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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-11-12, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Default Reaper Section

A/N: Figured I'd post this here, get feedback from people who know the subject.

I saw the Ghost Recon Future Soldier trailer and was trying to come up with an idea for a story, figured with a few adaptations, this could work out quite well in the WH40k universe! Thus, I made the Reaper Section, an elite force inspired by Ghosts, Rainbow, SEALs, SAS and CSOR, with what I believe are the best elements of each. I hope, anyway.
Feel free to give me suggestions or take the idea and write something better, I don't care.


One last thing, I am not used to writing 'normally' I usually wrote from someone's perspective, but now I wanted to keep the focus on team Zombie as a whole, so no present narrator... Gonna be tough :S

Ripper caught the power pack in mid flight and blew on it to clear the dust before shoving the thing into his las carbine, flipping the 2x scope's cover to inspect the lens before punching Priest's shoulder pad.

The old man nodded and lowered the black balaclava over his face, the top half of the thing was decorated like a skull, white as snow and contrasting with the mate black armor, while the lower half had been cut off, looking like a character from some cheap superhero story.

This was addressed when Pig tossed him a chalk colored breathing mask. The thing covered the man's mouth and nose, completing the intimidating skull pattern with a breathing grill whose symmetry contrasted heavily with the organic skull above. He then adjusted a black beret on his head and checked himself in a nearby mirror.

The Skull wearing a mask the emblem of Reaper section, the most underrated outfit of the Imperial Guard. Sure, they were not Kasrkins or Kriegans, -the former thought war was a matter of honor and the latter were plain suicidal- but they had established themselves in this sector as the guys you don't want to mess with. Ever.

Reapers were professionals, to them, killing the enemy was a secondary matter, a bother to be avoided, the mission always came first. So when a bunch of hivers got whiny, two years prior, they crawled their way trough the city with high explosives and Inquisitorial support, then blew the power plan, water treatment station and the PDF weapon stockpile.

Thousands died, but the crisis was contained without a single firefight breaking out.

They had a one hundred percent success rate so far, so this philosophy was successful enough.

Unlike the rest of the company they were attached to, the 32nd Aldrian Tactical, the Reaper section was not actually part of the Imperial Guard main command structure. This was because of a very simple piece of paper signed by the Emperor himself; a Warrant to Trade.

That Warrant was no longer used as an authorization to fly around in a ship, however, and the only part of it still used by the section was the one on security, stating that the one in possession of the warrant could hire anyone he desired and equip them with whatever equipment he wanted, but he was to lend his help to imperial worlds in need.

Long story short; the Reapers were descendents from a bankrupt rogue trader ship who decided to use their Emperor-signed privilege to create the best Special Force outfit in Imperial space.

"On me, gentlemen!" Father called from the armory's door, the three men completed their equipment quickly; Ripper grabbed the small chain axe –more like chain hatchet or tomahawk- he owed his nickname to, Pig picked two ammo belts and four 'ballsack' drum magazines for his customized autogun while Priest finished attaching the ghilie suit to his flak armor.

The armory was small. Reaper section had only a limited support in the higher sphere and had to use funds stolen during missions or looted equipment to stock themselves. This also gave them one of the best price/effectiveness ratio in the Imperium, neatly superior to even Astartes.

This lack of popularity was due to the fact all of them were selected from planets who had been separated from the Imperium long enough to have grown atheistic or at least fully secular.

A special force unit is always better when its operators are not religious fanatics afraid of technology. Only Priest came from an Imperial cult led world, but he was also a former Vindicare assassin, so Top Dog, the commander, had made an exception for him.

This lack of piousness was a bad thing when it came to Chaos, but the members were carefully screened to root out all warp contamination.

They all assembled around their team leader, waiting for mission orders.

"What do we have, Dad?" Pig asked the scarred man before him. Father had been on over a hundred missions and the 'Don't engage unless absolutely necessary' policy had not spared him quite a few injuries

"A lone ship just attacked Edrios," Ripper almost scoffed at the idea. Edrios was primarily a coal mining world, why would anyone attack that rock? Not that it actually mattered; the Spec Ops operator intended to kick their asses all the same.

"Isn't this something for the Navy?" Priest whined, his long las hanging under his shoulder.

Father's Carapace armor always fascinated Ripper, it was so heavily customized, using pieces of armors salvaged on the field, yet never loosing a very professional feeling.

The operator could spot both Tau and Dark Eldar technology, the Ceramite plates reinforced in some areas by lightweight Tau armor and an Eldar Mesh armor replacing the usual Kevlar under suit.

"Hey, Ripper!" The officer snapped, "Focus!"

The soldier blinked and shook himself. ADD and Special warfare duty were not always compatible, but Father was a patient leader and Ripper a good soldier, so this relationship worked. Better than the one between Father and Priest, anyway.

"Like I was saying, the Navy is going and they want four squads ready to drop," The man explained, adjusting his shotgun, "That's Spectre, Revenant, Ghost and Zombie, that's us, people." The man reminded them, as their squad name was rarely used. Reaper squads worked better on their own.

"No kidding?" Pig scoffed. He had his autogun tightly clenched by both the fore and rear grips, ready to kill things right away, even though their base was a three days flight away from Edrios. Pig was always ready to kill something, or, as his name suggested, roll in the mud with his pals, eating shit and tossing shit right back. He just loved when a fight escalated into a shooting fest.

"So, this means we're getting Valkyries this time around?" The sniper asked, hopefully, "I am sick of civilian vehicles who's machine spirits is not dying only because it was dead for two century…"

Priest was Pig's complete opposite, praying the Emperor for forgiveness after each kills and showing the kind of mercy one would not expect from an old assassin to anything he shot, be it an Ork or an hive ganger, the old man would always reduce the suffering to a minimum. And he enjoyed complaining immensely.

"I think that was pretty fun…" Ripper pointed out, a grin audible in his voice.

Ripper was somewhat less extreme than his companions; Born in a tribe of some feral world, he had been trained for stealth and melee combat from birth, intended to serve as one of his clan's warriors. He loved the rush of battle and excitation of the hunt, but considered the body to be sacred so long as a soul inhabited it, thus refused to ever torture anyone. Killing was another story; Ripper respected his enemies, recognizing them as his equals and, thus, refusing to show mercy, as, to him, this would be a grave insult to them.

"I'm too old for this kind of fun, Ripper, this time, we're riding first class and we have three Guard squads backing us up, and a Leman Russ."

Finally, Father was a family man, with four children of his own and half a dozen of orphans he had rescued on the battlefield. His two sister and three brothers, along with their own families, lived in the team leader's house as well and were like family to the rest of the team, who spent more time in Father's place than their own habitations. He valued the life of his man over his own and pretty much anyone else's. These people were the best, ready to risk their lives for the sake of people that would rather see them burn on a stake, all this for the same pay as an average Guardsman.

They were mad men, but they were HIS mad men.

"Top Dog wants us in a shuttle two hours ago, people," Father concluded, stepping out of the doorway and motioning for his boys to get going, "So let's hustle, don't forget he's the one signing our paychecks!"

"Uah." Ripper groaned without much conviction.

The whole team filed out, sharing what they knew about their destination and what they thought the lone ship was, while father inspected the Armory's table for something he could use. Pig had plenty of explosives, everyone carried a combat knife, they had plenty of power packs, their camel backs could be filled on the shuttle and Ripper had an humidity extractor, just in case, and Priest carried the Falcon, an hand made Anti-Materiel rifle firing heavy bolter rounds. They were in the green.

Father pressed his captured Tau communication headset and spoke on the squad-wide channel, "Squad, Comm. check."

"Pig here, We hear you, Dad." Pig confirmed.

"Priest, loud and clear."

"Ripper, Lima Charlie."

"Alright, children, set up and get some shuteye," He ordered, walking out of the armory and taking a left in the metal corridors, "tomorrow we're setting up a kill house and going over our landing strategy."

This was one thing that made the Reapers elite, the commanders were not the only ones taking part in the battle plans, the men would put the different strategies to the test in kill houses, changing things they thought could use improving and going trough the thing until they knew the battle plan by heart.

This would have been impossible with a bigger outfit, but they worked with small teams, making the thing manageable. This way, they kept two moves ahead of their enemies at least in the first phase of battle, making the latter phases easier.

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Kick in the door! Shoot targets trough the wall, crawl trough the vent, on your back, whip out pistol, shoot two targets, flashbang trough the door, get up, knife the target on the left, shoot the target on the right. Sprint to position six, door on the left and right. Flash trough both, don't stop! Faster! Don't reload, use pistol. Sprint to finish, sweep dummy to the ground. Dummy down, knife it.

Done. Timer stops. Too slow, try again!

Done. Timer stops. Too sloppy, try again!

Done. Timer stops. Missed one target, try again!

This was the squad's routine, day in, day out, they kept running the obstacle course and getting themselves ready to secure Edrios' starport. From there, their job would be to set up observation positions, find out what they were up against and call in orbital strikes on it.

The ship captain had been somewhat reluctant to get involved in ground pounder business, but the suggestion that there might be a couple of time bombs hidden on his flying wreck got him very cooperative.

Ripper charged the dummy, roaring like an angry bear. The thing was shaped like an Ork and weighted just as much, but the Reapers had a takedown technique meant especially for bigger, stronger opponents, called the Fat Sweep; they sprinted forward as fast as possible and slammed all their weight in a single leg, adding a slash to the other with a bladed weapon, cut off the knee tendons jam the articulation, anything that allowed the impact to knock down their targets. Once on the ground, it was a matter of being faster than your enemy, something Reapers were very good at.

His tomahawk roared into the 'Ork''s head and the soldier jerked it out quickly.

The whole squad was looking, just as exhausted as their CQC expert.

"Done," Father confirmed, "Timer stops." They all looked at the arena clock over the kill house.

20.88, good, but far from Priest's 15.6.

"We done for today?" Pig breathed, massaging his right bicep. He had tried to fire his Autogun one handed and paid the price.

Father removed his balaclava and wiped his brow. The gymnasium's air conditioner was off, he shut it down for the exercise's purpose seeing as Edrios was a desert... In any event, this was the last day before deployment and the boys had earned themselves some respite.

"Aff, no drinks, no girls, stay grim, Reapers." He ordered, to Pig and Ripper's disappointment.

Priest did not drink and if he had any sort of sex drive, the man was very discreet about it.

Pig still decided to head for the bar where Guardsmen were giving a party, just in case it turned out to be the last. He was not allowed to drink, but the young soldier still liked to hang around other guys like him, the only real difference was in religion and, in the 32nd at least, no one gave a damn.

There was a few Cadians in there as well, from what he had heard, but he would just avoid them.

As Pries made his way for the cathedral and Pig for the cantina, Father walked up to Ripper, a bottle of water in hand.

