Corpse / Small Worlds Chapter Sixteen

Small Worlds
Chapter Sixteen

Noonjack was lounging in the quarters provided to him and his brothers when the alarm rang out, practicing his quick draw with the revolver he had taken from the prisoner. It was a perfectly balanced weapon, a work of art, with three initials, V.V.V, wrought into the stock, an eight inch barrel, neoprene synthetic rubber finger-grooved combat-style grip, large target type hammer and trigger, as well as open iron sights with a red insert front and fully adjustable white outline rear. Yep, by his eyes it was a princely weapon, a royal weapon.

Bushjack raised his head from the couch. He'd been sleeping for a while now, complaining about headaches, this was the first time he had stirred in a while. Shaking out his dirty blond hair the heavy-set Psyker climbed to his feet.

"Big Bro," he muttered as he fumbled for a cigarette in his coat pocket, "I think we've got trouble coming,"

Bushjack had a keen sense for these things. He was only a low Psyker, able to probe minds and send messages, but he had a touch of the precog as well. Noonjack listened whenever he spoke of trouble.

"Get your guns, go wake up Pulpit, we'll greet it with iron," he said, spinning that kingly revolver as he gave his orders. It made him feel something close to invincible, that gun.

Bushjack followed his brother's orders and woke up Pulpit. The man blinked as he woke up, muttering something in hebrew as he climbed to his feet. Pulpit was the only one who could still speak their ema's tongue, so Noonjack had no idea what the boy had muttered. Something about small worlds or worlds within worlds, something ancient bullshit. Didn't matter.

Each drew their guns, not all their guns mind, since they all carried half a dozen each, but they drew their favourites. Noonjack drew his own pistol, a semi-automatic he'd picked up off the Wu Zhong, in the Magi's land. Pulpit went for more exotic weaponry, an ancient Luger engraved with text from the Torah in one hand, a Keesh slinger in the other, the sort that fired nasty little discs rather then bullets. Bushjack went for a classic shotgun, combat pump action.

They turned to the door and waited.

Nothing happened. "You dumb ass, it was just a nightmare," he growled.

Then a knock came on the door.

"Its Captain Peters, open up!" it certainly sounded like Peters.

"Pulpit, open the door," he ordered, keeping his gun leveled just in case. The door opened with a swish. Peters glared at Noonjack, his amber eyes filled with hostility. Jonas Peters wasn't a big man, but he acted as if he were. He strode into the room, his pet Psykers fanning out behind him, acting as if the guns drawn on him didn't exist. "We've got another break out," he said, "I'm requisitioning you three to aid in the search,"

"My brothers and I work for Captain Holt, not the SDF," he replied.

"Well you work for me now, hurry up and get moving," the man barely looked him in the eyes before turning on his heels and stalking out of the room. Asshole. It was people like Peters that usually left him out of the SDF's employ.

"You heard him," Noonjack growled, "Let's go look for this escapee. I think we should check the officers mess first," The man had told him to search, he hadn't told him where. "Who knows, they could be hiding in the bottom of a whiskey bottle,"
Abigail Vayne-Flyte moved with a mix of shock, rage and excitement. Vaniah was alive. She had thought him dead, they all had. Vaniah was alive. Reports had claimed he had fallen in battle, an Asher to the end, wiped out with the rest of his company fighting the creatures of the third ring. Vaniah was alive. And Zeke had known. She climbed the stairs to the navigator's deck, intent on dragging some kind of information out of the hulking old soldier.

She found him finishing his report to the Magistrate. "The fugitive named Vaniah Variah Vayne has been captured as per your orders, we are bringing him in now. Arrival time is set to five hours, at thirteen-fifty by Earth's clock, this has been Captain Ezekiel Holt, signing off,"

He turned to see her standing in the doorway, his expression grim. "Saber Vayne-Flyte, shouldn't you be searching for your husband?" he asked.

"You knew you son of a bitch," she snarled, tears welling in her eyes, "You knew!"

"I suspected, but I wasn't sure," he replied, "It takes more then a few creepy-crawlies out of the lower rings to kill a King of the Fourth. His father could have taken that entire horde by himself, and Vaniah had always taken after his father."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

To that he gave no answer, at least not immediately. Instead he turned his back to her, shoulders slumped in shame. "I was his father's retainer," he said, "And on his father's death I would have been his. If he wished to remain hidden, it was my duty to make sure he couldn't be found."

"What changed then?"

"The Kingdom died," he said, "And he took up with the Prophetess, his father's sworn enemy. He turned his back on the Old Ways and became a world thief. I cannot forgive that."

"And now?" she asked.

He turned back to her, eyes blazing with righteous fury. "And now I bring that little whelp to justice."