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Planetfall: Alcmene - A Legio B&C story


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#51
Aurelius Rex

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As SCC’s recent piece shows, Planetfall: Alcmene is still alive and kicking, and indeed close to reaching it’s conclusion. So, for those coming late to this story, and in true US TV show fashion, a primer to get you up to speed:

Previously on Planetfall: Alcmene

Legio forces under Captain Lycurgus have attempted to liberate the Imperial world of Alcmene from the Archenemy, and to chase down rumours of where the Chaos Warmaster, Tomax Hell is gathering his forces.

While they have routed the Word Bearers and their cultist allies, there are other, hidden powers at work - the mutually antagonistic forces of the renegade Order Encarmine Marine Chapter, and the Night Lords.

The Order Encarmine have captured Sergeant Golgotha and his squad. Golgotha’s Chapter, the Scions of Dorn were responsible for the near-destruction of the Order Encarmine on the instructions of the Inquisition. To dishonour Golgotha and the Scions in the eyes of the Astartes, they inject his squad with ‘Quintessence Daemonica’ to corrupt them into chaos spawn, and release the carefully edited images of him butchering his seemingly helpless brothers. Golgotha is allowed to escape.

Meanwhile, the Legio is ambushed by the Night Lords under Noctus Cain. In a previous encounter Cain severed Lycurgus’ arm and the bionic replacement is not taking, so the Legio Captain is driven, almost reckless in his desire to capture, kill or track Cain back to the Warmaster’s hidden base.

As Cain calls for the Night Lords to break off the attack and melt back into the night, a Legio marine, Croeseus, secretly tags him with a psychically attuned Odysseus bolt.

In a parallel storyline set thirteen hours ahead, Golgotha has been interrogated and tortured by Lycurgus and Croeseus for the murder of his squad. They do not even believe that the Order Encarmine are on the planet, and Golgotha is unwilling to reveal that his squad was corrupted as it would disgrace their memories.

Epistolary Kreutzfeld has been psychically tracking Cain, who has teleported aboard the Order Encarmine Strike Cruiser and killed a marine on the bridge to settle a score. While Lycurgus leaves the interrogation to get an update on Cain, Croeseus finds out the truth about Squad Golgotha, but reveals himself as an impostor and tries to kill Golgotha, who breaks free and fights back…


The next piece is from the Night Lords ambush, where Sergeant Castor and Brother Danvers of the Legio have been attacked by an Obliterator - One of the so-called ‘Brothers Grimm’…





+++

The pain that Brother Danvers felt as the mechadendrite ripped through his thigh and retracted was nothing compared to the searing agony that followed. He had been wounded far worse than this before; on Hellebore he had held his intestines in with both hands. A simple flesh-wound shouldn’t do this. It was as though every inch of his flesh was being flayed.

There was a sound like a wrecking ball demolishing a building, and the combat litany that Sergeant Castor had been reciting was reduced to a shallow bubbling wheeze over the squad com-link.

Through the haze he saw the Obliterator lumbering away towards a large hole in the wall, presumably to finish off Castor. Pain be damned – he was not going to let it stop him doing his duty. Danvers scrambled over to his heavy bolter; the reassuring heft of the weapon felt good, settling his febrile, wracking shakes. He tried to shout out, to attract the monster’s attention away from his sergeant, but all that emerged was the synthetic howl of feedback.

The brief glance back this elicited could have been one of surprise. Danvers looked down to examine the wound to find whole, pink skin under the clotted blood, and the damaged metal of his armour undulating in an unnervingly organic way.

Then it finally dawned on Danvers what the Obliterator had done to him.

It had infected him with some virulent sub-strain of the technovirus. Yet another weapon in its endlessly mutating arsenal; something intended to rapidly incapacitate him while the creature dealt with Castor. He was worse than dead; he was irrevocably tainted.

The heavy bolter stitched a line of bloody craters across the creature’s carapace until the ammo hopper - his last - ran dry, but it did nothing to slow its progress towards the unconscious Sergeant Castor.

Danvers felt the distinction between flesh and steel begin to blur. Fingers lengthed, pushing through armoured gauntlets to merge with the weapon. In return, wires burrowed into his flesh triggering a glut of neural feedback, orders of magnitude more intense than the interactions with his power armour. It was as though he was growing a new limb. The agony of the overheated weapon barrel seared up his new pathways, leaving him sprawling and gagging.

