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Title: The Lost XVII
Description: Return of the 17th Company Luna Wolves


Arden Fell - February 9, 2009 09:43 PM (GMT)
Okay. This is the first few ramblings on the fluff behind my pre-post heresy space marine company.

Hopefully it will develop over the next few months, but feel free to add/query my historical accuracy. I'm new to this PH stuff. :)


Arden Fell - February 9, 2009 10:04 PM (GMT)
Chapter 1 - Return


“I WAS NOT THERE!”

”How many times must I tell you? We did not return to Davin. We were ordered to the inspect anomalies on the edge of the Vengeful Spirit’s sensor range. We have no knowledge of what happened after the battle for 140-20.”

“So you say, but are you not a follower of Horus? Have you not claimed that you were ‘lost’ in the warp and yet you say you are free of corruption? How is that possible, Captain?” The Inquisitor relaxed back into the shadows.

The grey haired marine leaned forward and let out a pained breath, the bruise to his lung still aching. “We were not corrupted because we could not be corrupted. We have no want for power. That is for lesser men. We are astartes.”

~~~

“He appears to be telling the truth. I still don’t believe his story, but an entire company with the same tale? Fifty marines lying with such conviction? It’s unheard of.”

“These creatures may not be astartes. That has yet to be proven.”

“The gene seed checks out. They have the same sequence traits as that of a Cthonian. The cell degradation is less than I would expect for someone of that age but to reproduce good gene stock would be impossible from a warp corrupted sample. They are not products of kaos genetics.” The apothecary flipped his data pad closed. “It’s just not possible that they could be anything else. What about the orders he refers to?”

The Inquisitor shook his head, “There is nothing which can confirm or deny their story. The archives are patchy at best, but there is an entry by fleet command, that between the battles on Murder and Xenobia Principis, that an imperial guard ship, the Dark Wolf, was sent to investigate a strange reading on the expeditionary fleet’s aft sensors. Nothing is known of any astartes presence on that ship. It would not be unusual for a full company to be sent on a scouting mission. No record of the ship’s return is made in the fleet logs after that date.”

Cantor didn’t need this. Why had he been chosen to decide the fate of this company of heretics? Didn’t he have enough on his plate? More and more xenos were appearing along the eastern borders. The green skins were flexing their muscles to the west again and now a company of warp scum had materialised in the heart of his battle fleet.

“Break them, Inquisitor. There are no loyal heretics. If they cannot be broken.....” Cantor turned to face a large map of the Imperium. “We shall test them.”

~~~

Fell surveyed the remains of his armouring chamber. The small room had been thoroughly ransacked. His anger flared as he saw that the company colours had been ripped from the wall. “We should have fought back.”

He sighed and bent to pick up a tatter of the flag. It was the black muzzle of his beloved wolf. Straightening he groaned as the pain of the reunion with his battle brothers struck home again. It was not the friendly welcome he would have expected from the Imperial Fist, but then again they were no longer the Imperial Fist. They were Cantor’s Crimson Fist. Well they had certainly earned that name with the beating administered to his men.

“So they let you go, too?” Arden turned at the voice behind him. He smiled.
“I don’t know about letting us go. I sense they have another plan for us, brother.”
The large blonde astartes laughed. “You may be right.”

Arden tucked the scrap of flag into his sleeve and turned to his friend. He could tell that Revus was just as confused and sore following his ‘questioning’, but Tor would never show it. He was a beast of a marine and used to hard knocks. The men called the close assault sergeant ‘The Rage’, as his quick temper and immense power often clouded his judgement. Luckily his younger brother Kelus had always been there to sober him from his blood lust. ‘Has it really been 100 years since Kelus fell?’ Arden thought to himself.

As they turned to head back to their quarters, Arden brushed his arm against the bulkhead and winced. The breaks were taking longer to heal these days. ‘Well we are over ten thousand years old’ he reminded himself and snorted a laugh in disbelief. In truth the marine was nearing his 300th year and augments and gene seed aside that was old for an astartes.

The two men walked in silence through the lower decks of the ship finally they turning into the corridor that lead to their quarters. They were greeted with the now familiar sight of destruction, as the litter of their belongings spilled from the doorways to their bunks.
“We need to teach them a thing or two about manners,” griped Revus. Arden nodded then stopped in his tracks. Something was very wrong. Instinctively Tor took up his fighting stance. Fists levelled at chest height. Even without his lightning claws he could still decapitate a normal man with a single blow.

“He wants you dead,” came the voice from the bunkroom. Arden raised his hand to Tor’s shoulder and the marine relaxed slightly.



“Inquisitor Raphael, why would you tell me this?”

“I have my reasons.” The robed figure stepped from the doorway; he was gazing at a small medallion in his hand. “Yours I believe, Sergeant Tor?”

He tossed the metal disc to Revus who swatted it out of the air.

“That means nothing to me now,” the silver lodge medallion glistened as it fell to the ground. “Those days are long gone.”

“So you say,” said the Inquisitor moving towards them, his gaze fixed on the sergeant looking for any hint of deception “and yet you keep it.”

Arden felt the fire in his friend rise again. He knew that Revus had been a member of the warrior lodge but he had done nothing to rebuke his sergeant, knowing that it would not influence his friend from doing what he was ordered.

“If that is all you wanted to tell us, Inquisitor, we shall attend to our quarters.” Neither of the other men flinched. “Come on Revus, we have work to do. Sergeant!”

“You are to prove yourselves worthy to serve the Emperor. It won’t be easy, but if you succeed, Cantor has agreed to allow you to join the Crimson Fists. As an auxiliary of course, he would hardly have you return as a battle company.”

Raphael turned to Arden a sneer forming on his face, “but then again you won’t succeed.”

Arden Fell - March 3, 2009 01:02 PM (GMT)
Chapter 2 – Planet Fall

Power armour? Since when did we have to wear power armour?” Revus was not happy. “I have Terminator honours. I fight hand to hand. I’ll be luck if any of that armour even fits me.

“They obviously don’t trust us with our own gear. They must still be examining it for signs of ‘corruption’. Inquisitor Raphael had met Arden earlier that morning and given the orders that the 17th were finally to prove their worth to the Emperor. A small force of orks had invaded a farming colony to the south of the sector. Arden’s company would make planet fall before the 8th Crimson Fists, to secure the landing zone and await the main assault group. Arden should suit his men in the provided power armour, so that the 8th would recognise them as friendly and not ‘kaos scum’. Unfortunately most of the armour available was either heavily battle damaged, massively undersized for an astartes or both.

“We might as well fight in our skins,” grumbled Revus. “What about weapons?”

“Bolter pistols and battle daggers. A single flamer unit. Jump packs and chain swords for the assault troops, of which only 5 working packs are available. Ren you’ll be taking those. Reaver you’ll join with Grim on the left flank; Corven on the right; Mallack takes perimeter, you’ll have the flame unit to keep those orks far enough back so that the pistols can thin them out a bit; Barik skirmish formation with the scouts to the left – pick off their heavies if you can. 1st Squad to the centre. Revus with the 2nd in reserve.”

“What?”

“Lets face it you’re going to be the biggest target out there in badly fitting armour. And you shoot like a gretchin.” The other men laughed. Revus was an excellent close quarters fighter but this had lead to a distinct inability to fire a bolter accurately. Ren Lupis, the leader of the assault squad, swore that during one battle he had been shot more times by Tor than the enemy.

“Intel says that we will be dropping on a low outcrop of rock about 40clicks from the green skin camp. Numbers unknown,” read Arden from the data slate.

“So that means we will be landing in the middle of their barracks and up to our necks in a green tide,” spat Revus tossing a battered blue shoulder guard back into the pile.

“Would you have it any other way, brother?”

Revus snorted.

“Any questions?” Arden looked around his command squad. Each looked apprehensive, but eager to prove themselves in the heat of battle.

“How long do we need to hold them? Realistically,” asked Barik Lean, a small dark skinned Cthonian who sported a large scar over the bridge of his nose, the result of a close encounter with an arachnid drone.

“Best estimate 6 hours.”

“How big an enemy force?”

“Reading between the lines and from the thermal signatures, I’d say between 800 to 1,000. Maybe more. Definitely more if the 8th are late.”

“So about 20 to 1. Nice odds.” Revus was starting to lighten. He knew that even in reserve he would soon be in the thick of the fighting.

“Will we have access to the apothecarium?” The question was on everyone’s mind. In an ork battle they were facing heavy casualties and even their enhanced physiology would not withstand the constant barrage of bolts and blades that normally accompanied and ork horde for long.

“Not until the 8th arrive. I have petitioned Cantor for at least one apothecary to join us for our landing party, but there has been no response. I imagine that our survival is of little consequence to Cantor, as the 8th will clean up any sign that they, or should I say we, have suffered heavy losses.”

“This is suicide! In our own plate, with our own weapons we could hold for days, but with this garbage?” Grim Lear was not happy. He never was, which was why the other sergeants called him ‘Happy’. But for once he had a point. The company sergeants knew that they stood very little chance of bringing 48 men through this assault alive.

“Anything else?”

The command crew was silent.

“Okay. Suit up as best you can. We have 6 hours before we leave to make any repairs necessary. I suggest you bring your squads in here and kit out a.s.a.p.. If possible, I want this junk to look like new. Weapons stripped and checked 1 hour before launch. Drops pods prepped and ready 15 minutes before.“ The assembled men nodded and turned to head back to their squad barracks.

