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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-03-10, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
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Default Vengeance At Atripus - The return of the Knights Adamant.

Note: This is my first work in the 40k universe. I will do my best to keep things correct fluffwise. As such, any constructive criticism will be appreciated in regards to fluff. I won't take offense to any mistakes being pointed out that I make. The intro at first is vague by design, made to seem like a well told legend in the Imperium, but all details will be revealed as the story moves on. This will end up being a very long story, but it should be updated regularly.

I do not apologize if the beginning seems a bit bland. Understand this is necessary for establishing events down the road. There will be plenty of carnage. That I will promise you. I'm trying to leave it in 'bite size' segments that are easy for the casual reader to digest, yet still contain some gravity. More importantly, this is a way for me to experiment with my writing to assist me in my professional endeavors. It explains the fluff of my chapter while simultaneous delivering a stand alone story that you will hopefully enjoy.


M001: Introduction: Legend of The Lost Knights Adamant.


Long ago, a ferocious battle had been fought on a since forgotten world. A mighty chapter of the God Emperors Adeptus Astartes had just begun breathing the air of victory over a campaign against encroaching Eldar. Where the righteous fire of bolters echoed through now barren canyons, where silent marches of wraithguard once tracked through now serene forests and the anguish of the wounded cried to the unresponsive heavens.

It was a time of modest celebration for this chapter of marines. It was a time to honor the fallen. Hundreds of names were to be added to their fortress monasteries deepened crypts. Added amongst the thousands more that had previously made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of the chapter throughout its history.

But with this triumph over the foul xeno invader, a more subtle threat had arisen. One more sickening in its endeavor then a rival species simply attempting to destroy humanity. For even the Eldar, as any potent enemy should, had achieved respect within this chapter of honor. It was the threat of betrayal.

For this chapter had an ally. Committed to this campaign stood a second chapter of marines. One more younger and dangerously ambitious. It had been revealed late in the war that the Eldar had not simply intended to expand their territory, but that an ancient fortress had been hidden deep below the very world they fought upon. One of unimaginable power. A wealth of vaulted technology the Adeptus Mechanacus could digest for untold years for ways to better mankind.

Yet this young chapter had other goals in mind. Goals beyond the rightful deliverance of the bastion to the Imperium. This chapter had goals of selfish power. They intended to use it not only as a weapon against the enemies of mankind, but as a tool to assert dominance over their fellow man. War was inevitable.

The two chapters clashed where they stood. Massive warships orbiting above spat fire across the stars. Thunderhawks swarmed the smoke ridden skies. Marines engaged in terrible combat against their brothers on the ravaged surface below amongst the freshly lain dead of the Eldar. In just a single night, the battle that which had raged with legendary ferocity had culminated to the greatest single loss of Astartes life in the entire campaign. Both chapters were shattered, leaving only a handful of survivors under each banner by the time the two masters finally engaged each other. A duel to end the conflict once and for all.

This was the final fight of the Knights Adamant, virtuous chapter of Humanity, lead by Master Valfar of Olmgarde, against the traitorous Obsidian Rangers lead by a Master Mikael Rieger. The exact outcome of the battle is unknown, but when the Imperium lost contact with the two an Inquisitor was immediately sent since they had been notified of the alien technology hidden away. There, they found only a world marked by craters and glass. Other than the skeletal remains of starships and the occasional tank husk, the only sign of any human presence on the newly christened dead world was a single Knights Adamant chapter banner discovered erect within the largest of bombardment craters.

To this day it remains. Torn and ridden with bolter holes while the winds gently lap against its rugged fabric. Many chapters who had fought alongside the Knights Adamant in centuries past have come to to see the site as a holy relic in itself. A testament to the virtues of loyalty in the name of mankind that many journey to in order to pay respects to their fallen brethren. A small outpost orbits the planet to fend off those who would seek to disturb it, consisting of a modest marine honor guard on rotation from allies of old.

Many wonder what had happened to both chapters, but what was understood by transmission intercepts was that the Obsidian Rangers had indeed betrayed them. Some are so bold as to assert that the Knights of Adamant had fled Imperial space with their plundered technology, but these claims are readily dismissed. It is generally accepted that they ordered the world bombarded to prevent the technology from falling in to the wrong hands at all costs, even if it meant their destruction. Many still search for their hidden fortress monastery with little result, yet even with such vigor on the topic the passages of time have all but assured that these warriors will fade in to legend.

