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post #101 of 137 (permalink) Old 11-29-12, 11:14 PM
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There was a moment of pregnant silence.

Cleomenes, still sitting upon a stool, watched Ryan and Zurick with those avid, ocean-blue eyes. Only the distant thrumming of the Heart’s engines, reverberating through the vessel with the sound of smashing waves, filled the room.

‘I’m not sure what else to say other than we’re not interested,’ Ryan ventured, eventually. Cleomenes arched an eyebrow, lips pressing together in a grim, emotionless smirk. ‘I myself wouldn’t be caught dead training new recruits and Zurick..’

Ryan indicated his brother with a open-handed wave. Zurick, ever-mysterious, remained motionless. Cleomenes kept his eyes fixed on Zurick, featureless beneath his blank-faced helm, the eyepieces glittering with malign intention. Ryan finished, ending the conversation with a summoning, Cleomenes standing, robes flowing about his lean, iron-taught body.

‘Disappointing,’ He said, with a distasteful snort. ‘The last person that turned down an offer of mine.. Well, I don’t recall,’ He smiled, his beard cracking. ‘Conventional methods work, Ryan. We are the Adeptus Astartes. We thrive on tradition. Guilliman’s - Blessed His name - Codex is our guiding light. Stray too far away from the light, into the darkness, and you will get lost..’

The two Space Marines left, leaving Cleomenes to his chambers.

His plate, held on a oversized frame, glittered. The Helm of Cassander, marvelously plumed, was hidden beneath a silken shroud - Something that, Cleomenes realised, was worth more than a small moon. He grinned, shook his head, and began the slow task of armouring up.

***

He arrived last.

His brothers, Squad Scrious, he mused, had all assembled.

The Scythe nodded respectfully at Raxan, narrowed his eyes at Izrael and Sergeant Scrious. Weak elements, the chink in the armour, the unsteady stanchion.

Ryan spoke once again. He introduced a new face - One brother Dymethus, - Tall, gaunt and swarthy skinned. Cleomenes frowned - A not-Sothan amongst the Scythes? A sacrilegious occurrence. Not unheard of, and not unexpected given the Scythes of the Emperor’s current situation, but certainly something that Cleomenes did not hold in high regard. The Polemarch ignored Dymethus.

With a tremendous clanking, the ground started to change. Sections shifted, lifted, moulded together into prefabricated buildings. In a central courtyard, unmoving and powered-down, was the Dreadnought Solaki. Objective, Cleomenes thought.

They were organized into teams - Team Black and Gold - Kain, Cleomenes, Raxan and Raziel being bracketed together as Gold, cloth-of-gold draping over their pauldrons.

‘You remember the battle on Abraxis Prime, brother?’ Raxan said, eventually, to Cleomenes. ‘I think that attack pattern Alpha 495 would be appropriate. Raziel and I will be the hammer, you and Kain shall play the anvil. What say you brothers? Are you ready?’

‘How could I forget?’ Cleomenes laughed, bitterly. He remembered the tunnel-fighting well, blood sloshing around his ankles, bursts of weapons fire illuminating the oily darkness. Squad Nicanor - Emperor Rest - Had lost three members during that campaign. Cleomenes sighed, before - ‘I still have the scars. For the Fourth, eh? A sound plan, Raxan. I approve.’

He turned to Sergeant Scrious. ‘This is deliberate, you know? You and I?’ He smiled falsely. ‘Let’s keep the petty bickering to a minimum. I wouldn’t want to hurt you in front of all these brothers, boy.’

He grabbed a Bolter - Slotting a magazine in place, checking the mechanisms. ‘We should neutralize the pup and Ryan first. Dymethus is young. He’s not Sothan. He doesn’t share our lineage. Zurick relies heavily on Ryan, from what I have observed. Get me in close with that handsome bastard,’ He smirked cruelly. ‘And I’ll show him why I enjoy pankration so much.’

Nyctophobia- Fear of the Dark Angel.

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

'Killing a man is like fucking, boy, only instead of giving life you take it. You experience the ecstasy of penetration as your warhead enters the enemy's belly and the shaft follows. You see the whites of his eyes roll inside the sockets of his helmet. You feel his knees give way beneath him and the weight of his faltering flesh draw down the point of your spear. Are you picturing this?'
'Yes, lord.'
'Is your dick hard yet?'
'No, lord.'
''What? You've got your spear in a man's guts and your dog isn't stiff? What are you, a woman?'

Last edited by dark angel; 12-06-12 at 01:14 AM.
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post #102 of 137 (permalink) Old 11-29-12, 11:49 PM
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“Perhaps,” Ryan muttered, his place slowing to walk just a little ahead of Izrael, the pace of Zurick never dropping his head refusing to turn, stoic and unbending

“Its always hard to say whether or not you’re thinking the exact same as someone else. We find this state of being pathetic, for an astartes chapter. We know our luck hasn’t been too kind, and we know time must be spent rebuilding to make the chapter strong and active again. Perhaps we are just impatient, but under past leadership, things seemed to get done much faster. When we come out of our ‘down time’, Zurick and I would like to make sure that at least some of us who are still alive are ready to shape this chapter into the weapon it needs to be in order to make sure the galaxy knows not to anger us in the future. The way the Chapter was, in all its glory as Kraken rained down hell upon our Sotha, it wasn’t good enough to stop it.”

His words were like an echo, a pale, distorted version of Izrael's own feelings, his own disparity towards the dilapidation and mediocrity oozing into the chapters ethos.

He found himself a little dissapointed that the chapters most resilient critics could not match the burning fury within his own heart, the contemptuous anger seering as he looked upon the "symbol" of the new born scythes.

Or perhaps they were unwilling to unleash the true extent of their delusion to an outsider, to reach out completely beyond there brotherhood of two... nonetheless they had reached out... and to him, they honoured him with their attention.

Zurick's voice was harsh and cold, the cracking whip of failure setting his thoughts fleeing into the darkness

“And yet,....the Ultramarines did.”

Ryan nodded, the shame burning in his eyes, the words casting a sour note across the conversation
“Which means it was possible for us to defend our homeworld as well; in our eyes, at least. But maybe we’re just rebels,” his smile was devious, a hint of ire in his voice

“who are still pessimistic and butt-hurt over three of our beloved squad mates getting torn apart on Ferim and wish to remain separated from the rest of the Scythes just because we feel like it.”


There walk was interrupted as they moved into one of the battle simulation chambers and Ryan flexed as he spoke, his words emotionless as he turned upon Izrael

“Time for some training. We shall return shortly with others. We like your personality, but we must discover if you can work beside us in battle before anything further."

Further.... what was further, what plan had he become enveloped in, time to inquire further was denied him, a group gathering around Veteran Sergeant Tobias, sevitors clicking and whirring as they uploaded programs to transform the room before them.

In the center of the cavernous empty metal stood Brother Solaki, the dreadnaught immobile, in the center of the training room even as the order came and the room burst into life. It was as if the very earth was moving, every movement precise to the last milometer as civilization seemed to burst from the floor, metals cubes sliding to form silver brick buildings and Izrael found himself letting out a breathless chuckle.

“You’ll be split into two teams. Team Black will consist of Ryan, Zurick, Dymethus, and Izrael. Team Gold will consist of Kain, Cleomenes, Raxan, and Raziel."

A surreptitious glance at Ryan and Zurick made him wonder what had been said prior to the encounter, a small smirk spreading over his face at the irony of the colour choices.