“One last thing,” Arden reached into his sleeve and withdrew the tatter of flag. ” I want the insignias covered. We are not, nor ever will be, Crimson Fists. I will not have my company fight under their banner. Remove a sleeve from your subsuit if you have to and cover that shoulder insignia. It’s bad enough we have to wear blue.” The squad leaders all smiled. “Okay. Get the men assembled.”

~~~

Five hours later 48 marines were assembled in gleaming battle plate on the embarkation deck. Apothecary Phavellis was impressed. From the upper viewing gallery the 17th looked every bit a Crimson Fist landing party, save for two things. All the clenched red fists on the left shoulder guards had been covered with black cloth, and the one marine wearing blackened terminator plate.

“Where did he get that from?” The apothecary turned to see Inquisitor Raphael striding towards him, looking less than impressed.

“Inquisitor?” But it was too late. Raphael had turned and stormed off down the steps to the lower decks.

~~~

“Where did you get that?” Arden stifled a smile.

“Amazing what you can find if you look hard enough,” smirked Revus.

“He nicked it,” chipped in Ren.

“Borrowed,” corrected the affronted marine.

“Whom did you ‘borrow’ it from?”

“He sneaked into the arming chambers of their termi....” Ren was interrupted mid sentence by the appearance of a swirling mass of angry robes stomping towards them.

“Captain! What is the meaning of this?” Raphael had reached the embarkation deck and was advancing towards the command group, fuming.

“Uh-oh. Now your for it.” Ren was no longer smiling.

Arden turned to the approaching Inquisitor, “I was just asking my sergeant the exact same thing.” Arden turned back to Ren and Revus.... Arden let them stew a little longer to allow Raphael to draw level. “Well? Explain yourself, Captain.”
Arden bristled at the presumption that he was some how responsible for his sergeant’s sudden appearance in the wrong armour.

“It would appear,” continued Arden, “that lurking within the pile of substandard armour, you so graciously supplied to us, were the remnants of a battered suit of terminator armour. In fact it would appear that someone, at some time, must have discarded a single suit of battle worn plate. Albeit in very poor condition, my good Sergeant was more than capable of making it function. We have after all spent many years repairing and modifying our own suits.” Arden smiled.

The Inquisitor was a picture of rage and confusion. Raphael had been blinded by his smug self-satisfaction in this plan to handicap the rouge company that he hadn’t thought to check the scrap for anything useful. He knew that there had been no chance of a terminator suit being discarded into that pile of scrap armour, but he couldn’t prove it. How could he have been so foolish?

Raphael turned his gaze across the rest of 17th Company. The once battered blue plate glistened with hours of hard polishing. The dents and scores hidden beneath layers of glaze; blast marks and holes hastily filled with plasteel filler and polished over.

The left shoulder guards however were less pristine. In fact they were the only plates on each of the marines that had not been polished. More over they had black rags hanging over the legion insignia.

“What is the meaning of that?” demanded Raphael pointing at Arden’s shoulder.

“What? The shroud?” Arden appeared puzzled. “Why Inquisitor I thought that you would have approved.”

Raphael looked now more confused than angry.

“As we are not, as yet, marines of the mighty Crimson Fist, then how could we possibly sully their honour by wearing their insignia in battle? We are after all suspected heretics. How would that look if we were to fail?”

Raphael could say nothing. His brain whirred at how he would twist this to Cantor’s disapproval.

Apothecary Phavellis had now reached the embarkation deck and was advancing towards the party. “Splendid, Captain. We will make a Crimson Fist out of you yet. No?” Arden turned and smiled at the approaching medic.

“We would be honoured, Apothecary. But first we must prove ourselves worthy.”

An idea flashed into Arden’s head. “Perhaps you could accompany us down to the planet? To supervise our actions and as we have no Apothecary, I’m sure we will need one before the day is through.”

Apothecary Phavellis paused, a look of deep concentration on his face. He had been wondering how these ancient warriors would react in battle, and amazed that they had not requested any medical backup before this mission. Would their enhanced biometrics really allow them to regenerate, during a battle as intense as this one? Had they any other genetic traits that would enhance their healing abilities or fighting skills? Were they such good fighters that they never got injured? No, that couldn’t be the case as they had lost at least two men in their company.

“I’m sure that the Apothecary is far too busy to venture on this minor skirmish.”

The offer of a place on the landing party had snapped Raphael from his stupor. He had not informed Cantor of Arden’s medical request, and had no intention of allowing the XVIIth the facilities to recuperate from the battle, if any of them actually survived that was. “After all the 8th will require full apothecary resources once they have landed and take the battle to the ork scum.”

“Well if I am going to be needed down there anyway, Inquisitor” Phavellis had made his mind up before the Inquisitor had handed him this final reason. “I can identify a good location for triage as well as providing assistance to the 17th in preparation for the larger battle ahead. How long do I have to ready myself?”

“15 minutes before launch, can you make it?”

“You should really have cleared this with the Commander, Phavellis.” Rage was returning to Raphael.

“Nonsense. As chief Apothecary I have the right to accompany any unit I see that would require emergency assistance. Captain I shall return in 10, can you send two of your men with me to collect supplies?”

“Of course. Sergeant Lupis take one of your men and go with the Apothecary. Do as he needs.”

The three men hurried off towards the stairs to the upper gallery and the Apothecarium Arden saw the pieces falling into place now. He would have to watch Raphael far closer than he had been.

“And you Inquisitor will you be joining us, to supervise?”

Again Raphael had been put on the spot by Fell. He would have to do something about this man and soon. “I will follow on with the 8th as per the Chapter Master’s orders.”

The Inquisitor turned and strode off towards the same stairs that he had stormed down five minutes earlier.

“We’re gonna have to watch him.” Revus spoke over Arden’s right shoulder as they watched the robed man walk away.

“Yes. We most definitely are.”

BigWill - March 3, 2009 05:26 PM (GMT)
This is very good I like it and am waiting for the next installment

Uzthizzar, Librarian-Sorceror - March 3, 2009 07:38 PM (GMT)
I think that this is very good stuff personally. :)
It really captures the air of these marines who were alive before the Horus Heresy - they are just like the marines in the HH series.
Will there be models for these characters at some point?

Arden Fell - March 4, 2009 09:19 AM (GMT)
Entering a young Arden in the Heros & Villans comp, and there will definately be a Revus. :)


Arden Fell - March 4, 2009 12:34 PM (GMT)
The complete modified Chapter 2 is above.

Uzthizzar, Librarian-Sorceror - March 4, 2009 06:00 PM (GMT)
More excellent stuff - keep it up!

Arden Fell - March 10, 2009 03:50 PM (GMT)
Okay, why did no one tell me Dorn was dead in the 40k? :rolleyes:

Just picked up a copy of the new Space Marine Codex to discover that he died millennia ago. :lol:

Gonna have to change all references to Dorn to some one else now. :(

Suppose it'll have to be Cantor.

Anyway, start of chapter 3 follows....

Arden Fell - March 10, 2009 04:07 PM (GMT)
Chapter 3 – For the Dead


“Here they come again!”