M002: Desolles of Atripus.

"...and so, Sire, we've completed the revisions to the lower hive quarter as per your specifications with 113% efficiency." The scribe shuffled closer to his master with a scroll case presented in his grip. Its polished ivory surface and golden trim gleamed under the evening sun bathing the terrace. "Here is a detailed report that requires your attention."

For a moment, the scribe remained still for the governor to relinquish the document from his hands. Yet the older man hardly seemed to even acknowledge his presence. Standing a bit taller, his master leaned on his ornamental staff of office while surveying the vast city surrounding the planetary palace. The light breezes brushed along his simple gray long coat which flowed dimly in stark contrast from the heavily jeweled staff in his grip.

"Sire?" He reminded his liege.

The governors chest slowly expanded before contracting inward to release a somewhat blissful exhalation before he finally turned to accept the item. "Very good, Aldo. I shall see to it as soon as I finish my evening walk. It is good to see such improvement on our world of Atripus, is it not?"

"Yes, Governor Desolles." A smile cracked over the scribes face while Desolles slid the scroll in to a satchel. "With the annexing of Idermire for use by the Adeptus Mechanicus last month it seems our system will soon be ranked as one of the finest in the Imperium."

"Indeed." The governor gestured a hand along the thin expanse of the terrace which circled the midsection of the governmental palace. "Come, let us walk. I think you could use the fresh air for a change instead of being cooped up in the administrative levels in the foundation. Enjoy the sunlight."

"Very gracious of you, Sire." Aldo leaped closer as Desolles started walking forward.

Unlike many worlds the scribe had heard of within the Imperium, Atripus was quite beautiful. Though on the verge of entering hive world status, the governors had done their best to make the world as appealing as possible to its citizens. Even if the effect was in truth only skin deep. Aldo had never ventured outside of the palace in his entire life aside from rare occasions to accompany the governor to ceremonies or whatnot. Sure, his life was easy enough. But every now and then he couldn't help but wonder what the outside world was really all about beyond the knot of budget forecasts, construction orders and district reports that made up his daily life.

Hundreds of spires rose upward from the planets surface well below the fortified palace. Many housed shrines, living quarters or factories that made life on Atripus possible. Dark rivers zig-zagged between them and twinkled under the sunny sky where shadows or bridges didn't block out the light as microscopic commuters flowed through the city streets like blood cells in a massive creature.

Yet no structure rose as high as the palace. It reigned as a cylindrical pyramid of a fortress over the region. From this level it was possible to see for a hundred kilometers in to the distance where the treacherous Harperius mountain ranges began to the North and the vast Eleventh Sea of the Emperor began to the East. Even the angelical statues gracing the facade held upon high by tremendous stone pillars built upon the palace walls amongst the thick stone pillars rose in awe of the symbol of the Emperors wisdom. Beyond this lavish artwork was a cleverly hidden fortress of unparalleled might in the entire Atripus system.

The terrace of elegent marbles and patches of green shrubs eventually wrapped around to a series of anti-aircraft batteries manned by members of the Atripus Imperial Guard. Each gilded cluster of cannons and missile ports stood ready to strike down a threat within a moments notice. Their crews surrounded by soldiers just as prepared to defend them from would be infiltrators.

"Sire!" One of the guardsmen instantly stood to attention to present a textbook salute to the governor.

"At ease, Lieutenant Calvin." Governor Desolles rested his cane over his shoulder in a lax gesture. Many of his political rivals on the world often attacked him for being too laid back and unprofessional in his attitude. Perhaps they were right to claim such things, but Desolles was nevertheless popular with his people. He got the job done and that was that. "How have you been? I understand your wife is expecting."

Lieutenant Calvin, as Aldo understood, was in charge of the North-Western defense batteries of this level. He was forbidden to speak with anyone but those the governor himself had authorized by law, so for the duration of this discussion he simple lowered his head under robe out of obligated anonymity.

The Lieutenants armor was rather elaborate. Much like the scroll case before his armor had been draped in a spotless ivory with gold trimming edging his armor plating and officers cap to differentiate him from the regular forces of the guard. Only the best of the best earn a position at the governors palace. Many members had never seen combat in their lives aside from a few transferred veterans. Though their service record in the name of the Emperor was flawless.

