+ inload: Space Marine Dreadnought +

+ Monstrous Servant + 

'Send them then, into the dark places. Into the thorns and hard places, send them; there to bring light to my lost children. Send them to the frontiers of my Imperium. Send them, and suffer them no impediment to progress.' 

– Dictate of Imperium (trad.); attributed during Inculcation of Chapter 333 M32 (disp.)


It was cold, there in the dock. She had stoically endured the cold for half an hour, standing ramrod straight as an occasional Chapter thrall looked at her quizzically, but at last she had started shuffling from one foot to the other, then taken to walking up and down to get the blood moving. Two hours later, she was past blowing into her cupped hands in an attempt to breathe some life into them, and seriously wondering if she was going to lose her fingers. She looked up at the suit, glittering with frost. She had never seen a dreadnought before, and had leapt at Kills' suggestion that she attend the awakening. 

She wasn't going to leave because of the cold. You don't make interrogator by backing down from hardship.

After another quarter of an hour, a treacherous thought crept through her icy mind. You don't make Inquisitor through dumb endurance, either.

She never found out whether she was going to break from her self-imposed torment, as the techmarine Cicinnatus arrived. The Chapter thralls looked up distinterestedly, then got back to work. One waved a hand, half-heartedly, to Cincinnatus as he marched forward. The casual sense of indifference struck Haim as odd, but she had already noted the Gatebreakers' thralls seemed to treat the Astartes with simple respect, rather than the awe most of Rogue Trader Taiwo's crew had done. 

Haim had spoken with the Primaris techmarine cadre during the long voyage to the Edge. She had bonded well with them – indeed, she and Cincinnatus had struck up a rapport of sorts. 

It had not survived the melding of Chapter 333 and the incumbent Chapter. The two had not spoken for months. The details and reasons were not clear to Haim, but she had been privy – thanks to Kills delegating the incept-analysis task to her – to a flurry of missives during the formal induction process, ending with a statement from the collected Gnostics that 'followers of the machine god are not counted amongst the members of the Chapter'.

The techmarines had not taken the rejection well.

She hailed the techmarine, hesitantly, as he closed the distance. His head snapped up. 

'Cincinnatus. Thank you for meeting me.' Her voice trembled, not entirely due to the cold. Helmed, he had looked surly, even aggressive, but she was reassured by the guarded smile revealed as he took his helmet off. Cincinnatus' gleaming bionics were peculiarly reassuring. Haim had grown up on a bonded hiveworld, and augmentation always reminded her of home. 

'It has been a long time.' He began. He looked thoughtful as he began work on awakening the ironform. Haim noticed his pauldron was still etched with the 'Chapter 333' temporary heraldry, rather than the mace of the Gatebreakers proper. 

They talked for some time, the initial awkwardness gradually giving way to something approaching warmth. She told Cincinnatus of her time away from Andocrine, diplomatically bypassing her interactions with the Gatebreakers. She need not have worried. As he worked, Cincinnatus explained how the techmarines had been sidelined, bypassed and, at last, baldly and directly refused entry to the Chapter's ceremonies. His voice was flat, and clear, unmarred by emotion; but Haim wondered how much was genuine, and how much was self-control. The Astartes, even after months of sharing ship-space, still sometimes felt very alien to her.

As she hesitated, wondering whether Kills would want her to probe further, the techmarine straightened up and stepped backwards, rubbing his hands clear of unguent with an oily rag. He turned to her and opened his mouth to speak.

+ I remember you. +

The words were so deep, so loud, so startling, they made her torso resonate. All at once, Haim quite forgot the cold.

Cincinnatus looked as surprised as her. The pair looked to the Dreadnought, tracking their gaze up to the war machine's face – or at least where the head would have sat on a human. It spoke again, as it tilted slowly backwards, joints flexing slightly with soft whirring noises, as though testing its limbs.

+ Not you, Warrior. I remember the red-armoured ones. Tech... Tech... Technicals. + It seemed to be testing the word out.  + I had not seen your sort for a long time. It has been the robed ones. They usually have more... incense. +

There was a pause, during which Cincinnatus rallied somewhat.

'Honoured Ancient, I had been anticipating considerable delay in your awakening.'

