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 The Lost XVII, Return of the 17th Company Luna Wolves
Arden Fell
Posted: Apr 13 2011, 11:53 AM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Bored today so here we go.... laugh.gif

Chapter 8 – The Message

Revus cleared the corridor as far as Bay 13, checking each door was sealed. He wished for a servitor plasma torch to weld the doors shut, but instead channelled the lightning of his right fist to form primitive arc spot welds. Against the reavers these would only last a few moments but without re-establishing atmosphere that was a mute point.

The view port was destroyed. Even with a torch, Revus would require patching material to cover the bent plasteel. Curse his luck.

As he reached the farthest end of the corridor he heard the pinking noise. It hadn’t been there before and it was close.

The lightning flared blue down his claws and he assumed battle stance.

The pinking sound became slightly louder, then a roar and a hiss. It was coming from the left hand cargo bay.

An orange glow was coming from the tiny viewing window at the top of the door; Revus moved to a flanking position so as to get a better view through the plexiglass.

Behind some crates, by the bulkhead wall; were the reavers trying to break through in the adjacent cargo hold? Revus tapped the door release and the door hissed loudly as the pressure equalised.

“Throne!” Revus muttered under his breathe forcing his frame back against the corridor wall. He braced himself for the obvious rush attack by the startled creatures making for the intruder at the door.

It did not come.

Thud!

The access panel had been cut through and fell to the deck with a heavy sound. He had to move now.

Revus took a deep breathe and threw himself through the door…

~~~

“Will it work?” Arden looked hard into the eyes of the old Cythonian.

“I cannot guarantee it will, but I can but hope that he will get the message.” Grim looked down at the data slate and re-analysed the message for the hundredth time. “I have to try Arden. He is my closest friend and I wont have him throw his life away on this fools errand.

“If he does respond and we can get a fix on our location and time then it will make the jump far more…. predictable.” Arden sighed.

“If it is intercepted by the wrong people it puts us at great risk. You will be cast out as a heretic maybe even a sorcerer when we return and put to the sword or worse. The rest of us will fair little better.” Arden ran his hands over his scalp. “I don’t know if the risk out weights the reward, Grim. I really don’t.”

“I have told you all that I can Captain. Anymore and you would be in a worse position than you could possibly imagine. The Emperor swore me to silence, and that is an oath I will never break…”

“And yet you will, nae have broken that oath with Qruze. Why can you not trust me?”

“He was there. He knows the full horror. He too is bound by the Emperor’s Oath,” Grim looked back at his captain. “It is only three words, and only those who have taken the oath will know what it means. We have to captain.”

Arden took a deep breath and sighed once more. He looked hard into Grim’s eyes and saw the anguish there.

“Send it.”

Grim looked back at the data slate once more; the green characters glowed back in the high gothic.

=> Why? Remember Celestine. <=

~~~

… The lighting claws bit into the edge of the large ceramite shield moments before he was knocked backwards by the ornate skull marking the nombril.

“Careful Brother!” It was Kelus, “Who were you expecting?”

“I half expected more of those reavers. Whilst you have been sitting around practicing your witticisms some of us have been busy.” Revus’ frown broke into a smile.

“I take it you are my reinforcements? Always after all the work is done” he shock his head mockingly.

“Well some of us were on the other side of the ship guarding the captain and couldn’t run after a fool desperate for glory. How are things here? No atmos in this corridor by the looks of it.” Kelus looked along the empty passage and noticed the remains of the previous reavers.

“Yes. They’ve damaged a viewport and… aha! I see you’ve come prepared.” Revus nodded towards the servitor.
“The Captain wants the engine rooms sealed so that we can make a strategic retreat with all our firepower safely back on the Wolf.”

“I’ll leave two men guarding this end until we can secure the space between and get this passage air tight. Lead the way brother.” Kelus nodded to two of the terminators and the party moved on down the darkened corridor, stopping intermittently for the servitor to lay a strip of weld down the cargo accesses.

~~~

“Are the repairs complete?” Revus asked Samara as he and his brother entered the engine room, trailed by the part human, part machine servitor.

“Er… yes,” the security officer was staring intently at the cyborg. Thoughts of future subjugation flooded her mind and flowed across her face.

“Don’t worry miss that will not be your life. You are to be our guests aboard the imperial frigate Dark Wolf. Our captains have already agreed that on returning to normal space we shall arrange a transfer with your own people.” Kelus smiled back at the short female.

“Oh… thank you. I guess.” She returned his smile, and her look lingered on the younger brother.

“That’s assuming we all get out of this alive,” Revus felt left out. He had found this woman first and now his little brother was getting all the attention. It wasn’t fair.

‘What on earth am I doing?’ The thought slapped a hand across his face. “Well we’d better get moving before we have any more unwelcome visitors.” He shot a glare at Kelus; Kelus was still smiling at the pretty interex officer. “Brother?”

“Hmmm? Yes. Of course.” Revus shook his head and walked out of the engine room muttering.

Kelus ordered the servitor to seal the corridor and all hatches leading to the engine room after three sentry guns were set in covering positions.

Revus lead the refugees back to the stairs, Kelus and Samara bringing up the rear with the servitor. They paused once more at the top of the stairwell to allow the servitor to seal the last bulkhead door.

“It will be very cold down there. Do not touch anything or your skin may freeze to it. Keep together for warmth. Do not stop until you reach the cargo bay at the far end. It will be over soon.” Kelus warned the interex.

As they descended into the corridor for the last time, Kelus paused. A strange feeling had come over him that he could not place.


“Are you okay?” Samara asked.

“Yes. I’m fine. Keep up with the rest I’ll hang back with the servitor… just in case.” He smiled to the officer once more.

They moved down the stairs.

He couldn’t shake the feeling though.

They were not alone.

~~~
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Arden Fell
Posted: Apr 28 2011, 08:36 AM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Chapter 9 - Ambush

“Send this message out with your next ident burst.” The com operator looked at the slate, then back to the old astartes.

“Sir?”

“Don’t question. Do it.” The stern look held an authority that made the junior rating obey without further question.

“Aye, sir.”

“Repeat the message until we receive a response.” Grim looked down at the fleet uniform and thought better adding, ”I will remain here to monitor your feed and alert you when we have received a suitable response. “

He crossed his arms and closed his eyes, as the rating entered the new message into the burst format.

‘I hope you get this my friend’ he thought to himself.

Their fate now rested on a faint electronic voice in the ether.

~~~

They were halfway down the corridor now, and Kelus almost sighed a breath of relief.

The feeling they were being watched was burning into the back of his armour encased neck.

Revus led the way and soon reached the two guards left by the hatch. They moved inside to direct the refugees to the safety of the Imperial ship.

The servitor stopped. It twitched then turned to face the youngest brother. Samara looked back, a few paces ahead still moving towards the sanctuary of the holding bay.

Her eyes darted up to the movement above Kelus. Clawed fingers were emerging from a mesh panels slightly above and behind him. She froze her mouth opened to scream, and then the servitor attacked.

Kelus could not believe what was happening. The part flesh, part machine servant lunged forward with its plasma cutter; the pale blue flame danced across Kelus’ chest armour towards his throat.

With a twist Kelus brought the full force of his shield into the skull of the automaton. Bone and machinery crunched between the strengthened ceramite edge and the corridor wall.
As the servitor crumpled to the floor the arm mounted plasma torch dropped, still ignited, melting a patch of walkway and welding Kelus’ right boot to the deck.

“Ah shi…” the reavers dropped from the ceiling grate as Kelus looked at his trapped foot.

Two at first.

Then four.

Their claws scrabbling for purchase on the terminator’s carapace. Samara screamed and raised her sonic rifle.

Revus looked back down the hall, and felt his world shatter.

Samara fired once knocking one of the reavers clawing at Kelus’ helmet clear. The creature skidded lightly across the grating behind the stricken warrior, shook its body then leap back into the fray.

The claws dug deep into the ceramite; feeling for the plasma score on the chest plate; digging for the soft warm flesh below.

Samara fired again. A glancing blow severing a reaver arm below the shoulder; the creature looked up and screeched in rage and pain.

Revus pushed through the refugees like wading through marshland.

The one armed reaver sidled around the flailing hammer of Kelus, narrowly avoiding the buzzing head as it ploughed into another dropping reaver.

Six reavers now surrounded the handicapped Kelus as he strained to break his foot hold. Five still clawing, one twitching in the last throws of death.

“Move!” Revus roared as he pushed through the interex refugees, running for their lives towards the relative safety of the hatch. He was clear, now he too was running.


The left shoulder guard gave way with the thunderous crack of the yielding ceramite. The armour was tossed aside as the claws pursued their goal of flesh.

Kelus screamed in rage as stims flowed through his system, dampening the pain as his shoulder muscle was eviscerated. The arm we pulled clear with a short spurt of dark arterial blood.

Tears were blinding her but still she fired as the one armed reaver bore down on her.

The creature leapt maw open, saliva flying. The wet droplets splattered across her face, and the rotten stench of it’s breath engulfed her.

She closed her eyes and embraced the looming darkness.

The flash of bright blue light and the rush of wind past her face, made her open them once more.

Suspended a few feet in front of her the twitching form of the reaver was impaled on the lightning claw of Revus.

A second hand reached over her shoulder and pushed her back down the corridor towards the hatch.

The force, though gentle, drove the breath from her chest, cracking ribs and she was propelled almost half the remaining distance to the hatch. Her vision blurred and she blacked out.

One of the terminator guards now appeared at the hatch to investigate the commotion. Before him he saw the unconscious female laying 10 metres from him, Revus charging the swarm of reavers, and the slowly slumping form of Kelus, his thunder hammer still swinging, but in less controlled arcs.

He raised his storm bolter and picked off another reaver emerging from the access grating above his brothers.

Revus was engulfed in the red mist of rage and dropped two more reavers in his path. But it was too late.

“Brother!” he cried, as the chest armour was ripped apart by the three remaining reavers.

Another bolter round whistled past his shoulder and decapitated another of the beasts.

The strength final left Kelus and his right arm dropped in a lazy arc to his side.

“Noooooooooooo!” Revus was by his side in a heart beat and dispatched the two remaining reavers with out a second glance. His eyes fixed on the gaping cavity in his younger brothers rib cage.

He looked down at the molten metal encasing his brother’s foot and slashed through the grid. The youngest Tor crumpled the last few feet to the deck, his leg now free to bend and kick out sideways.
Revus gently removed his brother’s helmet, blood was trickling from the corner of Kelus’ mouth, his skin ashen. The stims had lost their battle to control the pain and the extent of damage to his enhanced organs was too great.

“I’m sorry.” Kelus whispered his eyes half closing.
Revus pulled his brother close and cradled the dying figure. “There’s nothing to be sorry about brother. You fought well and saved their lives. You were ambushd by an exceptional enemy in over whelming numbers.”

Kelus coughed a laugh. “I was killed by a servitor “, the effort to draw breath induced another fit of coughing and bubbles of red foam spilled from his lips and his eyes closed.

And he was still.

