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Know No Fear extract up on Black Library
Member No.: 137
Joined: 28-February 08
| Exciting stuff!
Even a short extract like this has me convinced that Mr Abnett has captured the Ultramarines just as I love 'em!
Counting the days until I can get this – and bringing the Praetors of Calth out of retirement, ready for some reinforcements.
|QUOTE ('Know No Fear")|
|Who are the first to die?|
Most commentaries will cite Honorius Luciel (Captain, 209th) and seventeen others by the hand of Sorot Tchure on the company deck of the cruiser Samothrace at mark: -00.19.45, but these are not, in fact, the first combat fatalities.
The fleet tender Campanile is mob-boarded and taken off the Tarmus Apogee approximately one hundred and thirty-six hours [sidereal] before count start as a preliminary to the Calth assault.
Three thousand, seven hundred and nine crewmembers are executed, including the shipmaster, the navigator, the echelon portmaster, two fabricators from the yards and a detail from the Neride Regulators 10th serving as deck protection.
Proof of the loss of the Campanile, delivered to Primarch Guilliman around mark: 01:30:00, demonstrates calculation and planning on behalf of the adversary and establishes what Primarch Guilliman refers to as a ‘preparatory phase of acquisition’, which refutes any claims that the conflict was born out of mistake or misadventure.
This represents a ‘precondition of malice‘ on the part of the adversary and strengthens Primarch Guilliman’s hand in that it removes any compunction to resist or fight back with full military force. There is no longer any point trying to reason with his brother, because his brother is not, in fact, mistakenly trying to kill him at all.
Lorgar has been planning it all along.
Course irregularities are noticed of the Campanile by Calth System Control at mark: -136.14.12 and again at mark: -135.01.20 and mark: -122.11.35.
Vox contact is recorded as lost at mark: -99.21.59.
Two hours later, Calth System Control marks the Campanile ‘cause for concern’ and the Master of the Port determines that a support intercept should be sent out if nothing further is received by the end of shift. There are one hundred and ninety-two thousand items of shipping traffic in the Veridian System that day because of the fleet conjunction.
The support intercept is not sent out because the Campanile resumes code transmission at mark: -88.10.21.
The crew of the Campanile is listed on the roll of the fallen in the aftermath of the battle, though none are ever seen again.
This post has been edited by ShroudFilm on Dec 20 2011, 09:35 AM
Group: Imperial Citizens
Member No.: 1,229
Joined: 10-April 11
And more on the What's new today blog:
|QUOTE (What's new today)|
|Guilliman steps onto the hololithic plate as it starts to come to life. The tiered stations of the flagship's bridge rise up around the vast plate like the stalls of an amphitheatre.|
Light blooms around him.
Figures resolve+ there but not there at all. Light has been captured, folded and twisted to give the illusion of reality. Guilliman knows that, somewhere, millions of kilometres away, other deck systems are fabricating images of him out of light. He is appearing as a hololithic presence on the lithocast decks of other stages, for the benefit of the august commanders whose ghosts are manifesting to him here.
One in particular.
'My worthy brother!' Lorgar exclaims. He steps forward to greet Guilliman.
The simulation is remarkable. Though luminous, there is true density and solidity to his flesh and his armour. There is no lag to his audio, no desynchronisation between mouth and sound.
'I did not expect to meet you like this,' Lorgar says. His grey eyes are bright. 'In person, so I could embrace you. This seems premature. I was informed of your request. I have had no time to dress in ceremonial attire-'
'Brother,' says Guilliman. 'You see that I greet you in regular battleplate too. There will be time for personal greeting and full dress ceremony when you arrive. You are just a few hours out now?'
'Decelerating fast,' Lorgar replies. He looks at someone not caught inside the hololithic field of his bridge. 'The shipmaster says five hours.'
