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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-20-19, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Default [40K] Marneus Calgar's Barmy Army 2018 Christmas Special: A Winter's Fail (v2.0)

Outside, in the snowbound darkness, Third Chaplain Amalgama and his kill team of Word Bearers peered at Ultramarine HQ through magnoculars.
"She missed!" said Brother-Initiate Tossin.
"How can you tell?" Amalgama said.
"The Ultramarines remain the cheesiest Chapter, Excellency. Can't you feel it?"
"Feel it?" Amalgama shuddered. "I've been swimming through brie from the moment I set foot in this wretched dump."
"I thought Tanith snipers were supposed to be the best," Brother Syster snarled.
"Perhaps our indoctrination failed?" Tossin said.
"Our indoctrination methods are blessed by the Fell Powers," Amalgama said. "They can't be overcome by some hive-wench in a cape. Calgar has nine lives, it seems. Still, there are plenty of... traps... to snare him. Ahaha. Ahahahaha. AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!"
It dawned on his brethren that they should join in, though no-one knew why they were laughing at their own failure. Only the kill-team'sfourth member, the ever-silent Nameless One, remained quiet. Hecrossed his arms and stared at Smurf HQ.

"We chose our assassin well," the Third Chaplain said. "You will see..."


Greetings everyone! Christmas draws near, the nights are getting longer and life is getting more stressful. Why not kick back and relax with the ridiculous adventures of Marneus Calgar's Barmy Army?


What if Lord Calgar were an oaf obsessed with Home Alone 2? What if Brin Milo, described as "the Wesley Crusher of 40K", and ace sniper Nessa Bourah of the Tanith 1st and Only had been assigned to Ultramar for reasons we don't go into? What if an insane fanfic writer, who thinks fart jokes are hilarious, decided to push the acceptable limit of decency? These questions, asked by precisely no-one, are answered in crude and hilarious fashion each Christmas. A Winter's Fail v2.0 is a brand new story which replaces last year's effort. There is also a 2019 special, Fool Runnings, coming on 1st December 2019.


Welcome to another Christmas in the trenches.


=|U|=


Quote:
MCBA Dramatis Personae

THE GOODIES

Marneus Calgar: Chapter Master, Spiritual Liege, Insufferable Prat.
Dick Bannerman: 1st Lieutenant, Chapter Standard Bearer and Lord Calgar's long-suffering best friend.
Nerdingam: Tech-Marine who suffers from one speech impediment after another.
Mender: Chief Apothecary and stranger to hygiene.
Derrick: 1st Chaplain and all-round nutter.
Brin Milo: Astra Militarum, Tanith-First-And-Only, regimental musician, excommunicated from his regiment for reasons that are rude and serving his penance with the Ultramarines Chapter.
Nessa Bourah: Astra Militarum, Tanith-First-And-Only, sniper, excommunicated from her regiment for reasons unknown and serving her penance with the Ultramarines Chapter.
Michael Ball: Singer.


THE BADDIES

Third Chaplain Amalgama: Word Bearers apostle.
Brother Syster: Word Bearer.
Brother-Initiate Tossin: Word Bearer.
The Nameless One: Word Bearer.

=|U|=

MARNEUS CALGAR'S 2018 XMAS SPECIAL: A WINTER'S FAIL

It is the 41st Millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has been trying to warn people that their iPhones, of which they are so proud, are powered only by the tears of the slave-children who build them. Yet even so, the Emperor continues his eternal vigilance, although since he misses so much of what's going on in the 41st Millennium, his vigilance must be focused on the bedchambers of the Battle Sisters. Boing!

To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. Forget the promise of a present on Christmas morning, for in the grim darkness of the far future, Father Christmas isn't guaranteed to get around everyone in one night. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter and the laughter of thirsting gods, drowned out on one special night by Marneus Calgar playing "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" at 110 decibels.

Picture this: a tranquil, snowbound landscape, watched over by a moon shaped like a flying silver Christmas pudding. Beneath the moon rears an indomitable fortress decorated with multi-coloured Christmas lights. In the uppermost corner of that fortress is a lighted window, and behind that window is the private chamber of a flatulating oaf known to legend as "The Roaring Bane" and to his men as "That Moaning Slap-Head".

Within this chamber, Lord Calgar himself and his second-in-command, Dick Bannerman, lounge upon the galaxy's most comfortable settee before an 800-inch, 20K resolution screen which has built-in etheric communications capability (and a little blue light that glows for several frustrating seconds before the screen finally comes on). Lo, does 20K resolution play havoc even with the genhanced eyeballs of the Ultramarines, but greatly did they pay for it and so they must now get their money's worth.

Upon the screen are the adventures of a young child from the 2nd Millennium who flees the pursuit of two burglars. One of the burglars fails a dangerous terrain test and stands on a nail. How our esteemed Ultramarine heroes roar with laughter. Calgar, of course, laughs louder, for he will not be outdone by an underling.

"Can I have your nuts?" said Calgar.

"What?" Bannerman cried. He remembered the bowl of roast chestnuts resting on his knees. "Oh, right. I didn't think you liked them, sir."

"Here we fething go, the return of Fanny Cradock." Calgar pushed a fistful of chestnuts into his mouth. Dick tried to ignore the nauseating sounds of chewing. Lord Calgar wasn't called Liquid Mouth for nothing.

"Where's Milo?" Calgar said with his mouth full. Bits of chestnut flew everywhere.

"He is decorating the halls with bells and holly, my Lord."

"Just like the song, then?"

"I still think it's boughs of holly, sir." Bannerman wilted beneath Calgar's imperious gaze. "But I just wave the flag, what do I know."

On the screen, Kevin McCallister was being pursued through his own neighbour hood by the two burglars.

"See, what I don't get," Calgar said with a spray of his nuts, "is why the Arbites don't just cut the burglers' hands off? And that scene in the forthress-cathedral, where the old paedo tries it on with Kevin, how come they aren't whipped for talking during a service?"

"I think you misunderstand the film, sir," Bannerman said. "The people of the late second and early third millennia were Lefties who treated criminals better than victims. The human race was on the verge of self-annihilation until the Emperor revealed himself."

"Imagine if the Emperor had never turned up," Calgar said. The Ultramarines spent a heretical moment realising they would have been normal people who earned money and got laid.

"A better question," Calgar said, changing the subject, "is what did the Emperor do before he started... empering?"

"Probably watched these fething films, like I'm trying to do, sir." Something outside the window distracted Bannerman for a moment. A glint. The curtains were open and a glorious night sky could be seen outside. The temperature was -27C at sea level, and Ultramarines HQ was at the top of a mountain. Who could be out there?

"Well, that's the first film out of the way," Calgar said as Home Alone drew to its conclusion. "Second one's on tomorrow. How many times have we missed it now?"

"At least fifteen years in a row, my Lord." Bannerman continued to stare at the window.

"What's up with you? It isn't Christmas Eve yet, you won't see any reindeer."

As he spoke, a red dot appeared on his stomach. Bannerman watched with growing horror as the dot moved slowly up Calgar's body and rested between his eyes. The Chapter Master noticed his expression.

"Dick, have you been sniffing the snow-spray again?"

"LOOK OUT, SIR!" Bannerman yelled. Defying the laws of physics, he threw himself against Calgar. The Master of Ultramar and his bannerman went over the side of the settee in a tangle of arms and legs, upending the furniture and sending chestnuts everywhere. Frigid air howled in as the window glass vapourised. A chunk of wall was annihilated where Calgar's head had just been; part of the settee exploded and caught fire.