~~~

sad.gif
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cypher104
Posted: Apr 28 2011, 03:04 PM


Scout


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 71
Member No.: 1,226
Joined: 6-April 11



sad.gif
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Arden Fell
Posted: Jun 22 2011, 12:47 PM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Hmmm.... unsure.gif

Not sure about this chapter, but is provides the transition I need to the end game.

See what you think.....

Chapter 10 - Reply

The screen flashed the green text for a second before the fleet officer had time to register the response as he was pushed aside.

“By the Emperor!” Grim muttered. “What has begun?”

The screen flickered a solemn response to his three word query.


--== 2 566 M35; DX: 00221; 66984; 447887

--== Celestine heralded only the start to the horrors to come. Kill for the Living, Brother. Pray for the dead. We serve him still. The Emperor protects. Iacton.


‘Well at least we have the co-ordinates we need’ Grim thought to himself. ‘The 35th Millenium though. We have shifted far further than I would have imagined possible in such a short time. If we do not leave this wretched place soon we shall be even further into the unknown future.’

Grim copied the message to his data slate and erased the ship’s archive. He looked at the comm officer.

“Continue with your original broadcast. I have the response I was awaiting. Talk to no one of what you have seen or suffer the consequences.” The grey faced captain stared hard at the fleet junior and inwardly smiled at the look of fear and obedience that blazed into his eyes.

“Ye… Yes, sir.”

Grim turned and left the bridge to look for Arden.

~~~

“MEDIC!!!” Samara screamed as she entered the cargo bay. Revus walked behind her with the crumpled figure of Kelus cradled in his arms.

From the archway to the refugee holding room Jarah suddenly appeared. She held a large medikit and when she saw the hulking form of the terminator with the injured marine she stopped in her tracks. She had been expecting to treat a wounded member of her own crew and the shock of what confronted her made her pause.

“I can’t treat him” her face turned pale with panic ”Where would I start?”

“I’ll show you.” Barrick gently gripped her shoulder and directed her towards the now kneeling figure of Revus.

Although Barrick was not fully trained as an apothecary, as a scout marine he had a good knowledge of battlefield treatment so that he could tend to his squad whilst behind enemy lines.

“Vitals” he prompted her.

Jarah reached into a pouch on her kit bag, and removed the multi-scanner.

“There’s still brain function; no respiratory” she moved the probe to the open wound in Kelus’ chest. “Very weak pulmonary function; massive internal damage and haemorrhaging of vital organs; substantial blood loss. We need to cryo immediately.”

Barrick conducted his initial assessment and shook his head at his verdict.

“He’s in Oolitic shutdown. His Larraman is destroyed. That explains the loss of blood.” He nodded at Jarah.

Barrick looked closer into his brothers chest, “His secondary heart isn’t as damaged as his primary, but the scar tissue which formed when his chest was initially opened is restricting function. We could fix that. However, his multi-lungs are destroyed and he’s relying on his birth lungs. They are slowly filling with fluid from lack of use. Coupled with the other damage and without a fully stocked apothecarium there is little we can do. We need to preserve the remaining organs and geneseed for recovery.”

Barrick rose up and placed a hand on Revus’ shoulder. “I’m sorry Brother. Kelus has little chance of surviving the next hour.”

“What is cryo?” Revus looked hard at Jarah.

“We have cryogentic chambers within my med bay on the Coreallis. The chamber will flood his circulatory system with super cooled liquid haemo-plasma, instantly freezing his boddy thus preventing further degradation of his working systems. The plasma contains nutrients and is oxygenated to maintain brain activity. We will fit stimulators to his cortex to induce a comma so that he will effectively be held in a state of deep sleep. “ Jarah looked between the Barrick & Revus.

“In theory “, she added nervously. “I’ve no idea if your physiology will handle the cryo transition.”

Revus reached down and gently picked up Kelus’ body.

“Lets get moving, apothecary. We have little time.”

“I’ll come too. I may be of assistance,” Barrick nodded to Revus and signalled Hanson to bring his rifle.

The four moved to leave the cargo bay, when a voice boomed out from the hatch to the ship.

“Where are you going Sergeant Tor? We must utilise all hands to prepare for the jump back to normal space. We have little time to waste as things are already in a dire situation.” Grim had arrived in the cargo bay looking for Arden and although his concern for the fallen brother was great, he could not risk the rest of the company waiting for some experimental surgery to preserve what little viable organs still existed in the dying marine.

Revus gently passed the body of his brother to Barrick.

Within seconds he was face to face with the grey captain.

“I will do all that I can to save my brother, Lear.” He spat through gritted teeth. “Do not stand in my way, old man.”

Lear rankled at this blatant disregard for his rank and his hand tightened on the pommel of his sword.

“You are forgetting yourself sergeant. I will not tolerate insubordination. Be sure that you do not let your grief overcome your common sense. Where is Captain Fell? We shall discuss this matter with him immediately.”

~~~

Arden stood between his two battle brothers and sighed.

“We have no time for this fools errand” Grim protested. “We must get out of this warp storm as soon as feasible. We have already travelled too far in time and space.”

“I will not forsake my brother.” Revus roared back. “He can still be saved and all I ask for is the time to do so. Leave me with him if you must but I will not give in to this…”

“Enough!” Arden looked at both men.

Arden looked down at the data slate Grim had handed him.

“I fear that no matter how quickly we move, we may have already passed the point of safely returning to our legion. In the short time we have been in the warp we have already lost 5000 years and things have changed drastically in that time. “ Arden ran his hand across his face and through his cropped brown hair. “Neither do I wish to delay in this forsaken place longer than I have to. It will take us at least an hour to prepare for the jump. Brother you have that time to do what needs done, but rest assured a second longer and the doors will be sealed and you will be left to the void.”

“Then I must move quickly.” Revus turned and ran to where Jarah and barrack stood with the limp body ofKelus.

“You indulge your friend too much Captain. We need to leave as soon as possible and yet you risk so much in letting him go.” Grim looked sternly at Arden. The young captain looked back at his veteran predecessor, and saw the frustration etched in every crease of the greying captain’s face.

“I have already risked a great deal for you Grim.” A shocked look fell over the older astartes face. “Don’t condescend to warning me off allowing others the right to go out on a limb for the company. Kelus is still one of us and I would expect the same level of determination from every man to save his battle brother. Even you.”

Grim looked down at this slight to cover the rage building behind his eyes.

“We have an hour to prep for the jump. Give the coordinates to the navigator. I will brief the company on what needs to be done before then.“

Grim turned and headed back along the corridor to the access stairs, and the bowels of the ship. Arden closed his eyes and took stock of what was to come. ‘5 millennia was such a long time. Emperor protect us.”

The thought rose the hairs on the back of his arms.

“Emperor protect us?”

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Arden Fell
Posted: Jun 30 2011, 02:39 PM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Chapter 11 - Cryo

Progress was slower than he could tolerate.

Barrick moved forward and disarmed each of the mines Arden had placed during his retreat along the access shaft.

As Jarah passed they would move on the next hundred yards to the next trip and wait.

Barrick had only re armed the ones closest to the cargo bay so they could at least return in a hurry.

The clock was ticking.

Revus’ arms burned with the burden of his brother cradled there. The hot pain was numbed by stims and the burning need to save his brother.

“We’re almost there.” Jarah said out loud to settle her nerves and ease the sergeant’s impatience.

They took the access stairs two at a time, stopping on the landing so the scout could disarm yet another mine.

“By the Emperor Arden, there’s such a thing as over caution you know.” Barrick muttered to himself as he keyed the code into the lastest mine. The little red light blinked green. “Ok move.”

They ran along the remaining corridor to the medibay and stopped outside the door. Revus gently lowered his brother to the deck, sitting him upright before moving to a breach position by the door. Barrick covered the corridor with his rifle lowered but notched to his shoulder.

Jarah swiped her ident card over the panel and the door slide open.

The phosphorescent lighting flicked to life, sending a celestial glow around the room and temporarily blinding those who would have been used to the gloom of the corridors. No so for the astartes and Revus swung through the archway and scanning the room for threats.

The white light glared over the pale green tiles. The room was clear.

“Quickly. We have under 40 minutes to do what is needed and return to the Wolf.” Barrick prompted as he sealed the door behind them.

“The cryo chamber is through there,” Jarah pointed at a slide door in a glass wall. “We’ll need to prep it and get it on the grav lift.”

“Got it.” Revus moved to the ante chamber door but it remained shut. He looked for an access pad but none were obvious. “Hmph?”

With a flick of his wrist he punched his lightning claw through the largest glass panel and sending the wall into a glittering cascade of shards.

“Ok…” Jarah looked up from removing Kelus’ damaged body armour. “could have just slid the door back. It wasn’t locked.”

Barrick chuckled. “He’s not a patient man. Nor a particularly cleaver one.” He smiled at Jarah and helped roll Kelus onto his side. The white ceramite armour was stained with the blood of the astartes and that of the xenos he had been battling. Piece by piece the black carapace of the astartes was exposed, along with the scars of countless battles.

The cryo chamber resembled a large scarab with overlapping plates and a clear perspex viewing port. Revus looked around the room for the grav lift and spotted the small pads hovering a few inches above the grey tiled floor. Hanging from a hook above was a belt with powerpack and hand control.

“Going to need some help with this,” Revus called back over his shoulder when he realised that the controls were too delicate for his armour fisted hands.

“You ok to get the rest of this off?” The interex medical officer waited long enough for Barrick to nod, before jogging over to the hapless Tor.

She lifted the belt off the hook and clipped it around her waist. Taking the hand controller she glided the pads over to the large chamber.

“Ok Revus you’re going to have to lift the front so that I can get the pads below.” Revus felt his way around the ribbed front and found two good finger holds and flexed his knees. The unit was heavier than it looked and his hands slipped fractionally before he could get it high enough for the pads. The chamber thumped to the deck.

“Again,” Revus ordered as he took a better hold; digging his ceramite finger tips into the metal alloy of the chamber, taking care so that it did not puncture the material.

The chamber rose a few inches off the floor and Jarah guided the pads below. The repulsor immediately took load from Revus’ grip and the chamber rose up further at the front allowing the rear pads to slide in. Jarah adjusted the controls and the chamber shuddered to a level hover just above the floor.

She re-holstered the control and opened a side panel on the chamber. A complex keypad and screen was visible and only now did Revus realise just how reliant he was on this medic to save his brother. A shiver ran up his spine. ‘A xeno will save him, where I could only watch him die.’ The thought once would have raised the bile in his throat as a warrior, and yet now it did not bothered him. Family was more important to him now than the ethics of the crusade.

“I’m sorry” he spoke under his breath. Jarah looked round at him and tilted her head slightly.

“What was that?” she asked . Revus’ face flushed slightly.

“I said I was sorry that I couldn’t..”

“No.” There was a slight pause “that.”

Revus heard the faint rumbling now and the ping of cooling metal.

“Have the engines fired up on the Wolf?” Barrick looked thoughtfully.