'We will meet together then, you and your commanders. Me and mine.' Guilliman looks at the warlords whose images have appeared around Lorgar's. They are all connecting from different ships. He'd forgotten the imposing bulk of Argel Tal. The lipless sneer of Foedral Fell. The predatory curiosity of Hol Beloth. The hunched gloom of Kor Phaeron. The lightless smile of Erebus.
'Some of you are already here,' Guilliman notes.
'I am, sir,' says Erebus.
'We will meet shortly, then,' says Guilliman.
Erebus inclines his head, more an accepting bow of the head than a nod.
'My vessel is entering orbit,' says Kor Phaeron.
'Welcome to Calth,' says Guilliman.
The light phantoms salute him.
'I've asked for this brief communication,' Guilliman says, 'to discuss a small technical matter. I do not wish it to mar our formal conjunction, nor do I wish it to create problems for your fleet during approach and dispersal.'
'A problem?' asks Kor Phaeron.
There's a stiffness to them, suddenly. Guilliman feels it, even though they are only present as handfuls of light. When they first appeared, he realises, they seemed like a pack of dogs, padding into the firelight, teeth bared in smiles that were also snarls, gleefully inquisitive. Now they seem like wild animals that he should never have brought so close to the hearth.
The Word Bearers have been fighting brutal, heathen wars of compliance in the ragged skirts of the Imperium. They've been fighting them dutifully and ferociously for decades, since that fateful day on Monarchia that changed the relationship between XIII and XVII forever. There is something coarsely barbaric about them. They have none of the praetorian nobility of Guilliman's men. They don't even evince the passionate devotion of their misguided days. They look sullen, world-weary, as though they have seen everything it is possible to see and are tired of it. They look hardened. They look as though all compassion and compunction have been drained out of them. They look like they would kill without provocation.
'A problem, lord?' Argel Tal repeats.
'A machine code problem,' Guilliman replies. 'The Mechanicum has advised me. There is a malicious scrapcode problem in the Calth datasphere. We're working to eradicate it. I wanted you to be aware of it, and to take steps accordingly.'
'That could have been summarised in a databurst, sir,' remarks Foedral Fell.
'A connected matter,' Guilliman says carefully, 'is that the source of the scrapcode remains unidentified. There is a strong possibility that it is a data artifact that has been inadvertently brought in from outside the Calth system.'
'From outside?' asks Lorgar.
'From elsewhere,' Guilliman agrees.
There's a look in Lorgar's eyes that Guilliman hoped never to see again. It's hurt and it's anger, but it's also injured pride.
Lorgar raises his hand and draws it across his neck in a cut-throat gesture. It takes Guilliman a moment to realise that it's not a provocation, a curt insult.
The hololithic images of his officers and commanders freeze. Only Lorgar's remains live. He takes a step towards Guilliman.
'I have suspended their transmissions so we may speak plainly,' he says. 'Plainly and clearly. After all that has passed between us and our Legions, after all that has been toxic these last years, after all the effort to engineer this campaign as a reconciliation... your first act is to accuse us of tainting you with scrapcode? Of... what? Of being so careless in our data hygiene we have infected your precious datasystem with some outworld code-pox?'
'Brother,' Guilliman begins.
Lorgar gestures to the frozen light ghosts around them.
'How much humiliation do you intend to heap upon these men? They want only to please you. To earn the respect of the great Roboute Guilliman, a respect they have been lacking these last decades. It matters what you think of them.'
'They've come to prove themselves! To show they are worthy to fight alongside the majestic Ultramarines! The warrior-kings of Ultramar! This conjunction, this campaign, it's a point of the highest honour! It matters to them! It matters very much! They have waited years for this honour to be restored!'
'I meant no insult.'
'Really?' Lorgar laughs.
'None at all. Brother Lorgar Aurelian, why else would I have communicated informally? If I'd saved this matter to sully our ceremonial greeting, then you might have considered it an insult. A private word, between trusted commanders. That's all this is. You know scrapcode can develop anywhere, and adhere to the most carefully maintained systems. This could be us, this could be you, it could be an error from our datastacks, it could be some xeno code that's been stuck to your systems like a barnacle since you left the outworlds. There's no blame. We just need to acknowledge the problem and work together to cleanse it.'
