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Made in in
[MOD]
Illuminati






Arlington, va

It's been a while since I did serious fanfic, how does this look?

Thinking of a 5 part story.


The Long Fall of Vost Dhann
Chapter 1 – Scout
++TRANSCRIPT BEGINS++
Where to begin?
At the beginning? Yes I suppose that would work.
Not as easy as it sounds though, after what happened. Besides does it really matter anymore? I mean especially after all these years?
Centuries?
Yes I guess that’s right, but who’s counting eh?
(laughs)
(silence)
Right, right, the problem is, well, let me start where I can and you’ll understand.
This is the first thing I remember. The very first thing.
I was running through the alleyways of some half ruined city, a shotcannon in my hands. Shells exploding in air above. Star bursts lighting the sky like newborn suns, each star burst was an exploding ship. I remember smiling, assuming the dying ships were the heretics’.
Pardon?
What city? What world? What system? Which war? Sorry, like I said too many years… centuries I guess. Too many wars.
I do remember it was a bit of a to-do, Guard, Navy, Arbites, planetary militias… Inquisition. Everyone came to the party. I’m sure you could find out if you wanted.
My squad was all around me, the sergeant in the front, we’d been sent to clear out some power plant or something then the sarge got a call and suddenly we were sprinting to some plaza halfway across the sector. Apparently some other squad got into trouble and were supposed to bail them out.
There were ten of us, the sarge and nine scouts. I guess we’d been training together a while, probably came from the same world, probably went through the trials and the implants together. I mean that would make sense right?
No, no, I can’t remember their names, you may as well ask me to remember my mom and dad. I think the sergeant was named Affin, maybe Artin, definitely started with an A.
Doesn’t matter now.
I remember the smell though. Even after all that, I remember the smell. They say smell is sense most associated with memory you know. Smoke from a thousand burning buildings and vehicles, mixed with the homey smell of cooking meat. At least it was homey till you realized what sort of meat was cooking that is. And as we got closer to the plaza, the smell of blood.
And this part, this part I remember.
Ironic I know.
A dozen or so cultists swarmed out of a doorway about 200 meters ahead of us. About a second later the top two stories of the building exploded. They all hunkered down as bricks and dust and burning rubble fell on them. One or two of them just disappeared under chunks of rockcrete. Then the ones who were left sort of staggered to their feet, looked at each other and laughed. Two of them hugged. It was weird, it was so… I don’t know, normal.
Of course then they turned and saw us for the first time. They were wearing masks, hoods, respirators, something, anything to hide their faces. Some just had rags tied around their face. I remember that, at the time I wondered why. I figured maybe they didn’t want the Emperor to see what they’d become. Or maybe they just didn’t want the Arbites to scan their faces, get their IDs, track down their families. Or just wanted to keep the smoke out, not everyone has a multi lung you know.
Anyway doesn’t matter. Their faces and torsos were blown into red pulp as ten shotcannons fired. We didn’t even slow down, just ran right through the red gore.
I remember thinking it was my first kill. Of course now I can’t be sure, but I’ll take my word for it.
(Laughs)
We ran into two or three more bunches of heretics. None of them took more than a few seconds to dispatch. None of them got off a shot.
I remember one group, kids. 12, maybe 13 years old, not that much younger than we were. They didn’t even have guns, just these rebar rods sharpened into points. They jumped on us from these second floor windows. The sarge said something about conserving ammo so we… we beat them to death with our rifle butts. We barely broke stride.
It was so easy I asked the sarge - Arrin? Maybe that was his name? Do you think you guys could look it up? It’s driving me nuts!
(Pause)
No? Ah well.
So I asked him why the tactical squad even needed us, I mean if us scouts were smashing through the heretics, then the actual Marines must be stomping them into cultist-flavored goo.
He just smacked me and kept running.
Course I realize now he’d have had the command frequency in his headset, he actually knew what was going on. At the time I thought he was just being a hard-ass.
Augdin! That was his name! Brother-Sargent Augdin! Ye Gods, he must have trained me for years, taught me to shoot, to fight, held me when I cried out for mama… And I couldn’t even remember… remember his damn name…
I really hate you guys. You know that right?
I hate you.
OK, OK, put that down, I know, I know. Lucky to be alive I am. Yeah. Lucky me. Really appreciate everything you’ve done for me. Don’t suppose you could scratch my nose? I have this itch.
(Screams)
Guess…
(Coughs)
Guess that’s a no huh?
So we close in on the plaza and there’s nothing, not a sound.
I mean yeah there were sounds, explosions, gunfire, screams, all over the city. But from that plaza, nothing.
Brother Sergeant Augdin makes these signs: stealth, noise discipline, dispersal. We break into pairs just like that. We must have been like brothers damnit. Brothers. And I can’t even remember their names.
Damn you all.
Me and… and… my partner we go left, slip up a ladder like two gutter rats, only quieter, into this upper floor hallway. I remember the hall was painted in bright colors, now covered with grey dust. There were kids drawings on the wall, a crèche maybe? I definitely remember there was one done in bright yellow of the Emperor sitting on his throne. We smiled and made the sign of the Aquilla. This stupid crude kid’s drawing and it made us feel like the Emperor himself was watching over us.
Funny the things you remember.
We were crouching low, below the window line invisible from the plaza till we get to the far side of the hall. We pulled out our mono-lenses, flipped the top lens 90 degrees and peeked out the window.
And what was saw was… it was magnificent.
Horrible, horrible of course, but magnificent all the same.
You have to understand at the time I was a Space Marine scout. I’d been raised, trained, hell why mince words, brainwashed, to aspire to martial perfection. To become the Emperor’s perfect warrior. And for me, for all of us, that meant to become a Space Marine. Yeah maybe someday we’d joint the first company, don terminator armor and all that, but for us, then, to be a Marine, that was the greatest honor we could imagine. It meant we would be angels of death, invincible agents of the Emperor’s wrath.
So I peeked through my little mono-lens and… I was in awe.
It wasn’t a big plaza. We’re not talking about one of those huge spaces you see in Ultramar where you could land a star cruiser. This was just some open space in an industrial city on some backwater world. But still it was a few hundred square meters. We’re not talking about a closet here.
Do you know how much blood it takes to coat a plaza like that?
I don’t know either, I’m not some math mentat, but let’s just say a lot.
There were corpses everywhere. Not just civilians, but PDF, Guard, even an Arbites or two. And in the center, where there used to be a fountain and a statue of Saint Barnabas the Just – I remember this because it was called St Barnabas plaza and the good saint’s statue was lying in a pool of blood off to the side – right there in the center, some cultists were arranging a pile of corpses.
Marine corpses.
Even through all the blood I could make out the colors of the 3rd squad, 2nd company. The Marines, the gods of war, we’d come to help. And in front of this blasphemous altar was a real god of war.
He was four meters or more, even hunched over, and had an axe that looked like it could split a Rhino APC in half. He wore bits and pieces of power armor, a mix of marks and designs that dated back to the Heresy. Whatever colors he once wore didn’t matter, now everything was just blood red.
He was amazing.
I just looked him in rapture.
Now you have to remember there we were, trained scouts, masters of infiltration, hidden behind rockcrete walls, only the tips of our mono-lens showing. We were as close to invisible as you can get without sorcery.
And this god of war saw us.
He bellowed a challenge.
And, inflamed by the sight of our slain colleagues, we foolishly accepted it.
All of us.
Ten scouts jumped from cover, our shotcannons already barking, striking this man-god from every angle. We’d instinctively switched from scatter shot (good for unarmed but numerous foes) to solid slugs (armor-penetrating for hard targets).
We may as well have been shooting spit balls.
Brother Sergeant Augdin whipped out a sword – a short thin rapier. He flicked his wrist and it doubled in length. And then it glowed. Red, then orange, then yellow, then white and finally translucent. It hurt to look at, even with our enhanced eyes.
The monster we were facing, he just laughed.
His axe was a blur, and three of my squad, three of my brothers, were bisected. More blood for the already wet ground.
My partner and I threw krak grenades, high explosive stuff, usually used for cracking open tanks. Backed them up with a salvo of explosive rounds from our pistols. We got his attention. Even if he just laughed.
He tuned to face us, his axe wet with our brothers’ blood.
But that was what we wanted. He turned his back on Sergeant Augdin, our leader swung his glowing sword into the beast’s legs severing his tendons. Not exactly the most honorable tactic, but what was it you guys taught me? ‘Victory needs no explanation, defeat allows none’? Something like that. And his attack should have send the hamstringed giant falling face-first into the bloody ground. I was already reaching for my combat blade to help finish him.
But the creature didn’t even blink. He just thrust the shaft of his axe backwards, slamming it into the sergeant’s chest with the force of a ramming Baneblade. His breastplate was designed to deflect .75 caliber mass reactive bolts, but it shattered like glass. He flew back into a support column and I saw the ferro-crete crack. He slumped to the ground gasping, trying to pull air into his crushed lungs. His legs were spasming , kicking wildly in the air. His spine must have been severed. But was still alive, alive and howling in pain.
I was in awe.
Awe.
(Pause)
Hmm?
Of course we kept fighting!
(Laughs)
You have to understand, this is how we were trained, conditioned, brainwashed, whatever you want to call it. To be part of a battle like this, whether we lived or we died, that was the greatest honor we could wish for. This wasn’t some deranged cultist or some xenos barely worthy of our bullets this was a true god of war, he was everything we aspired to be. Dying at his hands would be an honour, and killing him, actually defeating a magnificent monster like this, that would be… that would make us… We’d be gods.
So we fought.
Two more died while I was reloading my hi-ex rounds. I didn’t see how, I just heard their screams. When I looked up the flower shop they’d taken cover in was just a heap of rubble.
And then we were four.
One of us came out of cover with nothing but his combat blade. Maybe he was out of ammo. Maybe he had a plan. Maybe he was just another damn fool. Who knows? He yelled something I couldn’t hear, then that massive axe came down and he was cut in two where he stood.
I heard an engine then. Out of an alley roared a civilian ground car, one of those little Hermes Motors Fiacres that fat burghers and bald merchants like to ride around in. It caught the giant’s side hitting him like a comet. The entire front crumpled, I saw another squad mate at the wheel, grinning like a fool.
The giant stumbled, he tried to limp away but his leg was caught in the vehicle’s crumpled grill. We closed in, thinking we had him.
We were wrong.
One stroke of that axe turned the car into a fireball and my fellow scout into a corpse, but did little more than scorch his armor.
And we were two. Two scouts, children really, standing before a giant who ate our slugs like they were soylent bars. The boy next to me turned and ran, crying like the child he was, all that psy-conditioning, all that brain-washing, torn away like a paper mask.
The giant didn’t even spare him a glance. Behind me I heard screams as some cultists swarmed him.
He screamed a long time.
I could feel a trail of warm liquid running down my leg. I was biting my lip. I couldn’t even raise my gun any more. It was over. The axe rose into the air. It seemed very, very big.
Then I said them, three little words that saved my life.
“God of war” I whispered, with reverence. It was an honour to die at the hands of this magnificent creature. I knew then our humble attempts to challenge him were insults to his majesty. Sacrilege really.
The axe came down.
I screamed and fell to my knees.
I felt a stab of pain and opened my eyes.
My left arm was gone.
But I still lived.
The giant reached down and lifted me like a doll. I was still screaming, babbling, howling, like my partner all pretense was gone, I was just a mewing child. The only difference between us was that he’d still had enough motor control to run while I had frozen in place.
He smiled at me.
“You might do” he said. That was it. That’s exactly what he said.
“You might do”, with 3 words I’d saved myself, and with 3 words he had damned me.
But not that day.
There was a bright light and a crack.
When my vision cleared of the afterimages I saw the giant turning to face a new foe standing a hundred yards away at the end of an alley. He dropped me and took a step, the earth shook under his feet. Then another. Then a third.
And then he fell flat on his face.
A veritable god of war was dead.
And I heard someone shout “Good shot sah!”
I still remember that annoying nasal voice. “Good shot sah!” He sounded like some up-hive flunky toadying up to his high-born master. Which I suppose, is just what he was.
The sycophant was short and squat, dressed in garish silks, his face powered and rouged. He looked just the way he sounded.
Behind him his master strode up the alley towards me and the fallen giant. The master was tall and gaunt, he looked like he’d been stretched in a rack to twice his normal height, and then a feathered hat added another foot or two to his artificial stature. He was held upright by some sort of medical exo-skeleton, all trimmed out in brass and gold, hissing and puffing out steam as he walked. I suppose he meant it to look impressive. But I’d seen impressive. Impressive was lying dead in the gutter in front of me. This newcomer was just a parody. In his hands he had a baroque firearm, as long as a man is tall with a barrel that flared out in a funnel.
“We are in time.” The tall man said. “The ritual was not complete.”
A few others ran up behind him. A grab bag of guardsmen with uniforms and weapons from plants across half the sector fanned out securing the blood-stained square. One of them kicked the body of a scout out of his way. Behind them came a lumbering man-machine in red and an older woman in dark robes, her face concealed by a thick veil. I blacked out for a second and then I could see the creature in red looming over me, green lights shined from implants in his face, playing over my wounds. Metal tendrils snaked out from his red robes and jabbed my wounded flesh.
“He will live.” It boomed, sounding like a man speaking at the bottom of a well.
The tall man, the Inquisitor, made a sound in his throat, like a disappointed school master lying how this will hurt him more than it hurts you. He gestured with his over-sized gun at the runes and the blood.
“He’s seen too much. Take care of that.”
And he left along with most of his carnival of freaks leaving only the runt and the veiled woman. She knelt next to me and put her hands on my head and…
I screamed, a writhed, a pissed myself, I wept blood, I puked, I pretty much did every disgusting thing you could think of but even with my strength I couldn’t pry her hands from my skull.
And that was that.
My parents, my childhood, my training, my squad, my brothers. All gone.
(Pause)
Since that day that’s it. As far as I know that was the day my life began. I’m pretty sure Vost isn’t even my real name, just one they gave me.
I wonder if she ever realized it? She managed to destroy every memory I had, except the one I was supposed to lose.
I was in no position to tell her of course.
(Laughter)
I blacked out again.

