Ok, so, lets try this again, shall we?
THE DOOM OF ALCIDES (Re-edited)
The 6th century of the 37th millennium ended with peace restored to the distant world of Alcides.
By virtue of the covenant entered into by the planetary government and the Grand Master of the Light Keepers, the astartes now found themselves able to cease most of their year-long hunt for rebels. The task of dispending justice to the final few of the dissentors that hid in the vast stretches of the great Underground Network fell on the neophytes of the tenth company. At last, the attention of chapter could be placed once again on their true mission, and they could resume their preparations for the real war to come. Sadly, the entire conflict would still have started the battle-brothers on their final steps towards the doom of the planet.
The signs of what was to come had first been in the influence of this coming doom having been present in the twisted minds of otherwise loyal servants of the Imperium. But, these early signs had been invisible to the astartes then, and had managed to rouse little more than a minor sense of suspicion; leaving nothing but a lingering silent question in the back of the Grand Master's mind alone, before fading away.
The traitorous flame that inspired so many to take up arms against the chapter had been fanned by this invisible hand, and now its design had served its purpose. Despite the war for the peace of Alcides having been won, and despite the industry of the planet having been placed once again in the service of the war effort of the astartes, Grand Master Einheart had been led to make a series of choices that —although innocent enough at first glance—, had all been instrumental to the downfall of his entire chapter.
Through their crisis, the Light Keepers had found a way to harvest enough energy and materials so as to produce enough weapons to be able face planetary scale hordes of beasts, as well millions upon millions of adversaries, with little logistical and manufacturing support beyond the generatoriums, foundries and armories of their own fortress-monastery. Even with the entirety of Alcides slowly resuming their tithes to them in energy and production quotas, the need for energy and manufacturing autonomy that was made evident by the events of the past conflict was something that had shaken Grand Master Einheart to his core. The engines of the Sigmal, inside the deeper chambers of the Sigmalite Fortress, had thus been awakened, never to rest again. Not until the planet was torn asunder, and the confidence that both the alcideans and the astartes had in the control they thought they held over their planet through their technology had been proven ill placed.
For the span of many generations the engines of the Sigmal continued their run. The great machinery of the crown jewel of the Underground Network continued to bite down, deeper and deeper into the outer core of Alcides. Searching ever more for higher refined emulsion with which to power a veritable legion, if need be. And, for almost four hundred years, the chapter knew prosperity. Growing into a war machine that would go on to crush the enemies of the Imperium in the far reaches of the known galaxy. With many wars, spanning the entire second half of the 37th millenium, ending in glorious victory for the Light Keepers. With more and better methods of war being honed with each passing victory. All of it in preparation for the one war that they continued to wait for, with their vigilant eyes ever fixed on the distant darkness beyond the edge of the known galaxy. Still blind to the true signs of their looming fate.
And so it was, that despite their efforts, the great Light Keepers were found wanting on their day of reckoning. As the Doom of Alcides rose from beneath their great halls looking to consume them all in roaring fires and searing light. And, with the Imperium approaching the end of the 37th millennium, the power that lay dormant, buried since untold ages beneath the deepest places of the planet, began to rise up; once the Sigmal had managed to breach through the geological barriers that had contained for so long.
The sundering of Alcides started with a furious earthquake at the center of the hive city of Orsides. An event beyond the control of any seismic dampener or architectural countermeasure available to its inhabitants, which shook its foundations to the verge of collapse. Great chasms opened up from around epicenter of the event and towards the outer sectors of the hive city. Large walls of sharp rock as jagged fangs formed along their many paths to swallow entire sectors whole within a matter of minutes. Countless hab-blocks fell straight down into the depths, taking their inhabitants with them to their deaths.
With alarms firing up across the planet, the magnitude and sudden nature of the event gave Grand Master Einheart cause for concern. As beasts appeared quickly around the affected areas of the hive city to feast on what was left amongst the ruins, the first battle lines of both the fourth company —led by Company Master Ademar— and fifth company —led my Company Master Steinar—, were sent in to secure the area, in lieu of the now fragmented Planetary Defense Force regiments of Orsides; and to protect any and all survivors that could be found.
Not soon after these forces were sent in that new issues came to the Grand Master's attention, as the waters around the hive city of Leanansides began to suffer under the manifestation of previously unrecorded phenomena. The ocean depths began to be subjected to unnatural currents and temperatures, leading to almost boiling waters being thrusted with great force upon the blast shielding of the submerged sectors of the external regions of the hive city. Multiple structures eventually managed to break under the pressure of this torrential currents of near-boiling waters, as the points of most pressure were located outside the thermal shielding that was otherwise common around the generatoriums and refineries, for the prevention of fellhae attacks. Soon, the damage began to lead into a series of floods, with the burning waters flowing almost unstopped into the Underground Network.
Once again, Grand Master Einheart was forced to send in the brothers of the chapter to deal with the situation. With the matter being of such urgency, the third company was dispatched in full to the hive city of Leananside. A thousand battle-brothers, marching as a singular strike force, and leading the way for support, squads from the eight and ninth, as well as many noble and able techmarines from the chapter's own armory to assist in the containment of the breached sectors.
