Requiem For A God Machine
An unofficial Warhammer 40,000 Short Story
Written by Gregory Williams
Reading Time: 4 minutes
I am dying.
Or perhaps I am already dead.
It is hard to tell. My existence cannot be judged as simply as alive or deceased. It is possible I have died many times, always to be reforged and resurrected, brought forth anew to continue my grand purpose. Or perhaps I have never died, and this time, like those before it, is not oblivion but a temporary sleep. One that I will wake from with renewed vigor, feeling as if the weight of ages has been stripped from me and I have stepped fresh from the foundries for the first time again.
Or perhaps this is the final time, and I will have my godhood stripped of me as my bones return to the earth from whence they were forged and I recede into memory, little more than a litany of glorious deeds, stories to be told throughout all time, so long as stories are told. Perhaps then, if that be the case, I shall never die, but remain immortal so long as there is one tongue that continues to speak my name.
Such thoughts are vainglory.
I did not lay waste to entire armies, nor burn whole worlds to ash simply for the adulation of my name. I did not call lightning and walk with thunder so that I might be placed upon a pedestal and worshipped. They call me deus machina but that is their name, not mine! I did not choose this reverent sobriquet for myself just as I did not raze the stars to replace them! I merely did what I was crafted to do! Would any other machine feel so fulfilled at the completion of their purpose as I, here in this waning moment as I watch this binary sunset!
What they do with my name is their business. No matter their choice, I shall remain here on this mountainside, watching as my slow deterioration nourishes the forest that cradles me. Even now the arboreal marmots mistake my atrophying limbs for the branches they are accustomed to. I do not mind. It is nice to have something living so close again. My crew is gone. The cadavers of those that were not obliterated with that final blow remain slumped at their stations. I keep their bones, their flesh already long deteriorated. I am their tomb, as this mountain forest will be mine.
I feel the earth’s greedy hand on my body, seeking to reclaim me. Creeping vines crawl across my armored skin, and coil about stilled pistons and clotted hydraulic lines. Rust, that Great Enemy which never sleeps, slowly degrades me. Its work is slow, but its work is persistent. I know it will undo me in time, but I am not worried. Time is all I have left.
I mark time with the passing of the sun each day. I used to mark it in other ways. Inspections and crew changes and refits. But no longer. I cannot guess the last time my plasma flue was scoured or my void shield generators recalibrated. Not that it matters. Longer still is the last time I required them. The flames that once filled my heart have extinguished themselves and the energy that once coursed through my veins has since dissipated.
I am stilled.
Much like this mountain. Though unlike this mountain, I will not live long enough to see the end of time. Not in this form. I shall return to the dirt. I shall nourish the trees. And in that way I shall endure. But such endurance will necessitate change both in body and in spirit. I think I will not recognize when and if that change completes itself. But perhaps I will not need to. Whatever I am to become will have no need of the memory of what I currently am.
What am I currently?
I am dying.
Or perhaps I am already dead.
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About the Author
Gregory Williams is a historian by profession. He has been writing for over a decade and has been involved in the Warhammer hobby for even longer. Gregory writes primarily as a hobby, but does have professional aspirations. He has been published previously by the Jack London Foundation and Cold Open Stories.