He handed the bottle to his NCO and the soldier, lowering his mask for a second, downed half of it right away, then poured the rest on his head, cooling himself down. Water soaked the complex polymer fabric covering his face and ran down his opaque goggles, blurring his vision for a few second.

With this done, he hurriedly re-attached the breathing grill before his mouth.

Like all Reapers, Ripper was deeply terrified of chemical weapons, not only did he wear this mask, but he also also, like all Reapers, carried anti-toxin shots at all time. The reason was quite simple, but not entirely logical:

The Reapers had counted ten times as many members, once, and were very close to replacing the PDF as the local military force. This did not sit well with some and the Reaper Section had almost been wiped out when a group of radical imperial cultist detonated a mustard gas bomb in the middle of a general meeting.

Now, the whole section had adopted heavy, smelly and uncomfortable gas masks to wear with modified balaclavas. No Reaper ever took these off when in uniform. On duty or not, as long as they were identifiable as Reapers, they wore the mask, even at night. This, for some reason, had gotten them in the good graces of the Kriegan Death Korps the last time they served together, the 'gas mask of evil' bond apparently overcoming the religious gap.

"Need me for the meeting, sir?" Rip asked, awkwardly. He would be bored right out of his mind, but these inter-forces meeting often degenerated into religious debates and the team leader could use some back up holding his own against both the ship's Captain, the Guard's Colonel and the shock troopers Captain.

"Nah," Father scoffed, "I'm a big semi-muscular man, I can handle myself, you go get some rest kid," He added, walking away, "I'll need you on point tomorrow."

Ripper saluted and they went separate ways, Father going trough the 'South' door, leading to the main deck, and Rip took the east one, to the crew quarters.

He pulled the door open, shouldering his Las carbine and nodding to a Team Revenant member as they squeezed past each others. Rip was of a higher rank, but Reapers did not wear rank indicators, as it eased the snipers' job. You were to know who in your team had a higher rank and not take orders from anyone else.

"Hey!" The Revenant turned back around, realizing something, "You Zombie Leader?" His gas mask was off. Definitely an FNG, -a Fraking New Guy- what could the kid want with Father?

"Nope, but I'm the NCO, you need something?" Ripper tried to be friendly to the newbie, but the guy just annoyed him. No reason; Ripper never like new guys, they all believed they were special because they'd made it in the section.

A Reaper's survival rate on their first deployment was the same as just any Imperial Guard, thanks to the attitude of the recruits. Waste of time, money and equipment.

"I heard you had an obstacle course set up and am bored out of my mind, would you mind if I use it?"

Rip observed the kid trough his tinted glasses. A Rifleman, carrying a Kantreal pattern lasgun with fore grip and 2x scope. He also had a couple of dummy grenades on his combat webbing.

"Yeah, okay," Rip agreed, "get to position one and wait for my mark!" He ordered, going to the observation post, atop a bunch of crates, while the recruit jogged to the white 1 on the floor.

"First run's not about speed, it's about following instructions!" The Non Commissioned Officer explained, "You don't shoot if I don't tell you to and you don't move unless I say so. Breathing is okay, whining ain't; if I say roll for no apparent reason, you roll for no apparent reason, clear?"

"Lima Charlie, sir!" The kid yelled, nervously.

"What's your name, mate?"

"Meat!" He actually sounded proud of that.

"Okay, Meat; go to red!" The kid readied himself, weapon at the ready, " Knock on the door!" The recruit hesitated one second before actually knocking on the door twice.

A smart one.

"Alright, now knock it down!"

Ripper would have much fun giving weird orders to the kid for the following minute or so, but Meat managed to follow every strange command except the last one:

"Hump the dummy!" Keeping his tone dead serious at this one was quite a feat, but Rip managed it, somehow.

"What?" the kid looked at the Ork-like mannequin, wondering how far he was supposed to listen to orders.

The kind of question everyone in the section ask themselves every day.

"Nevermind. Want to run it again?"

"Yes, sir!"

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Father adjusted his beret, moved his right ammo pouch a bit higher, re-adjusted his beret, checked his boots and finally… Waited some more.

The Servitor kept watching him with a dumb empty expression. It had once been a pretty good looking woman, but now served as a receptionist for the captain and probably other things Father would rather not think about.

It stayed behind its reception desk, on Father's left, monitoring those who went trough the door

The others had started the meeting without him and, of course, decided this was a classified matter, so the door was locked.

Fraking bigots would make the whole operation a failure if it meant the Reapers looked bad, but Top Dog had made it quite clear to Father he wanted this mission to go smoothly for everyone. He had given no reason, but did say something along the line of "Don't frak up or were done."

The double door was carved out of thick wood with ornate hinges and large golden knobs, meant to look nice, but it would hardly resist to the weight of a fully armored Imperial Guardsman thrown at it.

Father looked at the Shock trooper guarding the door and smiled, getting goosebumbs and shivers at the prospect of a good fight.

"How much do you weight, son?" He asked the soldier.

Maybe it was that sentence, or maybe just instinct, but the trooper instantly understood what was coming. Out of everything he could have done, trying to overpower a Reaper officer in hand to hand combat had to be the worst idea. Father ducked under the man's grappling attempt and pushed himself off the floor using his right hand, his left clenched in a fist.

He could have used his palm and pushed the man's nose all the way to his brain, but killing was not necessary here. Shock and awe was, however.

The trooper stumbled backward, disoriented just one second by the massive uppercut he had received, but that was one second too much; Father spun on the spot so fast his shape blurred for a second and finished with a brutal sideway kick. It would have crushed the trooper's internal organs without his flak armor. Instead, it threw the man backward and caused the door to crack loudly, but it held.

Father stepped back a few paces and shook himself a bit. The trooper was dizzy and confused, but he had time to realize what was coming and tried to talk the Reaper out of it.

"Don't do th…" Father's shoulder pad sparkled against the flak armor's chest piece and both men ripped trough the door. The Reaper officer stopped after a step, but the shock trooper crashed in an empty seat, right before the door, his thick armor and momentum crushing the fragile piece of furniture to a bunch of toothpicks.

All around the table, officers, dressed with highly ornamented armors outfitted with massive pauldrons, stared in disbelief. All were armed, yet none wanted to take the initiative and they found themselves simply listening to team Zombie's leader as he taunted them.

"Sorry," Father began, dusting himself, "Door was stuck." He helped the trooper back to his feet, lifting him by the collar and threw him out of the room with a boot up the ass. "So, what did I miss?"

Last edited by JonasGrant; 01-11-12 at 10:50 PM.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-12-12, 10:57 AM
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Interesting premise: I like the idea of using a Warrant of Trade to create a specialist team.

I am not sure about the team being selected for lack of faith in the Imperial Cult: as the faith is such a strong part of what makes 40K distinct I think later chapters would need a semi-sympathetic representation of faith to differentiate this form a story about heretics; on the other hand it does offer great dramatic potential if the problem they are resolving turns out be caused by atheists trying to protect their way of life from the Ecclesiarchy.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-12-12, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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A/N: Thanks! I won't really have a choice to add some more religious people if I want to expand the Reapers, but they'll remain secular.

The droopship broke orbit with much shaking and screaming of metal. It was an old model, a 'dick with wings' as Pig called it.

The interior was not really much better, filled with worn and tired cargo nettings, so old and friable, the Reapers could not hang their equipment in it or it would snap under the weight and the items would be thrown around the place. The light bulbs had burned as soon as the engine had started, leaving the three squads in complete darkness.

Fortunately, night visions were a part of every Reaper's equipment.

"Of course," Priest groaned, "seeing in the dark will no be all that useful if we splatter on the ground…" He turned to Father, "Hey what happened to first class?"

The veteran was checking his shotgun for and sign of wear and only stopped a second to answer; "I kicked it trough a door."

"So I take it I should have gone with you?" Ripper scoffed, adjusting the cheek rest on his las carbine.

"Nah, the old man can still handle some pretentious punk, thank you." Father's smile could be heard trough the rebreather.

The ride was quite a bit bumpy, but no parts had fallen off yet, which meant they might just make it to the ground.

This was the kind of situation Reapers faced every mission; shitty deployment conditions, unnecessary risks and reluctant support. If they had some actual funding, the Reapers would maintain their own dropships and air support, be a force to be reckoned with, instead of just a last resort solution for desperate imperial worlds too insignificant to warrant an Astarte intervention.

Astartes… Two hundred years of training spent on the teachings of a codex written by a complete buffoon, completed with implants that required no effort or understanding on the owner's part and a piece of armor meant to be used for farming would give you an Astarte.

To be fair, they were humanity's finest and that was quite pathetic in its own right.

That and the fact their ridiculous tactics were so damned effective against the different threats out there, as if the whole galaxy had failed to ever read Sun Tzu's art of war or any other type of half-intelligent essay on how to kill one's enemy.

Father had no doubt that, should the man still be walking around, the emperor would see his Imperium as the single stupidest, most bigoted and self-indulgent military power to ever exist.

But, as Top Dog would say, "As ugly as the dam is, it's the only thing keeping you from a forced bath, don't try and tear it down."

The team leader worked his way trough the fifteen Reapers, assembled in the dark troop bay, and emerged in the orange glow of the piloting cabin.

The gunner turned to look at the newcomer the pilot too busy trying to keep the flying wreckage from crashing, her lower lip bleeding from getting chewed on. She had a thick helmet covering her head, at least two sizes too big for her, while her gunner had to make due with a cushion-less seat.

"What did you kids do to get this assignment?" Zombie Leader asked, smiling under his mask at the disgruntled look the gunner gave him.

"No idea, sir, if you figure it out, let us know…" he checked his instruments and looked back to the officer, "One mike, sir, LZ is ice." His use of Reaper codes clearly showed this guy came from the 32nd tactical, which may account for his presence in the dropship. The Thirty second were always bordering heresy in their attempts to emulate Reaper tactics.

Father nodded and notified Gamble, the leader of team Spectre. The man was on his first deployment as commander, but he had plenty of missions under his belt and knew just what to say.

He opened a channel with every operator aboard the ship and yelled his instructions over the screaming of engine, from somewhere at the back of the ship:

"Provided this landing doesn't get interesting, we're hitting ground in sixty seconds! Zombie One is our pack leader today, or, if you prefer, 'First in, Last off'. If you loose your CO, find a Zombie and they'll set you straight. You all know the drill; check your targets, watch the cross fire, all that stuff!"

"Ten seconds!" Ripper called, clenching the thumb-trough grip of his carbine, "Grim faces!"

Everyone who had their helmets, berets masks or goggles off hurriedly fitted them back on in a short buzz of activity, before getting up like one man, forming two rows of tense, heavily armed, skull faced warriors.

"Go to red!" Gamble barked as the ramp lowered itself. Every form of safeties were flipped off and the tension rose noticeably. Almost killing time.

