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Boosting Space Marine Biker






Upon closer inspection, Darshan corrected himself. It was subtle, but the nerve network emitted clear use of psychic power in its construction. The 'pilot' too displayed an almost instinctual use of Warpcraft to meld with the nervous system, allowing it to send commands to the different areas of the ship. What an unwelcome development, Darshan thought to himself. The Rogue Traders had not scouted close enough to learn what other powers the Scara may possess that burden now falling upon the Legions to endure. 

Darshan sent a separate shard to warn Icarion as the main shard fulfilled its original mission. He reached into the leader's mind. With its minimal Warp talent, it had the smallest forewarning that something was happening. Untrained in any form of mental defense, the humanoid had no choice as Darshan slid inside and locked the Scara's consciousness away before Darshan sent new orders throughout the warship. 

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/02/17 21:28:43


 
   
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~~~~

Without any redundancies, the ship could not resist its master's commands. Engines mirroring volcanoes fired and shoved the warship away from its compatriots. As it moved, it spun on its internal axis, until the fewest cannons aimed toward the nearby ships.

Kharkis watched the other enemy ships to see if this was an enemy tactic. None of the other ships moved from their current trajectory and commenced firing on the main fleets. He could not understand why it was happening, but he would not allow this advantage to slip away. "Have the Neptune's Fury and us concentrate fire on the ventral cannon, while the Dhow and the Tufan flank and strike their engines."
   
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Captain Gharis slid up to him and whispered, "Is this VonSalim's doing?"

Kharkis grunted. Since the XVIth had yet to fight with the Lord of the Fifth until this day, none of them had a true measure of VonSalim's power. That had not stopped a tide of rumors that declared everything from Alexandros being nothing more than a talented deceiver to telepathically controlling every action and thought of the Halcyon Wardens. Kharkis despised such wasted talk and suspected VonSalim stoked these rumors as part of some on-going ploy. 

"A distraction," Kharkis stated. "The battle is our sole concern."
   
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~~~

Crassus felt a small shudder run through his ship. His armored hands clenched as he visualized the alien torpedo striking against the void shields. With a visible jerk, Crassus focused on the holographic projection before him. Tanks of light raced across a battlefield, leading a flock of rhinos toward a line of emplacements. A modicum of Crassus' anger relented as a ghost of a smile crossed his face. He had always considered the Battle of Three Flags as the birthplace of the Prefects, the elite tank masters of the Fifth Legion. Finally, their legion had something it could boast over the First.

His blue eyes locked onto one tank as it broke through the defensive line. A faded swell of pride and exhilaration flowed through the Prefectus Alae. He had been a mere driver during the battle, but he had been the first to break through. His fist slammed on the table's edge. And now, he thought bitterly. By the Primarch's own command, Crassus had been forced to wait while not one, not two, but three entire campaigns had been completed without his service, cheated of the glory that was rightfully his, and denied his true nature. He had been embarrassed to accompany his Primarch onto the Thunderchild, given his absence from the field. 

It did not matter how kindly his Primarch had spoken to him, nor how often he had promised Crassus he would see battle again. Always, the meeting ended with the Primarch exhorting Crassus to seek the Sanctum and to choose an Arete. He threw a contemptuous glare at the Sanctum around him. 
   
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One of the Primarch's edicts after Balov required every Fifth Legion warship to maintain a room or space for a Legionary to pursue his Arete. Crassus had obeyed the order to the barest minimum. The Glory of Jermani may have been a proper battleship, but its Sanctum was no larger than his own personal quarters, large enough to room a dozen individuals. It featured a holographic table and a shelving unit filled with dataslates about every campaign from the last archived Great Crusade battle to the first Unification Wars skirmish. 