 
   
Made in gb
Bryan Ansell





Birmingham, UK

I really want to read more about Vost.

Lets have the next chapter soon.

   
Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa






Northern Ireland

I'd love to read the inquisitor's notes on this... Patient? Prisoner? Traitor. Its a great story so far. I just want all the information.

Only 5 parts you say? I'd read plenty more if you had the time to write them.

   
Made in in
[MOD]
Illuminati






Arlington, va

Heh. That took a while.

The Long Fall of Vost Dhann

Chapter 2 – Penitent

++TRANSCRIPT BEGINS++

Hello again, back so soon?
(Inaudible reply)
That long? Really? Well the time does fly by here.
(Inaudible reply)
(Screams)
What? What? What did I do-
(Screams)
(Pause)
No wait! Don’t go! I’m sorry, all right? I am really, really sorry, just trying to y’know, add some levity to the discussion here. Didn’t mean to offend. OK?
(Pause)
I mean you’re here right? You took time out of your day to come by, you may as well hear some more of my story right? That’s why you’re here, to find out why I did… those things. Right?
(Inaudible reply)
So shall we?
(Silence)
Right… OK, imagine this, you wake up naked, lying on the metal floor in a completely dark cell, oh and your left arm is gone at the shoulder. Oh and you have no idea how you got there, why you’re there or even who you are.
What do you think I did?
I screamed.
A lot.
After a while in the darkness I calmed down. Then I started to get thirsty, then hungry. Then real hungry. It was kind of like here, the time just fl- I mean, that is, the time passed slowly, more so since I had no real way to mark it except by how hungry and weak I got. I don’t know if you know this, but Space Marines are big guys. Well of course you know that, but do you know what it means? I mean we need to eat to support these big bodies. A lot. Often. Now we can eat just about anything short of a rock, but we need something. And I had nothing.
I was just about to take a bite out my arm when happened, all the lights blasted on and a voice, like the word of God, boomed from the gargoyles “What is your name?”
They had to repeat it a few times, to get through the fog of hunger and weariness and confusion but finally I answer “I don’t know”.
More questions followed “Are you loyal?”, “Do you serve the Emperor?” and on and on. I mean I could barely put words together, my memory was gone, well almost… and there were these blinding lights and booming voices demanding answers I didn’t have with questions I could barely understand.
Then came the shocks.
Look I don’t want to tell you how to do your job right. But you might want to think about this, if you’ve got someone who’s just been through a lot, who’s hurting, locking him up, starving him and torturing him might not give him the best impression of the Imperium y’know. It might even make him a bit angry towards the whole system if you stop and-
(Screams)
(Inaudible muttering)
(Screams)
(Pause)
Yes, yes, quite right, sorry about that, forgot my place, yes, praise Him on Earth, yes, yes. Thank you for your lesson. Yes.
(Pause)
So anyway, this continued for a while.
Until they got to the one question I could still answer in my state. “Who do you serve?”
Even in my confused and weakened state I muttered it, the one thing I was certain of – “…god of war…”
New questions started coming fast and furious.
“Who do you worship?
“Who do you see?”
I could see him you know. Like he was in front of me. A mighty giant wielding an axe larger than he was hacking through my brothers like they were wheat. I couldn’t tell you my name, had no idea who my parents were but him, him I could see.
“The God of War” I said.
They continued with the demands, “Who is your master? Who do you live for? Who will you die for?”
And I shouted back “The God of War!”
And then they asked it “Who is the God of War?”
“I… I don’t know…”
And that’s when I started to cry. Not from the hunger, or the pain, or the confusion. I cried because I was afraid I would never see the face of my god again.
The shocks stopped. The strobes stopped. The voice stopped.
I guess they thought I couldn’t hear but my ears could still catch murmurs coming from the gargoyles’ mouths. They were debating, arguing, who or what I was talking about. And they concluded I must mean the Emperor. Who else could I mean? Who else would be so important to me that I would remember him when everything else was forgotten right? Right?
Damn fools.
(Screams)
Sorry… sorry… I shouldn’t have-
(Screams)
Please… I’m-
(Screams)
(Pause)
(Screams)
(Pause)
(Inaudible)
Yes, yes, quite right, yes, very good of you to stand up for the honor of your brothers in righteousness. Though in retrospect you must admit-
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Pause)
(Water splashing)
(Groans)
(Inaudible)
What?
(Inaudible)
Continue? You want me to continue after you -
(Screams)
Yes! Yes! Continue, of course, yes. OK… So yes, after their discussions some nutra-paste started flowing out of a rusty pipe on the walls, I shoveled it into my mouth with my one hand, finally wrapped my mouth around the pipe and gulped it down.
Later a hatch opened and they dumped in a loin cloth and robe. Ever try to tie a loin cloth with one arm? It ain’t easy.
But I bet you’re not interested in that are you? Course not.
Now instead of questions I got lectures, long ones. Learned what I was, where I was, my own damn name. Of course Vost Dann isn’t my real name, I still don’t know what my name was. They renamed me on account of my being ‘reborn’ and all that. It’s taken from the chapter’s cant, means ‘Reborn into the Light’, pretty huh? Kind of poetic.
Say you wouldn’t know my name would you? My real name? I mean you’ve got to have it there somewhere right?
(Silence)
Ah, never mind. Never needed it before, certainly don’t need it now. My name’s Vost, and I’ve made that a pretty famous name huh?
(Screams)
(Gasping)
(Pause)
Yes, yes, quite right, it is a cursed name, best forgotten. Praise Him on Earth.
(Pause)
So… yeah. Learned all about my Chapter, the Argent Fraternitati, the Silver Brotherhood in low goth. You probably knew that too.
And learned all about the big guy-
(Scream)
Sorry! Sorry! I mean… I mean I learned all about His Immortal Majesty the Master of Mankind…
(Pause)
So yeah, I learned, for the second time I guess, all about Him on Earth and how he succors and protects us against the forces of chaos and how I might be a one-armed amnesiac in a cell but I can still serve.
Which is how they led into the test.
So there I was, in a robe and loincloth, one arm – sorry if I keep harping on that, but it was really frustrating – and they drag me out of the cell, down miles of stone corridors and finally throw me into a hatch and toss in a combat blade.
I looked up and I was there, I was back in the square, the one place I could remember.
I wasn’t really back mind you. It was just a practice room in the Fortress Monastery with some set dressing. Maybe some holograms too. My memory of this practice fight and the real one sort of blend. One thing I do remember though they got the smell right. The smell of smoke and pulverized concrete and cordite and blood. The smell of war. They got that perfect.
So there I was, blade in my one and only hand – sorry, I’ll stop mentioning that – and out come a dozen or so cultists, with clubs and flails. Got to say, they got those guys perfect too. The robes, the goggles, the masks, the marks, I wonder if they had some real cultists from the battle frozen for something like this? Did they have some Chapter Serfs sitting around reproducing their costumes? Not that it mattered. Even one armed – sorry, forgot – I took them down fast. Thrust, stab, twist, kick, stomp. Y’know people are pretty fragile if you know how to break them. Even with just one arm.
And then he came out.
He was big, he was strong, he had scraps of armor and dragged a thick mass of cables and tubes across the floor. In his hands he held an axe the size of… the size of… I don’t know, something big. Not huge, but pretty darn big. He was a parody. A joke. Even then I could see what they were going for, there wanted him to look like the champion who’d killed my brothers, the one I called the God of War. He wasn’t. He wasn’t a majestic figure who’d fought a thousand battles and stood on the very edge of apotheosis, he wasn’t an arch-heretic who’d become what every marine dreams of being, he didn’t glow with unholy power.
He was just some bloated servitor pumped full of drugs and muscle implants, a puppet whose strings trailed behind him.
I was offended. I was angry. I leapt.
The axe passed through the space I’d occupied and embedded itself in the floor. The lobotomized hulk couldn’t even pull it free. I slammed into its chest and wrapped my legs around it. The face was protected by a grill so my one arm pistoned up and down plowing the knife into its exposed flesh. Blood, ichor, oil, drugs all leaked out. The creature was still struggling to pull its axe free as my combat blade when through its ear and into its brain. I let go as it staggered to its knees and died.
I spat on it.
They came out clapping. Applauding. Cheering me. Congratulating me. They said something about how I’d rejected the arch enemy and my rage proved my faith.
I smiled. Even then I knew not to say the truth.
After all they brought me into the light.
Reborn.

 
   
Made in in
[MOD]
Illuminati






Arlington, va

And part 3...

