[personal profile] purplekitte
Title: One Day More, chapter 6 (other chapters)
Fandom: Warhammer 40k
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 716
Summary: Siress Callidus and Sire Culexus discuss Mars. Spoilers for Mechanicum and possibly some for Nemesis, but mostly in a ‘established canon for the past decade’ sort of way.

Black robes and cloaks were all well and good for formal situations, but they tended to be somewhat noticeable everywhere outside of the secret conclaves in the Shrouds.

Melpomene was a trendy young student today, sipping at overpriced green tea that was only so-so and picking at a muffin that was unabashedly terrible. They’d never been here before, would never come again, and she’d never recommend it to anyone. Ophion knew which table to sit down at, looking like any day labourer from the Hy-Brasil hive himself.

‘What’s so important you had to meet in person?’ He didn’t bother to keep his voice down, to act furtive. One would think he simply didn’t care if he was overheard because nothing he had to say would be of interest to anyone else. The few people who had been sitting nearby had felt the sudden urge to finish their drinks quickly and leave from the time he’d come close.

His sister cut straight to the point. ‘Why did you pull all your boys off Mars?’

‘None of your business. It’s an internal matter.’

‘I agree your special talents have better use elsewhere, but I sent a mission of Sisters into the civil war and they disappeared without a trace. I need to know what I’m sending my kids into.’

‘It’s irrelevant to anyone who doesn’t have the gene.’

‘Thank you for that one scrap. In case you’ve forgotten, it’s recessive and some of us are carriers.’

He had the decency to look embarrassed. ‘Sorry, I forgot. Don’t go in person, Mel, even for a chance at the Fabricator-General himself.’

‘Fine, I won’t. Guess that saves me the annoyance of adhering metal to half my body. Are you going to tell?’

‘Give me some information of equal value first.’

She considered. ‘The Grand Master is the Sigillite.’

Ophion choked on his recaff. ‘Now you’re just kidding with me.’

‘Respect that there’s no one better than I am at taking in every little detail of mannerism and body language. I couldn’t mimic if I couldn’t see. No one can disguise themselves well enough I can’t see through it.’

‘He’s never flinched away from me.’

‘Some people have good self-control. I’ve seen him near Sisters in the Palace.’

‘I’m not sure I believe you, but the idea makes more sense the more I think about it. He does seem like the practical type among all those “military honour” sorts.’

‘Try to act surprised if you ever have reason to. Your side of the deal?’

‘There’s a cosmic horror in the Noctis Labyrinthus that subverts any pariah that gets too close to it.’

‘And you say I’m being unbelievable.’

‘I didn’t say I understand the situation. I’m pulling everyone out because I don’t want to deal with it. I’d rather send my boys to do cleanup on Prospero in comparison.’

‘You’re serious.’

‘Stay out of it, Mel. Not just personally, at all. There’s a woman there that scared the living daylights out of every last asset I got back and left them convinced this is not our business. Clades are a single purpose tool. We might as well pretend to be Astartes or arbites as intrude on the Guardian of the Labyrinth.’

‘Fine.’ She brooded over her muffin for a minute. ‘Mum says you never visit.’

‘Mum and I have never gone ten minutes without having a row.’

‘She still complains.’

‘Does she complain you never wear your face?’

‘Admittedly, she complains about everything. Make an appearance, Ophi. Please? I’m tired of the same old litany.’

‘You want a change of nagging. “Oh, you’re good at your job, but you’re still not married.”’

She got a sour look on her current face. ‘“Gee Mum, I’m sorry I was too busy being the best at my job ever and founding an institution that’s now a pillar of the Imperium to give you grandkids.”’

‘You’re the one who told her you became a circus performer. She thinks I’m an accountant.’

‘Some of us have more imagination than to use the most clichéd excuse ever.’

He let the silence drag for a while. ‘I’ll think about it.’

‘Good enough.’

The two anonymous people took their leave and no one else who had been there had taken any notice of them or remembered any overheard conversation.

(a/n: My totally pointless headcanon is that the Culexus have a really skewed male-female ratio compared to other clades because almost all the female untouchables get snatched up by the Sister of Silence.)
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