The dreadnought seemingly failed to register that he had spoken. It turned its paralyzing gaze on Haim. The cold rushed back as lenses and reticules shifted and focussed behind the great smoked-glass panels that made up its strange, totemic face.

+ I am full of surprises. Have they returned? +

'I... I'm...' she started, then got a grip of herself. This is not how an Interrogator acts. 'Who do you mean?' She stole a glance at Cincinnatus, whose flushed face and posture indicated some sort of badly-hidden hyper-aggression. Again, the Dreadnought utterly ignored her question. 

+ That is why I am awoken. That is why I am always awoken. +

Oddly, this stole away the shock. The resignation in the words seemed almost petulant. She straightened, looked up at the Dreadnought, jawline set.

'I am Haim, Ordo Propter. Who do you mean?'

It remained looking down at her, and as the moment stretched, she suddenly saw how very different this was to a robot. It moved, almost imperceptibly, like a living being; as though some ichorous blood was flowing just beneath the hard carapace. All of a sudden, it had changed: no longer a statue, but invested with a strange vitality. She felt she understood, then, all of a sudden, the curious reticence the Astartes had with utilising Dreadnoughts. It felt like necromancy.

She remained, feet set, eyes fixed on the Dreadnought's. Those eyes; those black, sightless, artificial eyes. Cincinnatus fell away. The bay fell away. Only those eyes remained, set in sun yellow and grass green. 

+ Designation Samaritan. Designation Ghagga-Hakra. The Satraps. Designation Uridimmu. The rest. Has the Master been informed? They have returned. I know it. I don't know why I ask every time. +

Haim swallowed. She thought she had better send for Kills. She would want to hear this. The Dreadnought straightened, and swung its arms out. It paused, as though considering, or consulting. As Haim turned, she saw the Chapter serfs had all prostrated themselves in place.

+ Every time. +

It reached out to Cincinnatus, who stepped back to let the Dreadnought pass. It wasn't that, though. The Dreadnought touched his shoulder, as though confirming things. 

+ Hm. Interesting to see you. Technical. +

The techmarine nodded, as though stunned. The dreadnought began to walk, slowly, haltingly. It continued to talk all the while, as though limbering up. Perhaps it was.

+ And not just me, Haim of the Ordo Propter. It's as this ironform remembers it; back to when it was emblazoned with silver stars, bedecked in the coral pink and turquoise of lost oceans. They've always been here. I trust you have brought a weapon. +

Haim changed her mind. She thought she had better go and get Kills. 

You don't make Interrogator by keeping things from Inquisitors, after all.


+ Painting the Dreadnought +

+ The approach I used for the dreadnought was all-but identical to that for the infantry: lay in the flat colours (Flash Gitz Yellow and Warpstone Glow), then lay a burnt sienna oil wash over them before developing the highlights. +

+ The freehand is fairly stripped-back; simple black and white icons and text. I used some Sanskrit – and apologies for dubious translation – to get in some tongue-in-cheek puns; reading 'Dead' and 'Lost/Missing' +

+ I didn't want to overload the freehand, despite the inviting large flat surfaces, as the quartered scheme already makes him busier than he otherwise would be. I might return to add a banner. +

+ I painted the eyes gloss black. I wanted them to look deep, soulful – and dead. The ghoulish use of crippled marines is horrifying, if you take a moment to think about it, and I didn't want the Dreadnought to be too closely aligned to the infantry, instead acting as a midway point between human and warmachine. Dead black eyes seemed a nice way of doing that, making it appear almost cadavorous. +

+ The back received a hint of the orange accent colour used elsewhere, and I hinted at some discoloration of the exhaust's heat shield. +

+ The bulbous oval blisters on the front of the shoulders seemed a good place for a nameplate. I sat this in a little cartouche, to give a slight Ancient Egyptian hint. +


  1. Really interesting to see such old models re-used like this. And I love your short stories, look forward to seeing more!

  2. Fabulous, I simply love it!!

  3. This Dread is so beautiful. The black lenses remind me of cold intelligence, like a shark.
    And I really like the story and I’m eager to read more! :D

  4. Really cool, great take on a classic model.


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