Chapter 3 – Reborn

++TRANSCRIPT BEGINS++

The new few months, years, I can just summarize. They replaced my arm, that was the big thing. Cloned flesh spliced back into place. The skin color didn’t quite match, it was always just a bit more pale, but after a few weeks it worked fine. I could stab with a blade or fire a bolt pistol with either hand.
They put me in a squad of neophytes. I wasn’t welcomed at first. They’d been training together for more than a decade when I joined, seen their number wither from over a hundred to just a dozen or so as implants failed to take or the weak were culled. And here I am, almost a head taller, already bloodied in combat and tainted by… you know, what happened. Plus there was still a lot I didn’t know. Muscle memories were fine, I could walk, eat, fight, but ask me what the first line of the Codex Imperialis was… Nothing. Blank.
It’s “My will be done” by the way, I did relearn it.
So there I was always 2 steps everyone in the cadre when it came to combat or physical training, 10 steps behind when it came to the book-learning. Guess I should’ve been happy I could still read at all huh? Count my blessings right?
(Pause)
Letting that one slide? You must be warming up to my cha-
(Screams)
(Gasping)
Right… Sorry… praise Him on Earth and all that.
So yeah, I beat their leader up the first week I was there, which got me respect but not too many friends. Spent a lot of time watching my back. Everybody wanted to take out the big guy but knew they couldn’t in a straight fight. Ended up killing one of them when he got a little too clever. The bosses let it go, just part of the culling right?
It was a long couple of years, let’s just leave it at that.
(Inaudible reply)
16 years? That long? Really? Well I guess you’d know huh?
By the end things were better, the others caught up to my physically, I caught up to them mentally. And after a couple more scrapes the squad pretty much made peace with me. Things were starting to look OK.
That’s about when I lost my arm again. We were on a milk run, smashing some skulls of some primitive tribe somewhere, teaching them to respect the Emperor or else. Nice practical training for Neophites who aren’t quite scouts yet. Probably the first real fight I’d been in since I uh, came back.
I was stabbing some body-painted tribesman when all the sudden my arm just hurt. I mean that day I’d been stabbed, speared, had an arrow in my leg, and didn’t even notice. But this was real pain. Dropped my knife and fell to my knees. One of the squad had to finish off my guy and carry me back to the drop ship. By then my shoulder was black and rotting.
There wasn’t much they could do for my arm, something about corruption or whatever they couldn’t do another clone graft or nothing so I got a mechanical one. Y’know those bionic arms that make you better, stronger, faster than you were? Lift up a Rhino, punch through steel and all that? I didn’t get one of those.
It was OK, a heavy gunmetal grey thing with none of the embellishments or enhancements a higher-ranking marine would get. I could hold a gun, even fight a bit with it, but it was always slow, a second or two behind my brain giving it an order. Which meant I was always a bit slower than the rest of the squad. Yeah sure I was still a marine, still superhuman, but just a bit less superhuman than the rest. I didn’t mind it. Much.
So yeah, another year or two later I was deemed ready to go back out. I was a scout again.
(Inaudible question)
What next? We fought, we killed, we won, we died. At one point or another we would go down to Ork shootas, or heretic lasguns or whatever. But we were Marines, more times than not we got back up and kept fighting. Still out of the 10 of us three or four didn’t make it, they were replaced by new scouts and we kept going.
I saw, what? Six, seven scouts make full Battle Brother. Including some who were younger than me. I cursed them. I cursed my arm. I cursed that damn battle and the damned Inquisitor who-
(Screams)
(Gasps)
I mean… that blessed Inquisitor who protected my fragile mind. Right? That’s what I should say? Yeah.
I just cursed a lot. Which probably didn’t really impress the sarge or the chaplains with my promotion potential am I right? I bet you’ve got a stack of parchments from them about how much I suck and how I should stay a scout till I finally got myself killed.
(Ruffling papers)
(Inaudible reply)
Really?
He said that about me?
Me?
Wow. Would have been nice if he’s said that to my face but whatever. Can’t have everything right?
So yeah, years went by, battles became a blur, one of the scouts who started the squad with me made Brother Sergeant, Tharal I think his name was.
(Inaudible reply)
He made captain? Really? Good on him.
(Inaudible reply)
Did he? Lousy way to go. Damn shame.
(Inaudible question)
Yeah, I pretty much figured that’s how I would go. Blown up by a cannon, shot in the head by a sniper, smashed to a pulp by some alien beastie. Never even put on a suit of powered armor.
Till Kaur XI.
(parchments rustling)
You set? Got what the Chapter told you back in the day? OK good. So here’s what really happened.
Kaur XI was your basic rock, nothing special in the minerals department, nothing interesting in the fauna, not too populated, but some fertile soil and just a couple of jumps from a string of hungry hive worlds. So that’s what they did, planted, reaped, bundled it up and shipped it out. Nothing there to interest the rest of the Imperium.
Cept when the skinnies started poking around.
(Inaudible question)
Huh? Yeah, the Elders, them.
(Inaudible statement)
Sorry El-dars. Skinny, whiny, nasal voices, pointy ears. Them.
First they started some raids, coming out of nowhere, hitting isolated villages and settlements, spreading fear. Then when everyone was all scared and moving out of their farms and villages into walled towns the Eldars started up a major camp in the middle of some fields somewhere.
Now you’d think either we’d let them alone to do their business then bugger off. Or we’d divert a navy ship and vaporize them from orbit. But not this time. Someone somewhere, maybe one of your guys, wanted to know what they were up to. So that’s where we came in.
The strike cruiser slipped in, dropped its cargo and slipped out before the Eldars even knew we were there. I rode down in a drop pod with the rest of the squad. We were looking to slip into their lines, wreck some havoc then call in the rest of the brothers to stomp on them and drag some prisoners away for the dungeons. So pretty typical.
We dropped a ways from the site and started making our way overland. Silenced weapons, knives, camo cloaks, we were your basic moving shadows.
The land was covered in dense fields – tanna, akarso, quadrotriticale – far as the eye could see. Planted in tight rows, you could push through them but you’d leave a trail a blind grox could follow. So we kept to the irrigation canals, water splashing our boots. Every so often Tharl would see something on his auspex and we’d duck into the crops, pull the cloaks over us and wait. Sometimes it was nothing, a local bird or whatever. But one time we could hear it, a high-pitched screech, we didn’t even need Tharl’s auspex we just moved into cover. Held our breath, slowed our heartbeats, and waited. It was five of their flying bike things, circling around, buzzing low. I saw Anjano take out the missile launcher.
Y’know, I had great scores with the launcher. Really good. Anti-tank, anti-infantry I did fine with both in the sims and even live-fire drills in the arena. But no matter how many times I asked they never let me have it on missions. It was always the wrong time. Anjano has better scores, so he’ll get it. Guto has worse scores and needs the experience. Always some excuse. I really wanted to use the missile launcher. I deserved it. I’m just saying.
Anyway he never got to use it. Tharl waved him to put it away and not give away our position. Obviously right? I wouldn’t have made that mistake. So we just waited. After a bit the Eldars got bored and flew off.
So we moved again.
The next encounter wasn’t nearly so smooth.
Like I said the Eldars camp was set up in the middle of a field. Nothing valuable, nothing important, no strategic value we could spot, just the middle of some damn field on a nothing world. They’d cleared about 500 meters, then set up some kind of temple, bunker. Whatever it was. Who can tell with Xenos.
They’d surrounded it with these hovering artillery pieces, nasty things that could knock a Thunderhawk out of the sky and made drop pods a suicide run. So that was the target. Just one problem. They were in the center of a ring flat open ground. No way to get close without being visible.
So we scattered, each charging through the crops, tossing off smoke grenades and flash-bangs, make five scouts look like an army. If you can’t hide, deceive – that’s from the Codex Astares y’know. The Eldars spotted us straight away and open fire with their artillery. Missiles, lasers, plasma, even sonic beams that just plowed a path through the sea of crops. They made a big mess but that worked to hide us even better. No matter how much firepower you have, it ain’t easy to pick out five little targets in a pretty big area.
Then Anjano messed it up. The idiot stops running, kneels down and fires off a missile. Yeah he blows up one of their artillery pieces but guess what. All the others have his range and they fire. He never got a second shot, they turned him and everything for 20 meters into a crater. Moron. I wouldn’t have done that. Just saying.
Still he did make for a great distraction. I popped out of the crop ring and made it within 100 meters before they spotted me and let me tell you if you let a marine get within 100 meters, you’re already dead. Shot the first Eldar artillery man in the head, the second one three times in the chest, the third one I just smashed his head against his the side of his own artillery piece till his skull burst in my hand. Across the clearing I saw some of the artillery explode, one of the other guys must have gotten there faster than me and had time to set charges. I knocked off a couple more Eldars, one of them was hiding under his cannon, probably crying like a baby. Dragged him out and stomped on him till his spine snapped and my boot was hitting soil. Started to feel a bit cocky as I set my melta bombs.
I saw Guto and smiled, he was setting his charges, a pile of dead Eldars lying on the ground behind him. I saw smoke from the other side of the bunker, Agran had been busy too. I yelled something about these skinnies weren’t so tough after all. Tharl yelled back something about maintaining discipline.
Then the temple/bunker/whatever opened. And it all went to gak.
This big, I don’t know what to call it, robot? Dreadnought? Really tall guy in armor? Whatever. It comes out and whoosh, I didn’t even see it aim but suddenly Guto is just bloody hunk of meat with like, a million of these little knife things sticking out of him.
Let me tell you, we sure could have used that missile launcher then, if Anjano hadn’t gotten himself blown up. Moron.
So it turned towards Tharl and me aiming those knife-guns and some other nastiness. And I get brave, or stupid, or devout. I got something. I yell to Tharl that I got this, and I charge firing my pistol and waving around my combat knife, screaming like moron. .75 mass-reactive explosive bolts just plink off him like pebbles. He fires those knife guns but I wasn’t the target, he must have been going for Tharl, protecting the guns and ignoring the crazy scout. Then I reach him and jam my combat knife into his hip, figure I’ll paralyze him or something. The blade breaks. The titanium-ceramic monomolecular blade snaps like a toy. And I stand there for a second and realize why the robot thing had been ignoring me. I wasn’t a threat, not even an obstacle.
It just swats me out of the way, knocks me into one of those Eldar guns, breaks a few bones. By then Tharl had darted away and a couple more guns blew. So the robot thing ignores me and goes looking for him. Guess he figured I was dead, or maybe just powerless. He might have been right. My gun was gone, dropped it when I got hit. My knife was snapped. My damn metal arm shot off some sparks and went dead. Even my pack of charges was lost in the mud somewhere. We were all going to die, and then the remaining guns would smack our Thunderhawks out of the sky.
No.
Not while I was still alive damn it!
My hand closed on something in the mud. It was a piece of wood, the handle of an axe. Some farmer’s tool left there when they all ran, or died. It was nothing. But it was something.
You know what I mean?
I screamed and I attacked. A stupid woodsman axe in my one good hand and brought it down on that skinny robot’s hip, just where my combat blade had snapped.
It bit in. Deep.
The robot thing didn’t have a mouth so it couldn’t scream but it sure looked it like it was trying. It turned, ready to kill me any of a dozen ways. The axe rose and fell into its back. It stumbled. It fell face first into the mud. The axe fell again and again, fluid leaked from its armor. Energy crackled. Bits of bone-like armor flew. It tried to push itself up with its fists then fell again. I raised the axe over my head and brought it down, cut the thing’s spine in two.
That when I realized what I’d been screaming.
God of war.
(Pause)
Which god? Well that’s the real question isn’t it-
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Screams)
I mean… I mean… I was Him on Earth of course, the Master of Mankind, the Invincible Overlord of a Million Worlds!
Who else could I mea-
(Screams)
Please, can you just stop, I mean it’s all there isn’t it? Tharl’s reports, the Chaplain’s assessment, everything right? You already know what happened right?
(Inaudible reply)
OK, OK, but it’s just what it says there.
So the guns exploded. Tharl and Agran did their jobs. The Thunderhawks burned out of the atmosphere like the Emperor’s wrath and a demilegion of assault marines landed. They tore that temple bunker thing open and found a pit. Fifty meters across, and deep, really deep. They went down it hunting Eldars as they went. From what I hear it was mostly their civilians. Scientists? Priests? Miners? Who knows. Nobody who could put up a fight that’s for sure. I could hear their whiny screams even from up top.
The rest of the Eldar warrior types, they must have ran. We saw some of their jet bikes screaming by chased by local PDF planes. Never found out if they got away or not. Didn’t really care.
After a while the Assault Squads came back hauling a couple of Eldars with them, they were crying in those nasal voices. Some of them were missing a couple of limbs. Our Thunderhawks landed a bit away and some thralls and sevitors came out to help. We waited and some more shuttles arrived. Black, no markings. They let out some scribes and tech priests and warriors, all dressed in black, no markings. Nothing suspicious there nope. I mean who would even think they were from the Inq-
(Screams)
(Inaudible instructions)
OK, OK, sorry. So uh, these unmarked guys, whoever they worked for. They took over, loaded the Eldars into a shuttle and we got in our Thunderhawks and headed home. We took Guto’s body with us, full honors. And a chuck of Anjano’s armor, all we could find of him. Moron. He got full honors too, despite being a moron. A whole nest of Eldars cleaned out and only two loses. Not bad.
Except for the small problem of me.
What I did was impossible. Completely impossible. You need serious firepower to take down one of those skinny robot things. You don’t just go after it, even with a power fist or an eviscerator. Not unless you want to be turned into fillets. And I brought one down with a farmer’s axe.
They checked the axe, just in case, it was an axe.
So they did what they had to. The Chaplain examined me and proclaimed a miracle had occurred. The Reborn One had brought the light of the Emperor to destroy the Xenos.
Hurray.
And just like that, they started the rites and within days I was a battle brother. Full plate, a boltgun in my hands. They even gave me a chain axe to remember my little miracle. The farmer’s axe went into the reliquary of course. Vessel of the Emperor’s Holy Wrath or something. I visited it a couple of times back in the day. Hey you don’t know if it’s still there do y-
(Screams)
(Inaudible reply)
(Screams)
(Pause)
Uh…
(Water splashing)
(Inaudible orders)
Uh… sorry, sorry yes, into the heart of a star of course. Smart move probably. Can’t be too safe these days.
But anyway, the point is, I made it. I was a full marine, Brother Marine Vost Dhann, 3rd Company 5th Squad. I was never prouder that that day.
And I want you to write that down cause it’s true! I was never prouder than the day I became a Space Marine in the Silver Brotherhood. Never.
Even after everything else.
OK?
(Pause)
But thinking about it… I mean, that day, that day when I killed the Eldars’ robot thing and all of your guys landed to check out their temple or whatever it was… Maybe you should’ve checked me out too. Maybe you would’ve found something was wrong. Bet that was a bit more important than whatever you found in that pit.
Just saying.
(Inaudible reply)
Huh. Wow. Never expected to hear that. Funny I really thought you’d take that poorly. Guess we all make mistakes huh? No reason we can’t-
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Wimpering)

 
   
Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa






Northern Ireland

Very nice mix of humour and brutality. I'm enjoying your wit. Looking forward to the big bloody finale....
(Screams)
(Inaudible instruction)
(Screams)
Ok ok, to the inevitable penitent confession and purification to come.

   
Made in in
[MOD]
Illuminati






Arlington, va

Glad you like it!

The next chapter will be a bit self indulgent as I get into my thoughts on how marines actually work.

I mean if you have Thunderhawks and drop pods why are you trudging through the mud in a rhino?

If you have strike cruisers, why are you even landing?

Stuff like that.

 
   
Made in in
[MOD]
Illuminati






Arlington, va

Chapter 4 – Battle Brother (Part 1)