The so called black sheep of the chapter cast in black, Sotha's golden boys cast in gold. Tobias was not the sort to make such bias, yet none the less a... yes... suprisingly it was pleasant, to be grouped apart from those he considered to be raised above their station, placed upon an undeserving pedestal.

His gaze took in Brother Dymethus, the fourth added in at the last moment, a few years his junior, little more than a lackey to Lakius, his fingers stained with grease and whatever other mechanical filth he had played with.

Izrael had never met him and had no desire to become closer acquainted, his eyes moving from Lakius, to the scene that had erupted around him eyes wandering ruthlessly across the depths, moving ever so slightly away from the group as he began to study his surroundings.

This was his moment, to earn respect in the eyes of some that had not already placed the bar, to show what he could to eyes devoid of paradigms.

This was his time to shine.

"The goal is to kill the opposing team. Solaki is the center of the map and represents the winning weapon, currently neutral and offline. Whichever team has one of their members touching Solaki with one hand for a duration of 60 seconds awards him to the team. No one from the other team can be in contact with him at the same time. If one team gains Solaki, the other can still win if they manage to kill the remaining infantry opponents. The dreadnaught cannot be destroyed. He will be using his own current weapon set up with non-lethal ammunition as well. I will be making the call when someone has been defeated as I can see everything from this station."

By the end of the briefing Izrael was smiling.

He had a plan.

________________________________________________
They were moving towards their deployment zone, black cloth draped across their shoulder guards, a bolter clasped in Ryan's hands, pistol and chainsword clasped in Zurick's.

Without hesitation, like a schoolmaster to a pupil, Ryan's words hit him, teasing, almost casual,

"So, Brother Izrael, What strategy would you suggest?"

His response was instantaneous

"Brother Tobias has phrased the mission carefully to make the dreadnaught appear to be the objective, when in fact it is numbers that count towards victory. In doing so he has provided the perfect killing ground."

The surrounding buildings have height, i suggest we set up our two astartes with bolters on separate roofs that give clear lines of sight to the dreadnaught and allow us to have a better overview of the surrounding area."

We can then not only pick off any that attempt to come near the dreadnaught but also feed information to the two on the ground meaning they will be able to plan any attacks with precision instead of trusting to blind luck."

"The intention is to prevent Brother Solaki from ever becoming active, by unbalancing the game before it has begun."

He turned to the pair, who glanced at eachother, a half smile growing over Ryan's face and he growled "A sound plan. I will take lead."

Beneath his helm Izrael felt his own face split into a low smile as he hefted his bolter, his pride haunted by the single notion... no plan survives first contact with the enemy.

kudos to lillian thorne for the awesome sig

Last edited by deathbringer; 11-29-12 at 11:53 PM.
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post #103 of 137 (permalink) Old 11-30-12, 03:41 AM
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His eyes remained forward and his mouth remained shut on the way to the Armory. Brother Raziel and Raxan would surely be unsettled to some degree to his sudden silence. Though he was always known to brood to himself from time to time. This was unfortunately one of those times as he reflected on the attitude of Lord Sotha, or rather Thrasuis now. Why had the Chapter Master decided to revert back to his more informal name than the one he'd made for himself years ago? He noticed that he'd missed out on most of Raxan and Raziel's conversation and continued to ignore the remnants of it. The back of his neck had begun to itch and for a moment he worried that he might have been an unnoticed wound -- perhaps a piece of shrapnel or a lucky xeno shot had caused a hairline fracture in his spine or skull. The lack of any real pain laid the question to rest.

He realized that it was anxiety. He couldn't hide that Thrasuis' insistance upon him to stand and a renouncement of all of his crimes had come as a serious surprise. He'd fully expected to be reprimanded, perhaps even punished by pain or censor ... since Astelan there was even the potential for execution for such crimes. His mind began to travel once again to the past several hours and how he coudl have confronted Izrael better and quickly stopped. He did what he had to do in the situtation he found himself in and would not apologize or punish himself over those decisions. Besides the Chapter Master himself had given him praise for his actions and raised him above his own brothers in what should by all rights been his trial.

As the three of them entered the Armory he noticed Brother Tobias in a room full of thirty-two neophytes. His eyes glanced across all of them and saw potential as of yet unlocked by Tobias or the Chapter. He felt pride at the possibilities these youths provided for the Chapter and quietly thanked the God-Emperor for forging Humanity in such an excellent way to provide his chosen. The students immeidately fell to one knee before them and only then did Brother Tobias turn and notice them with a comment,

"Lord Raziel, Lord Raxan, Lord Vermaas ..."

Vermaas nodded in Tobias direction and for the first time during the entire journey to the Armory spoke, 'Brother Tobias, it is a blessing to see you as always.'

Instantly his mood had turned around despite the sullen air which he knew hung around him. Tobias had a slightly tarnished reputation for being in command of Astelans' squad for a short time during that dark peroid in the Scythe's history but Vermaas had long ago forgiven him. He had no control over Astelan and could not have predicted the downfall of that monster. Vermaas had always liked Tobias and was pleased to note that he was in charge of the neophytes training. Under his guidance they would flourish and be prepared for the day when they would replace marines like himself upon the God-Emperor's battlefields.

'It looks like my brothers have volunteered to give your lesson today in my stead. Split into three groups,' said Tobias.

Vermaas nodded to the trainer and watched as ten boys lined up before him in a straight file. The oppurtunity to teach recruits was a task he was more than ready for and one that he hoped would help them grow into proper replacements. He felt a tingling at the back of his neck again and closely considered why his anixety was once again surfacing. It was Astelan he realized. In everyone of their faces he saw Astelan or some of his features. One of the youths had eyes like him, another's bone structure resembled him and in that instance Brother Vermaas understood that heresy could lurk in everyone of their hearts. Heresy lurked in every beating heart weather they were human or post human or something inbetween as these youths were. Of coarse he reminded himself that this is why they were trained under the harshest conditions both physical and mental -- to shield them against the most base temptations of heresy.

There was only one area that Vermaas knew the Scythe's did not properly expand upon or work deep-enough in and that was faith. As the youths eyed him cautiously, Brother Raxan and Raziel's groups had already begun their practices, he wished to leave them standing for a few more minutes in pregnant silence.

'Faith,' he stated plainly, 'Is the keystone to your success as a Astartes of the God-Emperor of Mankind.'

He noticed a few of the youths seemed a little unsettled by the sudden inclusion of spirituality into the conversation. No doubt Brother Tobias was an excellent trainer in the physical arts and preparing them mentally to deal with the climates of the harshest death worlds or the most grueling battlefields. But it was the soul in which the Scythe's had lost the battle for Astelan ... it was a battle he fully intended to never loose again.

'The training you recieve under the watchful, wise gaze of Brother Tobias is excellent. It is unmatched by any other of our order. It will serve you well upon death worlds and voids alike,' he began with a stone-cold face, 'The organs that we put within your body will enhance you far beyond the reach of mortals. The gene-seed which clings in your neck and chest will ensure you become the finest warriors than Humanity can provide. But know that all of it is for naught!'