“They’re moving for the jump. Too soon.”

~~~

“What’s going on?” Grim and Arden burst on to the bridge of the Dark Wolf to a scene of panic, as the fleet crewmen ran to their stations and hastily prepped the ship into life.

“It wasn’t us.” replied Draycott taking his seat. “The Coreallis has started her engines and is making to break the boarding lock. If we don’t match her the strain on the airlock will be too great and it will break.”

“She’s trying to warp jump!” The ensign at the control comm called out.

“How? Their crew is on board.” Draycott responded.

“Not all of them.” Arden thought aloud. “Grim get back to the ante room and send Barros up here. Make sure that no one is sabotaging the remote control console in there. Then ensure the airlock is ready should we break from the other ship.” The old captain nodded and left the bridge.

“How long can we match her?” Arden nodded to the prow of the xeno ship visible through the side viewport.

“Not long. Is she goes to full power we will struggle to keep up. We aren’t prepped for the jump just yet.”

“Do your best and prepare for the jump. Get the Navigator ready just in case we have to move earlier than first planned.”

‘Damn it Revus!’ Arden thought to himself.

~~~

Jarah ran out of the anteroom with Revus by her side; the cryo chamber floating behind her like a huge dog on an invisible leash.

“We have to move faster. We’ll get Kelus into the chamber and hooked up to the life support. I can patch his wounds once we get onboard your ship.”

Jarah moved quickly under the watchful gaze of the two astartes. Applying the sensor pads to Kelus’ neck and chest, her hands danced quickly over the still form of the dying Tor. The open chest cavity allowed her to attach the tiny pacemaker to the scared heart. The cortex stimulators were attached to Kelus’ temples and at the base of his skull. Jarah turned to the chamber and tapped once more on the keypad.

Kelus’ body spasmed then relaxed and a steady pulse kicked in his heart.

“Right lets get him in the chamber.” Revus and Barrick gently lifted the body over to the alien box. The ribbed carapace slide back to reveal a white padded bed covered with small tubes and wires.

The chamber itself was only just large enough for the young astartes. Had Kelus being as large as his brother, there would have been no room to connect the intricate network of pipes and wires which would sustain his ebbing life.

Once more Jarah’s expert hands darted around the chamber, injecting the plasma tubes into the main arteries on Kelus’ thighs and neck. Connecting more sensors to his body to stimulate the muscles and reduce atrophy.

A shudder ran through the room vibrating the medical instruments neatly laid out on their stainless tray.

“Ok we’re almost done” she told the anxious warriors. For the last time she tapped the keypad. The carapace closed and instantly the chamber hissed into life. Fingers of frost etched across the viewport and the already pale skin tone of the astartes turned a lighter shade of blue.

The small monitor above the keypad turned black and a series of green lines twitched across the screen.

Barrick stood by the door panel as Jarah grabbed medical supplies and equipment throwing them into a large holdall. She swung the bag over her shoulder and grabbed a large metal case from anteroom.

“Ok let’s go”.

Barrick opened the door and before he could run into the corridor was confronted by the lifeless eyes of Private Gelin and the reanimated corpses of the rest of the dead that once lay within the corridor.

~~~
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Arden Fell
Posted: Jul 29 2011, 10:08 AM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Chapter 12 – No Time.

Revus held them back at the top of the stairs; his claws flashing their blue strobe of lightning across the dark walls.

Barick stood covering the bottom corridor whilst Jarah manoeuvred the grav pads with the hand controls. The cryo unit juddered down the stairs painfully slowly; however once down they would be able to move faster. She silently cursed the openness of the stairs which prevented the stabilisers gaining adequate purchase.

Another shockwave shook the stairwell and the ominous groan of flexing metal filled the air.

“Come one, come on.” Jarah whispered to herself halfway down.

Revus was moving with uncanny speed and fluidity. Almost in a trance like state his actions cutting down his foe almost before they could press forward their advantage of numbers. But no sooner had the fallen reached the deck than they would shudder and writhe and raise again in yet another twisted form.

And still he carved them from their goal.

The blood and puss oozing from the foulness of the reanimated was now making the footing slippery. Revus was aware that with every thrust and lunge he was slowly loosing traction. He could not hold this position for much longer and if he were to entre the stairwell there was a risk that they could slip past.

“Are you down yet?” he called out over his shoulder, not daring to take his sight off the evolving mass in front of him.

“Almost!” Jarah was halfway down the final flight.

There it was. Revus had finally reached the point of faulter. A fast upswing of his right claw masking a further lunge of his left fist, was undone as his left foot slipped forward. His body swung round and backwards, slamming him hard into the bulkhead around the stair access. The opening had formed. It was small but they forced their numbers towards the gap and Revus was pushed into the wall for a fraction of a second.

“Oh no you don’t!” He reached out and grabbed the tattered uniform of one of the creatures, blocking the path once more. Then he threw his weight off the wall and half slid into the breach once more, crushing the skull of his captive as it turned to snarl at him.

“Down!” Jarah called back as she levelled the cryo chamber and put her own weight behind pushing the bulky machine along the corridor.

“Go!” Revus called down the stairs. “I’ll give you a head start before I disengage. Once I do so they’ll be all over us. I can’t hold them back in the stairwell.”

Another shockwave.

Another groan, this time accompanied by the pinking of metal connections being sheared.

“Stop by Bay 39 I need to deactivate the mines” Barrack reminded her as he ducked into an access hatch and turned to cover Revus’ retreat.

The first thud echoed as one of the creatures crumpled to the foot of the stair well, quickly followed by a second.

No sooner had the third landed than the first crawled forward and pushed it’s twisted form onto it’s knees.

The las-rifle cracked, unleashing a pulse of energy in a tight stream towards the fallen. The bolt of crimson light passed through the deformed forehead and burst quietly through the back, with a wisp of smoke. The body shook violently, but did not topple.

Barick adjusted the setting. The shot had done too little damage to the brain. He increased the wavelength and expanded the aperture to increase the size of the next shot.

The metallic twang of terminator footfalls bounding down the steel stairs indicated Revus was moving, at last.

The other two crumpled creatures were starting to rise now. Barick let off three shots in quick succession. The skulls of all three exploded into shards of super heated bone and brain matter. This time the slumped to the ground and would remain dead.

“Barick!” The scout turned Jarah had reached the cargo bay and lent heavily against the bulkhead. The last of her first breathe spent calling him.

He looked back along the corridor towards the stairs. No sign of Revus nor anymore of these wretches. He decided to move.

Shouldering his rifle, he ran towards the interex medic and the cryo chamber. Squeezing past he trotted on another 50 meters to the first of the mines and de activated it.

Once more falling in to the alcove of the bay entrance he called her forward and unslung the long barrel weapon. “Bay 19 remember… wait”. He unholstered his bolt pistol and handed it to her. “Just in case. Point at their heads and pull the trigger; it’ll kick hard be ready for it.“ He nodded his head towards the sanctuary of the Dark Wolf and she tucked the pistol into the band of her jumpsuit belt.

Barick moved quickly back towards the stairwell. The sounds of the great armoured warriors movement had gone, replaced with the wet sound of close quarters combat.

He threw his back against the bulkhead by the door and glanced through and up. Revus was fighting on three fronts on the last landing. Some of the creatures that had jumped into the stairwell had grabbed the rails behind and to the side of the giant warrior and were not clawing at his armour.

Barick raise his rifle and unleashed a salvo of fire up the dark well. What he’d give for an incendiary grenade or a flamer right now.

The rounds worked to worrying effect. The attention of the horde had shifted once more to the lighly armoured scout, giving Revus the breathing room to punch his way back down the stairs.

Barick turned and ran back down the corridor and ducked into another alcove just as the wet thuds heralded the arrival of more jumpers.

Switching shoulders with the rifle butt he glanced back along the corridor wall and spotted the first body start to rise. His attention was drawn to the wall just to his right. The recently deactivated mine was nestled there just out of reach. He glanced back to the stairs, three more creatures were moving and the metallic steps of Revus had started once more.

Barick fired four blind shots down the corridor and moved to the mine. Without looking back to see if the shots had found their targets, he quickly keyed in the activation code. Green light pulsed to red and the mine was rearmed.

He looked now towards the enemy and saw three of the creatures, moving towards him at an alarming rate.

He fired twice more this time more deliberately. First one then another buckled and fell.

‘Damn it!’ he cursed to himself. Revus was now in the door way blocking any further fire. His huge mass would soak up any shot that passed through it’s mark, or would it?

Barick dropped to his knee. The angled line of sight would take any miss over the terminators head, for now anyway.

Two more shots unleashed with deadly accuracy. Two more corpses fell never to move again. He hoped.


The corridor was clear now. Barick moved fast, shouldering the rifle once more and stepping to the next mine that his Captain had so steadfastly insisted on deploying to secure the corridor. He activated it. Revus was backing slowly along the passage.

“Get ready to run.” Barick instructed him over the secure vox channel.

He moved and armed another mine and another. He was now back between bays 35 and 36. Three red icons blinked in his reticle between himself and his battle brother and of the remaining green icons flickering in his view his attention was drawn to the ones between Revus and the stairwell.

Grasping a duct he pulled himself upwards to get a clear shot once more. There it was. He wedged his knee behind the pipe work to steady his position and took aim.

The shot hit the charge by bay 49. The explosion ripped through the creatures like wildfire.

“Turn and run!” Barick called out through the roar, but the order wasn’t needed. As the blast wave washed over Revus he took the distraction as the signal and was already facing back down the corridor to wards the scout.

He only had one more shot before he needed to move to stay in front of the lumbering barricade. A second explosion ripped through the horde sending limbs and viscera flying.

“The next ones are going to be close, Revus. They are armed to go on a short delay once they read not astartes biologicals.” Barick glanced back towards his fellow marine, now running towards him with a slender lead over the creatures.

Another shockwave ripped through the ship. This one was far more violent and nothing to do with the mines.

But Barick was used to running through mortar fire and artillery barrages and kept his footing as he ran back to the sanctuary of the frigate.

~~~

“Prepare to seal the hatch” Grim called to the guards within the cargo bay. “Get everyone ready to… at last”. He had spotted the cryo chamber gliding to a halt by the entrance to bay 19. Jarah was struggling to turn the bulky object in the confined space of the corridor in her exhausted state.

“Seal the hatch once we are back through.” He nodded to the guards and gestured for one of them to follow him as he ran to the medics assistance.

‘But where are McClean and Tor?’ he thought to himself. The sound of first mine detonation provided the answer.
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Arden Fell
Posted: Jul 29 2011, 11:06 AM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Chapter 12 – No Time.

Revus held them back at the top of the stairs; his claws flashing their blue strobe of lightning across the dark walls.

Barick stood covering the bottom corridor whilst Jarah manoeuvred the grav pads with the hand controls. The cryo unit juddered down the stairs painfully slowly; however once down they would be able to move faster. She silently cursed the openness of the stairs which prevented the stabilisers gaining adequate purchase.

Another shockwave shook the stairwell and the ominous groan of flexing metal filled the air.

“Come one, come on.” Jarah whispered to herself halfway down.

