This article is part of the The Blue Stripe Logs series.
Dark Angels serf entrusted with the restocking, maintenance, and spiritual ministrations of the venerable and irreplaceable Bevero Dispentatus.
The Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines. Warrior saints of the Emperor. These genetically-enhanced superhumans are the most precious of the Imperium's military resources. They are few in number, organized into "Chapters" and spread throughout the vastness of mankind's domain. Each of these Chapters has its own ancient beliefs and rituals and of them none is more solitary and secretive than the Dark Angels.
The battle-brothers of the Dark Angels are fearless and nearly-tireless, but as they travel from one distant battlefield to the next even these implacable heroes must occasionally seek sustenance. Aboard the immense and heavily-buttressed battle barge Encrusted Alcoves, meals are provided to the Space Marines in the Foodulum. Nutritious and flavorless meals are prepared by the Chapter's serfs, an underclass of failed Space Marines.
A Space Marine with a particular thirst might stop by the Foodulum's Bevero Dispentatus. The backlit stained glass front depicts a green-robed angel showering thirst-quenching colas on the battlefield. Battle-brothers can select from one of eight varieties of consumable nutri-drink dispensed by the machine. This arcane machine is understood only by the serfs tasked with repairing and restocking it.
One of those serfs is failed Space Marine and Dark Angels serf Davidicus Bibulus. It is his task to restock the Bevero Dispentatus and ensure the battle-brothers have their thirst fully quenched each and every day by sanctified soft drinks. We caught up with him during his brief downtime between 22-hour shifts aboard Encrusted Alcoves.
Blue Stripe: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Davidicus Bibulus: FOR THE EMPEROR!
BS: Why don't you start by telling us a little bit about your history. What were you like before you joined the Chapter?
DB: I was 100% on the wrong track. Then the Dark Angels came and gave me the motivation and the tools I needed to actualize my desire and realize my 110% potential.
BS: Did you have a family before they took you from your home planet?
DB: There was a woman, but she was 120% the wrong thing for me. This is the right thing for me.
BS: You don't miss her?
DB: Miss her? I don't even remember her name! The Dark Angels helped me out big time by chemically gelding me. I don't have to worry about that sort of thing and I can just focus. Step one: visualize. Step two: actualize. Step three: realize. FOR THE EMPEROR!
BS: They chemically castrated you?
DB: 150% chemically castrated. Nothing down south. Looks like a second bellybutton. Now I am all focus, all the time.
BS: How does not having genitals help you maintain and restock a soda machine?
DB: The Bevero Dispentatus is not some soda lever you pull. It is an ancient and sacred device, passed down through many millennia. The secret of its manufacture is lost to the dust of time. It has known many stewards through the ages and I am but its most recent servant.
BS: Alright, no offense meant. Why don't you walk us through a day on the job.
DB: Get up at 00:30. Scald off my outer layer of skin in the Steamatorium. Check the machine spirit of the Bevero Dispentatus. If it is displeased I will apply soothing oils and unguents to its gears and say the blessing of the Pepsinomicon. If it is still displeased I will enact the rite of displeasure wherein I shout the ritual curses as the daemons afflicting it and then shake and kick its front.
BS: Aren't you worried about breaking it?
DB: These are the rituals as passed down by my wise forebears. Once it is fully harmonious and operating properly I will begin restocking the beverages. Each requires two seals of purity, carefully folded so as not to jam the sensitive mechanisms within the Bevero Dispentatus. Once I have loaded exactly 28 cannisters of each of the seven humours into the beverage hopper I will close the device's lid, say a final prayer of good luck, and reactivate the holy device.
BS: You said there are seven different flavors?
DB: Flavors are things to describe child's candy. These are the beverages of battle brothers of the Adeptus Astartes.
BS: Okay, what, uh, what humours do you load into the machine?
DB: The most popular is Cathedral Must. Mouldering Scroll and Archaic Battlement also move quite quickly. Angel in an Alcove does well enough and Pile of Dusty Skulls is a hot seller. Worm-Eaten Standard is a little less popular. Radical Raspberry does not sell at all. It is feared that it might be tainted. The same cannisters of that flavor have been in the Bevero Dispentatus for longer than I have been alive.
BS: And you think you are actualizing your, I mean, realizing your potential?
BS: And you never though about settling down and starting a family?
DB: Helllloooo? Chemically castrated here.
BS: My apologies. If not for a happy future, then why do you do this?
DB: FOR THE EMPEROR!
Ernest Cline, writer of Ready Player One, shares his newest poem.