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Nox Bellum - Titanicus short story.  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
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Made in au
Mindless Servitor


Returning after a while. Wrote this about my demi legio of titanicus, starting to flesh out their fluff.


Just the right side of an invisible line, on an invisible map, Princeps Erlinger stared into the auspex screens as if he was scrying the future. Active pulses of his titan’s autosenses mapped out the manufactorum and refinery complex in perfect hues of gold and blue, against the backdrop of dark orange.

Somewhere out there, amongst the cooling towers and electro-smelters, his brother Princeps lurked. Somewhere out there, Miken Trekep, veteran of a hundred walks, including two de-thronings in which, both times, his crew and he had to shoot their way out of their own titan, was running red-team against him. It was difficult to think of a harder challenge, a more complete strategist, a tougher man.

On the side of his princeps console, was a baroque brass lever. His fingers curled around it and tugged it down as if it was a part of his own arm. Every piece of this stalwart metal monster, was in fact, an extended part of him. Inside the dense machine, subsystems began to react. The main manifold systems of the titan shuddered and twitched in the local noosphere like the petals of a flower after a storm. A blinking Runic cursor, blinking away in the lower left, was his reward.

Like most of the newer pattern titans, Nox Bellum could take direct data link and voice commands. But some of the old layovers, like buttons levers and keyboard inputs remained. The priesthood were big on ‘Just in case’ systems. You never knew. He cleared his throat and then he and the crew began to speak:

‘ Recognise me. I am Gestoff Erlinger, Legio Ignatum. This is execution T081994.’ his fingers were punching in the combinations in harmony, by instinct. The machine responded with a distant female voice, that echoed through the bones of his face. The machine was waiting. So close, its spirit raging at being away from its human components behind a facia of copper, and platinum connectors.

‘Recognise Gestoff Erlinger, Princeps, Legio Ignatum.’ it said.

one by one the other crew authenticated;
‘Recognise Arettal Klum, Moderati Primus, Legio Ignatum
Recognise Danata Pollon, Steersman, Legio Ignatum
Recognise Morton Beensder, Tactical Moderati, Legio Ignatum

“Lets bring her up slowly.” Gestoff said. “She’s been asleep for a long while.” Deep in Nox Bellum’s belly, the enginseer warbled binary agreement of the princeps’ assessment, coaxing the blinding plasma heart of the titan to the higher levels of output that would be required for active maneuvering and weapons fire.

Each crew member gained access to their particular systems, their element of the gestalt. Around them, the machine was grumbling, to a state of battle readiness. Empty autoloaders chattered, loading non existent bullets into their chambers. Servitors manually operated pressurisation of piston and gas chamber. Gauss electromagnets heaved to life in a crackle of heaving metal and the fuzzed hum of their capacitors and buzz bars. The entire engine gradually began to come alive, in a dirge like harmony. Like a organ, prior to being played.

Runic icon indicators around the bridge, switched from red, to amber and then, slowly to green, some flickering more than others. Crew members muttered the litanies of persuasion, and gave the troublesome indicators taps or slaps, until the lights changed to green.

Low-gain spears of infrared and more esoteric energies shot into local test targets, as the weapons’ target acquisition sensors flared, locking onto rocky outcroppings and distant pipe work.

Gestoff flexed his hands against the controls. Once in the manifold, he would move only when the machine needed him to, and often he underwent extreme muscle cramping on a long walk. Muscle atrophy was a constant problem for crews. He spoke the words he must.

“Moderati, inform legio command to mark our status as on active excercise.” He settled back into his chair, the hard plugs of his command throne and spinal linkages twisting gently as he squirmed deeper into the seat padding. A last few concious moments of movement, putting off the moment for as long as possible, his crew squirted code blurts off to the maniple dropship that was functioning as the command for the excercise, before he said: “Alright. Give her to me. I have the manifold.”

