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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-10-15, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Default Steel Coffins

I have no idea whether I'm supposed to post a link to fanfiction or if I can just post the story in the actual message, but I'm doing the latter anyway because using a third party always works out badly for me in the end. So here's a short story I wrote on a whim, since I can never find enough stuff on Black Library that focuses on tanks. If this is something which piques your interest, then please feel free to say so, I've had a plot for a good ol' novel floating around in my brain for a bit, but haven't really felt it was worth the time. If it's something people might like though, Hell I'd try anything once. I'm sure everyone will find something I could do better, so please, feel free to criticize me before this story gets saged. But anyway, without further ado, here is a very short story:

----

“Auspex returns sir.” The radio operator shouted suddenly while looking back to the commander. He had been nervously reading returns and listening to chatter for the last few hours, checking and rechecking every piece of information displayed on the simple monitor as the column rolled across the green hills and sloping valleys of the boy’s first combat deployment. He couldn’t have been more than sixteen. Young yet, and too jumpy and foolish for his own good.

Vilten, the commander of the conqueror pattern tank, a gaunt, haggard looking man with a cigar in his mouth and three days of untrimmed stubble on his worn face, sighed and rubbed his eyes before answering a bit more calmly than his frayed nerves told him he should. “Son, if you have a return, you don’t just say that you have a return. I need a direction and a heading. And for the love of the damn divine Emperor, use your periscope once in awhile. If that auspex is acting up, I still need all my eyes.”

The operator nodded and hurriedly rechecked the screen before looking out the periscope. “Uh… direction thirty-six degrees, heading west by northwest. It looks like… What the hell are those sir?” He asked a bit curiously as he looked out through the viewfinder.

Vilten sighed and unsealed the commander’s hatch before standing up and looking out, grabbing his magnoculars at the same time. He looked through them and chuckled softly before shaking his head. “You’re a city boy aren’t you huh? That’s a grox you drakking idiot. This is an agri-world. You even bother reading the briefing?” Vilten said with an amused grin as he sat back down and shut the hatch before scanning with his periscope again.

The rest of the crew got a bit of a chuckle out of the ordeal, Oksen, the gunner, commenting that maybe he should try checking the auspex to see if he could find them some decent women on this dirt world. The boy muttered to himself a bit before resuming his scanning, looking through the viewfinder and panning it slowly left to right, taking his eyes away to look at the auspex set again each time a blip sounded.

Vilten shook his head softly as they rode on, the tank shaking and rattling occasionally as the sixty tonne machine rode across the dirt road, scarred and pocked occasionally by shell craters and burned patches of grass, the symptoms of the war that had ravaged the planet of Teden Majoris for the last five months. Five months of hard combat that had seen his last bow gunner and radio man, Terhan, ripped apart when an archenemy anti tank shell pierced the side armor. The new one, Amos, or ‘the boy’ as he was known by his crewmates, was no substitute, eager, but green, and too damn young and nervous.


Vilten looked through the scope again and panned his view across the looming mountains in front of them, the forested heights big enough to conceal an entire damn enemy army. he then scanned the rolling hills to either side, looking for the mechanized infantry battalion they were supposed to be meeting. Vilten checked the chronometer on his wrist and sighed before looking to the boy again. “Get me the captain on vox.”
Amos nodded and picked up the comm speaker before handing the headphones to him. Vilten took them and put the speakers to his ear. “Have we gotten any word from the Red Dragoons yet? They were supposed to be waiting here.”

A gruff voice answered back, slightly distorted by the vox static and engine noise in the background. “Negative. I’m starting to wonder if command even knows where their own guys are. We should have at least gotten into vox range by now even if they were running a bit…” The voice cut out abruptly in a wash of static, followed a few milliseconds later by a bassy rumble as the command tank’s ammunition was lit up by an AT round, causing almost fifty shells to explode at once and turn the once proud vehicle into a smoking crater.

The second conqueror in the convoy went up in a blaze of dirty smoke and fire a moment later as the fuel tank lit up, the commander screaming in agony while his tank burned around him, the flaming promethium fuel oil melting flesh from bone like butter from a hot knife. The other tanks halted and hurriedly scanned the horizon while crying out for target acquisition.

“Switch to local comms and scan that treeline! Listen for contact reports and call in what i tell you!” Vilten shouted at the boy before throwing the radio back to him. Vilten felt all his frayed nerves screaming at him to break, and yet he was calm. This was his element, and he did not hesitate. “Gunner! Orient ten degrees horizontal, azimuth eighteen degrees! That second shot was a lascannon, follow the beam. Loader, I need AP right now! That’s armor contact for certain. Driver! Orient twenty-five degrees and open that throttle!”

