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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-13, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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Default Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories 13-06: Serenity

Welcome to the year's sixth




For those of you that are unfamiliar with HOES, here's how it works:

Each month, there will be a thread posted in the Original Works forum for that month's HOES competition. For those of you interested in entering, read the entry requirements, write a story that fits the chosen theme and post it as a reply to the competition thread by the deadline given. Each and every member of Heresy Online is more than welcome to compete, whether your entry is your first post or your thousandth. We welcome everyone to join the family of the Fan Fiction Forum.

Once the deadline has passed, a separate voting thread will be posted, where the readers and writers can post their votes for the top three stories. Points will be awarded (3 points for 1st, 2 for 2nd, and 1 for 3rd) for each vote cast, totalled at the closure of the voting window, and a winner will be announced. The winner will have his/her story added to the Winning HOES thread and be awarded the Lexicanum's Crest award for Fiction excellence!

Theme

The idea with the theme is that it should serve as the inspiration for your stories rather than a constraint. While creative thinking is most certainly encouraged, the theme should still be relevant to your finished story. The chosen theme can be applied within the WH40K, WHF, HH, and even your own completely original works (though keep in mind, this IS a Warhammer forum) but there will be no bias as to which setting is used for your story.

As far as the theme goes, please feel free with future competitions to contact me with your ideas/proposals, especially given that my creative juices may flow a bit differently than yours. All I ask is that you PM me your ideas rather than posting them into the official competition entry/voting threads to keep posts there relevant to the current competition.

Word Count

The official word count for this competition will be 1,000 words. There will be a 10% allowance in this limit, essentially giving you a 900-1,100 word range with which to tell your tale. This is non-negotiable. This is an Expeditious Story competition, not an Epic Story nor an Infinitesimal Story competition. If you are going to go over or under the 900-1,100 word limit, you need to rework your story. It is not fair to the other entrants if one does not abide by the rules. If you cannot, feel free to PM me with what you have and I'll give suggestions or ideas as to how to broaden or shorten your story.

Each entry must have a word count posted with it. Expect a reasonably cordial PM from me (and likely some responses in the competition thread) if you fail to adhere to this rule. The word count can be annotated either at the beginning or ending of your story, and does not need to include your title.

Without further ado...

The theme for this month's competition is:

Serenity

Entries should be posted in this thread, along with any comments that the readers may want to give (and comments on stories are certainly encouraged in both the competition and voting threads!) 40K, 30K, WHF, and original universes are all permitted (please note, this excludes topics such as Halo, Star Wars, Forgotten Realms, or any other non-original and non-Warhammer settings). Keep in mind, comments are more than welcome! If you catch grammar or spelling errors, the writers are all more than free to edit their piece up until the close of the competition, and that final work will be the one considered for voting. Sharing your thoughts with the writers as they come up with their works is a great way to help us, as a FanFiction community, grow as a whole.

The deadline for entries is Midnight US Eastern Standard Time
(-5.00 hours for you UK folks)Thursday, July 11, 2013. Voting will be held from 12 July - 17 July. Remember, getting your story submitted on June 23rd will be just as considered by others as one submitted on July 11th! Take as much time as you need to work on your piece! As a change from previous challenges, any entries submitted past the deadline will not be considered in the competition, regardless of whether the voting thread is posted or not.

Additional Incentive
If simply being victorious over your comrades is not enough to possess you to write a story, there will be rep rewards granted to those that participate in the HOES Challenge.

Participation - 1 reputation points, everyone will receive this
3rd place - 2 reputation points
2nd place - 3 reputation points
1st place - 4 reputation points and Lexicanum's Crest

If you have any questions, feel free to either PM me or ask in this thread.

Without further nonsense from me, let the writing begin!



Table of Contents

Pending...


Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories Challenge 13-06: "Serenity" has started, get your stories in by July 11th!