"What are you playing at Dick, you've squashed my nuts!"

"We can buy you some more later!" Bannerman said, craning around to look for threats.

"I'm not talking about the food you fething prawn." Calgar pushed his second-in-command off and grabbed his own crotch, trying to pop his "little boiled eggs" back into place. "What's wrong with you? You know I only allow hugs on Christmas Day."

Bannerman raced to the window. He saw what appeared to be a curious winged creature flapping away until the night hid it from even his carrot-boosted eyesight.

Calgar was patting out the fire on the settee. He found something between the seat cushions.

"Hooray, I've found 50p!"

"My Lord," Bannerman said, "do you realise I just saved your fething life?"

"You certainly did you great plank of wood. Chaplain Derrick said he would commit my soul to the flames if I didn't pay his fifty pence back. I don't know what the miserable sod's problem is, I only borrowed it two years ago."

"SIR!" Bannerman yelled. He was a patient man but even the hardiest Imperial saint would lose his rag with an oaf like Calgar. "The wall! Look at the wall!"

Calgar turned to regard the fist-sized hole in the rockrete.

"Wow, didn't think I sat back that hard."

"Oh my fething Emperor," Bannerman said. "My Lord, someone just fired a hot-shot lasgun at your head. You were nearly assassinated by a traitor!"

"Ding dong merrily on fething high!" Calgar said. "Arrest Brin Milo at once!"

"Sir, he wouldn't have done this."

"Who cares, we could do with a good laugh."

=|U|=

Outside, in the snowbound darkness, Third Chaplain Amalgama and his kill team of Word Bearers peered at Ultramarine HQ through magnoculars.

"She missed!" said Brother-Initiate Tossin.

"How can you tell?" Amalgama said.

"The Ultramarines remain the cheesiest Chapter, Excellency. Can't you feel it?"

"Feel it?" Amalgama shuddered. "I've been swimming through brie from the moment I set foot in this wretched dump."

"I thought Tanith snipers were supposed to be the best," Brother Syster snarled.

"Perhaps our indoctrination failed?" Tossin said.

"Our indoctrination methods are blessed by the Fell Powers," Amalgama said. "They can't be overcome by some hive-wench in a cape. Calgar has nine lives, it seems. Still, there are plenty of... traps... to snare him. Ahaha. Ahahahaha. AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!"

It dawned on his brethren that they should join in, though no-one knew why they were laughing at their own failure. Only the kill-team'sfourth member, the ever-silent Nameless One, remained quiet. Hecrossed his arms and stared at Smurf HQ.


"We chose our assassin well," the Third Chaplain said. "You will see..."

=|U|=

It had been easy for Bourah. The Tanith sniper had simply allowed herself to be snatched up by a flying creature evolved from a Tyranid Gargoyle; it had been an easy matter of hanging upside-down from its claws while she lined up a shot, a shot spoiled only by a man who lived up to his name. It seemed that Bourah must eliminate the greater threat before she put a round between Calgar's eyes.

"I must get Dick," she said to herself in a zombie voice as the Tyranid creature carried her away. "I must get Dick."

=|U|=

"It was only a winter's tale, just another epic fail!" Brin Milo sang as he sprayed snow along the tops of pictures, cabinets, doorways and eventually across the breastplates and faces of 1st Company warriors. He hadn't been instructed to do this, in fact all he'd been asked to do was apply it to the various fake Christmas trees around the base, but the spray fumes had gone to his head. A door banged open in the distance.

"MILO!" Calgar roared at 150 decibels. The Chapter Master, Dick Bannerman and several warriors of 1st Company marched up to where the young Tanith lad was spraying something across a wall. Milo hid the spray can behind his back.

"This is it you little snollygoster," Calgar said.

"What?" said Milo, a cry echoed by many of Calgar's men.

"Don't give me the 'butter wouldn't melt up my bottom' routine. It's the nerve-glove for you my lad, pain level 'Listening to What About Us by Pink on constant loop until you think it's well-written'."

"But I haven't done anything!"

"Don't worry," Dick said to Milo, shielding his mouth with one hand so Calgar couldn't hear him. "Flat-Head's having one of his tantrums, he'll be out of steam soon."

"I gave you four instructions," Calgar said. "One: put all the trimmings up. Two: stop pulling yourself off about Saint Sabbat, your tissues are clogging the water reclaimers. Three... what was the third one again?"

"I think it was something about a beef sandwich, sir," Bannerman said.

"Oh, yeah, where's my fething lunch? Well that's just another of your failures. Four: don't be a heretic. These were simple instructions even an Ed Sheeran fan could follow."

"Sir, that's not fair!" said Milo. "I made your beef sandwiches."

"Then where are they?"

"I ate them," Milo said after a pause. "But I decorated! Look!" He gestured to the wall next to him, forgetting that he'd been spraying "MARINUS CALGER IS A TW".

"Milo, do you understand how serious this is? Describing a superior Ultramarine as a TW? What's it mean, anyway?"

"Er..." Milo thought quickly. He looked at Calgar. The Ultramarine Lord had a figure like play-dough squeezed into an old woman's stockings.

"It was supposed to say 'a twin of Schwarzenegger in his prime'," Milo lied. "But I didn't know how to spell it." (Neither does your author, fact fans!)

"Well, I do spend a few hours every day in the gym," Calgar said, curling an arm.

Replace 'hours' with 'minutes' and 'day' with 'year' and you've got it, Milo thought.

"In that case," Calgar said, "I forgive you on all charges. Number Two, it's time to play the Michael Ball Christmas album."

"We can't, sir," said Bannerman. "You lost it, remember?"

"WHAT!" said Calgar.

"You lost it on Boxing Day when you got drunk and invited Sister Superior Ultricia to do you the honour of sitting on your face. Not only did the Battle Sisters confiscate the album, we all got the nerve-glove."

"Primarch on a fething pogo-stick," said Calgar. "So we're nowhere near solving the Christmas Assassin Mystery, Milo's had my lunch and the Michael Ball Christmas Album has been confiscated by Sister Ulterior and her merry band of bags. What would Hercule Poirot say?"

"You big fat buffeune, why don you put a cork up your derriere and be a monsieur for once, hahohaho?" suggested Milo.

"Exactly," said Calgar, who hadn't understood a word. "Make a note of that, Number Two."

"Sir," Bannerman said, "we must find the assassin quickly. You're supposed to be addressing the 500 Worlds in half an hour. It's time for your annual Christmas Speech."

"But I do that on Christmas Day. Have I accidentally slept for two days again?"

"You agreed to do this year's broadcast early, because last year's put everyone off their Christmas dinner. Don't you remember, sir? Two hundred million citizens flushed their food down the toilet. The waste extraction servitors said they'd never seen so much turkey, at least not in that condition."

"Right then, Warriors of Ultramar, we've got an assassin to slap and we're on a clock." Calgar paused. "Oh, and Milo, seen as how you're the reason we always miss Home Alone 2, if we don't get to watch it this year I'll drive my Land Raider up your ho-ho-hole. But because you're a mate, I'll let the servitors slather your buttocks with butter first."

"Why do all his threats involve my backside?" Milo wondered as they formed into fire teams.