Gamble was off before the ramp had finished lowering, landing heavily with a last second roll, then rising to a kneeling shooting position.

Behind him, Reapers were fanning out in an half circle formation, tight enough to support each others, but not so close that a single burst of automatic weapon could kill two of them.

Ripper and Father came last, going left and right, respectively, as the Reapers reported any possible hostiles.

The landing pad they had landed at the middle of was a hundred meters in length and thirty in width. Most of it was occupied by a large civilian transporter occupying at least half the runway, while the rest was just concrete. The controle tower, twelve meters ahead of Father, was dark and menacing, one of its windows covered in a red substance closely resembling blood. It was too dark for anyone to see inside, however.

" Revenant, check the tower!" He ordered. The four men got moving quickly.

Thirteen meters in front of Ripper stood a large warehouse probably used to store the tithe and other merchandise. The large sheet metal door was closed and so were all windows on either side of the rusty structure. One interesting thing was the row of green crystals imbedded in the door, alongside a large amount of circular perforations all over the structure. Las gun fire, from a Mars pattern lasgun, judging by the lack of accuracy and size of the holes.

Behind the formation, the dropship's gunner was scanning the area with his nose mounted, twin linked stubbers, the old machinery whining every time it changed target.

The mechanical sound was the only thing to be heard, the engines now off and all Reapers maintaining perfect noise discipline. Despite the large amount of duct tape used in maintaining any noisy bit in place, whenever a Reaper switched position or fidgeted in some way, their power packs would grind together in their pockets with a stark complain. Everything was very quiet and Father briefly wondered if this was slow time or long time.

Revenant reached the control tower and used a fiber optic camera to peek under the door before entering. Stealth entry was a painfully long and tiring process, especially in a structure this size.

Long time. This was definitely long time. The difference between short time and long time is not all that obvious at first sight.

You walk trough a jungle at arm's distance of the man in front of you. Ears wide open and eyes squinting to spot anything suspicious. One second of inattention and you're dead, you must focus on everything around you, every sound, every movement. You look at your watch, thinking your hour long patrol is almost done and realize only a minute or so has gone by.

That's long time.

Short time is when you hear that strange sound, or see this unnatural glint. You hear the first bullet being fired and, for a minute, the whole world stands still, like time itself is shocked. You see the guy in front of you fall to his knees, his head halfway gone, and he stands there so long, you think he's going to get back up. Then he falls and the whole world explodes into a slow motion light show. If you have a death wish, you can look at your watch at that moment and notice how slowly the smaller needle moves…

Father had stopped wearing digital watches after his very first deployment.

"Ghost, warehouse." He finally ordered, "Spectre, dropship, Zombie, , we're checking that transport."

Pillar led team Ghost, she had once attempted to join the sisters of battle, but had seemed to lack… Piety, and was refused. The "Bolter Bitches" tattoo on her neck , under the strange flower-like emblem of the Sororitas was a prime example of that.

One hand signal from her and the three Reapers under her command began crouch walking across the concrete, going as fast a was reasonable, not wanting to be caught in the open, but not wanting to miss something either.

Ripper took point, one eye on his scope, the other wide open, while Pig covered his left flank, Father his right and Priest brought the rear.

The transport ship was shaped like a T and Zombie was coming at it from the rear, the cockpit out of view and six engines in plain sight.

Under the massive engines, power coupling had been shredded by some high caliber weapons, Bolters or something similar.

"You seeing this, Father?" Pig asked, pointing his gun at one of the damaged couplings. "Someone didn't want them to leave…"

"Roger that, stay on your toes, might be friendlies in the area." Not likely, but who knows? "You got something, Priest?"

"Zero movement, sir." Came the composed answer. If the former assassin was worried, it did not show.

Ripper tapped Pig's shoulder with his left hand, the right one still holding the carbine. "Remind me never to play cards with that guy."

"Too right, mate." Pig agreed, never breaking the pace or looking at Rip, "Mobile ramp, nine o'clock." He then called, louder.

Father peeked at the wheeled mineral loader, then back to the damaged transporter.

No ramps, no access ladder and the landing gear was nothing more than three insect like legs located at the edges of the ship. No way in.

"Good thinking, Pig," He congratulated, "We'll get on it, Priest, Ripper, move to those crates, three o'clock, and cover us."

Coal crates had been stacked along the runway in some places, usually not more than eight, packed in tight squares.

The sniper and NCO jogged over to the stack while Father and Pig went the opposite way.

Priest and Ripper shoved a crate to the floor and Rip took cover behind it while Priest climbed on the bottom box, unfolded his bipod and set his rifle on top of the stack.

"Father, Ripper, we got you covered." Rip announced, keeping his eyes off focus to spot any movement in his peripheral vision.

"Copy," Father was tense, Rip couldn't blame the old man, this place should have been buzzing with activity. "Check with the Narcissa, see if they have a tally on the hostile ship."

"Wilco." He switched on his mask's built in Vox-caster and tuned a dial, located on the side of a black box built into his backpack, until he got a signal.

"Narcissa, Zombie, what's the situation up there?"

"Greetings to you as well, Zombie," An unpleasant voice acknowledged, "Emperor protects."

Rip resisted the desire to answer 'Then let's hope it's not his day off.' and waited.

"The situation remains unchanged, the heresy has…" Ripper shut the channel and relayed the information to Father.

Priest shook his head slowly, "You did not say thanks." He pointed out, smugly.

"Hey, I'd love to give these guys my life story, but I would much appreciate if my life story did not end because I was chatting over the comm." Ripper explained, looking over his shoulder.

The starport was surrounded by tall concrete walls with a guard tower every ten meters. The towers were all dark despite the sun being at its zenith.

Something kept the sun from entering the towers. Shutters, most likely, but why did all towers have their shutters closed?

"Watch the towers, people." He warned the others, before returning to what was happening ahead.

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Meat crawled trough the vent with ease, having picked up a few tricks from Ripper, like the fact he could push forward with the tip of his toes instead of just letting his legs drag behind.

He had to remove his armor and lasgun to fit in the small vent, however, as the proportions were different from that of the kill house.

The thing was located on the floor, hidden in the wall, not in the ceiling, like one would expect, something about heat going up or whatever.

He did not have to crawl for long, his job was only to get on the other side of a wall and open the door leading to the central hall. Easy as engaging a fire warrior in close combat!

Soon enough, he was looking trough a rusty metal grill, trying to spot any kind of movement in the room beyond.

It was dark, a criss-cross series of light rays appearing from a bullet holes in the wall above Meat.

He was about to kick the hatch out when he heard a low hiss, like a deflating balloon.

He froze, all of his muscles stiff as rock, and listened. The air felt thick as syrup, so quiet, Meat felt like there was an insane drum player in his chest.

Then, he heard it again. It was a soft whisper coming from somewhere on the right. Whoever was talking seemed nervous, yet Meat could not make any sense of their words.

Not gothic. Tau, maybe? No matter, he had to find a way to sneak in and open the door to the team. Whoever was in there most likely knew a dropship had landed and were ready for someone to come busting trough the door. He would have to be smart on that one; how do you unlock an heavily guarded door from inside the room when you could not see your enemy nor contact your team without revealing your position?

He inspected the room again.

Straight ahead was a closed door leading to the administration section of the towes. To his left, although his position prevented him from seeing the double doors, was the entry that gave to the restoration area- and team Revenant-. Finally, to the right, or, given the way he was lying on his side, above him, was the staircase to the air traffic control room, that was where the Xenos likely were hiding.

The room itself had little furniture; two rows of chairs on the far wall, surrounding the door, a coffee machine, to the left, right before the stairs and a couple of potted plants. Not much cover and not much that could be used as a distraction…

Meat checked himself with immense care. He had the Bolt pistol Revenant leader, Shard, had given him, his monocarbide-whatever-that-means edged combat/utility knife, a pair of flash grenades and a pair of standard issue, high caliber, ceramic plated balls. Or so he tried to convince himself.

If he told his team to kick the door it, they would get shot to shit, if he got out of the vent, he would be right in the ambushers' line of sight and if he stood around…

"Meat, Shard, report." Shard sounded half annoyed, half worried. Meat briefly wondered of the veteran soldier was worried for him before remembering he had the man's bolt pistol.

No finding a better idea, Meat crawled forward a meter or so, to get away from the, and gave his report:

"Shard, Meat, unknown in the stairs. Ambush." He tried to make it as short as possible.

"You in the vent?" Shard called, not missing a beat.

Meat could hear the whispers grow more excited. They knew something was up. "Yes." He answered, his voice shaking. The fear was like a ball of ice in his stomach and, despite the cold breeze surrounding him, he felt heat waves running over his skin.

"Repeat last transmission, Meat, are you in the vents?"

Meat sighed. He felt like crying. This was too much for him, too big, he wanted it to stop now, just get out of this vent, get in the dropship and wait until the mission was done. He wanted to go home. "Yankee Echo Sigma." The young soldier rested his head on the cold metal and tried to relax, taking in one breath after the other, focusing on the nice juicy steak he was going to have after this. With garlic sauce, mushrooms, fries if he could find some, and a beer. Not one of these fancy brand, one of these soap tasted things his father used to drink.

Shard kept quiet for a while, probably briefing the others on the situation, then came back online, "We'll use the snake cam to spot targets for you, follow my instructions and shoot them trough the wall, copy?"

The sudden weight on the rookie's shoulders had the effect of a coffee and a slap in the wasn't just him in this mess, his whole team was stuck in this hell as well and all of them were scared just as much as he was. He could not break down; he would never be able to look any of them in the eyes again if he did.

"Wilco," His voice had stopped shaking "call the shot."

There was a second of silence, then he pointed the first target. "One O'clock, elevation, forty five degrees. Two shots. Fire, fire!"

Meat squeezed the trigger twice and cursed under his breath as the sound rang trough his skull. Had he not been wearing his helmet, he would have gone deaf.

"Missed, correct two degrees right. Fire, fire."

The two detonations were just as loud as the firsts and two new holes appeared in Meat's concealment. Soon enough, he would have to move, or the enemy would pinpoint his location.

"Delta Hotel!" The sadistic pleasure of seeing an enemy down could be heard in the man's voice, "New target, correct eleven degrees left, one shot. Fire, fire!"

The bolt pierced the vent just over the previous four, creating a cyclop smiley.

"Nut shot. Nice. New target, correct twenty degrees up, six degrees left. Two shots. Fire, fire!"

Meat pressed the two rounds out, creating an 8 shaped hole in the metal panel and finally seeing enough on the other side to find his own targets.

The problem, however, was that the targets found him first.

Projectiles began peppering the Reaper's position, sparking across the vent and screaming past his ears.

He crawled backward quickly and watched as the wall began to disintegrate under the heavy fire.