++TRANSCRIPT BEGINS++

So, back again? And pretty fast too. I guess that’s cause we’re getting to the meat, the heart. The real question. What happened? What happened to me? What happened to Vost Dhan?
That’s what you want to know right?
(Inaudible reply)
(Hatch opening)
Wait, wait, wait, I was just checking, I mean I don’t want to bore you talking about the Trate Crusade or the Siege of Ommon or just ramble on about the time I killed this thing or that thing. You’re not here to waste your time right? You got a purpose and I want to y’know, help. Get this over with.
So let me get to the point, the last mission of Battle Brother Vost Dhann, Tactical Marine, 3rd Company 5th Squad.
That’s what you’re here for right?
So let’s get started.
(Screams)
(Inaudible command)
(Screams)
(Pause)
Yes, yes, no, never, of course, would never presume to tell you what to do. Please my apologies, just don’t get to talk to too many people these days, my manners ain’t so good.
(Screams)
I-I’m sorry. Sorry. I’ll try harder.
(Inaudible questions)
Yeah, OK, I mean no need to go into detail right, you’ve got it all in there I bet. But yeah, I’d made it. I was a Battle Brother. The crude arm they’d fitted me with as a scout was gone, replaced by a sleek silver one, just as fast and dexterous as my own. And a bit stronger. My armor was silver too, trimmed in blue. Good suit, Mark VII, but with a Mark V pauldron from the Chapter armory. The thing must have been two millennia old. A reward for my uh… miracle.
(Screams)
(Inaudible statement)
(Screams)
Sorry! Sorry! Sorry OK!? That’s what they called it, I never said anything, that’s what the Chaplain called it! But yeah, so as my reward for uh, what happened I got myself a heirloom pauldron, a new arm and Little Choppy. That’s what I called her, my chain axe, Little Choppy. And let me tell you, for a whole lot of heretics and Xenos, Little Choppy’s whirling teeth were the last thing they saw.
On my squad I kind of got clean up detail. After a firefight, if there was anyone left, me and Little Choppy would take care of them. I kind of liked it. Making sure they’d never bother the Emperor again.
(Inaudible question)
Hey, you heard me before, I was never prouder than when I became a full Battle Brother. And the squad, they were proud too, proud to have me, cause of my mir- I mean my uh, victory. It was a bit of an honor to have me there. There was talk I might make Sergeant, or Company Champion or maybe even become a Chaplain. Pretty good for a guy who couldn’t seem to make it out of the Scout ranks right?
They even let me have the squad missile launcher for a couple of missions. I really made the Greenskins pay when I had that thing.
So I was a Battle Brother for a long time, 30 maybe 40 years.
(Inaudible reply)
Well yeah, I guess it depends how you’re counting what with warp travel and all that.
(Inaudible reply)
OK, OK, one hundred twenty years. You’re right, you’re always right.
So I went through, oh, three sarges. There was Zeer, good guy, artist with a chain sword. Got sent up to the Veteran Company. Saw him again years later all decked out in Terminator Armor, he did good. Thar, he was amazing. I watched him sprint across 300 meters, bullets bouncing off his armor like raindrops. He smashed his way into the bunker, killed everyone inside before we could even catch up. A real master. A couple weeks later he was cut in half by a lascannon. Good man. He deserved better. So my last sergeant was Tork, big guy, no nonsense, no speeches, just point at a target and the target died. A perfect Marine.
That was the state of things when I started my last mission. Me, Tork and the rest of the squad, all glittering silver armor and bolters loaded with death.
Bebosi’s World was another basic rock. Some farms, some mines, some cities, some factories. Could have been any of a million worlds. Yeah the people had to work hard, the peasants, the miners, the laborers, but things are tough all over right? Well these people just didn’t know their place. So there were protests, then riots, then rebellions, then a full civil war. And that went on for a few years.
Things got pretty bad. The Governor fled to a domed outpost on one of the outer planets. The Planetary Militia was torn in half, or thirds or whatever, loyal to whatever local officer or lord or priest was running things. The countryside was full of loyalists, rebels, bandits, redemption cults, heretic cults and everything else. The Arbites barricaded themselves in their Fortress Precinct and then blew the plasma reactor when they couldn’t hold them anymore. I always liked the Arbites, they could fight. Finally rebel Militia took control of the bases on Bebosi’s moons and started zapping any ships in range with defense lasers. And that’s when things got serious. No one cares what happens on a rock, someone’s always making trouble somewhere, but when it starts affecting shipping people take notice. Eventually some fat noble didn’t get his favorite Bebosi Ale. Or some scribe didn’t get his precious reports. Or some Guard regiment didn’t get their ammo. And the Imperium finally sat up and took note.
And that’s where we came in.
Two full companies of Argent Fraternitati, along with some stray units from the Scout Company and a couple of Terminators from the First Company. Four strike cruisers, plus some escorts. Then a shoal of Navy ships and a couple of regiments of guardsmen, the usual. The Emperor’s mailed fist was coming down hard on some idiots who would have lived long happy lives if they’d just known their place.
We hit the moons first, of course. If you don’t control the high ground you’ve already lost. That’s from the Codex too you know. Drop podded in and smashed through the dome of one of the bases. It decompressed and that took care of that. Then we just cut through bulkheads, smashed walls and basically turned the whole place into a vacuum. A couple of the militia managed to get into void suits but we just hunted them down. The thing about fighting in a vacuum, you couldn’t hear them scream. I barely fired a shot in the whole operation, disappointing really. Eight planetary defense grid bases to clear out, and no marine losses. I heard one of the guard troop ships got hit, a couple thousand of them burned to ash or frozen in space. But hey, there’s more where they came from.
So then the real mission started.
We were going to do some simple snatch and sever ops. The Librarians and the Battle Seers and strategic savants and the tactical mentats and all those other brainiacs would figure out where the troublemakers were and then we’d drop in, grab them, and haul them back to the Strike Cruiser. Then the Tech Marines and their lot would cut their heads open, turn them into servitors and broadcast it back. Usually after everyone saw their leaders polishing our armor with their tongues they’d start rethinking things. I must have helped pacify seven or eight worlds that way. No razed cities, no massacres, just a newly compliant population eager to work for the Emperor. No reason to think Bebosi’s World would be any different.
Well it was.
First of all the Militia’s arsenals and magazines had been looted and carved up. So all these gangs and cults and rebels had Icarus Lascannons, Morningstar Missile Batteries even Godfall Skyhammers. So we could land in loyalist cities but no flying over the countryside. We lost a couple of Guard troop shuttles finding that out, even got some scorch marks on a Thunderhawk before the decision came down. So we were reduced to ground vehicles and trekking through the mud. Trips that would take an hour would take days, and then some morons would take pop shots at us and we’d have to waste an hour or two killing them. And by the time we finally got to whatever village or fort or cave the leader was supposed to be holed up in they’d be gone. But I guess the logic was it was better to take some time and do it right than just burn them from orbit.
That was the state of things for a couple of months. Probably the most time I’d spent on a single rock since I joined the Chapter.
We were driving through some field looking for some rebel farmer leader calling himself Miller Freeman when the call came. Drop everything, drive three days to some mountainside and deal with the threat there. No details but highest priority. All the right codes and authorizations but no names attached to the orders. Now of course we all know who that meant. You do too right?
(Inaudible reply)
Yeah.
So that’s what we did, forgot all about Miller Freeman, obviously a made up name, and headed for Grid Point 8811-stroke-4033.
I don’t suppose you know if that Miller guy went on to become some kind of arch enemy of the Imperium do you?
(Inaudible reply)
Didn’t think so. Still it would be pretty ironic if-
(Screams)
(Inaudible instruction)
OK… OK… just asking you know I was really wondering if-
(Screams)
(Pause)
(Inaudible instruction)
(Gasping)
(Inaudible instruction)
(Screams)
(Pause)
Yeah, OK, OK, OK.
Yeah… Where was I?
(Inaudible statement)
Right. Just give me a…
(Gasps)
(Pause)
OK…
There were the ten of us, split into two Razorback infantry fighting vehicles, four or five Chimera armored personnel carriers full of Imperial Guard and a couple of trucks of planetary militia (supposedly loyalists). As we got closer the ambushes got worse. A mine took out one of the militia trucks, a couple of Guardsmen got sniped riding on top of their Chimera, one of the Razorbacks even got dented by an autocannon round. One of the militia squads tried to desert and we lost a day hunting them down and dragging them back to camp. The Guard’s Commissar gave a whole long speech about loyalty and faith and the wages of cowardice and all that. Then Little Choppy and me took their heads off.
(Inaudible question)
Enjoy it? No I wouldn’t say that, I mean they were tied up on their knees, couldn’t fight back. A couple of them were crying like little babies. But y’know, someone had to do it and having a fully armored marine do it was a good way to keep the rest of them in line.
I guess I’d say I was proud. A lot of marines, they wouldn’t do dirty work like this, didn’t like getting blood on their armor, felt it was beneath their station. But I understood that it would keep those mortals in line so I went and did it. I guess that’s the kind of big picture thinking that marks a man as a leader. And I took their heads off with one shot each. Whack! Whack! Whack! Job well done.
As we got closer to the grid site things got tougher. We entered some foothills and got hit a few more times. I guess my little lesson worked because this time the Militia stayed.
As we got closer the skies turned red and there was thunder and lightning with no rain. The vox could only get static. You didn’t have to be a Chaplain to guess what was going on. Warp play. Some of the mortals had nose bleeds, fits. I had to put one down after he started yelling blasphemies.
The paved road became dirt. Dwellings became woods, we stopping passing road signs. We were deep in now. About a day from the site we passed some burning wrecks – three matte-black troop shuttles with no markings. You know the kind I bet. They were spewed across the hillside, carved mile-long grooves in the forest. We didn’t even slow down, there weren’t going to be any survivors. Call me selfish but I was glad we didn’t try this in a Thunderhawk.
A couple of miles from the grid site we stopped. No vox of course, no orbital auguries either. We dismounted, the Commissar led the mortals in prayer while we prayed in our own way, preparing our wargear. We set the photo-reactive pigments on our armor from shiny silver to dull grey and threw cameo cloaks on over that. We distributed ammo from the Razorbacks, checked our weapons and we were ready to go. We told Brother Pell and Brother Tock to hang back and wait for the shooting to start.
(Inaudible question)
Oh I guess they aren’t on your little list there. They were the Razorbacks.
(Inaudible question)
Yeah, a lot of chapters use serfs or servitors. A couple even use full Battle Brothers to drive their tanks – I don’t know how they can spare the men. The Argent Brotherhood uses injured marines wired into their tanks. Pell had his legs bitten off by some Xeno beastie, I forget what Tock’s story was. Whatever happened they were too injured to fight on their feet, but not quite ready, or worthy, to be interred in a Dreadnaught. They still had the wisdom and skills, shame to waste them. I’ve heard there are some chapters that euthanatize crippled marines, you don’t know if that’s true do you? Seems it would be a big-
(Screams)
(Inaudible command)
Yes… yes… you’ll ask the questions, of course. I do apologize. Sort of forgot my place there.
(Inaudible question)
So yeah, like I was saying, we moved out through the woods along with about half the guard. Left the other half, the Militia and the tanks behind. With the vox down we sent some servo skulls ahead, they flew back with a report. Over a hundred mortals crowded under a cliff face. The pics were terrible of course, but it looked like there were up to some kind of ritual or something. And in the middle was a big guy, easily 8 feet, I spikey armor. Yeah, we knew what were in for.
So far all we’d only found rebels. Normal guys with banners showing broken chains or ploughs or whatever. Just mortals who didn’t know their place. No obscene runes, no flayed skins, no tentacles. Well that was about to change. We covered the last mile as quietly as you please. You wouldn’t think a 7 foot giant in power armor could be silent but when you basically live in the armor for weeks at a time and have it meshed with your nervous system you can do a lot that another wearer never could. We made less noise than the Guard did. Slit a couple of sentries’ throats and moved into visual range.
Yup. Flayed skins, skulls, runes written in blood, guy in spikey armor leading them in a chant, pretty much what we expected.
(Inaudible question)
Sorry, can’t help you. I don’t know nothing about the Dark Gods. I mean well I didn-
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Pause)
(Water splashing)
(Pause)
(Inaudible statement)
(Whimpering)
(Inaudible question)
Yes, yes, sorry, yes. I… yes their camp was set up around a sheer cliff with woods all around the clearing. There were some mining tools around, some scars on the hill but no clue what they were trying to do. The heretics were a mixed bunch. Some of them were locals dressed in ragged coveralls with crude runes painted on them. Most of them were part of the ritual, chanting, dancing, beating drums. There were tents, cargo pods, trash thrown around, looked like they’d been there a while.
Others were dressed in mixed armor and carried oversized slugthrowers. They tended to accessorize with skulls, scalps and lots of spikes, we figured they were off-worlders, brought in from one of the spin-ward heretic systems. In the center was the leader, even then I knew from his colors and the marks on his armor he was a Word Bearer, traitor marine. He looked up and saw us in the woods, Marine senses you know, and shouted something.
Then we attacked.
A whole bunch of them died in the first few minutes. They probably should have invested in more guards, they must have figured their red sky storm and the remote location would keep them safe. Idiots.
But surprise only gets you so far right? So then the stuff we couldn’t see took the field. A cargo crate opened up and a half dozen brutes stomped out. Mining servitors, 7 feet tall, covered in bionics and armor plates, arms replaced with claws and saws and drills, they were big ugly and mean.
I wasn’t too worried, like I said I’d put down a couple of rebellions in my time and every rebel group has the same idea, let’s weaponized the servitors. The problem is they’re not built to be weapons, they’re too slow, too clumsy, their armor is too haphazard for real combat. Usually we just fall back, no shame in that, just good tactics, and rain bolts on them till they’re nothing but meat and scraps. Which is what I started to do.
Then the thing launches at me, like he was shot out of a cannon. I fire my bolter, hit his claw arm a few times and see it go limp. But then he was on me his drill stabs right through my artificer pauldron, into the meat of my left shoulder. Sparks flew from the wound, my mechanical arm stopped working and pain shot through my body. I was already off balance and fell on my back with the damn thing on top of me. I had my right hand on its throat pushing it back, which was good because right about then it turned on the cutting beam built into its thorax. It only had a few inches of range of was hot enough to scorch my armor and if I let go for even a second it would neatly cut my head off. The drill was still twirling, destroying my shoulder blade and arm, stopping any blood from coagulating and pinning me to the ground. I was getting a bit lightheaded. My arm was starting to give, the laser burning into my helmet. My optics gave out, I was blind inside my armor. I was thinking this was going to be it when I heard it. A thud, some whines and a yell. The drill stopped, my helmet stopped heating up and the servitor’s body collapsed on top of me. I took a deep breath and tossed it off with my good arm, yanking out the drill and some chunks of meat, and tore off the helmet. There was a guardsman in front of me. Young kid. He’d charged up and bayonetted the damn thing, then emptied his lasgun inside of it. I smiled at him.
And he turned and ran.
I guess he recognized me. Or maybe saw Little Choppy on my belt. Maybe he was scared he’d offended me by getting involved. Or maybe he just panicked. He got about a hundred yards when a bolt hit him and his torso exploded. I guess one of the brothers thought he was deserting.
I plucked the bolter out of my own cold, dead severed arm. I was ambidextrous of course, so that wasn’t a problem, and got a look at the battlefield.
Most of the locals were dead or fled by then but the off-world heretics were fighting on. The mining servitors were giving our guys problems, I could see pile of dead guardsmen. The Commissar got himself snipped in two by a giant claw. Brave guy, but a bit too sure of himself. One or two of the servitors were down but most of them were just eating up our fire. We didn’t bring the heavy weapons since we were going for speed and surprise.
But the bigger problem was in the middle. Tork had charged the World Eater and they were going at it. He had his power fist and bolt pistol, the World Eater had this big staff or mace or whatever. Just as I was looking over he swung the mace down and Tork tried to catch it with his fist. The two power fields interacted and there was a big boom. When the dust cleared the World Eater was on his feet holding a charred hunk of metal, but Tork was on the ground minus his forearm.
Bad day for arms.
(Laughs)
(Screams)
(Inaudible command)
(Screams)
OK! OK! I’m sorry, I’m sorry just a bit of levity… I’m sorry, I’ll just stick to the facts.
So yeah, I screamed something, remember my helmet was gone and I had no vox anymore. So I screamed and fired my bolter at the World Eater, a couple of guardsmen and Brothers did the same but he just laughed as the bolts rained off of his armor. He lifted a foot and stomped down, crushing Tork’s chest like a can of nutra-paste. Then he pointed his stick at me and bellowed something. I waved my one arm in the air and bellowed back. I dropped my bolter – it was out of ammo anyway – and reached for Little Choppy.
And then a hole the size of your fist burned through his armor and his flesh exploded in a cloud of super-heated steam. The Razorbacks had arrived. Lascannons tore apart the mining serviors, heavy bolters chewed up the off-worlders.
The Chimeras and trucks hit the scene next and mopped up. The Militia did a good job, they charged right in bayonetting and shooting the heretics with some real enthusiasm. I guess they’d seen their world torn apart and they finally had someone they could take it out on. I didn’t even have to use Little Choppy, they took care of everyone.
And it was over. Besides Tork, two other Battle Brothers had died, one’s head crushed by a mining servitor, another’s chest burnt to ash by a cutting beam. We lost about a third of the Guardsmen, including their captain and commissar. But over a hundred heretics dead and their Traitor Marine leader. So not a bad trade if you were keeping score. I got a closer look at the mining servitors, they had strange additions to them covered in unholy looking runes. Obviously some heretical tech priests had been at them, that explained their speed and skill. We burned them.
We had the Guard and Militia fan out looking for stray heretics or reinforcements and then we Marines got together to talk. With Tork gone, Brother Lancer Raax was in charge. He had me take the helmet from one of the fallen brothers, not the one whose head was crushed, the other one. The helmet still smelled of smoke and ash. It was a bit disrespectful but we divided up their remaining ammo and grenades too. We’d been out in the field for weeks and were all running low. Then we wrapped their bodies and put them in the Razorbacks. They’d be returned to the chapter.
And we tried to figure out what to do next. We were there, we were at the site. We’d cleaned up the heretics. Now what? Vox was still down, the skies still red and thundering. So no communication and no aerial extraction even if we could call for it. So what should we do? Did we just drive back? Were we done? Maybe killing those guys had been the mission. We didn’t know.
Then there was a rumble, the ground shook and half the cliff face collapsed. Tons of rubble buried part of the camp and a huge cloud of dust covered us. Once it cleared we could see adamantine gate in the hill that slowly grinded open. A couple of matte black, unmarked Chimeras drove out. A man in a plain black habit walked up to us and just said “come”.
So, no, we weren’t done yet. Not done at all.