Revus was moving with uncanny speed and fluidity. Almost in a trance like state his actions cutting down his foe almost before they could press forward their advantage of numbers. But no sooner had the fallen reached the deck than they would shudder and writhe and raise again in yet another twisted form.

And still he carved them from their goal.

The blood and puss oozing from the foulness of the reanimated was now making the footing slippery. Revus was aware that with every thrust and lunge he was slowly loosing traction. He could not hold this position for much longer and if he were to entre the stairwell there was a risk that they could slip past.

“Are you down yet?” he called out over his shoulder, not daring to take his sight off the evolving mass in front of him.

“Almost!” Jarah was halfway down the final flight.

There it was. Revus had finally reached the point of faulter. A fast upswing of his right claw masking a further lunge of his left fist, was undone as his left foot slipped forward. His body swung round and backwards, slamming him hard into the bulkhead around the stair access. The opening had formed. It was small but they forced their numbers towards the gap and Revus was pushed into the wall for a fraction of a second.

“Oh no you don’t!” He reached out and grabbed the tattered uniform of one of the creatures, blocking the path once more. Then he threw his weight off the wall and half slid into the breach once more, crushing the skull of his captive as it turned to snarl at him.

“Down!” Jarah called back as she levelled the cryo chamber and put her own weight behind pushing the bulky machine along the corridor.

“Go!” Revus called down the stairs. “I’ll give you a head start before I disengage. Once I do so they’ll be all over us. I can’t hold them back in the stairwell.”

Another shockwave.

Another groan, this time accompanied by the pinking of metal connections being sheared.

“Stop by Bay 39 I need to deactivate the mines” Barrack reminded her as he ducked into an access hatch and turned to cover Revus’ retreat.

The first thud echoed as one of the creatures crumpled to the foot of the stair well, quickly followed by a second.

No sooner had the third landed than the first crawled forward and pushed it’s twisted form onto it’s knees.

The las-rifle cracked, unleashing a pulse of energy in a tight stream towards the fallen. The bolt of crimson light passed through the deformed forehead and burst quietly through the back, with a wisp of smoke. The body shook violently, but did not topple.

Barick adjusted the setting. The shot had done too little damage to the brain. He increased the wavelength and expanded the aperture to increase the size of the next shot.

The metallic twang of terminator footfalls bounding down the steel stairs indicated Revus was moving, at last.

The other two crumpled creatures were starting to rise now. Barick let off three shots in quick succession. The skulls of all three exploded into shards of super heated bone and brain matter. This time the slumped to the ground and would remain dead.

“Barick!” The scout turned Jarah had reached the cargo bay and lent heavily against the bulkhead. The last of her first breathe spent calling him.

He looked back along the corridor towards the stairs. No sign of Revus nor anymore of these wretches. He decided to move.

Shouldering his rifle, he ran towards the interex medic and the cryo chamber. Squeezing past he trotted on another 50 meters to the first of the mines and de activated it.

Falling back in to the alcove of the entrance he called her forward and unslung the long barrel weapon. “Bay 19 remember… wait”. He unholstered his bolt pistol and handed it to her. “Just in case. Point at their heads and pull the trigger; it’ll kick hard so be ready for it.“ He nodded his head towards the sanctuary of the Dark Wolf and she tucked the pistol into the band of her jumpsuit belt.

Barick moved quickly back towards the stairwell. The sounds of the great armoured warriors movement had gone, replaced with the wet sound of close quarters combat.

He threw his back against the metal frame of the door and glanced through and up. Revus was fighting on three fronts on the last landing. Some of the creatures that had jumped into the stairwell had grabbed the rails behind and to the side of the giant warrior and were not clawing at his armour.

Barick raise his rifle and unleashed a salvo of fire up the dark well. What he’d give for an incendiary grenade or a flamer right now.

The rounds worked to worrying effect. The attention of the horde had shifted once more to the lighly armoured scout, giving Revus the breathing room to punch his way back out of the fleshy snare.

Barick turned and ran back down the corridor and ducked into another alcove just as the wet thuds heralded the arrival of more jumpers.

Switching shoulders with the rifle butt he glanced back along the corridor wall and spotted the first body start to rise. His attention was drawn to the wall opposite. The recently deactivated mine was nestled there just out of reach. He glanced back to the stairs, three more creatures were moving and the metallic steps of Revus had started once more.

Barick fired four blind shots down the corridor and moved to the mine. Without looking back to see if the shots had found their targets, he quickly keyed in the activation code. Green light pulsed to red and the mine was rearmed.

He looked now towards the enemy and saw the creatures, moving towards him at an alarming rate.

He fired twice more this time more deliberately. First one then another buckled and fell.

‘Damn it!’ he cursed to himself. Revus was now in the door way blocking any further fire. His huge mass would soak up any shot that passed through it’s mark, or would it?

Barick dropped to his knee. The angled line of sight would take any miss over the terminators head, for now anyway.

Two more shots unleashed with deadly accuracy. Two more corpses fell never to move again. He hoped.

The corridor was clear for the moment so Barick moved fast. Shouldering the rifle once more he ran to the next mine that his Captain had so steadfastly insisted on deploying to secure the corridor. He activated it. Revus was backing slowly along the passage.

“Get ready to run.” Barick instructed him over the secure vox channel.

He moved and armed another mine. He was now back between bays 35 and 36. Three red icons blinked in his reticle. Between himself and his battle brother remained three more of the disarmed mines.

Grasping a duct he pulled himself upwards to get a clear shot once more. There it was. He wedged his knee into the pipe work to steady his firing position and took aim.

The shot hit the charge by bay 49. The explosion ripped through the creatures like wildfire.

“Turn and run!” Barick called out through the roar, but the order wasn’t needed. As the blast wave washed out from the charge, Revus was already turning to face down the corridor.

He only had one more shot before he needed to move to stay in front of the lumbering barricade. A second explosion ripped through the horde sending limbs and viscera flying.

“The next ones are going to be closer, Revus. They are armed to blow on a short delay once they read not astartes biologicals.” Barick glanced back towards his fellow marine, now running towards him with a slender lead over the creatures.

Another shockwave ripped through the ship. This one was far more violent and nothing to do with the mines.

But astartes were used to running through mortar fire and artillery barrages and they kept thier footing as they ran back to the sanctuary of the frigate.

~~~

“Prepare to seal the hatch” Grim called to the guards within the cargo bay. “Get everyone ready to… at last”. He had spotted the cryo chamber gliding to a halt by the entrance to bay 19. Jarah was struggling to turn the bulky object in the confined space of the corridor in her exhausted state.

“Seal the hatch once we are back through.” He nodded to the guards and gestured for one of them to follow him as he ran to the medics assistance.

‘But where are McClean and Tor?’ he thought to himself. The sound of first mine detonation provided the answer.

~~~

The heat and force of the next mine peppered his armour with fine shrapnel and droplets of fluid. There would be little left at this rate thankfully.

Barick was reaching the entrance to bay 13 and paused to look back at his brother.

The scout glanced into the cargo bay then his face dropped. "Oh no they haven't!"

The scout disappeared out of sight, running towards the airlock of the Wolf.

The next mine blew. Less splatter, and more shrapnel indicated that the enemy had fallen back slightly.

He could hear Barick screaming over the coms and banging his rifle butt on the access hatch.

The access hatch.

It was closed. They had been left behind.

Revus threw his remaining effort into the run now. Stims flooded through his system forcing his tiring muscles to burn through the pain.

Another mine exploded but he felt little of it now.

His coms opened up in an argument between Grim and Barick.

"The airlock has broken" Grim stated in his calm but irritating tone. "We have no choice but to seal the embarkation deck."

"Open the hatch!" Barick screamed "we can make it!"

"Without armour your as good as dead if you try to cross the void..."

"Open the throning hatch Lear!"

"I'm sorry, Brother. No."

The next voice was Fell's.

"Clear the embarkation deck if your not wearing armour. Otherwise button it up we are opening the hatch."

"Captain, I cannot agree with this decision."

"Quiet Lear! I will not have you question my commands."

"As you wish, sir." The old captain's voice registered anger in his defeat.

Revus had reached the bay and swung himself through the door.

In front of him Barick was ripping open the remains of the packing crates looking for some way to counter the intense cold he would momentarily be subject to.

The final mine exploded. The enemy were moving once more. They had discovered that the marines were trapped. Were they somehow linked to the coms?

The scout had found some foil lining and was wrapping his head and hands.

The terminator crabbed the bay door and fought the hydraulics to pull the door shut. That would keep the enemy out long enough for the bay to depressurise once the seal was broken.

He moved over to the hatch to join Barick, and look through the portal.

The walkway had twisted beyond it's tolerance and fractured ceramite sheeting flapped outwards to the void of space.

"You guys ready over there?" Revus asked Arden.

"Almost." Through the portal on the other ship the black helmet of the Captain's Mk4 power armour could juste be made out. "Starting to depressurise."

"Okay, brothers, you know the drill. Once were voided here I'll blow the seal and the pressure on your side should fire you over. Revus brace yourself and Barick get a really good grip, okay?"

The scout moved in front of Revus to protect himself from the debris of the crates which would be hurtled from the room with the rush of air, and he straddled the huge armoured form wrapping his fists around the lanyard chain hanging from the terminators.

Outside the hatch on the Dark Wolf swung open with a slight whisp of expelled debris.

"Ready?"

Revus braced. Barick took a deep breathe then exhailed.

"Now!"

The hatch blew.

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Arden Fell
Posted: Aug 2 2011, 10:13 AM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Chapter 13 – The Pact

“They don’t listen to your wisdom any more, grey one.”

The voice echoed through Grim’s psyche. He turned and walked out of the cargo bay and headed for the sanctuary of his arming chamber.

Fell was reckless, but he was the Company Captain now and he must learn to hold his tongue whilst in the presence of the rest of the men.

“All you need to do is ask and they’ll be your men again.” The voice of the trickster was clouding his judgement.

He walked silently down the access stairs to the sleeping quarters and made for the small armoury with its large viewports to the endless space beyond.

“Anything you desire I can give you.” The voice chuckled again hiding its deceit.

The old captain sat down in front of his chamber and unclipped his chest plate.

He looked out the viewport.

The black of the infinite, flecked with pinpricks of ever changing light was twisting in the purple and pink of the warp storm. Like a tic on the back of a wolf, the cloud of gas remained almost static as the vista beyond rapidly flew by.

“I am too old for this…” he sighed to himself. But he was not alone.

“I can give you back your youth.” The honeyed voice replied.

“But at what price? The lives of my brothers? I can never agree to your demands.” Grim lent forward and placed his greying head in his hands. He ran a palm over his eyes and cheek and felt the flush of blood rush over his skin. “I cannot give you what you want, deamon.”

“Can not or will not?” The tone of the voice hardened betraying the chaos lord’s impatience.

“Both” Grim whispered.

The voice softened again.

“Then give what you can. Give me your fealty. Promise to serve me and I will give you what your heart desires.”

Grim slowly sat upright again.

“If I accept, you will spare the rest of my company?”

“For now, yes.”

“Forever.” Grim pushed.

“Nothing is forever, wise one. Even we cannot see that far into the future.”