Lorgar stares at him. Guilliman notes just how thoroughly his brother's flesh is covered with inked words.
'This was not meant to spoil our long-overdue reunion,' Guilliman says. 'This was my attempt to stop the reunion being spoiled.'
Lorgar nods. He purses his lips, then flashes a smile.
He nods again, the smile flickering in and out. He raises a palm to his mouth. Laughs.
'I see. Then very well. I should not have spoken that way.'
'I should have been more circumspect,' replies Guilliman. 'I can see how it might have seemed.'
'We'll check our systems,' says Lorgar. His smile is back. He nods once more, as if convincing himself.
'I should have been more circumspect,' Guilliman insists.
'No, you're right. There is clearly a tension here that needs to be overcome. An expectation.' Lorgar looks at him.
'I'll get to it. We'll see if we can trace the code. And then we will meet, brother. In just a few hours now, we will meet, and everything will be put right.'
'I look forward to it,' says Guilliman. 'We will stand side-by-side, we will take down this ork threat that our brother Warmaster has identified, and then history will be rewritten between us.'
'I hope so.'
'It will be so, brother. If I had not believed that the unfortunate rift between our Legions could not be healed by good society and the companionship of shared martial effort, I would not have agreed to this. We will be the best of allies, Lorgar. You and I, and our mighty Legions. Horus will be pleased, and the Emperor - our father - will smile, and old slights will be forgotten.'
'They will be forgotten completely. They will be put to rest,' he says.
Group: Imperial Citizens
Member No.: 1,126
Joined: 30-December 10
The BL website extract is already up
|Sorot Tchure walks back to join the others. His men are mingling with the men of Luciel’s company on the company decks of the Samothrace. They have finished the formal dinner that Luciel had arranged. None need to eat, certainly not the fine foodstuffs that Luciel provided, but it is a symbolic gesture. To dine as allies, as warrior-kings. To bond ahead of the coming war.|
‘Problem?’ asks Luciel.
Tchure shakes his head.
‘Some question about loading platforms.’
Tchure looks at Luciel.
‘Why have you changed your markings and armour field?’ asks Luciel.
‘We are remaking ouraselves,’ Tchure replies. ‘A new scheme to celebrate our new beginning. Perhaps it is down to the character of our beloved primarch, may the cosmos bless him. We have never quite found ourselves, Honorius. Not like you. We have struggled to realise a proper role for ourselves. I do not believe you appreciate how fortunate you are. The clarity of your purpose and position as Ultramarines. From the start you had a reputation that never needed to be questioned, and a function that never needed to be clarified.’
‘For years, I have despised Lorgar,’ he says quietly.
‘You heard me.’
‘Sorot, you mustn’t–’
‘Look at your primarch, Honorius. So singular in aspect. So noble. I have envied you, envied the Imperial Fists, the Luna Wolves, the Iron Hands. And I am not alone. We struggle with a mercurial mind, Honorius. We labour under the burden of a brilliant but fallible commander. We no longer bear the word, my friend. We bear Lorgar.’
‘Some fall into their roles quickly,’ says Luciel firmly. ‘I have thought about this. Some fall into their roles quickly. Others take time to evolve, to discover what their purpose is to be. Your primarch, great Lorgar, is a son of the Emperor. There will be a role for him. It may turn out to be far greater than any that falls to Guilliman or Dorn. Yes, we’re lucky to have clarity. I know that. So are the Fists, the Hands, the Angels. Terra above, so are the Wolves of Fenris and the World Eaters, Sorot. Perhaps the lack of clarity you have laboured under thus far is because Lorgar’s role is yet unimaginable.’
‘I can’t believe you’re defending him.’