The crew hurried to comply, the loader hefting a shell for the conqueror cannon and slotting it into the breach with a single practiced motion as the gunner moved the turret around to face the direction of the contact. Vilten watched intently through his periscope, looking for signs of movement. He saw a dark shape a moment later, then a flash, followed by a flaming corona as a rocket assisted round flew from the barrel of whatever tank was out there and smashed into the tank at the rear of the column a second later. Vilten recognized that type of shell. There was only one tank he knew of that fired rounds like that...

Baneblade.

The massive behemoth was once known as ‘Ardent Lance.’ It had served in the 222nd Marian Tigers armored regiment, with two-hundred and ninety-seven confirmed armor kills to its credit. It answered to a different name now, one so blasphemous that to utter it left one’s soul trembling in agony. The three hundred tonne beast fired its main gun six further times in the engagement, along with countless lascannon charges and autocannon rounds. The Leman Russ conqueror pattern tanks in the column fired at least sixty rounds between them. And yet, when the bloody work was done, all sixteen tanks of the 5053rd Castellan armored brigade burned.

The crews of the tanks fared little better. Most were burned alive as promethium fuel caught light and turned the hulk into an iron funeral pyre, others were cremated outright as magazines of high explosive and armor piercing shells were struck by lascannon bolts and high- explosive armor-piercing shells, detonating the lot of them with devastating effects. The few who escaped their smoking wrecks met no better a fate, as twin-linked heavy bolters from the Baneblade’s sponsons tore bleeding, fist-sized holes in torsos and destroyed limbs, leaving ragged scraps of meat and a fine red mist to mark their cowardice.

When the smoke of the fight cleared, the hatch of the Baneblade opened and a figure slowly raised its head above the armored viewports to survey the carnage. The human, if it could still be called such, had a bulky augmetic in place of most of its face, with only its bottom jaw still coated in the veneer of flesh. It looked around for a moment longer before nodding in seeming satisfaction and lowering its head back into the vehicle.

“They burn.” It said simply in a thin, limp, machine rasp as it took its place in the seat once more. The rest of the crew of Mortem Rex simply nodded and returned to their duties. The auspex operator sent a dense blurb of machine-code and the commander switched his camera view. He let out a disturbing facsimile of what would have been a smile on something less hideous before sending a return code spurt to the driver, engineseer, and powerplant monitor servitor all in the space of a few milliseconds. Mortem Rex roared to life once again, steel treads crushing bones to powder as the damned vehicle continued her hunt.

Behind her, steel coffins burned...

Last edited by Dave T Hobbit; 09-11-15 at 05:09 PM. Reason: Made the separation between foreword and story clearer
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-10-15, 12:52 PM
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melting flesh from bone like butter from a hot knife
Interesting description! A hot knife through butter?

Nice little story. If there is more to come, I for one will be watching!


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-11-15, 05:11 PM
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Good first post.

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I have no idea whether I'm supposed to post a link to fanfiction or if I can just post the story in the actual message...
We prefer the text posted on Heresy so people don't have to click again to read it.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-12-15, 02:13 AM
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Very nice! I like the short concise paragraphs. As well as the subject matter! You're right, there is precious little tank warfare, but I think that falls to the lack of proper tankers. Most of us need at least a taste of what we're writing about.

I look forward to seeing how that Baneblade gets brought down. Personally, I used multi-melta trikes and Overlord Airships with a hefty dosage of mega-cannon, but...that was an Epic-ly long time ago.

The Book of Grudges will know their name.

The Worlds of J.D. Barbera
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-13-15, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
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Very nice! I like the short concise paragraphs. As well as the subject matter! You're right, there is precious little tank warfare, but I think that falls to the lack of proper tankers. Most of us need at least a taste of what we're writing about.

I look forward to seeing how that Baneblade gets brought down. Personally, I used multi-melta trikes and Overlord Airships with a hefty dosage of mega-cannon, but...that was an Epic-ly long time ago.

Well I'm glad that the paragraphs are in order. I hate it when they start getting too long. The first mistake I ever made when I started writing was making the paragraphs too long and having dialogue from multiple characters in the same paragraph. So I learned how to paragraph (it's a verb now) for real when I was fifteen.

Anyway, I'm happy you like it, and while I have never served a day in anybody's armored division, I hope that I have enough knowledge to get a good story going. If I can think of how to start, I'll try to get a good old tale of tanker revenge going against those mind-linked Dark Mechanicus bros in the big tank.

Never forget the Spehs dwarfs!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-13-15, 12:00 PM
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Anyway, I'm happy you like it, and while I have never served a day in anybody's armored division, I hope that I have enough knowledge to get a good story going.
Get a bit of a taste of it in the film 'FURY' ....

.