Lieutenant Calvin flashed his teeth to the governor for taking such an interest in his comparatively mundane life. They glinted as keenly as his armor did in the waning sunlight. "Yes, my lord. We're rather excited. Though I must admit that we've been having a few battles over which name to give him."

Letting his free hand stroke the whitening beard under his chin, the governor chuckled. His eyes gradually settled over the large quad cannon situated behind the Lieutenant and the guardsmen flanking an ammunition chute. "That's why I never married. Running Altripus is time consuming as it is. I'd imagine by the time I had a chance to name a child he'd be as old as I stand now with children of his own."

The conversation continued for several more minutes. All the while, Aldo kept silent beneath his white robes with his senses devoted elsewhere. It would have been an irritating situation for some to find themselves in, but the scribe truly did appreciate the time spent outside. He hadn't felt the warmth of sunlight in many weeks or heard the singing of birds which perched themselves upon the elaborate sculptures lining the palace walls. For once he could forget about the hundreds of documents he had to manage every day deep within the earth.

But new sounds approached. A mob of footprints drew louder and louder with each step. In the blink of an eye, Aldo procured a laspistol from beneath his robe to present to those who dared sprint towards the governor. As the scribe sighted in on his guests, he came to the realization that it was merely a retinue of palace guards wishing to report to the governor. Aldo still wouldn't lower the weapon until they explained themselves. It was his duty. For his service extended above simple clerical work.

"Whoa!" The officer leading the squad of guardsmen raised his hands in a defensive posture to show he had meant no harm. It quickly shifted to a salute while he attempted to catch his breath. "My lord! Urgent news!"

"Yes, Captain?" A nod from the governor signaled Aldo to put the pistol away. "What's this about?" His cane still hung nonchalantly over his shoulder but it didn't belay the serious expression evident on Desolles' rugged face. His beady brown eyes squinted intently at the officer.

"We've lost contact with Zemir."

"Zemir?" The governor repeated to be sure he had heard right. Zemir was a dwarf planet at the edge of the system that functioned as an early warning outpost for hostile threats and as a way-station for naval fleets in the sector. Between it and Atripus stood Idermire. For it to have lost all communications with the planet was dangerous. "What details have you? Tell me everything."

"Um...yes, Lord." The Captain squeezed the back of his neck to channel his anxiety. "Well, Sire, we don't know. Sometimes solar flares disrupt our network for an hour or two. But Zemir hasn't fed any reports for twelve hours. We're conducting an investigation as we speak." Fear radiated from the Captain whose brow slouched down apologetically. Perhaps worried of any retaliatory measures the governor might inflict upon him.

Aldo shook his head ever so slightly. It was not his place to express his opinion on military matters, but the scribe thought an officer like him would have approached the situation with a more controlled attitude.

With a twirl of his cane, the governor firmly planted the tip of the metal shaft against the marbled terrace floor. "Twelve hours? Why was this not relayed to me sooner?" Thunder filled the elderly mans voice at the revelation. "What if a band of vile Orks is about to raid our fair world? What if a warband wants to deny the Adeptus Mechanicus the wealth of Idermire?"

Each of the four soldiers beside the Captain took tiny paces away as to differentiate themselves from his presence while the governor boomed. He hung his head low out of shame. "We have our protocols, Sire. It wasn't-"

"No." Governor Desolles interrupted to dismiss the arguement and peered down to the large ruby globe topping the handle of his cane. "Return to your post immediately and get to work, Captain. We shan't afford any more wasted time with protocol or pointless bickering. Alert all commands and get moving!"

"Yes, my Lord!" The Captain and his men backed away before sprinting off to whatever pit of the government palace they had come from. Already sirens began wailing in the distant city to warn the people of possible danger. Lieutenant Calvin had since vanished to see to the palaces defenses.

"Aldo."

"Sire?" Aldo lifted his head out from beneath his hood so that the governor may speak directly to him. Two amber eyes blinked with unyielding loyalty in preparation to whatever orders he would be charged to relay.

"Summon the Lord Marshal and the inner council to the assembly hall at once. We must do everything within our power to bring an end to this. Whatever the case may be."

The scribe lowered his head and turned to pace back in to the palace. "Yes, Governor Desolles."