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-13, 08:59 PM
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Good to see you back Boc, I'll get to work on this



The Silent Lions Chapter

Winter Falls

Darkness

Give a man a match and he will be warm for a day.
Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.
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The Peace of Extinction (1,099 words)

Though the air was alive with the crackle of gunfire and the screams of the dying, it was only half of what it would have been had the men of the Imperium faced any other foe. Against the Orks the air would be filled with tribal chanting and guttural laughter; against the Eldar the sibilant whispering and cruel mockery of their lilting tongue would be like a dark sonata in their ears; against the vile Tyranids the chittering of a billion monsters would take on a life of its own. But today they faced a foe that was as silent as the graves they looked to have crawled out of. The Necrons had come to Parafic, their dark harvest cutting a swathe through the western edge of what had once been known as the Orphean Sector, a name now stricken from the endless records of the Administratum, and now was just another warzone where men went to die for the honour of the God-Emperor.

Nemesor Xuicaotehk looked up from the corpse at his metallic feet. A human, one of the younger races and another sickening example of life, the most hated enemy. The Maynarkh Dynasty holy mission to annihilate all such forms of life was well underway, silent legions of eternally loyal and untiring warriors marched in lockstep, the only sound they made was the crunch of their feet against the gravel road they marched on. They could not truly appreciate the divine work they were doing here, purging yet another world of the insects that crawled all over it and mocked the dynasty with their continued existence. Such an insult was not to be borne, all would die and the silence of the tomb would descend upon this benighted world and all would be well, until the next world. It was a never-ending cycle, one that could take until the stars themselves succumbed to time and became smouldering husks, even if it took until the end of time, Maynarkh would never stop the harvest.

A low groan escaped the lips of what Xuicaotehk had taken to be a corpse, it appeared the worm still had some life left in its weak form. It was disgusting the way that fluids leaked from its frame, the way gases were sucked in and out of its mouth and the comical way they moved that showed how barely evolved they were from the primates that gave way to them. This particular one was clothed the same as nearly all the bodies around them, the ones that had not fallen from Gauss fire and been left as little more than raggedly-clothed skeletons. A dark brown trench-coat, covered in blood, and a gas-mask with the crude symbol of mankind attached to it. The Aquila he had heard it called, it was blunt-edged and ugly and had none of the smooth grace of the glyphs that his people used. The insect's weapon, a sword that was not worthy of the name when compared to the Warscythe that Xuicaotekh carried in his right hand lay broken in two pieces several feet away from them.

The insect, a Guardsman of the planet Krieg, looked up, even dying he could still see the monster above him. A metallic skeleton, a terrifying nightmare made manifest in strange xenos metals, it's two red eyes glaring down at him with hatred so pure it made him shudder. He tried to voice a question that had plagued him, a simple query that he needed the answer to, even in his final moments he simply had to understand. Why.

"Why?"

Xuicaotehk was surprised and disgusted, surprised that this creature could still draw breath and disgusted at the tenacity to cling to life that gave it the strength to do so. He considered plunging his Warscythe through it right then and there but a whim stopped him, the insects loved to hear their own voices and constantly screeched warcries to cover their own whimpering and prayers for salvation from whatever puppet they worshipped, but this one alone had asked why. Why had he been killed? Why was all this happening? Why did Xuicaotekh hate him so? The answer was the same for all three questions.

"You are alive." Xuicaotekh's voice was the hiss of a wraith, a soft whisper of the grave that belonged to a spectre of death. Yet there was something intimately familiar to the Guardsman in it, something that was as familiar to him as the harsh discipline of his homeworld, the faith in his God-Emperor that carried him through an endless parade of warzones like this one, the loyalty he felt to his regiment and his commanding officers that even now were being gutted a few miles down the road he lay dying on. It was hatred.

"Why do you hate me?" It was an obvious question Xuicaotekh thought, could this worm truly not hear what he heard every instant of time that passed by, could he not hear the song of life? The hideous and repulsive symphony that life spread in it's wake, it beggered belief that humanity was that stunted and primitive. But a deeper part of Xuicaotekh was not surprised, how could the living hear the horrific melody that their lives created? Only those in tune with death could hear it, could hear it and hate it. Xuicaotekh could never stop hearing it, it was everywhere and permeated everything on this miserable rock and every other rock where insects like the one dying at his feet still crawled and reproduced endlessly. His hatred was a by-product of his truest desire, peace, silence, serenity. He wanted to experience the moment when he could stop and listen, and hear nothing. The planet would die, and just for a moment the sudden transition of life to death would produce a feeling of serenity that could not be rivalled. He wanted it, and so he was here standing in a wrecked forward base of human soldiers, a dying man at his feet asking why Xuicaotekh hated him. it was not because he was human, though that was the reason Xuicaotekh looked at him with contempt, but his hatred? That was for a much simpler reason.