=|U|=

Nessa Bourah had killed the Tyranid creature with her combat knife. She survived the plummet to earth by inflating a Guard-issue condom and floating gently to the ground. After making touchdown, she looked towards the glittering fairy lights of Smurf HQ, checked her compass, made some mental calculations and pulled her regulation 9-70 from her belt. Bourah began to dig. The spade was small and not intended for undermining, but she had her instructions and the night was young. Calgar would no doubt find the little present she'd left him, and he'd be incapacitated by the time she arrived. His men would be too busy dying to the traps Bourah had laid throughout the base. Easy prey.

The Tanith sniper paused and removed another item from her belt. She'd already hollowed the Tyranid creature's head out. Nessa put it on, wearing it like a mask. She continued to dig.

=|U|=

"What's she doing now?" Third Chaplain Amalgama of the Word Bearers hissed. Amalgama was getting on a bit with ten thousand years on the clock, and had the creeping feeling that the situation was getting away from him.

"Digging, Excellency," said Brother-Initiate Tossin.

"I can see that, fool! I mean why is she doing it? Is it a grave for Calgar?"

"It's difficult to tell from fifteen thousand yards away, Excellency," said Tossin. "If we had given her a missile launcher instead of a sniper rifle, as I suggested, this would already be done."

The Third Chaplain growled at the initiate, who had the brains to look chastened.

"She's gone full-on Michael Myers," Brother Syster said. "She's digging her way back to Smurf HQ."

"All that way," Amalgama hissed. "That's a level of determination I've never seen before."

"Then you've never upset a woman before," Syster said.

Bourah had already disappeared into the tunnel she was digging – a tunnel which led straight to Smurf HQ.

"Merry Christmas ya filthy Ultramarine," Amalgama chuckled. "Ready the popcorn, brothers, the Fell Powers bless us with dinner and a show."

=|U|=

While the rest of 1st Company laboriously searched Ultramarine HQ, Calgar decided to investigate the kitchen. His search of the fridge – after picking the lock someone had installed to keep him out – yielded many clues, including a box of Viscount mints, a pack of cheese slices and several grox stakes. Calgar practically threw it all down his throat, put the kettle on then sat on a round stool. He spun around and around until he vomited.

"Why's it brown?" the Chapter Master wondered, studying his regurgitation.

Now that his stomach was empty, he was hungry again. His genhanced super-senses brought him to another delicious-looking clue. Any intelligent man would have known straight away not to eat it. Most people hid food from Calgar, they didn't leave their figgy pudding lying around with a note saying "LORD CALGAR PLEASE EAT".

Calgar's guts gurgled. He looked down at his stomach. It protruded so far he couldn't see his own feet, and feth only knew what his knob looked like these days. What the hell, it's Christmas.

"Now bring us some figgy pudding, and bring it right here," Calgar sang as he tiptoed over to the dessert. He slammed his face into it and troughed it like a pig.

Afterwards, he thought that the sauce tasted a bit funny.

=|U|=

The Ultramarines regrouped in the kitchen.

"I have conducted a thorough search of the area," said Calgar, whose face and hair were smeared with pudding. "No sign of the traitor."

"We didn't see anything either," Bannerman said. "But we've lost contact with several squads."

"And we can't find Nessa," Milo added.

"They'll be wrapping all my presents no doubt," said Calgar. He checked his wrist chron. "Well since my aura of manliness has scared the assassin off, I'd better make my speech, the plebs need me."

Bannerman escorted Calgar to the broadcasting room. It had been sound-proofed so nothing from outside could interrupt it.

"Right, my Lord," the banner man said, "remember this vox broadcast will be received by everyone within fifty thousand light-years. For the Emperor's sake, don't say anything weird."

"Dick, I'm the man every Chapter Master wants to be, I could tell them the Eye of Terror is your mother's bumhole and they'd lap it up. This will be two minutes of vintage Calgar... oh no."

"What?"

"Oh nooooo!"

"What?!"

GUUUNNNNNNNGGGGGLLLLLL! said the Master of Ultramar's guts. Calgar's eyes met Dick's. Sweat broke out across the Chapter Master's forehead.

"Oh no," Bannerman said. "Please, not now, my Lord. Half the fething Imperium is about to tune into your suit vox."

The force with which Calgar ripped arse nearly tore the Chapter Master in two.

"Sod the Imperium, the end times are coming!"

"But you're the Spiritual Liege – "

Calgar grabbed him and dragged him so they were nose to nose.

"Dick, the Spiritual Liege is gonna make Krakatoa look like a roman candle! Fething gangway!" Calgar threw his banner man aside in his race for an ablution room – any ablution room.

"Sir, you go live in five seconds!"

"THEN PLAY SOME FETHING MUSIC OR SOMETHING!" Calgar screamed. Gasping and whimpering, he smashed through the wall of an ablutions chamber, yanked his pants down, and when he sat, his feet didn't touch the floor for two horrifying minutes.

=|U|=

Thousands of Ultramar PDF troopers and millions of citizens assembled on Macragge's Elysium Fields. Massive devotional screens surrounded them, each displaying a glorious portrait of Marneus Calgar's stern and unsmiling face.

"Attention citizens!" a recorded message roared through massive speakers. "Blessings be upon us all. The Lord Calgar speaks!"

Cheers and applause started, but died away quickly.

"Dick!" Calgar bellowed, voice echoing for hundreds of miles. "Dick! I want Dick! I'm pissing out of my arse, I need something to plug it. Oh feth, IT'S GLOWING! Why is it glowing? I didn't eat anything bright yellow!" A vile wet sound underscored his voice. "God-Emperor, it smells like Mortarion's vest, I can't breathe! Aargh, my armour's melting!"

Bannerman's voice could be distantly heard: "Sir, show some decorum!"

"Show some decorum? I'm clenched with the force of collapsing stars and my soul's still flying out of my arse, you show some fething decorum! Get in here and help your Chapter Master!"

"Shut up my Lord, the people can hear every pigging word... Guilliman's gonads, you dirty bastard! How did you get it all the way up there?"

"Never mind that, I'm dying here! Get an apothecary! Get a priest! Get fething Fabius Bile, I don't care – no, don't go, please hold my hand!"

"I'm sorry sir, I need to go outside for a minute, my lungs are bleeding."

"Feth! Here comes round two! Now I know why the Death Guard turned to Nurgle!"

A loud series of thuds came across the vox as Bannerman and the entire Ultramarine Honour Guard bashed their heads against walls. If the audience thought the Christmas broadcast of 998.M41 couldn't get any more horrifying, they were wrong. There was a commotion on the line and tech-marine Nerdingham's voice rang out:

"Due to... some circumstances, here's a bit of music."

Milo began to play Do You Hear What I Hear by Bing Crosby on his Tanith bag-pipes.

End of Part 1

The sledge looked sized for one of Santa's elves. It was made of shiny red plastic. There were no engines or weapons.
"Perfect?" Calgar snorted. "You couldn't fit Kevin McCallister in that! How are four of us going to get in?"
"You didn't give me enough points to buy anything proper. I had to get what I could afford."
"You fething wally, it isn't even blue." Calgar inspected the tag which was still attached. "Fun for children aged two to six."
"Milo does have a point, my Lord," said Dick. "When I suggested that we're meant to be the most balanced Chapter and should allocate our spending for all contingencies, you said and I quote 'If I want to hear the raving of a leftist commie, I'll watch BBC News'."