“But if you want my obedience then you must promise to leave the rest alone.”

The cloud pulsed outside the viewport and the shapes of unspeakable creatures appeared and then evaporated into the soft glowing miasma.

“Very well. What do you desire?” There was deceit in the voice. Grim forced the thought of betrayal from his mind.

“Release us from this cursed place. Return us to space and leave us be.”

The voice laughed. A cold and hollow sound of pure malice.

“As you wish.”
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Arden Fell
Posted: Aug 10 2011, 12:43 PM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Chapter 14 – The Leap

Venting gas funnelled through the hatch dragging the flotsam of packing crates and dust. Revus could see the plume of debris for only a moment before the airlock slammed shut once more.

“Re-pressurise” Arden called, but already Reaver was keying the instruction into the control panel by the main entrance into the embarkation deck. Compressors hissed loudly and the large room began to fill with the oxygen and nitrogen mix.

Reaver nodded to his captain.

“Jarah!” Revus called out, carefully unwrapping the foil from the head of Barrick.

The skin was tinged black as the frost of the vaccum had burned any flesh without enough protection. His eyes were welded shut with crystals of ice tears.

“He’s not breathing. His nose and lips are sealed too.” Jarah reached into her medi kit and removed a small spray. She applied it to the eye lids, nose and lips of the dormant warrior.

The organs flushed pink and Barrick drew a deep breath and coughed. A racking fit of wet coughing ensued followed by a loud sneeze.

The ice on his eye lids had melted and he carefully opened his eyes.

“What in the name of the Emperor is that stuff? My eyes are burning.” He muttered hoarsely; then sneezed once more, “and my nose.”

“It’s a derivative of one of our native plants it is used mostly to treat muscle strains as it super heats the muscle tissue. It’s also quite nice on bland protein supplements. “ She smiled at the crying warrior. “Right lets see the rest of you then.”

She unwrapped his hands and inspected the damage.

“Ah.” she looked worried at his left hand. “Your small finger is quite badly burnt. We’ll have to keep an eye on that, least you need it removed.”

Now Barrick looked worried.

As a sniper his hands were key to his ability. The loss of a small finger might seem trivial to most, but it would require him to adjust his balance and would require extensive conditioning to get him back to his best form. He might never again be as good and this saddened him slightly.

Revus left the two and walked with Arden to a quiet corner.

“What the throne has gotten in to Lear?” Revus contained his anger as best as he could, but still the captain could pick up on the hostility in his voice.

“He was doing what he thought was right. You know the old captain as well as I do. He didn’t want to risk damage to the Wolf. That would put all of us at peril. He will always put the welfare of the company before that of the individual and we will have no more said about this. How is Kelus?” Arden changed the subject to diffuse the tension between his men.

“Em…. the apothecary, er… Medic… Jarah” Revus babbled regaining his thoughts, “She has him hooked into the cryo, but will need time to complete the stasis processes. We had to move quickly once the ship starting shuddering. What on terra was that anyway?”

“The engines of the Coreallis fired up and we struggled to match her course changes. The last jolt tore the umbilical between the ships. That’s why the hatches had been sealed. Luckily for you, your brother and the medic had arrived just before or we would be down three men, not just one.” Arden looked across the deck to the hive of activity. “We’d better get things tied up here. We will try the jump back any minute now, before things get any worse.”

~~~

The Navigator took a deep breathe and steadied what remained of his nerve. He focused what remaining power he had on the co-ordinates Grim had obtained from the transmission to Qruze.

He nodded his readiness to the fleet rating.

“We’ll be jumping in 5 – 4 – 3 - 2 – 1. Engage .“

The ship shuddered violently.

Metal screeched as it reached and passed beyond its yield point.

The shaking intensified until it could buckle the knees of those still standing and then with a violent jolt stopped.

Out of the viewport the purple and pink clouds of the warp storm had vanished, replaced with the black velvet of normal space. Pin pricks of colour indicated the suns of new systems.

The Navigator closed his eyes and slept.

~~~

“It is done.” The trickster spoke to the huddled form of Grim Lear. “You are out of the void but don’t expect the rest of your journey to be easy. We haven’t finished our fun yet.
Grim looked out the viewport and smiled. “It matters nought. There are no foes we cannot defeat in this realm. The dead stay slain here.”

“Oh is that what you think.” The voice faded in howls of raucous laughter.
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Arden Fell
Posted: Aug 12 2011, 09:42 AM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Chapter 15 – Lost in Space

“Where are we Commander?” Arden had entered the bridge and wlaked up behind the mesmerised officer.

Draycott looked at the astartes then back to his navigation charts which were frantically scrolling, selecting constellations with yellow boxes, zooming in then back out again.

“I… I have no idea, Captain.”

Arden looked across the hive of activity. No-one knew where they were and the buzz of chatter indicated a mix of excitement and fear within the star ship’s crew.

“Interesting.” Arden walked down to the fore viewport railing and gazed out. The view before him was staggering. Nebulae of planets filled the corner of his view, in swirls of greens and gold. To the right an orange sun blazed brightly, causing the screen to partially polarize; minimising the glare in the command deck but at the same time allowing the living flame to dance and flare into the blackness of space with uncanny clarity.

“Have we scanned the nearest system for signs of life?” Arden snapped back to his battle training. Secure your position and then worry about how to move forward.

“Of course,” Draycott allowed an inflection of arrogance into his voice at the obvious question. “The sun we see has seven orbiting planetoids. Three within M class limitations. Two provide a very hostile environment, with little in the way of life readings; the third appears to be arboreal with no signs of developed civilisation. You may wish to inspect it, but I doubt there will be little to bother us there.”

“The longer range scans?” Arden was already formulating a recon party for the forest moon.

“So far no other life bearing systems.”

“Good. When will the scanning be complete?”

“That depends on whether we are able to determine exactly where we are.” Draycott looked down at his nav sceen once more. The screen was still scrolling frantically. ”If this is uncharted territory then it may take some time… and unfortunately it is starting to look that way.”

“Have we established a time line yet?” Arden already knew the answer. Without establishing the location it was unlikely that they would regain the stream of communications which silently flowed between the ships and colonies of the imperium.

Draycott gave a slight look of disbelief to the Captain. “No.”

The curt reply and the look rankled Fell. There would come a time when the two men would come to blows. And that time was drawing very close.

“Very well, inform me when you have some useful information.” Arden turned quickly and left the bridge, before Draycott could respond with anything that would bring about the fleet commander’s suicide.

~~~

Jarah worked in silence whilst Revus watched on in amazement.

The interex medic was no apothecary but the speed with which she was picking up the anatomical variations of the two species was intriguing.

Her hands darted over the array of tubes and wires, double checking connections and ensuring feeds and vents were unobstructed. She paused briefly to inspect her data slate and adjust the flow rate of one of the cryo plasma feeds.

“He’s stable now.” She called out to the large shadow behind here.

Revus was broken from his trance like state. “Hmm…?”

“I’ve managed to stabilise your brothers system. It took a little working out, but he’s now in a good cryo sleep. He should be safe until you can get him to an apothecarium.”

Revus moved to the chamber and looked at the sleeping figure. Some colour had returned to his brother’s skin and his eyes danced in deep r.e.m. sleep.

“Can he hear me?” Revus never took his eyes of his little brother’s face.

Memories of their childhood flashed into his mind. The day when his mother brought the baby Kelus home from the maternity zone and the four year old dirt covered Revus looked down at the sleeping babe.

“His senses are dulled but he will be able to hear and smell your presence.” The medic moved to his side and put a comforting had on his arm. “Really you should go and shower you are starting to smell quite badly.”

The big astartes laughed, breaking the tension. He sniffed.

“Maybe you’re right. I’ll go in a moment.” Jarah turned and left the two for a moment in peace.

Revus leaned forward and placed a hand carefully on his brothers chest.

“Stay with us brother. We shall have you back in the frontline with us soon, and then you can learn how to fight like a real warrior and not trip over your own feet.”

Revus smiled and nodded then turned for his arming chamber.

The medic had been right. He was a little ripe with the stench of xeno blood.

~~~

Grim still sat lone in the darkness of his own chamber, looking out towards the blazing sun.

‘What have I done’ he thought to himself?

He had made a pact with the devil, to save the life of his men.

‘There is no such thing as the devil. It was just another xeno, and xenos could be slain,’ he told himself.

But he new better than that.

He had the sight.

A gift from his grandfather that he could never be thankful for.

He needed to talk to the only man who would understand his dilemma; he needed to speak to Iacton.

He picked up his data slate and started to type.

The message had to be brief so that he could transmit it in relative secrecy. Grim remembered the words of his father, the hive elder as he had talked of the golden age of man. The two boys, Iacton and Grim had listed wrapped in the tales of what had once been.

Yes that would work.

They had played at being warriors each taking turns to cry out the line that had stuck with them.

Then as young warriors they had discovered the true meaning of the story and had used it to guide their decisions.

One word to echo his failure.

The data pad would transmit the signal on the old carrier wave and piggy back the message on the search for the stream.

He hit transmit and dropped the pad at his feet. Tears welled up and flowed down the old man’s cheeks.

