A Deathwatch Excerpt – The Mutant

Ja’kal’s eyes widened, yet his pupils contracted till they were two small dark orbs of hate, in a sea of white calm. His brow furrowed. The corner of his mouth twitched into a snarl.

“Mutant” Ja’kal said. The word had brought with it feelings of intense hatred. He swallowed the bile in his throat.

Barely restraining himself he inclined his helm to look down upon Gorval.

“This is to whom you owe your salvation?” his voice resonated throughout the sparsely furnished chamber.

Gorval kept quiet, not knowing what to say. How could he explain the desperate fight for survival the humans on board this vessel contended with, on a daily basis? The Emperor’s angels were beyond the peak of humanity. Its finest warriors. Gorval, Gorval was just a human, with all the terrifying limitations that entailed.

“My Lord” he quivered “I understand how this must look. Please let”

“Beware the alien, the heretic and the mutant”

“I underst” Ja’kal’s arm thrust toward the man. His hand clenched around his throat, halting Gorval in his blasphemy.

“You seek to claim that your salvation lay in the hands of a mutant, just look at him” Ja’kal’s voice bellowed through his vox grille. He turned to look at the mutated navigator. Gorval had described him as a once noble man of Terran heritage. That the years, had left him less than what he was; yet it was he, this broken man that they turned to in their time of need. His lenses refocused as he studied this, this thing.

The creatures robes had been a pale blue laced with white embroidery. Now they were stained a muddy brown. The once fine stitch work was frayed. The creatures left hand was an unhealthy pale blue lined with purple veins. The nails of his hand were dark and sharp. It rested just above the nape of his right neck. The index finger would trace a light red line across the skin of his throat. His hand would tremble; then the finger once more traced the scarred line. Ja’kals gaze continued upwards. Revulsion swept over him as he focussed on the most abominable part of this creature. Where once there had been one neck, a second had sprouted like a weed from his right collar. The face, gaunt; hard lines extenuated the cheek bones. His nose was off centre and looked like it had been broken, recently. His eyes seemed to sink into his face, darkness rimmed them. They were bloodshot and wide with desperation. The other head, his first, was starkly different, yet mirrored the gaunt aberration that sprouted from his collar; Strong and full of vitality. Its pale skin was taught, lined with purple veins and completely bald. Its eyes were black pools, the pupils completely dilated. They stared; they seemed to take in the Astartes stood before it, in an appraising manner. Above those eyes was a hairless brow that had a metal plate bolted, where the Navigators third eye should have been.

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