Per Ardua,

Thanks to the work of the Empire's finest priest-scientists and brother-apothecaries, medical technology can ensure that all but the most horrific of injuries can be dealt with. No longer do missing limbs create problems for victims; no longer do missing organs affect the lives of the common citizen. The most important tool in the treatment of wounded people is the suspension field...

 

...first-time users of the suspension field chamber may be distraught over a perceived lack of central gravity. If this occurs, sedate the patient again, and as outlined in Combat Medic Training Manual XI-ii, awaken the patient slowly. Failure to sedate a patient who is moving while connected to any equipment inside the suspension field will likely result in fatal lacerations to the skull and chest.

 

Excerpt from Exodus Army Combat Medic Training Manual XX-vii (Proper care of injured post-combat

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Sergeant Mills woke up. He tried to get up, but felt an odd pressure on his chest preventing him from doing so.

Then he realized he couldn't get up. An odd, crushing pressure prevented him from doing so.

Then he realized that he couldn't tell which way was up.

He was floating.

What in God's name...?”

The medic in the corner of the room snapped to attention.

Hey! Hey, whatever you do, don't fething move! DON'T MOVE.”

Mills groaned. “Great. I must be in a suspension field... What happened?”

The medic grinned. “Fine job that bastard did to you. Had to give you a new ribcage, give you a liver and a kidney, as well as grow you a whole skin-sheet for your feet and lower legs. Aiu'gott! I'm amazed you're still alive. More importantly, what the hell did you try to fight?”

Mills remembered faintly. “The room, we breached- FETH! Where the hell is Nielson? He-”

The medic grimaced. “Oh, him. We got to him too late. Found several sections of his spine outside the apartment which were covered in bite marks, although we couldn't find three-quarters of it. Half his torso was missing, and our guys are still looking for any intact internal organs. We did find a few which were half-eaten. I gotta ask again. What the hell did you fight? Can't have been human.”

Mills frowned.

No clue.”

After another four hours, the medic let Mills out of the field. “Try not to move much, 'kay? You need to get down to your assigned chapel. You'll probably have to file a report or something. Sorry about your buddy.”

Mills grunted. “ God is with him. Still...”

The medic patted Mills on the shoulder. “Yeah. Hurry, but if you feel any pain just comm for a transport. Durch'gott.

Mills left the Apothecarium, and decided that he would walk to his chapel, to test his restored body. He noticed that his new ribcage had not fully adjusted, and his feet and arms screamed in pain every few minutes. Nonetheless, Mills decided, he would continue walking.

 

Mills nearly took an hour to walk down a single flight of stairs. After another three hours, he stood before the doors of his chapel.

The chapel doors slid open. Mills gave a weak, half-hearted salute to the minister-attendant.

Manch go-FETH! MY ARM!”

The minister gave a weak smile. “Yes, yes, you would be Millsor Strienke, correct? Father Paul is waiting in the chapel-barracks, and please try not to swear. God has suffered more than you ever will, and therefore-”

Millsor stormed off into the back of chapel. “My name is Mills, Father. Shut up.”

 

 

Mills was about to open the doors into the barracks when he felt the subtle humming of a stealth-field, and tried to turn his head around, until a shattering pain stopped him.

Nonetheless, he managed to croak, “Who's there?”

A deep, distorted voice replied.

And God came unto those undertaking the Exodus. As the Children of the Evergreen Garden of Angels left the Sphere of Tears, God came. And the faithful asked God: “How shall we survive the morning, when light comes to judge us?”

Mills shuddered as instinct kicked in. “The call-sign of the Angel Zero... What have I gotten myself into?”

And God replied...”

I am G-god, and we are God,” stuttered Mills, trying to remember the obscure line of prayer from his training. “I am your sin made incarnate, and yet too your salvation. Tears I have shed, and yet you will all survive this day to walk the night and the morning after. Go forth...”

The voice replied, the distortion growing worse. “And you shall be angels at my feet; despair not, for as I am God you are my slaves. Have faith. Faith over failure and faith over reason. Paul is not here. Go to the Throne Room. The Angel Zero awaits.”

The hum disappeared.

 

The End

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