Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories 17-01: Toxic
Welcome to the year's first
For those of you that are unfamiliar with HOES, here's how it works:
Each month, there will be a thread posted in the Original Works forum for that month's HOES competition. For those of you interested in entering, read the entry requirements, write a story that fits the chosen theme and post it as a reply to the competition thread by the deadline given. Each and every member of Heresy Online is more than welcome to compete, whether your entry is your first post or your thousandth. We welcome everyone to join the family of the Fan Fiction Forum.
Once the deadline has passed, a separate voting thread will be posted, where the readers and writers can post their votes for the top three stories. Points will be awarded (3 points for 1st, 2 for 2nd, and 1 for 3rd) for each vote cast, totalled at the closure of the voting window, and a winner will be announced. The winner will have his/her story added to the Winning HOES thread and be awarded the Lexicanum's Crest award for Fiction excellence!
The idea with the theme is that it should serve as the inspiration for your stories rather than a constraint. While creative thinking is most certainly encouraged, the theme should still be relevant to your finished story. The chosen theme can be applied within the WH40K, WHF, HH, and even your own completely original works (though keep in mind, this IS a Warhammer forum) but there will be no bias as to which setting is used for your story.
As far as the theme goes, please feel free with future competitions to contact me with your ideas/proposals, especially given that my creative juices may flow a bit differently than yours. All I ask is that you PM me your ideas rather than posting them into the official competition entry/voting threads to keep posts there relevant to the current competition.
The official word count for this competition will be 1,000 words. There will be a 10% allowance in this limit, essentially giving you a 900-1,100 word range with which to tell your tale. This is non-negotiable. This is an Expeditious Story competition, not an Epic Story nor an Infinitesimal Story competition. If you are going to go over or under the 900-1,100 word limit, you need to rework your story. It is not fair to the other entrants if one does not abide by the rules. If you cannot, feel free to PM me with what you have and I'll give suggestions or ideas as to how to broaden or shorten your story.
Each entry must have a word count posted with it. Expect a reasonably cordial PM from me (and likely some responses in the competition thread) if you fail to adhere to this rule. The word count can be annotated either at the beginning or ending of your story, and does not need to include your title.
Without further ado...
The theme for this month's competition is:
ToxicEntries should be posted in this thread, along with any comments that the readers may want to give (and comments on stories are certainly encouraged in both the competition and voting threads!) 40K, 30K, WHF, and original universes are all permitted (please note, this excludes topics such as Halo, Star Wars, Forgotten Realms, or any other non-original and non-Warhammer settings). Keep in mind, comments are more than welcome! If you catch grammar or spelling errors, the writers are all more than free to edit their piece up until the close of the competition, and that final work will be the one considered for voting. Sharing your thoughts with the writers as they come up with their works is a great way to help us, as a FanFiction community, grow as a whole.
The deadline for entries is Midnight GMT, 31 January 2017. Remember, getting your story submitted on 22nd will be just as considered by others as one submitted on 11th! Take as much time as you need to work on your piece! Any entries submitted past the deadline will not be considered in the competition, regardless of whether the voting thread is posted or not.
If simply being victorious over your comrades is not enough to possess you to write a story, there will be rep rewards granted to those that participate in the HOES Challenge.
Participation - 1 reputation points, everyone will receive this
3rd place - 2 reputation points
2nd place - 3 reputation points
1st place - 4 reputation points and Lexicanum's Crest
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in this thread.
Without further nonsense from me, let the writing begin!
Wow, I am really struggling with this one! :|
A quick disclaimer from me at the begining of 2017. All my stories will be within the 1100 word limit. This does not include the title (or maybe it does sometimes!), my name and the word count. It does not include any expanations or words, quotes etc, which I usually insert after the end. I hope that is OK to everyone? :grin:
* * *
The Long Watch
It had been a long and laborious shift.
Emperor’s balls, but aren’t they always?
Paulo Bahamonde was in desperate need of a drink, or something else to take away the dull throb behind his eyes. He would go to The Blue Crustacean Club, get drunk on Cadian Pilsner and then stuff his face with those wonderful pastries they serve there. Then he would waste a handful of coins on the rigged slot machines before staggering back to his grey box to sleep.
Or maybe not? Damn them all.
The Blue Crustacean was a sleazy rat-infested hole that preyed on the likes of him, fleecing hard-working servants of the Imperium of their hard-gotten gains. The stimm-built muscle on the door meant that there was always a No Money Back Policy.
Tonight, he thought, tonight I shall fleece them instead, and there would be nothing they could do about it.