‘Why can’t you?’
‘I think we may be finding our purpose at last, Honorius,’ he says. ‘Hence our new resolve. Our change in scheme and armour colour. I… I was asked to join the advance.’
Luciel frowns, quizzical.
‘You told me that.’
‘I have things to prove.’
‘Why?’ asks Luciel.
‘I have to prove my commitment to the new purpose.’
‘And how do you do that?’ asks Luciel.
Tchure doesn’t answer. Luciel notices how the Word Bearer’s fingers stir, tapping the tabletop. What agitation is that? Nerves?
‘I learned something,’ Tchure says suddenly, changing the subject. ‘A little piece of warcraft that I thought you would appreciate.’
Luciel lifts his cup, sips wine.
‘Go on,’ he smiles.
Tchure toys with his own cup, a straight-sided golden beaker.
‘It was on Isstvan, during the fight there.’
‘Isstvan? There’s been fighting in the Isstvan system?’
‘It hasn’t been reported. Was it a compliance?’
‘It’s recent,’ says Tchure. ‘The full reports of the campaign are still being ratified by the Warmaster.
Then they will be shared.’
Luciel raises his eyebrows.
‘Guilliman won’t appreciate being left out of the loop for any length of time. Is this how the Warmaster intends to conduct the Great Crusade from now on? Guilliman insists on sharing all military data. And Isstvan was compliant–’
Tchure holds up his hand.
‘It’s recent. It’s fresh. It’s done now. Your primarch will hear all about it in due course. The point is, the fight was bitter. The Imperium faced a foe that had discovered the mortal power of treachery.’
‘Treachery?’ asks Luciel.
‘Not as a strategy, you understand. Not as a tactic to surprise and undermine. I mean as a property. A power.’
‘I’m not sure I know what you mean,’ smiles Luciel. slightly disarmed. ‘It’s as though you’re talking about… magic.’
‘I almost am. The enemy believed that there was power in treachery. To win the confidence of your opponent, to mask your animus, and then to turn… Well, they believed that this actually invested them with power.’
‘I don’t see how.’
‘Don’t you?’ asks Tchure. ‘The potency, they believed, depends on the level of betrayal. If an ally suddenly turns on an ally, that’s one level. But if a trusted friend turns on a friend. That was the purest kind of power, because the treachery ran so deep. Because it required that so many moral codes be broken. Trust. Friendship. Loyalty. Reliance. Honesty. Such an act was powerful because it was beyond belief. It achieved a potency that was akin to the most powerful blood sacrifice.’
Luciel sits back.
‘Interesting, certainly,’ he says. ‘For them to believe that. Culturally, it speaks a great deal to the strength of their honour codes. If they believed this invested them with power, then it seems like an act of superstition. It has little strategic merit in terms of warcraft or technique, of course. Except, I suppose, psychologically.’
‘It certainly worked for them.’
‘Until you crushed them, of course.’
Sorot Tchure does not reply.
‘What’s the matter?’ asks Luciel.
‘It’s like a sacrifice,’ says Tchure. ‘You identify and commit the greatest betrayal possible, and it is like a sacrifice to anoint and begin a vast ceremony of victory and destruction.’
‘I still don’t understand. It has no tactical methodology.’
‘Really? Really, Honorius? What if it does? What if there is an entirely other kind of warfare, one that extends beyond all practical techniques, one that defies and eclipses all the martial law codified by the Ultramarines and recognised by the Imperium? A ritual warfare? A kind of daemonic warfare?’
‘You say that as if you believe it,’ Luciel laughs.
‘Think about what I’m saying,’ says Tchure quietly. He looks around the chamber, at his men talking and drinking with Luciel’s. ‘Think of this… If the Word Bearers turned against the Ultramarines, wouldn’t that be the greatest betrayal of all? Not Lorgar turning on Guilliman, for they dislike each other anyway. Here, in this chamber, between two men who have actually managed to become friends?’
