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post #61 of 77 (permalink) Old 04-11-15, 12:41 PM
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Moriouce - Mind War


Amatheri was led by the humans through the dense under growth. They had walked for nearly an hour but they had made little progress due to the clumsy nature of the humans. Amatheri had walked many forests but at greater speed and without disturbing even the smallest leaf. The sons of the corpse-emperor cut their way through the forest like brutes, and brutes they where, leaving a trail of destruction behind them. Only orks do more damage when walking, Amatheri thought.

Amatheri had been captured, but to see the mon-keighs fumble around him as they led him, light-footed over any obstacle, made him feel free. Even with his hands cuffed he had more grace than the humans.

Behind his back, some dead metal held his wrists together. He could feel it’s weight but nothing more, it was dead unlike the psychoreactive substances he was used to. He was a Striking Scorpion of the Bloodied Shadows and he knew that anything that happened to him would happen to the humans a thousand fold.

The humans soon found their way into a newly cleared road. The tracks of heavy vehicles cut through the soil, despoiling root and rock of the ancient maiden world. Like a ragged wound it ran through the forest. Amatheri had been forced to remove his war helm and the sights that met him, with every step of the way, angered him greatly. Every fibre ached with the rage of Khaine, screaming for vengence. He wished the humans dead, not just lifeless but utterly despoiled like the planet they despoiled.

Amatheri closed his eyes, he did not need them to walk. His every sense was atuned with the world around him and for walking he only needed his feet. He pictured himself in the midst of the enemy. The mon-keighs stumbling around him with their crude lasguns held across their chests. He made the vision move slowly, as he was looking at each human individualy. These brutes expressed nothing but fear of him and he hated them back for their weakness.

In his vision he heard the hiss of shurikens and the first humans sank to the ground around him as blood erupted from their bodies. The other humans turned in every direction to face the aggressors, only for a second wave of shurikens finding their backs and necks. Lasfire erupted in blind fury into the surrounding bushes. Amatheri still walked with the flash of lasers impacting against trunks across his eyelids. The smell of blood and damp soils played in his nostils and the shouts of the humans intruded upon his ears.

Then the sound of chainswords could be heard from the forest on both side of the road and almost two dozen of striking scorpions emerged from the shadows. The humans twisted, turned and fired their lasguns but few hit their mark. Then the sudden sting of fine lasers as the mandiblasters ignited while the scropions closed the gap in a few strides. More humans fell to the ground as the scorpions launched themself into a melee.

Still walking, Amatheri pictured a scorpion run in from his right, slaying one human with his shuriken while his chainsword cut the neck of another. He turned to face a third human as it levelled his rifle towards him. The soldier fired, but he was already moving; the lasbeam hissed past, taking another human in the back. All around him the scene of humans beeing cut down by shurikens, chainswords and laser.

He could see a scorpion wielding two chainswords dance like a hurricane of death through the mon-keighs. His wrist mounted shurikens spitting more death into those who where out of reach of his swords. The excarch killed without hesitation, no regret. A kaleidoscope of laserbeams danced around his elusive form. Behind him more scorpions joined in slaying humans who where stunned by fear and awe in equal measure.

Amatheri felt someone bump in to him from behind and he lost his step for a slight moment. Putting one knee down into the mud beneath he felt sadness rush from the world into his mind. Without looking he was walking again with his next stride. Who ever pushed him from behind would be thinking twice before he did it again.

The paniced voices of the humans started to die out in his mind and there could not be many of them left, Amatheri thought. A slight releaf filled his mind and he took in a deep breath of the virgin air.

But there was something different with the air. He could taste a hint of iron and ozone on his lips. More of his senses return to reality and he could no longer hear the humans stumble around him. He opened his eyes.

He was standing still on the road but no one was infront of him. He turn to face the direction he had come with the humans only to see the remains of his captors. Laying the the pools of their own blood, there were no sign of movment. Without his war helm he could feel a shiver of joy fighting it’s way into consience. He allowed himself a small smile to the vision before him, nearly one hundred bodies laid on the road and around it. Some had tried to run but had only managed a few steps into the bushes before being killed. Khaine screamed with delight through Amatheris veins and he forced himself to close his eyes for a few heart beats to regain control of himself.

Amatheri then freed himself from the shackles, a feat he had no intent to let any human witness. He walked into the field of battle and retrieved his war helm from the human who had taken it. He put it on and the feelings of joy disapeared. He caught a movement among the trees to his left. He turned and saw the helm of a scorpion standing there, he noded towards Amatheri. Amatheri returned the gesture silently and walked away from the carnage around him.
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post #62 of 77 (permalink) Old 04-11-15, 12:42 PM
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YeOldeGrandma - Skydancers


”Mark!”

Cassander jumped and his world widened. White clouds spread out before him, all around. Gone was the rattling of the Valkyrie, the roar of its engines; now there was only the rush of air as he fell, faster and faster.

The vox-bead in his helmet crackled with lieutenant Sharn's voice: ”Skydancers, report.”

”Victyr, clear”, came the staff-sergeant.

”Barnan, clear”, said the sergeant.

”Askur, clear”, the corporal reported.

”Selwer, clear”, Cassander chimed in. As he held the most junior rank he sounded off last.

”Skydancers all clear, lieutenant”, Victyr said. ”Cloud-break in 37 seconds.”

”Initiate form-up, on my mark.”

Cassander spied downwards. Below him, about one hundred metres according to his visor display, the lieutenant was falling, arms and legs splayed out to the sides.

He blinked up his auspex display. Victyr was to his left, Askur to his right. Barnan, the demolitions expert, was above them, slightly off course as of yet. He dismissed the display again and gripped his chute harness.

”Mark!”

Victyr and Askur were the first to move, dipping forwards and activating their grav-chutes. Cassander saw them shoot by on either side, down towards Sharn. As they reached their positions, on either side of him, they killed their chutes and spread their limbs, levelling off their descent.

Barnan whistled over the vox. ”Flying worthy of a medal”, she said. Cassander couldn't help but agree. He'd drilled more hours than he could count, and had still to fully master the finer points of grav manouvring.