Last edited by NoPoet; 11-23-19 at 01:00 PM. Reason: Added The Nameless One to the Word Bearers Kill-team.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-20-19, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Part 2


Half an hour passed before Calgar had the strength to stand, white-faced, on shaking legs. Dick Bannerman and Apothecary Mender had pulled their breastplates up to cover their mouths and noses. The stoic men of the honour guard had fixed helmets in place. Milo was nowhere to be seen,but could unfortunately still be heard playing Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea.

Dick helped Calgar back into the kitchen where the Chapter Master sat on a stool, looking withered.

"Rest here for a while," Mender said.

"That's good," Calgar said.

"Don't worry, my Lord," Dick said, "we told the High Lords of Terra that the Word Bearers hijacked your transmission. We think there's less than a fifty per cent chance of you being excommunicated."

"That's good."

"Sir, are you all right?" Dick clicked his fingers in front of Calgar's eyes.

"That's good."

"He lost 90% of his body fluid," Mender said, "and the process of purging the Tyranid toxin has ravaged his system, but he'll survive. Just make sure he doesn't receive any sudden shocks."

"He's got two hearts, he can't die of a heart attack."

"That's not what I mean. Let's put it this way, what he just broadcast to the cosmos, you'll be getting a private encore. I've fitted him with an adult nappy to be on the safe side." (Nappy = Diaper)

"Feth," saidDick.

Mender handed Dick several spare nappies just in case. They all looked at Calgar while the horrible sound of Tanith pipes wailed across the vox.

"Right, everyone out," Dick said, motioning the honour guard to leave the room. "Let's give Lord Calgar some peace." Soon only Bannerman, Mender and Calgar were left.

"Buh buh buh,"Calgar started saying to himself. "Buh buh buh buh."

"He's been doing that on and off," Mender said. "He shuts up if you throw grapes at him."

"Now come on, my Lord," Bannerman told Calgar, "I didn't spend ten minutes wiping your bottom for your brain to prolapse too. Let's try to regain some of our dignity."

The banner bearerpaused, listening to a distant sound.

"Mender, what's that?"

"It's hard to hear anything over Milo strangling cats. What noise?"

"Like a crackling. No, a scratching."

"Scratching?" Mender listened hard. He could hear it too. "Sounds like digging."

"Now why would anyone be digging around here?" Dick said. "The rock of Macragge is nearly as hard as adamantium."

"Who cares, let's get some eggnog."

"Good idea, Apothecary. I've got some Viscounts in the – " Dick paused, looking at the fridge's open padlock.

The distant scratching sound woke Calgar from his catatonia. He got down on hands and knees, moving awkwardly in the unfamiliar nappy, and put an ear to the ground. A hand punched through the floor. Calgar stared at it in stupefaction. Then the hand withdrew. He heard the distinctive whine of a lasgun charging up.

Nessa Bourah exploded from the ground in her Tyranid mask, shrieking at the top of her lungs, firing this way and that with her shot-shot sniper rifle. The kitchen became a scene of pandemonium.

Calgar screamed like a little girl; a protracted splash accompanied his scream as the Master of Ultramar soiled himself in a pyroclastic flow, ending the forlorn hope that this year's Christmas special might suddenly turn classy. Bannerman leapt across the kitchen with transhuman speed, catching Calgar in the act of violently filling his nappy, and they landed face-first in the pile of vomit that no-one had cleaned up. A las-round stabbed through the banner man's shoulder pauldron. Dick cried out in agony.

"She's gone Christmas crackers," Mender growled, hiding behind the kitchen counter. "Hit me from here you treacherous grox-cow!"

Bourah swung round and fired her rifle at a pot hanging above the counter; the beam reflected from it, again off a metal cupboard door behind her head, then off the toaster, then off a tap, where it went diagonally downward into Mender's back. The apothecary sprawled forward and knocked himself out on the counter.

Bourah turned her gun on the cowering Ultramarines next to her. She didn't seem to know who to shoot first. Finally she aimed at Dick and pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened.

She checked the rifle's charge counter. It was empty. Bourah discarded the rifle and pulled two laspistols from her belt.

"Come on, sir!" Dick yelled. He tried to get up but slipped in Calgar's vomit, taking the Chapter Master back down with him.

"Dick!" Calgar whimpered. "I've pooed myself again!"

The banner man dragged Calgar up and they stumbled for the door. Las-fire flared against their armour and into the doorframe. Dick's legs and left buttock were pimpled with burning energy. If the same thing happened to Calgar the whole base might go up. Dick hit the door control as they left and an armoured bulkhead descended from the ceiling, blocking Nessa's shots and giving the Ultras some time. There was an armaglass porthole in the door. Dick slammed his middle finger against it, then propelled his Chapter Master down the corridor.

"Where are we going?" Calgar said.

"Anywhere but here!"

"You saved me, Dick. Is there anything you want as a reward?"

"Yes, I want you to get through one of these fething stories without messing yourself."

The corridors were weirdly empty. Where were the honour guard? Milo's pipes still wailed across the general vox. They reached a staggered junction: a staircase was ahead on the right, and doors along the corridor walls led to store rooms.

"We can hide in here," Dick said, dragging Calgar through a door in the right wall. "Nobody's been in here for years."

The room was shadowy. Old, broken Christmas trimmings were stored in boxes, and the weird shapes of training dummies rose from the gloom. The Ultramarines paused as Dick listened at the door. It was all quiet outside.

"Do you know who that was?" Dick whispered.

"Yes, it was Norman Bates."

"No it wasn't fething Norman Bates. It was Nessa!"

"Nessa? What's she shooting at me for, I'm supposed to be her fething boss!"

"Perhaps you shouldn't have put her in sole charge of ironing your undergarments, sir."

"Well after she's been in the nerve-glove, pain level 'Final Episode of Breaking Bad', she can report to the fething dentist."

"Those weren't her real teeth, sir, she was wearing a mask. Something terrible's happened to her."

"Just in time for bloody Home Alone 2," Calgar said. "Milo's backside depends on me watching that film. It's been so long since we last saw it, Macauley Culkin has grown up, done drugs and turned into an albino gretchin."

=|U|=

When Nessa Bourah's spade had broken, she had used the butt of her rifle to break rock; when the rifle threatened to break apart, she used her hands... and her teeth.


Dispatching Calgar's whelps was easy for her. She simply distorted time and space with evasive movements that would have had Jain Zarr standing open-mouthed, and rolled a 6 for every To Hit and To Wound with her pistols.

Only a few battle-brothers of the 1st Company Honour Guard remained within Smurf HQ. The rest had disappeared without trace. The few surviving brothers were brave enough to engage a female Tanith despite knowing how inadequate Space Marines were against such quality light infantry. Their bolters roared, but the shells simply creased her webbing, or were turned aside to explode in the walls by her metal Tanith badge.

Bourah took the Ultras down with precise shots to eye-lenses and weak points in their throats. Not even Britain's DWP could have found the Ultras fit for work after she had finished with them.

=|U|=

"She's in," Brother-Initiate Tossin said, peering at Ultramarine HQ through his magnoculars. The Word Bearers watched in silence at the exchange of bolter flares and las-fire. "Her plot armour is holding."

"Magnificent,"Amalgama said. "I will summon the Legion. Get ready brothers, soon we shall have Calgar's head on a spike."

The four Word Bearers rose. Snow fell from their armour. Across the surface of Macragge, dozens of other Word Bearer kill-teams did the same.