It had felt like something had ripped in to the governors abdomen to squeeze his guts. It was the fear that war might just be looming on the horizon to terrorize Atripus. He could only hope that this was all simply a glitch in the system and that contact with Zemir would be reestablished any moment. Yet he knew it would be foolish to think it was anything less than the prelude to an invasion.

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-03-10, 02:49 PM
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I have to say the writing is very good!! I love the descriptions you used, and the story flowed well.

Keep it up and looking forward to hearing more!
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-04-10, 04:15 AM
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god im loving it mate the story had a great beginning and the theme is correct, your way of describing people is amazing and the descriptions of the actions.... wonderful

+rep

Q:What is the most Ironic death do you reckon ?
A: Umm probably having a hospital land on you

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M003: Joyride.


-- Four hours ago... --
Lights pulsed past either side of the vehicle as they sped through the tunnel. The sound of eighteen barreling wheels screeching against the road intermittently pierced the roar of engines pushing them forward. It was dark, as it always was in the service tunnels, but the headlights of the three scout buggies easily guided them to their exit.

A crack of white light split the horizon ahead. With a steady groan, the massive blast doors slowly yawned opened to expose the surface of Zemir. The three vehicles charged with greater velocity before finally zooming through the threshold.

In a blink, the darkened corridors of the tunnel network below Zemir's landscape transformed to the dull gray expanse of the cratered rock. They flew dozens of meters through the air before the worlds weak gravity finally brought them back down to the sandy plains below. Impact was relatively gentle. Although large clouds of disturbed sediment lofted through the minuscule atmosphere when the buggies wheels attempted to gain some form of traction.

From there they sped over a traverse of whitened dunes towards a jungle of shattered plateaus where their objective awaited them. Ordinarily, First Private Olen Flinn would be smiling with having been ordered out on another joyride on the planets surface. He loved nothing more than tearing through the canyons with his crew-mate, Second Corporal Reginald Tompkins at the wheel.

Yet this day Flinn kept his hands tight on the multi-laser turrets control yoke from the back of the buggy. His eyes dissecting the starfield for the slightest hint of enemy activity. For his station at outpost gamma had lost all contact with the communications relay ten kilometers away just hours before. It could be nothing. Or it could be something, and Flinn would find himself trading some of the first shots of a massive war. It wasn't a good position for a single guardsmen to find himself.

The buggy cracked against a boulder, momentarily vaulting them once again up towards the empty starfield before returning. It rocked Flinn against his restraints and shook off his idle worries. "Hey, easy on the suspension, Tompkins." Sure, he was afraid. But it wasn't the best idea to dwell upon if the soldier had a potentially serious job to do. Concentrating elsewhere might just save his life.

"Relax, Flinn." The driver advised with a huff over their squadron comm channel. He was seated near the fore of the buggy under a protective anti-roll cage just behind the front tires. Shaped akin to a wedge, the modified Venator was a design borrowed from the famed Elysian drop troopers. With the addition of a heightened suspension it was the perfect vehicle for patrols on the low gravity world of Zemir. "What's the matter? Don't tell me this has gotten you spooked."

Flinn shook his head and rotated the turret to face their rear where the other two Venators had accelerated to catch up with the lead vehicle. The bunker they had exited since faded along the landscape while towering slate gray columns of rock grew around him. "No." He denied the claim. "I'm just saying we should at least attempt to keep a low profile on this one for a change. I don't want another punctured air tank fiasco like last month."

The statement brought a laugh over the comm channel. Being on a near atmosphere-less world required all personnel to wear environmental suits during operations topside. In consequence, most of the facilities on Zemir were located below ground with only scattered tunnel entrances or large outposts protruding from the surface. Indeed they could of taken a more time saving route underground to the communications relay, but protocol demanded they lock down all adjacent tunnels to a facility if contact was lost.

Perhaps a decision that would doom those in the relay from escaping to safety if anything had happened, which Flinn desperately hoped was not the case, but it would prevent any attackers from gaining access to the underground network.

"By the Emperor, you must admit that was funny." Tompkins recalled the event in which Flinn's air tank had broken loose after he had attempted too daring of a jump over the canyons. After a tense few moments and fighting through his partners flailing arms had they reattached the tank to his backpack. "Alright, then. I make no promises, Private. But we had better make this quick before that bloody commissar loses his patience."