Yelling "Compromised!" was all Meat could think of to save his skin. He could feel bits of shredded steel cut trough his arms and shoulders, blood trickling along his skin.

The still locked door exploded as a result and Revenant's grenadier, Halo, charged in with his grenade launcher ready. He fired three times and the fight came to an end.

Meat's first idea was to crawl forward, but a closer look at the damaged shaft told him this would be a bad idea, as thousands of tiny crystals were embedded in the metal, shining in a dark green glow despite not having any sun light reflecting off them.

"Hang in there, rook," Shard called, "we're getting you out."

A chainsword revved, first cutting the wall over the shaft, then the shaft itself, half a meter behind Meat, and finally cutting so close to the recruit's face he attempted to pluck his ears. Hard to do with a flak helmet on.

Meat yelped in surprise as the portion of vent he was in got yanked from the wall all the way to the middle of the room.

All he had to do now was crawl out and watch out for sharp edges. He got halfway out an took the hand Halo offered him. The others had already moved on.

Meat felt a little ashamed of having taken too long getting out of the shaft, but

Halo seemed quite okay with that fact. He even congratulated the rookie, speaking with a quite strange accent.

"Nice moves out there, brotha," The man handed him his flack armor and lasgun back, "C'mon, get geared up an' back in tha fight!"

"I think I soiled my pants."

Not exactly the best one liner ever.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-12-12, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by JonasGrant View Post
I won't really have a choice to add some more religious people if I want to expand the Reapers, but they'll remain secular.
Fair enough.

I like the second section as well.
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A/N: Glad you do ^^ I'm finding it hard to keep the warhammer feel while still having the Reapers be a modern and professional outfit. It was, originally, meant to be a crossover with Ghost Recon, so...

Pillar looked around the warehouse in disbelief. Coal mining world indeed.

"Sir," Her NCO began, looking at the shattered crate and its content, "Is this…"

Adamantine rocks. A mineral found only on asteroids, but sometimes, asteroids were attracted by gravity wheels and fused with other asteroids to create a planet. Not often, but sometimes. Now, if those asteroids all happened to contain adamantine, you had yourself a supply metal large enough build a thousand battle cruisers.

The Adamantine contained in this warehouse would suffice in building a small destroyer, or a hundred terminator suits.

"I'm sure the tech heads will love this skak." She replied, grinning slightly.

The Reapers hired many disgraced Adeptus Mechanicus magos who thought innovation was the only way to knowledge, many had been branded Heretec, but Top Dog had contact and an Emperor-signed piece of paper on his side, so many tech priests had been 'given' to the Reapers to serve as technical support.

She noticed the whole team was looking in awe at the stack of crates, trying to imagine what they would do with that much material, the most common thought being 'terminator armors for everyone!'

"Get your skak together, people!" Pillar snapped, angrily, "We have to secure this place! Three meters spread, go!" She added, her bolter aimed down range.

Back in the dropship, Gamble and the gunner were closely listening to the vox chatter of all three teams for any sign of trouble.

Only Revenant had reported contact so far, but this was enough to get them on their toes. These people had set up an ambush, meaning they were expecting company, meaning there would be no telling what their next move might be, the only certainty being that there would be another move.

Gamble tapped the pilot's shoulder. "Take off, we're going to sweep the area," He turned to the gunner, "use your thermal imagery and vaporize anything that doesn't sparkle."

Father did not need to give the order; it was already part of the plan that the dropship be used as close air support. They had kept it on the ground up until now because they wanted to save fuel.

The gunner nodded and the machine gun under the vessel emulated the movement.

Further down the airfield, Ripper was using his tomahawk to saw open the cargo ship hatch, his carbine still held in his off hand, ready to fire.

Father was lower on the ramp, his shotgun aimed at the door, while Pig and Priest were standing at the bottom, ready to rain hell on anything inside.

With the closing mechanism and both hinges out of the way, Rip shoved his tomahawk in the middle of the hatch, to act as an handle, and yanked the thing back, muscles bulging from under his suit and arms shaking like he had a stroke of Parkinson. Father threw a flash grenade –simply a frag grenade with the outer shell replaced by solid magnesium and aluminum- trough the small opening and Ripper leaned on the hatch with all his weight.

The blast almost knocked the NCO down the ramp, but Father grabbed was behind the young soldier and pushed him back upright in time for Ripper to throw the hatch aside and climb in the plane after Father. They arrived in a corridor extending on the length of the cargo.

"Clear!" They both called, droping to a knee while they assessed the situation.

"You smell that?" Asked the veteran from right side of the entry point.

Ripper took a long sniff and nodded. "Spiky close." He confirmed, using the designation for Dark Eldars. The Xenos had a very distinctive scent of sex and blood they carried with them everywhere.

On his first operation, Ripper had gone against Spiky, discovering the hard way that gas mask don't filter the stench death and decay. Some days he wished it did, as he was still haunted by the smell of the piles of tortured, raped and murdered guardsmen. The smell was somehow worst than the sight, it never left. Sometimes, he woke up smelling that thing, or found himself unable to eat because his brain had drawn some tenuous link between it and that of his food.

"Trap?" Ripper asked, getting his mind into the game. If it was a trap, he could see no obvious sign of it; just a rusty brown, neon lit corridor. If it was a trap, it was a good trap.

"Think so." The two remained motionless for almost thirty seconds, pondering their options. Their dynamic entry had certainly not gone unnoticed and going to close quarters with alerted Eldars was unadvisable… "No reason to play along," Father finally decided, "We get away and you call in some CAS on that ship, copy?"

Ripper hesitated. "What's that whining soun…"

Father spun on the spot and grabbed a hold of his NCO, shoving the young man down the ramp before…

The world began spinning around the old soldier, going from the orange-red sand, covering the starport , to the reddish sky, covering the whole fraking planet.

He watched the sand get closer and had just enough time to think this was going to hurt before the air was forced out of his lungs and his brain racked around his skull, turning the world to a red hue and blurring his vision. The taste of blood climbed in his mouth and he swallowed, not wanting to gum his mask with caked blood.

Father could not move, he could not even breathe. No matter how hard he tried, he could get no air in his lungs, as if his body had forgotten how to do it.

Someone rolled him on his back, someone with a skull-like mask and Flak helmet. Priest wore a beret and Pig preferred a simple Kevlar weave tuque to fancier protections. Ripper.

He was kneeling over Zombie leader's body, checking for a pulse.

"Hang in there!" The young man yelled, shooting his carbine in short controlled bursts at something father could not see, "Pig, move that ramp! We'll use it as cover!"

He grabbed the back of Father's armor and dragged the injured man a short distance, into the shadow of the mobile ramp.

Father finally managed to draw a breath and, as limited as it was, that one drag of air was the sweetest thing he'd ever tasted.

Ripper lifted father into a sitting position, resting his back on one of the ramp's large tires, and gave him his shotgun back.

"Can you fight, sir?" Ripper did not wait for the answer, as a hail of projectiles pinged off his shoulder pad, prompting him to return fire.

Father wiggled his toes and was relieved to see his boot bobbing slightly at his action. He looked down and saw no trail of blood or anything. Whatever had thrown him off this cargo ship had not pierced his Carapace or broken his back.

A peek around the back of the mobile ramp told him he was very lucky, as the hatch they had entered the ship from and anything within three meters of it had been vaporized, leaving only a smoking hole, trough which Dark Eldars were firing at the Team Zombie.

From the top of the control tower, Shard had a perfect view of the battlefield bellow. He spotted at least twenty sniper nests within the guard towers, on the perimeter wall, and ordered his own sniper to get in position and take them out.

Blaze, the sniper, nodded once and got out of the control room trough a shattered window, climbing on the tower's roof with her Tau Pulse rifle dangling on its strap.

Halo, on his end, was trying to figure out how to operate the Disintegrator cannon left by the previous residents. Said residents were now painting the walls with their brains, thanks to a well placed fragmentation grenade.

Looking back at the runway, Shard saw team Ghost's demolition expert leaning out from inside the warehouse. A white smoke trail launched from his shoulder and the Reaper ducked back inside. Something exploded behind the tower and Shard jogged to the other side, jumping over a damaged console before kneeling next to the large window.

"Hurry up, Halo, we need this gun thirty seconds ago!" Shard barked, checking outside once more.

Three large mechanical scorpions, hovering off the ground and firing crystals from their tails, had thrown down a part of the perimeter wall and were now fanning out across the sand covered runway, shrugging off missiles and machine gun rounds from the dropship like it was mere rain.

One of them fired at the outdated machine and the pilot had to climb brutally to avoid getting hit.

A similar blob of plasma suddenly pierced the control tower's cieiling, prompting a scream of surprise and anger from the sniper set up there.

"I figured it out, sir!" Halo announced, breaking the glass Shard was hiding behind before opening fire.

From then, the battle turned around completely. The Dark Eldars were relying on their troops in the control tower to provide support and wipe out the humans quickly. When their own cannon began frying their armored support, their snipers stopped covering them and the troops hiding in the warehouse failed to join the fight, the Eldars hiding in the ship did the only thing they could.

They whipped out a white flag.

Any other Imperial group would have killed every last one of those Xenos and burned every piece of technology, but this presented the Reapers with one heck of an opportunity; access to the knowledge of the most advanced race in the universe.

It took a few minutes for the Reapers to set up a defensive perimeter around the ship, given the size of it, but they soon had the thing surrounded and were set up inside grenade-caused craters in the ground. Normally, they would have used high explosives to dig trenches, but there was no time here.

Then came the negotiations

"Who's in charge!" Father barked, limping his way alongside the ramp as Ripper drove the thing towards the ship.

"We should just kill them all, sir." The NCO groaned, annoyed at his commander's unwillingness to carry this fight all the way.

"Shut up, Ripper." Was the best argument Father could come up with.

An Eldar –male, apparently-, wearing the usual leather strap and spike apparatus, appeared in the breach on the side of the ship, smiling like a shark. He had his organic looking rifle held over his head and kept his other palm outward and opened, to show he had no other weapon.

He spoke in a suave, confident tone, like he was a comedian on a stage,"Greetings, Monkey, I am…"

Father exchanged a glance with ripper and turned back to the Eldar, "Did you just call me 'monkey'?"

Quite interestingly, this awkward first meeting would soon turn into a strange mutual understanding between two commanders who knew what it meant to be despised by their own people for doing what they had to do. No name was given, no real name, anyway, with Father using his codename to introduce himself and the Eldar leader the name of his ship, Maugetar.

The deal was simple, Maugetar and his crew were to give the Reapers all weapons and technological device they possessed, free all captures within their ship and leave without further damage.

The Dark Eldar did not care about the trivial technological items the Imperials requested, as far as he knew, they simply wanted to humiliate him and would burn them as soon as he left, but he had a problem with freeing the prisoners, as this would mean no pain to feed on and most likely consumption by the warp before he could acquire a new arsenal, replace his missing crew and raid another world.

