[Short] A Human Moment

 
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[Short] A Human Moment

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  #1 Old 04-11-12, 04:39 PM [Short] A Human Moment
Phal4nx
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Default [Small] A Human Moment

I figured as I'm new around here, I'd post up a couple of previous works to start off, then at least I've got a base plate to work from for my latest (in progress) piece.

So here you go, my first piece on Heresy Online It's only a thousand odd words written for competition use, but it gives an idea at least. Hope you like it. I'll post more soon.


A Human Moment
by Christian D'Amico

Brother Taramant opened his eyes. His targeting reticule flitted back and forth as he panned his surroundings, trying to get his bearings. He had smashed through three storeys before stopping. A layer of dust hung in the air from his final impact, giving everything in the room a hazy outline. Many of the walls were shattered, and the room was filled with rubble. In the distance he could hear the dull sound of gunfire and explosions as his brothers prosecuted their war against the enemy.

His retinal display told him that there was a severe fracture in his right femur. He felt his power armour compensating, injecting pain suppressants into his bloodstream. He would have a limp. That would slow him down.

Taramant looked to his bolter lying next to him. He hefted the weapon, checking it over for damage. Other than a few scratches, he found nothing. He made a mental note to say a Prayer of Appeasement once he was back aboard the cruiser in order to placate the machine-spirit for allowing it to fall in battle.

His armour was pitted and scratched. The quartered green and white armour was barely visible beneath the dirt and dust he had been covered in. His helmet was howling static at him; clearly the vox had not survived the fall. The artificers of the Dark Sons chapter would not be happy.

The planet of Baradium XII was in a heavy winter period; snow and ice were constant. Getting to his feet, Taramant moved to the doorway of the building, limping from his injured leg. Scanning the area quickly, he moved out.

Crossing a small plaza without incident, Taramant paused. He had heard something; the lightest of noises. He pressed against the side of a building and slid along until he reached the end. Hefting his bolter, he turned the corner to face the source of the noise. Stepping out into the alleyway, Taramant sighted along his weapon.

Crouched in the freezing snow in front of him, was his target. The little girl was sobbing, the tears on her face freezing almost instantly as they hit the frigid air. She looked up at him, fear appearing suddenly, falling onto her rear and scrabbling backwards along the floor desperately.

Taramant blink-clicked a rune on his display and activated the external vox. ‘There is no need to fear me,’ he boomed. ‘I am not your enemy. I am here to fight for your world.’

It didn’t have the effect Taramant wanted. She sped up, trying to get away from him. Taramant realised the problem and removed his helmet.

Modulating his voice, Taramant tried again. ‘I mean you no harm. My name is Brother Taramant. What is yours?’

‘L-Llianna,’ stuttered the child. She was dressed in a light-brown dress, dirty and ragged, and clearly hadn't eaten in a long while. ‘Are you an angel?’

‘Of sorts,’ replied Taramant, considering the question. ‘Are you alone? Where are your parents?’

‘I don’t know,’ Llianna said, her head dropping in despair. ‘I’ve lost my mummy. Lots of us were heading to the big refugee camp when we heard fighting. I lost her as we ran.’

Taramant considered the information for a moment. Stepping forwards, he lowered himself to one knee in front of her. ‘Perhaps I can help you? I can escort you to the nearest garrison and they will get you there safely.’

Llianna looked up into his face. ‘Mummy told me space marines don’t have family; that you don’t have feelings.’

Taramant furrowed his brow, considering this unexpected question for a moment. ‘Perhaps that is true, but that does not mean we do not care.’

Llianna got to her feet. Even standing, she barely reached Taramant’s head as he knelt. ‘Will you take me to my mummy?’

Holding out his open palm, Taramant signalled to the girl to sit on his lower arm. As she did so, he lifted her up and stood himself. ‘Let’s get going,’ he said calmly.

They had been walking for some time when a noise alerted Taramant. Patrolling along the main street across from him was his enemy, his real enemy; a necron.

