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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-31-12, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Default Upon Cruel Wings

Upon Cruel Wings.



Treachery is a cruel thing that saps the strength and robs the soul of hope, at least of those who have been deceived. David Fask understood this for he had been betrayed not so long ago by someone who he thought he could trust, someone close to him and someone who had even saved his life on multiple occasions.

The betrayal took place upon a blighted rock that was worth nothing to anyone except the Ministratum of Imperial Records. An Emperor forsaken rock covered with nothing but snow and sand; worthless except to those who counted nameless places into the import of Imperial dominance.

It was a wretched place at the end of known space; uncharted territory was only a light year away. The boundaries set so long ago by the Emperor of mankind should not be ignored. There are races of men and xenos alike who pay no attention to the Emperor’s creedos, pay no attention to his guidance or his statutes established so as to guard us from ancient mysteries that would have us kneel to our own doom.

The planet was established, 199.077 by the Imperial records, but it was known by other names not fit to be mentioned by human tongue. The established lookout fortress, manned by fifty guardsmen of the Tarran 27th and two astropaths had gone silent two weeks ago and nothing was known of the reasons why.

The Wearton 52nd stood ready for deployment and to answer the call. David Fask captained the regiment, a force of six hundred veterans ready for war. Sergeant Gosimar Gree was not only his right hand, but also his best friend. The two were not spreadable. They had been together since basic and gone through the ranks together. They had fought together and had framed their knowledge together.

As close to brothers as could be, their lives intertwined in all things, except ideals. David believed the Emperor protects at all times while Gosimar believed we were in charge of our own purposes, the Emperor protects of we were the ones with the guns, and ammo.

Never the less, they understood each other and were satisfied to let their ideals rest in the shadows. The Imperial Grace moved through the cold blackness of space like a knife through dark water, slightly disturbing the currents but causing nothing else than a ripple.

‘The air upon 199.077 is breathable, but it is thin and ice cold. If caught in the open the winds will tear you from your spot and send you falling over the canyon walls into the bottomless pits below.’ the Informoligist conveyed.

The ship’s hull was packed with the soldiers of the Wearton 52nd who listened as if their lived depended upon the lessons they received.

‘Inviro-suits will be mandatory as will oxygen canisters and complete face shields. Respirators will be used at all times unless the respirator is broken or you are dead.’ the Informoligis continued. ‘Upon deployment…’ he went on and on until most of the men were nearly bored to death. They all understood the risks; 199.077 would be fekking cold, fekking windy and fekking dangerous.

Captain David Fask was already tired of this blighted rock and he had not even set foot upon its tainted soil. The shuttles roared into the atmosphere, sensors alive with activity. Almost at once the sky was alive with thunderclaps of ordinance, explosive shells that ruined the gray clouds with black smoke and burning shrapnel.

Though the solders could not see outside the walls of their heavy shuttles they could hear the excited chatter of the pilots and the incoming streams of information coming over the vox. Orks. There were millions of them upon the world of 199.077.

No wonder the lookout station had gone silent. ‘Fekking Orks!’ Sergeant Gosimar Gree yelled over the din of rumbling engines and ordinance spanging off the iron of their devolving transportation.

Why the Imperial Grace had not detected the life signs of the xenos, Captain Fask could not understand. Could it be the Orks had jammed or altered the signal from somewhere? No, Orks did not have that kind of Thech. They are dumb brutes with only a mind for war.

David was pulled from his thoughts when something slammed into the side of the transport and caused it to tumble from the sky in rotating swirls, right to left, over and over again until it finally slammed into the ground and slid for three hundred kloms before finally stopping at the edge of a chasm.

The lights were out and blackness blinded the men. Of the fifty men upon the craft, twenty seven had died from the initial explosion and the resulting crash.

Captain David Fask pulled at his harness and fell forward as it was released. He hit the floor with his knees and immediately felt the corpse of one of his men. ‘To arms. Get that fekking hatch open so we can fight.’ he yelled over the screams of the injured and the creaking of the burning engines.

Light as well as cold strong winds slammed into the interior of the hold of the transport. Auto dampeners in the face shields took away the glare and allowed the men to see what was in front of them.

It was not encouraging. The ground was awash with snow and white sand as well as the corpses of three hundred or more Ork corpses. That was the good part. The other million Orks were closing in at speed. There would be no escape.

In the sky, Captain Fask could see shuttles falling in flaming swirling streams of smoke and ash as they plummeted to certain doom. Some would collide with the ground and be flattened as gravity had its way while others would descend into the blackness of the canyons never to be seen again.

Through the clouds he noted bright flashes and then the falling of debris from the Imperial Grace. It felt as if all he had ever been taught had fallen from his mind as he heard the words from his Sergeant and friend as he denounced the Emperor for his lack of help and protection.

A flash beside him silenced a soldier as he struggled to escape his harness. Another flash silenced a man quoting the Emperor’s Peace. The man’s head simply disappeared in a shower of bone and brain. David Fask turned and found himself staring down the barrel of a shotgun held by his closest friend, Gosimar Gree.

Betrayal. It saps the soul of everything, even faith. David could hear the Orks as they tore into the men, his men, behind him. He could feel their blood spatter against his back and head. He could hear the sound of their weapons and smell the feted breath from their tusked mouths, the stink of their unwashed bodies, but all he could think about was the betrayal of his friend.

All he could see was the dark depths of the barrel before him until he looked past it into the crazed eyes of his Sergeant. ‘The Emperor protects.’ he said. The death of Captain David Fask did not come by the hand of his long time friend. The Emperor did protect for a moment at least.

A stray shell from an Ork gun tore Gosimar Gree’s torso apart and he fell in slow motion or so it seemed. With his dyeing breath he tried to beg for forgiveness, but it was too late.

All dead except for himself, Captain David Fask could not take his eyes off of his old friend. Tears ran down his face for he understood he would not spend eternity with him. A heavy hammer silenced his thoughts and a cruel laugh sent him into the Emperor’s hands.

A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep! Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-31-12, 05:22 PM
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The confusion of the drop is well portrayed.

I found the lack of an explicit reason for the failure to detect Orks left me expecting a different twist which weakened the punch of Gree's betrayal.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-31-12, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave T Hobbit View Post
The confusion of the drop is well portrayed.

I found the lack of an explicit reason for the failure to detect Orks left me expecting a different twist which weakened the punch of Gree's betrayal.
I thought about that as well. I thought about making it that the crew or maybe the Captain of the Imperial Grace was the traitor, but thought that would be anti-climactic.

Sometimes betrayal comes because of an idea that slowly takes shape and is fostered until an event comes about to give it a spark of truth and validation, thus the talk of ideals in the beginning.

Gree knew the right words and actions to take, but his ideals were flawed, so when hard times came he failed, were as when Fask was tested he stood true.

Ideals only hold strong when they are truly believed.

A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep! Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
Other stories from Adrian.
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