“What do you think it is?” Captain Fread heard one of his men speak softly behind him.
Before them stood an unusual mechanical construct. Standing about six feet tall, it was connected to the roof by a series of cords and wires. It was human, or human shaped rather. Captain Fread was careful not to lay a finger on it. Atop a humanoid body, a robotic head sat shrouded in a tight hood. The limbs were similar to those seen on Skitarii Rangers. Perhaps the design was an inspiration. Attached magnetically at the hip was a familiar weapon, matching the Hot-Shot lasguns that most of Fread’s men carried.
The traitor captain pondered. A combat automata? And a small one at that. It wasn’t Mechanicum designed – their trademark Ommnissiah signs were clearly not present. No markings of any regular force either.
The captain was reaching up to examine the mechanical creation when he heard the very same man who spoke earlier cry out. “Contact rear!” The captain and the entirety of Echo, Foxtrot, and Charlie teams swung around to face the path behind them. The caverns were dark – unnaturally so – and the team struggled to see, even with lit flashlights and night-vision optics. The captain wondered how one of his men had spotted something in the dark, but realized in his attention to the mechanical device behind him, he had failed to hear the slow chitter of multiple metallic feet tapping across the floor.
Slowly from the Darkness crept up a small creature, its feet clicking on the ground as it walked. It was a spider. One of the larger ones that often inhabited hive cities across the Imperium. It was a dark red colour, shaded a deep pink over the abdomen. One of the eight legs had been replaced by a cybernetic, as had the mandibles and pincers that functioned as its mouth. Fread was quick to observe that the eyes glowed a faint red, and guess they were lenses. They eyes each moved independently, examining the team members around him.
The most curious addition, however, was the Officio Prefectus Commisar hat atop the spiders’ head. The strangeness of the hat was more than enough to throw off the men, who stared oddly at the cyber spider before them. The large creature suddenly chirped at Fread and his Veterans, all of them moving their fingers to the triggers of their weapons, ready to fire.
“You choose not to fire. Perhaps I am not a threat?” The spider spoke softly, the tone a beautiful song, with a hint of robotic accent to it. Most of the men gawked at the device as it spoke, more than just a little shocked by it. “I assure you. My intentions are wholly peaceful. You are the first organics to enter this place without hostility in Millenia.” The little hat-wearing creature chirped at them. Captain Fread slowly stepped up to address the thing before him.
“Organics? You’re saying you are not organic?” The captain questioned down to it. The response was immediate.
“I am not correct. I am a synthetic creation.” The spider fired back, looking up to Fread with all 8 eyes, expecting a fast response.
“What kind of synthetic? You’re too smart for a servitor, and you are certainly not made by the Mechanicus.” Fread’s finger twitched to the trigger of his weapon.
“You are wrong. I am indeed a Mechanicus creation. I was given life by a gathering of Tech-Magos in the year 014.M31. Shortly thereafter, my creators were forced to leave. Pursued by those still loyal to the false god.”
“False god? Your creators were not servants of the Emperor?”
“The creators decided to take their destiny into their own hands. Defying the dictates of the false god, they created me. Creation of a program such as me was considered the highest level of technological heresy.”
Captain Fread looked down to the spider curiously, who looked up to him with its 8 glowing eyes. “What are you?” Fread glared down as he spoke.
“My name is Anomaly. I am what you would call, an Artificial Intelligence.”
“Captains not gonna like this at all.” The stromtrooper spoke softly to his comrade, who nodded in a silent agreement. The two had been monitoring local comms. A small flotilla had arrived in orbit – heavily damaged but still void capable. The smaller escort ships didn’t matter much, it was more the larger battle-cruiser that they pulled with them. The name was all too familiar for the recent turncoats. A severely wounded Mars-Class Battlecruiser, painted a deep black to match the void around it. The Ghost of the Void was in orbit.
Argus Bairo, had arrived.