The orks charged the hillock again, this time from the right flank. Once more the rumble of bolter fire shook the air as the drop pod’s storm cannons opened up.

~~~

For once the XVIIth had been lucky. The five drop pods had landed in pentagram formation on the top of the low outcrop of rock. Exactly where they needed to be. Arden even had time to deploy his men and form basic perimeter defensive positions before the first battle wagon of ork boyz arrived.

That had been 6 hours ago. Since then another 20 battered wagons had arrived spilling out their screaming green occupants into an angry mob of bolter fire and brandished axes. The ork nobz had then shown up in buggies and bikes, and spent a good hour fighting each other over whom should be first to attack. When the largest of the nobz had finished clubbing the others into submission he had lead 30 of the boyz in a suicide run at the emplacement.

The storm cannons on the pods were being controlled by the 2nd squad, which allowed for targeted bursts at the advancing enemy. By the time they had reached flamer distance, the first mob was down to 23, soon to be thinned out even more by Mallick’s fire and the controlled shooting of 1st, 3rd and 4th Squads. The ork assault smashed into the front rank of marines just 12 strong and lasted all of 10 minutes. That was the last of Arden’s luck.

The second wave consisted of the other 200 or so orks and gretchins attacking on all fronts at once. Pulsing waves of gunfire and flame spat out from the marine encampment like a fallen Catherine wheel, to be answered by more flame and bolt fire striking in at the ring of blue armour.

Phavellis was used to battle and yet he was in awe of the controlled firing and efficiency of movement exhibited by these 48 men. They were magnificent.

As the orks closed in on the blue ring the storm cannons ceased their thunder and the marines split into two ranks, allowing the front rank space to fight hand to hand, and leaving the rear ranks to fire through the gaps at the most strategic of targets. Ork after ork seemed to hit the wall and fall. Their green and red corpses piling higher and higher, making the following rabble trip and stumble into the whirring of blades and boiling of bolter fire.

After the third hour only 15 orks remained. No marines had fallen.

“Re-arm!” Arden called out as the orks fled in disarray, the assault squad dropping in behind the green skins and harrying them on with their chain swords.

The front rank moved forward to the pile of corpses and, as they had done earlier on the deck of the Crimson Fist command ship, they sifted through the debris for anything that could be used against the enemy.

Revus moved down from the pods to Arden’s right shoulder.

“Well that was a bit boring.” he said sulkily.
“Don’t worry friend, you’ll have your fun yet.” Arden took off his helmet, and dragged the sweat from his face, replacing it with black smears of burnt power from his bolter hand. “How are we doing for injuries?”

“Apothecary!” Revus called out. Phavellis trotted over to the two men.

“How are you enjoying the fight today?”

“Well, em, so far it has been quite inspiring.” The medic removed his white and red-stripped mark VII helmet and tucked it under his arm. “ I only wish I had so little to do in every battle. Are none of your men injured?”

“Mostly minor cuts and burns,” Corven had arrived at the meeting area, brandishing a big slugga and examining the mechanism for signs of imminent failure. Ork weapons had a reputation of either blowing the head off the enemy or the poor unfortunate user. “Biometrics taking care of most of the wounds. We could do with some more fluids though, if you have them. Hot as hell in that front line.”

“I’ll see what we have,” replied the medic.

“Well that’s the first wave over with. It gets tough from now on.” The sergeants knew well that the retreating remnants of the first wave would now be returning to camp and getting the big guns out. The war boss would be rounding up every available body and gun for the second wave. “How are we for cannon rounds?”

Revus shook his head. “Not good. Even on manual override we are still wasting rounds, we have maybe 3-400 rounds per bolter, say 3000 rounds total.”

“Okay. We have maybe another hour before they return. Let’s move some of these bodies to form kill zones, there, there, there and there” Arden pointed to the spots directly in line of the pod cannons, just beyond the ring of marines covering the scavengers. “Prep them for burning with the last of the pods landing fuel that should keep them from coming over the top. Revus, once the cannons run dry, fall back to the perimeter behind Pod 4,” he pointed to the only avenue of attack that would not have a channel cleared through the mass of bodies. “No one gets through. Ren and Barik will join you there. It’s up wind of our position so we can’t risk lighting it.”

That was the other reason for burning the corpses adjacent to the kill zones. Orks burned with a thick black greasy smoke. The second wave of attackers would be blinded and choking by the time they reached the front rank of marines, making the kills easier.

”We hold till the Raphael and his men arrive.”

That was the plan. They should be able to hold out for the two hours till the 8th arrived. However with ammo in short supply? Well it would have to work.

”Let’s hope they’re not late,” Corven mumbled to himself.

Uzthizzar, Librarian-Sorceror - March 10, 2009 07:17 PM (GMT)
CLIFFHANGER!!!!
Are you going to make rules for the characters?

BigWill - March 10, 2009 07:56 PM (GMT)
For some reason I put the time periord for this as during the Scouring.
If the lost stay as Crimson Fists you can make this thier origin story so that in your fluff there are a group of Fists that are always Cthonian.

Arden Fell - March 10, 2009 08:12 PM (GMT)
Uzthizzar - Rules? Hadn't thought about rules as I'm more a painter than player and as such don't know what's possible.

BigWill - Will have to research the scouring but I assume that is set in the early 30k's.

No the fluff behind the lost 17th has been a company of Luna Wolves caught out of time. in the 41st k They will be "attached" to the Crimson Fists (or will they? We'll have to see if Inquisitor Raphael gets his way) but will be fighting under the new banner as in my avatar.



Nice to get feed back though. At first I was concerned no one was reading it. :)


Yvraith - March 11, 2009 05:24 AM (GMT)
Another great chapter there Arden.

You've got me hooked. :D

The Scouring occurred directly after the Siege of Terra, it was the loyalists mopping up the established footholds that the traitor legions held in systems of the Imperium. Eventually forcing them back into the eye of terror.

Torg - March 11, 2009 11:32 AM (GMT)
Loved the idea of the XVII.
Gee I didn't know Loyalists of the Luna wolves are still around in 40k
That would give Chaos Luna wolf Torg something to hack at!If the 2 ever met!
I can just see it now,"Torg....Is that you brother? "Yes Arden," with a hiss,
"It is me Arden,Abaddon sends his welcome to the land of the living,and requests you to join with us again.and if you don't you will either die by my hand or crushed by the Talon of Lupercal that Abaddon has!
Your choice!
Heh, what a cool battle that would be!Torg's company, or the XVII?
:)

Arden Fell - March 11, 2009 12:40 PM (GMT)
Torg - You've just spoilt Chapter 7. :(

Really need to go into the back story next chapter though. Queue wavy lines and flashback......

Torg - March 11, 2009 02:10 PM (GMT)
Chapter 7...Your only on Chapter 3! :D
C'mon it would be cool!(But then again it's your story.)
I should think about making my own....How Torg turned to chaos.
(hmm......) <_< ;) :)

Arden Fell - March 11, 2009 04:59 PM (GMT)
Need to do some more research on Chaos Marine's, Abaddon post Heresy and your Torg's Company.

It'll take a couple of days. :D

Ithmaril - March 11, 2009 05:25 PM (GMT)
Normally, I really ain't the type of froum reader who enjoys homebrewn fluff, especially if it's not yet accompanied by outstanding models. ;) But I gave this a try due to the feedback you've been given, and I'm glad I did. Very enjoyable stuff, and a really good read. Please keep it up, and I can't wait to see what you make of this, modeling-wise. And please keep up the mindset to not be disrupted in your imagination by petty things like existing army lists, I think that would do your ideas and creativity with the models more harm than good.

Arden Fell - March 11, 2009 06:59 PM (GMT)
Gonna start a new thread in Members Blogs if that's Ok. SO any sort of off topic queries and info on the XVIIth will be posted there.

Still welcome the comments on the story line, but I'll post up more details on how the company will develop there.

Office should be quiet tomorrow so hopefully I'll get Chapter four knocked out over a long lunch. It may help fill in the blanks on the XVIIth's predicament.

Uzthizzar, Librarian-Sorceror - March 11, 2009 07:19 PM (GMT)
Righto (new thread acknowledged).
Rules - ok

deadpool2345 - March 11, 2009 08:50 PM (GMT)
awesome fluff arden!

really cool

DP

Iron Corsair - March 11, 2009 10:47 PM (GMT)
I love it! It's awesome! Brilliant job! :)

Arden Fell - March 12, 2009 02:05 PM (GMT)
Chapter 4 – The Storm (Part 1)

“Where have you been?” Draycott turned towards the captain of the XVIIth, less than pleased to see him.

“I’m sorry; I was detained with my men”. Arden didn’t really like the ship’s commander. He was a fat man with little manners or respect for his crew or the marines he had been ordered to support.

“Fleet have been calling, again. They say you are to investigate an anomaly.”

“Where?” Arden stiffened at the prospect of combat.

“Sector Q11-97,” Drycott pointed to the faintest trace of echo on his sensors. “They believe we are being followed. Shall I plot an intercept course?”

Arden was silent.

“Captain. Do we make to intercept?” Drycott repeated, impatience tinging his tone.

“No,” replied Arden thoughtfully “feign a drive malfunction and drop back from the rest of the fleet. If they are hostile they will try to take us out. If they are shadowing the fleet they will have to pass us.”

“As you wish.” Drycott turned to his helmsman and instructed him to power down engine two and vent some of the containment gases. Any sensors would then detect an engine burn out. The ship cavitated briefly as the gas was vented then went silent again.

“Right, lets see if they take the bait.” Drycott was less than enthusiastic.

~~~

“All I’m saying is you can’t just go charging in anymore. You’re squad Sergeant and you should think of the bigger picture.” Revus hated to be chastised, especially by his little brother.

“I can’t spend all day walking you through a fight, Kelus. If you can’t keep up with the pace I set then I’m sure the Captain will allow you to transfer to another squad. Corven could use another man since Jarad fell on Davin.” Revus knew that the younger Tor would hate to be a heavy weapons operator. He had always looked up to his older brother and had begged Arden to put him in the same squad as Revus. Arden had eventually agreed as the youngster had proven himself a controlled and deadly close quarter’s fighter with Storm Hammer & Shield. He was the only close assault terminator in the squad to favour these weapons over lightning claws, but he could now match all but his brother in speed and efficiency of kill.

The second reason Arden had agreed was that during recent battles he had noticed the blood lust rise fast in his 2nd squad commander and realised that he needed a cooling head in the squad to hold Revus back from running them over the edge. Revus loved his little brother and would at least listen to his consult. So the two brothers now fought side by side. The Rage and the Calm.

Revus picked up his towel and wiped his upper body down. Kelus moved back into the arena and picked up the wooden maul. “Ready for round four, old man?”

