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Dominicus Thoss looked down at the mess that had been Hameal Chios and shook his head. Chios had been a dedicated warrior and a well revered Battle-Brother, who had met his end at the hand of a particularly nasty Tyranid. There were plenty more injured, the fight had been a tough one and Chios had died well. His bravery had ensured the foe was taken down.

Artikus Taran, the apothecary, had removed his gene-seed and stored it safely, there was nothing else that could be done except inform the rest of the brethren of their loss. He was leaning over the body, his shoulders hunched. Thoss walked over and placed a hand on his shoulder, “He did his duty, we can ask no more of him now,” he said, using the words to try and comfort his friend. Taran nodded, he was yet young, still learning that death in battle was not something that could always be avoided.

The door to the medicae bay opened with a bang and the large form of First Captain Corvinus Adas barged in. “Did you save him?” he barked, heedless of the raw nerves he was hitting. Dominicus resisted the urge to roll his eyes; as much as he respected Corvinus, now was not the time for boorishness. He opened his mouth to speak but Artikus beat him to it.

“Not this time,” he said, shaking his head.

“Thought you never lost anyone,” Corvinus said with a snort.

“Corvinus,” Dominicus said, unable to keep the warning tone from his voice.

“What? Kid needs to learn this is not easy!” he replied.

“Of course it’s not easy,” Artikus snapped, his hand automatically fussing with the implement in his hand. Corvinus moved around the table, his eyes focused on the messed up cadaver laid out on it.

“Then why do you persist with such a brash manner?” There was a vein pulsing in the First Captain’s neck and his skin had coloured a shade of red. “Making hollow promises is stupid!”

Dominicus could find no flaw with Corvinus’ words; the naivety of the young apothecary had shown with the pointless bragging of never losing anyone. It had shown his inexperience rather than any special ability he had possessed. It was clear that the bragging had got on the nerves of the more experienced brothers though not to the feckless Artikus. “I never promised-“

“But you did, every time you said no one died on your watch, yet here we are, one of our best dead and you looking the complete idiot!” Corvinus moved around the table, taking out the barrier between them. Dominicus shuffled on his feet a little, aware that this should be happening in private but not willing to excuse himself, he knew first-hand how bad the temper of the captain could be and he did not want Artikus to be on the end of it. Naïve he may be but he did not deserve a beating for it. “How do you expect to win the respect of the others if you’re going to make false promises?” Adas continued.

“Maybe you shouldn’t believe them yourself!”

“I’d be careful-“

“Or what? You’ll hit me? Save it for the practice cages.” Artikus stood up from his hunched position over the body and shook his head, “I’ve said stupid stuff, I know that. I’m done with it but for you to actually think I could save everyone…” He trailed off and shook his head. A small smile crept onto Dominicus’s face and he knew then that the apothecary would be fine. Corvinus’s face coloured a deeper shade of red and he knew it was time to step in.

The chaplain coughed, not to clear his throat but to make them both aware that he was still here and had heard everything. Both of them looked up from the argument they were having and gave him their attention. “We have all lost people we care about,” he said, his soft voice carrying in the large room, “Hameal Chios was well loved and a valued warrior but his work now is done. The Emperor will grant him the peace in death he never knew in life and we should be comforted by that, it awaits us all at the end.” He paused and made sure the two were listening. “You should be honouring your brother’s death, not quarrelling over it,” he added, emphasizing the point. The pair of them looked a little sheepish after that and both nodded.

“You have duties to attend both of you, training to complete and such, go and do it, be the best you can so you can fight on in his name,” he said. Although Dominicus and Corvinus were the same rank, the Captain nodded without question and turned on his heel. The door banged shut after him and Artikus finally looked up.

“Thank you,” he said.

“Thanks are not necessary, I merely spoke the truth,” he replied, “I also have my own work to attend to,” he added, indicating that he should be taking his leave. Artikus nodded and let the Chaplain leave the room without another word, the argument had given him a fair bit to think about.

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