Abruptly, the trio below him was swallowed up into the clouds. Moments later his vision was reduced to little more than pale strands whipping past. ”Cloud-break”, Sharn called out. ”Activate strobes.”

Cassander reached down to his chest plate and pulled a cord. ”Strobe on”, he reported as a rune lit up in his display. Below him three lights winked into existence; red, slow pulse for the lieutenant, blue and moderate for Victyr, green and fast for Askur.

Barnan fell past, strobing an angry orange. The demo specialist took her position in between, and some twenty metres above, Victyr and Askur. ”It's all you, greenhorn”, she called.

Cassander swallowed, putting his thumbs on the harness triggers. A fine spiderweb of frost had begun to form on his visor, distoring the light of his squad's strobes. He wiped his armoured thumb across, getting some of it off.

”What's the hold-up Selwer?”

”All good, lieutenant”, he said. ”Initiating manouvre.”

He dipped his head and body forwards, tucking his knees together and elbows to his chest. Then he pressed the triggers.

He felt the jolt throughout his body, the force of the twin nozzles on his backpack propelling him forwards, ever threatening to spiral him out of control. He fought the impulse to let go of the triggers and splay out again to slow himself down; instead hekept his head down, diving straight into the gale with one eye on Barnan's strobe and the other.on his targeter.

Fifty metres, forty metres, thirty metres...

Every muscle in his body tensed as he let go of the triggers and jerked his body up, kicking both feet forward in order to get them beneath him. Then he hit the triggers again, slowing his descent abruptly. Barnan was below him, splayed out like the rest. He gauged her velocity, licked his lips, and let the triggers go again. The air howled all around him, the cold beginning to seep through his armour. He flipped himself forwards once more and extended his arms and legs, assuming the final belly-down, splayed out position.

”Selwer, clear”, he panted into his mic. He'd taken position above them all, just twenty metres from Barnan. Overwatch, best suited to his rookie status.

”Look sharp, Skydancers”, Sharn said, ”we're about to hit biosphere. Auspex shows multiple potential contacts.”

The clouds were different now. The snowy white of the upper troposphere had given way to a sickly yellow. These weren't so much clouds as the fumes of their enemy. And they were dissipating, Cassander realised. He could see the lieutenant clearly now, for the first time since initial cloud-break.

”Steady and calm”, Sharn murmured. ”Call them out as you see them.”

They fell in silence. Gradually Cassander realised he could see the ground, far below, a dark mat of what looked like vegetation covering it.

No, not vegetation, but...

”Harridan at our five”, Askur snapped, ”and gargoyles. At least a hundred by my count.”

”I got gargoyles at our seven, ten and twelve”, Victyr added. ”Two harridans at our eleven . Hell, they're everywhere.”

”They're intercepting from all around us”, Barnan said.

”Stay on target”, Sharn ordered. ”We'll brush by them. Selwer, eyes on your auspex.”

”Aye, sir.”

They quickly dropped below the tyranids, though the creatures dove after them, following on their trail. Cassander's auspex filled with red blips above and below, all of them rapidly converging on their position. They were falling through the middle of a swarm.

”Firebird, this is Skydancer”, he heard Sharn say. ”We have gargoyles and harridans converging on our position, nicely lined up for you.”

A large blip on his auspex suddenly vanished. As he craned his neck to look he saw one of the harridans falling to the ground in separate pieces. Gunfire blanketed the area around it, tearing through the packed swarms as a score of Thunderbolts came roaring in.

”Stand by for course correction on my mark”, Sharn barked. ”I'm taking us in.” He flipped and dove away, levelling out thirty metres below Victyr and Askur. Cassander and the rest of the squad jerked themselves upright and pulled their limbs in, assuming a sitting position.

”Twenty degrees to our ten!” Sharn called. ”Mark!”

Grav-chutes roared, one by one, as the Skydancers corrected in a staggered fashion – Sharn first, followed by Victyr and Askur, then Barnan and lastly Cassander.

”Target is the big one to our nine”, the lieutenant said. ”Skydancers, acknowledge!”

”Victyr, acknowledged!”

”Barnan, I have visual.”

”Askur, acknowledged.”

Cassander stared. The surface, which was rapidly rushing up to meet them, was packed with tyranids of varying size. There could be no mistake on which of them the lieutenant had indicated however. It towered over the rest, even its bodyguard of what looked to be carnifexes. A bio-titan, it had to be a bio-titan.

”Selwer, acknowledged.”

”Follow me in and we'll take it down!” Sharn yelled. ”Course correction, ten degrees to our nine, on my mark! Mark!”
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Asmodai - Underhive Thieves


“Ok, stop me if you've heard this one. A human, a ratling and an ogryn walk into a vault with almost zero information. They are never seen again.”

“That's not funny.”

“Then why are we doing it!?” the ratling Samual asked exasperated, his head darting around nervously.

“Will you just trust me?” his human partner Riley replied, shooting him his irritatingly charming smile that had been painstakingly perfected over the last ten years.

“Why? Because that's always worked out so well for me before?”

“Well Rok trusts me, don't ya big guy.”

The third member of the party, the huge ogryn clad in poorly stitched together rags grunted in a manner Riley had always taken to be approval.

“See.” Riley added smugly.

“Well of course the ogryn does, he's an idiot!”

Rok turned, reached back and gripped one huge hand around the back of Samual's shirt, hoisting him effortlessly from the ground.

“Towards whom I have only the utmost of respect.” Samual added hurriedly. This satisfied Rok enough to return him to the ground.

“Knock it off, we're here.” Riley said.

Down in the underhive's of Rysis II one would pass many an unmarked door with no clue as to what lay behind them and if one was smart, they wouldn't ask either. This was one such door, tucked away at the bottom of a dirty narrow alleyway, not far from the main market square.

“This is it?” Samual asked disbelievingly.

“This is it.” Riley confirmed.

“Doesn't look like much.”

“That's the idea.” Riley said and started feeling what appeared to be bare rockcrete wall. “A-ha.” he said a moment later as his thumb depressed what looked like a loose stone which in turn revealed a small round scanner. “Keep watch.” Riley said, gesturing back towards the market. The other two looked away as the human removed a small moist package and held it up towards the scanner, then quickly tucked it away.

