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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-11, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Default The Secundus

This is a story I've been working on over at Warseer for sometime now. It is series set on a prison planet of Bale Secundus. The stories are set in one location with a variety of characters who's fates are all intertwined. This is just an introduction to give you a taste of whats to come.

Check it out and let me know what you think. Thank you.
Kravunhive



The Secundus

For every dozen sectors in the Imperium there are probably four penal colonies. Planets, from the most backwater frontier colonies, to the teeming hive worlds, are breading grounds for the criminally minded. But where better place to house all the murderers, thieves, smugglers and general outlaws. As the Ancient Terran saying goes, ďout of sight, out of mind.Ē

Bale Secundus. Even the very name doesnít sound inviting. But then no one would really choose to visit such a world. For the condemned itís a one-way trip. You may even be lucky enough to be rounded up as part of penal legion and leave The Secundus only to face certain death wherever you end up. But until that time, all youíve got is time. Time to reflect on the choices youíve made. Time to be driven mad with insanity. There is only one truth in The Secundus, and that is you will die here. Only question is, how?


****

The chain gang shuffled its way along the causeway leading into the gatehouse of West Sector Sixteen. In complete silence, apart for the constant jangling of chains, the four hundred strong gang made quick time. Tybalt Thorn couldnít help but be awed and horrified at the sight of the gatehouse that stood before him. It towered at least a hundred meters into the sky and looked more like a defensive bastion than anything else. Teams of hardwired servitors manned heavy bolter turrets built into the structure, while pennants decorated with the Imperial eagle fluttered in the wind. Barbed spikes protruded from the walls, and rows of gibbets lined the causeway, many still occupied.

The thick adamantium doors creaked and moaned as the ancient hydraulic mechanisms opened the mighty gate, welcoming the new inmates. Penal custodians barked orders and hit those who needed encouragement with power mauls and kicks up the arse.

In the courtyard the chain gang was ordered to halt. The main complex stood before them. It was a fortress, a thick multiple tiered stone structure, topped with gothic buttresses and towers. Carried on the wind, the cries from within could be heard. But Tybalt shook it off as a trick of the mind.

The reality of his situation had suddenly hit him. He didnít deserve to be here, a victim of circumstance, a miscarriage of justice. There was no appeal, no mercy. He had travelled on the prison carrier for four months. The hardships he had endured aboard that vessel were just a taste of what was to come. He could sense it. Looking around at the other convicts he saw many faces, hard, tough faces that spoke volumes about their characters. But then he noticed one face that was different. He could just about make out who it was. It was a woman. He hadnít been aware women were housed with the men. The woman tuned and looked at him. He quickly jerked his head away in another direction. Feeling her eyes burning into the side of his head, he fought the temptation to look back.

A wailing siren broke his concentration. Cheering and whistling could be heard on the wind. Tybalt hadnít imagined it earlier. The chain gang was standing in front of a raised platform with a lecture in its centre. Tybalt was about six rows back from the front and constantly had to move his head to see what was going on. He could make out a party of custodians coming out of the prison fortress. As the siren began to die out the party ascended the platform and stood to attention looking out at the new arrivals. Another man dressed in ornate Arbite carapace armour took up a place at the lecturn. His shaved skull, the left side replaced with metal bionics, including the left eye, scanned the new arrivals. His voice, projected by vox amplifiers, was strong and confident.

'Welcome to Bale Secundus. I am Magistrate Maximilian Locke.' He paused and studied his audience some more.

'By failing to respect the Emperor's laws, you have been sent here to me. Here you will be punished. Here you will die. May the Emperor have mercy on your souls.'


Inmate number BS41-7216099, Tybalt Thorn. Convicted 899.M41. Former captain of the Corsican 12th, convicted for dereliction of duty, disobeying orders and assault on a superior officer. Sentence: Life imprisonment to Bale Secundus.

They have seen more death and ruin than another soldier sees in ten lifetimes.
- General Sejanus


Projects: There Is Only War - New Blog | Lexxian IX 'Sawtooths' - IG | Fiction: The Secundus - Short stories set on the penal colony of Bale Secundus |
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-11, 08:03 PM
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Very interesting, ill be keeping my eye on this one

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-11, 09:01 PM
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Pretty nice, I too will be following this. .
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-29-11, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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The Secundus
Survival


Inmate number BS41-7216099, Tybalt Thorn. Convicted 899.M41. Former captain of the Corsican 12th, convicted for dereliction of duty, disobeying orders and assault on a superior officer.
Sentence: Life imprisonment to Bale Secundus.


