The Fourth Litany
“Sergeant Cerberus reporting. Captain Nelevas is dead.”
“Surrounded by Orcs. My jump-pack’s machine spirit failed. I couldn’t carry our Objective to safety. The Captain died facing an Ork Mob, alone. As holy fire rained down from the Atalanta, the Mob formed around our command group; they engaged us to save themselves,” the sergeant intoned.
“He cowered near me, Inquisitor, still safe. With my chainsword and the Captain’s relic blade, I fought the Warboss over the Captain’s body.The Greenskin’s suit hammered me, breaking past my pauldrons. I realized there was no defense against his strength.”
“The third litany.”
“’When there is no defense, think only of attack’. My blades swept through his armored arm, severing it, even as I dodged his other exo-armored claw. He knocked me away, severing my jump pack fuel line. The Objective was undefended. Only the fourth litany could save him.”
“What would you sacrifice?”
“I released my armor and weapon safeties, jet-pack fuel splashing everywhere, with nothing but the Black Carapace to protect me. He could not resist my naked challenge. He charged. I met his robotic claw with the relic blade and sparked the fuel with my chainsword.
“As we burned, my blades sang the Emperor’s fury, ceaselessly. I bathed in the blood of my enemy until your arrival. The ‘Waaaagh’ is broken never to reform.”
“Praise be to the Emperor, Sergeant Cerberus. You are a testament to the Fourth Litany.”
“Sacrifice is a weapon.”
“Report for duty, Dreadnought Cerberus.”
ABOUT THE WORK: A piece of flash fiction for a freelance writing position whose specific limit was 250 words, yet had to relay enough information that readers of the product line could recognize familiarity with the existing works.
Thaddeus Howze is a popular and recently awarded Top Writer, 2016 recipient on the Q&A site Quora.com. He is also a moderator and contributor to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange with over fourteen hundred articles in a four year period.
His speculative fiction has appeared online at Medium, Scifiideas.com, and the Au Courant Press Journal. He has appeared in twelve different anthologies in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. A list of his published work appears on his website, Hub City Blues.