A world as far away from these skull faced demons as possible.

His counter offer was just as simple; Half the slaves held within the ship –that included Eldars, Tau, humans and Squats- all technological items he could spare without crippling himself and a good word for them in the higher circle of Commorragh, for when the Imperium finally found a reason to go after the Reapers.

"The Kabal could use warriors such as you," He explained, leaning against the scorched wall behind him while Father stood on top of the ramp, listening quietly.

In truth, he planned on accepting the deal, as this would allow the Reapers to increase their relations with every races by returning prisoners to their own faction, in exchange of a little compensation, of course.

Of course, he did not plan on letting the Eldars get away to torture a couple of hundred Imperial citizens. Priest had already found their ship, half a kilometer further, hidden in a canyon, and tagged it with an infrared beacon that should shine like a spotlight out in space, making the navy's job a piece of cake.

"You've got a deal." Father agreed, a fake smile plastering his face.

0

0

0

End Prologue
Chapter 1: Don't Fear The Reaper Man

On his own planet, Josip Vasko had belonged to a group of warriors quite close to Reapers, known as the 'Special Warfare Operations and Reconnaissance Division' the SWORD. The SWORD had been at the top of espionage and special warfare techniques, thanks to four thousand years of subversive warfare under the guise of a fragile peace. They surpassed anything to ever exist when it came to staging an assassination or reaching an untouchable, even the Reapers would have been crushed by the SWORD at the height of its power.

But for all its knowledge, it still disappeared, as by the time the Imperium found them, Vasko's people had only developed a technological level close to Earth's twenty first century, nowhere near enough to fight off the Imperial might.

So they surrendered and all SWORD leaders were executed, all their knowledge destroyed or confiscated, all technological advancement prohibited and severely punished. Their homeworld was enslaved.

Vasko, along with a thousand other SWORD operators, then began a resistance, using these tactics they were so well versed in and the Imperial's technology to kick out their tyrants.

Half a space marine chapter, the Lamenters, was wiped out during this insurgence, their heavy armors and weapons utterly powerless against staged friendly fire incident and sabotaged equipment.

This was a fun time for Josip, to outsmart, overcome and outlast foes said to be gods of war. One hell of a trip.

Then, the brasses ordered Exterminatus. It was nothing to them, just another rock and a handful of lifes wiped off the board. Not even worth updating the counters.

To the SWORD operative, this was the beginning of a bloody feud that would culminate only on Terra, leaving in its wake a quite impressive trail of accidental deaths within the Inquisition and Imperial Navy. Then, on Terra, Vasko had a face to face with the previous Top Dog, a man like him, who'd lost everything and had built something out of it.

The old man's words, while not the fanciest, were the wisest things Top had heard so far in his life, and the seventy years old man had heard a lot of bullshit.

"You're a fucking idiot, boy," The old man had announced as an introduction, "what do you think you'll do here? Settle your score with a corpse hardwired to a fucking chair? Fix the world? Bring back your loved ones? Well, let me tell you something, kid; it doesn't work like that!

You're like these abused kids who grow up to be abusive dads 'cause having their ass kicked entitles them to kick other's! You kill that corpse, you shit over humanity as a whole.

There's over a hundred factions out there trying to ass rape lill' old us and the Imperium is what's holding them at bay. The dam might be ugly, it might have chips in it, it might even have drowned your family's pet, but it's keeping billions of people alive."

"Someone has to do something…" Was the only answer Josip could come up with at the time.

"Someone will do something, provided you buy them enough time. Humanity has gotten trough worse, it just needs someone to keep the shit at bay while it figures things out."

"You mean I should just stand there and watch as they massacre the whole galaxy?"

"No, I mean you should help keep it together and surgically remove the parasites instead of tearing it all down."

The outcome is obvious; Now the new Top Dog, Josip Vasko added his knowledge to the Reapers, trained hundreds of recruits into the art of subversive warfare, assassinated more people than anyone cared to count and made commander after the last one was assassinated in a dark alley, his fist down someone's throat and his clip empty. The rest was just paperwork and dodging claims of heresy.

Right now, Top was walking down the street from his apartment in the capital city of Aldria, Vetchok, with two shadowy men in dark trench coats following him a good distance away.

Top Dog lived near the market and walked trough the thing every day on his way to work. He usually bought a fruit or two that he ate on the way. His favorite was the pike banana, basically a water-melon shaped like a banana with a soft skin and a thin hard spine in its core, thus the name.

This time was no exception. He squeezed trough the thick crowd with many apologies and purchased two fruits from one of many wooden stands.

He began eating the first, chewing around the solid core, and kept the other in hand.

Once out of the crowd, Josip looked back, out of habit, and analyzed everyone in the street for something odd. A man in a trench coat way too thick for this time of the year was browsing fruits Top personally thought looked half rotten, a woman was yelling at a boy on a bicycle and two kids were chasing each others between the legs of grown ups. It was quick and he skipped a few, but the verdict was satisfying.

A tension released from the old man's shoulder and he slowed the pace a bit, taking his time to enjoy the sweet taste of the exotic fruit.

After the street market came the more expensive stores, rich enough to rent interior shops with air conditioning and all these luxuries that attracted some of the higher grade customers. Top had never entered one of those, he did not have the money nor the desire to.

Unlike the two men watching him from afar, Josip wore a very simple attire; green trousers and black t-shirt revealing his lack of weapon and his small, almost frail musculature.

Now, for a man in his seventies, Josip was in incredible physical condition, but not close to rivaling with young cubs like Ripper or Father. The old hound still had some fangs left and could still bite, but he would be hard pressed to run alongside the rest of the pack.

His fruit halfway completed, Top Dog went right, climbing up a set of stairs he would not have noticed in his youth, but were becoming more of a challenge every passing years.

It was a long way up, dark and with many holes for someone to hide. Not the kind of place one would want to go trough at night by himself, even the old hound avoided this kind of places at night.

Now was the morning, however, so it was unlikely anyone would give him a go.

The two men began their ascension, checking to be sure their target had left the dark stairway before rushing up. They would both prefer if they did not have to explain their boss why they had been shaken off by a bald old man with a beginning of arthritis.

When the one on the left was knocked back by a solid punch to the face following by an eight stairs descend on the back of his head, the concern changed for 'why they had gotten their ass kicked by a bald old man with a beginning of arthritis'.

The second one was quick to react, lifting his hand to aim his digital lasgun at the shadow, but the old hound was a lot more experienced and the man soon realized how hard it is to move one's fingers when a curved spike is piercing the palm.

Top Dog twisted the assassin's arm in his back and stabbed the banana's pike in the man's left ass cheek, a little more to the right and that would have qualified as rape.

A glance at the skull skier downstairs confirmed he had some one on one time with his new friend, so Josip resolved to make the most of it.

Interrogation was useless here, it would leave him open to manipulations and such. He himself had used the 'be captured, deliver false intels' technique at least once. He had never gotten a fruit stabbed in his ass for it, though.

So, not wanting any bullshit, the old dog wrapped his arm around his victim's neck and squeezed the assassin's carotid for about twenty seconds.

Many thought this knockout technique to be linked to asphyxia, but it wasn't, it took five minutes for a man to asphyxiate. The effect resided in the neck veins, who supplied the brain in blood and oxygen, this takedown worked for a man, woman, child, Ogryn, beastman, Astarte or even the emperor himself. Every brain needs oxygen, some less than others, granted, but if it thinks, it needs blood for it.

The man went limp in his grasp and Top dragged him in the darkness, taking whatever valuable he carried; digital lasgun –some laser firing ring-, wallet, mission orders, communicator and an healthy lot of Aldrian Thrones. The other man had the same thing, plus a pair of expensive sunglasses the commander 'commandeered' for himself.

It was not theft, it was a fine for trying to fuck with an old war dog.

Top Dog resumed walking at his normal, brisk pace with his tense attitude, an old habit he had taken to always act as if he was followed, unless he actually followed, as it would push professionals like these two into using pre-programmed, easily recognizable tricks, like pretending to be shopping when the target looks over its shoulder, pretending to be looking for a lost contact lens or keys when you were discovered trying to hide. This was all stuff he had done and could give away an expert agent if done in a way that is too perfect, too theatric.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-12-12, 08:24 PM
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that was some size prologue but good job think i will wait till youve finished the next chapter before readin the rest XD
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A/N: No problem! And I know, long prologue :S I had to show that the Reapers are simple humans with a lot of training, and it's that training, not their equipment, that makes them deadly.

Top Dog's office was just like any other officer's or recruiter's; a steel desk with two chairs in front of it, for guests, a terminal with access to the central database and a lot of file cabinets set up behind his chair. The chair was the most expensive piece of furniture in the office, in fact, as he spent his whole day in it and, after a lifetime of getting shot at, burned, stabbed and crushed, a man deserved some comfort.

In one of the guest chairs sat a woman clad in so much robe a jewelry she must have weighted as much as an Astarte. The most prominent piece of jewelry was her necklace, bearing the -][- of the inquisition.

"Inquisitor Varenna," Top greeted in between two bites of pike banana, "I hear the high lords have been very harsh on you after your last visit…"

The dark haired woman looked about ready to shoot him. The inquisition rarely had average guardsmen laughing at them, even though these were not actual Guards, the fact they were at the bottom of the food chain yet mocking her enraged the woman.

She wanted the Reapers out of commission, they were an insult to the imperial might, yet one of their team had done something for a member of the high lords of Terra, a personal favor that was important enough for one member or more to personally oppose the quiet dismantling of Reaper section. Even the fabricator general had warned her any attempt from the Inquisition to hurt the Reapers would be met with deadly force.

That part, however, she understood; the Reapers had given higher ranked members of the Adeptus Mechanicus a place to hide their unruly childs –Emperor knows that in a cult devoted to knowledge yet forbidding innovation, rebels would be very common-, an attack on the Reapers was an attack on these disgraced family members.

Try as one might, exiled family is still family.

Thus, it was not out of piety or skills that Top Dog had secured his place in the Imperium, it was trough blackmail and corruption, something the Inquisitor could not stand. Not only that, but since their last operation, a few weeks ago, the Reapers employed Xenos to help improve their equipment, as was their Emperor given right, disgusting as it may be.

The anger in her face gave way to incredulity when she noticed the two rings on his desk. Digital weapons shaped just like the jewels she herself wore. Assassin tools.

Worst yet, they bore the emblem of the Inquisition.

"What is the meaning of this, commander?" She asked, trying to gather some clue from the old man's smug smile, "Where did you get those?"

Top Dog opened a file cabinet to his right and picked up two sheets, two copies of the same document, apparently.

He handed one to the Inquisitor and all blood drained from her face.