He had to surpress a smirk as the youths shifted. The other groups were engaged in their practices and they were eager to display their martial skills to him and to Brother Tobias. They were just like him and Raxan and Raziel so many centuries ago when they stood where they are now -- eager to prove themselves to the veterans. How many of those veterans still lived, he thought? The Chapter Master was an obvious one, but everyone else could be considered of the same generation as him. All those he sought to impress were dead. Their bones were within the sepulchre-floor of the Fortress Monastery upon dead Sotha. How the mighty truly have fallen.

His eyes went to the floor for a moment of recollection before continuing, 'You want to prove yourselves. I can see it in your eyes. Full of youth, full of strength and vigor. You wish to lock yourselves into duels to best your brothers in strength. You wish to race and show me your speed or you combat acumen. Do any of you deny this?'

A heartbeat of silence followed. All of them shook their heads, at first hesitantly not sure if it was a question to be answered but with Vermaas' insistance they each gave the same answer.

'I am not a man so easily impressed by martial prowess, by speed, or by battlefield acumen. These things are the realm of Brother Tobias and they will serve you well when they are required. They do not answer the core questions you must ask yourselves. Why do you fight? Go on, ask yourselves this question and think on your answer carefully.'

Two heartbeats past as he gave them time to really consider. He saw the same look in all of their eyes. The same look he'd surely have given had he been in there place.

'You are all liars,' he stated plainly and stood before them stoically, 'You fight, right now, for yourselves. For me. For Brother Tobias. For the veterans who may occassionally watch your performance. We are the Scythes of the Emperor and we do not fight for ourselves! You will tell me, if I ask you, that you fight for the Imperium and the God-Emperor. In time those words will become truth in both word and action. I wish to spare you the horrors and the mind-numbing terror you must endure before you come to this realization ... this enlightenment. As I had to go through.'

He noticed that the insult they'd suffered began to vanish from their features. What had been wounded pride was slowly being replaced by curiosity. No doubt this feeling was felt more strongly in some than others but in time all of them would realize it.

'Nothing in this universe is worth more than the will of the God-Emperor. It is by him we draw breath and it was for him that we stop drawing it. Where we tread only absolution follows. Where we fight there is only victory. Where we die there is only salvation. Understand these basic truths. In your darkest moments when the alien, the heretic, and the mutant surrond you and squeel to feast upon your pure flesh -- let the hatred of the God-Emperor flow into your veins for your gene-forged strength will not be enough. When the madness of the demon seeps into your skull, sing the litanies of the Golden Throne and banish the beast back to hell which spawned it! Kill and kill again in the name of the Emperor and let not Humanity suffer the unclean!'

He dropped to one knee, the recruits immediately following him -- even if it was done awkwardly.

'We shall pray to Him-On-Terra ...

Immortal God-Emperor of Mankind give us your strength ... your wisdom and your blessing. Look down from your mighty chariot as you plow through the heavens of Humanity's final resting place, do us the eternal honor of looking from your foes and upon us. For we are your mailed fist, your hateful will made manifest! These youths have taken their first oaths, and by your grace and mercy they will be proven true enough to take many more. Show them to path of mercilessness, of intolerance, and of purity and prepare them in both body and mind for the trials to come ahead.

Let it be done in your time -- Ahmen.'

Vermaas rose from the floor immediately and signalled the youths to rise as well, 'Do not forget this moment for as long as your fight for our Emperor. You will likely not see its kind again, take this message to all corners of the void -- this galaxy is Humanity's and we do not suffer anything.'

He took a few paces back and looked over the group, 'Now you may prove yourselves to me. Pair up into five groups. You will engage in a perfect square, six foot by six foot. First one to achieve a knock out of his opponenet or get him out of bounds is the victor.'

As the groups paired up and began their matches -- Vermaas observed closely. For all of his religious chants and doctrines he knew that this was what the youths would likely remember most about their training session with him. He found it was waste depite noticing at least three of them had truly remarkable potential -- of coarse of those three recruits one would not make it past training, another would die over the coarse of his initial years, and the other would likely die later on. If the Chapter was lucky he would live long enough to impart his knowledge to the next generation and hope for the best.

He noted, of coarse, with grim reflection ... that he was the one who'd live only long enough to impart his knowledge. There was little else for him to achieve rank wise within the Chapter and while he was content to be a simple battle-brother the realization of his age was not lost on him.


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post #104 of 137 (permalink) Old 11-30-12, 09:11 PM
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Laikus had been working on some new project a lot recently, it was always the same when Dymethus was instructed to report to the Armoury. He never knew if the projects were secret or not but had learned that Laikus did not like to talk about or share his work, so they may as well have been. Having finished this morning’s list of tasks he took a moment to himself at the Omnissian Shrine in the Armoury, upon rising again he then entered the testing area to see what else he could help with. Laikus set him to clearing up the devastation caused by Solaki’s new weapons, Dymethus assumed that this was the result of Laikus’ latest project.

Solakai, like the rest of the chapter, was more someone he knew of as opposed to someone he knew. Laikus & Tobias were the only brothers who came close to being someone he knew and he would class either of them as people he knew, yet. Dymenthus barely noticed the arrival of Ryan & Zurick entered the testing room but eagerly accepted Ryan’s offer of training alongside the dreadnought and proceeded to aid Laikus in switching Solaki’s ammunition to the specialist training versions for his various weapons. Once Solaki was prepared for the training they all walked to the training area.

"I have yet to see you in battle Brother" Solaki commented. "I trust you are as diligent in battle as you are in serving Laikus."

“I have not yet had the chance to prove myself in battle,” Dymethus responded solemnly, “I look forward to having the opportunity and can only hope to distinguish myself in a similar manner to the likes of yourself and the other survivors of Sotha.”

Upon arrival at training area Epsilon several of the participants were already in attendance, upon his introduction by Ryan Dymethus found himself the centre of attention as the others welcomed him. Returning handshakes and greeting in kind. It was an unexpected honour to partake in a training exercise with so many veterans of Sotha especially those who could be considered ‘favoured’. Dymethus Knew them all by reputation, though Raxan stood out, there was something about him that was more familiar than the others. He couldn’t help thinking ‘where do I know you from?’ as he responded to the veteran marine’s greeting.

“Thank you Brother, it is an honour to train with you.”

“Theorize: Urban scenario Charlie, central objective, two teams, set and apply to field.” Tobias' voice cut them off

As the room is redefined according to Tobias’ instruction Dymethus finds himself wondering what the machinery to create this looks like, how it works and if it is more impressive that what he can currently see.

“You’ll be split into two teams. Team Black will consist of Ryan, Zurick, Dymethus, and Izrael. Team Gold will consist of Kain, Cleomenes, Raxan, and Raziel. The goal is to kill the opposing team. Solaki is the center of the map and represents the winning weapon, currently neutral and offline. Whichever team has one of their members touching Solaki with one hand for a duration of 60 seconds awards him to the team. No one from the other team can be in contact with him at the same time. If one team gains Solaki, the other can still win if they manage to kill the remaining infantry opponents. The dreadnaught cannot be destroyed. He will be using his own current weapon set up with non-lethal ammunition as well. I will be making the call when someone has been defeated as I can see everything from this station."

During Tobias’ outline of the scenario Dymethus doned his helmet and after the others had had chosen their weapons picked up the remaining bolt pistol, chainsword & a few additional clips, a little surprised that Izrael has taken the bolter and not them. Dymethus followed the Ryan, Zurick and Izrael to their start point and listened to the bold plan outlined by Izrael. The instant acceptance by Ryan and Zurich without an discussion was a surprise, Dymethus had expected some level of discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the strategy and had to remind himself this was a combat exercise not a training session.