=|U|=

As she tracked the blundering Ultras through their own fortress, an idea came to Nessa Bourah. This would be much more fun in the dark. Of course, Space Marines could see in the dark far more clearly than any ordinary human, but Nessa had joined the Tanith First-and-Only, the one regiment to escape a doomed world, and when battle was joined the Tanith did one thing better than anyone else: they knew how to hide. Not from cowardice or self-preservation, but because they were natural infiltrators, masters of misdirection, and her camo-cloak would mask her from the Ultramarines long enough to slit their throats while they were still expecting a firefight.

Bourah broke into the enginarium, killed several mindless servitors, and flipped the main fuse, leaving a little surprise for anyone who tried to flip it back. Smurf HQ was powerless. Smurf HQ went dark. Bourah smiled to herself as she wiped blood from her straight silver combat knife. She was ten minutes away from decking the halls with Calgar's guts. But first, Dick Bannerman had to go. Bourah set off in pursuit of the Barmy Army heroes. Even Karanak's victims were less doomed than the podgy, irritating Master of Ultramar.

End of Part 2

The sledge looked sized for one of Santa's elves. It was made of shiny red plastic. There were no engines or weapons.
"Perfect?" Calgar snorted. "You couldn't fit Kevin McCallister in that! How are four of us going to get in?"
"You didn't give me enough points to buy anything proper. I had to get what I could afford."
"You fething wally, it isn't even blue." Calgar inspected the tag which was still attached. "Fun for children aged two to six."
"Milo does have a point, my Lord," said Dick. "When I suggested that we're meant to be the most balanced Chapter and should allocate our spending for all contingencies, you said and I quote 'If I want to hear the raving of a leftist commie, I'll watch BBC News'."

Last edited by NoPoet; 11-20-19 at 07:54 PM. Reason: This fething forum messes up all the formatting when copying and pasting
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-24-19, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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Author's note: I've edited this part to make it shorter.

Part 3

Amalgama's kill-team were the first to reach Smurf HQ's perimeter. No-one had noticed them yet; the Ultramarine guards were either on the lookout for an enemy within, or had fallen victim to Nessa Bourah's traps. The Third Chaplain held up a fist. Hold position. His men froze, no pun intended. Amalgama turned to The Nameless One.

The kill-team's fourth and quietest member was the only one not carrying a gun. Instead, both of his arms ended in blades of bone that could chop through power armour. His battle-helm was blank except for an eight-pointed star where his face should be, and a single horn jutted from his forehead as a sign of newfound favour with the Plague God. The Nameless One would infect Ultramar with one of Nurgle's most contagious gifts: fear.

He strode boldly to the perimeter wall and stood with his arms crossed over his chest. The dark prayer that spewed from his mouth – the first time he had spoken for months – was like the droning of a million flies. While Nessa had already cut power within the base, its security devices operated on a different circuit. The Nameless One prayed for assistance, and Nurgle, always up for a laugh, was listening that night.

=|U|=

"Quickly sir, hide!" Dick hissed. He'd been listening at the door and heard approaching footsteps, too light to be an Ultramarine, too stealthy to have been a friend. When Bannerman turned around, Calgar had already disappeared, although a nasty whiff of farts lingered. Bannerman took up position in a far corner, decorated himself with old tinsel, balanced a star on his head and dangled baubles from his fingers, then closed his eyes and pretended to be a tree.

Despite the base being on a blackout, the comms system had its own power supply and Milo's fething pipes blared across the vox. He was doing a crap rendition of Kenny G's My Favourite Things, which in Dick's opinion wasn't even a Christmas song.

The door creaked slowly open. Dick was rigid. Someone came into the room. Dick already knew it was Nessa. The sound of her breathing was exaggerated by the Tyranid's head she wore as a mask. She stayed there for an agonising minute, then backed out and shut the door. Dick felt like he'd found a tenner.

"Is she gone?"Calgar said. His voice came from a box overflowing with old decorations.

"Yes, my Lord, for now."

Calgar popped up like a jack-in-the box with tinsel wrapped around him. Bannerman looked at the nearly nine-foot tall Calgar, then the two-foot tall box he was standing in.

"Sir, how did you fit in there?"

"By ways known only to men gifted in the sprout department, if you know what I mean."

"I hope not, sir."

"Why's Nessa trying to kill me?" Calgar said as he climbed out of the box. "Is she on the blob?"

"I think she's been corrupted by Chaos, sir, which means Macragge is under attack again. You'd better wait here while I check around." Dick paused. "Listen sir, I was going to give you this as one of your Christmas presents, but I think you should keep it on you to clear the air, so to speak."

He picked a bathbomb out of his belt pouch and handed it to Calgar. It looked exactly like a Christmas pudding and gave off a lovely aroma that almost masked the stench of excrement.

"Cheers, Dick," Calgar said.

Bannerman opened the door as quietly as possible and slipped out.

"Eurgh!"Calgar said after taking a bite out of the bathbomb.

=|U|=

Calgar followed Dick into the corridor. Bourah was nowhere to be seen. The Ultras crept to the bottom of the stairs and looked up into darkness. Milo continued to rape their ears across the vox. Now he was trying to play the music from Home Alone 2 where Harry and Marv were sneaking around the house.

"How ironic," Dick muttered. "You soiled yourself but Milo's the one hitting the brown note."

"Yeah, you could say I hit the bum note," said Calgar. "It's really dark in here." He looked around and spotted a hanging light bulb with a chain next to it.

"Hmm," he said, "I've never noticed this before. I'd better pull it."

"SIR, DON'T!"

A trapdoor opened beneath Dick. He ran in the air for a few seconds then disappeared down the hole.

"Lorgar's log!"Calgar cried. He got on hands and knees and peered down. "Please don't be dead, you know I can't organise Christmas dinners on my own."

Dick wasn't dead. He'd braced his arms and legs against the sides of the tunnel and was jammed halfway down. A carpet of Tyranid Rippers writhed at the bottom, all of them looking up and hissing.

"Sir, be very careful," Dick called up. "Looks like Nessa set booby traps."

"That explains why the light hasn't come on," said Calgar. "Don't worry Number Two, I'll get you out of there. I've got a grappling hook in my belt."

"I think it would be safer if – ow."

As Calgar leaned further over the pit, things had begun to fall out of pouches in his armour. At first a single M&M hit Dick between the eyes. Then dozens of them rained down, all bouncing off his head. As Calgar struggled to remove the grappler from his belt, his motions shook a frag grenade loose. It cracked off the top of Dick's skull. Even as the banner man roared in pain, a second grenade landed in his mouth. A pack of Polo mints broke his nose. Then a bottle of Lucozade began to work loose from Calgar's pocket. The motions caused its top to gradually unscrew and fall off; it missed Dick's face by millimetres,but the curtain of Lucozade didn't. A 5 Bolter : Porn gift card fluttered by.

"Oh no, your Christmas present!" said Calgar as the card twirled into a Ripper's mouth. "Lucky I used it last night. Right, I'm ready."He stood up and began to twirl the grappler by its chain. "Ladies and gents, here comes a level of skill you never saw on Batman."

The grappling hook clanged off Dick's forehead. The standard bearer's roar of agony was muffled by the grenade in his mouth; he spat it out.

"Sorry," said Calgar. "Just trying to find my range."

"Well you found my prefrontal cortex. Don't worry sir, I wasn't using it."

"Dick, there are nagging old fishwives who finish talking before you. Gladiators, ready!"