‘That would be the most atrocious deceit,’ Luciel agrees. ‘I concede it would have some power. As shock value in the Legion. We are immune to fear, but horror and surprise might unman us briefly at the unimaginable nature of the act.’
‘And it would be the centrepiece,’ he says. ‘The sacrificial spark to ignite the ritual war.’
Luciel nods gravely.
‘I suppose you’re right. It would be well to understand, and allow for, an enemy who carried such conviction in the power of infamy.’
‘I wish you understood,’ he says.
‘Understand what?’ asks Luciel.
‘I was asked to join the advance,’ says Tchure.
‘I have to prove my commitment to the new purpose.’
Luciel stares at him.
For just a second. A second. And in that second, he finally realises what Sorot Tchure has been trying to tell him. That in order not to betray one impossible bond, Sorot Tchure is required to betray another.
The goblet falls from Luciel’s grip. His hand is already moving, through instinct alone, for his sidearm. Only sheer, disfunctioning shock is slowing him down.
Tchure’s plasma pistol is already in his hand.
The goblet hasn’t even hit the tabletop yet.
Tchure fires. Point blank, the plasma bolt strikes Honorius Luciel’s torso. The bolt is as hot as a main sequence star. It vaporises armour plate, carapace, reinforced bone, spinal cord. It annihilates meat, both hearts, and secondary organs. It turns blood into dust. The shot’s hammer blow impact knocks Luciel down, through the table, smashing the tabletop up to meet the falling goblet, spinning it into the air in a semi-circle of wine.
Luciel’s men are turning, caught by surprise, not understanding the noise and motion, not understanding the weapon discharge or the violent collapse of their captain. Tchure’s men simply draw their guns. They are not distracted by the gunfire. Their eyes never leave the men they are talking to, men who are turning away in confusion.
Luciel rolls on the deck, limbs thrashing, as the smashed table falls around him. The goblet bounces off the deck plate beside his head. His eyes are wide, straining, staring. The plasma shot has burned a massive hole clean through him. His body is cored. The deck plating is visible through his twitching torso. The edges of the gaping damage are scorched and cooked by superheating. His armour is likewise punctured, the cut edges glowing. Larraman cells cannot hope to clog or close a wound quite so catastrophic. Tchure is on his feet, his chair tipping
backwards behind him, toppling. He swings the plasma weapon down, aims it at Luciel’s face, and fires again.
Around him, the chamber shakes with a sudden storm of gunfire. Twenty or thirty boltguns discharge almost simultaneously. Armoured bodies, blown backwards, fall. Blood mist fills the air.
The goblet lands on the third bounce, rolls in a circle, and comes to rest on its side next to Honorius Luciel’s seared and shattered skull.
Member No.: 137
Joined: 28-February 08
The Second Heretic
Member No.: 1
Joined: 15-January 08
Some of you might have missed this one - from the BL newsletter:
|QUOTE (Black Library newsletter 19/1/12)|
|++ALL CHANNELS EMERGENCY BROADCAST – PRIORITY CODE ALPHA-I TO ALL SHIPS WITHIN THE VERIDIAN SYSTEM++|
++IDENT: Ultramarines battle-barge Constellation of Tarmus, tethered at high anchor over Calth++
This is Brother-captain Ruben Indusio of the XIII Legion. We have suffered a catastrophic systems failure. Requesting immediate assistance. We have zero reactor capability, no weapons, no auspex. Please confirm, greenskin presence? We saw noth-
Who’s firing? Vox-master, open a link to the orbital. I need shields now, damn it.
[Detonation, followed by severe signal distortion]
Throne, the Sons of Ultramar! They’re gone. We’re trapped. Cut the docking lines, you damned fool! Cut them or we die here and now.
Brothers of the XVII Legion, cease fire! In the name of the Emperor, this is a mistake! You’ve made a mis-
[Transmission terminated at Calth mark: -0.17.13]