‘What have you done to me?’ Danvers managed to gasp in abject disgust. The Obliterator paused and looked back with something akin to interest. Chilly knowledge slipped into Danvers’s brain. The threat that whatever freak affinity had kept him alive this far would not last. A taunting warning of flesh ripping itself apart and needles of flailing metal swarming into his brainstem.

And the promise that if he submitted the condition could be controlled.

Danvers became aware of a pair of shapes moving carefully through the darkness; his Legio brethren, but his heart fell at the realisation that they were so few. They couldn’t hope to stand against so powerful a force.

He was tainted, cursed and damned, and his life with the Legio was over. There was only one thing left to do, though it appalled him to even consider such abomination.

‘Show me.’ He whispered.

The Obliterator’s porcine face re-arranged itself into a parody of a leer, and it stamped back towards him. It’s back to Castor and his approaching brothers, and attention focused on him.

Once again knowledge slid into his mind; opening doors to reveal the myriad possibilities of his affliction. Pain fell away to a dull ache as the war between flesh and metal became truce, the two working at last in union rather than opposition. Steel softened and reformed, his skeleton shifted into new configurations and biological manufactories set to work converting his very flesh into exotic and explosive materials.

But in doing this he had let something else into his mind. A shadow on his soul, darkening by the second. An Entity that laughed at his folly and stood ready to eclipse him.

Racing the wave of terror and praying that the Emperor would understand and forgive him, Danvers opened his eyes to see the Obliterator looming over him. Out of the corner of his eye his Battle Brothers were close enough to identify - Fautor and Cruentatus - preparing to launch their doomed attack. Just a few more seconds.

Fautor - the Castigator - was a closed-minded bigot who would never understand what he had done. Fautor would rather put a bolt in his own brain than have Danvers save his life like this, and would certainly butcher him when he found out what he had become. His only hope was to warn the Obliterator and melt away into the darkness…

No! These weren’t his thoughts! Danvers – the true Danvers recognized the price he had to pay. He would welcome the killing bolt when it came, as a clean death was eminently preferable to the alternative.

He swung the barrel of his heavy bolter up and activated the trigger mechanism. The Obliterator might be able to summon ammunition directly from the Empyrium, but the only way that Danvers could create them was to leach the raw materials from the ancient plasteel of his armour, and in the end even from the reinforced bones of his skeleton. In extremis it quite literally tore his hearts out and left him a hollow shell.

But it was worth it. The point-blank volley of makeshift projectiles tore most of the Obliterator’s sunken head from its shoulders, and both Danvers and the beast hit the floor simultaneously. Even then Danvers continued to convert his body, partly to create more ammunition to hurl at his tormentor, but more importantly to make sure there was no way for anything else to inhabit his carcass after he was gone.

Scorched earth.

As his vision began to dim Danvers saw that the thing was still not dead. Blue-steel hued flesh swarmed wildly across the hole where it’s face had been, and split to reveal a crazed, hate-filled eye.

Just before the darkness enfolded, he made out the shapes of his Legio Brothers leaping at the stunned mountain of writhing flesh with the blessed weapons of bolter and chainsword, and he knew that his sacrifice - body and soul - had been enough.

+++

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 24 May 2006 - 08:26 PM.

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#52
Aurelius Rex

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+++

Thirteen hours later…

The makeshift Legio command post was a hive of activity, but with his Librarium training Kruitzfeldt was able to filter out the distractions. The Word Bearers had been put to the sword, nothing had been seen of the Night Lords since their brutally effective ambush last night, and without their masters the mobs of Chaos cultist had gone into hiding at first light. Reports were filtering back of innumerable mass-graves, blasphemous sites of ritual sacrifice and camps of razor wire penning in people little more than blank-eyed skeletons.

There were also sightings of ragged groups of civilian refugees hiding in the deep forests and the mountains, but after what they must have endured at the hands of Traitor Marines, the sight of a heavily armed Thunderhawk Gunship soaring overhead was unlikely to bring them into the open. The Traitors had not just killed the population. They had destroyed the survivors trust in the Astartes.

