Misadventures of the Malefic Halitosia
- Forge World
- Child of the Creed
Favourite weapon: Storm Bolter (aka the Legapitator)
Leto was not born an orphan, although he might as well have been. Within a day of his birth, his mother expired in his father’s arms, her mostly-flesh body unable to recover from the arduously long and painful process of bringing him into this world. When asked what the newborn’s name was, his father was said to mutter, ‘Leto’. Was it coincidence that the word meant ‘murder’ in High Gothic? Leto didn’t think so.
He would ask his father, had the man lived long enough. The incident report listed his cause of death as ‘safety protocol violation’. Having seen and worked the forge-lathe that his father supposedly forgot to secure and subsequently tripped into, Leto had arrived at a different conclusion. His father had written the safety protocols for that forge-lathe, among many other. There was no doubt in Leto’s mind that no safety protocol was violated. He noted that his father managed to have his accidental death without injuring anyone else, and more importantly, without damaging any machinery. In fact, if you believe the servitors’ binary whispers, the forge-lathe has since been operating at 9.2% improved efficiency.
His father was an ordained enginseer, and his rank was sufficiently high that the Lucius tech-priests took custody of Leto and ensured that he would become a productive cog in the machinery of the cult. He was often told that he could recite the Credo Omnissiah when he was barely three, and that he had mastered his first rite at five, a year earlier than his peers. Few things mattered to Leto other than his work and the mysteries of the Omnissiah, so it was no surprise that he steadily rose through the ranks of the Mechanicus.
At first, Leto was largely indistinguishable from his enginseer peers. He knew the rites better, spoke to the machine spirits more fluently, and made fewer procedural mistakes, but still he was just another part in the greater whole. It was not until later, when by chance he was seconded to a visiting explorator, that his path diverged. He spent a week performing third-level maintenance on the explorator’s implants and mechadendrites, and during that week his mind was irreversibly opened.
The chatty explorator was happy to regale him with tales of xenos artifacts and archaeotech excavations, piquing Leto’s latent wanderlust. “Xenos technology is extremely dangerous, and forbidden,” Leto had protested.
“It is so,” replied the explorator, who went by the name Fatus, “Yet the secrets of the Omnissiah are often found among them. Among them, mind you, not within them. Do not mistake me for an Abraxas daydreamer.”
Fatus laughed. “Mind the tines, boy, they are expensive to replace. If you can manage your job and listen to my babbling at the same time, I will tell you of Abraxas.”
Leto made sure Fatus told him exactly how he attained the rank of explorator before he left. Leto had faith in procedures: of one step leading to another, if done properly, and in each juncture having alternatives and contingencies. All things are attainable, if one is mindful of the procedure and is willing to work through the steps. Leto dilligently followed Fatus’ procedure, tweaking when the needs arises, and within two years the Mechanicus saw fit to assign him the rank of explorator. The Fabricator General himself welded the seal of the explorator to Leto’s cyber-mantle, and gave him his first assignment aboard the explorator ship Rakinos.
Fatus sent Leto a communique, congratulating him on his assignment. “Be mindful of your mindful mind, Leto of Lucius. The path of the explorator is not as ordered as you would like it to be,” Fatus wrote. Leto had already understood this, but he did not mind his mentor’s warning. While the procedure of becoming an explorator was mostly standard, there was no obvious equivalent for being an explorator. If there were standard procedures for finding STCs, then all of them would have been found by now. No, the path of the explorator required a different way of looking at the world, a different viewpoint that Leto had slowly been working to cultivate. Still, he had the advantage of knowing that procedures still had their place within his work. The steps towards an STC may not be known to him entirely at the beginning, but when the immediate steps become known, then he knew he could apply known procedures to get there, and then discover his next options, the apply the procedures, and so on. There was, indeed, if not a procedure, a meta-procedure to exploration.
His faith in the procedures proved well-founded when Rakinos warped into the Malfian Sub-Sector and found itself unexpectedly face-to-face with a squad of Meritech pirates. Leto had earlier followed standard protocol by checking last-known scans of the area and knew that the rogue trader ship Malefica Halitosia was undertaking a local survey within a few light years away. Leto immediately voxed this knowledge to the Rakinos’ astropath, who in turn transmitted a request for help. Leto and the machine spirits managed to jury-rig the void shields to withstand the Meritech macrobatteries long enough for Malefica Halitosia to locally warp in and drive the pirates away.
Magos Explorator Karven commended him on his quick thinking and sent him as envoy to the Malefica Halitosa. There he met rogue trader Bob Fay and his crew. Leto thanked his saviours and set the servitors to installing upgrades onto Malefica Halitosia, upgrades that Magos Karven had sent as a token of gratitude. “Let the servitors do their serving. You will stay for a feast. First, a tour of the ship,” Captain Fay said.
At first, the chaos of the rogue trader ship overwhelmed and unsettled Leto. Slowly, however, he came to appreciate how the multitude of entities inexplicably worked together, and did so well. By the time he sat down for the feast, plied with endless amasec and intently listening to Fay’s tales of adventure, his mind was reeling with admiration and awe. He was impressed, among many things, by the autonomy and prestige of the rogue trader life. Not as rich as it used to be, still the Fay dynasty had explored more forgotten worlds in a month than Rakinos was planning to do in its five-year expedition. This was exactly the kind of ship and crew that would lead Leto to knowledge of an STC, nay, perhaps even to an STC itself.
The Omnissiah had shown him an alternative procedure.
The Rakinos survived the battle, but was so severely damaged that it had to return to Lucius for repairs. Leto appealed to Magos Karven to let him serve aboard Malefica Halitosia, to settle the cult’s debt to Captain Fay. Karven was not entirely convinced, but he saw he would lose Leto anyway if he had said no. So he gave Leto a writ of secondment and the related paperwork, and gave him instructions to report back to Karven on a monthly basis. “You will go far,” Karven predicted. “I would have you remember where you came from.”
So that was how Leto took this particular path aboard Malefica Halitosia, where he again he rose among the ranks and eventually made Chief Enginseer. He knew what lied ahead for him, a progression all they way up to Magos Explorator, and then, who knows? Fabricator General? Would he be the next explorator to discover a whole STC? Leto considered these, and was pleased. He will get there.
Procedures: One step leading to another, if done properly, and in each juncture having alternatives and contingencies. All things are attainable, if one is mindful of the procedure and is willing to work through the steps.