 
   
Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa






Northern Ireland

four or five Chimera armored personnel carriers full of Imperial Guar....
(Screams)
(Inaudible command)
(Screams)
...ok ok. Astra Milit... What was that again?
(Screams)
Militarum! Astra Militarum... Really though?
(Screams)
(Inaudible command)
But that's lame, Imperial Guard sounds so much more...
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Inaudible command)
Astra... No, I can't do it. You'll just have to torture me. They're just Imperial fething guar...
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Screams)

Sorry, just having some fun. Nice update. Looking forward to the ending.

   
Made in in
[MOD]
Illuminati






Arlington, va

Chapter 4 – Battle Brother (Part 2)

++TRANSCRIPT BEGINS++

We were back on the road within an hour. Three of us in Pell’s Razorback in the front, four Marines in Tock’s Razorback in the rear. In the middle a mix of Imperial Guard Chimeras, Planetary Militia trucks and those three unmarked matte black Chimeras in the center.
I was in the lead Razorback with Lancer Raax and two people who came out of the base. There was Dahi, the man in the unmarked black habit, and Hamasa a scholar in unmarked grey robes carrying a sack of data slates, holo-crystals even a couple of books and scrolls. She never looked at them mind you, she seemed to carry all her information in her skull, or at least in her implants, but she had them just the same.
Dahi didn’t give a rank or affiliation he just took charge. Gave us new grid coordinates and commanded us to move with all deliberate speed. We had to leave the Guard and Militia bodies behind just lying in the clearing, getting eaten by local vermin. They weren’t too happy about that and to tell the truth neither was I, they’d fought well, they deserved at least a cremation. But Dahi had the authority and we were soldiers. So we went.
Despite that, it was clear that Dahi wasn’t the one in charge. Every so often his eyes rolled back and his head swung from side to side like he was hearing something. On my helmet vox I could hear the chirp of an encrypted burst every so often. He was getting orders from somewhere else. Probably a matte black Chimera.
Our new destination was a couple of days deeper into the hills, according to our maps it was a power crystal mine. We tried asking for more information, why were we going there, what were we going to do, what was the opposition, but Dahi wasn’t answering. So Raax worked up a convoy plan and we started moving.
The hills were pretty nice to be honest. Pretty sparsely settled, wooded, they’d be a good place except for the red skies and lightning. I’m no expert but I kind of thought killing the Word Bearer would have ended that strange storm but it continued, it was like it was following us. Of at least some of us. A matte black Chimera maybe? Just speculating-
(Screams)
(Inaudible command)
(Screams)
Yes! Yes! No speculation! Yes! I understand!
(Gasping)
(Pause)
So no communication with the rest of the Chapter. No air support. No more supplies. Just us.
Raax tried to divert us to a supply cache a few miles out of the way but Dahi nixed it. We counted it up, we Battle Brothers had maybe enough bolter ammo for a single firefight. One Razorback’s heavy bolters were almost dry, the other’s lascannons had 2 or 3 shots left before the lenses melted. The Militia was just as bad, their slug thrower guns were almost empty and we didn’t let them take the heretic’s ammo, it might have been tainted. The Guard las guns used chargeable power cells so they were OK, but their missile launchers and autocannons were almost out.
Raax asked Dahi if maybe his folks could spare some ammo, his eyes rolled back, we heard the squawk of a vox pulse and he came back and said no. They weren’t sharing.
It was a dull trip. Two of the brothers used some flak cloth to cover my shoulder, threading it through what was left the armor there, then covering it with armor plates. It wasn’t great but at least I didn’t have a big hole there waiting for a bullet to hit. Dahi and Hamasa joined us in the Razorback to relay orders or data as needed, it wasn’t a comfortable ride for them. Marine transports aren’t made for mortals, we ride standing, our armor linked by umbilicles to keep them charged, to feed us nutra paste, war drugs and data. There were jump seats for Dahi and Hamasa, but they couldn’t have been comfortable. Still they just sat there, hour after hour, day after day, their jaws slack like puppets with their strings cut. If we had something to ask them, they needed a minute or two to pull themselves together.
It was about 3 days when we ran into the roadblock. We were on a narrow dirt road, it was night and we were running without lights, when several trees fell in front of the lead Razorback, then some more behind the last tank. A bunch of ragged folks came out, armed with hunting guns, slug throwers, lasguns, the usual bandit mishmash. They probably thought we were some refugee trash ripe for the plucking. Morons.
Dahi told us to kill them and the black chimeras were aiming their turrets but Raax raised his hand and gestured for them to pause. He voxed the other vehicles. The lights went on. Then we stepped out of the tank. Four battle brothers in silver armor, bolters in our hands. The Guard Chimeras opened their top hatches and they stuck out their heads, autocannons, missile launchers and all that. The Militia trucks opened their backs and they stepped out, heavy stubbers and rifles on show. Raax pointed at the logs in front of us and the would-be bandits ran to clear the road. We were on our way in under an hour. One of them, dressed in bits of Militia uniform, saluted us as we left.
I just mention that to show what I’ve been saying, things just go smoother when people know their place. We could have stopped and shot them up, used up most of our ammo and wasted a night hunting them down. Instead we politely informed them who we were and everything was smooth. You don’t always need to kill or torture just to make your-
(Screams)
(Inaudible statement)
(Screams)
(Pause)
Yes, quite right, sorry about that, a bit off topic, let my mind stray there for a second. Yes. Where were we?
(Inaudible statement)
Right. Well the hills became more barren, we could see strip mines and logging camps and even some settlements now. We passed a village where a bunch of Redemption Cultists were burning heretics. Well they were burning someone anyway. We didn’t stop but had to shoot a few who got too close.
Day 5 is when the Militia truck broke an axel; those things weren’t really made for rough terrain or days of use with no pauses or maintenance. Marine tanks, Guard tanks, they could run for years on any terrain you can name and burn just about anything, the Militia’s stuff, not so much. For some reason they called Raax and me over. Now I know a lot about war, weapons, fighting. Fixing trucks? Not so much. And I can’t imagine Raax knew any more. But we took a look and nodded and told Dahi it was broken. We’d already lost a truck earlier, didn’t mention that sorry, and had them crammed into three trucks, no way to jam them into two. Maybe there was room in the black Chimeras but well, we didn’t ask. So Dahi tells us to leave the truck and the 30 or so Militia troops inside behind.
Well the Militia don’t take that order too well. Their real officer was long dead of course, so it was basically commanded by a 3rd lieutenant from whatever cadet school they have. He looked about fifteen, dressed in his dad’s coat. He deferred to whatever this scarred sergeant told him to do, smart kid. So the two of them start yelling at Dahi. Then I hear him on my vox giving an order. His lips didn’t move, must have been some kind of implant, we can do the same thing you know. I looked at Raax, then at Dahi and he repeated the order. I nodded, so did Raax. So Raax shot the officer, I chopped the sergeant’s head off. They we shot up the tires on the other two trucks and left all the Militia behind. I guess Dahi, or whoever gave him his orders, figured we couldn’t trust them anymore.
And I could see why, no place for someone who can’t follow orders right? And we left them their guns and gear. Even fuel, food and ammo. They’d be OK. In fact they’d probably be better than the guard I figured. We hadn’t resupplied and their rations were running low. And we didn’t stop to hunt or forage either. We Marines were fine, our Razorbacks had enough nutra paste to last months, but things were tough for the mortals. Now at least the ones left behind could scrounge up some food, maybe repair their trucks, find their way back to base. The rest of us had to keep going.
To their credit the Guard just watched the whole scene then got back in their tanks and moved out.
So now were down to seven marines, two Razorbacks, three Chimeras with about 20 guard, and the black Chimeras of course.
It took us two more days to get there. We had another minor incident. The storm was still with us, real funny how it seemed to follow us, and some of the Guard guys were having trouble and without their Commissar there was no one else to keep order. So I’d walk the line of the convoy a couple of times a day, Little Choppy in my hand, just giving them a look. Helped keep things under control. One time a guy just snapped. He saw me, screamed some obscenity, jumped out of the top hatch and ran for the woods. I dropped Little Choppy, grabbed my bolter and shot in in the back. Single shot, one-handed, took him down. I think it impressed them, whatever they were feeling, no one made an issue of it again.
Finally around day 8 we arrived at the mining camp. It had been abandoned pretty quickly. Machinery still parked around, tools on the ground, even some of the lights still flickering. They probably all took off once the food trucks stopped coming. It was a big operation, a couple of leagues on each side, not even counting the tunnels. And built into the mountain a mile-long tube pointed straight up.
Dahi took charge, or at least conveyed orders for someone who was in charge. The Guard formed a perimeter, and one of the black Chimeras opened up. A bunch of tech priests (in matching dark grey robes) headed towards a control center. Another one opened and a group of soldiers in matching matte black armor fanned out making sure the place was really as deserted as it looked. Raax took most of the marines to the protect the control center while me and Brother Mond escorted Dahi and Hamasa into the tunnels.
I should just note, Dahi still hadn’t told us why we were here, what we were doing. I just want that pointed out.
So we walked down this wide tunnel big enough to drive a Land Raider or two down and came to a cavern full of storage crates and machines. Mond and me shot a couple of vermin as we made our way there, the rest scattered. Nothing like a mass reactive bolt making someone explode from the inside to deter pests. Hamasa started playing with the machines, waking up their spirits. The tech priests upstairs must have been doing something too because lights started going on, servo haulers started twitching and a big hatch opened.
It was basically the chamber of a giant gun, which is what that tube on the mountain was – an orbital cannon for moving loads into orbit for refining. A servo claw on the ceiling picked up a cargo container and brought it over. Inside was a capsule, with a couple of seats, a small cargo chamber and an inertial dampener field so no one got turned into goo, all wrapped up in a giant bullet. The claw came down again and loaded the bullet into the chamber.
We could hear rumbling and saw the third black Chimera coming down the tunnel. It arrived and we were ordered to turn around and face the cavern. Which we did.
Now I don’t know if you know this, but most Marine armor has an extra optic built into our pack and wired to our helmets. It’s one of the ways we keep total battlefield awareness. Now of course we lead tough lives and sometimes those optics break down. But mine was working. It was working just fine. And no one had told me to turn it off.
So I saw a group of folks in matching black habits get out. Some had swords and storm shields, others guns, one of them a staff, and one was a little gnome of a figure hobbling with a cane. Everyone made room for the little gnome. Finally there were two big servitors, with full helmets, probably blind, deaf and dumb, carrying a heavy iron crate wrapped in chains, seals and holy symbols. They all got into the capsule and Dahi sealed it up behind them. Was that glimpse worth the wait? I don’t know, you tell m-
(Screams)
(Gasping)
(Pause)
(Inaudible statement)
(Pause)
(Inaudible discussion)
(Pause)
(Papers rustling)
(Inaudible statement)
An Inquisitor? Really I never would have-
(Screams)
(Gasping)
(Screams)
(Gasping)
Yes! Sorry! Yes! Right. So he was an Inquisitor, interesting. I don’t suppose you know what he was carr-
(Screams)
(Gasping)
(Screams)
(Gasping)
(Pause)
(Water splashing)
(Moaning)
(Inaudible question)
(Inaudible question)
(Screams)
(Inaudible question)
Huh? Next? Well just what you might think, the capsule was loaded and the cannon started powering up. Dahi spaced out for a second then told us to head back outside and await our next orders.
We stood around while the tech priests worked inside and then the cannon fired and the capsule shot off into space. With no engines, no grav-plates, no moving parts it tore right through the storm like, well, a bullet and disappeared.
(Pause)
And then we all died.
(Pause)
(Laughter)
No! No! Wait, wait, it was just a joke. I mean he laughed. And besides, that’s what you have written right? Brother Marine Vost Dhann, Argent Fraternitati Chapter, 3rd Company 5th Squad, along with six other marines, 20 or so Guardsmen and some nameless, faceless Inquisition troops killed in action at some forgotten mine on Bebosi’s World right? Posthumous honors, sitting at the Emperor’s Right Hand all that. That’s what my Chapter has written, that’s what the Administorum has written, that’s even what the Inquisition has written. And that’s why we’re here, so you could find out just how come Vost Dhann isn’t a pile of ash on some backwater world. Now you can waste ten minutes showing me why I shouldn’t joke, or we can get on with the story! So what do want?
(Inaudible discussion)
(Screams)
(Inaudible command)
Yeah, I guess I should have seen that coming-
(Screams)
OK! OK!
So we were standing outside in the skies were still red, we could hear thunder from the strange lightning when Dahi and Hamasa fell to the ground having some sort of fit. So did the black armored troopers. The Guard and us, we were OK so Raax took command, he’d seen a med unit in the caverns so we picked up the Inquisition folks and ran for that med unit.
Which is what saved our lives.
We’d just made it in when the ground shook the lights went out and rocks fell from the ceiling. We didn’t know it at the time but someone – oh I think we know who, but we’ll just say someone – someone hit the mine with a series of barrage bombs. If we hadn’t gone in so deep, if we hadn’t closed the hatch, we’d have been dead.
As it was we were trapped in a dark powerless med chamber with half the group dying of strange fits. So things didn’t look so good. Not good at all.
Bet you’re wondering what happened next?

