Not quite a micro-short, Cavan Scott’s Warhammer 40,000 short story Hidden Treasures provides a brief, bleak look at life away from the battlefield in the 41st millennium. For brothers Elias and Marco, scavenging in the dark corners of Manos City and trying to avoid the attention of the local gangs, life is hard. When they stumble across an unexpected bounty, the ever-present dangers are increased exponentially as the line between their world and the Imperium’s eternal, ongoing war is somehow blurred.
An interesting, if brief, little vignette, this demonstrates not just that – even away from the front lines – life in the Imperium is brutal and hard, but that the battlefield is never really that far away. Scott focuses on the thoughts of a single character, the younger brother Elias, as he tries to master his fear of the unknown only to find the reality to be much worse. It’s vivid and well described, veering more into horror territory than the usual explosive action, and the small scale works nicely, even if the likelihood of the two brothers knowing what a Space Marine is seems a bit of a stretch. Its brevity gives it a tight focus, so don’t expect worldbuilding or detailed character development, but as a one-shot story it’s suitably 40k and really rather enjoyable.