“What was that?” Samual asked.

“What was what?”

“That. In your pocket. Was that an eyeball?”

“Maybe.”

Samual pulled at his hair to keep from screaming. “What the Throne are we doing Riley? No, that's it I'm out.” he said, throwing his hands into the air and walking away.

“No, Sam, I need you.” Riley hissed.

“What for?”

“You'll see, come on.”

Rok pushed open the heavy metal door and led them into a long bare chamber. It was dark aside from the light of a half dozen dull glow globes spaced evenly down each side of the chamber. The floor was covered in large hexagonal tiles. Riley stopped just through the door and Samual made to step past him.

“Stop.” Riley said, placing a firm hand down on the ratling's shoulder.

“What is it?”

“Pressure plates.” Riley said, gesturing to the tiles.

“Oh right, let me guess. They're rigged for human weight and I won't set them off. Is that it?”

“No, they're very sensitive. It's just that Rok can throw you further than me.”

“What? Riley you son-of-a-aaa!?”

Before he could finish his cursing Samual had been hefted up by two three trunk arms and thrown head first down the length of the chamber, impacting with a loud dull thud as his shoulder hit the wall at the other end. The ratling groaned as he got to his feet and reached for the stocky autopistol at his hip.

“Whoa, don't be hasty short stuff.” Riley called out after him. “I know where the shut down is. If you shoot me you'll be stuck over there.”

He didn't hear a response but the ratling took his hand off the gun and allowed himself to be directed to a hidden switch. A faint electrical buzz that none of them had previously registered, stopped and the rest of the party crossed the first chamber and passed into the next. As they entered, brighter glow globes activated and bathed the room in a warm orange light. It was the same width as the previous room but much shorter. All around the edges were trinkets and heirlooms of obvious value, but one object dominated the room. In the centre of the rear wall atop a waist high marble plinth was a small black box with complex looking lock. As Riley approached the plinth, Samual and Rok examined the assorted treasures. The ratling picked up a golden pocket watch, inspecting in admiringly. Then he noticed the seal embossed on the back.

“Who did you say we were stealing from?” he asked.

“Um, Romero, someone...” Riley said dismissively.

“Romero? As in Romero Eiman? Of House Eiman? As in the nobles that run half of Rysis II, House Eiman?”

“Oh so you've heard of them?”

“That's it, we're done here.” Samual declared, heading towards the plinth. “If this is what you're after then let's go.”

“No wait I need to-” Riley said desperately, but it was too late. Samual had lifted the box. “Deactivate the sensor.”

The lights changed from orange to red and unseen panels on each side of the plinth opened up. A pair of heavy gun servitors emerging.

“Oh Throne.” Samual cursed.

“You are trespassing on House Eiman property. The Adeptus Arbites have been contacted. Remain still until they arrive.” The Servitors announced in unison.

“Um, no. Run!” Riley yelled, drawing a smoke grenade from the inside of his jacket and throwing it to the ground. In a second the room was filled with thick grey smoke. The trio fled, chased by streams of heavy stubber fire. Leading the way, Rok shouldered through the first door, almost taking it off it's hinges and the trio were clear. Moments later and they were just three more faces in the crowd of the markets.

Another day in the life of an underhive thief.
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jonileth - Catastrophic Loss


Memories… small fragments of the self that linger in the recesses of the mind, each one a small glimpse at the larger picture they draw. For each fragment that goes missing, so too does a small portion of the self that it helped to create. Lose them all and you are left with nothing but an empty shell. Then, let’s say, the empty shell suddenly regains what once was lost… What happens then? I’m betting on something akin to pure anarchy…
- From the personal journal of Inquisitor Lucian Andiron

“What do you hope to learn, child?” the inhuman voice droned in the echoing room. Unnerving as the voice was without the acoustic assistance of the chamber, it was made even more alien with the unintentional assistance of the thing’s surroundings.

“Weaknesses… strengths… anything really,” Lucian admitted without much thought to the question. His agents had spotted the strange being wondering the hive complex, unnoticed by most. Indeed, in the Imperium it wasn’t all that strange to see someone that had given themselves so completely to the Omnissiah that one could not find a stitch of flesh upon them. What had drawn the attention of the agents of the Inquisitor was the manner in which it would stop from time to time and marvel at things that usually wouldn’t warrant a second look from someone truly born of the Imperium.

“I can teach you things,” the voice offered, “Though I sincerely doubt you would be able to fathom their depth very easily.”

“Perhaps not,” Lucian shrugged the comment off as he reached for one of dozens of implements that had been brought for the interrogation, “But then again, I don’t really care to know anything you want to tell me. I want to know the secrets you keep locked in that skull of yours. From what I’ve been able to gather about you and your kind, you’ve had a considerable span of time in which to collect secrets. And I do enjoy learning new things…”

The Inquisitor rolled the implement in his fingers gingerly as he gazed at his prisoner. The creature had put up a decent fight when his men had descended upon him. But something about the number of casualties gave the man pause… mainly that there weren’t any. The pragmatist that had begun to develop within him had reasoned that the thing wanted to be captured for some reason…

“I assume you wish to use that crude thing to pry my head open,” the metallic abomination surmised.

“That is the general idea,” Lucian nodded, “I take it you’ve endured similar.”

“No,” the machine remarked in monotone, “Though your kind’s methods always did strike us as barbaric in nature. I merely made a presumption based on previous encounters with your species.”

“I see,” the Inquisitor murmured somewhat distractedly. For a few more seconds he rolled the tool between his fingers before setting it back on the table abruptly. The machine’s head cocked to the left slightly, the first real sign that it had been caught off-guard.

“Tell me something,” Lucian walked away from the table and approached the creature, “Where do you fit in your hierarchy. I know your kind have one. Are you somewhat near the top? In the middle perhaps?”

“I was a peasant…” the machine seemed almost unhappy at the notion, though Lucian had to admit that it was likely the thing couldn’t actually feel any emotions at all.

“A peasant? So… you’re one of the fodder drones your kind spreads across a battlefield?” the Inquisitor asked, slightly perplexed at such an idea.