"I'd keep your mouth shut, Tompkins." Another voice crackled in to the comm channel under the mechanical hiss of air flowing through a sealed helmet. It was Sergeant Giddler. "There's no telling if he's bugged our channel and I'd be the one to answer for it if he overhears your displeasantries. Can it."

"Yes, Sergeant." Tompkins answered apologetically. He always did have a problem watching his tongue, Flinn thought.

"We're almost there anyway." The Sergeant advised to the formation of vehicles. "Keep your eyes sharp for anything unusual."

Private Flinn put more pressure on the control yoke as he swung the twin barreled multi-laser turret forward. Anxiety was swirling through his stomach at the prospect of what may lay beyond the canyons. He jostled around while the vehicle navigated over the lopsided floors between the craggy cliff sides. The waves of nervousness spiked every time they reached an intersection of the canyons with fears that an enemy sniper or mob of chaos bound lunatics would pounce out to shred him apart.

But he chose to take comfort in their mission. They simply had to inspect the exterior of the relay tower to gauge the situation and then call in a few transports to offload troops in to the building. In reality it would pose little threat to them, since the guardsmen tasked with boarding the facility would be the ones having to deal with any long term trouble.

At long last they squeezed through the final ravine before the next sea of dunes. The star of the Atripus system beamed brightly over the area. Immediately the communications relay came in to view. It rose hundreds of meters above the ancient impact crater where an astropath served the Imperium with his psychic duties to relay information to and from the system. As such it was of great tactical importance.

Though not a terribly wide facility for how tall it was, the foundation of the relay was well fortified. A barbed perimeter of anti vehicle barriers, mine fields and tank traps littered the dusty ground to hinder any ground attack. Yet most of its defenses had been catered to anti-aircraft duties since Zemir was in itself a hive of military installations that could swarm any threat upon the surface within minutes.

"Strange. They still aren't responded to our hails. No sign of movement." Sergeant Giddler noted as the formation of scout buggies began a wide orbit around the relays exterior. "The fortifications are too thick to detect anyone either. Lets move around once more before calling in the troops."

A shiver ran through Flinn's spine while he pointed the turret at the facility. The fields of silent defenses surrounding the cold black obelisk seemed so frozen in time. Something about the scene just...commanded that he be afraid. That he had to run away and never return. It seeped deeply in to his brain matter to batter the very core of his logic.

Flinn shook his head. Perhaps a prayer for the Emperor would void his fear. He quietly recited bits of what he remembered the priest back at base had taught his unit. "May the glorious god-Emperor grant me the strength...to...the strength to..." The Private searched his mind for the rest of the prayer. "Blast! Just give me strength."

"What was that, Flinn?" Tompkins voice popped back over the channel.

Apparently he had spoken just a bit louder than he had intended to, causing murmurs of his speech to activate the com channel. "Huh? Oh, nothing Tompkins."

Sergeant Giddler barked through the channel. "Wait a second! I've got some-" That was the last thing he would ever say.

Just as the gunner had turned his head towards the Sergeants Venator trailing just behind them, it vanished under a flash of fire and expanding smoke as black as the starfield above them. Flinn instinctively ducked just below the lip of the turret well in order to avoid being sprayed by chunks of shrapnel. Even a fast moving pebble could puncture his suit if he wasn't cautious. Fatally exposing his body to the freezing wasteland.

"What was that?" Tompkins blurted through the channel while Flinn hopelessly watched the charred remnants of the vehicle somersault through the air before crashing in to a stack of metal tank traps. Only a crumpled heap of metal remained within a swirling cloud of dust and combusting materials.

"Damn!" Flinn returned to his position over the multi-lasers targeting computer. "Where is he? Give me an angle!" He barked to the driver in desperation to exact revenge for the death of Sergeant Giddler and his crew-mate. Adrenaline roared through his veins as the guardsman threw all regard for hesitation away.

He couldn’t believe that Sergeant Giddler was really dead. The enemy would pay. It was hard to detect objects on the bright surface of Zemir. The reflective nature of its soil couldn't even allow an easy view of the stars despite clear skies above the sunken crater. Flinn strained to see what had obliterated the scout vehicle in just one shot but soon the culprit came in to focus.

"Aircraft! Three o'clock, high!" The gunner of the second scout vehicle signaled before a silver streak of energy erupted from his lascannon to the sky. "Our communications are jammed! We're on our own."