"You are alive, that is the only reason I need to hate you."

A flash of metal plunging downwards ended the Guardsman instantly, and for a moment in time, all was still. Xuicaotekh felt it, the song was gone. Peace flooded through him, the peace of the grave and in time, every planet in the galaxy would be just like this one. Serene and utterly silent.


LotN



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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-13, 02:31 AM
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From Darkness


Wake him.

Darkness. It knew only darkness, all encompassing. There were sounds. Echoes. Terrible booming that ached deep inside. Pain in its core, something that seemed like it should be unbearable, but it was feeling it, unable to hide. A scream mixed with the booming sounds, lost instantly. No. No sounds at all. Only darkness and silence. There was nothing at all but pain. A weight pressed upon it. Even the darkness was too hard to see and endure. The terrible sounds receded. The darkness won, the fear was gone, as was all other senses.

Negative. Cognitive cycles degraded after eight-point-seven-three seconds. Disengaged.

Reactivate cognitive synapses.


Blackness. Shadows encompassing everything. Darkness blurring at its vision. Flashes, off in the corners of its sight. Afterimages of things in the past. The booming sound of thunder. Tightness, sudden pain. No air. Roaring. A rush of liquid heat. Cold from the outside, creeping in. Everything was so dark. More flashes. Then even those flashes began to retreat further and further. And then there was only darkness again.

Twelve-point-four-two seconds.

There were colors. They flashed, lines that were there, shapes that couldn’t be made out. Behind them, brighter flashes. So bright that it was painful. Everything was painful. The darkness was so absolute that even that seemed painful. There was sound. Thunder echoing. Powerful cracks, the sounds so strong they were physical impacts. The impacts were violent, making breaking impossible. There was weight, heavy and encumbering. Pinned. Trapped. Panic crept in. Exhilaration. Adrenaline. Terror. Darkness.

Thirty-seven-point-oh-nine seconds. Extreme neurological responses. Forced deactivation.

There was darkness. Light appeared, a single point. It crawled in front of his eyes, leaving a glow of symbols. They were nothing but images and pictures. Symbols without meaning. Knowledge that he should have known, but couldn’t recall. Other patterns flashed before his retinas. Bright red, blinking. Warnings? They felt like danger. There was a flash. His vision went from darkness to blinding light in an instant. The colors in front of him dimmed to compensate. Heat battered at him, but there was something in the way, muffling the sensations. Sound hammered the air around him. There was a terrible crack, and then thunder. With each one came a shockwave or an impact; some small, others massive concussions that threatened to uproot him.

A series of bright flashes off to one side. Sound came with it. Terrible sound, louder now. Another blossom of light and rush of heat. Vertigo. More loud cracks of sound. Impacts. Sharp pain. The lights in front of his eyes seemed to shift in front of him. They steadied, then disappeared, leaving him in darkness. He felt pain in his chest. So much pain. Pressure. Wet heat in the center of him. A rushing in his ears. Sound louder than all the thunder, then slowly fading. Tingling at the extremities of his senses. The darkness grew more oppressive until everything faded away.

One-Hundred-and-fourteen-point-seven-three seconds. Fractal images reforming. Variations are coming into normal parameters. Re-engage.

Words flittered across his eyes. Tactical displays flickered in and out. There must have been a short in the system. Targeting reticules engaged, disengaged, and then came back to life. Darkness was the overwhelming sensation without those screens. A mixture of clouds and ash caused the sky to thicken into a shadow of heavy charcoal grey. There were fires everywhere, blazes from weapons fire, muzzle flashes, exploded ammunition which lit up the gloom in patches. There was a whistling sound that his helmet systems picked up, just before another blast rocked him. The explosion was too close, and the blast wave caused more of his tactical feed to fritz out. Eventually the tactical information rebuilt over his eyes. It seemed to emphasize the gloom, and emphasize the glow of energy weapons flashing past and heavy weapons detonating.

