1- Orit Barabas and the Storm Bear Prosecutor CadreTwo Years after Isstvan IIIR
ain swept the landing pad as the unmarked Storm Eagle descended, and Tarang Leng, the Tyrant of Kalgan, grimaced as the backwash of its engines dislodged the ornate ceremonial headdress he was wearing. One of his attendants, compulsively weeping at the damage done to the Tyrant’s dignity, reached up to straighten the garment. The Tyrant batted away the loving hands of the servant and, with a moment’s concentration, sent a spasm of pure agony into the man’s brain. As the attendant writhed on the floor, the Tyrant stepped forward, his crowd of sycophants trampling the unfortunate wretch underfoot in their haste to keep him under the cover of their parasols. “Remove him,” Leng snapped, and two servants picked up the object of his displeasure and tossed him from the platform onto the rocks below, “we must ensure the Warmaster’s representative is properly received”.
Three years previously, Tarang Leng had been a hab-bloc nobody, a clerk scraping a living in Kalgan City’s sanitation department. The arrival of the 14th
Expeditionary Fleet made little impact on the dull routine of his life, and neither did the subsequent internal coup that toppled the planet’s government and brought ‘compliance’ with the Imperium of Man. Galaxy-shaking events took place, and Tarang Leng’s grey and unimportant life went on uninterrupted. Until one day, when a group of stimm-jacked gangers decided to rob and beat him; it was there, lying on the floor bleeding and taking kick after kick, that his Gift manifested itself.
It had seemed so obvious, in retrospect. Helpless, desperate for the pain to stop, he had raised his hand and commanded the gangers to stop. And they did. Astonished, Leng had stared at their vacant faces, picked himself up and staggered home. Over the next few days, hardly daring to believe it, he realised that with a little exertion he could alter the mental states of those around him, inducing range, passivity, or adoration in others with the same ease as he used to correct the draft of a Waste Outflow Mission Statement.
For a while he contented himself with petty improvements to his life- the affections of the pretty clerk in the next cubicle, the imprisonment of his supervisor for malfeasance and a promotion to scrivener third-class, a new apartment seventeen levels up-hive- but then gradually he realised that his ambitions were pathetically small-minded. All those who had looked down on him, belittled him- they were the ones who were inferior, for if they were not, why could he reach into their minds and reorder them as he saw fit? And so one day, he had walked into the Senate of Kalgan, declared himself Tyrant, and induced all those who saw him to a frenzy of devotion. Since then he had ruled the planet almost entirely unquestioned, all those who dissented either mentally reprogrammed to worship their new overlord, or torn apart by the bare hands of those who loved him unconditionally.
The Tyrant cared little for the Warmaster, but Horus’ rebellion had coincided with his own and aligning with his cause had political utility for the time being. The time being…
Leng’s unremarkable face creased into a smile. He had come to realise that his rule of Kalgan was as pathetic in its scope as his previous ambitions had been. Once I subvert Horus’ representative, then it will not be too long before I gain an audience with the Warmaster himself. And with his war machine yoked to my power, I shall sit on Terra as mankind’s rightful ruler…
The Tyrant shook off his thoughts of self-aggrandisement and drew himself up to his full, unimpressive height as the boarding ramp of the Storm Eagle crashed down onto the landing deck. Two figures emerged from the dim interior of the dropship; the first was a tall, slight woman in red armour and a leather storm-coat, but it was the second that truly caught Leng’s eye. He was a giant glad in unpainted ceramite, his armour mostly unadorned and unbalanced on his right side by a massive power-fist, which opened and closed reflexively with a whir of servos. His face was locked into a cold sneer, and he regarded the Tyrant with evident contempt. Leng had never seen an Astartes before, and felt blind, unreasoning panic for a second; then he forced himself to think how powerful such a being would be once in his control, and felt his confidence return. You will not treat me with contempt for long, Legionary,
he thought. Another group exited the drop-ship behind the pair, swathed in deep red robes, but their numbers were dwarfed by the great crowd of sycophants the Tyrant had brought and he allowed himself a smile. My retinue is far more impressive than yours
, he thought.
The Warmaster’s representatives halted, heedless of the rain, some metres short of Leng and his party. “Which of this rabble is the Tyrant of Kalgan?” the giant asked, his voice a bass rumble like the shifting of tectonic plates. Behind Leng, his devotees mewled in terror and he absently reached out his mind to soothe them. “I am,” he replied, his anger growing, “and who might I be addressing?”
The Astartes glowered at him. “I am the Warsmith Orit Barabas, mortal, and this,” he indicated the woman next to him- “is Natalia Patrice. We have come a long way to find you, Leng.”
Leng, suddenly realised something was wrong. He looked between the pair. “What do you…”
The Warsmith flexed his power-fist again and, with a blur of movement, a projectile weapon appeared in his hands. Before Leng could react, appalled, a beam of energy stabbed out and one of his attendants exploded into fire and ash. Weapons suddenly appeared in the hands of the robed acolytes behind the Astartes and they leapt forward, casting their hoods aside to reveal swords, bolters and elegant, feminine faces.
Leng collapsed, terrified, as his sycophants charged forward howling their anger at those who threatened the object of their devotion and were met with a hail of gunfire. Frantically, he concentrated his thoughts on the Astartes- if he could bend Warsmith Barabas to his will it would end the fight in seconds- and sure enough, his efforts were met with a roar of transhuman anger. Relief flooding into his heart, he struggled to his feet; and was immediately felled by a power-armoured back-handed slap that snapped ribs and sent him flying across the landing pad.
When Leng regained his senses, he struggled to comprehend the carnage that surrounded him. The bodies of his sycophants lay all around, blown or cut to pieces by the enemy; with utter horror he saw the Warsmith, covered with gore and viscera, casually toss the crushed remains of one off the platform. The warrior women now surrounded him, seemingly untouched by the violence, levelling their weapons at his throat. They did not kick him as the Gangers had, but somehow the humiliation was almost as intense.
Leng willed them to turn on each other, to defend him- even if his Gift could not work on the Astartes surely these humans would be susceptible?- but no matter how hard he tried, nothing would happen. “…How?” he breathed, weeping from the pain. The woman, Patrice, stood over him, her archaic-looking arbalest levelled at his head. She regarded Leng with cool interest like a biologist about to add another sample to her collection. After a moment she gestured with her hand, and the women parted to allow the bulky form of the Warsmith through.
“I will speak for the Sisters of the Storm Bear Cadre” the Astartes said, “and they tell me to inform you that your psychic talents will have no effect on them.” he gazed down with utter contempt. “Tarang Leng, you are a traitor and a witch. You will be brought back to Terra in chains. I would kill you, but it seems the Sigilite-“ he tapped the symbol on his Power-fist with his armoured left gauntlet – “has a use for you. I hope that whatever use that is will prove most painful. There is a saying amongst my Legion, lost though they may be; thus always to tyrants.”
Leng gasped, unable to move and utterly distraught. For some reason, when confronted by such complete disaster, he could only focus on one thought, one unexplained detail; “I… I thought the IV were with Horus?” he gasped.
For a second the Warsmith sagged, as if struck; then his cold eyes blazed and his sneer returned, like an army falling back to a prepared position. “Not all of them,” he growled.
[Pict Capture DR/741-18Y-746] The Storm Bear Prosecutor Cadre
[Pict Capture DR/741-18Y-747] The former Tyrant of Kalgan, Tarang Leng. Note the deployment of Luna-pattern
combined Null field Generator/Excruciatior Unit.
Next up, the Warsmith and Witchseeker Persuviant Natalia Patrice...
Edited by EdT, 02 February 2014 - 10:15 PM.