****


After the Magistrates speech in the courtyard the chain gang had been broken up into smaller groups. A custodian escorted Tybalt and his gang down a series of dirty, poorly lit corridors before arriving at a pair of iron doors. The faded paint read, Sector West 16, Block 5. Beyond the door the muffled noises of a hundred shouting voices reverberated through the iron exterior. A custodian with a bionic right arm carrying a power maul appeared. His face was particularly gnarled and a grizzly scar covered his throat. He walked up and down the line looking at each convict in turn.

'Convicts, welcome to Block Five. We have one rule here. No fighting. I am Custodian Agrippa and I will have your respect. No exceptions.'

As he said that a member of the chain gang near the front spat on the custodians boots. Without hesitation Agrippa smashed his power maul round the convicts face. The man spun on the spot, his neck broken, then in a crumpled heap he fell to the floor. Agrippa continued to pace the line.

'I will have your respect. Take this turd away.' He ordered a pair of guards to unhook and drag the corpse out. Tybalt watched as they did it with the least respect.

With a clank and a grown the iron doors swung open. Instantly Tybalt was hit with the force of the hot, foul smelling air as it assaulted his senses. The shouting and yelling intensified. Herded into the atrium of block five the gang was unchained. It felt good to have the shackles off their wrists and ankles. Tybalts skin was bruised and sore from where they were too tight. A bundle containing sheets and other items was shoved into his arms before being escorted into the block proper.

Cheering and taunts came from all sides and few sporadic items rained down from the higher levels. As he walked through the main hall, rows of cells lined the walls. Everywhere there were groups of men huddled together. Men from all sorts of backgrounds, hive gangers many of them. The inmates were playing and toying with the new bloods seeing who would break. Hundreds of faces all different sized him up.

The group stopped outside a cell, number 22. Tybalts name and number was read out before he was shoved inside. The custodian moved the line of new inmates on.

Suddenly Tybalt felt very alone. The cell was small and cramped. A bunk bed sat on one side of the wall, a dirty basin and toilet on the other. A single ceiling light bathed the room in a warm, dull brown luminance.
A figure lay on the top bunk; it stirred and sat up looking at Tybalt indifferently. The man was lean but his tattooed arms were well defined. He got down from the bunk and squared up with Tybalt.

'This is my cell. It may be where you live, but itís my cell. Keep yourself to yourself and maybe weíll get along.'

The manís face was cold and expressionless. A star tattoo decorated his left temple and a thin scar ran from the right corner of his mouth to the middle of his check. He was young and couldnít have been older than twenty, Tybalt thought. Without replying He moved around the young hive ganger and placed his bundle on the bottom bunk. The young punk watched as he did so, muttered a phrase in guttural slang, which Tybalt assumed was an insult, before leaving the cell.


****

Sector West Sixteen, Block Five houses two hundred and eighty convicts. Condemned souls, lost in the eyes of the Emperor. In a place full of outcasts and criminals it should come as no surprise that those from similar backgrounds will bond together. Those from the same world, with the same beliefs, or simply for mutual protection will form gangs. These bonds, when broken down and examined come down to two things, power and trust.

The first, power. Having an advantage over the other prisoners is important to maintain a sense of order. This can be measured in a number of ways; gang size, influence, control and distribution of contraband. To hold power amongst the inmates of a prison is more dangerous to the custodians than anyone else. The ability to orchestrate a massed riot at the drop of a word is enough for the guards to turn a blind eye on certain dealings.

The second, trust. If you share a bond with someone no matter how great or small, you have a little bit of their trust and vice versa. Knowing someone is watching your back to the continuous dangers of prison life eases some of the stress. But sometimes the reality is you can never really trust a person completely. Survival is the unwritten rule of The Secundus, a man will do what he has to in order to survive.

****


He wasnít afraid to leave his cell. He just didnít have the need to. Tybalt knew that if he didnít leave soon someone would notice and take this as a sign of weakness. When he did decide to leave he knew it was all about body language. The others would read his manner in an instant. His very survival might come down to the next few minutes.

Sitting on his bunk he took in a few deep breaths. His cell mate hadnít come back since leaving nearly half an hour ago. Occasionally someone would walk by the cell and throw in few taunts and insults. He couldnít wait any longer. He had to make a move. Scope this place out like a reconnaissance mission.
He walked tall and confident, as if he were on parade. Head up and eyes focused. He took several steps out of the cell. Eyes from different parts of the block met his own and he didnít flinch from holding there attention. He was alert, scouting for threats. But there werenít any.
At least so he thought.

Out of nowhere it seemed, a group of four large men surrounded him. One grabbed him in a well placed choke hold. Another drew a small blade and held it against his stomach. Everything happened so fast. Tybalt knew he didnít have long to react. Then the one holding with the blade spoke.

'I recognise your type. Youíre Imperial guard, an officer too. Donít be thinking your better than us. Around here everyoneís the same.'