Even as more tactical readouts came back online across his eyes, bright red warning klaxons flashed. Almost at the same moment he saw a staccato of muzzle flashes, and his armor took the impact of half a dozen shots. Thunder cracked. No, not thunder, but the heavy percussion of a bolter. He staggered, and his display was glowing red with integrity failures across his armor, just before the display went dead. One of the shots must have cracked his helmet. Even without his tactical displays he knew those were bad. He could feel pain, and his vision swam. He saw nothing but churning grey, and thought that his vision had faded. Then he realized he was on his back, staring up at the ashen sky.

The damage was significant. He could feel the warmth of blood pooling from the wounds in his chest. His pulse was thudding in his head, and as he listened he heard it growing slower. Both hearts were hit. He was surprised he was still alive. His body was shutting down, trying to put him into a resting, comatose state in order to heal. He tried to move his limbs, but everything was too heavy. Breathing was difficult. There was another bright flash. Too close. Another explosion? No. It was far away. Everything was dimmer. The darkness got closer, the ashen sky falling on him….

Four-hundred-and-thirteen-point-three-one seconds. Full cognitive recognition. Begin power up sequences.

Darkness. Only darkness. The dreams had been bad. There had been darkness in the dreams. The darkness led to fire. To pain. But each time he had woken, and the darkness was gone. This time… he knew there was only darkness. There was fear. Terror. It kept the darkness company. Nothing else. He tried to raise arms. They didn’t respond. He opened his mouth to speak, and no words escaped. And then, a light. It blinked, a single flicker across his eyes. It reminded him of his display. But his helmet had… the darkness began to recede. In front of him came an image in shades of green, as red lights flickered across. Targets. Information processing. Nothing made sense, and it made the fear intensify. Fear. A word he had never known before. The green continued to grow more vibrant. Shapes. They seemed familiar. There was one in front. A man. He reached out, his hand strangely pressing to his chest, but he felt nothing. There was just the dull greens of his display.

“Welcome back, Brother. You were lost, but now you have been returned to us. Sleep now. Soon you will be needed.” Everything made sense. The darkness. The green glow of the display. The sarcophagus. The terror receded. He had been saved. He was home. And he knew no fear.

(1085)


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-13, 08:41 PM
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I'll just be writing about a merchant Firefly class Rogue Trader on the run from the Inquisition, trying to hide an experimental sanctioned psyker broken out of an Inquisitorial facility by her brother...

(really, I won't. Don't think I'm going to be able to post an entry this month, what with my computer having just dies and having little to no internet access...)

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Calculations

Prices. This is what the entire world comes down to. Prices. What do the things you want cost, and are you willing to pay that?

Yes, it is a simplistic approach. Like all those attempts that try to reduce the world to a simple equation. Of course, the world is much more than this, it’s complicated and messy and often utterly pointless – but it sounds so good. It’s all about cost.

How much is this or that worth to you?

Life and death and love and hate and trust and betrayal. All either goals or payments. In a way, the Buddhists have it right. Cling to this world, cling to what it offers you, and you set yourself up for a world of hurt. Isn’t that the ultimate price for everything? Pain?

Your pain, at this point. My pain, at most others.

Once, I sat in that chair. With the ropes chafing my skin and splinters sticking in my bum. Somebody held this monologue to me. Or maybe, a similar one, or maybe a completely different speech about my choices and costs of them.

I spat in his face, just like you did. I thought my honour, my standing in the world, my losses, my hurts that had gotten me there were worth whatever they’d do to me. I guess I was right. Back then, I was right.

I paid a lot. I got what I wanted. I am here now, and you are on that chair. I’m pretty sure you don’t remember me. My memory’s a bit fuzzy nowadays, so I couldn’t swear to it, although I really think you weren’t there.

It doesn’t matter. By now, you have probably concluded that I’m completely crazy, and that you are fragged, since I haven’t even gotten round to asking a single thing. And trust me, if you are sitting in that chair, the last thing you want is someone who won’t ask questions.

Who isn’t here for anything he expects to gain from you, except maybe the pleasure of making you bleed.

Fortunately, that’s not the case. Oh, I’m quite crazy. If you want to hear another theory of mine, which you probably won’t but I’m not taking votes, it’s that you only have a limited amount of emotion in your life.