Silently, Taramant knelt and placed Llianna down next to him. Raising his weapon, he aimed the bolter at the necron, flicking the selector switch to single shot. Calming his breathing for a better aim, he exhaled and squeezed the trigger.

The bolt flew true, smashing into the target’s left eye, obliterating the side of its head. The necron slumped to the floor, dropping its weapon in the process. Taramant waited a moment, wary of other necron.

Sprinting across the street, the Dark Son moved to make sure his target was dead. Pulling up next to the dead warrior, the marine knelt to check the machine. A hand shot up and clouted his wrist, knocking his bolter away. Taramant responded by unsheathing his combat knife and stabbing upwards into the underside of the necron’s chest. The warrior went limp and fell back to the ground, inert.

Withdrawing his blade, Taramant moved to gather his bolter, making a mental note for a second Prayer of Appeasement.

He was spun around onto his back by a jolt on his left shoulder-blade. Dazed, he looked up as metallic foot planted itself on his chest. Taramant looked up into the glowing eyes of a second necron warrior, his weapon pointing directly at the marine’s head. His world went green.

The little girl watched in mute horror at the execution unfolding in front of her. As she sat there in the snow, Llianna realised a shadow loomed over her; there was someone behind her. Looking over her shoulder, staring through tear-filled eyes, she screamed as a silhouetted figure stood there.

The necron warrior turned at the sound and raised his weapon to fire.

A burst of light and noise immolated the necron instantly. As Llianna looked around confused, a Land Speeder hovered behind the silhouette. The multi-melta on the front glowed softly, hissing as the gentle snow landed on it.

‘Come,’ the figure said, eyeing the dead space marine. ‘The Dark Sons are here to protect you. We are heading to safe harbour.’

Llianna turned to head towards what she realised now was an escort for a convoy.

Tears streaming, she walked away from the scene. Llianna looked back to see the corpse of Brother Taramant slowly disappearing under a fresh layer of snow and ice. She would not forget his sacrifice.

Last edited by Phal4nx; 04-11-12 at 10:47 PM.
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Reply With Quote Dave T Hobbit is offline
  #2 Old 04-11-12, 05:56 PM [Short] A Human Moment
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An excellent piece to use as an introduction.

The use of more formal language even when injured for Taramant's PoV (prosecuted, femur, &c.) captures the inhumanity of the Astartes mindset. It works well as is; however if you wanted to pay that up then you could make Llianna's speech and PoV even less formal than it is to provide a definite contrast.

I always find formatting writing an imperfect science, especially for the internet. If it were me, I would have made grouped the text into fewer paragraphs instead of breaking for every slight change. For example:
"...Holding out his open palm, Taramant signalled to the girl to sit on his lower arm. As she did so, he lifted her up and stood himself. ‘Let’s get going,’ he said calmly.

They had been walking for some time when a noise alerted Taramant. Patrolling along the main street across from him was his enemy, his real enemy; a necron. Silently, Taramant knelt and placed Llianna down next to him. Raising his weapon, he aimed the bolter at the necron, flicking the selector switch to single shot. Calming his breathing for a better aim, he exhaled and squeezed the trigger. The bolt flew true, smashing into the target’s left eye, obliterating the side of its head. The necron slumped to the floor, dropping its weapon in the process.//

Taramant waited a moment, wary of other necron. Sprinting across the street, the Dark Son moved to make sure his target was dead...."
However much of it is personal preference, and certainly does not really affect the story.

I have added this to the Compendium; let me know if the blurb seems right.
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Last edited by Dave T Hobbit; 04-11-12 at 06:04 PM.
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Reply With Quote Phal4nx is offline
  #3 Old 04-11-12, 06:45 PM [Short] A Human Moment
Phal4nx
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Thank you for the kind words and feedback. My writing style has changed since my most recent work, but over time I hope to bring all my works here for people to read, and you'll be able to see how I've changed over the last year.

The blurb sounds brilliant, by the way.
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