++TRANSCRIPT ENDS++

 
   
Made in in
[MOD]
Illuminati






Arlington, va

Chapter 5 – Abandoned

++TRANSCRIPT BEGINS++

Where was I?
I think I remember, we were standing on a ridge looking down at what was left of a battlefield. It was five years later and there were just a few of us left, three Battle Brothers – Raax, Mond and me – Dahi and Hamasa.
(Inaudible question)
The mine?
Didn’t I already explain that?
(Inaudible statement)
Huh, I thought I already – No! Wait! I’m not questioning you, just I guess I made a mistake. Lost my place white I was waiting for you to come back.
How long has it been anyw-
(Screams)
(Inaudible command)
OK! OK! So OK, it wasn’t five years later, it was five years before and we were in an underground med unit in a partially collapsed mine with a couple dozen Guard and some Inquisition guys who were going into convulsions.
Well the short story is we dug ourselves out.
The longer story is we dug ourselves out, but it wasn’t easy.
When we got hit, we lost power so we were in a med unit with nothing working. One of the Guard was a corpsman though – the Guard version of an Apothecary – and we told him to concentrate on Dahi and Hamasa who seemed to know the most about what was going on. So they made it, the rest of their men didn’t.
Dahi woke up screaming about being forsaken, about being lost, he kept trying to contact his master with him implants, we could hear the squawk in our helmets and getting nothing back. We had the corpsman sedate him.
Hamasa was earily calm. Like I said she was a savant, a walking library of knowledge and accepted her abandonment and betrayal like any other bit of data. She was the one who recalled the plans for the mine, computed which routes were likely blocked and which were open. She helped us find store rooms with rations before we had to eat the Inquisition troops. Finally she found us a route to the space gun and with drills and ropes and crampons we climbed half a mile up and emerged in the light. Took us almost two weeks.
By then Dahi was more or less sane. He told us everything, everything he could anyway. His rank was interrogator, some sort of apprentice Inquisitor I gather, working for Inquisitor Skokzeni of the Ordo Alada. They’d been recovering some artifact stored in a secret vault on Bebosi’s World. The rebellion endangered the artifact so they decided to retrieve it and move it off world. We’d all figured that out of course, but it was nice to hear. He just never knew that abandoning him was part of the plan.
Like all of Skokzeni’s servants he’d had communication implants that kept him constantly linked with the Inquisitor and his staff, but Skokzeni going out of range, the interference from the storm caused the implants to malfunction, hence the fits.
Funny if they hadn’t had those fits, we wouldn’t have headed into the mine’s medical bay and we’d all have been standing outside when the barrage hit. Guess some people don’t plan ahead huh?
So the mine site was just a smoking crater now, all our tanks and gear lost. From the mountain top we could see the sky had cleared, long-range communications were working again.
We tried our voxes. Unlike the stuff the Guard uses, Marine armor has some very good communications gear, even without the Razorbacks we should have been able to get a signal to the Strike Cruisers in orbit. Nothing, no reply.
We listened for signals for any Argent Brothers on the surface, nothing.
We sent signals on the Navy frequencies, nothing.
We scanned the skies for the telltale lights of orbiting ships. Nothing.
(Inaudible statement)
OK, you get the idea. They were gone. Everyone was gone.
Now we’d been isolated by the storm then trapped underground so we had no idea about Hrist Crusade or the Ork breakthrough. I learned about that later. All we knew is Bebosi’s World had been left behind.
We could hear some things though. Militia broadcasts, Guard communications, even some heretical mumblings from the rebel forces, the war was still going on. But that didn’t help us. We were abandoned.
(Pause)
I guess I should tell you something about my Chapter Lore. I know you read all about it, checked out our liturgies and parables, but you don’t know, you don’t really know. So we tell stories about how some Black Templar held a bridge against impossible odds so his brothers could escape. Or how some Space Wolf armored up and led a solo attack against the Orks. Or how some Ultramarine attacked the flak as a diversion, distracting the renegades from the real attack. Standard stories of self-sacrifice and heroism right?
Not for us.
For the Argent Fraternitati these were cautionary tales, showing how weak the bonds of brotherhood had become in other chapters. No Silver Brother would ever leave one his own to defend or bridge or charge into an Ork hoard or sacrifice his life as a distraction. We were brothers, we lived, fought and died together. No one was left behind, no one abandoned. If we all died then we all died. Together.
So being left on an abandoned world, that was just… wrong.
(Inaudible question)
What? The Militia? The ones in the trucks? No, no, no, they didn’t count, they were morals. They weren’t Brothers. They weren’t us.
There was only one way the Strike Cruiser would have left without us, or our bodies, or something. They would have looked, they would have found that the mines were still intact, they would have searched the tunnels. But someone ordered them to go, someone lied about us. And we kind of knew who that someone was.
(Inaudible question)
No, no, not at all. We weren’t turning against the Imperium, those are your words not mine. We were loyal, we just wanted to get back to our Chapter, to our brothers. That’s all. That and justice of course.
(Inaudible question)
For betraying us!
Trying to kill us!
Abandoning us!
(Inaudible question)
What? No, no, that was different. That wasn’t my fault. And that wasn’t till years later. I mean we can talk about that if you want but right now we’re still on Bebosi’s World, we can talk about that, I can explain that later. It was… it was a misunderstanding more than anything. I never meant to, to do all that.
(Inaudible discussion)
(Inaudible statement)
OK, so we made it to top, practically all of us, except for the one guardsman who snapped while we were underground and the two who fell during the climb. Three Battle Brothers, two Inquisition servants and about ten guardsmen, I forget the exact number.
Obviously we didn’t let the mortals know about the Strike Cruiser leaving, we discussed it entirely by our internal vox links. Hamasa could probably have listened in, maybe Dahi, depending on how good their implants were and how well they knew our Chapter Cant and data burst protocols. And they’d have to be pretty fast at it too. It took us about 15 seconds to express shock, argue, proclaim our disbelief and formulate an alternate plan.
You mortals really don’t realize how much we have slow down for you.
So we set out for Arra’s Point, a Planetary Militia fort about 300 miles away. It was supposed to be loyalist and from what we could hear on the vox traffic it still was. We had no transport, no supplies other than what we had on our backs and almost no ammo. Hamasa had some maps of the terrain, but we had no intelligence, no idea what lay between us and that fort.
The first night-
(Inaudible statement)
No, nothing that critical but you did ask what-
(Inaudible statement)
OK, you’re the boss. It took us a few weeks to find working transport in the hills. Finally we commandeered a Long March truck and a Land Runner from some refugees. They was loyal, they hardly resisted at all. Halfway there we had to give up on our bolters. We were down to two, three rounds apiece, and no way to rearm. So we reverently wrapped them and stowed them on our packs and switched to guard lasguns. They were pathetic weapons but at least we could charge them from our armor and they’d hit fairly solidly once we bypassed the limiters. Of course that burned out the lenses faster but we figured there was no point in making a weapon last if it couldn’t hurt anyone.
(Inaudible question)
Nothing significant. We hunted some local fauna for the Guard, they were all Hive Worlders, couldn’t hunt to save their lives, which considering how low our rations were… And we shot a couple of locals who got too close, hit a camp of armed men, probably bandits. Stuff like that.
Things got a little rougher once we hit the low lands. Every road had check points, mostly locals trying to keep an eye on who was going through their territory. Some of them didn’t understand who we were and had to be taught to show respect.
(Inaudible question)
Yeah they were with us. Dahi shed his black habit and just wore some mesh armor under it. He could fight. Saw him drop a man with a laspistol from 500 meters. You guys do know how to train them, I’ll give you that. Even Hamasa turned out to be a decent shot with a long rifle. And I had to give her credit, she never shed her robes or dropped a single book or scroll, not during the climb, not during the journey, not once. Didn’t complain either. I didn’t have much patience for mortals back then, and definitely not womenfolk but yeah, she did OK for herself.
(Inaudible question)
We lost another two or three guardsmen during the trip, illness, ambush, attempted desertion. When we finally got to Arra’s Point we were in pretty sad shape.
But we got something of a royal welcome when we got there. You’d have thought the Emperor and his Primarchs had arrived to relieve them when we arrived – Three Marines, two Inquisition henchmen and a half dozen guardsmen in a broken down truck and an open-topped buggy. They had banners and musicians and the Colonel came out to receive us in person. The fort was about 2/3 planetary militia and the rest Imperial Guard, with a decent motorpool and even a shuttle pad, pretty well-equipped all things considered.
That was the good news.
The bad news is what we learned. The Orks had managed a major break in the Rimward Sytstems and the Navy had better things to do than babysit a nothing world that couldn’t pull itself together. They’d just left everyone behind with orders to sit tight and wait for relief. And we all knew that relief could mean a year, a decade, or more. And they took everything that could reach orbit with them, and blasted anywhere that didn’t obey fast enough. We couldn’t be sure but we were pretty sure they’d left a gunboat or destroyer behind to swat anyone trying to come or go. Bebosi’s World was quarantined to keep the disease of heresy from spreading. Now of course a suspicious man might wonder if there wasn’t another hand in this, but that’s a question for later.
In the meantime we had some more immediate things to take care of. The tech priest took a look at my shoulder, I don’t know if you remember but I was still missing an arm at that point-
(Inaudible statement)
Of course, of course, I mean she’s writing everything down, but I thought I’d bring it up in case you forg-
(Screams)
(Gasps)
(Inaudible statement)
Yes, sorry, yes, didn’t mean to imply anything.
(Inaudible statement)
Right, right, well my arm, he couldn’t do nothing for the arm, my left shoulder was too damaged for anything short of a full rebuild with cloned bones and muscle. A bit beyond some backwater Enginseer but at least he patched up my armor better. Rewired the lasgun to my armor’s power too, and replaced the puny guard barrel with one from an APC’s multilas, saved me the trouble of trying to reload or change barrels with one arm. He even added a bayonet lug for Little Choppy so I could use her without having to drop my gun. He was a good guy.
Mond picked up a heavy stubber and a couple of canisters of ammo, Raax got himself a grenade launcher and an autogun as a backup piece. We were geared up and ready for a fight, now all we needed was a plan.
So we had another private talk, a screaming argument really, but entirely in Chapter Cant and over private vox links. Our mission was clear, contact the Chapter, get picked up, get justice. But the first part was going to be hard. There were only four cities with Astropath Choirs on Bebosi’s World. One had been vaporized by the rebels when they tried to take the city’s geo-thermal plant. One was in the Arbites Precinct which they’d blown up themselves. One was in a rebel-held space port and got vaporized by our navy. The last was in a space port held by loyalists, but it was half a planet away. Now there might have been more Astropaths around, maybe some of the trading houses had their own, maybe some of the Guard units had one assigned, who knows there might have been one sipping tea in the next village over. But that was the only one we still knew was around and could find.
Which led to the second problem, Dahi and Hamasa. Their boss had tried to blow up. Since then they’d worked with us, hell without Hamasa we’d never have gotten out of the mines, but still, their boss did try to blow us up.
But they said the right things, about wanting justice, about finding out the truth, about going to higher authorities. And they had saved our lives. So…
I mean maybe it was a bad idea, maybe we should have cut them loose but…
(Pause)
Who knows where we’d be now right? No way to know.
(Pause)
So a few days later the five of us set out in a Guard Chimera. A tough little tank that could run on just about anything that will burn and keep going long after the local trucks broke down. We all got crash courses in how to drive it, fire the weapons, even maintain the engines. Had to rip out the seats so we could fit the controls and make a few more changes, add power conduits to charge our armor and all that. We filled it up with as much ammo and nutra paste as it could hold and set off for the space port.
(Inaudible question)
The Guard? Oh we asked the base Commissar to take care of them.
(Inaudible question)
Oh you know, they’d been mouthing off, muttering about the Inquisition betraying them, disloyal sort of stuff. But they were standup guys so we asked the Commissar to offer them Honorable Martyrdom or the Emperor’s Mercy. It was the least we could do.
(Inaudible question)
We yeah, we said the same things but we’re Marines. We can be trusted. The Imperial Guard, they’re OK but they’re not… they sometimes… you know how it is. A moment of laxity, a lifetime of heresy. They probably got off pretty easy when you think about it.
(Pause)
They fought well, I probably should have learned their names.
(Pause)
So that brings us back to where I started, 5 years later on a ridge overlooking a battlefield.
(Inaudible question)
Oh the space port was a big waste of time. At least six months to get there and when we arrive some Redemptionist cult has taken over, and they purged the psykers with flame. We were mad when we found out. By the time we were done I’d burned out three las guns and was roaming the corridors with Little Choppy looking for red robes to take my anger out on. If you guys want some heresy to stomp out why not start with those idiots in the-
(Screams)
(Inaudible command)
Yes, of course, you don’t need my advice do you? Not when you’re doing so well on your-
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Inaudible command)
(Gasps)
Sorry, yes, of course, those Redemptionists, fine folk really, good Emperor-fearing servants. Just get a little carried away sometimes.
(Pause)
So can I skip to five years later?
(Inaudible question)
Nothing that matters.
We roamed the countryside hunting down heretics, rebels, anyone who got in our way. Looking for rumors of astropaths or ships or news of the wider Imperium, but we didn’t find anything. Not for five years.
I mean I can tell you all about how some rebel farmers turned a Macro-Harvester into a homemade Titan, that was an interesting fight. Or how some rogue psyker turned a whole village into his meat puppets, that was a mess. Or the daemon infestation we prevented. Do want to hear about that?
Or do you want to know how we got off world and how Vost Dhann’s infamous career started?
(Inaudible statement)
So… five years after we left Arra’s point, give or take, we were standing on a ridge overlooking a battlefield. Guard and loyalist tanks had engaged a rebel force equipped with armed farm trucks, converted macro harvesters, suicide bombers and a whole lot of courage.
It had been a surprisingly hard fight. We got there a few days after the action and smoke was still rising. There were burnt out tanks, unexploded artillery shells and dead bodies everywhere.
And something else too, something we’d been hunting for months – a dozen or so cargo shuttles and a mob of scavagers picking through the site for salvage. We saw them euthanatize a few survivors, then go through their pockets for loose change.
Typical space scum, they’d slipped (or bribed) their way past whatever blockade the navy had and descended on Bebosi’s World to feast on the dying carcass.
I saw Raax smile for the first time in months.
We were going home.