Using the las shot as a guide, he twisted the turret around while Tompkins picked up speed. The craters steep slopes became but a blur. And there it was. A metallic glint far above them dove in closer. Unfortunately the gun mounted on the back of the Venator couldn't lift to meet the threat closing in from such a high angle.

"Argh! Blasted turret! I can't get at him, Tompkins!" There was nothing he could do about it but it didn't keep Flinn from grinding the multi-laser against the gun well so that he could at least get a few shots off if the target slipped under his crosshairs. "Give her some gas, damn it!"

"Quiet! You're not helping!"

The formation of scout buggies split apart far enough so that they could cover each other with overlapping fields of fire, but the hostile fighter charging down from the stars was still out of reach. It was mounting a second attack run. Flinn’s teeth ground tightly together. The prayer for the Emperors guidance he had attempted to recall came flooding back in his mind. Praying that the immortal powers of mankinds leader would channel through him. Yet in all reality he was helpless. His eyes widened while the fighter drew closer and began belching ammunition down upon the surface of Zemir once again.

[Note: As always, feedback is appreciated. I‘ll edit this later most likely to ‘clean it up‘ since I kinda rushed, but there you go. More to come in a day or so.]

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Nice writing mate... But I had a problem with the prologue... Though yeah, you meant for it to be vague but it was too unclear for my sake... Well, that's just me... REP MATE!....
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-05-10, 06:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input, waltzmelancholy_07. I'll see what I can do to make it more flowing to new readers soon.
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I love it Holmstrom! I really look forward to this more and more as I read each part. Plus rep dude, keep us updatted!

Nyctophobia- Fear of the Dark Angel.

"No one ever spoke about of those two absent brothers. Their separate tragedies had seemed like aberrations. Had they, in fact, been warnings that no one had heeded?"

'Killing a man is like fucking, boy, only instead of giving life you take it. You experience the ecstasy of penetration as your warhead enters the enemy's belly and the shaft follows. You see the whites of his eyes roll inside the sockets of his helmet. You feel his knees give way beneath him and the weight of his faltering flesh draw down the point of your spear. Are you picturing this?'
'Yes, lord.'
'Is your dick hard yet?'
'No, lord.'
''What? You've got your spear in a man's guts and your dog isn't stiff? What are you, a woman?'
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--M003: Joyride - Continued--
The ground rumbled, and with it came a volcano of fire erupting across the craterside. Flinn ducked once more as the hostile fighter swooped in low over the two scout buggies. Its engine wash grew to a monstrous roar even through Zemirs low atmosphere. He could hear hundreds of objects slamming against the modified Venators hull before static shot through the comm channel. The Private held his arms around his head until the noise finally went away.

With a few hard evasive turns, the buggy at last straightened out. "Get your ass back in the gun, Flinn!" Tompkins voice pleaded with excitement. "It's behind us!"

Flinn ground his teeth together and popped back up to the controls. His shaking hands clasped the two firing yokes before he noticed that they were alone. A second stretch of dark soot rose from a rocky outcropping well behind them. "Where is Badger Two?" The Private spun the turret around before he finally caught the shrinking fighter over the crater wall.

"What do you think? Just shoot!" Tompkins blasted. "I'm getting us out of here!"

It wasn't time to obsess over the fact that they were now alone. That his squadron mates had all been killed in the blink of an eye. This was suicide, but Flinn wasn't about to let some smug pilot take him down without a fight. Though he wished Tompkins would get the buggy moving faster or they wouldn't live long enough to tell about the attack. The multi-laser wouldn't amount to much unless it managed to at least chase it off. He squeezed the firing studs.

Twin streams of white-red energy blinked from each barrel of the turret. The destructive beams instantly closed the distance between the Venator and the fighter juking hard for another attack run. It was tough to judge at this distance, but Flinn was sure he had struck the hull before the fighter dipped behind the craters edge where trailing shots spawned puffs of gray soil to the air.

The buggy hopped a few meters over a small mound of rubble before taking a sharp turn around a vacant bunker overlooking the exit canyons. He spared a peek inside the firing ports of the reinforced metal construct and found it strange that the autocannon sticking out hung low in the starlight. Motionless. It was as if the entire facility had been abandoned without a fight.

This was not good. Flinn bit his lip under the wave of possibilities storming through his brain. It couldn't have been some simple uprising or freak accident. Installations carrying an astropath didn‘t just ‘turn off‘. Terrible forces were at play here, whatever the case was. Thoughts of what terrors waiting to be unleashed upon the system were hard to fight off. He had to focus.