But the Night Lords had not left Alcmene yet, and thanks to the psychically attuned Odysseus bolt that Brother - now Sergeant - Croeseus had fired, Kruitzfeldt knew exactly where at least one of them was.

He closed his eyes, put all other concerns from his mind, and sub-vocalised the prayer to focus his second sight on vibrations in the ether. There were the faint, ghost images of the inactivated bolts still clustered inside the magazines of his Brothers. Reaching out further the firefly sparkles of the fractured, expended bolts momentarily caught his attention, but by then he had already found his target; the sharp blaze of the bolt lodged in Cain‘s armour. The steady, ever-present glow of the Astronomican was his anchor; a fixed point that would allow him to track the bolt wherever and however far it might travel, and also a reassuring link back to Holy Terra, and The Emperor.

Noctus Cain was currently in orbit, but as tempting as it might be to send the Strike Cruiser to destroy his ship, there was more at stake.

Odysseus bolts had been used to dramatic effect by Deathwatch Kill-Teams in the fight against the Necrons; an enemy that like the Night Lords would strike from nowhere, only to slip back into the shadows. The Deathwatch had used the bolts to track Necron forces back to their Tombworlds, and then wipe them out in their lair en-masse. The leap of logic to use them to track the Night Lords back to their hidden base, the place where Warmaster Tomax Hell was gathering his forces had been irresistible to the Imperial strategists. Kruitzfeldt had been dubious about the plan - the Ruinous Powers were completely different to the Necrons in so many ways - and yet it seemed that the Emperor was smiling upon them.

His concentration was roughly broken, and he was snapped back into the command centre by Captain Lycurgus slapping him on his shoulder to gain his attention.

‘You said you had news about Noctus Cain.’ snapped Lycurgus, his face clouded by strain and fatigue. Kruitzfeldt bit back his own irritation; even with all the specialist training for this new procedure, all the rituals, it still required intense concentration.

‘Brother-Captain, good news.’ he said smoothly. ‘The Odysseus tracking bolt that Croeseus tagged Cain with is working perfectly. He’s in low orbit, and when he jumps to warp, it will be a simple matter to follow his psychic spoor back to -’

Kruitzfeldt stopped, staggered by a sickening mental lurch and a wave of nausea. He rapidly tried to refocus his dazzled second sight. The psych-active bolt was no longer in orbit, it was forty meters in front of him.

Noctus Cain had teleported into the building.

+++

The first priority had been to stop Croeseus – or whoever the impostor really was – from raising the alarm. After all Golgotha had gone through he didn’t want the ignomy of being shot dead by his own Brothers. ‘Croeseus’ was built like a bear, and unlike him was wearing power armour, but without a helmet that was little protection from a silencing, larynx-crunching punch to the throat.

But the move had left him momentarily open, and Croeseus had punished him for it. Although Golgotha had faked it before, his ribs were definitely cracked now. Whoever the impostor was there was still plenty of fight in him.

It was a testament to the brutality of his so-called interrogation that no-one had come to investigate the sounds of the fight. Golgotha could only hope that fate would keep Lycurgus from returning for just a few minutes more…

+++

‘The other side of that door. ’ said Kruitzfeldt. Even through the thick rockcrete wall the psi-tracking bolt shone like the sun.

‘Confirmed.’ muttered Sergeant Aiakos without looking up from his auspex. ‘One armoured figure. Scanning for explosives…’

The rest of the sentence was cut off by the sound of splintering timber and the stench of ozone and brimstone as the Captain burst through the door. The Lycurgus that Kruitzfeldt knew was methodical to a fault, but since he had lost his arm he had become increasingly reckless, trying to prove he was still in charge with bluster and useless bravado. Their hands forced, the Legio followed their Captain into the room.

+++

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#53
Ahmato

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More! M-o-r-e.... ^_^


#54
Brother Captain Achilles

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It looks like Lycurgus's blind rage has bought Golgotha just the time he needed.

Edited by BrotherCaptainAchilles, 06 June 2006 - 01:00 AM.

Virtus Quod Veneratio!!

