Fast Fiction

Destroyer

Destroyer

An unofficial Warhammer 40,000 Short Story
Written by Mark Hamilton
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Life moves too quickly for her liking. She calls her children in from the encroaching night as the sun begins to set. She sighs as the boys protest, slowly making their way in from playing outside. A voice calls her name, and she cannot help smiling as she sees her husband wander in after a day working in the fields. He chivvies the boys to hurry inside as they dance around him, each vying for as much of his attention as they can get before settling in for the night. As the light outside begins to dim he embraces her in the doorway. Despite the warmth of her husband’s arms around her, she can’t help but shiver at the thought of the oncoming darkness and its bitter–

Cold stone lays silent under her feet. Rank upon rank of all that is left of her people surround her, standing silent and still in the darkness. Nothing has changed in this void for millennia. Tiny skittering constructs have been her only caretakers; the only stewards left to tend the warriors of a once-great empire. Her metal frame is motionless; sluggishly her mind begins to wander. She remembers all that it is she has lost; everything that was taken from her. Her life, years spent buffeted by the ripples caused by her betters’ actions, culminating in the moments that saw everything she had torn away until she knew only–

Death comes too early for the Necrontyr. Petty warlords struggle with each other over what little their people possess, squandering the only real treasure they are gifted. She weeps. She weeps because she has nothing else left to give. Her sons, already gone. Their short lives cut even shorter than they are afforded, grist for the mill of this great war. Her husband, the only family left to her, lying still in their bed. His skin blackened and twisted with tumours. She weeps until her throat is raw. Her tears, her grief; these are the only things she has left to give. She weeps until there is–

Silence; a flash of energy. Trillions of atoms are torn apart and rebuilt in an instant. Her instinct is to blink against the light, but optic sensors adjust instantly. The burnt-out village stretches out around her, its people fleeing in myriad directions to escape their destruction. Irresistible orders fill her mind unbidden: Conquer. Reclaim what was lost. Reclaim what is mine. She turns, marching in lockstep towards a cowering man, cradling his child. The being’s wide eyes reflect the sickly green light erupting from her gauss flayer; the atomising beam not strong enough to erase his–

Fear grips her harder than the cold hands of the monsters dragging her to the furnace. She has seen them tear children away from their parents; the sick and infirm ripped from their places of rest, fuel for this twisted experiment. Biotransference; just another name for an inevitable demise. Flames fill her vision as withering heat steals her breath. Her dimming vision takes in friends and neighbours cowering and trying to escape the hell they now inhabit. The metal figures supporting her limp frame march steadily forward, towards her oncoming destruction; her rebirth. The air is filled with–

Screams rip through the air as the beings are atomised around her. This empire lies ruined; the price they have paid for encroaching upon the sacred earth of the Necrontyr. More and more of them swarm out of every building her fellow Warriors approach. Two seem to spring up for every one that falls. Why should they proliferate when her home, her people, her family are less than dust? She stops firing on the crowds and instead stalks forward, not feeling the solid shot rounds dent her shell as she bears down on their feeble resistance. A different feeling fills her with an inner fire that consumes her command protocols. She hefts the gauss flayer into the air and brings it down on the cowering alien in front of her. Her optical receptors register the vista clearly, but still her vision clouds. Again and again and again she brings down her weapon, until the overwhelming presence of her Lord begins to forcibly shut down her systems. Her last sight is of the twisted aliens; they do not stir. Nothing remains of them but shattered bone, meat and–

Blood fills the streets of former home – her people have no need for such a base element of life any longer. Everything is quiet, split only by distant screams and wailing as pockets of resistance are found and transported away to undergo the transformation. Ghost Arks hang low above the buildings, teleporting Warriors from sector to sector to ensure every citizen is found and brought forth to serve. She turns as the sound of muffled whimpering registers from under a crude barricade. The child screams as the crates are wrenched away, kicking and grasping at her metal flesh. She walks back to the furnace as its voice grows weaker, fading into whimpers. Soon they will understand; soon they will all know–

Peace has eluded her since this war began. She longs to return to the nothingness of the tomb, but for now her duty is clear. This world is infested and only she and the cult have the indomitable will to cleanse it once and for all, so that all of her people may embrace the quiet she has found in destruction. So, they will end it all, not for the thanks of their masters, but for the deliverance of the Necrontyr. She had not known it before, but her mortal existence was a curse; a curse lifted by the blessing of her ascension. Now she longs to share her greatest gift with what is left of her people and knows that in the end they will embrace it as their salvation. There is no greater gift than hatred, and no greater sacrifice they can offer than an end to all–

About the Author

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Mark Hamilton has been a Warhammer fan for over half his life. With his passion for reading and training as a copyeditor and proofreader, attempting to write stories himself seemed like a natural next step. Mark’s work can be found on Instagram and Twitter at @notgreatpainter.

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