++TRANSCRIPT ENDS++ 

 
   
Made in in
[MOD]
Illuminati






Arlington, va

Chapter 6 – Pirate (Part 1)

++TRANSCRIPT BEGINS++

So that’s how I became the Dread Pirate Vost.
(Inaudible question)
I’m sorry, I would think it was obvious.
(Inaudible statement)
If you insist.
There we were five of us on a ridge looking down at the scavengers looting a battlefield. Their normal operation was to land a small force a few miles away, move in and clear out any rear guard, survivors or locals, then land the main force and get to work. They had a handful of cargo shuttles, mostly old Mk1999 Eagles, a nice Aquilla Lander, a rebuilt Shark Attack Boat and even a Briareos Heavy Transport. Small ships, nothing that could get farther than orbit. Which meant they had a mothership up there.
The shuttles had vomited out maybe 100 or so scavengers, who’d scattered across a few miles of wreckage looking for functioning vehicles, unused ammo, power cores, plasma relays, anything of value. The more desperate ones were even looting corpses looking for medals, jewelry, or just coins. They were just baseline humans, armed with welding torches, cutters, sometimes just hammers and prybars. There were a couple with rifles, in theory they were on guard, but they were mostly bored and occasionally sneaking off to snag their own salvage. Not too attentive is what I mean.
We didn’t just chance across them mind you. We’d been following reports, auspex traces and hunches for weeks. This wasn’t the first place they’d hit. They’d been feasting on the corpse of this war for months.
But now these scavengers were going to meet some apex predators.
(Inaudible question)
Us of course. Three Battle Brothers in full plate, supported by two Inquisition operatives. Who did you think I me-
(Screams)
(Inaudible statement)
Yes, yes, I will be clearer. I do apologize. Just stick to the facts.
We waited till night.
First Hamasa jammed their vox traffic. She’d spend years scrounging equipment and made herself a nice little den in the back of the Chimera. Her vox set didn’t have the power to jam everything but it could put enough random noise into their traffic to confuse real signals, put out some noise. Someone in orbit wouldn’t give it a thought, it would sound like regular interference, especially if they were amateurs.
Then Raax, Mond and me, oh and Dahi, hit them. Quietly, just knives and suppressed las pistols. Planted charges on the Eagles and the Shark. Then we hit the Aquila. We’d figured, correctly, it was the boss’ ride. We took down the guards and stormed in. Killed the pilots and grabbed the boss before he knew what was going on.
Then it was simple. Hamasa and Dahi got us into the air. We triggered the charges, boom-boom-boom. The shuttles and our long-serving Chimera exploded. And we were gone.
With some persuasion the boss identified his ship. An old Ceres-class merchantman patched and refitted a hundred times until it became a pirate and scavenger ship preying on weak and undefended ships and worlds. We could see it above us, still in orange trade livery, looking innocent and harmless to uneducated eyes.
With some more persuasion he talked to the ship control, saying he had an urgent meeting with the Captain and had to return early. Gave the passwords and everything.
And then…
(Pause)
And then, the vox filled with sounds of an argument, a las shot and then the Aguila Lander jinked, swerved and abruptly accelerated at full burn into the ship’s hull, vaporizing itself and burning a medium-sized crater into the side.
And we were all dead.
Again.
(Pause)
(Screams)
(Inaudible statement)
Yes, sorry, trying to be dramatic. Won’t happen again.
Obviously we weren’t dead, but they thought so. We’d put on our armor, void suits for the two mortals and jumped out during one of the erratic maneuvers. We made it to a neglected vac-gate on the lower hull and a few seconds later we were in.
The Ceres class is not that big for a starship, maybe 2 miles stem to stern and half a mile tall, but that’s still a pretty big place to hide three Marines. And this one had been gutted and rebuilt to hold launch bays, macro cannons and all sorts of surprises. So that meant how many miles of corridors? I’m not a mentat, so let’s just say a lot.
(Inaudible reply)
That many? I’ll take your word for it. I think we can agree, a lot. Even with a crew of over 50,000 far too many to patrol every inch of the ship. Or even watch every airlock.
So we found ourselves a hole and disappeared into it. Raax, Mond and me hit some storage lockers for food and Hamasa tapped into their internal vox traffic. For a few days there we were ghosts, seeing and hearing but no one knew we were there. As far as they were concerned someone hit this raiding party, blew up a couple of shuttles and got themselves killed hijacking the Lander. They picked up their stranded crew and got back to work.
But our little distraction caused them trouble. They’d lost a few shuttles that had to be replaced, and now they had to do their looting with fewer ships. Plus they had to send down more security to guard their raiding parties which meant less room for loot. Not a crippling problem but a bit of strain on their resources and profit.
And things were going to get worse.
No one really cared when the first few crew turned up dead. Ships are big, dangerous places even before you fill them with undisciplined pirates. But then a few more showed up dead in very public places. Then a whole room full of raiders was painted red with blood after someone hacked them up with a chain axe. And people started to get worried. Rumors started to spread that there was xenos or even a daemon loose on the ship. People got edgy and scared.
It was the three of us of course, oh and Dahi killed some people too. I personally killed about 200 of them, ambushes, sniping them with a las pistol, direct massacres with Little Choppy, tricks, traps, all sorts of stuff. And I did it with one arm too, in case you forgot. Kind of proud of that. I had to take off my plate of course to sneak around and fit in some of those places but I did OK. More than OK. We were active for weeks and no one on that ship found us, much less put up a fight.
We never hit anyone important. No tech priests, no navigators, not even officers higher than a gang-chief – just the ordinary scum who could be replaced. This made the ship really tense. Spacers are superstitious, they started talking about the planet being cursed and wanted to move on. Except they were nowhere near making up their expenses coming to Bebosi’s World, much less a profit.
And all this time the clock was ticking. The Navy had kept a full time picket for a year or two but by then was only doing periodic patrols. The pirates bribed some clerk somewhere and got the patrol schedule, but they only had so much time before the Navy came back. No converted transport, no matter how upgunned, was going to match a navy patrol.
So they started taking risks. Hitting active military bases, temples, cities rather than just scavenging from the dead (or almost dead). The problem with risks of course is sometimes they don’t pay off. So they lost more crews, more shuttles. And hope of profit started to disappear.
So finally the Captain had not choice, he pulled anchor and they started heading outsystem.
Now this part is important! You see now the whole crew was mad at the captain, he’d gotten a whole mess of them killed by some xenos daemon and on stupid rushed missions. And now the officers were mad too, they’d just seen any profits from this mission evaporate.
Which leads to the next step.
(Inaudible question)
Yeah it was a good plan.
(Inaudible question)
Oh we all worked on it together.
(Inaudible question)
Yeah, all of us, even Dahi and Hamasa.
(Inaudible question)
Yeah she had some good ideas. I mean she’s the one who found the pirate ship to start with.
(Inaudible question)
No, no I wouldn’t call it her plan, we all worked on it. I mean I’m the one who came up with the booby-trapped deck plates. You see we attached live power conduit to-
(Inaudible question)
Yeah, that part, that was hers.
(Inaudible statement)
If you say so. But Hamasa, she was smart, but she was a mortal. We were marines and we mostly drove the plan.
(Inaudible statement)
Right where were we? Heading out of the system, frightened crew, disgruntled officers, captain who had no idea what happened or what to do.
Which is when we showed up in the First Officer’s quarters with Dahi dressed in stolen finery and Raax holding a chain glaive in one hand and the Captain’s head in the other.
And Dahi patiently explained to the First Officer that either he could smooth Dahi’s path as the new captain or Raax would add his head to his collection and we’d go have a chat with the Second Mate.
The First Officer was a smart man.
And he bowed to his new captain.
Heetto, was his name, Henrik Heetto. Skinny guy, void born, probably used to having the deck plate gravity turned low. A merchant and a clerk, not a fighter, but good at his job. He kept the ship supplied with parts, fuel, food, air and people. He was the one who figured out what targets were worth the risk, he was the one who recommended pulling out of Bebosi’s World once they lost too many landing craft. He wasn’t the sort of guy the cutthroats and raiders would follow, but he was essential to making sure the ship was making money, which made him a great first officer while being no threat to the captain.
So he called the other officers and Dahi explained how things were going to be.
I have to say Dahi was a nice piece of work. He was kind of close-mouthed about his background of course, I mean that was his line of work, but five years is a long time and we needed to know each other’s abilities. Pretty typical, parents dead, showed talent, pulled from the Schola Progenium at a young age. Years of studying, training and surgery before they let him out. Hunted, found, killed all sorts of heretics. From some industrial barons evading their tithes to full daemonic cults threatening worlds. Six feet tall, mahogany skin, gold eyes, unmarked – that is no plugs, no bionics, no enhancements you could see. But under that skin, wired reflexes, boosted muscles and strengthened bones, harmonically improved vocal chords, tailored pheromones, he was as improved as we were. Well almost.
So he spoke to crew, well to the gang bosses, the defrocked tech priests, the exiled navigator and all the other officers we could fit in the main hall. Of course a lot of the crew were press-ganged slaves cleaning char from the plasma tubes, they didn’t know or care who was captain, but these guys did. These were the guys who expected bags of loot and rich rewards and wanted to know the new captain could deliver the goods.
He gave a good speech about how the old captain got sloppy and made mistakes, how he was going to lead them to new glory. The vocal harmonics and pheromones helped. We could see them nodding, agreeing, acting like this stranger was always meant to walk in and take over.
Except for Big Bort.
Bort was a gang boss, the equivalent of sergeant on this ship. It meant he had a shuttle of his own and a gang of loyal cutthroats who’d follow him when he hit a target. He’d been rebuilt a half dozen times, had power cables running through his muscles, half his head was metal, armor plates bolted to his skin, you know the type. His ears has been replaced with bionics, his nose with a grill. Maybe he got spaced and lost his eardrums at some point. Probably why Dahi’s harmonics didn’t work.
He bellowed a challenge, some nonsense about no dirt-born outsider was going to be his captain, and he charged. Maybe he really thought that, maybe he figured this was his chance for a the big chair. Who knows. Mond and me stepped forward to meet the charge but Dahi waved us off and took a step forward.
Masterful move that. I mean what kind of mortal tells an Asteres in full plate to stand down so he could take the fight? Either a really dumb one or really good one. The crew got the message. And they wanted to see which he was.
Bort swung his heavy chain sabre looking to bisect Dahi’s torso, except Dahi’s torso wasn’t there anymore, he bent backwards and the sabre roared over him. He kicked up and we all heard the snap and smelled the burned flesh. He’d kicked right through Bort’s reinforced arm and snapped the power cable running up it. Sparks flew out his ruined arm and the sabre fell to the floor carving a gash in the deck.
Dahi’s leg continued up and he flipped backwards landing on his feet. Bort looked at his ruined arm and snarled, his good arm reached for a vibro-dagger on his belt. The howl filled the hall and Bort thrust forward.
Bort’s bloodstream was probably half wardrugs, he wasn’t some shambling servitor, he was a barely restrained beast, as fast as a Marine when he was fighting.
But Dahi side-stepped easily and smashed Bort’s left kneecap as he barreled by. Bort fell on his face and the dagger lodged in the deck. He rolled over, now reaching for a stub gun strapped to his chest.
I should point out using a gun was a major breech of protocol in a leadership challenge, not that it mattered, he never made it. Dahi’s leg shot out and broke his elbow. Bort now had two useless arms and a useless leg. A smart guy would have begged for forgiveness and pledged eternal loyalty. Instead Bort screamed curses and vowed vengeance. Dahi posed dramatically and shot his hand down like a knife crushing Bort’s voice box. Now the gang boss was flailing on the floor gasping. Helpless, pathetic. Dahi pointed at a couple of cutthroats from Bort’s gang and told them to pick him up, and throw him out the nearest airlock.
Another masterstroke. If he’d killed Bort there might be crew who resented it and came after him. Instead he made them complicit in Bort’s death. He never had trouble from them again.
And through all of that, Dahi never drew a weapon. I’m not even sure he was carrying one. Masterful. Damn shame what happened to him.
Anyway, just like that we were pirates.
Not really of course, we just needed the ship to get back to our chapter, to let them know what happened. That’s really all we wanted. You have to look at everything that happened as part of that goal. We didn’t want to be pirates, we weren’t really pirates, but did what we had to do. Just remember that.
All that stuff we did, it wasn’t our fault, we weren’t really pirates. We just wanted to come home.
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Screams)
(Inaudible statement)
(Mumbling)
(Screams)
Yes, yes, you’re right, our fault, it was all our fault.
(Screams)
(Inaudible statement)
My fault… yes… it was all my fault.

++End Transcript++

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/07/03 11:57:02


 
   
Made in us
Stealthy Warhound Titan Princeps







 Kid_Kyoto wrote:
Glad you like it!