Dick flinched, but Calgar's second throw didn't just miss, he threw the grappler and its entire chain into the pit.

"Oh," said Calgar. "I haven't got another one of those."

"You didn't haveto chuck it at me sir, you could have just lowered it! Please, get Nerdingham!"

"Nonsense, I'm the Chapter Master, I answer to no-one." He began to climb into the hole, pausing only to do a bad impression of Kurt Russell: "You go, we go!"

"Sir, we'll both end up fething going. Get Nerdingham!"

"Eh?" said Calgar, looking down. "Stop putting me off. My PE teacher said I was the worst climber ever to disgrace the Macragge School For Boys. This could get hairy."

"Sir. Please. Get the Techmarine."

"Don't worry, I'm pretty sure I've learned something in the last two hundred YEEEARGH!"

Calgar came down the tunnel. His shriek of terror was several octaves higher than anyone could reasonably expect from a man. Bannerman, seeing his overweight Liege coming towards him at terminal velocity, gave a splendid example of the Wilhelm scream. The Chapter Master slammed into him; they went so far down the tunnel, cursing and yelling, that the Rippers were snapping at Dick's feet. Calgar was effectively sitting on his banner man's shoulders.

"Dick, save me, I'm the lynchpin of the cosmos!"

The standard bearer tried to climb. To call it arduous would be like describing Smokey and the Bandit as "a bit badass".

"How do we get into these ridiculous situations?" Calgar moaned.

"God-Emperor help me," Dick cried, words muffled by the crushing effect of Calgar's thighs around his face. He could hear the Chapter Master's trousers squelching.

"Come on you wimp, get climbing. It's only... what... three thousand feet. My mum could do it in ten minutes."

"Sir, that's not fair, your mother was the Macragge women's shot-putting champion," Dick said. "And the men's, come to think of it."

He managed to climb almost ten feet.


"Get a move on," Calgar said. "It would be nice to rejoin our Chapter before the end of the universe."

"By the Primarch, this makes the Tunnel of Terror look like a picnic with Jennifer Lawrence."

The next two hours seemed to last longer than the Horus Heresy. Not only did it require all Bannerman's strength and concentration to get them back up, the sheer hum emanating from Calgar's trousers was worse than any torture Urien Rakarth could come up with.

I've incurred the wrath of the Horrible Christmas Fairy, Dick thought.

"Come on Ebeneezer," Calgar said, pulling Dick's short hair, "we're nearly there. Don't give up now, think of Christmas!"

"I am, it's the only thing stopping me from letting go. Please stop swinging your legs, I can't see."

"I think that's for the best," said Calgar.

Dick muttered foul imprecations under his breath and continued to climb.

=|U|=

Milo ceased playing when Chaplain Derrick and two Company Commanders came to him, grim-faced.

"We've got good news and bad news, young Tanith," Derrick growled. "Lord Calgar is missing, presumed killed in the traitor's attack."

"Wow, what's the bad news?"

"That was the bad news, fool. The good news is that the traitors appear to have played their hand. Every security monitor in the building went dark for sixty-seven seconds. If the filthy traitors have launched their attack, we can get some redeeming done, but we must be smart. What terrible crime against mankind can happen in just sixty-seven seconds?"

They thought for a moment.

"Scouting for Girls could write an album," said Milo. The Ultramarines made the sign of the aquila.

"We'll discuss your knowledge of vile heretics later," said Derrick. "Until then, we mustn't let the foul enemy scum know we're onto them. So play your pipes, Milo. Play them like you've never played them before! And for feth's sake, don't play Scouting for Girls."

=|U|=

Calgar and Bannerman collapsed in the corridor, exhausted.

"We never, ever speak of this," Dick said.

"Hey, boys," Nessa called from upstairs. "Come and get me you fat, flaccid, rancid grox's arse!"

"Sir, she called you a fat, flaccid – "

"Despite Milo's best efforts, I'm not fething deaf mate. Get her!"

They started up the stairs, then Dick paused.

"Why have you stopped?"

"Sir, don't you remember what happened in the Home Alone films?"

"No," said Calgar.

"Hell's teeth. Watch this." Dick stamped as if he were running upstairs. An Ultramarine helmet on a string swung down from above, narrowly missing our heroes. Dick grabbed the helmet as it came back towards them. Someone's head was in it.

"Ouch!" said Dick. "That's done it for me, sir, I'm all but unconscious."

"Don't worry," Calgar said, catching on, "I'll execute the little cow." He stamped too. Another helmet flew down; he caught it easily.

"Right in the perineum," he said. "Oh no Dick, I think I might be dead."

They waited a moment, then Calgar started upstairs.

"Sir, wait!"

A dreadnought's powerfist came down. It smashed Calgar directly in the face. Blood and teeth were scattered. Calgar flew downstairs and disappeared back down the hole they'd just climbed out of.

"Feth," said Dick, looking at the hole, "not again." As he spoke, the top half of the dreadnought swung down behind him. Bannerman followed his glorious leader.

It was not to be a merry Christmas.

=|U|=

The Word Bearers were inside Smurf HQ. Plague flies crawled over defensive gun turrets and security cameras. Small arms fire chattered as Astartes fought traitor Astartes. The attack became more serious every second.

Amalgama sang prayers to evil gods as he led the attack. The Ultramarines would finally be defeated and the spirit of Christmas destroyed. The Keeper of Secrets they'd summoned reared behind them. Bolter rounds glanced off its marble hide.

"Take this you fething Smurf!" the Chaplain roared, smashing an Ultramarine sergeant over the head with his crozius. "Macragge is ours at last!"

End of Part 3

The sledge looked sized for one of Santa's elves. It was made of shiny red plastic. There were no engines or weapons.
"Perfect?" Calgar snorted. "You couldn't fit Kevin McCallister in that! How are four of us going to get in?"
"You didn't give me enough points to buy anything proper. I had to get what I could afford."
"You fething wally, it isn't even blue." Calgar inspected the tag which was still attached. "Fun for children aged two to six."
"Milo does have a point, my Lord," said Dick. "When I suggested that we're meant to be the most balanced Chapter and should allocate our spending for all contingencies, you said and I quote 'If I want to hear the raving of a leftist commie, I'll watch BBC News'."

Last edited by NoPoet; 11-24-19 at 11:04 PM. Reason: Hideous formatting issues, apparently a forum issue? Every single sentence has words jammed together.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-27-19, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Part 4


All good things must come to an end, and so did the peace over the airwaves: Milo's atrocious music started up again. This time he was ruining Merry Christmas Darling by The Carpenters.


"That fething wally-brain!" Calgar moaned. "How is he making me hate my favourite song?" The master of Smurfs strained to climb the shaft, burdened by Dick Bannerman sitting on his shoulders.


"Come on, sir, keep up," Bannerman said, holding onto Calgar's ears as if they were the Chapter Master's reins.

"Stop pulling my tabs you fething gimp! I'm gonna shoot Milo after this, we could have called for help if he wasn't blocking the channels."


"Now now sir, you answer to nobody," said Dick. "Ungh!"


"What's that funny warm feeling on my neck?"


"Sorry sir," Dick grinned, "it just sneaked out. Must have been all those Viscounts."


=|U|=


Calgar and Bannerman emerged from the hole like a weird trapdoor spider with bad breath. Milo was halfway through I Believe in Father Christmas by Greg Lake.


"Uh, sir," Dick said.