"Death occurs when a lethal projectile comes together in time and space with a suitable target, in the absence of appropriate armour or protection”


Check out my 40K 'Epic' about the Hunted verses the Inquisition: https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...98#post2184698

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-13-15, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Get a bit of a taste of it in the film 'FURY' ....

.
I was going to reply with something talking about chapter one, before realizing that I haven't even posted it yet. Anyway, I will probably take some cues from Fury, but I don't want to cookie cut from it because I didn't like the plot of Fury much. Mostly because of the fact that the Tiger tank was nothing but a passing footnote, when it could have been an opportunity to maybe have part of the film be from the German crew's perspective.

Oh and just to spite the movie Fury, the good guys in my story are going to be space Germans. Because that's a thing that I can do.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-13-15, 11:59 PM
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Get a bit of a taste of it in the film 'FURY' ....

.
I really want to see this one. I play World of Tanks and even picked up the premium tank "Fury" when the movie was released to the theaters, unfortunately, if a movie doesn't make it to Netflix it's almost out of reach for me. All praise Redbox at that point.

The Book of Grudges will know their name.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-15, 12:20 AM
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Anyway, I'm happy you like it, and while I have never served a day in anybody's armored division, I hope that I have enough knowledge to get a good story going. If I can think of how to start, I'll try to get a good old tale of tanker revenge going against those mind-linked Dark Mechanicus bros in the big tank.
I applaud your imagination then! I also look forward to your tale of tanker revenge. ;)

The Book of Grudges will know their name.

The Worlds of J.D. Barbera
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-15, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Default Chapter one: What Fresh Hell.

After remembering what sleep is, I got back to writing today, and finished chapter one. It's a bit shorter in the end than I would have liked, but I don't want to end up going for too long, especially not on this site. So, here's chapter one. Tell me what you think.

-----

The rain fell heavy on Teden Majoris. High wind from the planet’s single, massive sea blew thick clouds heavy with rain over the pangea style continent to shower it in thick sheets of cold water, and turned the thin topsoil into a mush that made the going tough, if there could be going at all. Lieutenant Karl Emmerik looked up to the unforgiving clouds and muttered a curse before wiping a bit of dirt off his periscope and turning back in, closing the hatch after him.

“This world is going to kill our tank faster than an Eldar lance.” The Lieutenant said as he grabbed an oily towel and wiped his soaked, blonde hair. He looked to be a man in his thirties, with a fit, lean face and dark blue eyes. The same features that were shared by the rest of the men and women of Aryaina. He threw the towel away before laying back in his seat. “What’s our ‘spex say Ban?” He asked through his comms before leaning forward to scan through his periscopes again.

“Still nothing Boss.” Replied a tired and old sounding voice into the Lieutenant’s headset. Sedrik Bannon, or ‘Ban’ as he was called by the rest of the crew, had been with the tank longer than any of the rest, but had lost his chance at command right along with his eyes and part of his brain when spalling shrapnel from an artillery shell tore out part of his frontal lobe. His face was now a mess of scar tissue and augmetic metal where a sensor interface had been cobbled into him. His only eyes now were the manifold sensor and auspex arrays of their Vanquisher pattern Leman Russ, and the gun camera of the hull mounted heavy bolter.

“Is the damn thing acting up again? I thought we just fixed the sensor clusters on this thing yesterday?” Emmerik inquired in return, slight frustration showing through in his tone.

Bannon paused for a moment before replying. “Nah. They’re all working like a dream. Problem is, we’ve got rain filled with micro-particles coming down in sheets right now. I’m as good as blind with so much sheise in the air.” He sounded more bored than anything else, like a man who’s grown tired of the same old job.

“Keep me posted.” Emmerik replied with a sigh. He then tried the radio with command, and found that it was still on the fritz. It had been in and out for the last three days, so it hardly surprised him at this point. He shook his head before panning the scope around again.

“Are we there yet?” Asked another voice beside Emmerik. The gunner, Konrad Kult, was just as bored as everyone else. Except that he was, as a gunner, uniquely gifted with a psychopathic lust to destroy every enemy that crossed his gun-sights. He was therefore a rather uncomfortable man to be around when bored, and it was usually the job of his older brother Branden to keep him occupied. Unfortunately, the well muscled loader was currently sleeping in his seat, snoring loudly along with the engine noise.


“I don’t know. I’ll ask.” Emmerik said before he spoke into his mic once again. “Hey Brenda? We there yet?” He asked more as a joke than anything else.

“No such luck boss. We could have been there an hour ago if we weren’t stuck going at twenty kph on these sheisen roads.” The feminine voice of the driver replied. Of all the members of the crew of the ‘Stahllowe’ she had lately become the most touchy. She had been sweet with one of the commanders from the second company of the 5053rd, and the destruction of their column had been hard on her. She had even painted a burning coffin on the front hull armor under the driver’s viewport in their memory.

