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Ok I have recently been playing a LOT of Space Hulk and decided to write a new series of linked missions. Whenever I am writing a new campaign I like to come up with a bit of backstory. So here it is the first contact with the hulk for my Space Hulk Campaign, are you sitting comfortably then I'll begin....

The station’s deep space auspex chimed as it found a contact and six pairs of eyes turned as one. No-one spoke, no-one moved. Bing. The auspex chimed again. Lieutenant Aaron Gearnheart swallowed hard and stepped towards the auspex. Bing. He was the highest ranking crew member on the sensorum bridge on this shift, his commission in the orbital observation corps bought by his father so that he avoided the recruitment drive for the Imperial Guard. Bing. He took another step closer. Orbital station Beta-2, anchored in a deep space polar orbit and nicknamed 'Fat Betty' by her crew, he'd only been here for 2 days and if he was honest had no idea what was going on or even how to get anywhere except his post and his bunk. Bing. Another step closer. Why was his heart racing, why hadn't he delegated this to one of his subordinates? Bing. Aaron looked down at the display screen and waited for the contact to show again. Bing. The distance was showing as 20,000km, which made no sense - that was out well beyond the normal exit point for warp jumps. What could it be? Bing. This time closer. It must be a malfunction or an errant asteroid. Bing.

"Crewman." He turned sharply towards the nearest man on the bridge and, trying to keep the tremor from his voice, "Perform the maintenance rituals on this station to ensure it is not a malfunction."

Bing. As he returned to his seat Aaron couldn’t help but wonder if he was right. Should he wake his commander to check? Should he get one of the men to run further checks? No, best to be decisive and stick to his guns, that is what his father would do. Bing. If it wasn't a malfunction it must be an asteroid, there could be no other explanation. Bing. The smell of incense started to fill the room as the Crewman continued the maintenance ritual for the sensor system. Bing. Aaron realised he was sweating.

"Unexpected object in quadrant 12-d. Preparing scan."

The sudden movement and the metallic rasping voice that issued from the servitor caused Aaron to jump. Bing. As he looked back at the auspex he saw that the Crewman had finished the ritual and was staring at the spool of data issuing forth from the servitor.

"Crewman, report!"

"Sssir", the tremor in the private’s voice sent a chill down Aaron’s spine, "The object is apparently in excess of 20km in length, 5km in width and about 3km high?!"

"Impossible. Have the object re-scanned." Aaron was growing increasingly worried, but nothing could be that big, even the Imperial Navy Battleships weren't that size.

"Lieutenant." It was the shift sergeant, an old veteran whose name eluded Aaron. "With all due respect sir, that's a hulk."

"A what?!"

"A space hulk sir, remnants of old ships, ice, asteroids, the various flotsam of deep space that has combined to form a floating monster. I saw one when I served with a merchant ship, it was a massive haphazard thing and it was just sitting there in space surrounded by Navy cruisers. According to legend they say that hulks contain either the hidden treasures of the past or beasts from your darkest nightmares. Sir I suggest you wake the Captain immediately, you can't deal with this on your own."

Aaron bristled at that last comment; the sergeant didn't like him and obviously thought he was incapable. Bing. Damn that blasted auspex.

"Sergeant, I am not a child to be frightened by the fanciful tales of some old spacefarer. The concept of space hulks is a myth and I will not be made to look a fool by rousing the Captain for a malfunction or, at worst, a deep space asteroid!" Aaron was shouting now but he didn't care, it was good to get his frustrations out. "And if you have a problem with my command of this shift you can consider yourself dismissed. Is that clear Sergeant?"

Silence followed in the wake of his outburst. Aaron and the sergeant stared defiantly at one another as the eyes of the rest of the shift flicked between them. Bing.



"Object trajectory confirmed. Chance of collision 97.23%. Time to impact 2 hours", another servitor announced in the same rasping metallic voice as its brother.

"Lieutenant, ple..."

"Sergeant, you know my position! Follow my orders or leave."

Aaron watched as the Sergeant walked off the bridge. Bing. What was he to do? Potentially he had an errant asteroid heading towards the station; the chances of that were astronomically slim. Alternatively the bridge was suffering a series of instrumentation failures; that was much more likely.

"Summon the techpriest, I want everything checked." Five pairs of eyes stared back at him in shocked silence. "NOW!!" he bellowed.