The Glory rumbled again and Crassus seethed at the Sanctum. He saw nothing more than a prison. He desperately wished the aliens would board and finally give him a chance to draw his blade.

~~~

Muniza watched with satisfaction as the battle swung in Humanity's favor. The Scaran warships, for all of their size, were ponderous beasts. Their xeno weapons were marginally faster than their ships. Muniza did not understand the mechanics, but the Scarans fired chunks of molten rock as their sole weapon. The torpedoes were all too easily avoided and threatened only the largest of Imperial warships. He watched as destroyers danced through barrages with ease. While the ships of the line engaged the Scaran fleet, the lighter warships plunged through the center.

There was little reason for Muniza to remain on the bridge. Yet, as the First Legion's newest Sentinel, he was eager to establish his presence and validate his Lord's recommendation and his captains' trust in him. Therefore, he stood in the bridge's center, poised and hands clasped behind his back. With void victory assured, Muniza's mind move to the next battle. The Scarans possessed colonies throughout the system; however, Lord Anasem had predicted that it was imperative to strike at the Scaran homeworld to prevent the campaign from lasting a toil-filled decade. 

Muniza looked past the waning battle and pictured the planet. The next battlefield would be the asteroid belt around it. Long-range auspex scans had detected artificial heat signatures and Scaran xenoforms. These asteroids would have to be secured before planetary operations could begin.

"Thunderchild advancing out of formation."

Muniza broke from his thoughts and turned towards the screens. 
   
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~~~

Over three-quarters of the Scaran fleet drifted through the void, weaponless. A remnant retained engine power and impotently tried to resist. Only a lone Scaran warship possessed the ability to launch volleys at the Imperial fleet. Said fleet counted not a single warship destroyed or disabled as over one hundred ships of Man bore down on the alien ships.

For this final foe, the Thunderchild, pride of the First Legion, sallied forward. Well over twenty kilometres in length, its powerful void shields deflected the Scaran fire with contemptous ease as the mighty ship gained speed. Too late did its prey realize the danger. The xeno warship may have been a mountain. The Thunderchild cared not. A last volley from the volkite sahi blinded any foolish to look upon the livid light. The bladed tsunami of a prow pierced stone and metal. Flames spewed around the Scarans' gaping wound. Thousands of xenos were crushed by their own ship's rubble. Though the Thunderchild slowed, it did not yield as its engines burned brighter. Until, at last, the Thunderchild cleaved the mountain in twain.

The void belonged to the Imperium.
   
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Chapter 13: Battlefield of Thought

"And to think," Alexandros began with a smile, "they told me that you were famous for your contemplative restraint."

Icarion allowed a small smile to show on his features. "I was merely giving you an educational demonstration in void warfare."

Alexandros chuckled. "Consider me enlightened."

Icarion paused as he glanced in the direction of the fleet advance. The two Primarchs stood in the Thunderchild's strategium. They were alone save for each other. "The real struggle will begin soon. I spent my time in meditation, but I was not able to reveal everything before we translated in the system. What of your own efforts?"
   
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"Not much," Alexandros confessed with a hint of frustration. "The void battle was clear to me. Past it, a fog obscures all. I remember a few images. A giant in shadow. Fire in caves. You know, the usual, unhelpful vague visions."

Icarion quirked an eyebrow. "Often is the case of our art. Do you struggle with the limitations?"

"These glances and crumbs of the future are usually worthless, until the event in question comes to pass. I typically avoid such uncertainties by concentrating my efforts on the near future. The more focused I keep my gaze, the more I learn, the more I can change. Past a certain point, a year perhaps, there are simply too many factors to weigh to guarantee much in the terms of accuracy." 

Icarion paused, hands folded above his stomach. "There is truth in what you say, but I would suggest that you needlessly limit yourself. Even if the information is of questionable veracity, it can provide an important clue to be acted upon at a later time."

"Maybe," Alexandros said with a shrug. "While I'd be willing to have a deeper philosophical conversation on future-sight, this doesn't prepare us for the next step of the campaign."

"You're right. And the news of this psychic power among the xenos could explain my own struggles. I'm under the impression that if we do not choose our battles with care, we risk being caught in a bloody mire. Since each of us alone couldn't discern much, together, perhaps we can break through the layer of ignorance."

Alexandros grinned. "I'd be more than happy to offer my services."

The two psykers knelt in the empty strategium. Icarion folded his legs beneath him as he rested his hands on his thighs. Alexandros crossed his legs before pressing his palms together. Both bowed their heads and closed their eyes. Darshan peered the physical world muted as another reality opened itself to him. The room of war hosted echoes of restained bloodlust and hidden uncertainty.

Dominating the room was Icarion's spirit. Had a mortal looked upon the Primarch with mortal eyes, blindness would have followed. The Lord of the First blazed with lightning. Upon closer inspection, Darshan saw that it wasn't a single bolt of lightning contained in the figure of a man, but thousands of winding bolts winding over Icarion's 'skin'. Darshan idly wondered how he appeared to Icarion. 

Although they were safe deep within the Thunderchild, Darshan detected the barrier surrounding and protecting Icarion. It was a subtle thing, given away by the 'smell' of heavy ozone, and quite dangerous to anyone who would violate the Stormborn's defenses. Darshan focused for a fraction of a second and crafted a small link-thought in the form of a small bird. The luminous creation flitted from Darshan's hands and stopped just outside Icarion's defenses. 

The barrier relaxed, allowing the link-thought to enter. It flew to the lightning and immersed itself. Icarion's soul-lightning took on a blue tint as Darshan could only now perceive his brother's mood on the spectral plane. As the link settled, a wave of orange amusement rolled over the lightning-being before their thoughts were joined. 
   
 
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