The next chapter will be a bit self indulgent as I get into my thoughts on how marines actually work.

I mean if you have Thunderhawks and drop pods why are you trudging through the mud in a rhino?

If you have strike cruisers, why are you even landing?

Stuff like that.


Very good questions. I'll be interested to see the answers when I finish reading. My usual answer is: They're nuts.
Why did you just kill that dude with a chainsaw instead of just shooting him?
BECAUSE I COULD AND IT WAS RIGHTEOUS!
   
Made in us
Stealthy Warhound Titan Princeps







Just finished reading it - outstanding work. I love reading your stuff - you're probably too much of a heretic to write for black library, but you ought to send something in... ...you never know!

I too think it is interesting to think about the drivers and such for a space marine chapter. It does seem a waste to have a marine driving a rhino, so I think many chapters would have an alternate solution like servitors or chapters serfs, or wounded marines as you suggest. There would be some upsides to using a battle brother - you could be sure your ride would be there when you wanted it, for example.

Alternately, I'd imagine the rhino is driven by the passengers - we're basically talking a jeep with enough AI to follow them around when they get out. If you look at the movie Aliens you have a nice example of a few soldiers with a ton of gear - sort of like Space Marines.

You still do have to wonder why marines EVER have to tool around in Rhinos though if they are so super elite. I was particularly annoyed when they gave Grey Knights rhinos - I mean come on, a space marine's space marine is gonna drive an APC with a storm bolter and armor that barely stops a bolter?

I like the bit about marines standing up while riding... : )

   
Made in in
[MOD]
Illuminati






Arlington, va

The only way I can get Rhinos to work is if you think of Thawks like a Space C130 (+a space B52), big, slow and can only land where's there enough room. So the Rhino becomes a Space Bradley, small and light enough to be air lifted.

But it all falls apart once you bring in the Storm Raven as a Space Huey, but with more guns than a tank.

And once you have Storm Talons, why the heck are there still Land Speeders and Attack Bikes?

Arg!

Anyway, like I said, self indulgent.

More pirate action to come.

 
   
Made in gb
Boosting Ultramarine Biker





Leicester

This is Brilliant, will be following
   
Made in us
Stealthy Warhound Titan Princeps







 Kid_Kyoto wrote:
The only way I can get Rhinos to work is if you think of Thawks like a Space C130 (+a space B52), big, slow and can only land where's there enough room. So the Rhino becomes a Space Bradley, small and light enough to be air lifted.

But it all falls apart once you bring in the Storm Raven as a Space Huey, but with more guns than a tank.

And once you have Storm Talons, why the heck are there still Land Speeders and Attack Bikes?

Arg!

Anyway, like I said, self indulgent.

More pirate action to come.


Alot of military sci fi takes the view that "if it flies, it dies". That is not unreasonable for 40K as you describe in the the Vost story - and it makes some kind of transport essential. If you take Rhinos as light and UNBELIEVABLY reliable, it does kind of make sense for them to be the space marine ride of choice. The Marine doesn't need a chimera because he doesn't need a vehicle that is more vulnerable than he is (fluff wise). He's gonna get out of the Rhino, and probably it isn't worth using a space marine to drive it anyway in most cases except for some fire support. My fluff of course is that they ride in rhinos because they are nuts.

Yay for pirate action!
   
Made in in
[MOD]
Illuminati






Arlington, va

Chapter 6 – Pirate (Part 2)
++TRANSCRIPT BEGINS++

Where were we? Right, we were pirates. Not really, but sort of.
After five years of wandering a wartorn backwater in a patched up Chimera we now had the resources of a two-mile long ship to call on. Armories, foundries, cirurgiens, all the comforts of a Fortress Monastery, almost. For me that meant getting a new arm.
Five years of fighting one-armed. It wasn’t easy. I did it of course, killed my share of heretics, bandits, whatever. But it was never easy, always felt off balance.
Unfortunately the damage that servitor did was pretty bad, most of the shoulder was gone and with it the nerves I needed to have a real arm, a real hand back. Maybe if there’s been a Marine Apothecary and they’d had a few months to clone tissue for me… But in a pirate ship’s medical bay, the best they could do was a big ugly servitor arm, and a motor replacing my shoulder. One nice thing they did was replace the metal cutter on the end with a new chain axe build from bits of Little Choppy. I called her Big Choppy. They also rigged the laser cutter to fire off an intense shot that could vaporize tank armor, it would burn out after a single shot but it was a nice surprise to have in-
(Inaudible statement)
Yes, OK, got it. Well besides the arm, I was just really happy to have an arm back, we also found some explosive bolts of the right caliber and got one of the machine shops to work making more. They weren’t triple consecrated, they didn’t have the Primarch’s Creed inscribed but they did the job. Having my bolter back in my hand felt good, it felt right. It reminded me that I was a Marine going home, not some pirate or renegade. It was hard to reload with only one hand but I got the hang of-
(Inaudible statement)
Right, so that’s where were. Running a pirate ship, reequipping for the job ahead.
(Inaudible question)
So after that, I mean not much to tell, you know what happened to that Inquisition ship and-
(Inaudible question)
Thandar Six, no never heard of-
(Inaudible statement)
Oh the stinkhole. Yeah, that happened.
(Inaudible question)
I don’t know maybe I heard the stinkhole’s real name just didn’t register. Remember I wasn’t captain, Dahi was. I wasn’t really planning our next move, I was busy with other stuff. Dahi was the one holed up with Hamasa and Heetto planning our next move. If we were going home we needed an astropath, a real astropath. The ship had a couple of unregistered psykers locked in a sealed room. They’d listen into local telepathic traffic, get out occasional messages other stuff. But if we were going to contact our chapter we needed a real astropath, one who could send a message three sectors away with the right codes and encryption.
Plus we needed to resupply after the Bebosi fiasco.
But we were in a pirate ship and even with our Inquisition and Marine codes we didn’t want to risk showing up at an Imperial base and being blasted.
So they came up with the stinkhole.
(Inaudible question)
Right Thandar Six I guess.
It was a private mining and refining station orbiting a gas giant in some unoccupied system. It was owned by some trader family somewhere but not Imperial per se. No Arbites or Navy presence, just a few cargo haulers stopping by every so often. Our ship had used it before to restock, and they had a nice little side business supplying ships at premium prices with no questions asked.
So we sailed up to the stinkhole.
(Inaudible question)
Well because it was extracting methane from the gas giant and the place wasn’t exactly well-maintained. Leaky seals, vented gas, a couple of centuries of unwashed crew… sometimes enhanced olfactory senses are not a blessing. The place stank.
We docked and came onboard to meet the administrator, forget her name, Ovel… Obal…
(Inaudible statement)
Ovali? If you say so. As you might guess, I didn’t really know her that long.
(Chuckles)
We walked through the stinking corridors to a VIP lift, the air there was perfumed but that just meant it smelled like stink with perfume on top. It was just four of us, Dahi, Heetto, Mond and me. Behind us was a small retinue of bargainers, tallymen, scribes and the like to work out details once we paid our respects. The ship and Heetto had been there before but Dahi was new so we needed to smooth things with Ovali, arrange supplies, shore leave and of course access to the station’s astropaths.
She was a tall woman, I remember that, with an aristocratic accent and formal bearing. I remember wondering how she ended up in the stinkhole. Probably on the wrong side of some machination in her clan, exiled to the middle of nowhere, maybe trading with pirates and renegades was her little revenge. Her office was opulent, a lot nicer than the rest of the station, she probably put her own money into it. Just a handful of robed staff taking notes as we spoke, no obvious guards but we could see weapons recessed in the walls and ceiling. Discreet, confident, that was the message here. She eyed us carefully. Obviously she’d been warned about Mond and me so she never said anything but I could see her giving us looks. At that point our armor was already beat up and patched, not to mention my arm, maybe she thought we were renegade marines, maybe she thought we were just combat servitors in marine-like armor. Some traders like to do that, make themselves look more important. She certainly never figured she was talking to an Inquisition operative and two Imperial Marines. She might have shown more respect.
Things got off well, most of what we wanted was routine. There was some back and forth on prices, Dahi was a new element and she wanted to charge a premium. He didn’t push back too hard, after all once we got in touch with the Argent Brotherhood we’d be done with the pirates, probably turn them over to the Navy for hanging.
(Inaudible question)
Well they were pirates. They weren’t brothers. Hanging was what they deserved. At least that’s how I thought at the ti-
(Screams)
(Inaudible statement)
Yes, yes, hanging is what they deserved.
Obviously.
(Inaudible question)
Right, then we got to the meat, needed to use the astropaths.
So Ovali said give me the message and I’ll be happy to send.
Dahi explained it was a private message.
She politely declined.
Dahi started to sweeten the offer, some money, some assurances there was nothing there related to the station. And he started to use his harmonics, generally you can’t hear them but they play on the brain, make it more suggestable, useful little talent.
That was the mistake.
Alarms went off. Ovali screamed at Dahi, how dare he try some cheap trick like that, she reached for a button, we aimed our weapons, she saw us and hit another button and the weapons started unfolding, Heetto screamed in terror, the scribes ran for the door, and Dahi was impassive, just glaring at her.
So we fired, blew up her guns before they could properly unfold, then fired at Ovali. A power field had gone up around her desk and our bolts were vaporized. A door opened behind her and she ran for it, we fired again, the shield stopped our bolts again. She got five steps then dropped with a neat hole in her skull. Dahi had drawn and shot her with a laspistol. One shot. Maybe he figured out the cycling rate of the shield and shot as it flickered? Maybe he was just lucky? Whatever the answer she was dead and alarms were ringing.
I don’t know how well-trained or responsive the station’s crew were, but I know they were not fast enough.
Raax had stayed on the ship, keeping an eye on the bridge, making sure our second mate didn’t get any strange ideas while the captain and first officer were away. And of course Raax was getting a pic-feed from our helmets. As soon as the shooting started, maybe even a few seconds earlier, he ordered the ship to red alert and fired on the station’s weapon towers. We were docked, we were inside their shields, we’d been there before, our captain was paying a call on the administrator, no one expected trouble, the surprise was complete. The gun towers exploded and several decks caught fire.
Inside, her guards were starting to realize this was real, but they figured that out a few seconds after Mond and me burst out of her office. They were dead before they could draw weapons. We told Heetto and his scribes and traders to hole up in the office while me and Mond and Dahi headed for the control room. We ran into a couple of crew on the way, shot them before they could figure out what was going on.
Then we burst into the control center, aimed our weapons, and everyone surrendered. We turned off the alarms, vox’ed Raax and it was all over. I didn’t even get to use Big Choppy.
(Inaudible question)
No, no. I just want to be clear, we didn’t plan on this. We just wanted to buy the supplies we needed and move on. If Ovali hadn’t activated her weapons… look, just don’t point a weapon at a Marine if you want to live. She should’ve known that.
(Inaudible question)
Yeah, now that you mention it, maybe she wasn’t activating weapons, maybe she was reaching for something else when we took aim. She still should’ve known better. Now she was dead.
So now instead of negotiating a sale, we sent our boys and looted the place. Tore apart their Central Bazaar, broke into the main warehouses, grabbed any fuel and parts we needed, or wanted, or might be able to sell later. Impressed any crew that looked useful. Flew over any shuttles that worked. And of course grabbed their Astropaths.
Heetto was beside himself, he actually screamed at Dahi, which would have gotten him killed if Dahi hadn’t waved us off. His point was a good one. There were only so many stations, colonies, settlements a pirate could trade at with no questions asked. And the stinkhole-
(Inaudible question)
Yeah, I mean Thandar Six, Thandar Six was one of the best.
Plus once word got out the owners of Thandar Six would sic the Navy on us, all the other pirates in the region would hunt us for the bounty and the other black-market settlements would close their doors. Sure we’d gotten a good score but we were in serious trouble now, there’s a reason no one attacks the black market settlements, pirates need them. And if we were ordinary pirates we’d be doomed.
No one had really told him yet that we weren’t there to be pirates, we were there to reunite with our Chapter and then the whole crew would probably hang. And we didn’t explain it then either, we still needed him.
And like I said he had a point, signaling our Chapter did no good if the Navy or some other pirate ship blew us out of space before we met up.
Dahi, Heetto, some of the other officers argued it back and forth for a while until someone finally said ‘no survivors’.
(Inaudible question)
No it wasn’t me. Like I said at that point I was basically the Captain’s bodyguard, I stayed out of command decisions like that.
(Inaudible question)
Hamasa? Yeah, maybe. She was really practical about these things.
So whoever suggested it, that’s what we did, no survivors. We loaded up the ship, broke anchor and pulled away. The crew of the station, they had about enough time to give a sigh of relief, thank the Emperor they were still alive, start taking stock of what was left, maybe speculate when the next ship would arrive, before we opened fire. We blew the gravity anchor that kept the station in orbit and watched it fall, it tumbled a few times before vanishing into the gas giant and imploding a few miles down.
No survivors.
We spent the next few days hunting down whatever mines, listening posts and such were in the system. They’d seen us on auspexes and we had to silence them too. Anyone who arrived in the system would find nothing. Maybe if they spend a few weeks they might find some debris or something. They’d know something bad happened but have no clue who or what hit the place.
Then we were on our way again. The Astropaths send the signal to our Chapter, with all the codes and authenticators, and we had nothing to do but wait.
(Inaudible question)
No I don’t know. A few thousand crew I’d guess?
(Inaudible statement)
That many huh? Well just goes to show, when Marines come by, you should be polite.
But that’s not important, what’s important is what happened next.

 
   
Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa






Northern Ireland

Slick writing, still enjoying it. Though I thought this was going to be five parts. I suppose its a LONG fall, the clue was in the title.
Sure you can make it as long as you like. Its all good.

   
Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa






Northern Ireland

Ah! Double posted!
(Screams)
Inaudible instruction.
Gasp! Sorry, It will not happen again.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/07/17 21:56:12


   
 
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