* * * * *

It had been approximately 90 minutes since he had demanded the techpriest's presence and now, finally, that infernal auspex was silent and Lieutenant Gearnheart had peace on his bridge. The smell of the incense was relaxing and the rituals of maintenance seemed to be progressing smoothly. There was a hiss of pistons and Aaron turned to see his commanding officer, Captain Josephs, standing in the doorway, his jacket on but unbuttoned and a face like thunder, and just behind him was that annoying sergeant.

"Si.." The blow from the Captain caught Aaron completely by surprise and, despite only being a slap, brought a stinging pain to his cheek.

"You imbecile! You waste of space! Sergeant Baskel has more years in space than you have been alive, his experience is to be valued and his words should be heeded. He is not some travelling storyteller trying to frighten you!" The Captain paused as he took in the sensorum bridge; it lay partly dismantled with incense burning freely. "Not only have you shown a remarkable lack of judgement in ignoring the advice of experienced crewmen, but you may well have doomed us all by disabling our only source of information!"

He turned to the techpriest, "Get this bridge operational now. I want a visual on the approaching hulk 5 minutes ago!"

Aaron staggered to the corner and slumped slowly to the floor. He had made a series of mistakes that would probably lead to his execution for incompetence. He wished he could start over, wished he was still back home. He felt a tear roll down his cheek, and then he started to sob quietly, praying that the floor would open up and take him.

"Oh sweet Emperor."

The captain’s voice made Aaron look up. The view screen was up and it showed the front of the hulk, an amalgam of rock, ice and the wreckage of countless ships; it was only metres away. They were dead.

The sound and feel of the collision was sickening. The initial impact made a deep crunching noise accompanied by the scraping and screeching of tortured metal. The sound reverberated through his whole body and at the same instant gravity disappeared and he was spinning and tumbling. Another crunch and more tortured screaming followed, accompanied as before with the lurch of gravity and Aaron was slammed into one of the consoles. He screamed from the sudden sharp pain that flared in his left arm. A third crunch, this time accompanied with a deep resonant boom as 'Fat Betty' wedged herself into the section of the hulk. The artificial gravity and the gravity of the hulk fought for dominance for a brief stomach emptying moment before the mass of the hulk won out and Aaron was slammed into a solid surface again. This time he blacked out and lay tangled in a web of cables.

* * * * *

He was alive; the pain shooting up his left arm told him that. Slowly he opened his eyes. The remains of the bridge were illuminated by the dull red glow of emergency lighting. As his head cleared and he adjusted to the gloom he saw how amazingly lucky he was to be alive; some parts of an old wreck had punctured the bridge and, judging from the pools of congealed blood, had killed at least one of the others. He tried to move and was hampered by the pain in his arm and the mass of cables that had somehow become wrapped around him. He began the slow and painful task of freeing himself from this net of cables. The process caused periodic spasms of pain to issue from his arm and he blacked out several times. The passage of time became an abstract and forgotten concept as he edged his way free.

He was almost free when a new sound imprinted itself on his brain. Click, tap, click-click. At first his pain addled brain mistook it for that thrice-damned auspex. Click, tap, click-click. There it was again, closer this time. Click, tap, click-click. Closer still, and this time there was a screech like that of nails on a blackboard but a hundred times louder. Click, tap, click-click. The noise, whatever it was, could only be just outside the room now.

Without warning one of the ventilation grilles barely 3 metres away was smashed in and fell to the floor with a ringing clang. Aaron jumped and tried to stifle a scream as a bulbous head came though the space. The creature fixed Aaron with a stare as it crawled out of the ventilation duct. A chitinous, sinewy body with four powerful arms emerged and the creature lowered itself to the floor onto two long legs. It assumed a strangely hunched posture that looked at odds with its dexterity and obvious strength as it stalked up the bridge towards Aaron. The powerful claws on its two upper arms left rents in the metal panels where it used them to move over obstacles. It didn't take the creature long to reach him but, watching every one of its menacingly graceful movements, it felt like a lifetime to Aaron. Soon man and beast were face to face and its tongue, which itself had a beaked mouth at its tip, caressed his neck as the creature held Aaron in that mesmerising gaze. Without warning the beak bit down into Aaron’s neck and the last thing Aaron felt was the Genestealer’s ovipositor sliding down into his chest.

Well I hoped you enjoyed that. Constructive critisism appreciated as always.
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