As he took up his designated position, Dymethus couldn’t help wondering if the past and future dynamic of the team was deliberate, with their opponents representing the present? He decided not to mention this as the others had largely ignored his presence, maybe he should consider a dash for Solaki if the opportunity presents itself.

Last edited by Capussa; 11-30-12 at 09:24 PM.
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post #105 of 137 (permalink) Old 11-30-12, 10:26 PM
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Kain recieved the message to meet in training area epsilon, one of the largest chambers on board the actual vessel. It was so big that it allowed several different environments to be used, and was a good way to keep your mind sharp and to practice objectives that you may be set in a warzone. He saw that most of the squad he had just commanded were there, as well as the damnable Cleomenes and the two silent marines in Ryan and Zurick. Interesting how they would be divided into teams, it was obvious that they were here for one reason and one reason alone. Practice.

Veteran Sergeant Tobias had been there sometime in devising the scenario and who would be on what team obviously, several servitors in front of him at control stations listening to his commands. All the marines were wearing their power armour, though only Zurick had his helm on at the moment, Kain having his tucked underneath his arm.

“Well everyone is here. I intended to have Brother Zeiran join us as well but found Alexander demanded his presence. Since Brother Dymethus was near Solaki, I had him agree to fill in. And Vermaas is lost somewhere in the ship it seems."

Kain turned to see Dymethus there and nodded his greetings towards him. He was a young marine, having just become one and had a future to serve the Emperor and mankind. He was picked up early on Miral when they were defending from the hive fleet. Solaki moved under Tobias direction to the center of the field, most obviously the objective for the marines today.

When Solaki was in position Tobias gave a command to the servitors. “Theorize: Urban scenario Charlie, central ojective, two teams, set and apply to field.” The field instantly changed, metal works sprouting from the deck to form an impressive looking combat environment.

Tobias begans his instruction to the assembled marines, “You’ll be split into two teams. Team Black will consist of Ryan, Zurick, Dymethus, and Izrael. Team Gold will consist of Kain, Cleomenes, Raxan, and Raziel. The goal is to kill the opposing team. Solaki is the center of the map and represents the winning weapon, currently neutral and offline. Whichever team has one of their members touching Solaki with one hand for a duration of 60 seconds awards him to the team. No one from the other team can be in contact with him at the same time. If one team gains Solaki, the other can still win if they manage to kill the remaining infantry opponents. The dreadnaught cannot be destroyed. He will be using his own current weapon set up with non-lethal ammunition as well. I will be making the call when someone has been defeated as I can see everything from this station."

Kain almost sighed as he was put in the same team as Cleomenes, the damned marine thought himself superior to all seeing how he hadn't got his hands dirty in years, travelling with a trader would do that to a man.

“Two members from each team are to take a bolter, and two a chainsword and pistol. Get to your starting positions. I will signal when to start. The time limit is however long it takes one side to win. The only thing the Heart is doing is travelling through space, after all."

Weapon racks rose from the floor revealing the weapons, Kain moving forward to take a bladed chainsword and a bolt pistol. He slid the bolt back all the way to prime it. He heard Raxan talk to Cleomenes, something about a past battle and splitting the squad up into two, pairing Cleomenes and Kain together.

Kain trusted his brothers judgement, and knew exactly why he did it, but knew that neither marine would ever get along. Cleomenes was too arrogant to up himself. Kain hadn't enough experience in his eyes. It mattered not to Kain, he cared not what a washed up old marine thought of him as Cleomenes turned to talk to him, the smile on his face blatantly false. ‘This is deliberate, you know? You and I?’ He smiled falsely. ‘Let’s keep the petty bickering to a minimum. I wouldn’t want to hurt you in front of all these brothers, boy.’

Kain turned to Cleomenes before he responded. "I have no problem working with you brother, I'm not an idiot I know this is deliberate. Also I'm not a boy old man, and I'm pretty certain the time you have spent in luxury has made it so that you couldn't hurt me if you tried "brother"." He responded before he put his helm on. Cleomenes was the least of his worries, but he wouldn't pander to the delusions of a marine who thought himself above others.


Last edited by Lord Ramo; 11-30-12 at 10:31 PM.
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post #106 of 137 (permalink) Old 12-01-12, 02:37 AM
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The time seemed to pass easily for Raziel, but he was not sorry to part from the recruits, each was learning, in his own way, but each was focused more on the physical aspect of the training, which was why he'd left that to the others, keeping the young aspirants solely in the realm of their own minds, their own doubts and strengths. He had, at least tried to focus their minds, for while strength in arms was vital, strength in soul and faith was paramount.

---

The Space Marines in the training area were all armoured, helmets worn or cradled under an arm while a weapons rack was arrayed before them. The objective seemed simple enough, remove the opposition, with the Dreadnought as a secondary objective that could potentially sway the course of the battle.

The room had whirred and creaked, metal plates rising from the floor as the vast space reformed itself into an image of some unnamed destroyed Imperial outpost. It was a scene he had seen many times, over many worlds and hundreds of years.

As they stepped up to the weapons rack Raziel silently selected a chainsword and bolt pistol, checking the magazine, racking the slide and then maglocking it to his thigh. Then he took the chainsword, swinging it a little to test the balance, before hefting it easily. He listened to Raxan, nodding, Attack Pattern 495. It was a tried and tested manoeuvre, one that had served humanity well. He agreed with both Raxan and Cleomenes.

"I concur brother, it is an effective plan, but the younglings are less than inclined to stay so close to the established codex doctrines as we are, I fear by simply following that we may be making ourselves... predictable."

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post #107 of 137 (permalink) Old 12-01-12, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Team Gold:

The siren indicating the start of the scenario wails loud for a moment, and new mechanisms throughout the cavernous chamber can be heard adjusting to it, final perimeter walls rising up around the scenario for instance.

Astartes move fast, and the hammer and anvil swing apart as solidly as they would in the hand of an expert blacksmith. All of you pass by the walls of the three perimeter buildings on your starting edge and into the street; armor lightly clanking undisturbed by any voices for the time being.

Raxan and Raziel move off to the left and find cover in the street diaganolly outside the central ring of buildings that surround the courtyard. Raziel's movements ever so slightly different from Raxan's. From the perspective of someone inexperienced these differences would go largely unnoticed, but to Raxan it is crystal clear that Raziel's time in the deathwatch has altered the typical stride of the Scythes.

The same clarity is noticed from Kain, as the motion of Cleomenes' movements next to him just feels off from the rest of his brothers.

In their cover, Raxan and Raziel can already see bits of Solaki's massive form beyond the circle of pillars and other forms of cover between the two diagonal facing buildings in front of them. However, they cannot see anyone on the opposing team yet.

Kain and Cleomenes hit the wall, taking cover on the backside of the closest building to them that lays adjacent to the courtyard, Raxan and Raziel now out of sight.

Kain peers ever so slightly around the corner of the building. Fortunately, his bionic eye is better than his natural one, and he spots a glimpse of Izrael getting into a prone position atop the building opposite, looking over the courtyard. Kain immediately pulls his head back behind the wall.

I suggest Ramo post first, informing the team about Izrael's position. Then decisions need to be made about to deal with this information. Remember you are astartes bred for war and can take Izrael's position and think of a multitude of possibilities as to where his teammates positions are based on his own. Coordination is also important, of course.