"Where'd he go?" Tompkins voice, accompanied by anxious panting, popped through the channel. "Any sign of him? Anything?"

"No." Flinn answered just as the buggy rambled back in to the series of ravines through which they had arrived from. The lack of any visual on the fighter along with the safety of the canyons had at least offered him a degree of comfort. With the rock walls stretching several stories above them their foe would have a tough time finding a clear shot. "I think he bugged out. That was close, Tompkins."

"Right, mate." His companion sighed relief and arched the vehicle over a cluster of jagged boulders squeezed between the ancient chasm. It bounced through the obstacle before the six bulbous wheels pulled them onward. “What the hell is going on? The Sergeant, Keem, Eller and Dan…they never stood a chance!”

The gunner instinctively ran a gloved hand over his encapsulating helmet as he would to rub away frustration from ones mind. Just letting his backpack rattle against the turret well for a quick moment. “I don’t know. The sooner we get back home, the better. We just got lucky, but we have to warn them about this.”

It seemed to be taking centuries to pass through the canyons. Legions of acicular crags and mottled arches had washed by while the multi-laser slowly patrolled the surroundings. Just stale gray repeats of the same terrain as before. Neither of them spoke a word. They needed all of their senses pooled to detecting threats. There was no room for distraction. The slightest slip in observation could have them transformed in to a pile of slag just like their comrades.

“Great.” Tompkins spoke and pointed towards a breach in the rock walls. “We’re almost there.” The Venator tumbled down a steep slope of loose soil that eventually bled out from the cracked highlands in to the cold desert beyond.

Out of preparation, Flinn aimed the multi-laser to the front of the buggy. A crevice divided the canyon just a few hundred meters off from their position and grew closer. He could see the vast ocean of dunes that surrounded their tunnel home. The Private couldn’t help but smile. They had made it, and in just a few minutes of clearing the open terrain they could begin plotting to make the bastards responsible for his brethrens death pay dearly.

Or so he thought.

A brief surge of dust stampeded down from above the ravine along with bits of rock that knocked against the vehicle. Flinn twisted the turret around when their enemy dropped down out of hiding in front of them. It was a sleek design, but definitely a human vessel. A bulbous canopy dominated the front with two sweeping wings loaded with weapon mounts. Each one pointed directly towards them. But still, it was nothing he could immediately recognize.

They never had time to curse before the ground began to explode. Flinn fell against his restraints when the buggy sped off to the right in a futile attempt to dodge the incoming fire. It was all over so fast that Flinn hadn’t even the chance to get a single shot off. The Venator swerved wildly overtop of its heightened sets of wheels before smashing head on against the cliff wall at full speed. His head catapulted back and forth under the whiplash which caused fine cracks to form in his helmets view plate as it struck the targeting computer.

Stars pulsed before his eyes. Sprites of bright fuzzy lights along with twirling dabs of blackness danced through his vision and heavy concussions punched in to his chest cavity. The gunner wasn’t sure at first, but he was well enough alive. Stuck in a state of shock. No! Flinn ordered himself. Get yourself together!

The vehicle had come to a dead stop. No doubt Tompkins had reacted quick enough that they suffered only a minor hit from whatever that ship had fired at them. But he knew that whoever this pilot was, he wouldn’t allow them to survive to mock him after having missed a kill shot. “Tom! Get us moving! Tom?”

No response.

Flinn growled and fought to remove the straps keeping him secure to the vehicle while the manmade dust storm gave him the cover he needed. His bulky gloves toggled the push release before a quick jab of his fist finally detached them. With mere seconds to spare, the Private yanked free a spare air tank from the compartment by his feet before vaulting clear of the gun well. The low gravity propelled him a great distance upwards where he bounced against the canyon wall and glanced off towards the ground. A soft bank of sand cushioned the drop but he still tumbled along the ravine floor before anchoring himself with a rock.

Flashes of light and muffled booms resonated through the canyon. Airborne rocks and smoldering metals followed soon after. Flinn pressed himself flat against the icy dirt while debris rained in around him. Some landed heavily against his body, but he resisted the urge to squirm in pain or fright. Danger had not left the area. He only hoped his suit would survive the punishment.