=> Ozymandias <=

~~~
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Arden Fell
Posted: Aug 12 2011, 09:44 AM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08




Epilogue to Book Two

The dust settled as the Stormraven’s large manoeuvring thrusters powered down. The front embarkation ramp lowered and the gunmental shadows indicated the presence of a terminator squad.

The blue light of force halbrands sparked and cracked life to the shadows.

As the ramp touched the barren ochre soil of this arid rock the squad stepped forward.

The battle scarred command squad revitalised at this new presence and drew together in an ordered file behind the Inquisitor and his cadre of sisters.

Sister Alicia bowed her head to the approaching astartes and touched the Aquila on her chest in salute to the presence of the Emperor’s finest warriors.

“Justicar Thrawn. Why, may I ask, have you honoured me with your visit? “ Inquisitor Raphael drew himself up to his fullest height in front of the grey armoured terminator.

“We are here for him”, Thrawn extended his arm towards the command squad of the 17th.

“I assure you that Captain Fell has been full vetted by myself for active com…”

“Not him.” The Justicar of the Grey Knights, nodded to his guard and they moved forward and each placed a hand on the old captain’s shoulder guards.

“I have come for Lear.”

“On whose authority!” Arden stepped forward between his captain and this Grey Knight sergeant; Revus and Kelus subtly moved into position behind the two guards restraining Grim. The still air crackled with tension and force lightning.

“On the orders of the Grand Master and the Emperor, captain” Thrawn spat back at Fell’s impudence. “He will accompany me back to our ship for interrogation.“

“Arden this is a fight you cannot win.” Phavellis put a hand on Fell’s sword arm. “These are the Grey Knights. The Emperor’s most loyal astartes and the hand of his will in these dark times. They will do his holy bidding.”

Arden continued to stare at the blue glow from he eyes of the terminator’s helmet, unflinching.

“Captain, I will go with them.” Grim’s voice though low shattered the silent stand-off. “I have nothing to hide and it may answer some of the doubts I have… over this existence.”

“Wise decision Lear.” Thrawn waved to his men, his gaze still fixed on the 17th company captain. The prisoner detail mounted the boarding ramp of the stormraven and as their footfalls echoed into the hold, Thrawn turned to Inquisitor Raphael and Sister Ricci, with a subtle nod he returned to his ship.

The thrusters fired back into life and the dust cloud engulfed the command party, as they watched their brother depart.
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Arden Fell
Posted: Aug 12 2011, 09:48 AM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



And that ends the Second Book of the 17th.

Book 3 may or may not be coming. I want to re think a few things, but hopefully it wont be the last we see of the 17th.

C&C as always welcolmed and questions will be answered if you have any queries regarding the two stories.

So long for now.
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Arden Fell
Posted: Feb 17 2012, 12:15 PM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Another bored Friday leads to this little intro to Book 3

Prelude - Families

“It’s weird being a kid around here. The Ratway is both a cool place to live and in the same breath an absolute horror.

“They came recruiting again today. They took my brother and his friends, saying that ‘they are of age now’ and mum just cried.

“The big grey one looked at me and smiled. He said that soon I could join the others and fight for the glory of mankind too.

“But I’m just a kid I don’t want to fight. I want to run through the tunnels and swing from the ducts and old cabling and play ipp-dip with Jamie and Stuart. I don’t want to go to the barracks. Why would I want that?

“Mum says that the Eldars have decreed that all children of age must pass through the Legion. It is all they can hope for in life to be chosen to serve the Emperor. Those who don’t either die or come back crippled.

“Revus will be okay though. He’s big and strong and Arden will stand by him. Arden is smart he’ll get my brother through the education.

“I hope that when the grey ones come for me next time I have grown big enough so I don’t come home a cripple. Mum says that Delus was a reject of the Legion. I don’t like him. He scares us. He has cold black lifeless eyes. Revus says he eats plague rats too and wears their fur.

“Mum’s still crying so I’d better go. She’s been like this for a couple of hours now; since they took Revus. I’ll miss him too. But now I’ll get his old gaeran ball and we can play behind the condensers where there’s that huge wall.

“Okay I gotta go now.

“Bye.”

==++ Audio-Log of Kelus Tor, age 6 ++==
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Arden Fell
Posted: Mar 6 2012, 03:46 PM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Ok since the bosses are away and things are slow today and there's no sign of the comp. entried yet, here's the proper start of the next story of the 17th....


"The Third Book of the Lost 17th - Brotherhood"

Chapter One – The Beginning of the End


Over eleven thousand years since they stood by their Primarch on a small primitive planet, during the compliance of Sixty -Three Nineteen; fifty-three years since they had finally escaped the warp bubble which had held them for so long in a state of almost suspended animation; and seven months since they stumbled upon the Crimson Fist fleet.

And two hours since the Grey Knights had come for one of their own.

The battered and bruised company finally stepped off the carbon scarred Thunderhawk and glumly climbed the stairway to their arming chamber.

No words were uttered.

Arden Fell, the captain of the lost 17th Company of Luna Wolves, now the Captain of the Crimson Fist Auxilliary 17th that others called “The Forlorn Hope”, had some serious thinking to do.

His 3rd company captain, his most experience veteran, a man who was formerly the company commander until he resigned the commission for personal reasons, had been marched from the battle field surrounded by the Emperor’s chosen; Justicars of the Grey Knight Legion.

What had Grim done to warrant such interest from the psyker slayers?

Sister Ricci had told him all about the Grey Knights as the Stormraven took flight. They were the guardians of the Emperium and were tasked with protecting the Empire from psykers, xenos and agents of chaos. They were the best of the best, and no astartes would be stupid enough to stand against them. The Battle-sisters often fought in their presence but rarely did they come in force to arrest a single warrior.

“What did he do?” asked the flame haired female warrior as they moved towards the waiting rhinos.

“I wish I knew,” Arden turned towards her and solemnly shook his head.

~~~

On board the Stormraven "Poe's Prayer", Grim Lear sat quietly between Justicar Thawn and another tactical armour clad giant.

The roar of the engines died to a low thrum as the ship finally left the planets atmosphere and the thrust drives entered the frictionless void of space.

Thawn took off his helmet.

“I have been tasked with deciding your fate, Lear." He adjusted the seal on his rebreather. "A mutual brother of ours has left us in somewhat of a tricky situation.” Thawn looked deeper into his helmet and left a silence to be filled by the old captain.


After several seconds, which filled an eternity, Grim finally spoke.

“I am unsure of which ‘brother’ you talk of, sir. We have left what remains of my brothers behind beneath us.” The old astartes looked over the younger man's face with discerning eyes. The Grey Knight commander had a slight look of familiarity, however all astartes were engineered and bore some resemblance to a Primarch or other. 'Was there a trace of Horus there?' he thought to himself.

Anvil Thawn turned his head to look now at the old marine.

“You sent a message to one of our brotherhood over nine millennia ago. He could not respond to you, as he was mortally wounded. But the message was so important that he left word. Should a man by the name of Grim Lear ever appear from the warp, wearing the white of the Defiler’s old legion, that we must take him to the High Council and seek the truth of what went before.”

“Did he say anymore?” Grim stared now into the cold eyes of Thawn, looking for any hint of deceit.

“He did.” The Grey Knight shifted uncomfortably in his seat and looked away. He closed his eyes and recited “He said, ‘Look on my works, ye mighty and despair.’”

Grim whispered to himself, “So Iacton is dead. I carry the burden alone.”

A flicker of curiosity lit the corner of Anvil Thawn’s eyes. “So it is true then? You were one of the... Chosen.”

Grim laughted aloud, and tears of sorrow flowed down his cheeks.

~~~
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Arden Fell
Posted: Mar 22 2012, 10:19 AM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Chapter 2 – Badlandings.


The sun burnt the ground umber.

Nothing lived here.

This half of the planet was always in the sun as the rock followed on its strange elliptical orbit. The other side was a frozen wasteland forever in the dark.

“Nope,” Revus looked out over the dry plains, his enclosed suit maintaining a healthy 60° in the furnace heat of the bright side. “It looks like we’ll have to find a more hospitable home for our passengers.”

Since the 17th had emerged from the warp 4 months earlier they had started to catalogue the systems, looking for a place to call home until they were able to pick up the stream or the navigators finally recognised a cluster.

The supplies were getting low and already the fleet and surviving interex were on half rations; the astartes on considerably less.

“Captain,” Revus opened his link to the Dark Wolf. “Tor here. We’ve got nothing. Scratch 17-16 – Delta off the list. It’s inhabitable. Requesting evac. We’ll try Epsilon it looked more promising; well it was greener. ”

~~~

Finally things had returned to normal.

Drycott was back in his own territory.

Not literally, but at least it was star navigation and exploration. A field that as a young officer he had excelled at.

He poured over the large navigation table, monitoring the spinning holographic images, and entering text into his hand slate.

“Captain Fell. The initial readings are interesting for Epsilon. We have an small M Class moon with nominal life readings and no evidence of technology. If the other planets in this system are devoid of life then we may have a stumbled upon the perfect base.

Arden came onto the bridge from the comms chamber. The astartes was wearing half armour; his huge arms and head free from ceramite, but his torso glistened in the polished white of the Luna Wolves.

“Good. Good” he replied to the fleet officer. “Once Revus and McClean have returned from their scouting we shall change orbit.”

Arden stood by the fleet commander and looked closely at the holographic image.

Of the sixteen systems they had charted after leaving the warp only three had planets capable of sustaining life. Two of those had quite deadly, if primitive, life forms, which Revus had voiced his sadness at having to leave ‘un-purged’; the third was an thriving ocean planet, however the limited resources onboard the Dark Wolf would have made habitation impossible.

17-16 Epsilon looked the most promising so far from the scans. Oxygen rich atmosphere; varied landscape of water, woodland and mountain and limited life signs, Arden hoped that these signs proved a little less bitey, than the previous two.

“Good.”

~~~

Grim stood in the largest of the cargo bays facing the disassembled chassis of a Lucius pattern war hound, lost in thought.

‘What have I done?’ he thought to himself. ‘I have been such an old fool.’

As he traced the cable loom along the interior opening on the behemoth, he was oblivious to the shadow watching him.

He had made a deal with the very daemon that had captured them. The same daemon he thought he had slain so many years ago; the Betrayer.

As a young sergeant he had laid, rifle in hand, in a festering pool of death waiting for his envoy to arrive. The trap was so simple.

The 3rd Company was to feign surrender to the Fallen Primarch of the Second Legion. Iacton would lay down arms before him and beg mercy for the remains of his men. He would denounce Horus as unworthy and follow the leadership of Asterion.

And it had worked so smoothly. Too smoothly.

As Grim had fired the explosive round into the eye of the Primarch, Horus had unleashed his counter offensive. On the orders of the Emperor himself, Horus was to purge the Emporium of all traces of the Second. A stark warning to all of his Children that disobedience would not be tolerated by the Emperor of Mankind.

With the crack of a rifle and the sweep of Iacton’s blade, Grim had thought that a daemon had been destroyed. But in reality it was merely returned to the pit to await its next chance; a chance that Grim had presented on a plate.

He had made a promise he now knew he could never keep.
The blood of his brothers.

~~~
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Arden Fell
Posted: May 16 2012, 12:36 PM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Chapter 3 – The Birth of Wolf’s Landing

17-16 Epsilon was better than good, it was ideal.

The scout party had found a plentiful supply of palatable water at an excellent forward base position.

The gravity was a little higher than Terran normal but not such that the Interex would suffer undue hardship.

Arden agreed to allow an expeditionary team of the Interex scientist and medical staff to descend to the forward camp to further explore the local flora and fauna.

Within two weeks the 17th were in agreement that the little moon, now being known as Wolf’s Landing, was to be the new stronghold of the company until such time they could return to Cthonia, or Interex Prime.

Revus has been disappointed at the lack of savage beasts, but had consoled himself with clearing a 2000m firing perimeter in to the nearest tree line; felling the huge hardwood trees with his lightning claws before dragging massive sections into camp to form position for the astrates to shoot from, and lumber for the interex to build cabins..

The holds of the Dark Wolf were slowly emptied one by one as the sectional bastions, aegis lines and watch towers were shuttled planet-side.

Wolf’s Landing soon began to take on the look of a colonial barracks; a mixture of ceramite, steel, canvas and wood.

Arden stood atop the command bastion surveying the camp.

Revus and Grim stood beside him. Grim wore a slight smile of contentment. Ever the planner and captain, the old astartes was relieved to finally be planet side supervising the defence of a base in uncharted territory.

“Barrick and Dennon are out with the foraging parties. Barrick has been tracking a herd of beasts and he hopes to pick off the weakest today. We should eat well.” Arden turned to face his two men. “3rd and 4th Tactical on rotation around the perimeter, 1st and 2nd helping with the camp build…”

“About that,” Grim interrupted, “we could do with a resupply of steel to reinforce the roofing of those timber lodges. Drycott’s quartermaster is getting awkward again”.