“You still have fight left in you? Three to nothing down I thought you would have learned by now.” Revus stretch his mighty arms and cracked the sinews in his neck. “Better not go crying to mum after I mess up your hair. Again.” The elder brother picked up the two wooden nightsticks and walked to the metal cage.

~~~

“They’re moving again.” Drycott pointed to the phantom trace on the scanners. “It’s well protected from our sensors but I’d estimate something similar in scale to the Vengeful Spirit; Emperor Class or bigger.”

“That’s far too large for a scout ship. A warship caught out here alone? It would explain their tentativeness.” Arden straightened from the small green strobing screen and looked out the main viewport to the patch of space to the right of their position. “How close will they get?”

“Within 6,000 clicks, based on their current path, sir,” the helmsmen responded.

“At that range, at full speed what time to intercept?”

“3 minutes, sir.”

“Plot to intercept once they hit that range. How long do we have at their current speed?”

“Seventeen minutes, sir.” Arden nodded and turned towards the stairs to the crew quarters.

“Commander, prep for battle, but maintain silent running. I’ll go and ensure that we have a boarding party ready for our shadowy friends,” and with that the astartes captain left the bridge.

“You heard the man,” Drycott barked at his men. The bridge lighting changed from a soft white to harsh red, as the ship changed to battle stations.

Arden reached the main quarters and called Corven and Mallick over from the table they were playing cards at. “Heads up guys, we’re going hunting. Suited and booted in 10. Spread the word.”

The two men smiled and set off to their squads and the sparring chamber to inform the others. The other men lounging in the main quarters had overheard also got to their feet and headed off to make ready.

As Arden walked down the corridor passed the bunks to his arming chamber, he knocked on the bulk head doors and shouted “up and at them boys”, waking those off duty from their bored slumber.

He entered his arming chamber and as he closed the door the intercom buzzed. ”Fell here.”

“The target is holding course sir, but has increased speed. Time to attack point is now 12 minutes, sir. Intercept waypoint in 5 minutes. Should we start to move to intercept?” It was the helmsman’s voice, but it was Drycott’s request. The fleet commander was getting nervous at the thought of battle and wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. If the enemy spotted the move and fled so much the better.

“No, helm. Hold position until they cross the waypoint. We don’t want to do something premature to spook them” Arden could sense Drycott’s hackles rise at the insinuation of his cowardice and the astartes smiled. He flicked off the coms and went to the large locker which housed his plate. The gleam of polished silver white shone through the louvers of the black door. He opened it and reached to the bottom shelf where his black body suit lay.

He tossed it on the steel bench and stripped from his flight suit. A knock on the chamber door followed. “Enter!”

“By the Emperor that’s not a pleasant sight to great any man.” It was Revus, still sweating from the combat arena, with Kelus by his side, chuckling. “What’s the story, Captain?”

“When you children have finished, go and suit up. We’re preparing to board a ship which has been tailing the Fleet. I want 1st & 2nd Squads ready to board in 5. Ok, go.”

Torg - March 14, 2009 12:43 AM (GMT)
Actually I have never really thought about what Co
Torg would be in,it would have to be one that wasn't mentioned
in the books.or played a small role.Like Arden's of course.
Might need some help on that..... :)

Yvraith - March 14, 2009 04:18 AM (GMT)
If it helps my Captain was the Commander of the 9th, but my background for him sets them early in the Crusade. (He died before the Ullanor campaign) ;)

His name was mentioned in the remembrance at Loken's induction to the Mournival.

Horus Rising Pg. 81 if anyone is interested. (Syrakul) :rolleyes:

Arden Fell - March 14, 2009 11:50 AM (GMT)
Uzthizzar posted a list of known Luna Wolves in The Adeptus Astarte Company threads.

It might be an idea to set up a separate thread for each members companines, including a time line so that we can build a picture of the Legion's history.

We could work back from 'Horus Rising' for the LW's and forwards for the Sons of Horus.

I see Arden as a relatively new Captain of the 17th, as the company is still quite small it would seem logical that the previous company sustained heavy losses during a recent PH battle. It would also tie in with the fluff for my Heroes and Villains Model entry. :D

Arden Fell - March 17, 2009 09:30 PM (GMT)
Chapter 5 – The Storm (Part 2)

The viewing deck glared bright once more as the las cannons fired upon the massive hulk of the xeno ship. The Dark Wolf was an old frigate used only for light troop transport and munitions supply now. The weapons were dated and feeble compared to the power that the Vengeful Spirit could summon, but she still had manoeuvrability on her side.

“There!” Drycott pointed at the venting gas sprouting from a small breach in the other ships hull. “Hit it with everything we’ve got!” The dark starlit sky blistered again with red laser fire. “There’s your breach captain. Prepare your men we’re going in. Rig for collision. Latch to that hull over the breach.” Lights blazed across the command deck again. This time the Dark Wolf shook like an angry child and tossed them across the unsteady floor. “Damage report!”

“System’s ok; hull breach sub-decks six to eight; bulkheads have auto-sealed. Minimal casualties,” the helmsman barked from his console.

“Get us in close. Now!” Drycott ordered. His ship was taking a pounding. The xeno weapons took longer to recharge but when fired they were far more powerful than anything in the empyreal arsenal. It was down to the helmsman’s skill as a pilot that they had lasted this long.

“Deploying clamps.” Four mechanical claws on thick plasteel cables shot out from the portside of the imperial ship and punched into the alien hull surrounding the venting tear. The Dark Wolf bucked as the slack was taken up in the cables and she swung tight in towards the hull of the other ship, all the time drawing the cables in bringing the distance closer to the breach.

Arden reached the embarkation deck at speed. He had forsaken his usual terminator plate for his older mark III power armour. His plan of attack was for 1st & 2nd Squads to enter first and clear a path for the lighter armoured tactical squads. Arden had merged the two terminator squads under the command of Revus, as he had done many times before. This allowed Arden the freedom to strike using a faster squad. Arden would lead the ten men of the 3rd tactical squad and head for the command deck and communications array to prevent any distress call being issued from the stricken ship. Agility and speed would be the key to winning this battle. They would have to displace quickly if overwhelming numbers were found, leaving charges to disable or destroy the ship. If numbers were light they could sweep the clear and control decks of the ship faster in the light armour, giving the enemy less time to formulate a counter attack.

“Second squad! Ready up,” Revus and Kelus moved to the large airlock doors. The younger brother tapped the bulkhead with his hammer and powered up the weapon. Blue lightning cracked around the large square head of the hammer. The rest of the company tensed and checked their weapons and adjusted their armour.

A loud clank echoed through the embarkation deck as the magnetic airlock struck the side of the enemy ship. A high pitched squeal followed as cutters opened up a matching archway in the opposite hull. A hissing of gas as the chamber pressure equalised and then the light above the airlock flicked from red to green.

“Kill for the living” said Arden.

“Kill for the dead” replied Revus.

“Lupercal!” the cry came from the men behind them, and the airlock doors slid open.

~~~

Revus was first through the dark corridor and straight into the low wall of crates that filled the store room. “Damn It!” He lashed out at the boxes, hurling them across the room, clearing a patch to the nearest doorway. The 2nd squad reached the opposite door and saw the first xeno warriors. There were four men running towards them. Human in size, wearing light weight silver bands of body armour and carrying what at first glance appeared to be short power swords and las pistols.

They were not las pistols.

The first shot missed Kelus by millimetres, but the second glanced from the shield on his left arm. The blow almost knocked him from his feet. He hadn’t expected such force from a hand weapon with no visible recoil. The pistols were high power sonic repulsers. A direct hit at this range would be fatal to a marine in power armour. Luckily the heavier armour of the terminators would be able to withstand several indirect shots, if they could keep their feet that was.

Two more shots barrelled into the hulking form of Revus as he neared the four men. His shoulder guards shuddered but he kept on moving. Luckily for the eldest Tor, these hand weapons were like the xeno ships main weapons and required time to recharge. To counter the effect of this, the warriors worked in pairs, allowing each weapon to recharge but keeping a steady rate of fire. Kelus and Revus were now only metres from the four men. The last two to fire holstered their pistols and drew their swords. They held the blades to their lips in some form of salute, and Kelus would later swear that the swords twitched in its owner’s hand.

Two more blasts from the repulsors, and the four men charged the brothers Tor.

The speed and agility of their attackers was breath taking. They wielded their blades with such speed and prowess that the blades glanced home with almost every third strike. However Revus was also deft with his own blades. The lightning claws swung out it graceful arcs, parrying blow after bow of the xeno weapons and in a cunning faint decapitating one of the attackers.

Kelus too displayed an elegance and efficiency of movement, breaking the arm of an attacker with the hammer and cleaving the chest of another with the edge of the shield.

As the last man turned to withdraw, a storm bolter opened fire from behind the two astartes. Arden’s shot blew the back of the enemies head open and the limp body cart wheeled clumsily to the deck.

”Wow those guns have a kick,” Kelus said to his brother.

”We’ll take souvenirs later. Here come some more.” Arden pointed to the end of the corridor in front of them, another six men were running forwards, pistols raised.

~~~

”What is it now?” Drycott was angry that his beloved ship had had to endure such an arduous battle. At least the guns had stopped. Fell must have reached the bridge or destroyed the controls.

The helmsman looked up from his sensor screen, “sir. There is an anomaly forming to the starboard aft of the enemy ship. “

”What kind of anomaly?” Drycott looked up from his diagnostic report, a look of terror forming on his face. Was it another ship? A fleet? Or worse?

“It’s... it’s a warp storm. And it’s expanding fast.” Drycott could see the purple pink edge of the void expand around the shape of the xeno ship. It was worse.

”Emperor help us,” he mumbled under his breath as the storm enveloped the Dark Wolf.

The bridge of the ship went dark. Then started to vibrate. The air went stale and a laughing came over the intercom.

~~~

”Lord Commander,” the fleet officer bowed before his superior. “Sir, the Dark Wolf has stopped broadcasting. It is most unexplained. Our coms officer received a very strange last message before their disappearance.”

Vavarus looked out the view port. “What kind of message?”

The fleet officer cleared his throat, “well sir. It was Commander Drycott sobbing.”
The young officer was clearly troubled by the message, “and.... well... laughing at the same time. As if he could not decide to be happy or sad.”

”Who else knows of this?” Vavarus too was troubled by the message. Had Drycott gone mad and destroyed his ship. After the dealings at sixty three nineteen anything was possible.

”No one sir except, myself and the coms operator. “

”See to it that no one else does.” Vavarus stared hard into the face of the young officer.

”But sir?”

”That is an order.” the Lord Commander turned back to the view port, and the junior officer returned to his post.