"The warrior who acts out of honor cannot fail. His duty is honor itself. Even his death - if it is honourable - is a reward and can be no failure. For it has come through duty. Seek honour as you act, therefore, and you will know no fear."
Roboute Guilliman Primarch of the Ultramarines

Or when the Emperor comes back in time, like the movie Terminator and has to fight a liquid metal Horus.
NemFex


#55
Aurelius Rex

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+++

Thirteen Hours Later…

Lycurgus put three bolt rounds into the face of the traitor before he realised it wasn’t Cain. He had been propped up against the back wall, clutching a helmet under his arm, and from the yawning hole in his chest it was clear that his lack of a head hadn’t been the cause of death. Rather than the deep blue Terminator armour of a Night Lord, he wore the blood red and black powered armour of the Order Encarmine.

After everything they had gone through, the monster had escaped. Lycurgus could hear the others muttering… Muttering that if Golgotha was right about the Order Encarmine being here in the city, then what else was he telling the truth about. He could feel his authority slipping away, and a numbness spreading from his ruined shoulder.

+++

The impostor might be masquerading as an Iron Hand, but he had a glass jaw. Golgotha’s final blow sent Croeseus sprawling drunkenly against the far wall, sliding down awkwardly in a shower of gouged plasterwork. The knee that had taken a bolt-round was bending the wrong way, his flesh and blood hand was shattered, and he was wheezing for every breath.

As Golgotha advanced on him it was clear from the pleading look in Croeseus’s eyes and the bionic hand raised in a pathetically defensive gesture, that this was no ploy. He was finished.

Not knowing how many seconds there might be before the door would open - and knowing exactly how the scene would look – Golgotha picked up the cogitator unit that Croeseus had used to access the recordings from his augmetic eye, and snapped the trailing cable into the socket at the base of his skull. He had already weakened the encryptions surrounding the pict and vox files from his augmetic, but transferring the correct recordings would still take a nervous few minutes.

The sound of metal on armour drew his attention back to Croeseus, who beckoned, and tapped the floorboards insistently. Moving closer, but wary of trickery, Golgotha made out letters roughly gouged into the wood with sharp metal fingertips. Being unable to speak didn’t stop him from trying to communicate.

It read:

‘ASYLUM – OTHERS LIKE ME – FULL DISCLOSURE'

Golgotha took a step forward. ‘There are other infiltrators like you in the Legio?’ An emphatic nod. ‘Who? Tell me now as an act of good faith.’ Another nod.

The metal finger gouged a downward stroke into the wood, then paused, and wavered.

‘Stop stalling.’ Golgotha spat in disgust. ‘You’re in no position to bargain.’

The hand raised, fingers together, straight as a blade to the soft flesh under Croeseus’s chin and pressed, but from the look of mortal terror in his eyes Golgotha was certain he was not in control of his actions. Croeseus gagged and flapped uselessly at the bionic arm with the shattered remains of his left hand, but even as he did so the arm jerked, sharp metal sinking into flesh in a spray of arterial crimson. Too late.

It was not a suicide. It was a failsafe. Something installed in the arm by his masters to silence him in the event of betrayal.

The moment of death came soon, but even after the light had dimmed in Croeseus’s eyes the bionic arm was still at work. With a final, sickening jerk the hand slid in again, deep enough to spear into the brain. Whoever had sent him had been thorough; the brain would be too scrambled even for a Librarian to glean anything.

Pushing back revulsion at what he had just seen and read, Golgotha released the final encryptions and started downloading the files to the cogitator.

+++

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#56
Brother Captain Achilles

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OOO Now were left in suspense as to who the conspirators are, maybe there sleeper agents who activate based on a strange code word, or a certain symbol.


Anyways, this story is awesome please continue to write it.
Virtus Quod Veneratio!!

"The warrior who acts out of honor cannot fail. His duty is honor itself. Even his death - if it is honourable - is a reward and can be no failure. For it has come through duty. Seek honour as you act, therefore, and you will know no fear."
Roboute Guilliman Primarch of the Ultramarines

Or when the Emperor comes back in time, like the movie Terminator and has to fight a liquid metal Horus.
NemFex


#57
Rogue Trader

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Leaving Aurelius' excellent 13 hours ahead flash forward, we return to the current 'now' of the Legio's battle on Alcmene...