“I’ll see to that.” Arden made a mental note to have words with the junior rating once he got back to the Dark Wolf, later that evening.

“How long do you plan to remain planet side?” Revus asked. This was the question on all the men’s minds as astartes hated to be too long out of a fight. As much as they were all glad to be out of the warp they were still warriors and not engineers.
“We will post one squad here on overwatch and continue the scouting and surveying for the next week or so. I want to make sure that our base is secure and can be defended should it be attacked whilst we are off world.” Arden had already decided that Grim would remain for the first tour and spoken to the old captain about training the interex to use the fixed guns and gently guide them into the ways of the imperium.

“Has Drycott had any luck locating the cortex yet? Or any stellar landmarks for that matter?” Grim asked.

The imperial fleet officer had been busy mapping the local systems but had made sure that at all times two of his bridge crew were working on the priority of locating the rest of the fleet.

“Nothing so far, but I expect we will find something sooner rather than later.”

Arden still hoped that the 17th would regroup with the Primarch and they would be back into the folds of the Luna Wolves once more carrying out the Emperor’s Great Crusade.

Little did he know what was to come.
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Arden Fell
Posted: May 22 2012, 10:06 AM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Chapter 4 – A New Hope

Jarah was crouched over the micro-scanner checking the latest samples for signs of pathogens or phage that would afflict the colony, when Arden walked in.

He walked quietly over to where she was working and stood patiently behind her looking at the holo-displays of microbes and cell structures.

“Captain?” she jumped startled by the shadow falling over her.

“Sorry…” awkwardly Arden shuffled to step out of the light cast by ambient overhead lamp. “I was wondering if you have all the equipment you need and to check on your progress. Will this planet be sufficient for your habitation for the foreseeable future?”

Jarah sat back on the lab stool and looked beyond the large marine to the door he had just come through and the blue sky visible through the portal.

“Well it’s not Interex Prime… but I think that it will make a good home for now.” She looked into the stoney face of the marine and smiled. Arden almost smiled back and she chuckled inwardly.

“The vegetation I have examined is non toxic; probably due to the lack of insect life forms it relies on the wind or herbivores for cross pollination. It has quite a high nutrient value too and a high level of fructose. It doesn’t taste too bad either, a bit like sweet choi.” Arden nodded thoughtfully, but she could tell he was not interested.

“I believe your scouts are hunting some of the herbivores today, are they not?” Arden was brought back into reality by the question.

“Er… yes. Yes. Sergeant McLean will be bringing one back later this afternoon. I assume you shall want it for testing prior to… consumption?”

“Yes. We wouldn’t want anyone catching some nasty bug from it now would we?”

“Well, no but we will need to start identifying suitable food stocks soon. The Dark Wolf is running low on stores and will need restocked be fore we move off.” Arden turned to leave the lab.

“Captain! When are you planning on moving off?” the smile had left her lips and the fires of anger now flared in her eyes. “Why weren’t we told of this? Are you just going to abandon us here?”

Once again Arden was taken aback by the beauty of the medic when she was angered.

“You were not informed as we will not be abandoning you. Captain Lear shall remain here with 3rd Squad and we shall continue our search for the Imperium, using Wolf’s Landing as the hub of our search pattern.
“You shall not be left unprotected. Grim is making arrangements for your security staff to be trained with our weapons and the bastion is more than adequate to provide stronghold for your people until we return should anything go awry.”

Jarah’s rage eased, although a pang of sadness replaced it at the thought of loosing Arden for any extended period. She had become accustomed to the smell and sound of the marine within the close quarters of the frigate and, though she would never admit it, felt a longing to be with him.

“We will be moving on in a week or so, for a tour of the next system. We should return within 2 weeks, assuming nothing untoward happens.” Arden nodded his farewell and resumed his course to the door.

The interex medic watched on for a few more moments, as Fell left the lab again.

Then she sighed and turned back to her work.

~~~

“Commander,” The Coms Officer called out to Drycott. The young rating was deep in concentration when the commander approached the recess housing the communication array.

“Yes, Lieutenant. What is it?” Drycott was slightly irked by being taken away from his star mapping.

“I think I have something.”
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Arden Fell
Posted: May 22 2012, 01:25 PM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Really bored today so here's another chapter. Might even get a third if I can be bothered....

Chapter 5 – The Code

“It’s definitely an imperial code but it is exceptionally faint.” Drycott closed his eyes and focused in on the binary flash vox.

There was little doubt that this was an imperial code; exceptionally faint but a sign of the fleet none the less.

“Where is this coming form?” The Coms-Officer adjusted the data screen to show a view of the star-scape. In the centre of the screen a small red triangle flashed and the screen zoomed in closer to the co-ordinates, but still nothing was visible.

“That’s as far as our sensors can reach, but I’m guessing from the signal degradation that we are looking at a small imperial transport… probably a good light year away at maximum speed, without warp jumping that is.”

“Are they moving? No we are too far to tell. Without a warp jump we will not get there in time,” Drycott was lost in thought, voicing his options aloud. “we cannot risk being trapped again. but then we cannot risk being separated from the Imperium much longer without consequences.”

“What do we do Commander?” The rating looked up at the old fleet officer. Drycott looked down at the starscape once more.

“Flash up the coordinates on the holo-map, but not a word to the rest of the crew, and certainly not to the astartes. I want this kept a fleet matter. They will put us at too great a risk if they know. We cant risk another warp jump so soon.”

Fear flashed into the eyes of the Coms-Officer.

“Do we have a problem with that, Lieutenant?” Drycott loomed ominously above the younger officer.

“No, Sir.”

“Very well. Let’s plot a course to bring us to within a better range of that signal. We may be able to pick up more details on what and where it comes from.”

~~~

The first two tours went without event.

Arden and the frontline squads of the 17th scanned five more systems within the month, finding only rock and dust.

For all the bio-diversity within the universe the vast majority of the habitable systems were devoid of life.

On the third tour things changed.
~~~

“It’s definitely Imperial, you say” Arden looked at the Coms-Officer, shrinking back into his chair.

“Yes, sir,” Drycott scowled menacingly behind Ardens’s back. The fool had forgotten that the astartes hearing was far beyond that of his pitiful human hearing. Arden had been talking to Drycott about the next system to be investigated when he heard the flash vox, coming from the coms post.

Arden had bounded over to the alcove and ordered the rating to rescan that frequency once more, taking the spare headset up and focusing on the burst of arranged static.

“How far?”

“About… a light year or so, the signal seems relatively stationary though and is degrading a cyclical pattern. I’m guessing it is an old frigate and the power is slowly failing.”

“Life-signs?”

“Un-detectable at this range, but highly unlikely considering the length of time we have been monitoring…”

“WHAT? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MONITORING IT?” Arden was suddenly furious.

“About a month, sir” Fell’s fist shot forward and wrenched the coms officer from his chair pulling him closer. The movement accidentally crushing the vertebrae of the helpless man.

“DAMN IT!” Arden dropped the dead man’s body to the floor and turned towards the retreating Commander. “Why was I not made aware of this development Drycott?”

Drycott had backed up to his chair and he tried to sit down, whilst retaining a certain level of calm and command.

“You were not informed, Captain, as this is my ship and I shall not have you endanger my crew. Again.”

With two steps Arden was standing over the sweating man.

“Endangering your crew? You idiot, that is the first sign of salvation and you will have us sit here cowering in the shadows.”

“We cannot risk entry back into the warp. Without Navigators it would be suicide…” Drycott slowly moved his had along the console to the secret compartment housing a digital laser.

“You truly are a coward.” Arden’s fist shot out once more, crushing Drycott’s wrist as he grabbed the digital weapon.

Drycott screamed.

“You think I would have risked my men again too?” Arden shook his head. “It is only a year away. What is a year to an astartes?”

Arden reached forward with his spare hand and placed it on Drycott’s head. Fear and loathing painted across the Fleet Commander’s face and as he opened his mouth to plead for his life, with a flick of his wrist Arden ended it.

“Plot a course,” Arden called out to the remaining bridge crew; all staring on with ashen faces. “Let’s go find a way home.”

~~~
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Arden Fell
Posted: Jun 4 2012, 01:14 PM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Unbelievable 5000 views of this guff (granted about 1000 of that was me) but still it would appear people want more.

Okay here's the next installment.


CHAPTER 6 – The Hulk

“It’s…huge.” The first officer, now acting commander of the Dark Wolf, stood before the viewport looking at the twisted wreckage.

After a brief stop over at Wolf’s Landing to replenish supplies for the long journey and to update Grim on his plan, Arden had sent the imperial frigate at full speed towards the signal.

As they travelled ever further from their temporary base Arden had the frigate crew scan constantly for any sign of other civilisation on the planets they passed along their course, but to no avail. This sector appeared dead.

The signal grew steadily in strength until the coms officer was able to decipher the base signal. It was highly advanced, but he could just make out the trace code indentifying it as a distress beacon from a battle class destroyer; no legion or identifier could be extracted without more accurate encryption algorithms.

Finally as they approached into visible scanning range, the sight that befell them was of a battle frozen in the coldness of space.

Arden and Revus stood on the bridge looking through the forward view port.
“That’s some battle,” Revus muttered.

Before them floated the shattered remains of a cadre of imperial ships surrounding a large destroyer; interspaced between the dozen identifiable frigates were 2 massive organic ships of unknown origin and dozens of smaller buzz fighters.

Debris floated motionless in the void of space, remnants of the laser and melta fire.

But something was wrong.

Instead of the ships beings scattered through the vastness they had been pulled close together, as if forming one massive floating hulk of ceramite and steel and organic matter. Again the organic matter?

Yes, as they edged closer to the structure, the veins of chitlin became more obvious. The vehicles had been pulled together to form a massive floating space station.

“Life readings?” A frown formed on Arden’s face.

“This doesn’t look good,” Revus muttered.

“We are struggling to penetrate the radiation from the decaying warp cores but it would appear that there is a nominal life reading coming from the core of the main imperial structure. But I cannot be sure of it’s… origins.”

“Any response to our hails?” As they had closed to sub-space coms range Fell had ordered a standard hail to the ships, encoded of course, offering assistance.

“None. It would appear that their message is automated and may have been running for some time, hence the signal degradation we’ve encountered.”

“Distant orbit the ships and carry out structural scans. I want to know where we can safely access that battleship and what those life signs are.” Arden turned to Revus. “Revus, I don’t want you to go anywhere near that life source if there is any chance it might endangering the ship. Go suit up, you’re taking 1st and 2nd squads in. Get McClean to get his squad into environment suits they will be going in with you. I want Hanson to get as much data off those ships as is possible; star charts, coms setting, even a remote patch into the systems command computer if he can. I want to be in and out of that thing as quickly as possible. Something about it is screaming alarms at me and I sense a trap, especially after the last time.”