‘Manifold aye.’ The moderati replied almost absentmindedly into the dead air of the cockpit as his fingers stroked the worn bronze keys of his station. ‘Nox Bellum is yours, Princeps.’

The manifold opened up in the crews minds’ eye, and the world around the titan rushed in to meet them. The wind was a light breeze, from the south west, thrumming over the hull of the war engine in the dusky afternoon. Void shields snapped into being, ionising the particulate in the air, with barely audible shrieking.

“Ahead one quarter, slow walk.” Gestoff said. He saw/felt the steersmans compliance, and the first jarring internal tectonic clunk of the gearing. The clods of compressed earth that clung to its/his toes as it took that fateful step into the exercise area. The cockpit became a slow rocking cradle for the bodies within, as the giant machine on hissing pistons, began its loping, tense walking motion, graceful, save for the sheer weight of the machine.

As Nox’s foot broke the exercise boundary, hard returns began pinging from the auspex panel. The crew bent to their equipment immediately, their conversations chopped short, and terse suddenly. A little known dialect of low gothic, Legio Ignatum had inherited from millenia of combat, all the way from Terra herself.

Friendly signifiers blurred into view in the sensorium and a voice, deep and resonant, emitted from the speakers in the cabin;

“Princeps Erlinger, Welcome to Facility Delta97/Phi.” Across the plains a few klicks north Baroness Hakta Denk, Master of the Vox, was already pounding ahead with her knights. They’d been advancing at the run, double timing into the combat zone. She knew her rivals were out there and she was determined today, to payback her upstart Su-Baron counterpart, for a recent slur against her honour. The man had dared to ignore her greeting at a formal dinner for a full three seconds. It was entirely too much to bear. Her thin, scarred face, twisted in a grimace. “Today shall be the day, my lads.” she promised himself, knocking the side of her helmet against the port hatch restraining bolts. As the knight suit was advancing so far it was the only bit she could reach. “Today, will be the day.” Her Crusader suit grumbled in agreement, its rapid fire battle cannon extending as if to point the way. “

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/29 04:37:59

What's so great about build routine 721? What about Build routine 720, or even 722?? 
Made in us
Despised Traitorous Cultist

I would like to say first, thank you for posting your writing on this forum, I'm very happy to read all kinds of stories on here.

If it pleases somethings that I'd like to point out if you're interesting in hearing another amateur's opinion.

I felt like, while your prose is good, the plot is way too short. Even if you were just posting it to post it, I think you should have entered with a Hook and ended with a hook. The beginning was interesting, the writing very fluid and a pleasure to read, but there's not a hook that grabs me into the story.

One of the books I read called Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell went over how to utilize hooks. What this author went over was to make readers worry about the character. In other words readers read books to worry, because they want to worry. If you're going to post something small, why not make it short, intense, enter with a media rez, and then reveal a twist very quickly and end with a "I want to read more." Like a teaser trailer.

What you did well though is your flow. You have good flow and GREAT atmosphere. You capture it. I think that's what you were really focusing on was the atmosphere. Excellent job with it you accomplished it. Now I just suggest focusing on that hook and that worry.

Anyway, that's all I got to say. If you want to revise your stuff and post it again, PM me and I'll read. Just turn up the intensity and allow the reader to wonder and worry and want more.



This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/08/26 12:33:56

#transpride #BA #WB #Legionnaire

Blog: https://evasstoop.weebly.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eva_ungeheuer1/

Made in au
Mindless Servitor


Thank you very much!

All feedback is great! I'm really glad you enjoyed it, I liked writing it a lot.

I shall have a think about an 'in medias res' opening. This story is an actual battle report I played with a friend, and I enjoyed it so much I thought i'd write it up. So the story bones are already there to be written out. Much more to come. I think I'll also take you up on what I've written here too, and pm you when I've reworked it slightly.

