigger things that just being masters of the Sump.