Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Secrets of the Noctis part 10 of 10. Adeptus Mechanicus Fiction.

Part X – Epilogue

The brassy thing that had once been a man looked over the memory chip his Explorator menials had recovered for him. Delpheus had been an eager young fool and she’d paid the price. Now it came to him to carry out his duty as he had done for centuries already and his mentor before him and his mentor before that.

“Servitor reporting Archmagos.”

“Transfer this item,” He said with a burst of machine code. “To vault 3.45223.435235-A6. Authorisation code follows.” Another squeal of compressed data.

“It shall be done.” Mumbled the servitor.

“Upon entering the vault, deposit the item on shelf seven with the other memory chips. The door will seal behind you, then you will go to the incineration unit at the rear of the vault, activate it and destroy yourself.”

“It shall be done.” The servitor left with the chip.

The Archmagos leaned back and steepled his finely crafted metallic fingers. She had given her life for selfish means but the Cabal knew the value of steady knowledge acquisition. Only when the time was right would the vault be opened and the secrets of the Noctis truly understood.

He nodded in satisfaction and looked at the minute inscription on one knuckle.

Magos Nocta Primus.


  1. Thanks for the story. I enjoyed it.

    I might have missed it, but I didn't realise they were on Mars until the story was well underway.

    I thought the plot was a good one, and it made sense. Not sure what the ring at the end signifies - is he the same Magos quoted near the beginning? Except he is "Noctis Primus" not "Nocta Primus".

    The characters were good. A small cast, and some good conflict between them. You don't name any of them, however, until Part 9. Was that deliberate? Until then they are simply "she", "pilot" and "co-pilot".

    I did wonder that the pilot and co-pilot would have such a degree of conflict with a magos on Mars itself. Surely only complete faith and loyalty would be tolerated among the menials there?

    I liked the shards of metal somehow being integral to the Iron Man's operation. An appealing idea and one you could take further if you wanted.

    I would have liked to have known more about the Iron Man and, in particular, some hints at why he reacted the way he did. Even without that, some suggestion that there was more at the heart of the mystery than just a single Iron Man standing in a canyon would elevate the ending a degree.

  2. Thanks for reading, sholto.

    I tried to play around with the story being mysterious and perhaps I was a little too successful with that and it became confusing. I didn't want to introduce any names until the end just so I could avoid people instantly jumping to it being on Mars etc.

    The guy in the epilogue is supposed to be the one mentioned in the earlier part of the story. It must have just been a mispelling.

    I was going for the Magos being very much out on a limb and trying to find the kind of helpers who were quick-witted enough to help her get out as far as she wanted but because of that, they were rebellious. It seemed like a good way to add conflict and tension that you might not have got with two completely obedient menials. In that sense though I toned down the grim darkness that would probably be the life of a menial or basic worker on mars.

    The essence of the story relies on people learning a bit about the rumours of Mars. Essentially, the Void Dragon is bound into the planet of Mars under the Noctis Labyrinth. The 'man of iron' could be what he is described as, or he could be an early necron of the Void dragon. These are described as using lightning weapons that were replaced by gauss technology when the Eldar fielded Wraithbone warriors who didn't get affected by the lightning.

    I figured that the shards of metal would be parts of the C'tan and so would give the controlling power to the necron. Or perhaps they could be fragments of some AI control source for a man of iron.

    Overall I was strongly hinting at the presence of Necron/C'tan influence but I didn't want it to be outright decided either way.

    I've got no plans to take this story further but I could always have a try with it. Or you are welcome to play around with it (i'd be honoured).