Raxan and Raziel, do you move up along the street and stay on the opposite side of the buildings from the courtyard? You also have the option of moving into the closest building instead. You can also move into the courtyard directly, with caution or dash to Solaki.

Cleomenes and Kain If you try to cross the street you will surely be seen, so your options feel a bit more limited initially, but there are ways around this. Cleomenes, of the four Team Gold Members perhaps because of the higher variety of chapter roles, battles experienced, time outside the galaxy with the rogue trader or hell maybe just your odd natural intuition, you are the only one of the four who gets a sudden gut feeling that something is already wrong.


Team Black:

The siren indicating the start of the scenario wails loud for a moment, and new mechanisms throughout the cavernous chamber can be heard adjusting to it, final perimeter walls rising up around the scenario for instance.

As the team is double checking their weapons and armor Ryan says to Izrael and Dymethus, "We are still sticking to Izrael's plan. However, neither of you will know Zurick's position. I will, being the team lead. This may seem like bad coordination but trust me...its better if the two of you don't know where he is.

Just before the siren goes off Ryan says to them further, "Remember, timing is... everything"

With the siren starting the match all four of you sprint off through the street toward your respective positions. Ryan and Izrael magnetizing their weapons to their armor and leaping onto the smooth metal walls of the two buildings facing diagonal adjacent to the courtyard, gripping to the window sills and leaping up further climbing to the rooftops.

Out the corner of his eye Izrael sees Ryan hit his prone position a second before himself bolter already drawn. Izrael brings up his own bolter and faces it over the courtyard but just as he does so he sees the slightest bit of movement behind the corner of the building opposite him on the ground. Its enough to know that at least one of the enemy is behind it and if he saw it, then they may have seen him.

Dymethus with pistol and chainsword in hand moves to his own position, sprinting in a straight line and stopping in cover just outside the circle of the courtyard. Solaki in a fairly clear view.

Neither Dymethus or Izrael see where Zurick has gone, but Ryan informs both of you that he is in position.

Izrael: knowing that your position may be compromised what do you do? Do you inform Ryan? Do you move or sit still and stick to the plan? Instinctively, you have already crawled backwards just a bit to be out of sight. If you wish to inform Ryan and want his response before making any further decisions let me know.

Dymethus: The chance to dart for Solaki seems to be upon you. There are no enemies visible and you know that Ryan and Izrael are covering the courtyard. You have not received any orders to move in and you know the plan ultimately does not call for gaining Solaki. But if you managed to gain him for the team how impressive would that be? Its your call, you can sit in cover and await further instructions or go fo the dreadnought.


Solaki:

You stand in place, restricted from moving, even turning, or voxing a word during the scenario unless you are 'activated'. You face to the side of the 'map', so that it is not easier to gun down one team over the other after initially being activated.

Your sensitive tomb still picks up a lot of information from the two teams, sounds and vibrations. Thin light green squares constantly informing your eyes of slightly adjusting light reflections for possible movement. Finally, standing here in the middle of this scenario, your mind is able to wander back to the odd dream you had while Laikus swapped out your parts.

While you wait to see what unfolds in the scenario, what do you think on the dream you had? Did it mean anything or was it all just random drug induced foolishness? It was the most gut wrenching, real feeling dream you ahve ever experienced. And the whispers that the rays of sunlight spoke to you seem to still flow through your ear drums.

Vermaas:

You leave the young ones behind as you leave their training chambers alongside your brothers once more, having impacted the aspirants more than you may think. You part ways from them at an intersection in the ship's corridors unannounced.

Normally you would make toward your personal chambers, presumably, but this time you steer clear form there. You steer clear form the bridge, you steer away from the one Hangar currently in use, nor do you go to the medical bay. You dont even go to the reclusiam.

This time, you go deep into the ship's underbelly. You walk through now long-dead scenes of mass servitor work. Offline mechanisms remain still and the only sound is the hum of the ships enormous engines. Normally, a brother of the chapter would never walk these parts of The Heart. But now it seems that when a heart lays in pieces, One can find themselves going from one piece to the other in ways that would have never led there before. And one can find themselves searching for something new in old places. You make your way through the darkness only by the nature of your enhanced eyes, eventually coming to a small port window in the side of the ship.

It is a confusing sight, and you realize human servants would be the ones coming down here to check up on the servitors, and it helped normal men not go insane if they could see something further beyond what was right in front of them.

You walk up to the small window and place your thumb and index finger on a small handle that connects to a metal slab used to cover the porthole during warp travel. You swing it back and forth mindlessly a few times, causing its hinges to squeak. You stare out the window and see dead Sotha now a spec of bright dirt in the distance as the ship moves away from its past.

Pick an event or two from Vermaas's past, and I want some good detail! Nothing from when Sotha was being attacked by Kraken please.




Keep in mind, everyone is moving at the same time. Therefore there will be no big upper hand in seeing what others post first before making your decisions. There may be a slight upperhand in some cases but I will be working on my end to make sure that effect is minimal. In other words, with the exception of Ramo posting first for team gold, no one should be waiting for others to post. Let's aim for two weeks again, please.

You can never be prepared for the unexpected



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post #108 of 137 (permalink) Old 12-03-12, 06:51 PM
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"We are still sticking to Izrael's plan. However, neither of you will know Zurick's position. I will, being the team lead. This may seem like bad coordination but trust me...its better if the two of you don't know where he is."

Izrael wanted to point out the stupidity of the statement, better for your own team to be in the dark in a coordinated battle, better to be a legion of individuals than a unit?

He opened his mouth yet even as the siren rang out Ryan added.

"Remember, timing is... everything"

Izrael was too busy running, helm on, bolter in his hands to shout back yet beneath his helm he silently fumed. He had know the pair were a team of one, yet to make such a change to his own plan... what was the point of having him make the plan anyway.

It had been a good plan, could still be a good plan. He was sprinting, his building already chosen from the wander to the deployment zone, high giving him a good angle from return fire and a better angle over the statues not to mention a good clean view of brother Solaki.

He sprinted up the stairs, pushing onto the roof, from the corner of his eye seeing Brother Ryan upon the roof. Even as he dropped, his plan went to shit, a single millisecond forcing him to rethink his whole approach. A flicker of movement at a corner, something moving away and out of sight even as he hit the deck shuffling backwards to shield himself from incoming fire, eyes peaking over to scan building and its surroundings.

No movement, if he had been spotted, they wouldn't poke a head back around.

Frantically he re evaluated, opening the coms with a snarl.

"I'm compromised, movement at corner 3 of inner building 3 setting a diversion and relocating down one floor. Ryan you have the hawk eye, please note hostiles are aware we overlook the courtyard. Hostiles are aware. Ground units be advised of possible flanking maneuver on my building, any assistance would be appreciated, I prefer my arse to be free of chainswords when I'm on overwatch."

He paused, a final grunt

"Once again, Ryan you have the high ground, I will be maintaining radio silence from now on."

With a hiss he unlocked his helm and tore it from his head, the crackling of the radio suddenly in his left ear as he placed the helm on its side. Positioning it carefully at an angle to show the slightest slither of black over the edge even as he shuffled backwards before slipping off the roof and into the stairwell below.

One floor down he stood flat against the wall of the window and held his position, the seconds ticking by in his head even as he strained his ears for any sounds of movement below, listening for the sounds that would decide his next move.