“Were I from some other Dynasty… then you would be correct,” the machine remarked. Again Lucian had to censure himself for seeing emotion where there hadn’t actually been any. He wondered somewhat casually if his work with the Eldar girl Aeliel had somehow given him an unhealthy sympathy for creatures not of Imperium origins.

“How is your… Dynasty was it? How is that different from all the rest?” the Inquisitor folded his arms across his chest as he spoke.

“We remember…”

“That’s it?” Lucian almost scoffed at the simplicity of it.

“Ours was a slave race to ancient and deceitful gods,” the machine intoned, “We once possessed flesh and blood just as you do now. We were once a people no less ambitious and cruel as your own. But the cursed world we lived upon made our ambitions for not against a backdrop of less than half a century. When given the choice between that flesh and bodies of metal that would not fail… our ancient leaders chose for us… all of us… on thousands of worlds. And for most Dynasties, those who had been transformed against their wills were blessed with the loss of their memories. They knew nothing of the flesh they once had, the lives they had lost, and the things that had made them Necrontyr. Even their lords and masters lost bits of themselves in the exchange, though they still remember what we once were…”

Lucian frowned in confusion, “I fail to see how any of what you’ve just told me holds value…”

“Because you do not know the value of the memories,” the machine remarked.

“Then enlighten me…” the Inquisitor prodded.

“You see those like me as simple fodder, yes?” the creature paused until Lucian nodded in agreement with the statement, “And that is true enough. But if the mindless fodder were suddenly made to remember…”

At first the machine’s musings were lost on Lucian, but slowly he began to put the pieces together. An unstoppable wave of mindless troops depended on that mindlessness to conserve order. The endless phalanx that he had seen on various pict-frames that had survived Necron attack would be useless if they all at once began to relive their lives of flesh and bone. The chaos such a thing had the potential to create within the ranks of an otherwise nigh-invincible foe could be the very thing that could tip the scales in the Imperium’s favor.

“Can you show me how to use those memories?” Lucian asked.

“I cannot… but I know of one that can…” the machine seemed to almost taunt the Inquisitor.

“It looks as if you’ve earned yourself a temporary stay of execution…” Lucian said as he motioned the guards to release his captive.

“I am confident you will not be disappointed with your choice… Lord Inquisitor,” the creature bowed slightly.

The gesture gave Lucian the resolve he needed to endure the thing’s existence… for a time…
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Brother Edmund - Alliance

“The better the devil you know”
Old Terran saying

“It has to be a mistake” said Freundel as he read the dataslate for the second time. The runner, a youngster of maybe seventeen years who lacked any of the customary gang markings, rocked uncomfortably on his heels. He shrugged his shoulders. “It is from the top.”
“You read this Jones?”, Freundel raised an eyebrow. The runner grinned.
“Of course not Lieutenant."
Freundel picked up his lasgun and jumped down from his bunk.
“Get me Sergeant Hassler and gather up the platoon.”

Joldusteinn, Hive World.. infested.

For six months the Guard had been spilling their blood over this nightmare of tall hives and sprawling conurbations. For six months they had been locked in bitter fighting with Ork’s who’s numbers never seemed to diminish.
Freundel despised these animals, but his hatred paled to how Sergeant Hassler thought.

“I hate the fuggin’ mongrels,” growled Sergeant Hassler “turning up here with not even a by your leave, and then kicking our butts. Always on the back foot, always retreating, and now top brass have come up with this wonderful plan that will suddenly turn the tide.”
The grizzled NCO spat contemptuously.

Freundel smiled. He knew he should calm the old veteran down and curb his anger before he dug a hole that was too deep. However, he felt the same and rather the Sergeant get it than him.
“It gets better Sergeant. You and me are going to lead this mission, but we will not be alone. Brass have sent us… specialists.”
“That is our turf Boss, that is white skull territory. We should take it back… on our own.”

Freundel helped him to his feet. Others might frown on such familiarity between an officer and an ordinary rank, but both of them had been through the grinder and stood side by side in the grimmest fighting, so Freundel cared little for what others might think.

“It’s not that simple I am afraid’ he nodded to the silent figure sitting in the corner. ‘Have you anything to add Commissar Bitencourt?.”

Bitencourt stood up, his leather jacket and boots creaking as he did so. He gazed for a second at the Sergeants angry face and watched his expression turn slowly to realisation and then worry. He had got used to their ways, but he would not tolerate it for much longer. If they faltered but an inch in battle, he would have their heads.

“The 27th Vlagow Stormtroopers will assist your entry to the Hive. Once inside, you are on your own,’ he paused and then looked at Freundel. ‘The Lower Hive is your territory and you know it well. That is why you are going in.”

“Cannon Fodder.” Hassler whispered. He turned to Freundel. He knew he should keep quiet, but history dictated that he at least say something. “Boss, I will say it if you don’t.”
“Sergeant Hassler…”

“No. The high-Almighty Stormtroopers come from the Upper Hive. They are the clean breathers, the privileged and elite. Us White skulls are just low-life…”

“Scum?” Bitencourt interrupted, his anger rising. “Scum, or hard done-by Gangers. The 216th Vlagow are Imperial Guard first and foremost and ‘Gangers’ last. You know the area and they don’t. They can get you in, but the Lower Hive is an alien environment to them. You put your differences aside’ he paused for effect and then looked deep into Hassler’s soul. ‘That is an order.”

* * *

Uitae sordes”, hissed a tall Stormtrooper, resplendent in white carapace armour, and a red-plumed helmet. Hassler spat.
“I swear he is mocking me the tw…”
“Hassler!”

It was pitch black, though in the far distance there was the faint glimmer of a new dawn. Freundel did not know if Ork’s actually slept, but he prayed to the Emperor that if they did, it would be a deep sleep.

He turned to his compatriot, a fair-haired junior officer, who bore a neat dueling scar on his left cheek.
“The way in is through that exhaust vent to the right of that statue of…”
“Our beloved Lord Commander Huemac.” The Stormtrooper interrupted. Freundel winked at Hassler.
“Is that who it is? I thought it was some ancient grazing beast judging by its size.”
There was a hiss of metal against metal and then Commissar Bitencourt was between them, his power sword drawn.
“I am just dying to administer the Emperor’s Peace. Both of you… all of you get on, or on my honour, it will get bloody.”

