A resource. Fuel for the expansion. They waste nothing.
She was the last one left alive, but that was hardly something to be thankful for. Her fate, she knew, would be far worse unless she ended her life right now. A mother, the priest had said. Ordimas Arujo had warned her. She wanted to weep, but that was not something Shianna Varlan ever did. She had a single choice left. Looking down at the rings on her fingers, she knew one of them still held a charge, a single bolt of energy that would be enough to end her life and spare her from the horror to come. Do it, she thought. Kill yourself, Shianna. Don’t let them do what they will.
She almost convinced herself, too, but in the end, she was an interrogator of the Ordo Xenos. Her life was not her own to end. It belonged to the Ordo, and to His Lordship. Her opticom was logging everything in that special partition of her brain. Somehow, His Lordship would find a way to get her out. If not, then at least he would recover the intelligence she was now uniquely positioned to gather. For that, she would endure. It might mean the difference between life and death for countless others.
For just a moment, she wondered if His Lordship had known this might happen. His psykers were powerful. Had he sent her here knowing capture was written in her future? Was it this very circumstance that best served his veiled purpose? No. She couldn’t believe that. Mustn’t believe it. Her loyalty was the foundation of everything in which she trusted. He would get her out somehow. He would send someone, perhaps even his angels of death.
Until then, I will suffer what I must, observe all I can. Emperor Omniscient, I pray only that salvation come soon, whether rescue or death.
The monstrosity that carried her left the underground dome of the shift-station behind. Narrow, frost-covered walls slid past on either side. The creature was taking her deeper into the old mines. The hybrid priest strode behind, his unblinking eyes always on her. She did not know it then, but they would travel for hours to reach the lair of the so-called Master. All sign of human handiwork would disappear. They would travel through tunnels carved in solid rock by the powerful bio-acids of great prehistoric worms. They would traverse narrow stone walkways and vast echoing caverns cut and shaped by geological time and, at the end of it, they would reach a place Varlan lacked the vocabulary to describe, save that it resembled nothing that could have come from a human mind.
It was here, in this foul place, this alien den of soul-swallowing horror, that Shianna Varlan’s slow descent into madness and destruction would begin.
It was here that her children would be born.