It was risky of course. He worked in the Macharius District, which was a militarised zone full of busy-bodies and everyone he should avoid, but Frack it, he would go home happy tonight for a change… if only the headache would go away.
Eight bells tolled. Shift end. The ancient vox-amp crackled into life.
Praise the Emperor!
“Praise his Majesty!”
We honour his sacrifice!
“He sacrificed himself so that we may live!”
All Hail the Emperor!
“And off to the Crustacean we go... praise the Cadian Pilsner, praise the reconstituted…”
“I believe the correct reply is ‘We are his humble servants’… Bahamonde, or did I hear something different?”
Damn! Overseer First-Class Kumar. The pedant had heard his remarks.
Bahamonde turned very slowly, hoping above all, that his nemesis was not there and he had imagined the whole thing.
A rotund, grey-hooded man glared back through small piggy eyes. Sweat glistened on his flat forehead, his thin lips were drawn back in a grimace of rage.
“Paulo Bahamonde. For years I have shrugged off your impudent remarks and slights. I have put them down to your inability to communicate correctly with your fellow workers because of your high intelligence and other skills. That is it I think. You just cannot control what comes out of your mouth. Tonight, you excelled in stupidity, tonight you crossed that line. Tonight, was heresy. Tonight…”
“Oh, do shut up fat ass.”
The Overseer nearly swallowed his tongue.
“What did you say?”
“I said shut up. Go to sleep. Do not wake up until tomorrow morning. When you do, you will forget about this little episode. In fact, you will praise me, again, for all my hard work and diligence.”
The Overseer staggered slightly before toppling forward into Bahamonde’s outstretched arms. He gently lay him down between one of the rows of pews that lined the walls of the Domum autem Ducatum and then stood up quickly before anyone else noticed.
It was always risky using his powers. He only used them sparingly. He was, after all, an unsanctioned Psyker and if he was caught, he would be shown no mercy. Recently however, he had been more risqué and had used his gift for his own delight and pleasure. He secretly enjoyed the power it gave him.
I will stop using them, he thought, then added, but not until I have had a good night at the club.
* - *
The evening was chilly with a frosty wind blowing in from across the sea. He pulled his hood over his head but the material was so threadbare that it provided very little protection from the elements. He joined the heaving mass of workers and allowed himself to be carried along. Their body heat was at least something.
He Predictably found himself at Saint Drusus Boulevard and dropped left into a small side alleyway and away from the throng. The human tide continued on their way, unabated, like a never-ending sea of grey golems.
He tasted bile in his throat and before he knew it he was heaving heavily, spilling the meagre contents of his stomach onto the rubbish-strewn floor at his feet. He feebly clasped his throat as if he could stop this reflex. A stabbing pain pierced the side of his head and appeared to pass through to the other side.
By the Emperor, what is happening?
He fell to his knees, unable to control even his basic functions. He looked up at the tide flowing by, pleading for some sort of help, some sort of sign. He was disappointed, the grey continued, on and on, forward and on.
He finally got to his feet and saw her.
A face, a pale face in the crowd was looking back at him. She was beautiful, an angel of unsurpassed perfection, and she was smiling at him. He had seen her before, he was sure of it.
Her white cloak fluttered open and he saw power armour.
He tasted blood in his mouth.
“It makes sense now. It is you. You are making me sick,” he struggled. “Whatever you are, whatever you are doing is making me the way I am. You are poisonous to me, you are toxic.”
A man in a long trench coat stepped out of the shadows beside him. He was holding something up in his hands.
“Do you know what this is?” He said in a soft, melodious voice.
Bahamonde’s legs gave way once more. He began to sob uncontrollably.
It was a small silver plate which bore a glowing red rune.
“We have been watching you for some time, Paulo Bahamonde, Secundum Genus Scribae, the scrivener. I am Interrogator Wolf of the Holy Inquisition,” he gave an imperceptible nod. “This is Sister Berehta of The Order of the Silver Sword. She is an Untouchable and here to protect me… from you. Our ship awaits in orbit and from there we transit to Holy Terra.”
“I have always been a good servant of the Emperor.” Bahamonde whimpered.
The Interrogator gently placed a hand on his head.
“I know you have, and now you can serve him again by sacrificing your soul to Him.”
Tu per Gratiam in Lucem. By his Grace you go into the light.
* * *
Also being challenged by this month's theme, but I'm working on something:smile2:.
Word Count: 937
Dysis. An echo of a memory spelled her name in the endless plane-space of her mind. And in the churning depths of her thoughts, where she existed yet-did-not-exist, she could barely remember it. Who was she? Dysis. Sundown. Yes, something she could finally pin onto her fleeting memories. Orphan. Someone who had not shared her blood had given her that name, given her a purpose in life before could even learn to walk. But the answer which had been lying in wait for her had only birthed more questions in its place.