At a nod, all twenty Stormtroopers activated their jump packs, and with an agitated growl from the jets, lifted their cargo of twenty White skulls into the chilled dawn air.

Five seconds later they had cleared the forward trenches and were over no-man's land, climbing higher and higher as full power finally kicked in.

The Ork front line began to stir as individuals and then squads began to try and locate the noise. Before the first heavy weapons were brought to bear, the unlikely squad of low and high-born Vlagow’s, were already approaching the Hive towers.

“Ten seconds.” Freundel’s earpiece rasped over the scream of the jump packs.
“The Emperor Protects.”

The exhaust vent was only three meters high and the same length wide, but the Stormtroopers managed to land two abreast in perfect synchronicity.
Freundel was almost impressed.

The White skulls unhitched and spread out, securing the landing zone with practised ease.
Freundel voxed their position and called the Stormtrooper officer over.

“You hold here. We will blow the generator and be back before you know it”. He took hold of the Stormtroopers vambrace adding. “When it blows, we will only have a few minutes to get out, before everything turns nasty. It will be tight.”
The tall officer grinned.
Simul ire ibimus… Lieutenant. We will be here.”

The White Skulls knew their trade and exactly where to strike. It was afterall their territory. The Orks paid them no heed.
The job was done quickly and without incident.
When they returned to the entrance, the Stormtroopers had gone.

“They called us low life filth.” Said Hassler.
“And I knew they would run.” Added Freundel.
The whole hive began to rumble and shake as charge after charge went off below them. Hassler grinned.
“Can’t wait to see their faces.”
“When the central Spire comes crashing down,” said Freundel. He pointed to the tiny glinting specks of the stormtroopers in the distance. “Just about where they are heading if I got my calculations right.
They both laughed.
“It’s a lovely bloody war.”
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Adrian - Dogs of War Beyond the Scope


I watched through the scope as the world before me burned. Tears ran down my face as my world burned. Through the scope I am able to compartmentalize and separate what I see. Through the scope I am able to hold onto my sanity. Above me the clouds are black with smoke. In front of me the fire rages out of control. Body’s burn and flesh is boiled by the heat. The screams of children are more than I can take. I fire my rifle and a man fall to the ground. Smoke pours from the barrel. I move quickly low to the ground. I set up again and look through the scope and target my next mark. He is dismembering a mother while her children scream. I hate him for doing it. I fire and the bullet takes part of his head in a shower of blood and bone. I move again.

This is my life now. Move, scope, shoot. Move, scope, shoot. The world around me is fallen. We are a ravaged people. I know this but I will not surrender to become the prey of the wicked. Every part of me wants to rush in and kill them all, but I cannot be foolish with my life. I must be patient. I must be patience. I must make the enemy pay for every step of ground they take, for every life they take. The dogs are coming! They are coming for me! Their handlers are running behind them chanting and shouting in their wicked tongue. I pull the scope from my eye and run.

I hear the dogs sniffing and growling and see their iron capped teeth. They are inches from my face but I do not move, I barely breathe. The dead surround me and cover me with the putrid smell of decay. I hope it will be enough to save me. The dogs move on and drag a corpse away with them. They consume it and break the bones. I watch as their handlers reattach the leashes. They speak to the dogs and the dogs obey. The corpse is torn and bleeding and the dogs are hungry. But their masters have full sway on them and their will is iron in their words.

I am patience. I am patient. I crawl from the dead and move slowly away.

I find a hole in a broken wall and press my body into it. I have been awake for three days and am unable to move anymore. With the fires all around me and the enemy close at hand I close my eyes and do not open them again until the sun is up.

I dread the daylight. I hate to look upon what the enemy has done. The buildings are nothing but rubble. They are black with soot. Thousands upon thousands of corpses cover the ground blackened by flame. Before I move from the hole I fix the scope to my eye. The world shrinks around me until it is a focused controlled environment. My stomach is growling so loudly I think that surly the enemy can hear it. I am thirsty; my lips broken, my mouth and throat so dry it burns with every breath I take. Ash covers everything. It is all that I can taste. I hate it, but do not have enough saliva to spit it out. I wait in the wall and do not venture out. I want to run. Fear holds me so tight it is a vice around my heart and a hook in my guts. Not more than a step away a man is sleeping. He is my enemy. He is one of hundreds. They are part of thousands. They are camped all around me. I am trapped.

In daylight I am exposed. The enemy is sleeping, recovering from the torment they have inflicted upon my world, upon my people. Most are drunk. I watch for nearly two hours. My patience is tested to the breaking point. If I stay here than I will surely be found. Slowly I pull the knife from the sheath in its harness and slide from the hole. The man before me is snoring. He stinks of decay and smoke. He is as covered in ash as I am. I cover his mouth and slice his throat. I push it between his ribs and puncture his lungs. He kicks once and then is still. I move skillfully and quickly from one sleeping person to the next slicing and stabbing. My heart is beating so hard I can barely hear anything so I watch and move and kill. Watch, wait and kill.

Behind me is a trail of death; twenty-six broken bleeding bodies leading from the corner of the building to the hole in the wall. I smile grimly as I turn the corner and slip away.

Night comes all too quickly. I am rested and full. I made my way inside a home that had not been completely razed and found food drink and a carpeted closet where I slept the day away. It felt good to eat and sleep but I felt guilty for feeling a moments respite from my pain. The world is dyeing all around me. Joy and relief are swords in my gut. Under a blackened burning sky I moved and readied for war.

The rifle is in my hand. The brace is against my shoulder. The scope is to my eye and the enemy is before me. I fire and am moving even before the man falls to the ground. I am set and fire once more. The man eating a screaming little girl loses the top of his head. I move and take joy in the fact the Emperor has let me fight. It feels good to fight and kill. It feels good to strike fear in the hearts of those who cause fear.

I did not see them. I should have seen them but I was so focused on what was within the sites of my scope I lost sight of what was beside me. I moved with vengeance in my heart, but a lack of patience has delivered me into the iron capped teeth of the dogs of war.
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Honorable Man - A Las-Flash in the Night


Shit. Shit. Shit. This was bad.

