Today would be Emil’s last day on the world he called his own. He had a feeling if he could not contact his family now, he might not have another chance to. Sarge gave him a moments reprieve to make the trip to the Vox station. Grabbing his kit, he took off at a jog towards the tent.
A queue had formed leading outside the tent. He thought of his brothers, sisters, parents and neighbors. He looked forward to hearing their voices one more time before leaving. The life of a Guardsman is busy, but he still had always managed to get time to Vox in or at least send them a letter. So much had happened and he wanted to be sure they were okay and to say goodbye.
The minutes ticketed by without any give to the line. He did not have much time to spend in line. Rumors began spreading of a technical issue. Those rumors were soon validated by the sergeant manning the tent. The caster’s machine spirit has gone silent and would not respond. The tent would be closed until repairs could be made. A roar burst forth from the men in line. Running out of time Emil raced back across camp.
The exchange of 5 Iho sticks secured him paper, an envelope, and postage form. He jotted down a quick message with the name of his unit, his commanding officer and a short blurb stating he was okay.
“…I pray to the Lord Emperor that you receive this letter quickly. Please respond as soon as you receive this. I will inform the Vox crews to contact me as soon as they receive your reply. Hope Jonathan and Jeremy are getting along better now, and tell Georgia that she’s not allowed to date until I have a nice long chat with her.
I love you all,
He slid the envelope and form into the mail slot at the mail tent and raced back to his unit. There was still a lot of packing to do and they had to be in orbit in a few hours.
Having never been off planet before, Emil was caught of guard by the sudden weightlessness as the engines cut out. He was sent airborne and bounced off the bulkhead. Though startled Emil quickly righted himself. With the help of some hand holds brought himself back down to the deck. The other members of the Prima Decima fared just as poorly if not worse. While the partner regiment the Genos seemed to have barely noticed the sudden shift.
A cry rang out from the viewports, “What the hell is that!?” Soldiers began making their way to the ports. Shouts of confusion and panic began to come from the men nearest the ports. Pushing his way into the crowd, Emil gasped at the site.
Hitting his microbead, “Sarge! Sarge! Do you know what is happening planetside?” His vision fell upon his world below, one of the largest exporters of refined Promethium in this sector, as her lands began to burn and boil. Lava flows tore across the southern hemisphere. A burning torrent raced across the surface. His eyes were locked on the planet below. Until the Black Ship moved into view.
The large red Inquisitorial I standing prominently on the side of the vessel. It lingered there for a moment before something fired outwards from the ship. It streaked towards his planet. In a flash of light it struck. Then another blazing inferno began to grow. Exterminatus.
Emil stood motionless. His home was dying. The life he dreamed of gone.
The purpose was clear, cleansing fire. It is why the Inquisition is to be feared. There would be no survivors.
“A quick death. That is all I ask. Don’t let them suffer and burn.” He could not tell where ground zero was located.
Loyal servants of the God Emperor murdered on their day of triumph. Everyone he loved would be burnt to ash. As a hastily written letter in an oven. Emil still stood at the viewport as the ship docked with the fleet. Today would be the last day for the world Emil called his own.