Gritting his teeth against the pain, Jarrett forced himself into a shambling run across the darkened rooftop. It was ten feet across the alleyway to the next building, maybe a shade less - normally no problem for a warrior of the Adeptus Astartes. But now, every step sent white-hot shards of pain up through his aching joints, and his battered armour's servomotors whined in protest as he build up speed. Reaching the parapet bordering the roof, Jarrett hurled himself from the edge, stretching out to the building on the far side of the alley. He made the distance - barely - and landed badly, his left knee buckling under him. Raising his eyes to the night sky, he could just make out the jump pack flares of the retreating traitors. They were pulling away, leaving him struggling to keep them in sight, but keep them in sight he must, if Cain was to be stopped.

+++

The Raptor leapt from rooftop to rooftop, his twin pistols holstered, his empty hands outstretched. For ten thousand years he had fought the Long War. He had killed servants of the Corpse God on countless worlds, stalked endless battlefields. Yet nothing, nothing in all those years, gave him the same exhilaration that he got from flying. The jerk of the harness as the jump pack kicked, the sudden weightlessness, the rush of the air on his face - he would never wear a helmet, never be denied the cold sting of the air, the tears forced from his eyes...

Glancing over his shoulder mid-leap, he caught a glimpse of an armoured shape racing through the streets below, the sunburst of muzzleflash in the darkness. The brief incandescence of the bolt igniting revealed black armour, a claw emblazoned on one red and blue shoulderpad. It was one of those accursed Legionnaires; a brother of the Brazen Claws if he remembered the insignia correctly. He'd be easy enough to lose, there was no chance a marine on foot in the maze of streets below could keep up with a jump-pack equipped Raptor on the rooftops.

The important thing right now was the experience - the rush of the air, the flare of the attitude jets as he came in for his landing... the Raptor cursed, that execrable wyrd was standing right in his landing zone staring vacantly into space.

+++

Xamot Hell started violently as one of Cain's minions narrowly missed slamming into him before leaping in to the air towards the next building. The idiot Raptor barely seemed in control of his jump pack, typical of the fools that cretin Cain surrounded himself with.

That would certainly change when he became Lord of the 17th Legion of Fear, oh yes... he would pick only the very best warriors from the ranks of the Night Lords to be his Lieutenants. Well... not the very best, of course, that would be foolish, for they would surely covet control of the Legion just as Xamot himself did... No, the very best would be sent out to face the strongest enemies he could find, and hopefully get themselves killed in the process, thus neatly removing two problems with one deft stroke of his masterful intellect. Yes, that was the way - select those bright enough to appreciate how masterful he was, but not so bright that he wouldn't be able to foresee their ill-planned attempts at treachery. Oh no, he wouldn't make the same mistake Noctus had...

Xamot sniggered to himself, then glanced round suspiciously. An imbecile dolt Cain might be, but the Lord of the 17th Legion of Fear had spies everywhere. Xamot was good at spotting them though, yes, he could spot them easily. He squinted, carefully surveying every inch of the rooftop, examining every shadow, every piece of architecture, looking for Cain's emissary. There! He'd almost missed it the first time, but yes... yes! He could see it now - it was so obvious once you knew what to look for - every other chimney on the roof was broken or shattered, but this one, oh, that fool Cain had slipped up this time, yes, this one was perfect, intact, untouched by the battle. It doubtless contained vox- and pict-corders, planted there by one of Cain's lackeys in an attempt to catch Xamot out. Xamot pulled a frag grenade from his belt, looked at the chimney then clipped the grenade back in place... No, a frag grenade might leave some of the spy-eyes intact, and that wouldn't do at all. He reached under his robes, pulled out a meltabomb, and stood weighing it in his hand and looking at the chimney with a speculative gaze. Yes, this was better, a meltabomb would do the trick nicely. Xamot sniggered again as he carefully attached the device to the chimney. He paused, and retrieved another meltabomb from the depths of this robes - one would do the trick, but two... yes, two would make sure there was none of Cain's spy-eyes left...

+++

#58
Aurelius Rex

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+++

Thirteen Hours Later…

‘All clear, Brother Kruitzfeldt.‘ nodded Aiakos after consulting the auspex. The Librarian knelt down and carefully unclenched the gauntleted hand to retrieve the slim, brass coated core of the Odysseus bolt. Examining it carefully he realised that what he had taken as abrasions were in fact a message, etched into the metal in tiny, near impenetrably angular handwriting. Among the scrawls he could make out the word ‘Lycurgus’.

