Heresy-Online's Expeditious Stories 17-07: Futility
Welcome to the year's seventh
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:
FutilityEntries 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 July 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!
All is dust.
Captain Carbon Dask stared into the void and let out a long sigh.
“Captain, are you well?”
He angled his head slightly, never taking his eyes off the darkness of infinity.
“Yes, Commander Elthin, I am functioning at maximum efficiency,” he paused. “For someone who has served the Emperor for the best part of a century that is.”
His subordinate squinted and shrugged his shoulders, daring to glance back at the assembled command crew behind him. The Tin Man, the crew’s unofficial nickname for their Captain, did not seem to be himself today. He seemed to be out of cinque, to be elsewhere, to not be… himself.
Dask would probably have recognised this but waved the lassitude away as the results of an overly long stretch in the warp or the fact that he had not slept properly in days.
That it should come to me here and at this place.
He had been a solid servant of the Imperium since time in memorial, and he had never been as proud as he was now, as the Captain of the Space Marine Battlebarge the Nocturnus Venandi. He was honoured to have fought in hundreds of battles with The Emperor’s Vengeance Chapter and had carved his name with pride, assigning billions of the Emperor’s enemies to oblivion.
They had only been beaten once and that was technically not a defeat he assured himself.
He ran his good hand over the left side of his face and felt the cold metal there. He then held up his left hand and opened and closed the augmentic replacement.
They called him The Tin Man behind his back. The name could probably be justified, but he was a little annoyed that the tin was in fact the finest Mars platinum, forged at the Mondus Gamma Forge Temple no less. He had been rendered into his mien courtesy of bio acid from an exploding Tyrannid living torpedo.
It had been at Psi Luminar 3 in the Outeria System.
An almost identical system as this, Dask mused.
“Helm, two points Starboard if you please.”
“Two points Starboard, Aye Captain.”
The ship made the course adjustment and then suddenly it was there in view, the Agri-world of Sumesh.
They sleep in ignorant oblivion.
The luminous green sphere was haloed in the first orange light of a new dawn. Its sun would soon rise and the monotonous existence of plough and reap would begin for its sixty million inhabitants.
Plough and reap, collect the tithes and do your duty to the Emperor; except that today the machines would remain still and silent and the agri-workers will stare up into the heavens and witness the Gods at war.
A glint caught Dasks eye which was soon followed by more and more as the distance sun’s rays cut out above the planet.
Dask could not fail to be impressed. The reflections came from the assembled fleets that were at anchor above Sumesh, two hundred vessels of every size and shape that had rallied to the call, to rally and save the inhabitants of this tiny, insignificant planet.
“It is not enough.”
“Courage Captain.” The voice was low and menacing with an accent that Dask knew well. He turned slowly, straightening up to his full height and menace.
“Chaplain Jacobsen. I was unaware that you were on the bridge…”
“I assumed you would be administering the rites of battle to your warriors.”
“I am not the only Chaplain in the Fleets, besides; it is also my duty to provide succour to the Chapters Auxiliaries.”
“Comfort?” Dask managed to grin. “I struggle with that notion Chaplain, knowing you as I do.”
The Space Marine joined his side and they both looked back out to the planet below. If it was not for the seriousness of the situation unfolding, one would wonder at the sight of these two men standing together. The tall, muscular ship’s captain in his purple Vengeance Auxiliary frock coat covered in medals and gold braid. His face half hidden in burnished metal and the towering form of the Space marine Chaplain with his silver-skull helmet and gun metal cloak and vestiges. Both were completely different in every way, but beneath the surface, there was mutual respect brought about in the hard crucible of battle. No other mortal could talk to Chaplain Jacobsen in such an informal manner.
After what seemed like an eternity the Chaplain slammed down the shaft on his Crozious with the force of an exploding Rhino.
“Clear the Command deck.”
The gathered officers dispersed immediately and without hesitation. Years of training and indoctrination meant that orders were obeyed without question.
The Chaplain turned and faced Dask and then with slow reverence he unclipped his helmet and revealed his own true face.
Dask gasped. He had never seen the marine uncloaked and unveiled. It took his breath away.
Jacobsen’s own face was a mass of scar tissue and grafts. His own eyes had been replaced with bionics and where his nose should have been was a gaping hole, his mouth a swollen red hole devoid of teeth.
“I never knew…” Dask began. Jacobsen held up his hand.
“Nor would you. My face is for my eyes alone and although some would be delighted in such disfigurement, I would prefer to keep it hidden.”
“I am sorry.”
“Sorry for what?”
Dask lowered his head.
“I am sorry.” He raised his head again. “I am struggling,” he stuttered. “To maintain my faith. I have my doubts.”
“Of final victory? Even if we fail here today Captain, others will pick up our mantle and carry on the fight. The Imperium of man will prevail.”
“But against such an abomination Chaplain? This entity we face today is but a finger, a mere slither of the greater organism that follows. I fear that everything will not be enough to slow it down even for a moment.” He swept his hand towards the planet below. “I fear that all of them down there and all of us up here, will be food for their ever-expanding stomachs. They will consume us and then move on, ever on. Our stance here is futile.”
Jacobsen placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Have faith Captain. The Emperor will protect us all.”
The Vox-comm came to life and the voice of a lobotomised servitor grated out.
“They are coming Captain, three Hive ships in total.”
Dask turned to the Chaplain his good eye glinting.
“Gunmaster. Prepare the broadsides. Master-at-arms, you may beat to quarters."
Will try to post something for the competition tomorrow, depends on if I come up with a cool idea:grin2:(even if I don't, I'll still post, haha:laugh2:).