Execution orders for the man known as Top Dog, approved with the seal of the Ordo Heriticus and signed by Inquisitor Ingrid Varenna. This signature was her death warrant. She would be executed for going against the will of the high lords themselves and that was if some sabotaged servitor didn't strangle her in her sleep.

She tried to form a sentence, but no sound came out as her lips moved. Top Dog still smiled, apparently content with the effect he had obtained.

"I…" Varenna choked, "I did not…"

Top took both files and tossed them in the metallic trash can next to his desk, before using on of the digital weapons to set the paper on fire.

"I know you didn't." He confirmed, confusing the Inquisitor even more, "The day you'll really want me dead, you won't send hired killers to do it." He leaned back in his chair and watch as the inquisitor regained her composure, then continued, "These guys were tools, pawns in a plan to get rid of you. I was supposed to find these papers and think anyone would be stupid enough to actually carry their mission order on mission."

He smiled and she grimaced. She owed her life to an old man's complicated sense of deduction. Truly, the God-Emperor either liked her a lot, or though it was funny as hell to watch her struggle.

"What now? What do we do?" She did not take kindly to being targeted like this and was eager to reciprocate.

Top smirked at that aggressive behavior. He used to be like that; wanted to bite right back after being bitten, but sometimes, you need to play along, watch and learn so you can go for the throat later.

"First," he lifted a finger, "let us go on with this meeting, I will take care of everything afterward. You wanted to talk about training, what about it?"

The change of subject took the woman by surprise and she found herself browsing through her notes to remember what it was she wanted to say.

"Ah, yes!" Her previous anger returned, but she pushed it back and began reading out loud the list of 'Concerns' the Administratum.

"First on their list is your use of steroids during basic training," She explained, in a formal tone, "Their experts believe addiction to drugs and side effects linked to its abuse may cause your men to be unstable as a standing force…"

Top's face retained its smug look as he produced many documents from various cabinets.

"Myostatin inhibitors, not steroids," he corrected, handing her the pile of paperwork, "First we use pills that trick the body into thinking the recruit has exercised, then we use enzymes that reduce the muscle loss when idle and, finally, we give them high proteins meal in addition to their training. No addiction involved and daily workout is all it takes to remain in shape."

The Inquisitor nodded and took it in note, "How strong are they compared to normal people?"

The commander scoffed at that, "They are well within human levels, but attain the kind of performance you would see in professional athletes." He explained, before adding, with an hint of pride, "They're the maximum you can get out of an human being without fucking with their morphology."

"Fucking?" Ingrid asked, a blank expression on her face.

"Fraking." Top corrected before taking another bite in his fruit.

"Oh…" She seemed about to say something deep, but shrugged it off, "Anyhow, their second concern is with selection…" Top cut her off with a wave of his hand and swallowed the chunk of fruit he was chewing before speaking.

"We're no changing that. Anyone who wants to join us can, so long as they pass the entrance exam and understand the meaning of secularization."

It took all of her willpower to refrain from actually shooting the man, but seeing as she had no weapon and needed this heretic to find who wanted to kill her, she simply gripped her chair tighter and went to the next point.

"The recruits are taught how to use most form of Xeno technology, is that really necessary?"

"Yes." Was all she got out of the man on that topic.

The Inquisitor massaged her eyes and shook her head. Incredible, the depravity of these warriors knew no limit!

But then, if it worked, the Emperor would surely accept a little heresy in exchange for the kind of results Reapers on a large scale could bring.

"Fine," She relaxed a bit and drew a long breath, "Now, tell me more about this… How did you call it?"

"ATWAS, 'Advanced Technology Warrior Assistance System'." Top spoke in a professorial manner. He got up from his seat and fetched a blueprint from the top of the left cabinet.

On the print was an armor design quite far from Imperial power armor. Varenna pushed back the part of her brain screaming 'Heresy!' and brought forward the one that screamed 'Genius!'.

A centimeter thick Adamantine composite plate protected the chest and smaller plates covered the shoulders and thighs, giving the wearer the same protection as someone wearing power armor with little loss of mobility. What was interesting was the fact the plates would be covered in titanium/nylon weave instead of just being worn over the clothes.

Then, the legs caught her attention. The soldiers movements would be assisted by a set of synthetic muscles integrated to the pants and supporting the spinal cord all the way up to the neck, the same kind of fiber used in power armors, but powered by an Eldar crystal the size of a nut.

"It won't make them noticeably stronger or faster," Top Dog explained, noticing her gaze, "the power output is not sufficient, but it will make them more durable, allow them to travel greater distances and fall greater height, that sort of things. Just give them a small boost."

The Inquisitor could only nod and carry on to the shoulder mounted mortar, firing an adaptation of Eldar Plasma missile and allowing the Reapers to go up against almost anything one on one.

It carried only three shot, but gave the potential for a lone Guardsman to kill three Orks, Astartes or even light tanks.

A spider web pattern of wires crisscrossed the suit's lower layer, the blue prints identifying them as Tau stealth system, powered by its own crystal.

This was very far from what she had expected. Then again, what did she expect? Power armors with Tan crisis suit weapons?

The helmet gear was far beyond her understanding, but she gathered the fact it actually interfaced with the wearer's brain and displayed information directly in the wearer's retina, giving them the impression any heat source detected by their thermal sensor would be glowing, along with any other relevant information.

"How much would a single of these suit cost?" The Inquisitor asked, worried about the amount of 'Adamantine Polymer' involved.

Adamantine was rare, reserved to only the best of the Imperium and space ships…

"Half the cost of a power armor, four times that of a Flak armor. It's not pure Adamantine, we fuse it with Ceramite, it allows us to produce more suits with less mineral." Top Dog hated this philosophy of trading safety for money, but it was necessary, otherwise his section would be nothing more than human Astartes. Not that he did not trust his men, they had shown they knew their job time and time again even without advanced technology to back them up.

"How resistant are the plates?" Varenna seemed perplex, what was the point of using advanced materials if it provided no protection.

"Against penetration, the chest plate offers the same level of protection as Terminator armor." Top explained, dead serious, "Maybe a little less, but it is very weak when it comes to brute force impact and explosions, although still way better than Flak armor."

The Inquisitor's mind had gone offline at the part where he said a suit costing half the price of a power armor would be almost as good as a Tactical Dreadnought Armor at something.

Either than man was insane, or she needed to review her physics.

"Commander, I swear by the holy field of Terra if you are playing with me, I will hold you personally responsible for the nervous breakdown I am about to suffer." Humor really did not help making her feel better.

A part of her wanted to stamp her signature to whatever paper that man needed to continue his work unhindered, the other part screamed at her to purge the heretic.

While she was busy, Top fetched another set of blueprints from the top of the right file cabinet.

"Then I suppose you do not want to know what kind of weapons I choose to adopt as our…"

The Inquisitior's head snapped up and she made a sound close to 'Gimme!' with her arm shooting out to snatch the rolled sheets.

Top Dog had seen a lot of scary stuff in his life, but this woman somehow managed to make it to the top ten.

What she saw definitely crushed the 'purge the heretic' side of her brain.

The 6x2mm Hedgehog assault rifle was nothing more than an adaptation of the lasgun into an overpowered needle rifle, propelling ceramic carbide rounds, coated with crystallized toxin, at a hypersonic speed using a flashless laser emitter.

Normally, anything that went at such a speed would make a loud bang when breaking the speed of sound, but the needle were so small, and their projection system so fast, the bullet was inside the target before the bang could occur. The whole had a rate of fire equal to that of a bolter.

The rifle had a bullpup design, no bigger than a lascarbine, and could carry many attachments, ranging from grenade launcher to laser target designator and grappling hook.

"How fast does the toxin act?" The Inquisitor asked, trying to get an idea what level of killing they were talking about.

Top Dog's smile was so broad, his wrinkled forehead smiled too, "Well, if you shot yourself in the foot, you would die before feeling the impact." He explained.

Conantokin-P, the crystallized poison they had selected, came from a predatory seashell originated on Terra and now widespread across the galaxy, known as Conus purpurascens . The neuro-toxin acted faster than nervous conduction, meaning a normal human shot anywhere, even superficially, would die in the instant. The Cone's venom was easy to harvest and extremely efficient on everything, except, perhaps, Orks and Astartes, but they had mortars for that.

Top Dog was happy of the effect he had produced on the Inquisitor.

'Dazzle 'em,' His predecessor used to say, 'Let 'em come in with their high airs and holier than thou bullshit, then let them leave with their jaw on the floor. Everyone likes a showman and that's what my job's all about;putting in a show and dazzeling 'em, easy as that!'

"Miss Varenna," Top spoke, calmly, "The equipment has already been developed, our men are getting familiar with it as we speak…" This was news to the Inquisitor. Where did they find Adamantine and power armors and everything else? She figured it would be better for everyone if she did not know, so she let the man continue, "All we need now is for you to point us to the bad guys and give us some real support, we'll win wars." His face was set in stone. No more smugness, no more happy grandpa routine, the old hound showed its true face, that of a grizzled soldier looking for a war to fight.

This was much responsibility for a lone person, unleashing a force that had the potential of rivaling the Adeptus Astartes, giving them the resources they needed to possibly become the single most powerful Imperial Guard regiment ever. She would be remembered in the history books as either a hero, or the fool who started a new great heresy.

Then, she remembered what Top had said, about the steroids.

Only humans. What could mere humans do to damage the Imperium?

"Fine." She gave one last look at the armor schematics and held Top's glare for a few seconds. "I will get you a ship, not a huge one, granted, but something you can set up your… How many of you are there, anyway?"

It baffled her how that simple, elementary statistic could have slipped her mind for so long.

"Five numbers digit." Was all Top would say on the matter. This caused goosebumps to run across Varenna's forearms. Ten thousand? Twenty? A whole marine Legion and they were not space marines, they were a Guard regiment and they would reach millions of troops in three to five years, if the projections were correct. That alone almost made her back away from her idea, but it was too late. She had to go all the way.

"I will find a rogue trader crew to man it and allow you to recruit from any planet you want, as many members as you want, seeing as you hame no home planet. The 32nd Tactical will now be your official name and all its resources, its tanks, Dropships and troops, are yours."

Top's smile was back, he actually looked like a child in a toy store.

"Don't make me regret it, Commander, it's my head that will fall if you misbehave."

He nodded, "Of course. Just tell us who you want out of existence, we'll make it happen."

A/N: Okay, so basically, their armor is like today's infantry protection, except with a more advanced type of metal and a few synthetic muscles, while their weapons are just like needle rifles, except firing bigger projectile and faster.See Future Soldier trailers for more details ;)

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Pig kicked Ripper in the ribs, trying to wake up the NCO and failing. Ripper was out.

He stumped his way across the room, trying to reach the bathroom. It was important, even though the soldier could not remember why, he had to reach the bathroom.