Tybalt, forced to look at the manís face, didnít take in any features except the twin headed snake tattoo on either side of his neck.

He had to act.

In one fluid movement Tybalt kneed the bladed man in the groin. He went down hard. Then with a backwards jerk he reverse head butted the man holding him. Tybalt heard the distinct crack of a broken nose.

Released, he was rushed by the other two. Knocking the first aside with a parry movement he focused on the last man. The brute was clumsy and not skilled in martial combat techniques. Tybalt grabbed the manís right arm and with a powerful flat handed palm thrust from his left hand, smashed it into the mans elbow. The force broke the bruteís arm backwards, forearm flopped disturbingly the wrong way and he went down screaming in agony.
By now the cheering and the commotion had attracted attention from the Custodian guard tower that stood in the centre of the prison block. Custodians in full riot gear, armed with power mauls and shields rushed towards the scene.

The deflected third man, stood hesitantly. He surveyed the damage Tybalt had done to his comrades. He didnít wish to end up the same but he didnít flee. Instead a pair of custodians crushed into him taking him down. Tybalt too was subdued and held against the cell block wall. A buzzing alarm sounded, followed by orders from the Custodian Tower. It was the signal for a lock down.

The riot-geared custodians took control of the situation. They dispersed the on looking crowd, who peacefully but unhappily returned to their cells. The two badly injured men were taken to the infirmary.

Tybalt was thrown into his cell as the bared doors were slammed behind him. His cell mate, the young hive punk, stood at the other end, arms folded. He didnít say anything until Tybalt looked at him. For a moment there was a pause. It felt uneasy. But then the ganger broke the silence.

'I saw what you did. Youíve got some moves on you. You smashed those guys up pretty good.'

'I had to do something, theyíd have killed me.' Said Tybalt bluntly.

'You did what you had to. I respect that.' The ganger held out his hand. Tybalt took it in a firm grip and shook it.

'Names Kolt. Just Kolt.'

'Tybalt Thorn.'

There was a genuine respect in the gangers eyes and in his hand shake, Tybalt could feel it.

'Those guys you tore up are the Hydraís. Bastards, all of em. Guess you saw the snake tattooís on the leaders neck? Heís known as Venom.'

'Thatís an interesting name.'

'Yeah, a lot of the hive gangers go by aliases. Youíd better watch your back. You disrespected him, and made his guys look weak. Theyíll probably kill someone just to look tough again.'

'As I said, I did what I had too. Iíll take him on again if need be.'

Kolt chuckled then lifted himself up onto his bunk.
'Iím sure you can, I donít doubt that for a second. Just remember; someoneís always out to get you.'

With that Kolt lay down.

Tybalt thought about what he had said before sitting himself down on his own bed. He hadnít even noticed his hands were shaking. The adrenaline was still rushing through his body. Heíd only been in the prison an hour and already heíd injured two inmates and humiliated a third.

Itís going to be a long life he thought.


****


Inmate number BS41-1914266, Julius Koltanis, AKA Kolt. Convicted 895.M41. Member of the Death Spiders gang from the capitol hive slums on Carpathia. Convicted for nine counts of murder in gang related activities.
Sentence: Life imprisonment to Bale Secundus.

They have seen more death and ruin than another soldier sees in ten lifetimes.
- General Sejanus


Projects: There Is Only War - New Blog | Lexxian IX 'Sawtooths' - IG | Fiction: The Secundus - Short stories set on the penal colony of Bale Secundus |
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-29-11, 11:24 PM
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Nice work.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-12-14, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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-|[ THE SECUNDUS ]|-
-[ Sleepless Nights ]-


On the Secundus the night cycle can be just as dangerous as the days. An inmate awake in his cell with no one for company, apart from the vermin and a head full of memories. With so much time to think itís easy to drive yourself crazy. Constantly replaying the events from your past over and over. Thinking what if youíd done something differently. Memories can become disjointed fragments, twisting together forming nightmares. If the human subconscious can create such terrifying images, what does that say about human nature? You could say that in sleep we are the most vulnerable from our very selves.

+ + +

A Dream.
Foggy and hazy. Vision not entirely clear. A ruined cityscape backlit with bright fires. The screaming. The dead. The dying. Fast forward now. A defensive position overrun. Attackers in all directions, a fierce melee ensuing. A young girl, dark haired and pale. Her face so innocent, her eyes so inviting. She stands in the middle of the chaos. The ground rumbles and blows apart. Artillery shells erupting all around blasting masonry in all directions. A tower block begins to crumble. Back to the girl. Her face emotionless yet her eyes speak volumes. An upward glance sees small fragments raining all around. Pieces getting larger. Rubble falling. Falling.