“With you there. I’ll get the squads ready,” and with that Revs turned and strolled off the bridge.

~~~

“Blowing hatch.” Hanson stood to the side of the doorway and keyed his data slate.

A hiss of atmosphere blew back through the door and slowly the exterior bulkhead door slid back into the wall.

Revus powered up his lightning claws and stepped into the airlock of the large imperial battleship. Hanson followed him in using the large Tartaros suited marine as a shield as he quickly ran the hack on the interior door.

“Ready.” Blowing hatch.”

Another loud hiss and the door slide open. The darkness beyond beckoned.

“Ok. Terminators with me; clear and sweep. Scouts hold here until we’ve cleared this walkway.”

The 6 terminators moved down the barren corridor checking the rooms that lead off at regular intervals. “Bunks, sarge.”

“Hmmm. Looks like we have entered the crew quarters. Strange, these aren’t usually here on our standard deck layout. No signs of habitation though. Not for some considerable time either.”

Hanson’s pulled up the ship’s schematics. “It would appear that there is a turbo lift at the end of the corridor, on the right, it leads to the command module above.”

Barrick cut in over the vox channel. “Do you want him to access the lights?”

Revus thought for a second and then replied “No. We don’t want to advertise our presence just yet. Captain? Any change on those life signs yet?”

The vox channel cracked. “Nothing moving yet, but stay alert.”

The astartes moved systematically from bunk to bunk along the darkened corridor, their enhanced vision ignoring the blackness that wrapped them.

“No signs of struggle or combat of any type.”

“Sarge! I think you should look at this.” One of the terminators crouched by a maintenance panel examining the burst mesh.

“What is it?” Revus appeared by his shoulder.

“It’s more organic matter. Looks like … a skin of some sort.” He held up the translucent grey sheet. “Judging by the size I would estimate it approximating human proportions. But definitely not human, unless they have grown an extra pair of arms.”

As he turned the skin six large tubes were clearly identifiable, two were long and the thickness of a human leg, four shorter and thinner obviously the arms.

“By that burst hatch, it was also moving fast away from this habitat unit using the air ducts.”

Revus knelt and scanned the duct for motion. “Okay two men stay here and secure this corridor. Gene-mine those ducts, I don’t want what ever it ws coming back. Something about that skin is familiar.”

Revus nodded to the rest of the team and they moved towards the lift.

“Okay Hanson, take us up.”

The lift shaft gave a loud hum and the doors opened flooding the hallway with synthetic light.

“Hmmm. Okay two at a time. Kelus with me.”

As soon as he said it, a pang of loss gripped Revus. He closed his eyes and took a centring breath. “I’m sorry. Rent with me.”

The two terminators squeezed into the small lift and the power flickered and the doors shut once more.

The lifted hummed once more as the magnetic repulsors strained to carry the load to the upper floors.

“Openening doors.” Hanson’s voice once more over the vox channel, and the doors swished slowly open.

Revus and Rent quickly stepped out and formed up back to back, as the doors slid shut and the lift hummed backed down to the others.

The command centre was empty.

All the chairs were empty. The floor was devoid of any bodies or debris. It was a ghost ship.

The hum of the repulsors heralded the return of the lift and as the doors opened Banks and Jaccrab stepped smoothly out with flamer and twin linked bolters sweeping the room for targets.

Revus and Rent separated and moved around the walls of the room entrapping any hidden foe in a deadly kill zone.

But still there was no sign of life, nor death for that matter. No signs of struggle or gun fire. Nothing.

“Where is every one?” Rent whispered over his vox.

A thought hit Revus.

“Check the ducts.” Revus and Rent finished their sweep ending up opposite Jaccrab and Banks.

“Nothing Sarge. Whatever happened they left via that turbo lift.

“Okay, get Hanson up here now. I want to get off this ship as soon as possible. Something is very wrong here. Why leave the bridge completely unmanned during a battle?”
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Arden Fell
Posted: Jul 17 2012, 03:53 PM


Veteran Sergeant


Group: Imperial Citizens
Posts: 897
Member No.: 534
Joined: 21-November 08



Chapter 7 – The Trial

Grim stood beneath the beautifully painted, vaulted ceiling in the Inquisition room.

On either side and behind him, the terminator squad of Grey Knight Paladin’s sent to retrieve him from Battle. Their leader, Justicar Thawn, stood with his wedge shaped ceramite helmet tucked into the crook of his elbow, his gaze forward to the raised dais.

Sat upon the platform were four men, dressed in muted grey robes with red trim around the collar. The chair of the panel indicated only by the thin chain of silver around his neck with the sigil of the Inquisition resting above his heart.

“Captain Grim Lear, of the 17th Auxiliary Company of The Crimson Fist Legion,” the head of the board looked up from his data slate to look at the white maximus armoured warrior below, and paused. “Do you know why you have been brought before this Council?”

“Though it has not been fully explained, I feel that I know the cause.” Grim looked along the council members, “I am on trial for the breaking of the Emperor’s Oath, forsaking the Words of my Emperor and possibly being assessed to determine whether I am in league with the forces of Chaos.”

Heads turned along the platform and quiet whispers issued amongst the members.

“Might I remind my Lords, I am adeptus astartes, and it would be wise to remember this whilst trying to hide behind whispers.”

One of the cloaked figures shot Lear a frosty glance.

“And as astartes you should know your place in front of your peers,” he spat out.

“Inquisitor Mallardous, I believe the Captain meant no dissent, he was merely reminding us that any comments we have should be spoken openly.”

The Grand Inquisitor steepled his fingers in front of his chin and continued.

“You are correct Captain, in most of what you have assumed. What you have not inferred is that your answers will bear heavily on the rest of your Company and as such your fate shall also be theirs.”

“My company, or should I restate my former company, are now under the leadership of Captain Fell at the behest of our…” Grim held back from saying ‘Warmaster and Primarch Horus Lupercal’ and in turn said, “Lord and Master, the Emperor of Mankind. Captain Fell has no knowledge of what occurred in the past, nor for that matter the near present. When my Emperor’s Oath was made I was but a mere Sergeant in the First Company and my Brothers of the 17th were babes in arms. Most if not all of that former company have since passed on and as such I acted alone, and they should not be tried in their absence from my indiscretions.”

“A noble sentiment; however futile, Captain. They are all partied to the charge of conspiracy to heresy, by being gene-kin to the traitor Horus, and his Black Legion, the Son’s of Horus, nee Luna Wolves.” Mallardous sat back in his chair a glint of satisfaction in his eyes.

“Let us review each charge before proceeding further.” The Grand Inquisitor picked up his slate once more and read.

“Do you submit that on the 2658-M35, you sent an encoded message to former Captain Iacton Qruze which read ‘Ozymandius’?”

“If that were truly the date, then I do. We had no knowledge of the timeline as it was, for it would now be apparent that we had been trapped in warp space for some millennia, although to us it was but mere days.”

“The message you sent was relayed through my predecessors, with the instructions on how to respond should you ever appear in our presence. I believe that Justicar Thawn, replied to you directly on the way here.”

Thrawn nodded solemnly.

“And how did you respond?”

“Then I am alone. The last to carry the burden.” Grim looked down at his hands and closed his eyes.

Thrawn nodded once more.

“Of what burden do you refer to Captain?” Mallardous leaned forward once more, his blue eyes fixed on the old Captain.

“If you do not know then I am not guilty of at least one of the charges levelled against me.” Grim looked into the blue eyes and smiled.

“I am aware of the oath, and as such the charge will stand for now.” The Grand Inquisitor looked stoically at Grim whose smile faded.

“My apologies my Lord, I did not like the insinuation that I would be foolish enough to break my oath once more to those who are not party to the deed in question.”

“So you do not deny that charge?”

“No. I believe that only those present at the deed would know what was meant by that word and as such it would serve as an unbreakable challenge to prove myself and my brother that we were true. The risk to the oath was balanced heavily against that of the need to escape the warp and only a handful could have answered and known what dark deeds they pertained to. I am some what concerned that you have such knowledge as you are far too young to have been there and Qruze would never have told another soul, living or dead.”

“You are wrong on that count Captain. The First Lord of Terra, Malcador the Sigillite and his lordship Iacton Qruze let my predecessor know exactly what happened that day and it is, in part, the reason we exist as a Legion. Qruze also left specific instructions on how to respond to your ‘challenge’. He also raised the issue of your ‘abilities’. He believed that you would prove to be a useful psyker and if true to the Emperor, as you claim, a valued addition to the Brotherhood of this Legion.”

“I thank you and him for these words, but I have a Legion, well at least a Brotherhood that I am proud to belong to,” Grim looked along the council once more. “Regardless of what came to pass with my Primarch, the 17th has always remained loyal to our Emperor and his words.” A darkness clouded Grims face as he spoke once more. “May I enquire as to what my Battle Brother said of my ‘gift’?”

“No.” Mallardous was quick to reply. “However, we shall have you tested before the day is out to determine if what was said is truth.”

“Enough Mallardous,” there was some ire in the tone this time as the Grand Inquisitor spoke. “Justicar Thawn, you and your men are dismissed.”

With a gentle nod, the Justicar and his squad quietly stepped back, turned and left the room. The door hissed closed and there followed the clunk of a deadlock.

“Now we are alone, I shall explain to those remaining the reason your oath was never to be broken.”

The Grand Inquisitor closed his eyes and recited the story handed down from century to century and Grand Master to Grand Master. Every so often he would open his eyes and look to Grim for confirmation that what he was saying was truth. Grim’s expression did not flinch, until he said “and now we come to Ozymanidus.”

“Am I correct in saying that you were the lone gunman?”

“Yes.”

“You did not work alone that day, Iacton Qruze was with you and played his part in this plot?”

“Yes.”

“And on that day, Aesterion was executed?”

“Yes.”

“And thereafter the Legion was subject to the Exterminatus Order, by the hands of the traitor Horus’ 16th Legion?”

“Yes.”

The Grand Inquisitor paused and took stock of Grim’s answers.

“It is my opinion that there is another meaning to your encoded message, Captain. Would you care to explain what you meant by it, or would you prefer my opinion?”

Grim shuffled slightly to ease his ill comfort.

“Very well. I believe that you were warning Qruze that a deal with the Chaos Lords had been brokered once more and that you or your captain had betrayed the Emperor’s word and as such needed to be exterminated.”

Grim looked down at his feet and draw a long sigh.

“I can see why you are Grand Master, my Lord. You are correct in almost everything you have assumed.

“There was alternate meaning to my word. You are correct in that I did make a pact with a corrupted soul to release us from our torment within the warp. There was no alternative as the creature was starting to corrupt the fleet crew and would in a matter of time turn our situation into a hopeless cause.

“The deal was on release to strand our passengers in a desolate system to provide a seed population for the chaos legions. I was then to betray the Captain of my company and allow him to charge to his death in a carefully orchestrated trap. Of these things I was party and played my part in their fruition.”

Grim looked straight at Mallardous when he spoke once more.

“However, I could not bear the consequences of my deeds and so I contacted Qruze to notify him of my intent.

“The final meaning of the code which you have not picked upon, my Lord, is that I intended to set a trap for the forces of malice as once Iacton and myself had before. Feign submission and strike at the head in its moment of pride.

“My only regret is that I could not stop the slaughter of innocence that followed.”

~~~
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