In the Hour of His Arrival
Word Count: 1099
“Do you recognize anything, Shor’an?” Primaris Captain Kel’Stan of the Drake Hunters climbed over a hill forged from alien dead. “I understand ten thousand years could change things, but…”
“You were not prepared.” A glamorous standard painted in a crimson-emerald quarter scheme fluttered on an ashen wind. “None of us are, Kel’Stan. And no, nothing stands out to me beneath this oppressive veil of darkness.”
Primaris Ancient and standard bearer Shor’an inclined his helm once, the piece of armor eerily reminiscent of those days which he walked the world of Ignaris Prime ten thousand years ago. Like most of his Primaris Brothers, Shor’an stood a few heads over the Salamanders who had served in the imperium for the last ten thousand years. His armor belonged to the new Mark X patttern established by the Ultramarines Primarch, Roboute Gulliman himself. The Ancient’s armor was painted in a crimson-emerald quarter scheme, covered by a great Drake-scale cloak wrapped around his shoulders.
Kel’Stan cast his gaze over the edge of a great bluff and observed the battle unfold in silence.
Charon Prime burned in the unholy flames of a Tyrannic uprising. Detonations rippled across the higher peaks of the Hive City and entire swathes of the urban labyrinth come crashing down onto the impossibly scaled network of slums below. Thunderhawks and imperial aircraft weaved between a mass fusillade of futile return fire. Each unleashed payload into occupied enemy strongholds—which were numerous and grew by the hour—and Kel’Stan looked on with grim determination as entire fortresses were obliterated into nothing more than embers and dust.
Not even a hundred bombardments could stem the tide which poured from Charon Prime. A ramshackle host of tens of thousands of mining vehicles improvised for warfare. Countless thousands of seething mutants forced marched from the gates of the fallen city into the arid wasteland of Choral Desert.
“Brothers!” Kel’Stan heard himself thunder into the burning sunset. He shifted away from the bluff and focused on the hundred Primaris marines assembled for battle. “The Drake Hunters are the one of the first successors ever to be founded from our brethren in the Salamanders. Or so I have been told.
“Do not muddle your thoughts with doubt! Do not think for a moment that Vulkan, our Primarch, would look upon us with shame in his heart. Brothers, Vulkan is not here this day, but have faith that he watches all of us and guides your hearts! Have no mercy for the mutant! For they in their own despair would spread the horrors and oppression of the vilest xenos race imaginable into the very heart of our Imperium!
“Death is now the only mercy you can give our foe… And Vulkan would rejoice of our valor this day as the Drake Hunters step into battle untested. Do not leave your Primarch wanting, for he lives, brothers! Vulkan lives!”
A chorus of a hundred inhuman voices, amplified by the mechanical roar of the Redemptor Pattern Dreadnaughts echoed to the skies above.
“Raise the standard!” Kel’Stan inclined his head in Shor’an’s direction. In his hands, he hefted a heavy thunder hammer into the air, rays of wane sunlight reflected off of the infernal scales.
No sooner had the words left the Drake Hunter’s mouth did the Whirlwind Batteries unleash their firepower into the seething horde below. Kel’Stan watched the artillery shells arc through the air on acrid trails of smoke. The barrage erupted among the Genestealer Cult in an incessant wave of destruction. Several hundred mutants were purged with each successive shell. Their ramshackle vehicles blossomed in fiery explosions and a storm of shrapnel carved through the seething horde.
Kel’Stan allowed himself to be enveloped into a blinding radiance which coalesced around his armor. A small thrum increased in volume until it reached a deafening pitch. He closed his eyes for one moment and when he snapped them open, he stood directly before the oncoming horde. Undeterred by the sudden teleportation strike, a shrill choir of noise rolled over him as a thousand hybrid genestealers charged forward. An inhuman reaction, one that relied on bestial instinct, which had long overcome their honest human souls.
“Aggressors! Redeem them!”
The Drake Hunter Captain’s words were punctuated by several hundred shell casings ejected into the Choral Desert. The marching formations of Tyrannic Cultists recoiled and spasmed into the dirt in one rolling wave. Screams marked the air as bolter shells burst mutants from within in a spray of severed limbs, blood, and pulped organs. Still the endless horde pushed on, many of them clawed their way forward only to be put down when they strayed too close.
“Fare better under the Emperor’s watch!” Kel’Stan weaved around a speeding truck with numerous saw blades fashioned on the front.
The heated blast of a concentrated laser lashed through the air and he leaned away from the wide shot. In one fluid movement, he ripped out his plasma pistol and punctured the gunner through the back of his hybrid skull. Kel’Stan did not wince as the rock grinder shredded through one of his Aggresors in a gory splatter of blood.
Concentrated fire from the cultist came in from every perceivable direction as they moved to envelope the small strike force. Auto fire rippled through the air and scarred many a Gravis-Pattern armor, but for each failed strike, return fire roared and felled a dozen enemies in one burst.
Kel’Stan ducked beneath a sharp talon meant to cleave through his neck. He swept his heavy thunder hammer into an uppercut that pulped the carapace-hardened skull into bloody bits. He swung his hammer in a lower arc that shredded through both muscle and tendon found in the disjointed legs of three mutants. An actual Genestealer clawed deep into his adamantium hide, but he pushed it back with a pommel strike through the chest.
Kel’Stan hurled the creature aside with a strong sweep of his hand and directly into the wheels of another rock grinder. Plasma bolts rained down from the skies, the Inceptors who wielded them soared through the air on fiery trails. The Drake Hunter Captain charged out of reach of the vehicle as bolt after bolt of super-heated energy punched through the vehicles armor and caused it to detonate violently.
A hundred cultists who had joined the battle were caught in the flames and so were some of the Drake Hunters. But the Astartes were not bothered by the heat.
Kel’Storm lifted his hammer as the chapter descended. “Into the fires of battle! Onto the anvil of war!”
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