Emmerik nodded a bit before replying. “We get there when we get there. I trust you not to get my tank stuck in any fuchsehn holes.” He says before shaking his head a bit. He then turned back to Konrad. “We’re gonna be on the road a bit longer. Just keep scanning Kon.” Emmerik pats his shoulder before going back to his periscope once again.

“Right.” The gunner sighed softly before running his hands through his short cropped blonde hair. “Still, I wish we could get a shot at that armor that killed the Castellans. I’ve never killed a Baneblade before.” He said with a hungry grin.

“Don’t get too eager Konrad. One on one we would never stand a chance.” Branden muttered without opening his eyes. “The only way to kill one of those things is to hit it in the side or the ass from pointblank range with a vanquisher AP shell. So stick with killing arch-enemy lemans for now.”

Konrad, suitably chastened, kept his mouth shut for the rest of the trip. Soon enough, the lights of FOB Hilfe pierced the gloom, and the crew breathed a collective sigh of relief that at least the damn thing was still there. They drove alone into the FOB, formerly the town of Simvalley, but now a mostly ruined husk. Emmerik opened his hatch and turned out to be met with the blue eyed, thousand yard stares of men who have lived through Hell. He shook his head before turning back in and putting on a heavy leather coat along with his cap.

“Alright. Konrad and Bran, you’re with me. Let’s go see if we can’t get some hot food in this fresh purgatory we’ve found ourselves in. Brenda and Ban? Find us a good parking space and get some sleep. We’ll bring you something.” The crew tiredly gave their assent before Emmerik took off his headset and set it aside. He then popped his hatch again and climbed out, hopping off the tank while it was still lumbering along and giving the side skirt a loving tap in parting. He was immediately accosted by someone with the lapels of a major and the eyes of a dead man.

Emmerik, Konrad and Bran all snapped off salutes which were promptly returned with a scoff and a dismissive wave of the hand. “Spare me. You’re Lieutenant Emmerik right?” The colonel asked before motioning for them to follow without waiting for a reply.

“Yes sir.” Emmerik replied with a nod before putting his head down to keep the worst of the rain out of his eyes.

“I’m Major Heimvik. Command said you’d be here by eighteen-hundred. It’s almost twenty zero zero. Run into some trouble?” He said while trying to talk over the rain.

“The roads here are sheise with all this rain. Any faster and we would have gotten ourselves bogged down in whatever passes for soil here.” Emmerik replied in an equally loud voice.

“Right.” The major nodded before sighing as he walked into a command tent, Emmerik and the brothers Kult following shortly after. Once inside, he took off his sodden poncho and hung it up. “So… Where are the rest of your tanks?” Heimvik asked as he turned to them.


“The rest sir?” Emmerik said questioningly as he looked back at the major uncomprehendingly.

“You mean there aren’t any others coming? I was told to expect all of second platoon.” Heimvik frowned and looked the newcomers up and down where they stood.


“We are second platoon sir.” Emmerik said with a shrug. “What’s left of it anyway. The four conquerors from our group are gone. Two died to towed AT guns in the assault on Bauville, one got atomized by half a ton of high explosive when it went under the wrong bridge, and the last got killed by an enemy Leman Russ. We’re the only guys in second to make it this far.” Emmerik shook his head before running a hand through his thick hair and sighing.

The major, to his credit, bore the news in stoic silence for a few moments before rubbing his temples and nodding. “Let me apprise you of the situation then.” The major motioned for Lieutenant Emmerik to follow, and walked over to a table overlaid with maps, pict feeds, and report papers beyond count. “Besides me, you are the highest ranking officer here. Other than that, I’ve got a commisar lurking around here like the shadow of death; all for the Emperor of course, and a few platoon sergeants.” He pushed forward a few pieces of paper with a nod. “These are the bios of commanders and their crews under your command Lieutenant Emmerik.”

“My command sir?” Emmerik said questioningly.

“Yes. Your command Lieutenant.” The major nodded. “I’ve got four conquerors, two Leman Russ main battle tanks, an annihilator, and a demolisher. It would be best for you to get to know them now.”

“Right.” Emmerik nodded before rubbing his eyes and yawning tiredly. “My crew need some rest, and some hot food in them.”

“So do most of the boys here.” The major shrugged. “But there’s a mess across the way. Go grab what you can find and see what you can do with it.” He waved a hand at them before sitting down in a chair and sipping from a mug of cold caffeine. “You’re dismissed Lieutenant.”

Emmerik nodded and saluted the major before walking out, shaking his head softly. “I take back what I said.” He muttered to Branden and Konrad as they left the tent. “This isn’t a purgatory, this is a fresh Hell.”
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