Las-bolts cracked through the darkness, lighting everything up in staccato flashes. He was running, running like he’d never run before, boots hitting the dirt hard enough that his feet hurt with every step. That didn’t matter, so long as he got away.

His coat was too heavy. His boots were too heavy. Everything was too heavy. At this point, it felt like his legs were just too heavy. He should have worked out more. Shit, he didn’t belong in this kind of work.

“Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.” Every exhalation was coming out like that. He didn’t care. It was shit, it had all gone to shit. They’d blown the operation and the puritans were coming. He didn’t know which ones, but it didn’t matter.

They’d kill him all the same. Or worse. He wasn’t sure which he preferred.

He didn’t even have the book. They’d failed utterly- the cult hadn’t handed it over before the shooting started. Shit, if he’d had the book something could have been made of this escape, instead of just a terrified sprint through the woods. The matter remained, though- he didn’t have it. He didn’t have it, the puritans probably had it, and everyone was dead or dying.

His toe hit something, a root, a rock, something hard, and he pitched over on his face. Something cracked- his nose, most likely. Didn’t matter. That could be fixed. He rolled over, grimacing, and hauled himself up.

Remember your training. Remember your goddamn training.

He was running again, one hand up to cup at his nose and stop the blood from dripping everywhere and the other at his holster, fumbling with the catch. It finally came open; the laspistol’s heavy weight in his hand was somewhat reassuring, but not nearly enough. The las-cracks had stopped, and that meant that they’d be looking for survivors. Shit, were there even any other survivors? Was it just him left? That wouldn’t surprise him. Not at all.

He had to get offworld.

He shook his hand free of blood, digging into his pocket for his vox-link. Clicking the transmitter button, he held it up to his mouth. “Ishtar, this is Kental. Ishtar, I need an extraction.”

No response. Just static. “Ishtar, please respond. Ishtar?”

They’d hit them too, probably. Shit, it was all over. They were all dead, or were going to be. The inquisitor was already down- he had been the first one down, actually.

He could hear crashing through the forest behind him now, and the whine of auspexes. They had him now, unless the Ishtar miraculously responded. The Inquisition wasn’t known for its mercy, either. “Ishtar-”

A crack; something hit him in the shoulder, spinning him around and throwing him to the ground. A second later, the pain hit and he let out a strangled cry. Stab-lights from helmets snapped into existence, lancing the night with brightness, picking him out from where he lay among the trees.

They had him.

Someone hauled him to his feet by the lapels of his greatcoat. They were stormtroopers, he could see that now, clad in red and black. All were helmeted, but he could hear muted clicks coming from them. They were talking amongst each other. Deciding what to do with him, perhaps?

That wasn’t up to them, though. Another figure, in the same carapace armor but unhelmeted, carrying a massive hammer rather than a lasrifle, appeared out of the darkness. This one, he recognized. Inquisitor Aethel, a noted monodominant. No hope of recovery then.

Aethel walked up to where the stormtroopers held him, coming face to face. The inquisitor was shorter, even in the carapace, and had to look up; there was a stern frown etched deep on his face, as one would expect from a puritan. He prodded Kental in the chest with the head of his hammer. “Interrogator Kental. Where’s the book?”

“Screw you.” the interrogator spat at him, following it up with a gob of bloody saliva.

A gauntleted hand smashed across his jaw and Kental sagged in the stormtrooper’s grip. “I said,” Aethel gritted out, reaching out and grabbing Kental’s wounded shoulder. “where is it?”

The interrogator cried out; waiting until he was satisified that he’d made his point, Aethel let go. “I don’t know.” Kental replied, panting to try to diffuse the pain. “You stopped the exchange.”

He had nothing left to hide. He’d put up the token resistance, and that was all anyone could ask. He was an interrogator himself- he knew what would happen if he held anything back. That was a fate he didn’t need, especially since his own inquisitor was already face down in the dirt, gone in the first volley. Nobody he needed to protect anymore, and nothing worse could happen to him if he talked...

Aethel lifted his gauntlet to his mouth and muttered something into the vox-link affixed there, turning away. “You know what to do.” he said to the stormtroopers, nodding before dropping his arms to his side and starting to walk away.

The stormtrooper shoved Kental to the ground; the interrogator pulled himself up and began to run, already knowing what was to come. Aethel was whistling something as he walked away; Kental’s heart was pounding loud enough to drown it out, it felt like. Shit, he knew what was going to happen. Why did he even bother running? He knew already.

Still, it was a surprise when the las-bolts finally lanced through his back.
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Adrian - In a Riot of Colors … Perfection


She looked at the canvas for a long time before she had even brought out her tools and brushes and thinner and paint. She didn’t look at the canvas as an empty thing but as what it would be. Now it is white. It is large, empty and … dead. She picked up her tea and sipped. It is hot. It burns her lips and she smiles. In her mind she sees what will be painted as a living thing. In her mind it is alive and fluid; breathing in and out and speaking to her. Her eyes are black as she opens her brush bag and tool tray. Her breathing becomes shallow and the room seems to cool.

Time is forgotten as it fades from her mind. Her surroundings fade to the edges of her mind. She is calm and becomes focus. The brush is dipped and the first strokes from her delicate fingers mark the canvas. The paint is storm red. With the wide brush she sets the backdrop to the canvas. The white is replaced with darkness. The form of her will begins to take shape. Hours pass and still there is much to be done. The tea is forgotten. Food is meaningless while she works. Days pass and her will is still unbroken.

She does not feel her muscles tire nor does she thirst for rest. The paint she is using becomes thick and jellied yet she works it into the canvas flawlessly. She uses many different shades of flesh and blood colors along with shades of brown and black. Paint is mixed and thinned and heated and cooled with her skill. Fourteen days later she comes out of her trance and falls to the floor, exhausted. Her canvas is only half way filled, the image incomplete. She calls for her servant and smiles as the man comes in holding his hands to his face. His mouth is covered and his eyes weep at the skill he sees before him. He falls to his knees and gasps, barely able to breathe.