Before he could decipher any further it was plucked from his grasp. The Captain stalked away with it, cursing under his breath.

‘The helmet,’ whispered Aiakos beside him, easing it carefully out of the dead man’s grip, and scanning it with the auspex. ‘it’s not Order Encarmine... It belongs to Golgotha, and it’s still recording.’

All eyes turned to Lycurgus, but when it was clear that he was engrossed in the message from Cain, the Librarian nodded for Aiakos to search the pict-files.

The assembled Legio marines watched the recording of Golgotha’s squad transforming in mute disgust. That a loyal marine could be warped, corrupted against his will was an unvoiced fear that gnawed at each of them. They were all proud warriors, ambassadors for their Chapters, but the idea that - even through no fault of their own - they would fall under the shadow of the Ruinous Powers and bring disgrace to their colours haunted them all.

The harsh laugh of Captain Lycurgus cut through the silence as they watched Golgotha incinerate his fallen brethren.

‘That explains why Golgotha encrypted the recording from his augmetic eye. He didn’t want us to see that he murdered -’

‘As archivist for this mission,’ said Kruitzfeldt, pointedly cutting him off, ‘I can’t condone Golgotha keeping this information from us, Captain, and I shall be reprimanding him.’ He didn’t have to be psychic to know where the Celestial Lion was going with this. Lycurgus was a good man, and a fine commanding officer who had served the Emperor for three centuries, but he had lost all perspective where Cain, and seemingly where Golgotha was concerned. He was not about to let the Captain do something that with a clearer head he would regret. ‘However, on a personal level, anyone who would risk execution and dishonour to protect the memory of those under his command has my admiration… and my full support.’

The look of fury and disbelief on the Captain’s face was only increased at the rumbles of agreement and approval from the assembled marines.

Kruitzfeldt locked gaze with Lycurgus, and continued. ‘In that spirit, my official report to the Librarium will reflect that as Sergeant Golgotha has stated, his squad was captured and executed by renegades of the Order Encarmine, and their bodies, geneseed and wargear tragically destroyed… On the honour of our fallen Brothers, I am sure the Captain would ask that everyone in this room be sworn to secrecy upon the Aquila never to reveal what they have seen here today.’

Lycurgus broke eye contact to glance down once more at the brass cylinder. With a smile as brittle, cold and dangerous as thin ice, he cleared his throat to speak.

‘Croeseus, this is Lycurgus.’ He growled into the vox. ‘Discontinue the interrogation… It seems that Golgotha was telling the truth about the Order Encarmine.’

The sense of relief – the feeling that they had in some way stepped back from the edge of a crevasse – swept through the assembled marines, but as the seconds of dead air ticked by the tension began to creep back. Finally the harsh snarl of the Iron Hand crackled over the vox.

‘Croeseus? The real Croeseus is floating in space somewhere. He never even made it to the Legio.’

‘What the hell are you talking about, Croeseus?’ spluttered Lycurgus.

‘Sir, this is Golgotha. Croeseus has confessed to being an impostor to infiltrate the Legio, and has been… confined.’ There was a gasp from Aiakos as the accompanying pict-files flickered across the display. Kruitzfeldt sensed in his Brother-marines the revulsion that they had been infiltrated, and shocked frustration at his final moments.

All except for Captain Lycurgus; his face, body-language and aura were unreadable, closed-off. Chillingly blank.

Golgotha‘s voice crackled over the vox once more. ‘Requesting permission to return to duty and to discuss this matter with you in private… Sir.’

+++

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#59
Rogue Trader

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About time to finish this, since we started it back in 2004 :lol: For those of you who can't remember what's happening (all of you, I expect!), there's a handy catch up guide at the start of this post.

+++

Whumpf!

The distinctive sound of a meltabomb – the tight, inwardly directed explosion – echoed across the rooftops, followed moments later by a deep, ominous rumble. Jarrett watched in disbelief as the building across the alley disappeared from view, to be replaced by a rapidly expanding cloud of rockcrete dust.