"He's fething dead," Calgar said as he got to his feet and dusted himself down. "He knows I hate this one – he's playing it louder on purpose."


"Sir," said Dick.


"What?" Calgar snapped. He looked up.


A Keeper of Secrets stood before them. It was the classic bull-headed monstrosity with four arms and muscles like Arnie's in Predator. A shimmering, glowing perfume misted around it, more colourful than an LGBTQ march. The smell was agonising, like long-forgotten pleasures of childhood, with an undertone of piss. The daemon of Slaanesh flexed two fists and two crab-claws. It was breathing heavily, lusting to wreak harm upon the leaders of the Ultramarines. Four Word Bearers – Amalgama's kill-team – formed a semicircle behind it.


A bubbling sound came from Calgar's trousers.


"The mighty Lord Calgar makes an offering to Nurgle!" sneered the Third Chaplain. "Did you fall asleep in your dinner, perchance?"


Calgar and Bannerman looked down at themselves: Calgar still had figgy pudding all over him, not to mention blood in his mouth. Both Ultras wore vomit stains on their armour.


"It seems our loyalist cousins have enjoyed a party!" Amalgama said. "By all means, Calgar, let us dance!"


The daemon stepped forward. It was fething Hammertime.


=|U|=


The entire Ultramarine Chapter was embroiled in hand-to-hand fighting. A dreadnought wearing a large Santa hat kicked a female Daemonette in the balls, then swung an uppercut at a Word Bearers Apostle, sending him flying over the hills. A Fiend of Slaanesh leapt onto the dreadnought's back and began repeatedly stabbing him with its scorpion tail. The Ultramarine pilot began to laugh with a weird hysterical glee, screaming "It tickles!"


Possessed Word Bearers rampaged through PDF squads; two Ultramarine tactical squads roared into the fray, allowing the PDF troopers time to withdraw, but the daemonic traitors began tearing heads from shoulders and limbs from bodies.


"Ten thousand years of hate!" the Word Bearers hissed. "The sun has set!"


Bubax, Great Unclean of Nurgle, came under intense fire from Ultramarine veterans wearing gun-suits; the daemon of Nurgle laughed with glee, appreciating the ferocity of its foes, even as it directed swarms of Beasts and Plaguebearers against them. One particularly brave Ultramarine hero drew his power sword and hacked his way through the daemons, raising his sword in ironic salute before leaping to attack. Bubax chortled with delight and swatted the Space Marine aside.


Hundreds of PDF troopers, most of them dressed like Elves – for tonight had indeed been their Christmas party – held the line against traitor Astartes and daemons, earning no glory despite their staggering heroism. Concentrated laser fire melted power armour around its occupants. Word Bearers died screaming and cursing. More daemons of Slaanesh and Nurgle were forming in the air. The thin blue line began to buckle.


Worst of all, Milo's fething bagpipes wailed like the screaming of the damned.


=|U|=


A typical member of the Adeptus Astartes was invincible by mortal standards. They were no longer purely human, but something approaching superhuman: man plus. For millennia, humans had modified the things they built. Land-cars became more powerful and aggressive, computers became faster and more intelligent. A Space Marine was a man taken to the extreme, every single biological system perfected, the pinnacle of homo sapiens. ASpace Marine was a match, one-on-one, for most enemies he could encounter.


All this went through Dick's mind as he landed on top of Calgar. The Ultramarines were face to face in a weirdly intimate pose; they stared at one another, trying to work out what had happened. Dick rolled off his Liege and stared up. The Keeper of Secrets was there, looking down at them with jewelled eyes, breathing heavily not from exertion but enjoyment.


"Oh feth," Dick said.


The daemon grabbed his foot and began to swing him round and round before launching him down the corridor, barely missing the watching Word Bearers.


"That's my best friend!" Calgar snarled, leaping on the daemon's back."God-Emperor, you smell good, is that Lynx Africa?"


The daemon brayed and threw him off. As Calgar scrambled to his feet, it kicked him up the arse with a loud splash.


"Ooh!" Calgar said, grabbing his butt.


The daemon moved towards him. Calgar slapped its face. It stared as if unable to believe his temerity.


"Act like a bitch, get a bitch-slap," said Calgar. Then he kneed the creature in its considerable nuts. It staggered, wide-eyed, with a very audible "OOF!" Calgar took the opportunity of head-butting it.


As the Keeper of Secrets staggered away, Calgar turned to face the Word Bearers.


"What the feth," Amalgama said to the daemon, "is that it?"


"There's only one type of pain Slaanesh can't stand," said Calgar, girding his loins. "Now, who else has been a bitch today?"


The Nameless One strode forwards, slowly scraping his blade-arms against one another.


=|U|=


Chaplain Derrick led a desperate defence of the base, falling back gradually to the vox-tower where Milo was playing Christmas songs. The Chaplain slammed the door behind him and pressed up against it. It bulged as dozens of Plaguebearers tried to batter their way through. Their chanting could lull a man into heresy, yet somehow it was still preferable to the wretched noise of Tanith bagpipes.


"Young Tanith, quickly!" Derrick said, "we are losing the battle. You must do something to debilitate our foes. What is the worst, most terrible abomination of a Christmas song you know?"


Milo didn't have to think for long. He began to play the music of the apocalypse.


=|U|=


Calgar struck the Umwylly-wil pose; it was an ancient Tanith martial arts stance which unfortunately made the bearer look like they had problems, but which had never been defeated in combat.


The Nameless One threw himself forward. His blade-arms uncrossed in the air, a move that would have sliced any other man into quarters, but for once Calgar had remembered that he was supposed to be a badass. He caught the blades and snapped them. The Nameless One stumbled backwards, looking at the stumps.


"From claws to paws," Calgar said, quoting perhaps the stupidest line He-Man ever said.


Black blood jetted from the Nameless One's wounds. The blood formed into thin ropes which lashed out to grab Calgar. Papa Smurf flexed his weetabix-enhanced body, snapping the ropes. Flies began to pour from the middle of the Nameless One's visor.


"So you're in need of a name, eh?" said Calgar. "Well I name thee Ponce." Calgar put his right thumb in his mouth and blew hard. His gauntlet inflated to three times its usual size. He punched the Nameless One in the throat with the force of a hundred monsoons. The traitor disappeared into the distance, crashing through every wall and bulkhead door, emerging fifty feet above the warring factions in the courtyard outside before exploding like a seasonal firework.


Amalgama felt fear for the first time in ages. He and his men all but cringed before the resplendent Calgar.


"Everyone's starting to look like a bitch around here!" said the Master of Macragge.


Amalgama removed a sacred book from his belt.


"This," he said, "is the Book of Lorgar. My daemon Primarch, in his transcendental wisdom, has been writing it for ten thousand years."


"It must be longer than a Stephen King novel," said Calgar.


Amalgama began to read a prayer of summoning. A call directly to the Chaos Gods themselves. He beseeched them to possess his body and bring ruin to Ultramar. Shimmering, perfumed light began to surround him.


Milo's new song started up. Amalgama's glowing aura turned sour; immaterial voices began to scream. So did every Word Bearer in the compound. And then so too did the Ultramarines.


"God-Emperor save me!" Calgar shrieked, rolling around and clutching his bleeding ears. "My mind's doing an impression of my colon!"


Dick lay badly wounded, and had watched Calgar's magnificence in awe. As Milo's pipe-playing began to destroy his soul, the loyal banner bearer commended himself and his liege to the Emperor.