She motions to the man to draw his attention back to herself. “I am weak. Thirsty.” She motions to her paint tray, “The paint is now too old to use. I will need more within the hour.” The servant bows on shaky legs and leaves the room. It is only a few moments in time before the food is brought in along with fresh water and wine. She eats in silence and admires the view through the star port. Outside everything is black with small points of light in the distance. She sips her wine and regains her strength. A new bag of paints are brought in and laid on the table before the canvas. Two servants fall to their faces and weep as they see the work, though unfinished, that she has done. They are pulled from the room for they cannot stand on their own. As the door closes the woman hears the weeping of the servants turn to screams. She smiles and regains her seat before the canvas.

Her eyes turn black. Her mouth opens ever so slightly. Her breathing becomes shallow and the room turns cold once more. She opens the paint bag and with fresh brushes she continues her work. Minutes turn to hours and hours into days; days into weeks. Even when battle rages all around her as the Pride of the Emperor is assailed from all sides, she continues to work. Even as the mighty Flagship of the Emperor’s Children pushes into the warp she seems not to take notice.

Even as her canvas is shaken from its mounting and falls to the floor not a single stroke is flawed. The painting is a thing of perfection. It is nearly finished. The rich reds and browns have dried and become darker. The flesh tones have become lighter. The shades of black and grey have become harsher. The gloves she uses are stained and blood comes from the openings at her wrists and dries on her alabaster skin. Time continues to flow around her like water around boulders. Even as the last strokes of the portrait are completed her eyes remain black. Slowly she brings up the sealant and applies it to the paint with gentle strokes. She does not hurry and her hand is steady. This process takes days to complete. Her eyes clear to their natural blue with the completion of her final stroke.

She sways in her chair and begins to fall but firm hand catch her. She gasps at the touch of the Primarch of the III Legion, the master of the Emperor’s Children. Fulgrim’s eyes are black. His mouth is set in a grim smile. His hands though strong enough to crush every bone in the artists body are gentle as he helps her to the table where food and wine are already provided. Provided by Fulgrim’s own hand. Today servants are not allowed in the room. Today servants will not provide for her. The Primarch himself will serve her for he is pleased with her work.

The woman is frail and weak. Her skin is older than it should be. Her hair has turned white. She removes the gloves from her hands. The human skinned gloves fall to the floor. The room has the smell of decay and spoiled meat. Her paint bag is old and stiff. The canvas is full with the detail of perfection. The Emperor in all his glory is fallen to the ground. He is beset by enemies that were once his trusted allies. He is weeping blood from wounds that have broken his might armor. His hand is outstretched, pleading. In a riot of colors the story is told.

Fulgrim looks to the lady, “Today perfection is accomplished. Today your purpose is completed.”

She smiles and bows her head. The food is left untouched. The wine has not been sipped. She does not speak or cower as Fulgrim pulls the blade and ends her life. Turning from the woman Fulgrim turns to the painting and weeps tears of blood with fresh emotion welling up within his breast. “It is perfect.”
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Adrian - Alive and feeling good!


I know that I was afraid and that it was dark. I felt the air around me so keenly, smelled the rain as it mixed with the grass and dirt and fell upon the trees. The storm that raged left lightning scars on the retinas and raged in the mind as that of a great beast with its thunderous voice. I lay on the ground with slashes across my face and chest. I shivered both from the cold and the pain that I was in. I could barely take in a breath. My lungs and body were on fire. What had I done to deserve this? Where had the beast come from? I had never seen anything like it before and prayed that I would never see anything like it again.

I was walking in the storm trying to make my way back to my hab when the beast attacked me. It hit me with so much power that I blacked out. It thundered into my body without fear and without remorse. I do not know why it did not kill me, but I wish that it had. Pain! It is all that I know now as I lay on my back coughing blood and begging for death.

I hear footsteps coming from what seems a long way distant. I try to call out for help but words escape me. I am sure I am dying. Voices are all around me in confusing tones. They are calling out for help and praying to the Emperor of mankind. Hands grasp me and set my nerves to screaming even more than they were. I pass out and wake again in flashes.

There are lights and then there is darkness. There are voices and than the beeping of monitors. There is the dripping of water and then the rush of wind. I flash in and out of consciousness unable to put reason together with reason. My thoughts are muddled. It seems that only minutes pass but I am told when I wake that five days have passed and that I am blessed by the Emperor of mankind to still be alive. I do not think I am blessed. I do not feel blessed. I am in pain and fire seems to be pushing through my veins. Two days later I am walking out of the madica under my own power with barely a scar to show for my pain. The doktors are amazed and terrified. They say they have never before seen a miracle and are sure the Emperor has healed me.

I am not so sure. Inside of me I feel … changed. Three more days pass and I am feeling stronger than I ever have. I no longer need optics or hearing aid. I see better than young men and hear better than the dog I love. I smell things. Scents flood my olfactory processes. I catch fragrances from the breeze that blows by. I cannot see the owner of the perfume but with an effort of will I can follow the scent for a klom or two and, well, there she is; a young blond woman looking into the window of a clothing store. Food has a better texture. I am starting to believe that I am indeed blessed.
Two weeks pass. I am running in the morning. In the last few days I have taken up the exercise. I feel good and am able to run for twenty kloms without growing tired. Something is strange today. I can feel the earth around me like never before. I hear people talking from half a klom away. I can hear the heartbeats of people as they pass by. I can hear each surge of blood that is pushed through their veins. This is strange to me and a little frightening. When I get home my dog begins to growl and backs away from me with his neck hair raised and back rigid. “Come on, boy.” I call, but he barks once and runs into the other room, but not before he pees on the carpet. I am astonished and confused at the actions of my beloved pet.

I have showered. The water, every drop of it was a paradise to me. I felt the slap of each drop upon my skin hot and bold against my muscles. I went about the rest of my day doing work around the hab and helping out a neighbor with painting and yard work. She is old and tired. I can smell death upon her. She is sick. I do not think she knows, but she will die within a month or two. I know it, but I still help her, unwilling to torment her with the thoughts of mortality.

The sun is setting and with its descent the darkness begins to invade. Shadows grow longer and deeper. Stars begin to appear. I can feel it now, stronger than before. Since the attack I have always felt it but timidly like a light touch upon the mind. I can hear it calling out to me strong and violent. I look up and see the moon, full and in all its luminous glory. My blood quickens and my mind is cast into utter confusion as I fall to my knees and begin to scream. My skin tears. My face twists. My hands and feet elongate and shred the humanity from them. My chest expands and flesh falls from it along with my blood-soaked shirt. My pants split and blood pours from them staining the floor and filling the cracks in the wood slat floor.