Uzthizzar, Librarian-Sorceror - March 18, 2009 09:35 PM (GMT)
Dribble dribble

A bit random with the warp storm, but I like it!

Arden Fell - March 19, 2009 09:14 AM (GMT)
That'll be made clearer as we go on. :P

(Also the whole chapter was a bit random if I'm honest. Lots of ideas but not very well expanded. Spoiler - The Storm is how they end up in 41k from 31k)

Arden Fell - March 24, 2009 11:40 AM (GMT)
Chapter 6 – The Storm (Part 3)

”What just happened?” Kelus looked at his brother in disbelief.

They had just entered the main corridor of the alien ship when the com erupted in mocking laughter. The enemy had hesitated at the sounds of the laughter, then turned and fled.

Revus was adjusting the channels in his suit, searching for a clear band to contact Arden on. All the channels were filled with the maniacal laugh. As he passed through the fleet channel, he heard Drycott’s words. “Emperor help us.”

“FELL!” Revus cried out, but he hadn’t needed to shout, his commanding officer was now standing behind him.

“I hear it.” Arden removed his helmet, the air in the ship had a stale, putrid odour to it, and without the coms in his helmet the laughing stopped. He gestured to Revus to do the same. The terminator sergeant did as his captain had.

“Did you hear Drycott?” Revus whispered.

“Yes.” Arden looked up and down the hallway. “I think we should get back to the Wolf”.

“But we have them on the run,” Revus implored. Arden knew that they now had the upper hand, but something was very wrong.

“I don’t think it’s us they are running from.”

Arden had heard rumours from the landing parties on sixty three – nineteen of a voice coming over the com; the mocking voice of Samus. Something else had happened in the mountains that Garviel Loken had been sworn to secrecy about.

Just then gunfire erupted up ahead. Arden and Revus both ducked and turned instinctively to protect their heads from stray bolts and in swift motion replaced their helms.

“It’s not at us,” Kelus spoke over the laughing background through the coms. “Someone else is on board.”

Arden addressed the rest of the company “1st and 2nd squads with me. The rest fall back to the Dark Wolf and defend her from boarders. Grim, take back command of the 3rd. You have over watch command of squads back at the ship.”

“Right,” replied Lear.

Arden returned to his command role over 1st squad. Although he was still in mark III power armour and his men towered over him in the heavier plate, they were glad he was back at their side. Grim organised a staged retreat and took the other squads back to the storage room and the airlock to the Dark Wolf.

“Let’s go see what they’re shooting at,” Arden adjusted his storm bolter into his right hand, and gestured to the 2nd squad to move on.

~~~

Barros had no time to prepare for the storm.

Curse these heathens!

He had been careful enough to stay far enough back from these warmongers, so that they would not detect his supervision. That was until he had detected the engine failure of their trailing ship. Being of a civilised people, he could not leave them stranded this close to the kaos rift; he would have to offer assistance and break cover. As he had adjusted their ships course to bring them in closer, the stricken ship had suddenly sprung back into life and started firing on them. With no time to react, the first blast had somehow disabled their primary defence net. That was what had attracted the attention of the Gods.

The interrex had developed the defence net to shield them from the creatures of kaos which resided within the rift. With the defences down they had been spotted engaged in a reckless battle with the smaller ship and the evil forces had moved to take control of both.

With the hull breached and the smaller ship clamped to its side, the Coreallis could no longer move fast enough to escape the storm without risking both ships. Barros had ordered his main guns to cease fire and tried to redirect the power to the net to protect both ships. However in it’s badly damaged state the power overloaded the system. It was too little, too late and the storm had enveloped them both.

Now the kinebrach within the crew had turned. So many, so quickly; they truly were a race to be dominated. The Captain had become complacent with their technological advances and forgot the risks of flying this close to the rift.

Barros was now fighting a loosing battle on two fronts. It would only be a matter of time before the bridge fell. He had one hope. That the warmongers would destroy the kaos spawn before they could reached the main cargo. If the livestock was released no one would survive.

~~~

“What is that thing?” Kelus had come across the corpse of a creature with bruise purple skin and tentacles; at one time the beast would have appeared simian. He prodded it with his thunder hammer.

“Doesn’t matter, at least we know they can die,” his brother replied.

Kelus turned the oozing body over onto its chest. The head was missing. “Looks like head shots are the only thing that will stop them; see these holes in the chest cavity? It’s the work of those repulsor weapons.”

Arden went to the body of one of the silver armoured men. His arm had been ripped off at the shoulder and his neck broken. His helmet had been knocked off during the struggle and his features were human. “Another lost tribe,” Arden muttered to himself.

In the gloom of the corridor where the latest gun battle had taken place were eight bodies; four in the discernable silver armour, four of the purple mutated bipeds.

As the 2nd squad moved to clear the rooms off of the main link two of the purple bodies twitched. Revus was first to react pinning the torso to the metal deck with a strike from his crackling claw. Kelus moved forward and smashed the remains of the head on the second. The body went limp again. Revus swiped the half skull off the slathering body he had pinned with his other hand. It too went limp.

“Can’t leave any active brain stem or they keep moving.” The female voice came from one of the rooms to the right of them. “Don’t shoot! I’m unarmed,” the voice suddenly remembered where she was.

“Who are you? What are these creatures? Show yourself,” Arden demanded.

The figure stepped from the darkened archway, dressed in a long white robe stained with the dark red of clotted blood. Her arms were raised and the palms open to show no weapons. “I am Jarah Mariano; the ship’s doctor. These… creatures are… were my orderlies. They were kinebrach. Until they fell foul to the powers of kaos. Now they are warriors for the evil that lives beyond the rift. There will be more. At least two thirds of our crew are… were kinebrach.”

“And the other third?”

“We are citizens of the interex.” She pointed to the corpse in the silver armour, “that was Private Gelin.” Her eyes glazed over as she realised that the dismembered crew man had a look of shear terror on his pale lifeless face. “Why did you attack us?”

“What?” rage flared in Revus. “Why were you following us? Why did you hide yourself from us?”

“We didn’t hide from you. We hid from them,” again Jarah pointed this time at the bloated purple corpse beside Kelus. ”You may love war, but you are not as dangerous at the Gods of the rift.”

“How many men in your crew? How many… kine-brak?” Arden asked.

“Kinebrach,” the doctor corrected. “Our basic crew is 450, 300 are kinebrach. We are a trading ship; the majority of our size is cargo bays. We were collecting genetic livestock from …… Oh no!” Her hand flew to her mouth; a look of terror drained the colour from her tanned face, “The livestock! We need to destroy the livestock before it can be corrupted!”

“What? Livestock? Arden what is she wittering about?” Revus had no patience for riddles.

“What is this livestock? What will happen if it is corrupted?” Arden too was getting angry, but he did not show it. The appearance of this female had created more problems for the astartes.

“We have 200 Haemal Reavers in the secure storage facility on sub deck 3.”

“What is a Haemal Reaver?” Kelus asked.

“It’s a large muscular predator; about a head taller than you,” she pointed at Kelus, “with razor sharp claws and teeth. It can bite through even our toughest armour,” the doctor replied hollowly. “We use them for genetic research and in some cases population control of our largest indigenous carnivores. Their biology is really quite interesting, as they take on genetic traits from any blood they ingest… ”

“Sounds like an arachnid of some sort,” Kelus interrupted.

“How long will the containment last?” Arden was contemplating whether to take the bridge or eradicate this new threat. He had not ruled out the possibility that this doctor was leading them into a trap. If it was a ruse to draw them into an ambush, then this female was doing an excellent job of setting the bait. Maybe she was right.

“As long as the electric defence grid stays intact, we should be safe. However there were kinebrach wranglers in the storage bay and if they have disabled the head wrangler they will be able to release the reavers. With any luck they won’t be corrupted by the warp, but either way they will have the basic urge to kill everything on this ship.”

“Damn it!” Arden wished that he had not chosen the light power armour. Right now he could use the comfort of being née on indestructible. He could split the two squads sending one to the hold and one to the command deck, but that would leave each group vastly out numbered. No they had to stay together as a unit. He could call in the other squads from the Dark Wolf but that would leave the ship unprotected, and by all accounts they would need a large contingency of men just to contain these beasts. Casualties would be high. He was left with just one option. He didn’t like it but if these interex were wise it would save all their hides.

Arden turned to Revus and nodded.

“We take the bridge.”

Uzthizzar, Librarian-Sorceror - March 24, 2009 07:21 PM (GMT)
Nice
Another cliff hanger. Man, you are going to turn into Alfred Hitchcock soon..

Arden Fell - April 16, 2009 04:23 PM (GMT)
Sorry no Chaos Marines yet. It may take some time before I get to you guys yet. :D

Back to the Coreallis for...

Chapter 7 - Out Of Time

The Two hulking forms of the Brothers Tor ploughed forward into the hissing wall of purple writhing flesh. The two squads of Luna Wolves had managed to negotiate the two floors between the med bay and the command deck of the Coreallis with relatively little resistance. However, things had changed when they entered in to the corridor of the living quarters. The purple horde of kaos kinebrach had swarmed from every doorway; intent on just one thing, the corruption of the living. The corridor was just wide enough for a two man rank of terminators, the rest of the squad lined up behind Kelus and Revus allowing enough room for the brothers to work, but not enough for any chance of a flanking manoeuvre. They faced row after row of mutated kinebrach, three abreast. This was now a battle of attrition.

Silence fell on the two men as they set about their business. Gone were the quips and put downs between each brother, replaced with the fierce concentration of fighting. The occasional grunt of exertion was picked out over the mocking laughter Samus still supplied on the coms.

