DAY 2, EVENING:
Emperor Almighty save my soul! I fear I have seen the dead walk, and dread I shall see them walk again! My mind is awash with doubts, but I shall try to put down the day’s events as they happened, to impress order on the chaos. Once more our circumstances have changed radically. Having stabilised Cilon’s condition as best we could, I left my companions at rest and scouted out the harbour. Escape from the island (for, it transpired, it was an island we had crashed on), was imperative, so I ascertained a means of getting on board the ship as it was being loaded for departure. As we were making these preparations, the next surreal horror in this nightmare occurred – we espied both the agent Ephese and the huntress, two women we knew to have died, seemingly alive, interacting with those around them, not merely figments of our exhausted minds! Barely did we have time to register this than we had to put our scheme into action. My companions hid inside a capacious cargo box which was to be loaded on the ship, and I, avoiding suspicion by improvising a mask and comporting myself in the manner of an adept of authority, simply walked on board. Immediately, I had a most peculiar encounter: fortune smiled upon me and I was taken for a crew member by Admiral Intio, the eccentric, verbose and expensively-augmeticised lord of the ship. As the ship departed, he furnished me with a most delightful meal in his quarters, and I gathered from his rambling discourse that some tension exists between himself and the ship’s first officer, by the name of Haxdes, or Lupus. Replete and not a little tipsy on the Admiral’s fine amasec, I set out to discreetly explore the ISS Spirit of the Standard (as I discovered the ship to be called), my main intention being to locate the ship’s adept – may the Emperor have mercy and welcome his soul! – and find some means of inveigling myself into his presence, perhaps even impersonating him to cement my position on the ship (It would seem disguise is a natural tactic to adopt on this world, with the ubiquity of masks amongst the population). The Spirit is a titanic beast, and I shall put down but lingering impressions from my exploration: the brutality of the commanding officers; the squalor of the crew’s quarters; the motionless, emaciated forms in the ship’s brig (what was that techpriest engaged in alone in that chamber?); the hellish roar of the engine room. The crew seem a malnourished and morose lot, and their mask-wearing fervour apparently offers them little succour- perhaps the white-haired priest I glimpsed in the crew’s chapel deserves further investigation. I did locate a medicae facility – the question now is how to gain access for Cilon. With morsels taken from the Admiral’s table, I discreetly loosened the tongue of a sailor coming off duty: he knew nothing of Ephese, who my comrades swore they had seen on the ship, and spoke cryptically of a ‘fleshweaver’. Despite these riddles he was able to tell me where the chamber of records and adept’s quarters were to be found. The adept was at work when I entered the room, and I honestly only intended to subdue him, but the rigours of physical combat, and the precision required to defeat a man in such a way, are far beyond my abilities. Even when I threatened him with my pistol, he made to raise the alarm and – Throne-bound Master of Mankind forgive me – I had no option but to shoot him dead! Was he a heretic? A deviant? A mutant? I think not. The monks would teach us that no man is free from sin in the eyes of Him-On-Earth, but to be gunned down and not even know wherefore? Is this my new life, the filthy, desperate work of the Emperor’s silent hand? I fear so. I pray forgiveness for my soul and supplicate myself before the judgement of the Master of Mankind. May I be absolved of this sin, may it be revealed that my trespass was necessary to achieve a greater goal. Perhaps it is so: had I been discovered and detained, who would aid Cilon, Silvanus and Nicodermus? They would all die in storage, or be discovered and suffer the same fate I have dodged for now. I shall attend to them when the night watches come. In the meantime, I have busied myself by concealing the adept’s body, washing away the blood from the floor, and appropriating his robes and mask. Until nightfall, I will pore over some of the documents in this chamber. Perhaps I will glean some knowledge that will be of use to us. Throne-willing, at least, the simple comfort of ink on parchment will distract me from the awful deed I have committed. Could it be some nightmare quality of ill-starred Syracusium to render the dead alive, like Ephese and the huntress? What if the cadaver of the adept, locked away in a cabinet behind me, is beginning to twitch even now?