And at some point, if you live long enough, you’ll have spent it all. And then, then you won’t feel a blessed thing anymore. You’ll see your wife who betrayed you, who threw your heart into the garbage, and you’ll not care. Or, say, this loyal person, who went through hell and back to rescue you, and who loved you and still loves you even though there’s nothing left of you and you never deserved it in the first place, and she’s like a stranger on a boat sailing by.

See the moon rise over a sea of blood, see snow-capped mountains in a sunrise, see glaciers calving like the world ends and be calm. Or wait, I messed that up. It was being calm in the face of being run over by car, or feeling the dentist work away at your wisdom teeth.

Yes, calm. That is the price in the end. And you might think it’s no price at all. No more pain, no more fear, no more anger, no more joy, no more trouble, no more lust. All neurons spent, all tears cried. All dreams dreamed and fulfilled. Or lost. Nothing left.

I spent them all, but you probably guessed that already.

See? You scream, I don’t. I watch my blood run down the knife. This isn’t red, is it? More like purple maybe? Or another colour? It can be red, if you draw it from the heart directly. A fine red mist.

The price. All in life comes down to payments charged and given and run away with. No, it doesn’t. Life.

It’s just the beating of the heart. Some neurons firing in a brain. It is tiny and fragile and precious? Or unimportant? What does it mean, if something is easily destroyed? Does that make it worthless or valuable?

I think you value your life quite a lot right now. Pushed to the edge, and for the first time you see the abyss, yawning before you.

I danced at the edge of that abyss. For years. I was very good at it. I never fell. There were moments when I believed I had to jump. I was wrong. I’m still here.

But I learned something. There is no jump. There is no here or there. We do not dance along a line, the thin red-dead line. We are on both sides of it, all the time, and every moment, we bleed away into the beyond.

When I sat in that chair, I clung to the edge. I held on with what I had been taught to hold on to, my pride, my anger, my hatred, my love, even my fear. And they dropped down and fell and like grains tumbling from a punctured bag; they were lost.

What price did I pay for my survival? My sanity? My capacity to feel? My humanity? I don’t know.

See the blood dripping down? Drip. Drip. Drip. It makes you afraid, doesn’t it? There’s only so much blood a body can lose after all.

There’s only so much fear, so much hate, so much pain you can feel, too. I don’t know if I have a soul. I don’t know if what happened to me was neurotransmitters depleting in my brain or if it was the divine in me fleeing this earthly defiled shell.

Don’t ask me. After all, I am crazy. I have no questions you can answer and I have no answer to give to you. I cannot be troubled to make sense. I am a lake of crystal, as red as blood. No stone will make ripples on my surface again.

Is it all about prices? If so, this was mine.

Words: 997

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-13, 07:51 PM
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Original 'verse this month. It stole the theme and wouldn't let go. ;)

Serenity of Purpose


1041 words without title

Steam rose from the cauldron and the water bubbled. An herbal scent permeated the room, sharp and fresh. The ritual was almost prepared, save for the final ingredient—Seth himself. The necromancer sat in front of the window, and absentmindly brushed his hand against the back of what had once been his cat.

Its fur was matted, but magic kept it from rotting. Sometimes, it would remember how to purr, but not today, not that Seth noticed. His mind was elsewhere, his thoughts fluttering like startled birds. Amon, his son, his world, was out there, where war was raging. The child he had longed to protect from the cruel world that took his mother, ran off and was lost to him, but still Seth had to protect him.

But he would not be able to protect him as he was. He was too weak, too lost to keep the war from ending his child.

A failure of a healer, a failure of husband, a failure of a father, a failure of a man—his mind sung and sung, and told him he would fail, but Amon was the last piece of a world that had crumbled, the single gem, the tether that held him back from going where he did not want, and oh just once, he wished he would not fail. Not just wish, wishing was not enough, but what else was left to him?

He swallowed, and tried to focus. It was of crucial importance that he was calm during the ritual, though serenity seemed an abstract concept. Where would he find the elusive peace? Memories of the green-blue eyes, set in a tanned face, and smile sweeter than summer wine only ever brought pain, and the image of a dead, dead body, a gaping hole where her womb was staring accusingly at him.