Flinn breathed heavily with his arms wrapped protectively around his head. Each exhalation of air echoed on to eternity while he blankly stared to the sand crunched up against his view plate. His heart thudded loudly while adrenaline injected blood pumped through his veins that prepped his body for actions he wouldn‘t have to take. There was only silence.

He lifted his head above his arms ever so slowly to see how badly the scene had changed. Still sucking down air, Flinn let his jaw fall open. Under the fading dust rested what was left of his Venator. The rear half of the chassis drooped where plasma had heated it to molten temperatures and flash froze. This split the smoking armor plating in to blackened razors splaying in every direction. Even the rock face had been scored from the attack.

Where the multi-laser turret had gone, he did not know. It probably had taken a direct hit and disintegrated. But the fighter was gone. Nowhere to be seen. The gunner glanced in every direction around him for any hint of hostiles hidden in the freezing wasteland. Nothing. Only the barren stretches of silent rock stood in high watch over the wreck.

“Tompkins!” He called out despite being severed from the vehicles hardwired communications line. The vox installed in to his suit still wasn‘t functioning, either. No thanks to the jamming signal. Flinn effortlessly pushed himself to his feet and began long jumping his way back over to the buggy.

His boots dug deep in to the loose soil with every bound before finally grabbing hold of a warped anti-roll bar hanging from the wreck to stabilize himself. The ground crunched below his feet where he handed landed. But the shards of glassed sand coating the ground wasn’t an interest to Flinn. The half-charred remains of Tompkins was.

The bolt of plasma had expanded to consume most of the Venator and blew out the fuel cells. Such terrible heat had easily chewed through the drivers suit to boil off any exposed skin. A deep, blackened crater carved out most of the mans torso from the inside. Leaving his companions remains to slump against the steering wheel. The sight of his dead friend made him want to vomit. He was the only one left.

Flinn struggled to control his stomach before turning away. A sense of helplessness dominated his mind while he attempted to think of what to do. The Private was stranded. His friends were all dead. But he still had a job to do. Flinn lifted a gauge that hung from his chest armor to check is air levels. Only about five minutes were left, and the reserve tank he had pulled before escaping had a half hour. Maybe forty minutes if he paced his breathing correctly.

Was it enough to get back to the tunnels? That, he did not know. There where five kilometers between his position and his next source of air. The chances of suffocating halfway were very high if he delayed much longer. Flinn took one last look at Tompkins before retrieving the spare air tank left on the ground. He may of had less than a year of service for the Emperor under his belt and he may be scared out of his mind, but he had to pass on what he had seen. He had to survive.

Flinn took his first in what would be hundreds of leaps over Zemirs cratered surface towards the bunker ahead. That prayer still fresh in his mind.


[Note: As always, comments and feedback are vastly appreciated. Don’t forget to rate. I was half-awake when I wrote most of this, but I think it's alright with a little tweaks.]

Last edited by Holmstrom; 03-07-10 at 09:54 AM.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-07-10, 09:47 AM
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Awesome part dude, if I was too rate it? Ten out of ten! One thing didn't quite read right for me though and that was-

He may have (Personally, I would add a "had" here, it reads easier, and it does not seem too change the tense, like what I got when I read it?) less than a year of service for the Emperor under his belt and he may be scared out of his mind, but he had to pass on what he had seen. He had to survive.

Nothing else but that, a brilliant continuation to a equally as brilliant story Sadly though, I cannot rep you but as soon as I can I shall.

Nyctophobia- Fear of the Dark Angel.

"No one ever spoke about of those two absent brothers. Their separate tragedies had seemed like aberrations. Had they, in fact, been warnings that no one had heeded?"

'Killing a man is like fucking, boy, only instead of giving life you take it. You experience the ecstasy of penetration as your warhead enters the enemy's belly and the shaft follows. You see the whites of his eyes roll inside the sockets of his helmet. You feel his knees give way beneath him and the weight of his faltering flesh draw down the point of your spear. Are you picturing this?'
'Yes, lord.'
'Is your dick hard yet?'
'No, lord.'
''What? You've got your spear in a man's guts and your dog isn't stiff? What are you, a woman?'
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-07-10, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again, DA. I appreciate you pointing that bit out, too. I'll go ahead and fix it now.

EDIT: Fixed.

Last edited by Holmstrom; 03-08-10 at 04:54 AM.
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