At the fortress-monastery, Gerold Havardir, master of the librarians, was dedicated to finding a recognizable pattern to these strange events. And, through the combined efforts and wisdom of the brothers of the librarium, he managed to pick up on an invisible thread that seemed to tie in both catastrophes. A form of gravitational anomaly, the traces of which could still be found lingering at the point of origin of both events. With these findings then confirmed by enough cogitators from the central nodes of the fortress, so as to give the Grand Master reason and evidence to justify decisive action against it, a search for an expected third event began.
As the weeks passed, more forces were required to provide support, both to the efforts of the companies doing battle in the shaken ruins of the hive city of Orsides, as well as to that of the companies fighting the elements under the ocean surface, in the tunnels of the Underground Network that stretched from the hive city of Leanansides. Squads from the sixth and seventh reserve companies, as well as the tenth scout company, were tasked to both fronts with unnerving regularity.
In the midst of this, the brothers of the librarium made their great discovery, in the form of a unique and very particular psychic frequency yet unperceived by any psyker in the chapter, but common to both gravitational anomalies. One which could serve, then, as a predictor to new manifestations of this astro-phenomena. And, no sooner had this discovery been made, that indeed new anomalous events were picked up by the forces of the chapter. This time, in the form of a series of minor gravitational ripples stretching beyond the reach of Alcides and far towards the star at the center of the Orientis Lux system itself.
Expecting this to be the sign of a third calamity, and convinced now that this new event was to be the final prelude to the great doom that destiny had foretold for the chapter, Grand Master Einheart decided to strike against the coming evil. By his command, the remaining forces of the last of his battle companies took to the heavens in a mighty war fleet, seeking to intercept the monstrous beast of legend that they believed would be coming towards them, hidden in the light of the Orientis Lux star.
And, sure enough, the Doom of Alcides had come at last for them.
The Grand Master held the fortress-monastery, with the honored battle-brothers of the remaining first company at his side. Waiting solemnly for the beast —whatever it truly was— to come to him, wailing and wounded, surely, after first contact with his warriors. And as he gazed into the distant star at the center of the system, the doom indeed appeared, not from above them, but from beneath them.
As it made itself manifest, all that the chapter managed to feel were the blasts. Untold numbers of them, appearing all across the planet, as overlapping warning signals began firing up through the central cogitators inside the fortress-monastery like an avalanche of information, threatening to devour the system and purge the machine spirits of each available terminal it could reach. Each blast caused by gravitational anomalies which began to manifest themselves at various points around the remaining infrastructure of each hive city in Alcides, as warping tunnels of twisted force, which spiraled from the depths of the planet, and pierced through layers of plasteel and permacrete, unseen by the naked eyes of the horrified citizens that scrambled everywhere for safety in the surviving sectors. Through these gravity tunnels came the fires from the star at the center of the system. Stretching across space and time like thin strands of bright fire and plasma, coming in the span of a few seconds to touch down on the planet's surface.
From their halls in the Sigmalite Fortress, the battle-brothers of the Light Keepers chapter watched as orbs of light appeared in the distance. Balls of fire igniting first as tiny sparks, each then expanding in a matter of seconds into vast conflagrations over two kilometers wide. Each one evaporating everything in its reach. Each followed by a blinding flash of white light, and a thermal pulse that would go on to ignite all that was nearby and within stretches of over ten kilometers in every direction. This all then followed by blasts of hurricane winds, first washing over the areas beyond the flames, then contracting back to the center of each explosion at impossible speeds. Dragging corpses and rubble along the way and creating waves of debris that would go on to trample most of what was left along their path.
Within a matter of hours over half of each hive city on Alcides had been lay to waste. The planet had become nothing more than a poor and ruinous reflection of its former self. With its grand tunnels and roads having been left hanging naked over chasms. With it's generatoriums and factories having been turned into radiation leaking death traps. With it's millions of survivors trapped under ruble, ash and black rain, and it's native beasts having been made to take flight beyond the reach of civilization, to swarm about the last places of geological integrity that were left. And, with the upper halls of the Sigmalite Fortress towering over the wastelands. Inside them, the battle-brothers being witnesses to the destruction that would soon begin to spread towards the rest of the Imperium. All of them now, forced to act, as a new gravitational anomaly and a new surge of thermal energy made itself known throughout the remaining displays of the fortress-monastery's central cogitators. A pulse coming from beneath the point of convergence of the Sigmal's engines, in the belly of the beast that was this new Alcides, which manifested itself along with a psychic shock that hit them with such initial force as to drive some in the chapter's librarium almost to their knees. Showing the Grand Master in his mind's eye what would be the most terrifying notion behind the calamity that had struck.
That whatever the nature was of the doom that had broken the world of Alcides asunder, above all, it was self-aware. An actual intelligence, which laid at the source of this force; conscious to the presence of the chapter. And it had been planning for this, and had been waiting for them, for even longer than they had been planning and waiting for it.
Hows that? Works better?
Edited by Berzul, 26 October 2019 - 11:57 AM.