On the floor, two more Reapers he did no recognize were passed out. Square in his way.

“Skak those frakers.” Pig decided, stepping on the unconscious bumps and ended up crashing on the cold tiles of the bathrooms.

Looking around, he located his objective and soon found himself with the head in the toilet bowl, throwing up stuff he didn’t remember eating.

The sound somehow woke Ripper, whose head suddenly appeared from over the couch.

The man’s short Mohawk was tilted to the right, like a line of trees beaten by the wind, the tribal tattoos on the right side of his face covered in what seemed to be lipstick.

He tried to laugh at Pig’s predicament, but did not get further than a slight chuckle, his head pounding too much.

“How drunk was I last night?” The NCO asked, clutching his hurting skull.

Pig threw up one last time and turned around, putting his back against the bath tube.

“No fraking clue,” the gunner admitted, wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his red shirt, I just know these Tau came in with their home made stuff and then…” He pointed to the toilet.

Ripper nodded, wiping the black lipstick from his face. “What the frak is that stuff?” He cried, earning a mocking laugh from Pig.

“Lipstick.” The other man explained, grinning like an idiot before shoving his head back in the bowl.

Rip looked around the room for any member of the opposite sex and the result really wasn’t pleasant.

There were two passed out Eldars cuddled on another couch, perpendicular to Rip’s, both males. A Tau was sleeping in the bath tube, next to Pig -gender unknown as Rip could only see a knee- and a pair of Reapers, Halo and Pillar, spooned up behind the couch, in front of the bathroom.

None of them wore lipstick.

“Brother,” the young soldier groaned, “I feel raped…”

“Too right, mate.” Pig sounded, his voice cavernous, thanks to the bowl, “Never touching Tau alcohol again. Ever.” He added, slopping back against the bath.

One of the Eldars fell to the floor and sat up, blinking repeatedly, as if he was trying to adjust his eyes to the situation. He wore a set of grey ACU fatigues burrowed from Pig and seemed to have forgoted where the strange clothes came from.

He looked around and spotted Ripper.

They stared at each other for a few seconds, then the Eldar selected one of his many questions: “Who are you?”

“Ayawamat,” Rip introduced himself, probably for the second time, “My friends call me Ripper.”

The Eldar nodded, as if it all made sense, then asked a second question, “How did I get here?”

Rip scoffed, “If you find out, let me know.” Then got off the couch, hesitantly. The floor seemed unstable…

He looked down and saw another Tau, a fire warrior wearing some sore of kimono. A female, yet no lipstick. No nose either…

“Hey, Pig!” He called, kneeling over the passed out xeno, “does the Tau in the bath have a nose?”

“Checking…” The gunner replied in a disgruntled voice. Getting up seemed horribly hard, but he did and scanned the blue being, not remembering what he was looking for. “Yeah, there’s a xeno in the bath, alright!” He called, wondering who could possibly have forgotten that here.

“Does it have a nose?” Rip insisted, turning his own xeno’s head left and right, in case he had the wrong end.

Pig checked again and noticed the manufacturing flaw on the humanoid. “That’s a negative, brother, I got no twenty on the blue guy’s nasal cavities.”

“Roger that.” Ripper replied. Then he took a second to wonder how that was relevant and decided it was not. Coffee was, and coffee normally is in the kitchen.

The Eldar was shoved out of the way, landing on his sleeping friend, and Ripper surveyed the kitchen for the coffee maker’s location.

This was a small apartment, smaller than his own. Probably Halo’s, or Pillar’s… In any event, it had a single additional room, next to the bathroom, but the door was closed. The kitchen and living room occupied the same space. Good thing too, or Ripper would have wandered aimlessly for half an hour trying to remember what he was looking for.

Getting drunk was usually something all Reapers carefully avoided, it was bad for the reflexes and speed is essential on the battlefield. In this case, however, they had been taken by surprise; sneaky Tau alcohol…

The coffee was soon ready and Ripper brought a cup to Pig, who had since stopped throwing up, but still felt like shit. He kicked Halo’s feet along the way, trying to wake the grenadier but failing.

They spent about half an hour trying to remember what had happened the night prior, the Eldars preferring to leave after the second one woke up. The Tau seemed to be heavy sleepers, same as the two Reapers, but that did not bother the tow Zombies, who were currently living up to their namesake and starring at the air in deep thought.

Ripper was thinking about their new assault rifle, wondering what attachments he would be getting. The weapon interfaced with their Eldar psych emitter, something close to a space marine’s Black Carapace- and displayed a tri-dimensional crosshair replacing the weapon’s iron sight directly in the Reaper’s eye, unless the soldier choose to use his own scope system, like Priest had done, the crosshair not being advanced enough to feature any kind of zoom.

A 2x scope would be useful for mid range engagements, but it would reduce his quick shooting speed a little.

Pig had receiver a complex add-on to his weapon so he could still act as a heavy gunned; attached to the top of the Hedgehog rifle, the boxy modification ran all the way along the weapon’s back and even possessed a rigid stock. It fired bolt pistol rounds at a respectable speed and could be fed by an ammo belt, but it doubled the size of the rifle and made handling it a bit harder.

Father, as always, did not want any bullshit and had strapped a small shotgun between the main canon and grappling hook, which would allow him to turn soft targets into ground meat.

As the team’s rifleman, Ripper was at a lost as to what he should install on his own gun. A grenade launched? He already had a shoulder mounted rocket launcher! A shotgun? Father had one. A laser designator? It was already part of their helmet gear.

He’d have to talk to Clint, the new Quarter master. The man looked like a Ratling, but was actually a Squat; a near extinct race of extremely advanced humanoids. They used to be quite common, until the Tyranids retconned their homeworld…

“Well,” Pig began, getting up at last, “Time to get going.” He nodded to his watch. It was a bit after noon, but the days lasted only sixteen hours on this planet.

Rippee nodded. They had to move their belongings to the Whisper In The Dark, the Dauntless-Class Light Cruiser they were now attached to. The Whisper was part of a large fleet tasked with patrolling the core of Ultima Segmentum for any Tyrannid remnants and Tau advances, or anything else, for that matter; the UT is not exactly your ideal tourist resort.

Rip walked out of the bathroom while Pig turned on the shower, getting the Tau Earth caste sleeping in it to jump out in an attempt to escape the cold water.

Rip’s solution was much simpler; he cleared his throat and yelled, “Incoming!” At the top of his lung.

Certain things are so deeply ingrained in a soldier’s psyche that even asleep, they will react to them. This word was one of these things, as it meant something really bad was about to happen.

The result was just as expected; the Fire warrior got up, screaming in her native tongue, while the two Reapers dived behind the couches for cover, tackling the Tau in the process.

It would take a little time, but soon enough, everyone would be fully awake.

Last edited by JonasGrant; 01-13-12 at 04:23 PM.
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With a click, the vox caster turned on and the demonstration began. The music was slow, bombastic and slightly sad, the singer’s sweet voice conveying her distress at what the world has come to.

Meat kicked the door in and swept the room with his Hedgehog, a pale blue laser-like line showing him where his weapon was aiming. Two targets popped out, one from behind a desk and the other from a doorway. They were large, the size of Ork boyz or Chaos Space marines.

The song grew faster, angrier.

Center of mass wouldn’t work on these targets, so M fired at their heads, sawing trough both with surgical precision.

He entered the room and ran for the doorway where the second target had been earlier. He poked his gun out around the corner and a video feed popped on his helmet, linked to the camera squeezed between the Hedgehog’s grappling hook and muzzle.

The FNG smoked the target waiting for him in on the right side, then aimed his weapon the other way and squeezed two short bursts, ripping a second target apart.

The sound of wood breaking when the needles tore trough the walls and the laser’s low whine were the only sound that could be heard, the soldier’s footfalls were quite as the shuffling of angel’s feet, his gas mask had been improved to the point one would forget they were wearing them and all of the suit’s electronics were Tau/Eldar technology hybrids improved by Squats, thus completely quiet.

Meat entered the corridor and checked his navigation system, programmed with a summary drawing of the area he had seen earlier.

He went right, rifle aimed down range and heads up display popping information on his ammo count and energy reserves. All well within acceptable levels.

The Reaper kneeled next to a closed door and pulled a fiber optic cable from its housing, in his wrist, before squeezing the snake cam under the door frame, a display popping up on his HUD once again, but this time showing the room beyond.

His onboard computer locked the four targets and displayed a red diamond over their hearts, something it would have already done if it had detected their heartbeats.

M opened fire trough the door, four short bursts that left sixteen tiny smoking holes in the thin wood.

He then kicked the door in and stepped back, in case it was rigged. Nothing went boom and the Rifleman stepped trough the doorway, rifle held high. He checked his corners and cursed:

Two gun servitors outfitted with Autoguns were pointing their weapons at him from behind sandbag positions. Ambush.

His weapon was already aimed at the one on the right, so he pressed the trigger and dived back out the door. The music stopped for a moment, then began a solo of some percussion instrument. Meat landed on his back and slid across the floor for a second. Not long, since there was a wall merely two meters away, but it was long enough for his targeting system to calculate the trajectories for two shoulder mounted Crossbow plasma tipped munitions.

The rookie fired both the second he stopped sliding and, with a sound of grinding glass, the finger-sized missiles launched from his mortar and both took a brutal turn in opposite directions. The missiles were meant as anti-tank; the explosive charges were barely more powerful than hand grenades, but the hardened diamond tips and tungsten casing could make short work of any armor, wall, personnel or shield.

The two Crossbows over-penetrated their targets, ripped trough the thin walls, took another sharp turn while there was still fuel in them, ripped trough six walls or so as they did a quick 180 turn and punched trough the Servitors one more time before exploding.

Meat was already up and he walked trough the room, pistol and knife drawn. He was not a fan of the holdout, one handed thing Astartes and commisars did, it was too dramatic, he preferred using Harries technique when handling a knife and pistol at the same time; It implied holding the knife in an "ice pick" grip with the handgun thrust forward, the non-shooting hand crossed beneath the pistol holding arm. The technique finished with the backs of the hands against one another, creating isometric tension for stability.

Once again shrugging away the distraction, he ran the needle pistol’s iron sights over every shadow while moving forward, bits of flesh squishing under his boots.

No door, no target, no trap. He tapped his helmet and announced, his voice distorter making it hoarse and mechanical: “All targets neutralized, area is secure.”

He looked up to the Inquisitor, as she stood on the ‘roof’ of the killhouse, behind a large bulletproof window, and frowned at her calm and unimpressed demeanor.

If anything, she seemed intrigued by his helmet and it was somewhat a double disappointment to the Rifleman, as he had tried quite hard to impress the bitch, but not as hard as he had worked on his helmet.

He had painted the thing -along with the mask and goggle rims- chalk white, but the fact it was meant to be a skull was not immediately obvious. He did, however, look like some kind of specter with long white fangs and blue eyes.