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post #109 of 137 (permalink) Old 12-04-12, 05:27 PM
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Solaki had shut off all the systems which allowed him movement and so had to be satisfied with the limited scope of information he had, as glints of reflections and slight taps of noise were picked up by his sarcophagus’ sensors. Both teams would be moving by now, although he could not see clearly which was moving where. The games had only just begun and no one had made a straight dash for him. He had not expected them to. It would have been a foolish plan and one unlikely to work, and Solaki knew that none of his brothers were so lacking in skill and tactical acumen that they would risk such a blunt and fallible plan. So, for the moment, he remained inert. His outward appearance gave no hint of life or sentience, and so an outsider he might look as if he were sleeping as most dreadnoughts did.

Sleeping. Even as Solaki thought the word his mind wandered back to before his training session with Laikus. He had been dreaming. That in itself was weird, because for all the times he had been under the psychosomatic-induced sleep and hypnotherapies he had never once ‘dreamed’. Sleep was just like a shroud falling over his eyes, only to be lifted when he was next needed. He shouldn’t have dreamed. His sleep was designed not to contain dreams. Dreams could drive a man insane. When he was in the flesh he could have just woken up, but when he was under the forced sleep his sarcophagus gave him, he had no way of doing that. He could be stuck in dreams or nightmares for years if no one came to wake him. It could drive him mad if he dreamt. He was not supposed to dream.

But then, he had not been in full stasis. Laikus had said so himself. Solaki thought for a moment that he might have been able to dream then, but then he dismissed that. If Laikus had wanted to put him into partial stasis he would have flooded his system with drugs to put him into a mindless sleep, and cleaned the drugs from his system when he was needed. He still would not have been dreaming. And besides, there was another unresolved matter that was inextricably linked with the dream. Solaki had been in Laikus’ lab when he had been put into slumber, and had woken up in the testing area. Whatever state he was in, Solaki should not have moved anywhere. No, this was no natural phenomena which he could dismiss. There was something more to this dream.

Then there was the dream itself. Even in the flesh, he had never experienced such a potent dream. Everything was startlingly real. Solaki had almost been convinced that the dream was real, if not for its subtle wrongness. Someone could have implanted it into his regular cycle of hypnotherapies. That was a reasonable explanation. That would lead to him naturally experiencing it. But even as he thought this, Solaki began to question it. Why would someone implant such a cryptic message into his thoughts? Even now, Solaki did not know what the ‘dream’s omens could mean, nor what the cryptic messages throughout. Perhaps it was meant to be unfathomable in an attempt to drive him mad. A dream designed to slowly consume his thoughts and frustrate his logic trying to work out a gibberish message.

Yet it had only occurred the once. Solaki supposed that made sense. He had slept far less than most ancients were supposed to, so if it was set to occur after a certain period, it would be understandable that he would only have experienced it now. However, there were a few problems Solaki saw with this explanation. First, it would require him to have a brother or brothers who despised him so vehemently that they would go to such lengths to disrupt him. Second, it would require someone with a high level of machine knowledge to implement something that elaborates into his regular hypnotherapies. The only person Solaki knew with such skills was Laikus, and why would Laikus try to destabilize the project he devoted most of the last 15 years to? Something was not quite right about that idea, but Solaki could not dismiss it so easily.

Another thought which occurred to him was that the fault may lie with Laikus, but not malicious in nature. Laikus was only one man, and he had been forced to build Solaki from parts of fallen brothers. It was possible, at least to Solaki with no real idea how the inner workings of his metal body worked, that Laikus could have made some fault when assembling him and the fault was only starting to show now, allowing a portion of his subconscious to bleed into his stasis.

But still, Solaki could not reconcile that dream with any he had experienced in his past. Nothing had ever felt so real. It was even more shocking was that he had not possessed a real body with real pain and real limbs in fifteen years. Yet, everything felt just like it did back on Ferim, exactly. And the voice. That voice which whispered to him. It hovered just on the edge of his hearing and if he thought about it, Solaki could still hear the words as if they were being whispered into his ear. There was something odd about this ‘dream’. If it was a fault with the machine, it was possible that his thoughts were amplified, and if it were placed there it could have been made to seem stronger than a regular dream.

Even as Solaki mulled over the preconceived ideas in his head, a third uncoiled in his mind like a vaporous serpent. Astelan. Solaki thought on his misguided brother. No one has suspected him of being a psyker until the extreme stress of nearly losing Thrasius had drawn it out of him. What had he experienced? An outpouring of psychic energy in a way he was already thinking, and thus it became a weapon in a crude form. Solaki knew some about pyskers and their abilities, enough to know that prophecy and omens were their realm. He knew enough to know that the visions they experienced were as good as real, but not real at the same time. Somehow wrong.

Solaki tried to quash the thought, but now it had arisen, he could not ignore its potential. Perhaps it was a fault with the gene-seed. Perhaps some mutations lead to the development of psychic potential in extreme circumstances. Astelan had not known he was a pysker until that moment. Perhaps the same was true of Solaki. It would explain breaching the natural circuitry which was meant to prevent dreams and would certainly explain its wrongness and the lingering ability it had.

Solaki could not jump to conclusions though. The previous options still carried just as much merit. Even if Solaki could not ignore the possibility of a second psychic anomaly within his chapter, he could be content that it was not the only possibility, nor was it the most likely. It may well be that there was some explanation which he had not thought of, and he was worried about nothing. Still, the thought lingered much the same as the voice from his ‘dream’ did.

Most importantly, Solaki needed more data. It was entirely possible that it was simply an anomaly. Until a similar occurrence happened, he could put is down to that. Or, he could in theory. The more he thought about it, the more he realized he had assumed that it would occur again and was not an anomaly. He could ask Laikus to check the systems which controlled his stasis just in case, and could attempt to talk to Alexander or Niko about the possibility of the gene-seed causing psychic mutation in himself or others.

Solaki had finished his musing, but left his introverted probing with more questions that he had answers, and a few new niggling concerns. If he was a psyker, what would happen to him. Thrasius was not trusting of warp-dabblers anymore, not since Astelan. If that were the case, Solaki wondered where that would leave him. And if it was not that, if someone was planting dreams to try and destabilize him, Solaki had concerns from within. Certainly, if it was not an anomaly or a simply mechanical fault, it left a great deal to be accounted for.

Solaki turned his attention back to the limited information he had available to him. His brothers had certainly moved since he had been lost in thought and he wanted to try and re-establish where they were, if only to busy his mind from the questions he still had no answers to. Hopefully he would be activated soon and then he could really test his new armaments. It was one thing to test them on mindless servitors, but another to test it on real beings with thought and tactics. It would be as close to live practice as he ever got, and he was certain most of the foes he would face would not be as skilled as his brothers were…
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post #110 of 137 (permalink) Old 12-05-12, 12:24 AM
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He left the youths alongside his brothers Raziel and Raxan but again there was no exchanging of words -- the trio walked quietly down the hallways of The Heart. Without warning he made a sudden turn and left them. His mind was more focused on the youths he'd been giving lessons too and hoping that they would take at least something away from what he'd told them. Despite the Scythes of the Emperor's policy that the Emperor was not in fact a god but the first among Humanity they had never censored him in all his long years of service. Of coarse there was the tension at times especially during his prayers before and after missions. His chanting over the vox-network during combat or his prolific use of righteous battlecrys during close combat. His brothers had done him the modest honor of respectfully ignoring him in the worst cases and in the best they would join alongside him but rarely go so far as to speak in acceptance of his adopted creed. He couldn't help but ponder why he'd been allowed to act the way he does without reprimand. Would they have said something if Sotha was alive beneath them instead of a dead rock? If the Chapter was still whole and intact that they were not having to so heavily weight the pros and cons of sending out a single sqaud -- would they tolerate his esoteric beliefs?