What's so great about build routine 721? What about Build routine 720, or even 722?? 
Made in au
Mindless Servitor


Changed it up a bit and added some paragraphs

What's so great about build routine 721? What about Build routine 720, or even 722?? 
Made in us
Despised Traitorous Cultist

Love this line

Somewhere out there, amongst the cooling towers and electro-smelters, his brother Princeps lurked. Somewhere out there, Miken Trekep, veteran of a hundred walks, including two de-thronings in which, both times, his crew and he had to shoot their way out of their own titan, was running red-team against him. It was difficult to think of a harder challenge, a more complete strategist, a tougher man.

More please, I look forward to seeing the siblings in battle together. I especially like the Knight. The final paragraph showed me the Knight's persona and a bit of drama, I like that.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/29 11:52:16

#transpride #BA #WB #Legionnaire

Blog: https://evasstoop.weebly.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eva_ungeheuer1/

Made in au
Mindless Servitor


annd the next bit


With the Baroness, in a delta formation, ran her het-men. Piloting a paladin and an errant, they made a reinforced lance of Questoris class machines. Gestoff, from his high vantage point in the cockpit of Nox Bellum, could see they were about to penetrate the refinery complex, and enter into the facilities tangle of pipework and outbuildings. In the vox, being so close, he could hear the suit chatter of their knight machines on sub channels, pinging auspexes off each other, and actively sweeping the refinery complex, looking for enemy machines already. They were keen. Very keen to make a difference today. It gave him a boost of courage. They, he assumed, like he, feared Princeps Trekep. Feared his skill with his weapons. Anticipated a hard fight.

The rebar reinforced outer skin of a hab, shook at Hakta’s approach. Dust cascaded off the horizontal beams to the point where the building looked like it was shedding skin. Even a knight suit was large enough to shake the foundations of the small outer buildings of the refinery. When the titans got here, the haze would choke the air. Thank the emperor for auto senses.

Hakta continued to lead her suits into the refinery complex, picking her way through the towers and pipework with the virtuoso of a master. Here, with her thrones’ ghosts surrounding and protecting her, she felt invincible. Already they augmented the auspex returns she was receiving, telling her all sorts of information about prior long dead engagements that had started just like this. In the back of her mind, they moaned and wailed portents of doom; Loss of traction, sliding masonry smashing off an ion shield emitter, causing shorts and power bleed, gressorial unmeshing in the primary locomotors, due to grit and atmospheric damage.

She ignored all of them. She was the master of this knight suit, it had been with her since the very beginning. Every part replaced a dozen times over, it was still part of her like her own arm. When the acidic wind blew, she felt the abrasive effect on her skin, saw, with her own eyes, the spoor of industrial machinery, and electromagnetic emissions of active equipment. Her lance of machines was tasting the air, with its auspex, scanning furiously for the enemy. There was nothing to see, they were blind, in the midst of so much active mechanicus equipment. Danger runes across her panels were suddenly lit as she moved beyond the heavy plating of the outer buildings, and suddenly she realised why they were so squat, and made of heavy metal. radiation alarms squealed in her ears, the needle on the glass lozenge marked with a big R, swung sharply across its dial, resting just under a big orange section.

Gritting her teeth she opened her vox again:

“Nox, this is Denk. Heavy ECM, within the complex itself, in the facility. Whatever they’re making here, it’s playing merry hell with our auspex. We’re down to visual and signa-trig here. No sign of enemy contacts up to 50 meters in and we’re already at 5kRhr. Thankyou, Mechanicus for the in-depth briefing.” she snarled,

Gestoff eased back in his throne. His fingers gripping the rests of his command throne uneasily. His Auspex was mostly clear, but the facility emissions were clearly not good as one got further. “5 per hour? That’s not great, but not horrible.” he replied, as he fidgeted in the chair. Nox Bellum Rocked underneath him, another step closer.