Arden turned to Jarah, “is there no other route to the bridge?”

The interex doctor looked thoughtful for a moment, then shook her head. “Without abandoning your armour the only path is through the forward quarters. I might be able to get you through the maintenance access but not with that bulky armour.”

Arden contemplated his options. So far Revus and Kelus had suffered little injury from the battle with these new foes. The kinebrach were strong and fast but poorly armed and the brute strength of the Brothers Tor and their skill with hammer and claws had dispatched the twenty or thirty kinebrach they had encountered so far. Fatigue would undoubtedly set in against the hundred or so that they now faced, but the stims would take the edge off and although they were the best in the company, the other seven men could easily defeat these creatures. If Arden could reach the bridge, he may be able to contact with fleet or at the every least agree a truce with the interex and allow a combined counter attack of these wretched creatures.

“Revus,” Arden said, his mind made, “you have command of 1st squad. I’m going to try and flank them. This is taking too long.”

“Gotcha.” Revus responded without breaking from combat, “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“Lets go, Doctor. Show me these service ducts”, with that the two smaller figures squeezed past the rear guard and ran back down the silent corridor to the access stairwell.

As they entered the stairwell Jarah stopped and turned to her left. In front of her was a large steel plate with an electronic keypad in the centre and two recessed handles on either side. The doctor swiped her ID badge and entered her security code. The keypad light red. “Strange,” she said. She tried again. Still the keypad glowed red. “I don’t understand it” Jarah turned to Arden “my pass code should allow me access to the maintenance areas in the event of injured service personnel. I’ve been locked out for some reason.”

“The bridge has locked you out in case you bring them in with you. What countermeasures do the ducts have; gas, las-nets, anything like that?”

“No. They rely on the security doors….”
“Stand back.” Arden raised his power sword and adjusted the settings. He studied the plasteel of the bulk head and security panel. Then with four well placed strikes, the panel crackled in a shower of blue sparks and slid off the wall.

“How…?” Jarah was stunned by the ease at which this foreigner had breached the security of the ship.

“Magnetic piston locks. I just needed to short the electro-magnets. It’s a very primitive security, to be honest. Now let’s get going. Ah..” Arden had realised that even in his power armour he would be too big to fit in the crawl space of the service duct.

With a quick look around to check that the kinebrach had not discovered them, Arden unclipped his red crested helmet. Jarah for the first time saw the rugged features of this warrior from an alien race. He was unconventionally hansom, though his features were of much larger proportion than those of the interex and he had steely blue eyes, with just a hint of mischief.

As Jarah continued to watch, Arden slipped off his jump pack and shoulder guards, then stripped his remaining outer arm protection. He then undid the clasps for his leg armour and was left standing in his white torso armour and black subsuit. Arden tested his new slimline frame to the access duct.

“Is this as narrow as it gets?” he asked Jarah.

“Yes I think so,” she replied, a little saddened that he would not need to continue his little strip show. She could tell even through the black subsuit that Arden was pure muscle; like the statues of the ancient gods in the galleries of Xenobia Principis.

“Good. Let’s go.” Arden reached down to the neatly stacked pile of armour and reached into the mark III helmet and removed his wireless com link. “Revus? We are making our way to the bridge now. I’ve had to remove some of my armour. Send someone from 1st Squad to pick it up and seal the access point. I don’t want anyone following us.”

“Okay. We’re making slow progress but we are getting through here. Keep I touch.”

With that Arden pulled his massive bulk up in to the service duct and followed Jarah through the twisting maze of cables and pipe work towards the main command bridge.

~~~

The breach in security had triggered a flashing red light on Commander Barros’ command desk. Well that was it then they were doomed. The kinebrach had entered the service ducts and it was only a matter of time before they reached the bridge. Well they would not take the Coreallis or what remained of her crew for their evil deeds. He turned to his first officer, a red haired woman who was now half slumped in her chair. She had suffered severe abdominal injuries after the five kinebrach support crew had turned on them, and was now only minutes from death.

“Danica. It’s time.” The pale features of the dying woman turned to him and she nodded ever so slightly.

“Computer,” Barros called out, “initiate self destruct sequence.”

“Self Destruct requires confirmation by two ranking offices” replied the electronic male voice.

“Confirm – Barros, Gerrad J. One, Three, Six, Delta, Gamma – Confirm.”

“Confirm – Commander Barros.”

“Confirm – Henderson, Danica” the first officer erupted into a fit of coughing. Barros moved to her side. He could do nothing for her, she had lost too much blood.

“Repeat Secondary Confirmation” the cold voice of the computer responded.
“Confirm – Henderson, Danica” now no more than a whisper “twelve, five, gamma seven – confirm…”

“Confirm – First Officer Henderson. System containment is off line. Critical mass of plasma reactors in fifteen minutes. Time to failsafe distance – thirteen minutes. Continue silent countdown until five minute mark. Detonation in fourteen minutes thirty seconds.”

“Just enough time to finish a cigar.” Barros told himself.

~~~

On the bridge of the Dark Wolf, Commander Drycott had finally regained his composure. The communications officer had adjusted the frequency and removed much of the laughter from the com channel. Every now and then there was a faint cackle, but at least for now the mocking had stopped.

“Helmsman, what exactly is our situation?” Drycott mustered as much command as he could in the question.

“The nav computer is finding it difficult to lock down our position, but we appear to be moving at warp speed with no heading or exit destination. We appear to be sliding in all directions within warp space. As far as sensors go, we cannot penetrate the storm cloud, but we are receiving accurate readings on the attached xeno craft. We can identify our men on the ship but the coms are still down. It would appear that Captain Fell is injured as his helmet tracer has not moved from the rear position for some considerable time and a single marine has been posted by his side and is covering the rear flank. Sergeant Tor is continuing to lead the attack on alien ship and appears to be encountering heavy resistance on the approach to what I believe is their command deck. The three remaining squads have pulled back to the embarkation deck and are holding a defensive cordon around the hull breach. We had minimal coms with them but these too have now gone down. We do however know that Captain Fell was aiming to take the bridge, and Sergeant Learn was to defend the breach from hostile attackers. ”

Drycott leaned forwards in his chair and steepled his fingers in front of his face in a look of deep contemplation. “We have no injuries to our own crew?” he asked.

“No sir. No reported injuries beyond the initial encounter.”

“Very good. Try and establish communication with the fleet and appraise them of our situation. We shall try and break warp if Sergeant Tor fails to take the bridge in the next half hour. ”

“Sir?” the helmsman turned from his console and looked to the face of his Commander in disbelief. Drycott scowled back, a look of maddening anger in his eyes.

“You heard me!” he spat. “if those marines cannot take the alien ship we shall break contact and engage our warp drives to break out of this anomaly. If you question my orders again I shall have you removed!” he reached to the holster on his belt and removed a small bolt pistol, resting it on the arm of his captain’s chair.

It was clear to all the men on the command bridge that Drycott had finally cracked. The man was insane and holding a gun. The only gun on the command deck and with coms out there was no chance of the marines on the embarkation deck coming to their rescue before they were ripped out into the black and purple void of warp space.

“Sorry sir.” The helmsman turned back to his console and tried once more to establish communications with fleet command or at the very least the marines who could save them.

Arden Fell - July 3, 2009 03:14 PM (GMT)
Oops, been a while since I've had time to work on this, but here's the next chapter....

Chapter 8 - Bang

“Plus fifteen minutes and counting; damn it I knew they would be late.”

The orks swelled again charging the corpse barriers to the east of the landing zone.

“Pod guns depleted. I’m moving to the south barrier,” Revus’ voice relayed into Arden’s coms.

His sergeant had done an excellent job, as always, making the pod guns last the two hours, and then some. He had managed the impossible with those storm cannons. If only he could use a bolter in the same way. Ren would no longer mock him for poor shooting after this battles performance.

“So my friend we have found you a perfect range weapon; shame it has to be attached to a drop pod“, Arden thought to himself.

“Squad leaders, sit rep,” now was the challenge. Without the storm cannons to provide over watch they would be vulnerable to an ork charge.

“Tor – heading to south barrier.”

“Gruff – Re-arming; minor wounds; 1 casualty – Apothecary in attendance.”

“Lear – Holding. Minor wounds; no casualties; could use back up as ammo is low”

“McCloud – As 4th Squad we could use ammo but no casualties.”

“Lupus – Holding. No casualties.”

“Dennon – Moving to flank of 4th Squad to provide ammo. Minor wounds; no casualties.”

“McLean - Jumping back to fall in with Tor; No casualties.”

“Not long now men. The warp storms must be holding the reinforcements up.” He knew exactly what was holding up the landing party and it wasn’t anything like a special disturbance.

“Apothecary, how are you holding up?”

After a short pause the com opened up with a soft grunt and Phavellis spoke.

“This is more like it Captain. Your boy has lost his left arm below the elbow, but I should have him back on his feet in no time. Any word from the main task force yet?”

At that moment a roar came from the regrouping ork horde to the west of the drop zone.

Arden turned and adjusted his optics to focus on the new dust cloud rapidly approaching the ork flank.

“More battle wagons?” asked Phavellis.
“No. Rhinos. They must have deployed to the west by Thunderhawk. We never saw the birds fly over.”

It wasn’t over though.

The approaching 8th Company of Crimson Fists would take another 20 minutes to reach them, and still have to fight through the 500 remaining ork boyz. Then there was the Warboss and his Nobz. Well there was no way that Raphael would take credit for killing the boss with the bloody Fists.