With an involuntary twitch Tybalt woke sharply. Another nightmare. Always the same one. He was sweating and his vest was quite damp. He lay there on his bunk and exhaled, his heart was pumping. The dreams images, still fresh in his mind were playing over again. He tried not to think about them. But the more he tried not to, the more he actually did.
ďDamn.Ē He whispered.
He got up softly trying not to disturb Kolt as he slept on the top bunk. Tybalt made his way to the basin, turned on the tap and splashed his face with the cool water. He looked at himself in the cracked mirror on the wall above the sink. He didnít recognise the reflection.
Ever since his sentencing Tybalt had been having nightmares. They had gotten worse during the journey on the penal hulk to The Secundus. Every time he closed his eyes he could picture the war. Acheron. That fated world on which a series of events had transpired that ultimately led him to his incarceration. He thought about it every single day. The injustice was still fresh in his heart.

He moved to the bars. Block Fiveís main lights were out. Only the central security tower was running any power. In the towers observation window he could see silhouettes of the guards moving around. The block was deathly silent. There were a few sounds however, most prominent being the heavy dull echo of a patrolling custodians boots whilst doing the rounds. But as he looked out the bars and around at the other cells he began to hear other things.
Nearby he heard sobbing. Someone was crying. A man, he couldnít tell whom. It was coming from a second tier cell on the floor above. He pictured a weeping man in his cell, the night cycle being the only chance to release the built up emotion in some semblance of privacy. The darkness had a way of breaking people.

Across the floor in a cell almost opposite his own he made out a small dull yellowish light. Like a small firefly. He could make out a pair of cons smoking a tobacco stick, sharing long drags between them before exhaling the fumes. It had been years since he ended his habit but the confines of the prison stirred up cravings he hadnít felt in years. But such contraband was hard to come by and these two obviously had some inside connections.

He thought more about the dream. That young girl. He had never forgotten what she had looked like. He could see her now. Was this a dream? As his eyes refocused he realised he had be staring while his mind wandered. In a cell directly opposite his, across the way, stood a girl. He recognised her but who was she? It took a few seconds but then he realised it was the girl he had seen on his first day after arriving. She had caught him looking at her in the chain gang.
She stood there for a second, emotionless but then she smiled. Tybalt smiled back. She looked so similar to the girl from his dreams. Her long black hair, slightly pale skin and deep eyes that were as inviting as they were dark. She was beautiful.

For a minute or two they stood there looking at each other as if they were the only two humans left alive. The footsteps of the patrolling custodian grew louder and Tybalt had to break off his engagement and bolt back into his bunk. Lying there he waited as the guard walked past. He waited a good few minutes until the footsteps grew quieter. When he thought it was safe enough he got up again and went to the bars to look for the mysterious raven haired woman opposite.
But she wasnít there. She was gone. She seemed real enough but the whole moment felt like a dream.
Slowly he went back to bed. He lay there with his eyes shut. The nightmares slowly began to creep back into his head. He drifted off to sleep.


A Dream.
The feeling was different. This wasnít like the others. He stood in darkness. In the distance a small light began to shine. It grew larger and brighter. He raised his hand to shield his eyes. The intensity began to die away. Stood in front of him floating, a girl. The girl from his dreams. No. The girl from the opposite cell. How? She was angelic, bathed in light. Her hair and her robes blew by some unseen force. She extended an arm and offered him her hand. He looked into her eyes. She smiled. Softly she spoke.
ďThe Emperor Protects.Ē

+ + +

Across the floor, shrouded in darkness, the girl hid. The shadows provided her with the perfect sanctuary. To her the darkness was calming. She sat in the corner of the cell where the shadows we darkest. With her eyes closed she could feel the environment around her. She sensed many tortured souls, lost and adrift in an abyss waiting to consume them. She found the one she was after. She smiled.
ďThe Emperor Protects.Ē

+ + +

Inmate number BS41 Ė 1021426, Persephone Moss. Convicted 899.M41. Numerous counts of petty and serious theft, illegal prostitution and dangerous assault on a senior factory foreman.
Sentence: Life imprisonment to Bale Secundus.

They have seen more death and ruin than another soldier sees in ten lifetimes.
- General Sejanus


Projects: There Is Only War - New Blog | Lexxian IX 'Sawtooths' - IG | Fiction: The Secundus - Short stories set on the penal colony of Bale Secundus |
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-14, 06:26 PM
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I like the story and your writing, so hope it continues to go on. With your pacing, this is looking at novel length.

Funny, the only part of the story I'm having trouble with is the thought that the Imperium would waste resources on a prison, instead of the Arbites just offing someone they thought of as an Imperial lawbreaker. That being said, I know the IG does have Penal Regiments, so the prisons are hiding out there somewhere.

Keep up the great work!

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