Fast Fiction

The Eye On A Distant World

The Eye On A Distant World

An unofficial Warhammer 40,000 Short Story
Written by Hayden Beardall
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The hole in the world appeared three rotations prior to when the Arbitrators of Thrax brought Janus, the discoverer of the phenomena in for interrogation. Half the planet knew about it. The phenomena had become a popular tourist attraction within that time too. Several competing companies had set up shops to market holiday tours to visit what they had tentatively described as the “Second Wonder of Thrax”. The other wonder being the Jurgen, a range of snow-covered mountains that bisect the planet like a serpent and where the hole in the world was first discovered. It was like a tear through reality itself, a space of nothingness in the shape of a wide, curved unblinking eye.

Warden Letron had been surprised to see Janus on his table that evening. He was scrawny, pale and wearing nothing but his soiled underwear. He was also babbling, incoherent and clearly deranged. 

Hardly the brilliant pioneering mind the books would have you believe.

Long strands of hair were thankfully draped over his face covering the mess where his eyes had been. The wounds still bled. Letron chuckled to himself.

He hadn’t even begun to interrogate him yet. 

Two Arbitrators stood against the entrance, a network of chains, hooks and cables like hanging vines in a forest filled the air between them and the Warden.

‘Has he been like this long?’ Letron asked.

‘Since we brought him in, sir. I advised to cut out his tongue.’ The Arbitrator on the left spoke first, she was shorter than the other, an off-world accent too.

‘Is that so? Then how would he tell us what happened?’ Letron smirked beneath his visor and leant forward, bringing his fingers to a steeple. ‘Next time an idea begins to form in your skull, try to remember if it was one that was given to you. Should it not be, ignore it.’ Both Arbitrators squirmed uncomfortably.

‘It’s heresy, sir. We thought you should know.’ She knew his eyes were pressed against the inside of his helmet, boring into her like an Oslurk ice drill. 

‘You think me not intelligent enough to figure that out for myself? It’s my task to find out what he knows. How can…’ Janus screamed, a high pitched gurgling caw like an injured bird. Letron unclipped and raised his baton in one movement and brought it down on Janus’ chest. He turned back to the Arbitrators, but they had scarpered.

Shame.

Alone, he could begin his work. He had his servitor, Ursh, gag the man. Ursh was an older model and still retained a few too many rotten human-like features. Ursh then laid out the interrogators tools on a table next to Janus. They gleamed like the eyes of a prowling krox in the moonlight.

‘Where do we begin, hmm?’ Letron took a long thin needle and swung it pendulously above Janus’s fingers. ‘You can not see this, but you will feel it.’ He plunged the tip of the needle into the prisoners middle finger, pinning it to the table. The man thrashed but not any more than he had been already. Odd. Letron tried again, a little further down, straight into the centre of the man’s palm. Blood welled from the needlepoint but the prisoner simply continued thrashing and wailing just as before. ‘Oh, damn it all.’ He muttered and yanked the gag away from the prisoner. 

He immediately regretted it.

AN EYE INTO THE DISTANT WORLD. CITY OF SILVER AND SHADOW. THEY SEE US. EVERYONE CAN SEE IT. EVERYONE WILL SEE IT.

Ursh quickly reapplied the gag to the prisoner. Letron pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration.

‘Yes, yes, but where did the hole come from? What did you see in it?’ Letron rounded the table and held the prisoners head in his hands tightly and thumped it down against the table with a heavy thud. His hair shifted and Letron looked down wincing at the bloodied mess of the prisoner’s face. There had been others like him, ninety-nine in total with similar injuries. The reports said it had been one of the usual tour groups. Their eyes had been clawed out from self-inflicted wounds and most had swallowed their tongues. 

What had they seen? 

The Arbites and PDF had moved quickly but it was only a matter of time till someone on Terra got wind of this. He needed something for when they turned up, something to prove that Thrax had acted diligently in the face of this blatant affront to the God Emperor’s will. 

He needed a confession. Letron decided on a new tactic. 

He released his grip on the prisoners head and braced his arms against the desk. ‘We’re up against it, my friend. Do you know what they’ll do when they see this? Do you know what an Atmospheric Incinerator Torpedo is? It will burn the air in your lungs before you even begin to sweat from the heat of it. That is something everyone will see…’ Janus was thrashing more now, he began to pull hard at the restraints on his wrists and ankles till blood began to drip from the table to the floor.

Good. He was listening at least.

Letron left the room hours later, with some effort he pulled off his blood-covered gloves and helmet and stepped blinking into the morning sun. The two Arbites were waiting for him, they snapped to attention, their thick shotguns angled downwards. The shorter one spoke first.

‘Anything, sir?’ She asked, a noticeable waiver in her voice.

‘Nothing of note. How many others were in for tours today?’ He asked. 

‘Seven hundred and twenty-nine, sir.’ Answered the taller arbite. Letron clenched his jaw. 

That was a lot.

‘Nobody ever saw it. There was an… “accident”. Tell Commander Pirax that…’ The shotgun blast took the words and the upper portion of Letron’s body, scattering them to the wind. The shorter Arbitrator stepped forward, her gun still smoking and shifted some of the blasted flesh with her boot.

‘Nobody saw it.’

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