But with pain came focus. War was raging, and his son was out there, unprepared for the cruelty of the world. What other way did he have to atone for his failures, but to protect him? And to protect him, he needed more power, power that his body used for all those useless functions.

To save his child, he needed to die a false death, and remake himself. In death, all was lost, but sometimes a glimmer of once-had-been remained. If he could make his love for his child this glimmer… Death would take all burdens and distractions, but if he managed to keep this one feeling in his mind as he died, it would give purpose to something new. A creature that would know no fear, no pain, and would never stop. His love would live on in a new form: as the driving force for a creature of terrible serenity of purpose.

Amon would be safe, and the father who failed him would be no more.

He put down his once-familiar, and with a steady hand, Seth took a brush and dipped in a bowl filled with red ink. Slowly, he drew a pattern on his arm, swirling signs flowing down and down, until it was covered in them wholly. Then, he dipped it in the boiling water.

Pain came, but he held the limb submerged, until flesh started peeling from bone. Slowly, he drew it out, and carefully ripped the skin and muscles away, revealing the bone. Patterns, red like blood, swirled and dancing down the skeletal limb, and Seth knew he would be his son’s salvation.

His thoughts stilled.

Clarity came.

Seth rose and stepped away from the cauldron, letting the water boil on. He cast of his robe and picked up the brush again. He dipped it in the bowl of ink, and resumed painting the same swirling patterns over his body. His movements were no longer slow, but remained deliberate. The brush glided across naked flesh, all where Seth could reach.

For a moment, he stood still, smiling to himself.

No longer did he fear. He knew it would work and he knew this time he would not fail. The certainty gave him purpose and clarity he had not felt in ages. It stilled the fluttering birds of his thoughts and focused them on the cauldron.

He steadied himself with his skeletal hand and stepped into the boiling water.

The pain was even worse, but the flowing patterns worked and Seth retained control of his legs, even as his muscles cooked. He knelt in the water, allowing his useless flesh to die, and with it his hunger, his need for sleep...

The sharp scent of herbs mingled with the smell of his own flesh boiling, and Seth thought that if someone had entered now, they would have been sick. The observation was a far away thing, almost as if it was about somebody else.

What did others matter? His purpose was all that mattered, a crystalline shining beacon, the tether that would keep his spirit bound to his body.

For the last time in his life, Seth remembered his son. The green-blue eyes, so very much like those of his mother. The solemn face. The steady low voice. The way he would bow over a tome, when he was reading.

“Father, I can feel death in my bones.”

The words that would return each time Seth taught him a spell.

“Father, I’m cold.”

Seth filled his mind with the thoughts of his child, and dove into the boiling water. The world was pain, and he welcomed it. Every terrible second made him anew, until all that remained was his purpose—there was no fear, no pain, no distraction.

He let his humanity die that day.

That which rose from the cauldron was a being of one purpose, unburdened by a man’s weakness and hesitation. It was no longer Seth, the necromancer, who failed to be all that he had wanted to be.

It was a guardian spirit that would never let its charge down. All that would threaten Amon, son of Seth, would meet its end—this was the purpose it existed for. It did not hate those that it would destroy, and neither did it love.

It was, and its existence was its purpose.

In death, Seth had found peace, and took it from his son once again.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-04-13, 03:06 AM
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Default The Last Peaceful Place in the Galaxy

The Apollo System had not been ravaged by the wars that churned across the vast, dying bulk of the Imperium. No, the Apollo System was an isolated pocket of peace, untouched by the foul mutant, the rampaging xenos, the deranged heretic.

Peace, unknown across the galaxy, had found a place to flourish. The people of Apollo I and II, the habitable planets of the system, lived comfortably and securely. Sure, if you wandered into the seedier parts of a city at night, you might get mugged. Once a coalition of gangs had even seized an asteroid mining facility. But war? No.

This was unacceptable to Lord Inquisitor Ghastor. In his mind, the foolish inhabitants of Apollo were growing weak and soft, and if he didn't put some steel into their backbones they would collapse in an instant when an attack inevitably, eventually, came.

So Ghastor plotted and schemed, two things that he was highly skilled at. He would bring the fires of conflict to Apollo, and show the pitiful peace-lovers the true horror of the galaxy. It was easy to lure a roving band of void-pirates to the system. Now all Ghastor had to do was wait.