Moving cautiously to the edge of the parapet, Jarrett looked down at the pile of rubble, then back up at the fast vanishing Raptor – there was no way he'd be able to keep up now, not by the time he'd made his way to ground level and back up to the rooftops of the Manufactorum the other side of the ruins.

The crash of rubble moving drew his attention down again, to see a Chaos Marine pushing his way out from under the fallen masonry. Jarrett glanced round the rooftop, spotting an ancient rusted stair that led to ground level. The Emperor must be smiling on him - he’d be descending hidden from the traitor’s view by the corner of the building, and be in a perfect position to surprise the Night Lord…

+++

Xamot Hell smirked as he pulled himself free of the remains of the building. There was no way Cain’s devices could have survived that! Still, it wouldn’t do to gloat too much – not yet anyway – as the darkened city was still crawling with the accursed Legionnaires and, as indomitable as Xamot knew his own mighty powers to be, he didn’t want to run into any of those black-clad marines right now, no, that wouldn’t do at all.

It occurred to the Sorcerer that, whilst demolishing the building was the only certain means to preventing the idiot Cain’s surveillance of him, it might also have attracted attention from any servants of the corpse god that might be in the area. Xamot squinted at the surrounding streets, seeing no sign of life, but that tickling sensation at the back of his skull wouldn’t fade. Closing his eyes, he unleashed his wyrd-sense, searching for any flicker of light in the darkness that would indicate a living soul. The rats scurrying through the sewers below were like miniature torches, spluttering and spitting with the latent psychic energy all living organisms shared. Extending his senses towards the awaiting shuttle he could feel the retreating Night Lords, their soul-lights polluted and oily. There was the bright shining light of the Legionnaire – the Brazen Claw - who had been chasing the Raptor through the streets, turning back now, unable to keep pace with his quarry. There was a squad of Legionnaires, too far to be any problem, and there was…

Xamot’s eyes snapped open, his hands grasping at his weapons as the Legionnaire stepped round the corner of the building, his boltgun levelled…

+++

#60
Rogue Trader

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  • Faction: Grief Bringers
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Jarrett racked the under-slung grenade launcher attached to his bolter and fired, sending a grenade arcing high over the traitor's head. It struck the base of the only wall still standing and exploded with a sharp crack! He smiled as the already weakened rockcrete groaned in protest, and slowly collapsed inwards.

The Chaos Marine crouched, twisting and raising a spread hand towards the falling wall. A blue glow surrounded his outstretched arm and the collapsing wall shuddered and stopped, hovering above the Night Lord's head.

A Sorcerer! The traitor was a damned Sorcerer!

Swearing under his breath, Jarrett knelt, flicked the selector switch on his boltgun to full-auto, and opened fire.

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Xamot stifled a giggle as the Legionnaire sprayed explosive bolts at him. He lived for these moments - the raw energy of the warp flowed through him, arcing across his armour and filling his veins with white hot power. Every nerve in his body was on fire, every sense so sharp it was almost too much to bear. Nothing in the universe could harm him now, most certainly not the feeble weapons this puny servant of the Corpse carried.

With a leisurely flick of the wrist Xamot waved the bolts aside, hearing them spatter the rubble behind him. Another gesture sent slabs of rockcrete flying through the air at the Legionnaire, slamming him to the ground, smashing the weapon from his hands and glancing off the weeping eye emblazoned on his shoulder pad.

Waving a massive block of rockcrete into the air, Xamot sent it spinning through the air towards the prostrate Grief Bringer. He held it over the Marine for a few moments before releasing his mind's grip and letting it fall, crushing the Marine's outstretched right arm...

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Rhadamanthys slowed from his headlong pursuit of the Raptor as a strange feeling washed over him. Kruitzfeldt had mentioned there might be some temporary side effects from the psychic cleansing the Librarian had given him after the mental and spiritual assault in the gardens of the Governor's mansion. He'd been sensing things - things he couldn't quite find the right words to explain. It was almost as though parts of another reality was overlapping with this one - he couldn't quite see or hear them, but they were definitely there and he could feel them somehow...

Right now, the hairs on the back of his neck were rising. A sense of building pressure - of murderous intent - was emanating from the direction of the Night Lords' ambush, back the way he had just come.