Absolution through fire, forgiveness through death. Dysis had devoted her childhood to the hardships of Tyrannus’ scholas. Her masters had instilled courage into her through whip, spilt blood, and constant prayer. How many sins had she atoned for, those that were not even her own? The reminders of each one carved into her with ritual etchings.
Dysis Rigatos. Dysis remembered who she was and where she belonged. An Adeptus Sororitas of the Emperor’s Grace, a long-standing and proud order based on the highest spires of the hive world of Tyrannus.
She remembered who she was and where she belonged, and then remembered where she was.
Dysis reached out for an alley wall to lean against and vomited forth a black sludge that she could not recall drinking. She had no recollection of the back-alley that she was lost in, but it was narrow and well-lit with small hanging vermilion colored lamps. Her armored boots were soaked to their heels in a small puddle, one of many that littered a pot-marked and cracked road that wound through the alley.
Thunder bristled in an ashen sky that could not be seen, and the remains of a light rainfall trickled into the depths of the undercity.
Dysis swayed unsteadily and groaned. She swiped her mouth on the cloth that hung from her arm and stared into her reflection in the puddle. An image of a perfectly normal Dysis glared back at her, slightly annoyed by what she had seen.
“Superior Fern?” Dysis pressed a pair of fingers to her comm. link and waited for a reply. Only static greeted her. She sighed. “Where the hell am I?”
After a few minutes of resting, Dysis recovered her balance and left the alley behind her. The clustered roads of the undercity and the pressing crowds closed in around her. She felt mildly uncomfortable, but no more than normal.
His light guide you, sister.
Terra’s blessings upon you.
Mercy upon a mere sinner, sister.
Dysis exchanged smiles and blessings as she forged her way through the myriad of chapels amid the dilapidated slums beyond the mining manufactorums. The area steadily became more familiar as she did so. This area was the Devotees Commons, a center of worship for the poor in the undercity controlled by the Adeptus Sororitas.
Dysis continued down a winding road that took her to the chapel of Saint Arcas the Pursuer. The crowds began to thin as she approached ringed walls of ferrocrete manned by Gothic gargoyles.
Between two sets of the ringed walls was an entrance of platinum doors carved with the relief of some epic battle. A pair of Sororitas of the Order of the Emperor’s Grace stood guard at the great doors and motioned for her to halt.
She recognized them. Ophira and Myra.
Ophira raised her bolter at the mere sight of Dysis. “Dysis!? Celestine’s arse, is that really you?”
Myra’s mouth went taut, but she did not say anything.
“What?” Dysis sputtered with laughter. “What do you mean, ‘is it really me,’ of course it’s me! Can you not see me? Are you blind or deaf? Is my voice that of a saint? Open the gate!”
Myra shook her head, skeptical. “And why should we do that? Do you realize that we’ve been looking for you all week? We’ve tried comm. channels, patrols, and combing these alleys… everything. Everyone thought you were dead. Even if you aren’t, no way the Superior is going to overlook you being gone for over a week.”
A week. Gone. Dead. Dysis’ heart skipped a beat. She was not going to be able to hold it in. She doubled over and vomited forth black sludge.
“What in the Emperor…” Myra could scarcely scramble back and reach for her bolter before the black sludge ricocheted onto her armor and immediately seeped into her facial orifices.
A report thundered from Ophira’s boltgun and sundered Dysis’ armor open around the ribcage. Dysis swayed gently on her feet as if she had merely been grazed, lurched once, and then combusted from the gunshot wound into a mess of writhing multi-colored tendrils. All at once, the flesh-change altered both Dysis and Myria until they were shambles of writhing, ichor-spewing monstrosities.
Ophira cursed and looked on in horror as the black ichor spewed from the writhing tendrils and spread between the cracks in the road, in the drops of every puddle toward unsuspecting citizens. Soon screams were on the air as seemingly random innocents began to contort and seize with unnatural energies.
Ophira had little choice. She gunned them all down. Or tried too. But for every corpse that collapsed from each burst from her bolter, three more mutants began to spring into unholy life.
Ophira could already feel feathers sprouting from her limbs, even as her boltgun annihilated Myra beneath a relentless fusillade. She turned her weapon on herself before the flesh-change could overwhelm her completely. Her last memory of this world would be a daemon-possessed Dysis shattering through the doors of Saint Arcas’ Church and knowing that she had failed.
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