Hakta stared at the wall, for a second, mastering her temper, before one of her lancemates cut in:

“Five thousand, princeps. Not 5. We stay here too long we’re going to be glowing.” interjected Ser Moroth, from the errant suit. Hakta immediately quashed his channel with a mental command. It took her a couple of seconds to get her throat to relax before she next spoke.

“As ser Moroth said, holy princeps. My men have about fifteen minutes in this, before I’m going to have to push south to meet you. Even now, the decom work on our suits is going to have our sacristans busy for at least a day after this action.”

She cut the channel briefly, and was about to loose her considerably florid vocabulary on her man,when two things happened at once. Her knight suit, registered the first tremor of an titan footfall and her other lance pilot broke silence;

‘Hammer one, hammer one, this is two, Contact! Contact front, bearing 115 magnetic, warhound class.”

Immediately she began to visually scan for the enemy. Through the tangle of metal and buildings, she caught the unmistakable sight of a carapace cowling, rocking back and forth at the edge of a building.

“One copies, Warhound bearing 115.” She paused, looking at the titan, as it moved, visible, then not. “ What’s he *doing* down there?!” she mused to herself. The cowling of the warhound appeared and disappeared, appeared and disappeared. If it was a human, she’d say it was like a small boy hopping to go to the bathroom, except the boy in this case was tens of meters tall, and had the power to level entire city blocks single handedly.
She dismissed the behaviour, with a shake of her head. “Hammer, form up and generate targeting solutions. Cannon only. Set master arms to simulate, ion shields to front, engage as you lock.”

There was a brief pause as she worked the systems of her knight mentally and physically, arming her weaponry, charging her plasma chambers with nonexistent plasma, etc, gracefully side stepping the big suit into a marginally better line, all to gain a bead on the titan.

“Nox, this is hammer, tallyho, engaging at range.” She said, and pulled the trigger, all thoughts of revenge dissipating, in the anticipation of combat.

The virtual ghosts of hard rounds and plasma trails left her knights’ arm weapon mounts, streaking towards the buildings at the end of the road, where the enemy titan was lurking. Occasional hits, rippled the air around the beast, in the virtual simulation,. They were perfectly overlaid onto the physical world, trails from each of her suits showed they were all unloading.

Face burning, Gestoff looked forward out of the eyes of the warhound as he listened in to the knights, beginning their combat operations. He did not notice, they were walking into the facility, beyond the perimeter. Amongst the sensor blocking, and impenetrable slab sided buildings, that surrounded them.

“Nox copies. Try and keep its attention, I’ll head up the main thoroughfare, and flank him from the left.”

Nox Bellum engaged its motivators, as he accelerated, moving into a much more spritely lope, as it began to smash the rockcrete under its metal hooves. “Warm up the blastgun. Set master arm to simulate. Reactor to battle production.” he rapped out dually into the dull air of the cockpit, and the local noosphere. As battle readiness progressed, the crew became more and more merged into the machine, more gestalt. He could feel the fears of his crew, the fear of losing, to Trekep, the patient hunter. Fears of his tech priests, for their glorious machine. And the steady growling heart of Nox Bellum, like a pulsing star at the center of their thoughts, blinding and burning out these frailties, with its animal spirit to win, to taste the spoor of its enemy, to crush them and glorify in the act.

What's so great about build routine 721? What about Build routine 720, or even 722?? 
Made in gb
Renegade Kan Killin Orks

Northern Ireland

Very nice. Giving me Battletech vibes, but then there's a whole extra element with the community of personalities within the machine. Very cool.
Funny too how the brother makes our protagonist feel like some kind of underdog, In a Titan! And then the thing about three seconds of an unforgivable slight at some social gathering, I mean, get some perspective you ginormous machine driving egomaniac. Great stuff.

Made in au
Mindless Servitor


Thank you very much!!

I'm really glad you enjoyed it and I hope you carry on reading as I add more.

What's so great about build routine 721? What about Build routine 720, or even 722?? 
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