With a harsh shake of his head he banished the thoughts. How long would he wonder these things? How long would he doubt his own inner beliefs in the divinity of the God-Emperor? Had he not seen things beyond human or post-human comprehension? He had and he knew he should not doubt himself. He noticed his personal quarters were ahead and there was something of a longing to go within them sit quietly and reflect again upon the doubts he battled against everyday but this day he walked right past it and down the hall. He considered where he was going and found that he didn't really have an answer for himself. The bridge was one possibility but he didn't wish for the company of his brothers or The Heart's captain. He walked past the only hanger in operation several minutes later as he continued his seemingly aimless walk down the corridors of the vessel. He would not be stopped by any mortal. The chances of actually seeing a battle-brother on his walk was slim to none. That fact, he found, startled him more than his own clouded mindset.

He saw the first symbol for the Reclusiam and the approximate distance down the corridor until he'd have to make a left turn and go another four hundred and sixty-seven feet down the next hallway until he reached the door. He'd spent so many sleepless day and nights within its confines that he considered the chapel a second home. Rarely did his brothers visit it these days and that was a sad fact. After Sotha fell he'd seen visits increase to it but at that time was still a believer in the Chapter's views on the Emperor and chose to avoid the place. After Astelan's actions ... the chapel saw a small up-tic in activity but it quickly bled away except for himself. He'd been within it day and night battling to the demons within his own soul as he fought over why his brother had betrayed them all. With his chest tightening as passed right back the Reclusiam -- it would not give the silence he felt he needed.

He advanced to the deepest bowels of the ship to places that had likely not seen a Astartes in decades, if not centuries. He passed the occassional servitor who gave him the standard greetings of 'Lord Vermaas' or didn't acknowledge him at all. The path to the inner portions of the ship was pitch black. He knew any mortal would be completely lost without night-sight enhancement gear; but an Astartes relied upon gene-forged eyes to guide them. He eventually found himself coming up to a column of dim light, a shaft of dull radiance with crossed his path horizontally nearly at the end of the corridor. Once he reached it he realized it was a porthole and his mind siezed up as to why it'd even been placed here. A servitor scuttled by and it momentarily drew his attention, if only by combat instinct, and he drew the most logical conclusion. Servitors required maintenance during set frequencies and they would need mortals to perform said upkeep. Likely the porthole was placed here to help the morale of those trapped this deep within the ship. How lucky he was to have access to the observation dome where he could stare out into the limitless abyss of the universe. His eyes peered out of the small hole in the ship, the only thing protecting him from the stark cold of the void a couple of inches of armaplastek. There were only a handful of stars he could see compared to the billions and billions visible in the dome several decks above him. Though to a mortal trapped within the depths of this ship this likely was a moving experiance.

Experiance. The word seemed to draw at something in the back of his mind like a trigger was being tugged at. Unable to remember he took a step back and looked at the porthole once again only now registering the protection plate placed up against the wall likely by the last mortal to peer out the armaplastek -- God-Emperor only knew how long ago that could have been. He touched it and for a moment as he closed it slightly he could imagine how clostrophobic it must have seemed like to a crew-member standing here slowing closing his only link to the outside world. During normal space-travel there was little to no risk invovled in leaving the protection plate open but during warp travel, no mortal had any business peering out into the unfiltered madness of the warp. Still his grasped the plate and slowly moved it back and forth in mock close and opening procedure. It made a slow creeking sound that tattled on the maintenance personnel on this deck. He could hardly blame them given the absolute disrepair the Chapter was in itself. How could the maintenance crew be expected to pay attention to one minor detail like the protection plate for a sub-deck's porthole that none of them probably knew was even here?

His thoughts slowly changed from the crew of The Heart to the almost peaceful monotone sound of the plate's creeking back and forth as he moved it. At the back of his mind something pulled at his thoughts. The plate's sound was a cousin to a sound he'd heard many, many years ago. Vermaas' mind shifted from the casual mindset he was in to immediately recollection of a campaign that'd occured only a decade after he'd been initiated as a full-fledged battle-brother of the Scythes. He could remember still feeling slightly alien to the queer smell of chem-laced sweat that permeated from his body during moments of exertion or excitment. He could remember the latter being the culprit in this case as his seargant continued to detail to them the opening tasks they'd have to perform in the campaign.

He remember peering out a porthole very similar to this one aboard the strike cruiser Winter of Sotha as the Fourth Battle Company approached the purple and black world of Killia. Even from space the smell seemed to reek of both death and defilment the byproduct of the poor choices of his inhabitants. Killia was a proud world who'd supplied the Imperial Guard with several dozen regiments of tough, strong warriors. Or at leas thats what its file read. As a simple battle-brother his need-to-know basis was relatively low and only in broad terms to pervent him from becoming distracted with needless details. It was a policy implemented and rigidly enforced by Nov, his sergeant. A broad, squat marine who'd refused promotion at least twice by Captain Droloon he'd never believed in simulated combat or wasteful training exercises but instead gave his men as close to real combat was possbile. Several times he remembered training with actual combat knives and seeing more than only brother loss a finger or thumb.

Most of all he knew how he felt during those opening weeks of the campaign on Killia as his sqaud was given the task of rapidly striking several key enemy installations. These facilities were delaying the advance of Imperial Guard regiments and hindering air-patrols over their lines giving the enemy the chances it needed to cause serious setbacks for the thousands of mortals who huddled in ther trenches thousands of feet below them. These operations had gone very successful with Vermaas and his squad landing close to or directly ontop of these facilities via drop-pod or thunderhawk and unleashing hell upon the defenders inside. Their uniforms were tarnished things that once might have been respectible but since their decent into madness they'd covered them in blasphemous runes which damned them before the eyes of the Imperium and the Emperor. The excitment he'd felt as he rushed through enemy ranks, breaking them barricades hastily errected, gunning down fleeing cultists and driving his chainsword into the brave (or stupid) few who remained.

The Killian Campaign was nearly in its final stages. All major cities had fallen and the purple miasma which had clung to most of the planet had begun to receed with each victory and the slaying of each convent. The final assault on the captial city of Killia Prime was expected to be a formality; something that should have been done by the Guard while the Scythes moved onto the next threatre of war. Captain Brevane had refused to leave until the culprit Arch-Heretic Blacksworn was killed or captured for the handful of deaths the Scythe's had endured.

Vermaas' squad was working its way threw the promethium refineries in the southeastern districts of the city clearing them out of cultist infestation. They were surronded by massive cylinoid tanks many of them several hundred feet in diameter which held millions of gallons of Vulkan-III grade prometium. No doubt some of it would find its way into the hands of fellow Astartes -- perhaps entire segmentums away. Sergeant Nov was a man of few words and even fewer kind ones. His squad's original orders were to clear out a few initial promethium-tank farms in this distrct before handing the area over to advancing Guard units and puhsing north by northwest to attack an enemy strongpoint which was delaying the advancement of a column of Leman Russ tanks. Vermaas remembered the vox-communication which came in, it held not privacy restrictions or rank-only disignations so they'd all listened in as Captain Brevane informed them that Arch-Heretic Blacksworn was in the same facility as them as his elite Foresworn guards rushed him away to another safe point. Their orders were clear to them long before Brevane gave them -- take him alive or dead.