The young Brazen Claw hesitated, torn between pursuing the Raptor and the sense of urgency pulling him back towards the ambush site. He looked up, scanning the sky; there was no sign of the Raptor's trail, so it looked like the decision had been made for him. Carefully slotting a new magazine into his treasured bolt pistol, Rhadamanthys turned and began to retrace his steps.

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#61
Rogue Trader

Rogue Trader

    ++ ADDUCERE AEGRIMONIA ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 3,614 posts
  • Location:Northants
  • Faction: Grief Bringers
I was originally holding this section back until the AoD was finished, but it's become relevant to the onging story line (in particular the intro to Round Four), so here we go...



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Jarrett groaned involuntarily as he futilely tried to shift the huge weight pinning his crushed arm. The Sorcerer’s maniacal laughter had finally faded and now he could hear the Traitor’s heavy tread approaching over the rubble.

‘If you’re not going to play anymore, there’s really no point keeping you alive is there?’

The weight suddenly lifted from his arm, the chunk of rockcrete rising into the air over the prone Legionnaire as the Traitor prepared to deal the killing blow.

‘No last words of defiance? No futile prayers to your dead god?’

The Traitor laughed again, then ducked as a fusillade of bolts whistled around him. Jarrett craned his neck and saw Rhadamanthys advancing on the Night Lord, bolt pistol blazing. The Sorcerer dived into cover, hurling the rockcrete boulder at the advancing Brazen Claw as he did so.

The momentary distraction his friend had provided was the chance Jarrett had been waiting for. Gritting his teeth against the pain he hauled himself to his feet, the sequence of his attack forming clearly in his mind – holding his combat knife in the proscribed manner, with the blade below the fist, he would hurl himself at the Traitor and plunge the knife into the weak point between plastron and helm. His momentum would carry him past his enemy, dragging the monomolecular blade across the Night Lord’s throat, irrevocably severing windpipe and jugular veins. It was a manoeuvre he had used time and again over the years and it had never failed, the speed of the strike left the target dead before they knew what had hit them.

Digging the toes of his boots into the rubble, Jarrett pulled his knife from its sheath, and tensed his legs for the lunge toward the traitor.

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Rolling into cover, Rhadamanthys could see Jarrett out of the corner of his eye. The Grief Bringer had staggered to his feet and was swaying as he drew his combat knife. The Brazen Claw watched in dismay as his friend stumbled unsteadily towards the Night Lord, slowly raising the blade. Frozen by his mounting horror, he could only watch as Jarrett lunged – fell – towards the Traitor, knife outstretched. The Sorcerer raised his bolt pistol without even looking at his attacker and fired a single round at point blank range. The mass reactive bolt pierced the eye lens of Jarrett’s helmet and exploded a split second later, spraying ceramite, bone and brain matter into the night air. The Grief Bringer fell, headless, his momentum carrying him to land sprawled at the Night Lord’s feet.

Suddenly able to move again, Rhadamanthys vaulted the wall and sprinted towards the Traitor, roaring with rage and frustration. The Sorcerer’s hands glowed and a blast of psychic fire threw the Legionnaire from his feet. Clambering back to his feet he raised his Bolt Pistol and fired as the Sorcerer ripped the air itself asunder and, throwing the dead Legionnaire’s body over his shoulder, stepped through the portal he had created. Rhadmanthys rose to his feet and ran towards the tear in reality, emptying the clip of his pistol at the Night Lord’s retreating back. The last of the explosive bolts passed through the tear as it sealed itself shut and vanished, leaving no trace of the Sorcerer’s passage.

Rhadamanthys dropped to his knees, and quietly began to chant the rites of death for his fallen friend, trying to suppress the sorrow and sense of loss that threatened to overwhelm him. Kneeling amidst the few shards of ceramite and tissue that were all that remained of the Grief Bringer, he lost track of time, only roused from his mourning by the insistent beeping of his armour’s proximity detector. Forcing himself into action, he slammed a fresh magazine in to his pistol and raised it as a power armoured figure strode into the street.

Despite the smoke and ash discolouring the highly polished armour, despite the blackened face and singed hair, there could be no mistaking the approaching Marine. Rhadamanthys’ heart lifted and he felt some of the gloom surrounding him dissipate.

’Golgotha!’

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