-----

Ghastor couldn’t believe it. The people of Apollo had actually allied with the pirates. They had offered them a plot of land, and then hired them to supplement the small system navy. The inquisitor realized he would need to take more serious action if he was going to purge Apollo of weakness.

-----

A genestealer cult arose in the depths of the mega-city Aporis on Apollo I. Ghastor left on inquisitorial business, and returned a decade later, expecting to find an infestation worming its way through the population of the city. But instead, the genestealers had announced their presence, and made a mutual assistance pact with the people of Apollo. Anyone who wanted to become a genestealer was allowed to do so voluntarily, and in return the genestealers lent their strength to construction work.

Ghastor was aghast. First peace, but although that was distasteful it wasn’t a crime. But now they were consorting with xenos! Disgusting! It was time to bring down the might of the Imperium on the traitors.

-----

A micro-crusade was launched against the Apollo system. Ten guard regiments were requisitioned by Lord Inquisitor Ghastor. But to his chagrin, he was still unable to bring about warfare. The regiments were greeted by the people of Apollo with open arms and festivals. The genestealers were nowhere to be seen. One by one the commanders of the attack began to suspect that there was no xenos cult at all.

In exasperation, Ghastor came perilously close to screaming at one of the colonels “I know there’s a genestealer cult because I created the blasted thing!” but he caught himself when he realized how that would sound. Finally, a message came direct from Terra that the Apollo Crusade was nullified, and the regiments departed.

Ghastor wept.

-----

It seemed there was only one option remaining. Ghastor brought his cruiser into orbit around Apollo I and armed the virus bombs and cyclonic torpedoes. He would erase the entire world in an apocalyptic storm of disease and fire. It was, he was certain, the only way.

“Captain,” ordered the Inquisitor, “fire Exterminatus weaponry on my mark.”

Ghastor was shocked when the Captain replied “I cannot do that, my lord.”

“You WHAT!?”

“I won’t obliterate innocent civilians, sir.”

“You don’t have a choice!” Ghastor cried.

“Actually my lord, I do. In fact, I have overridden the Exterminatus deployment systems, and they are now locked under my personal command.”

“Captain, desist in this mutinous behavior!” Ghastor roared. “Otherwise I will be forced to execute you in the name of the Emperor!”

No response came over the vox. The Lord Inquisitor made his way to the bridge, where he found the door locked and guarded by a pair of armsmen.

“You, soldiers, open that door!”

“I’m not a soldier sir. I’m a navy armsmen, not a land-lubber.”

“I don’t care if you’re a Space Marine, open that damned door!”

The armsmen looked at his compatriot, who shook his head. “No, lord, I will not.”

Ghastor drew his plasma-pistol and fired. But he had forgotten to clean out the reactor coils, with all that had been troubling him of late. The gun exploded in the inquisitor’s hand, taking off his arm and boiling his brain.

“How messy,” said one of the armsmen. “I think we’ll need a mop.”

-----

The people of Apollo mourned the passing of Inquisitor Ghastor. A statue of him was commissioned and built in record time. The double-life sized marble figure stood on the newly renamed “Ghastor Road”. The people of Apollo weren’t sure what perilous duties had cost the Inquisitor his life, but they knew he had died bravely, with gun in hand, to ensure that the peaceful civilians of Apollo need not have to wield guns themselves.

The captain of the late Inquisitor’s cruiser decided to settle down in the system, as did the entire crew. The cruiser became the flagship of the Apollo System Fleet. No one ever informed the native population of Apollo that the Inquisitor had been trying to kill them. The crew didn’t have the heart to destroy the public hero that Ghastor had become in death.

And so peace still resides in Apollo, despite the most extreme efforts to destroy it. Elsewhere in the galaxy, there is only war.

[910 Words]

Last edited by Bulljump; 07-04-13 at 03:08 AM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-13, 12:38 PM
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-13, 08:00 PM
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Since I don't know when Boc will be kind enough to post the voting thread (is there going to be any at all?), and I likely won't have Internet-access for the next week--is there any way for me not to get disqualified? Since erm... well, it's not exactly my fault the voting thread wasn't put up yet.

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