Force reconnisance by Vermaas, who was still green by Nov's standards, and Brother Ragulf had located a column of armored vehicles moving across the facility towards the far-eastern gate. The pieces instantly fell together in Vermaas' mind. Reports had streamed in since the onset of the assault that certain eastern districts were almost impossible to break and had required a heavy-handed response by the Scythes to even begin the process of clearing them out. He believed they were holding so fast because the eastern flank of the Governor's Palace, which had become Blacksworn's fortress, was the easiest to traverse and could give the Guard and Astartes ideal artilery positions. He should have noticed that was not the intention when the enemy failed to react to their western flanks folding in and two squads, Sergeant Antin and Weslyy were able to gain access into the Governor's Palace.

Nov had pushed them hard across the tank and berm infested mazes of the facilities as they tried to quickly set up a roadblock and ambush for the column. He'd been given the duty of throwing krak grenades into the first vehicle in the column to disable it. He remembered the tension he felt as he smashed the activation rune on the krak grenade after lining up the arc he was going to use. The grenade sailed through the air and hit the lead vehicle, a boxy thing with spikes along the edges, and explode. The vehicle erupted into flames and anything inside was surely dead. His battle brothers came from all sides and opened fire with bolter, pistol, lascannons, and even more. Within fifteen seconds the entire column had been reduced to slag or smoking husks.

Vermaas moved closer to the wreckage in unison with his squad as they inspected their handy work. Surely nothing could have survived. Each of them failed to notice that a miasma began to roll in slowly behind them from the berms enclosing other tanks. Vermaas noticed it after it was too late as it swirled around his legs.

'Miasma!' he remebered screaming. The gaseous mist had been responsible for thousands of deaths amongst the Guard and even a few of their own number.

The squad immediately rechecked their suits integrity and thank the Emperor none of them werre compromised. The mist began to swirl towards the wreckage and he could hear Nov screaming orders. He continued to watch the unusual patterns within the mist as faces formed, screamed, and disappeared. He noticed his hearts were racing, he was breaking out in a cold sweat, and his body felt like it didn't want to respond. He knew his seals were pure -- so what was it? Was this the distant cousin of the emotion mere mortals called fear? The thought that he could actually feel fear only sparked hatred within his chest.

'Damn you! Listen to me!' he suddenly heard. He snapped out of the self-doubting he'd indulged in and looked around to notice others doing the same thing. Who had said that he pondered? A scream a few seconds later pulled his attention to sergeant Nov who stood screaming as his armor was engulfed in blue, twilight-like flames his bolter firing sporadically and randomly.

'Daemons!' he heard another voice in the thickening mist scream. His hearts skipped at beat at the notion. He had never faced a daemon before. Of coarse he'd slain countless cultists, even saw a few daemons at a distance but for whatever reason or random chance of fate he'd never fought one. He spun around looking for who had called out the word but could only hear the racket of bolter fire and screams of the wounded and dying. His brothers were dying around him. By the Throne, what was he looking for? Vermaas raced through the mist calling out to his brothers trying to find someone. He started in the direction of sergeant Nov since he'd seen him on fire. To his horror he found only the molten remnants of Astartes armor cooling in the mist when he reached his location. He could feel panic beginning to fill his veins. He was blind and somehow the enemy, whoever the hell that was, wasn't effected.

He saw his enemy a few moments later. It emerged from the mist stumbling around obviously wounded by a bolter, gear chunks of its pallid blue flesh was gone. Twilight flames licked out from the numerous mouths which covered its body and while he could make out no eyes in the mist he knew that if they existed they'd be looking at him in hatred. Were he mortal he would have died then his body siezing up on him and his mind lost in madness at the impossibility before him. Instead his psycho-indoctrination took over where his concious mind was too slow and he raised his bolter and opened fire. Somehow he knew to aim for the mouths themselves instead of the flesh.

The creature spit fire at him from the other mouths searing his armor and catching his right paulderon on fire. He screamed righteous fury as his bolts found them mark and detonated within the daemon's mouth exploding and eventually causing the twilight flames within its body to erupted. It screamed and hissed at him and he could swear some of it was actual words, part of some archaic, maddening language long forgotten and forbidden. It died moments later flames continueing to sporadically shoot out of its mouths but quickly fizziling.

He fell to his knees moments after it stopped twitching. His right shoulder was practically burned to the bone as the twilight flames continued to spread. He tried to put them out but they chewed away at the flesh beneath. He fell on his back as the fire seemed to burn his strength away.

'I got you bastard,' he said bitterly to the miasma swirling about.

The memory faded just as his vision had that day. He no longer saw the purple and black miasma around him, nor could he smell the burning copper smell of the warp. He did not see the liquidified remains of sergeant Nov or the burning remains of the daemon he would later learn were called Flamers. He did not die that day but he had come close. It was only the timely arrival of Inquisitor Yanis, the Inquisitiorial representative to what became the Balancing of Killia. He had responded immediately upon word that an Astartes squad was intercepting Blacksworn. The arrival of him and Captain Brevane to the location had saved them as several psykers, along with Librarian Yanitara had removed the miasma.

He remembered the look on Captain Brevane's face when he saw him -- pride. Inquisitor Yanis had commended him on the successful capture of Blacksworn. He had paled when he heard that praise.

'How did he survive?' he protested in disbelief.

'Misinformation Astartes,' he said matter-of-factly, 'Blacksworn was not with this convoy afterall. He was a genius at breaking our communication lines, even you Astartes with the help of dark magic. Your attack here was on a decoy, it made him change coarse into the actual trap laid by another squad. Do not doubt your efforts Astartes, what you did here virtually led him to us.'

Captain Brevane's eyes had told him everything he needed to know. Not that he needed to be told, had they been told it was a decoy they were hitting than Blacksworn may have chosen an alternative path instead of going around the promethium tank yards and they'd have lost him in the confusion. Somehow it didn't comfort him as he saw that three of his brothers were dead consuming by the same flames as sergeant Nov. Many others were wounded like himself, only one was unharmed.

The words of Inquisitor Yanis gave him no more comfort centuries later than it did the day he said them. Captain Brevane's apologetic stare the closest that stoic marine ever came to actual sympathy.

Vermaas look at the porthole cover again seeing its dull metal as if for the first time before peering back at the stars. It was truly strange how the universe works that after such an event he should be alive while all the others died. Sergeant Nov and his battle brothers deaths were of coarse obvious but the others came much later. He later learned that Inquisitor Yanis was declared a traitor by his own order two decades after Killia and eventually hunted down and killed. Captain Brevane was slain in an incident of friendly fire in the heat of battle -- wrong place at the wrong time. A most unworthy end to such a worthy warrior. Librarian Yanitara died only a century and a half ago in a fight with a Chaos sorcerer.

Surely the God-Emperor had a plan for him when so many others, so much more worthy than him of life died. Surely? Vermaas left the porthold uncovered as he walked back into the darkness of the depth of The Heart.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldman78 View Post
The chaos gods abandoned Horus most likely because they saw the can of whoop ass coming their way and wanted out of the way so as not to get fucked up!
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