By Laura Goldring
The ground rumbles faintly, as though the scudding clouds in a polluted sky overhead are harbingers of some greater approaching calamity, which in essence they might be, for death approaches.
The God Machines are walking.
There is a loud pinging sound as the Warlord Titan 'Frustrum Stercore' fires its auspex. Such is the great force of the sensor pulse that the few remaining windows within a 2 mile radius falls like rain upon the rubble-haunted streets below.
The Volcano cannon, a weapon the size of a cityblock tracks with a deafening grind of colossal gears and cogs, then sparks its own miniature sun; vaporising a structure in the middle distance and leaving dancing motes of idiot light on the eyes of any who might yet survive in that hellish wasteland; that absence of sanity and decency.
"Weapons check complete my Princeps." says Moderati Gallus Vitulamen, unable to hide a note of pride "Target destroyed. Weapon operating well within safe parameters." Princeps Vetus Cunnus offers no reply. He is of the old breed, no haptics, or noospheric links. A simple nod of his withered head from within the bubbling, gloomy confines of the MIU coffin serves to assure the bridge crew of his approval.
"Very good Moderati." gurgles a tinny, artificial voice from the coffin's vocabulator grill. "Now we must seek out the enemies of the Omnissiah, for in his glory, the machine god has given mighty Frustrum Stercore the means of doing his will throughout the stars."
"It shall be done my Princeps!" replies Vetus Cunnus, overcome with enthusiasm for the task at hand.
"Helmsman, all ahead forward, striding speed." barks the terse command from the rear of the bridge.
"All ahead aye, Princeps." replies Helmsman Stultus Pungunt and so they are off, striding through the fog of war with even death fleeing before them, even though they are probably going a lot slower than a large tank, or a squadron of heavily armed bombers would.
"My Princeps, we have an auspex return." barks the short-tempered sensorium, Parvula Cole. "It appears to be a single enemy engine, Reaver class." The princeps gurgles surprise and slides closer to the glass.
"It is the will of the Omnissiah..." he whispers, reverently.
"Never mind Moderati, never mind. Sensorium, tell me, what is the enemy engine's loadout and status?"
"Coming into full sensorium range now my Princeps... yes... I have it. The enemy has a Vulcan mega bolter, 2 carapace mounted Plasma Blast Cannon, a Chainfist and... blessed Omnissiah protect us..."
"Keep your head Sensorii. Complete your report!" barks the Princeps, angrily.
"O..of course My Princeps. Forgive me. The enemy engine has... a huge pair of tits!"
"DAMAGE REPORT!" screams the Princeps, his voice little more than a strangled gurgle of static through the bridge speaker system. Moderati Gallus Vitulamen recoils from the sonic backlash and reads from his screen.
"My Princeps, void shields are holding, but our Titan's self esteem levels are dropping, fast!"
"My Princeps! A new return. Enemy infantry column inbound from the dust storm. Traitor infantry and Skitarii in the van. They're looking at the other Titan's tits sir!"
Vetus Cunnus recoils inside his tomb of glass and preservative fluid. Through the mind impulse unit, he feels his Titan reel under the ridicule of its twisted, big-titted counterpart. He cannot help but share the God Machine's feelings of shame and inferiority. All is lost.
"My Princeps!" yells the Moderati "Engine room reports that our void shields are failing. We have to attract the attention of those enemy soldiers immediately! They're whooping and making uppercut motions with their fists like out of the Carry On films with Sid James and Barbara Windsor. Sir, in comparison with that bountifully boobed nightmare we're a poor man's Joan Sims, at best!"
"Princeps? Princeps Cunnus, you have to do something sir. Now! yells Parvula Cole."
"ENOUGH!" comes the harsh, artificial roar over the speakers, this time a definite statement of command, rather than the pathetic whine of before. "Helm, give me strutting speed, all ahead forward and wiggle the arse for good measure!"
"All ahead forward, strutting speed, Aye Princeps. Prepare for arse wiggling on 3...2...1... commencing!"
"My Princeps, some of the soldiers are looking over here. It's working!"
"We're not out of the fire yet Moderati. Engine room, this is your princeps: have the hosiery servitors prepare to release tension on the Vulcan Mega Bra and activate tissue injectors. It's time we showed this bastard some real cleavage."
"My Princeps, please reconsider! Frustrum Stercore is a slimline model. We can't match the natural curves of our opposite number. We'll just look like a push-up job!" begs the tech-priest, Stultus Retunsus.
"Advice acknowledged and disregarded Tech Priest. I accept full responsibility, now pad us up!"
There is a tense, silent moment as the awesome power of the Omnissiah's mysterious workings are put into play. Gears grind and creak as the enigmatic machineries of a lost age, a dark age are wielded once more. The very bridge shakes as damage reports flood in from all parts of the God Machine.
"It's working my Princeps! The Skitarii are shouting 'Phwoooaaarrrrr!' and one of the cultists has just made a flimsy excuse to visit the latrines! The enemy titan is reeling... Sir... It's breaking off! We've won! Victory to the Omnissiah!"
There is jubilation on the bridge as even hard-wired servitors gurgle their approval in monotonous binary cant.
"What are your orders my Princeps?" asks the Moderati, eagerly.
"Now we shoot them all with the Volcano Cannon and go home. I have a feeling that Frustrum Stercore will want to take its bra off and get into a bath with some candles."
"For the Omnissiah!" yell the crew in response.
Once more, the God Machine sets off into the wastes, it's mission over, it's upper back a bit sore...