"Amalgama to Bourah!" the Third Chaplain gasped, his words carried by daemons. "Find the pipe-player and destroy him! Destroy him now, or all is lost!"


=|U|=


Bourah, of course, could not be affected by the dreadful song, for she was deaf. Amalgama's transmission was relayed to her by daemons tapping a series of pulses along her left forearm. She had been pouring explosive fluid into Calgar's personal lavatory. She dropped the cannister and took up her sniper rifle. Brin Milo had played his swansong.


=|U|=


Chaplain Derrick could hold the door against the Plagubearers, but even he could not prevail against a Tanith long-las. Shots punched through the bulkhead and stabbed him through the shoulder, then his left kidney. The door smashed open as Bourah booted it with all her Tanith might. Derrick sprawled on the floor.


Milo froze; he was only halfway through his rendition of David Bowie's The Little DrummerBoy.


Nessa stepped towards him. She dropped her rifle and drew a combat blade.


"I bet you wish you'd read that book on foreplay now," she snarled. "Oh well, maybe I'll meet someone at your funeral."


Milo was scared of the knife, but he was terrified by the depthless hatred in Bourah's eyes. The Word Bearers had really done a number on her.


Chaplain Derrick rose from behind the corrupted sniper.


"I exorcise you!" he yelled, whacking her over the head with his crozius arcanum.


=|U|=


The Imperials recovered quicker than their adversaries. Marneus Calgar and his wounded bannerman led the counter-attack. Amalgama and his Word Bearers were forced into a defensive circle in the courtyard. The sky crackled with multi-coloured lightning.


"You're too late, Ultramuppets!" Amalgama chortled. "This whole world is about to get blessed!"


"What do you think, Dick?" said Calgar.


"I think it's been nice knowing you, sir."


"Smurfs!" Calgar yelled. "I mean brothers! Let's give the Gods of Chaos a present they'll never forget!"


=|U|=


"Play, Milo," Derrick wheezed. He slumped against a wall, body struggling to heal itself. "Play one last song."


Milo looked from the Chaplain to the unconscious Nessa. He put his bagpipes to his lips and began to play Michael Ball's version of A Winter's Tale.


=|U|=


Something began to happen in the sky over Macragge. The echoing laughter of dark gods began to fade. A shaft of brilliant blue-white light beamed down out of nowhere. There was something in the light, travelling down the beam like a gift from the Emperor.


"It's an angel," Dick gasped.


"Better than that," Calgar said. His eyes were wet with tears. "It's him!"


Loyalist and traitor alike gasped before the magnificence of Michael Ball. He dangled in the air where all could see him. A beautiful, good-natured smile graced the Englishman's face as he began to sing:


"The nights are colder now
Maybe I should close the door
And anyway the snow has covered all your footsteps
And I can follow you no more..."


"He's doing A Winter's Tale!" Calgar almost screamed. There was a loud DONG! as his guts distended in a hernia which some might describe as an emotional boner.


"It was only a winter's tale
Just another winter's tale
And why should the world take notice
Of one more love that's failed..."


The moment was a bit ruined by the sheer crapness of Milo's accompaniment, but that didn't stop the daemonic legions from shrieking in agony and winking from existence. The Word Bearers fell to their knees. The sight of a whole Legion overcome by Michael Ball's gorgeous voice was humbling. The Word Bearers wept with joy even as a transformation came across them. Their crimson armour changed to a brighter, more seasonal red, trimmed with brilliant white. Their mutations shrank back into their bodies and healed over. The grinning skull they used as a Legion badge changed to a smiling Santa face.


"What... what is happening to us?" Amalgama gasped. "I feel a strange cheer, and the urge to decorate my house with large wooden British soldiers."


With those inspiring words, the Gift Bearers were born.


=|U|=


"Thank you, thank you," Calgar gibbered, shaking Michael Ball's hand too much. The good-natured singer smiled as he tried to maintain a distance from the stinking Chapter Master.


"I'm just grateful for this chance to promote my new album, available now," said Mr Ball.


"I love you," said Calgar.


=|U|=


It took quite a while to sort things out. The Gift Bearers needed lodgings and, to Calgar's dismay, a great deal of vintage champagne.


When things quietened down, Calgar, Bannerman, Derrick and the Chapter Commanders sat in Calgar's private office. The Chapter Master was reviewing a data-slate.


"Well," he said, "there's only one thing in the whole universe that's better than meeting Michael Ball: we finally, finally get to watch Home Alone bleeding 2."


"Sir, don't you know?" Dick said, subtly shying away. "Milo burned out our long-range comm channels. We can't receive any transmissions. There's no way we can watch Home Alone 2 this year."


Calgar didn't say or do anything for a minute. He was beyond anger, beyond rage, beyond the state Angry Marines get into when they remember furry porn exists. He scrunched up the data-slate and threw it on the floor, then got up and kicked his chair over. He punched the door off its hinges and went into the corridor out of sight.

“FIFTEEN YEARS AND NOW WE GET THIS SODDING CHAOS CRAP!” he yelled. Armaglass windows shook at the fury in his voice. Then silence descended.

“Is he crying?” whispered Derrick. The Chapter elite stared at the doorway.

“EVERYONE CAN FETH OFF!” Calgar bellowed. “NOW I'LL NEVER GET TO SEE TIM CURRY! NEVER!”


Several doors slammed as the Chapter Master wandered around looking for something to kick up the arse. The sheer awkwardness among the other Ultramarines was horrible to behold. After a few minutes, Third Chaplain Amalgama came into the room.


"I bring tidings from my brothers," he said. "We wanted to know if we could... where's Lord Calgar?"


“Candles in the...sniff...window,” a pathetic voice drifted down the hallway. “Shadows painting the ceiling...”

“He is having a breakdown at the moment,” said Dick. “Can we help?”


"Yes," Amalgama said with considerable aplomb. "We wanted to know if we could compete in next year's Christmas Sledge Race."


"NO TURTLEDOVES THIS CHRISTMAS!” Calgar yelled.


"Ahem," said Amalgama. "I should come back."


"That's probably best," said Dick.


A few minutes after the Third Chaplain had gone, Calgar stormed into the room. A terrifying, furious calm had come over him.


"Find Brin Milo," he said, "and ready my Land Raider. We're doing to him what the Conservative Party once did to Britain."


=|U|=


"Sir, sir!" Milo squeaked. He was bent over one of those wooden horse-like things they use in gymnastics events. "The servitors haven't applied the butter yet!"


"Mercy is not in the Ultramarine discography," Calgar replied. He revved the Land Raider's engine. "I hope your parents got you a colonoscopy for Christmas!"




MARNEUS CALGAR WILL RETURN

The sledge looked sized for one of Santa's elves. It was made of shiny red plastic. There were no engines or weapons.
"Perfect?" Calgar snorted. "You couldn't fit Kevin McCallister in that! How are four of us going to get in?"
"You didn't give me enough points to buy anything proper. I had to get what I could afford."
"You fething wally, it isn't even blue." Calgar inspected the tag which was still attached. "Fun for children aged two to six."
"Milo does have a point, my Lord," said Dick. "When I suggested that we're meant to be the most balanced Chapter and should allocate our spending for all contingencies, you said and I quote 'If I want to hear the raving of a leftist commie, I'll watch BBC News'."

Last edited by NoPoet; 11-27-19 at 08:06 PM.
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