“Right squads, are we going to let the new comers take all the glory for today?” The coms roared with cries of derision. “Then let’s turn back the tide to the east and punch through to their leader. For the Warmaster!”

“Lupercal!”

Arden had just made a critical error. Apothecary Phavellis heard the ancient battle cry and stood up from his duties. “Heretics!” He drew his bolt gun and trained it on the back of Ardens’ head. He had been fooled by this scum and it shamed him. He had been convinced of their honesty and the lies they had spun. The Inquisitor had been right not to believe them, they were traitors and spies.

“For the Emperor” he whispered to himself and pulled the trigger.

~~~

TyraelVladinhurst - July 7, 2009 05:33 AM (GMT)
wow, just..... just wow.

Arden Fell - July 7, 2009 02:19 PM (GMT)
Chapter 9 – Times up

“Arden? We’re making slow progress here, these things won’t die easily.” Revus grunted as he slashed through another purple swollen creature, severing the head and arm and causing spurts of blue green blood to arc out of the remaining shoulder and neck stumps.

“Okay. We are near the bridge now, hopefully it’s still secure.”

Arden and Jarah had make quick progress through the secure service ducts of the Coreallis, unhampered by the mutated kinebrach. The only problem they had encountered was with the overall size of Arden, in the remains of his battle plate, getting through the nest of cables and pipes at the service junctions. Arden had eventually been forced to leave his beloved armour at one such impasse and he cursed at the memory of it’s leaving. He would send some one to retrieve it once the battle died down.

The duct had reached a steel end panel and Arden, dressed in only his black body suit, hulked over the slight frame of Jarah to inspect the locking mechanism.

“Hold on,” she said “before we go breaking in lets try the coms again. We don’t have any of your men here to stand guard this side once it’s broken.”

She reached into her pocket and removed her ID tag. Swiping it across the security panel she typed in her access code. Jarah depressed the intercom button.

The panel crackled.

“Hello? Bridge? Is anyone there? It’s Medical Officer Mariano.”

There was silence.

Then the distinctive voice of Captain Barros spoke “Jarah? Are you all right? Where are you?”

“Service Duct F. I’m okay. I have… another… person with me. Are you alright? Do you have any wounded? Can you let us in?"

Barros was concerned at the pauses in her last statement. “What do you mean another person? Who is it? Are you sure you are alright?”

“I’m fine honestly. It’s just that he’s not one of… our crew.” She could think of no better way to describe Arden to her captain. “He’s not one of them. He’s not turned. He’s one of the aliens who attacked us.”

“Is he armed?”

Arden could see where this was heading. He nudged Jarah’s shoulder and handed her his bolter and sword. “Not anymore,” she replied.

“Is he still a threat?” Barros was unconvinced by Jarah’s last statement.

“Not to us.” Jarah looked into Arden’s eyes and could see no hint of deception.

“Okay.”

The panel light went green, and the steel access hatch dropped from the wall.

The red gloom of the duct was suddenly bright with the light from the bridge. The warp storm raging beyond the main viewports adding twisting hues of purple and pink to the cold fluorescent white of the bridge.

“Come out – Slowly! Jarah first.”

The medic crouched and slide her legs through the square of light , searching for a foot hold to let her drop into the command centre.

“Hang on.”

She dropped Arden’s sword to the ground with a clatter and, on hearing his wince, thought better and gently lowered the bolter by the shoulder strop. The next second she dropped onto the deck herself and retrieved them.

“Now you!” Barros called.

Moving slowly, his eyes adjusting to the brightness of the bridge, Arden crouched by the open hatch and looked inside.

He could make out three figures on the bridge.

The figure of the female medic; that of her Captain, a squat man who’s posture betrayed his fighting prowess. He held a weapon pointed at the hatch; the third was another female, slouched over a desk, obviously near death, she had moved very slowly.

“Oh good God, Danica what has happened to you!” Jarah’s attention had been drawn to the movement of the stricken first officer and dropping the weapons by Barros she moved to her side. “Oh dear God, let me see.”

Arden watched as the medic examined the wounds and reached into her back pouch for dressings and gauze.

The captain had not blinked nor moved at this latest commotion. All the time his stare and gun were fixed firmly on Arden sitting in the opening.

Arden slid out and landed gracefully on his bare feet; he stretched his arms out slowly to his sides to indicate no weapons.

“I mean you no harm, unless you mean to harm me” Arden kept his eyes fixed on those of Barros, searching for the telltale sign that he meant to pull the trigger.

None came.

“Seal that hatch,” Barros ordered.

Arden reached down and picked up the hatch, turning slightly to replace it over the opening. The Mag-locks buzzed and clicked back into place and the bridge was sealed again.

“It would be pointless to fight now. We are all doomed to die in this storm. We have less than three minutes left.”

Barros lowered the pulse gun slightly and crouched to pick up the ornate battle sword.

The blade was as long as his arm and etched on the hilt were two wolfs twisted in battle, muzzles snarling.

The centre piece of the hilt was a large white circular crystal, which seemed to pulse with a soft blue light.

Barros checked the heft of the blade.

“Nice sword. A bit large for my liking but it has exceptional balance. You could battle all day with little fatigue. Exceptional.”

“What did you mean we have only three minutes left?” Arden still stood by the hatch. He could reach the captain in two steps, but being this vulnerable to sword or pistol there would be no point in attempting to rush him now.

“Danica, you’ve lost a lot of blood. Barros is the medi-bay on this floor still intact?” she looked up for the oozing wound in the first officers side and spoke again. “Barros! Is the medi-bay okay?”

Barros broke from his trance, “Sorry? What? Medi-bay? No. The bridge is sealed, the kinebrach have taken the forward holds. God knows if the reavers are out.”

“Damn it!” Jarah scanned the room looking for anything she could use to patch up her fallen comrade. “Arden, would you come here and hold pressure on this wound whilst I check for supplies?”

“Two minutes ‘til detonation,” the ships computer chirped.

“What?” Jarah and Arden spoke as one.

“You initialized the self destruct? Why?” Jarah asked, dread filling her face for the first time since she had entered the corridor with the huge marines. “Stop it now.”

“No point” responded Barros. “Better to kill us all than let kaos pervert us.“

“But I have nine marines out there killing those… what did you call them? Kinebrach. We are in no danger.”

“Maybe not from them but there are always the reavers, what ever the other monstrosities the dark lords throw at us” Barros turned his stare back on Arden “and then there’s you.”

“Barros, it was all a misunderstanding. They thought we were hunting them, about to attack. They did not realize we were there to shepherd them from the rift,” Jarah pleaded.

“Then why did they disable the shield? They must have know that the warp lords would attack.”

“They are a simple race when it comes to the forces of kaos. They did not realize what they were doing. Please Barros, I have seen them fight. The kinebrach are no match. If we can jettison the livestock then we are safe to ride out the storm. ”

“One Minute ‘til Detonation.”

“Gerrad…please… listen to her.” Danica spoke softly.

“I… I…” Barros turned to look at his flame haired love as she lay there dying. Tears welled up in his eyes.

“Computer. Belay last command, authorization. One, Three, Six, Delta, Gamma – Confirm."

"Confirmed. Auto destruct disabled" the automated voice chirped.

"I hope you are right. For all our sakes,” Barros returned to his stuppour, only to be shocked back into life by the sudden threat of danger.

A crash came from the main blast doors of the bridge; the three interex and the Astartes turned to face the door.

A loud booming echoing rumble, like a cthonian winter storm then four sharp points pierced the inside skin of reinforced steel.

The doors hissed and shuddered.

A second rumble and another four indents appeared on the other panel of the door.

The doors hissed harder and the seal between the two panels started to spread.

Arden laughed.

The doors continued to spread slowly, almost a fist width apart,Barros reached for the pistol again but Arden held up his hand in a gesture to stop.

With a grinding crunch and angry hiss the doors slide back.

“What took you so long?” Arden called.

“Why are you in your underwear?” replied Revus.

The Tors had arrived.

Iron Corsair - July 7, 2009 02:27 PM (GMT)
ROFL, “Why are you in your underwear?”

All in all, a good part.

Arden Fell - July 22, 2009 11:00 AM (GMT)
Chapter 10 – The Silence

“So what happened out there?” Arden adjusted his newly recovered chest plate. Once Revus had arrived to secure the bridge and forward chambers, he had asked Baros to re-open the access hatch and gone to retrieve his discarded armour.

“They just seem to bug out. One minute they are fighting hard, the next… we are through them. The seemingly endless reinforcements had gone.” Revus cleaned the pungent puss from his claws with a ragged piece of cloth ripped from one of the kaos spawn. “They must have changed tactics.”

“Any word from the Dark Wolf?” Arden clipped on his belt and, checking the chamber for rounds, holstered his bolter.

“None. In fact I’m concerned with the coms. We should have been able to stabilise the signals by now. How do you counter this… interference?” Revus was talking to the interex captain.
Baros rankled at this lack of respect Tor showed a man in his position. But then again he was their prisoner now and his pride would have to wait.

“The stasis shield generator, that you destroyed, usually dampens our ships signature. The kaos lords have never really bothered with supply ships. Too much effort for such a little prize.” He retook his seat at the command deck. “Once the shields went down, and with all the fireworks coming from your ship, it didn’t take long for them to home in on us. The laughing you hear is one of the lords known as Samus the Corrupter. He will try and turn all personnel on our ships against each other or into kaos spawn. Once they are dead, or as good as, one of the other lords will reanimate the corpses and use these ships as a lure other travellers. Eventually you will have a graveyard of ships floating here and a very large army of the corrupted. Our coms will be down until they decide that we are no longer worthy of their interest. Usually that means we are all dead. There is no way for us to break contact with them now.

“How many kinebrach have you slain?”

“Best guess around 110-120. At least 80 fled our assault.” Revus looked to his brother who had just returned from the medi bay where he had left Jarah attending Danica. Kelus gave a slight shake of his head to his brother. “There were no bodies in the forward chambers, so I’m guessing they managed to drop down a level and double back. We can secure this level if we can have access to the ships schematics and block off the service vents leading to the bridge.”

“What of the rest of the crew” Baros asked?

“Dead, turned or taken captive? With the exceptions of the few dead we encountered outside the med lab, there have been no further bodies.”

“They’ll be heading to the cargo decks” Baros shook his head. “Once they release the reavers we are done for. The kinebrach wranglers will no doubt have been turned, so they would deactivate the containment.”

“Once they are out of the containment fields, they will be very hard to stop. They have incredible strength and cunning. The haemals will devour or destroy everything in their path.”

“How far to the cargo decks?” Arden had finished suiting up again. He picked up his power sword and adjusted the settings. It hummed back into life and a blue sheen formed on the edges of the blade.

“Are you going to kill me?” Barros looked at the blade as he stammered out his last question.

“No.” Arden turned off the sword once more. “We have bigger problems by the sound of things.”