“Satisfied?” He asked, looking at Top Dog, next to the Inquisitor.

The old man nodded, his constantly smug and playful grin still hanging on his lips. “You were brilliant, soldier,” He turned to the Inquisitor, “anything else we can do for you, ma’am?”

Varenna nodded once. Since they had gotten in the ship, she had been kept apart from the grunts to avoid any incidents; surely she would be allowed to ask a few questions to that heavily armed Tier 2 operator.

Tier 2. This was something she still had a hard time catching: Tier 1 meant the top of the line, the best of the best. Their units operated in groups of two or three and usually spearheaded assaults, or acted as spies. Tier 2s operated in four members group and were the next best thing, not as good as the almost superhuman Tier 1s, but still well above average and numerous enough to make a difference, they were the most commonly engaged troops and took on most of the duties that required advanced skills without warranting a Tier 1 deployment. Tier 3s, finally, was the training stage of the Reapers, the reserve units, still Elite, but not yet versed in the finer details of their job, akin to Imperial Guard Shocktroopers with a different training and equipment.

“Tell me, soldier,” She spoke trough the microphone, throwing a sideway glance to the commander for any sign of disapprobation. There was none, “What is your opinion on the Emperor.”

“Tough, smart, pretty dead but not quite. Besides that, I never met him, couldn’t tell you, ma’am.”

He expected some screaming of heresy, a few dark looks or something. Once again, he was disappointed; the woman smiled instead.

“Okay,” She turned to Top Dog, “he will do.”

The commander nodded and tossed a motioned for Meat to come over. The soldier walked all the way back out of the kill house and jogged trough the ship gymnasium to reach the ramp leading to the ‘second floor’, walking across the presswood planks toward the large vault where the two spectators were waiting.

This was supposed to be a simple demonstration, to show how skilled Reaper recruits were compared to most other fighting forces. Or so he was told…

The rookie stepped in the heavily armored observation room, feeling the same ball of solid ice in his guts he had experienced on his first deployment.

Inside, the Inquisitor and commander were talking about first tier operators and the six grueling months of training it took to produce on of these guys. Lots of credits and time for a single person, but they were the best at what they did, although Top just would not tell her what their specialty was.

“Got a job for you, Reaper.” Top announced, saluting the young man with a sharp, precise motion. “Somebody is working from the inside against the Inquisitor.” Meat was about to ask ‘so what?’ but kept his mouth shut on that one. “She’s important to us, she dies, we’re fucked.” Top added, sticking to a Need-to-know basis. “I need you to follow her around and look mean. Full gear, maximum force, no ROE. If it sneezes at her, you fuck its shit up beyond recognition. Lethal force is authorized.”

Meat nodded, “Yes, sir! VIP detail. Any support?”

“None,” Top admitted, “we’re short handed as it is.”

Meat swallowed loudly and nodded, “I’ll take care of it, sir.”

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Pig dropped the dead six legged deer on the mossy floor, next to the campfire, and whipped out his pocket knife, not wanting to blunt his combat blade.

Ripper scoffed from his spot, next to the fire and tossed him the Tomahawk, throwing it upside down. “Think fast.”

Pig caught the thing just in time to avoid getting brained by it. He folded his knife and dropped it in his pocket, then got to gutting the dead animal with the chain-axe.

On the other side of the campfire, Father was typing a report on a Tau/Eldar hybrid portable cogitator he seemed almost afraid of. The thing weighted ten times less than any Imperial equivalent yet processed information a thousand times faster and had a wrist mounted holographic screen and keyboard. The lack of feedback from the keys was driving him mad, along with the fact he had to keep one had in front of his face and type with the other all the time, making the process of typing a report almost painful.

And this one was quite long. They had been dropped on this rebellious world two days prior with instructions to secure outdated tank and aircraft manufactures so they could be put out of commission by the Adeptus Mechanicus, preventing the rebels from getting their hands on armor and air support, thus keeping the situation from escalating. Then, they had located and abducted key militia leaders and sent them to the Tier 3-manned HQ in the planet’s capital, learning about a dozen rebel strongholds in the area. They had been to two of those, performed recon, marked out priority targets for airstrikes and watched as Tier 3s stormed the positions.

A busy week and it was far from over, but this operation, taking place on a planet with a population in the tens of billions, all very angry at the Imperium, would have cost about a hundred million lives at this point, had it been handled by regular Guardsmen. Instead, surgical strikes and a solid intelligence network had kept the body count under the million, not all of them militias, but collateral damage was always unavoidable.

Twenty Tier 2 operators had been killed during the operation. Tier 3s were not fairing as good, with a three hundred casualty count, but the timid flow of volunteers from all over the Imperium kept the Reapers ranks growing and constant combat situations offered many opportunities for Tier 3s to be promoted to a higher Tier. The system was working flawlessly.

Pig pushed a large stick trough the flayed and eviscerated animal and hung it over the fire on two Y shaped branches, stabbed in the dirt next to the fire.

Priest climbed down from his perch, atop a tall pine tree, and observed the slowly cooking lump of meet as Pig began cutting it in places, rotating the branch and the whole animal lazily.

“Better than MREs.” The old man finally spoke, earning an energetic nod from Ripper. He slung the boxy sniper Hedgehog in his back and sat by the fire. Rip had started the thing, the kind knew exactly how to make a fire burn hot without smoke, a skill that was very hard to teach. Priest knew how as well, but he had been busy planting traps around the camp and spotting any nearby threat.

He had seen nothing out of the ordinary, yet his instincts kept screaming at him to be on the lookout.

The former Vindicare had always trusted his instinct, no matter the circumstances, yet there was little he could do now, besides keep on using his sensors to spot potential threats.

He tapped the side of his helmet and watched as the sonar, radar, HBS and thermal sensors all reported negative.

He asked the others to check out the area, in case it was a system malfunction, but they all confirmed that there was nothing, calming the sniper somewhat.

In a nearby group of ferns, two shapes exchanged relieved hand signals, their three blue eyes analyzing every detail with care as they backed away without a sound. They would be kilometers away by sun rise.

Team Zombie began eating soon after, confident that their detection system and tripwire network would warn them to any danger before it arrived, despite Priest’s worries.

“You know, Ripper began, now without his helmet, “I still haven’t found who that lipstick belonged to…” He then took a bite in the chunk of meat he held.

Father chuckled, “Son, you most likely do not want to know.” Priest scoffed as well.

Pig dropped his heavy weapon on the ground, well within arm’s reach, and helped himself to a large piece of steak. “Agreed,” He smiled, “unless it’s that pretty little Eldar Farseer you keep exchanging sideway glances with when you think we’re not looking…”

Strangely, it was Priest who choked the hardest at that. A lifetime of being told that to befriend a xeno was the highest heresy was hard to get rid of, but Ripper had his own surprise stroke at the implication.

“No way, I don’t even know her name!” Rip cried, before being hit by a simple fact; she was the only person he knew wearing black lipstick. His face fell at the implication. Rip was not shy, but that woman was thousands of years old and that was quite scary in its own right…

“Guess you’ll have to ask her.” Came Pig’s smug reply.

Rip dropped the piece of meat and blinked a few times. “She’s old enough to be…” He thought about it. Some Eldars would be old enough to have met the Emperor!

Rip emitted a choking sound and quickly brought an hand to his throat. It burned, felt like he had the worst cold in history. There; just under his chin. A thumb-sized hole had appeared in the soft flesh.

His had instinctively searched for a second wound and he found it on the back of his neck, a millimeter left of his spine and just a bit smaller than the first.

He tried to warn the others, tried to yell ‘sniper’ or anything, but only a wet choked sound came out, accompanied by a stream of blood.

Team Zombie reacted in a split second, with pig and Father laying suppressive fire in the trees while Priest dragged the wounded NCO across the clearing to the safety of the jungle.

Shells from Pig’s LMG attachment rained on the mossy floor, their tips red hot in the dark.

The rounds left streaks of smoke trough the night as they ripped the jungle apart. Father’s shotgun attachement worked in a much similar way, only ejecting cases in a much smaller quantity.

Something came out of the jungle, five meters on Pig’s right, and the gunner spun just in time to raise his weapon defensively. Whatever happened next went too fast for the Reaper to comprehend, but he found himself on his back, his stomach hurting like someone had ripped out his guts and staring down the barrel of an Executor pistol. Behind the gun was the skull mask of an Eversor assassin.

A black boot slammed into de gun sideway, spinning it in the owner’s one handed grip, while a gloved hand struck the Eversor in the throat.

Father kicked the assassin away from his gunner and evaluated his opponent quickly.

Female, a little under six foot, slender but athletic, pumped full of combat drugs. This would be a battle of wits.

The Eversor recovered instantly and leapt at Father without a sound, power sword held high.

The old man sidestepped and kicked her in the ass, adding to the momentum.

The Eversor slammed in a tree and bounced off it. She spun right after impact but was met by an armored elbow to the forehead and a grappling hook in the guts.

The Eversor attempted to lunge at the Reaper as he stepped away, but the hook was keeping her pinned to the tree. Father kicked the assassin in the face and used the resulting disorientation to rip her power sword away before shocking her into unconsciousness with it.

“Priest, what’s Ripper’s status? Does he need an evac?” Father called. He really did not have time to check the young Reaper’s injury and could not tell if it was bad or not.

The sniper’s answer was quite simple; “Not anymore, he doesn’t.” There was a second of silence, then the old man added, “Ripper’s KIA.”

A/N: If you guys are having trouble with the Tier system, see them as different Tom Clancy games; Tier 1 is Splinter Cell, Tier 2 is Rainbow Six and Tier 3 is Ghost Recon, basically...
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-23-12, 11:06 AM
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Still going well.

However, I found the fight with the Eversor a little too short to be believable; I think it would have worked better as a longer section describing more differences in technique instead of the assassin being beaten without landing a proper blow. If it was that easy because, say the Reaper armour gives the wearer a much larger boost than Eversor combat drugs then I think it needs more overt explanation of why it was easy.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-23-12, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave T Hobbit View Post
Still going well.

However, I found the fight with the Eversor a little too short to be believable; I think it would have worked better as a longer section describing more differences in technique instead of the assassin being beaten without landing a proper blow. If it was that easy because, say the Reaper armour gives the wearer a much larger boost than Eversor combat drugs then I think it needs more overt explanation of why it was easy.
I wanted it to be quick, a few punches and its over, as that's what I was taught in CQB; if your fist fight lasts more than ten seconds, you need to change tactic. Fights between professionals are quick, messy and you're never really sure what just happened. In that case, Father beat the Eversor because she was using drugs and couldn't think as clearly as he did, had the fight lasted longer, he'd be dead.

But then, it's supposed to ba a story, so I could add some drama and such, I'll look into it.
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