As the pain recedes so does my confusion. Clarity of purpose and desire floods my mind. I stand and howl. My voice is all animal. I see through the dark as if it were the clearest day and begin to run. I can smell her, the young woman I scented three weeks ago. Her scent is strong and so are her heartbeats. I find her walking in the shadows of the habs to the east. She sees me and tries to scream but the blood is spraying across the walls and the world is alight with fear. I run and kill all night long. I feast upon blood and flesh. I am alive, all confusion gone. The wolf is loose and I am free to feast upon the weak.

In a medica, in a clean bed; washed from all the blood and filth a doktor smiles down at the blond woman whose scars are already beginning to heal.
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Brother Emund - Honora ad Finem


Sergeant Dragan was trapped.

He had passed out, he knew that for sure, and now he was awake and in total darkness. He was also in immense pain.
“Janowski, Thika!”. His voice sounded weak and distant. It was an effort to talk, but he had to find out if any of his squad were still alive. “Brother Linda.. anyone copy me?.”

Ahhrg, the pain.

His entire body was wracked with overwhelming waves of pain which his enhanced physiology seemed unable to cope with.

Where am I? Am I still on the hulk? Where are my squad?

The darkness was all around him. It was complete and suffocating.

I need to get out of here. This.. place.. it is disturbing. This pain should be controlled.

He tried to remember what had happened, but he even found that difficult.

A Spacehulk had entered the Cleron System and entered the trade lanes. It had to be investigated. Since the Eastern Hive Fleet incursion many years before, small colonies of Tyrannids and their xenos breeds had been moving through The Halo Stars spreading chaos wherever they were discovered. All Spacehulks and asteroids were routinely searched, and if need be.. purged.

This Boarding action was to be no different to all the rest.. except this time the xenos were waiting for them.

Dragan remembered that his squad, all veterans of dozens of contested boarding actions, were attacked the moment they leapt from the torpedo.

Genestealers, a yellow and blue breed, swarmed them before they were able to mount an effective defence. Brother Shoko and Brother Morcos were eviscerated without firing a shot. Brother Orchamus lost an arm before he managed, by the Emperor's will, to bring his flamer to bare and clear the space around them.
Dragan lead the counter-attack and gained them a hundred metres of corridor and precious breathing space.

It had not gone well.

All over the hulk his Brothers were meeting stiff resistance. His squad was now down to seven. Orchamus was still with them but his effectiveness was reduced. He had lost a lot of blood and without an Apothecary, he might not make it through.

Ahhh, Orchamus. I remember your rearguard action at the Gloria Gates. What steadfastness, what courage. Where are you now? Are you with me? I must get out of here. I must find my Brothers. I must master this pain.

The Hulk was an amalgam of many different craft, some Imperial, some xenos. There was evidence of previous actions here. There were bones of unknown types, weapons and armour of exotic nature. They had even found an archaic bolter-like weapon that could only be human.

It would be purged and the xenos would be destroyed. They would fight on and join up with the rest of the company.

He had ordered Orchamus to take up the rearguard position with Brother Romana and his heavy-Bolter on point. It was not going to be a subtle advance but they would make the xenos pay dearly if they attacked again.

For six hours they battled through the corridors and rooms of the xenos vessel, bludgeoning, and hacking their way through legions of the foul Genestealers, until their ammo was spent and their armour was rent and battered beyond all recognition.

There were only five of them left.

“Such wanton hate,” he had thought. “Such mindless recklessness. A foe worthy of my skills, but not worthy of my respect.”

Dragan examined his Gladius. It was stained with foul spoor and nicked and scratched in a dozen places. With little effort he tore a bulkhead door away from its frame and brought it to his front like a rudimentary shield.
“We are not beaten my Brothers!” he had shouted. “By the Emperor, there will be no more of our blood spilt here today.”

The next attack came, lead by a huge genestealer with an elongated snout and abnormally long fangs.

A mutant breed.

It swung it first claw which took Dragan’s helmet off. The second strike opened up his face to the bone, breaking his jaw and taking out an eye.

I killed you though. Aye, you died by my blade like the rest of them. But we took the corridor and advanced onto the next.

My eye.


Light. Faint at first but getting brighter and brighter.

Get me out of here! Get me out now! The pain.

He could see the the robes of an Adept but not its face. That was hidden beneath its folds.
“I am Sergeant Dragan. For Emperor’s sake remove me from this grave!”

Another figure came into view. Apothecary Kostin. He knew that battered white helmet anywhere.

I am saved. Now the pain will go.

Dragan tried to move again but he was paralysed. His wounds were indeed dire.
“Kostin! I am here, can you not see me?”
Kostin removed his helmet and stroked his short black hair. He was staring directly at Dragan and shaking his head.
“Get me out of here!”. Dragan’s voice appeared weak and feeble.

More pain passed through him and a stab of pain struck his temple.

The pain.

Apothecary Kostin stepped back off the dais and turned to the Adept.
“It has been a week now Magos Hernandez. Is there any hope?”
The Adept turned slowly back and shook his head.
“Not all your brothers can stand the transition. Sergeant Dragan injuries should have been terminal. I fear he will never make the walk.”
“It is done then,” said Kostin, emotion straining his voice. He nodded to a small group of the Chapters Honoured Respexerunt Speculatores.
“He will be honourably laid to rest with the rest of his fallen Brothers.”

“We will remember him.”

Kostin stepped forward again. The Dreadnought dwarfed him, immobile and silent, a brooding, menacing figure of destruction. It was a Castraferrum Pattern Mark IV Dreadnought with a power fist and Plasma cannon. It was painted in the deep black of the night. It would have been a fitting weapon of war for a hero like Sergeant Dragan.

If he had survived his incarceration.

No! I am here with you now. I am Sergeant Dragan of The Emperor’s Vengeance. It must not end like this.

+ SYSTEM PURGING +
+ DELETION COMPLETE +
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