~~~


Arden Fell - August 4, 2009 12:59 PM (GMT)
Grim moved to Mallick’s position by the makeshift barricade of steel storage containers. The containers were stacked to form a shear wall of steel; designed to funnel any incoming intruder into a triangular pen with no apparent exit. Above the height of the airlock, just out of reach for a normal jumping astartes, was a wide platform. On two sides the two tactical squads of the 17th were now stationed on the third side were the devastator and scout squads.

“Coms still on the fritz?” asked Mallick, more of a statement than a real question.
“Aye. No word from the Ghost, or the Fury for that matter. Drycott’s getting edgy too.” Grim Lear was the oldest warrior in the 17th company of Luna Wolves. He had fought with the Emperor in the Unification Wars and often berated the younger officers for their lack of common sense when it came to fighting. Arden thought that Grim was getting tired in his old age, and it was more often his need to take things down a pace or two that lead to his cries of foolhardiness to the other men.

In truth, Grim would agree that he no longer could match the pace of the younger men, if only his pride would let him. He’d seen many battles and was an expert tactician, and as such, he hated the stillness and anticipation of holding a defensive position. Astartes were meant to attack, not sit and wait for the enemy to come to them. That was the role of the Imperial Army. Drycott’s men should be holding this position whilst they cleared the alien ship room by room.

In the last hour they had sat watching the hatch for any signs of movement. Sensors trained to detect movement, body heat and disturbances in the electric fields on the other side of the ships hull. So far there had been nothing. Nothing moved.

“Barick, we need to re establish communications with Fell. Take your scouts and find one of the xeno ship’s coms panel. Try and establish communications with the bridge, and get a sit ref. If you can’t find a com port, find somewhere to fit a signal booster. Don’t go too far in though, keep within our sensor range, I don’t want any heroics. Stealth mode, you know what I mean?”

“Gotcha. We’ll take a flamer unit as support. You see a massive heat signature you’ll know we’ve in deep trouble.” He nodded to his squad of four, Hanson moved over to the ammo crates spread out safely behind the bulk head of the landing chamber’s entrance, and picked up a heavy flamer unit and some spare canisters of fuel. Clipping the canisters to his belt with his left hand, and swinging the flamer to his shoulder with his right, he rejoined the rest of the five man scout squad, who were checking ammo of their las rifles.

“Well be back before you know it,” he winked at Grim and smiled, then turned and dropped down in to the hidden corridor which lead into the triangular kill zone.
“Try not to shoot us when we come back” he called as he lead his men back into the black breach of the xeno ship.
~~~

The five men moved silently through the lower cargo bays of the Coreallis. The rifle men, working in pairs, split the room moving up each side of the bay checking corners and voids for signs of life and the outer walls for signs of access hatches or com panels. Hanson stood with his back to the room; flamer poised covering the doorway they had just entered through. The blue pilot flame flickered and let out a low hiss as the gas burned.

In the first cargo bay they had stopped only to check the door into the main corridor. Other than the main entrance, and the hull breach the 17th had formed, there appeared to be no other access in or out of the storage area. There also appeared to be no com panels by the door, which meant that either no one inhabited these areas or that the personnel on this level were each equipped with a com link.

The second cargo bay was almost identical to the first; filled with more crates of strange dried meats and barrels of pungent thick green liquid, and no signs of life. As Barick returned from his sweep of the room he paused a few steps from the door, reached into his belt pouch and withdrew a small proximity sensor. He fixed the sensor to the side of the first crate, so that the sensors arc would catch anyone entering the bay. The sensor flashed green as he activated it then went dormant, invisible to the eye unless you knew where to look.
“Bay 2 clear” he said over the com as they moved to the corridor and closed the door.

The next four bays were cleared in the same way. On the corridor wall outside the fifth door they found the com panel.

“Bout time,” Hanson muttered.

“Spike it,” Barick ordered, and the heavy weapons trooper smiled and lowered his flamer unit to the ground. The scouts took up their covering positions as the heavy set Astartes reached into his back pouch and removed a handheld keypad and started to scan the com panel.

Within seconds Hanson had removed the front security keypad and wired up his handheld. Dabbing at the touch screen and pulling at the optic cables of the com panel, all the time muttering to himself, a habit Barick found most annoying in a unit which is supposed to operate in total silence, until he had hacked the ships communications.

“Done” he said at last; 15 seconds after removing the keypad.

“You’re getting slower” Barick jested as Hanson clicked the keypad back in place and pocketed his handheld. Picking up the flamer Hanson returned to cover the aft corridor freeing his sergeant to move to the com panel.
“McLean to Fell.”
Static.
“McLean to Fell. Can you read me?”
Static again.
“Thought you said you’d hacked this?” Barick looked to Hanson, who returned the gesture with a glare, annoyed at the insinuation of his failure.
“Ever think he might not have access to their coms yet?” came the snippy reply.
“McLean to Fell.”
“He’s not here” came the familiar voice of Kelus. “How’s it going down there Barick?”
“Kelus? We’re good now we have spoken to you. Where’s the Ghost?”
“Heading back to you, I guess. He’s off to secure the cargo bays with the rest of first squad and Revus.”
“Hang on a second. McLean to Lear, you getting this?”
“Lear to McLean. Yes we have both of you loud and clear.”
Hanson turned and grinned at his sergeant. “Told you,” he said smugly.
Barick shook his head. “Good so we have coms with the ship. What about Arden?”
“I’ve fitted the booster. He must still be getting blocked. Must be the internal ship’s structure blocking the signal. Only way to cure it would be rigging additional boosters or hope that he passes an active com panel and can patch a feed into his helmet coms. We could secure the rest of these bays and wait for his arrival?”

“Kelus, why is Arden on his way here?” a shiver ran down Barick’s spine as the thought occurred.

“Captain of this ship says that there are some seriously nasty creatures locked in one of the cargo bays and we’re guessing that’s where the bad guys are heading. Why? Where exactly are you?”

In the distance the faint rumble of boot on steel was becoming ever so slightly louder.

“Damn it!” Barick’s proximity sensor started to beep. “Kelus, we have to bug out we have incoming hostiles. Which bay are they heading for?”
“Multiple hostiles” Hanson was looking at the screen of his proximity sensor at the ever increasing number of white blobs heading their way.
There was a long pause then “Bay 13”, the voice that replied was a tired Captain Barros followed by Kelus “Did you get that?”

Hanson pointed to the bulkhead near the coms panel. Stencilled in green paint above the door was the Numerals XXV. “Back that way”, he pointed to the doors beyond the bay to the hull breach.

“Drop some charges between here and the hatch, lets try and slow them down a bit. Then we’ll pull back to the first two bays and provide crossfire. We’ll hold as long as we can safely before pulling back to the hatch. Let’s move we don’t have long.” With that the four riflemen started to spread small frag mines through corridor, all the time Hanson watched the proximity sensor and called out distance readings.
“75.”
“60.”
“50. Damn their quick.”
The sound of running was now also a vibration running through the ship. Slowly the scouts backed up towards the open cargo bay.
“30.”
“20. They’re entering the corridor” The large double archway at the end of the corridor started to hiss as the hydraulics kicked into life opening the heavy bulkhead doors.
“Cover now,” Barick ordered and the five men slid into the shadows of the buttresses and archways.

The rumble of feet now deafening in the corridor was accompanied by wheezing and wet groaning of the exerted runners. Then came the first explosion. The corridor light up a purple, grey and blue wall of disjointed figures with bright white light; then a second flash and a third, fourth, fifth. They had barely broken step and were rapidly approaching Barick and his men.

The sixth and seventh flashes were just as quick in coming but the next flash didn’t come.

They had stopped.

Stopped by Bay 25.

Stopped by the Coms Hack.

~~~

[EDIT - Why did no one mention that I'd got Barick and Mallick mixed up? Not much point sending a Devestaror squad to do a scouts job. :lol: ]

Brother Handro - August 4, 2009 04:33 PM (GMT)
I am enjoying this immensely; keep up the good work! :)




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