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Entry C - "Untitled"
 
Old 30 Aug 2009, 00:17   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Entry C - "Untitled"

Distress Call

The Hunter-Class Destroyer Karimau broke back into real-space with a flash of blinding light. The tiny vessel locked on to the distress beacon, altered course, and fired the engines to close on its mark.

Sergeant Ayex stood upon the bridge, watching the void. Somewhere ahead, still invisible even to his augmented eyes, was a merchant vessel in distress. The signal was automated, repeating at regular intervals, giving no information beyond the need for aid. Ayex was almost tempted to ignore it, given their ship was not suited for ship-to-ship combat, but the beacon was directed specifically at the ‘Children of Nova’. That meant he could not let it be.

It came into view, a pin-prick of light in the black. Slowly, slowly, the vessel formed on the screen; a bulbous frog-like beast of faded paint and rust. Ayex was more interested in the empty patches of space, scanning for potential hostiles.
“This is the Supernovan Warship Karimari to merchant craft. We have received your petition for aid. Acknowledge, please.”
Silence.
Karimau to merchant vessel. Acknowledge.” Ayex repeated, sensing the concern of his crew.
This time, an answer came.
This is Captain Donno of the Lex Probatus. Thank you for coming! Thank you, thank you! We have a situation here!
Ayex raised his hands, hoping to calm the holo-image of the Captain that was forming in front of his eyes. “Captain, please. I require information, not panic. Give us the name, numbers and disposition of the foe.”
The holo-Captain adjusted his collar, shifting restlessly. “Numbers... I do not know. Disposition... I do not know. However, at least one in five of my crew have turned against the glorious Imperium! I require aid to bring them to order!
Ayex nodded. “Give us a docking location. We will deploy...” his voice trailed as the hologram vanished, replaced by a far cruder signal.
-arines? Thank the Throne! The Captain has gone mad! We need your help!
The Sergeant and the crew exchanged puzzled glances.
“And you are?”
First Officer Steb. We need-
Once more, the hologram vanished. This time, both men came into view. They both looked at the Space Marine, then at each other. Then they began yelling at the top of their lungs. Ayex listened for a few moments, and that was enough for his patience to wear out.
“ENOUGH!” he bellowed. Silence filled the bridge.
“Better,” he said. “Now, Captain, please explain to me in a civil manner what your First Officer has done that warrants accusations of betrayal?”
The Captain shot his mortal enemy a hateful glance. “Heresy,” he answered. “Specifically, desecration of the sacred Star of Plob.
More confused glances travelled across the bridge in various directions.
“I see... now you, Steb. What has your Captain done to warrant your claim of insanity?”
I protest the claim I am a heretic!” the man snapped. “It is the Captain who has decorated the Star of Plob!
“Decorated?” Ayex asked, but the two men were busy with their own shouting match. Once again, a swift bellow shut them both up.
“Gentlemen, it is clear to me this matter cannot be solved in this manner. I shall come aboard. Captain, pray tell what is this ‘Star of Plob’ of which you speak?”
The Captain seemed genuinely surprised by the question. “The star... is the symbol of Captain Plob, the great warrior of your Chapter.
Realisation dawned on the Sergeant. “Pelobn. Captain Pelobn. He once came to the aid of a merchant craft... very well. I will come aboard. Have an orderly meet me on the port docking bay and guide me to the Star, where you will both be waiting for me.”
What? You must be joking! I won’t-
I’m not going anywhere near-
“Where you will both be waiting,” Ayex repeated, his patience wearing thin. “That is not a request.”

Turning to his crew, Ayex gave the order to cut signal with a curt gesture. The Captain of the vessel made his opinion on the matter clear with a single digit, evoking a smile from the Sergeant.
“I don’t think I will need my squad for this one. Please prepare a shuttle; I’ll be back within the hour.”

The Chapel was small, dark and modest. Simple wooden pews took up most of the space, facing an altar surrounded by free-standing stained glass windows, backlit with crude lumen globe mountings. Dominating this basic space was a silver disk six feet across, bedecked in gems and rare metals. The Star of Pelobn was the central design.
Despite himself, Ayex was impressed at the level of devotion the crew displayed toward the artefact. He looked at the assembled crew; the Captain, the First Mate and various other officers of intermittent rank. All had come to see the Space Marine.
“Gentlemen,” the Chapel’s echo repeated the introduction several times. “What exactly is the problem here?”
Donno pointed to the star, his face locked in what was probably supposed to be a grim snarl, but came across as an uncomfortable bowel movement.
“Steb and his companions violated this artefact!”
“I did not!” Steb barked. “It was the Captain who-“
“How exactly was it violated?” Ayex’s voice was dead calm despite the interruption.
“Yes you did! You have made a mockery of this holy place!”
“I did not!”
“Did too!”
“Did not!”
“Did-“
Silence!” the windows shook in their frames, such was the fury of Ayex. Even the Chapel fell silent, its walls to terrified to echo. The only sound was a gentle, damp pattering sound. As one, all eyes turned toward Steb, then slowly downward.
“That... is repulsive,” Ayex growled, averting his eyes from the growing damp patch on the front of the man’s trousers.

Striding between the two officers, Ayex gripped the great disk and slowly rotated it. The mountings gave a rusted whine, but could do little to stop the Astartes.
“See, I told you we were right!” Steb’s nasal whine of triumph was cut short when the Space Marine’s work had finished, revealing his orientation of the Star.
“You had the symbol on its side,” Ayex explained. “The crescent moon should be on the right.”
The Captain looked around sheepishly. “So... not above?”
“No.”
“Not... below?” Steb asked hopefully.
“No,” Ayex repeated. “The symbol is now correct. Does this resolve the matter?”
“Yes,” the two men said in unison, albeit unhappily.
“Good, then I will-“
“No!” said a voice. It said ‘No’ again, several times and with increasing desperation. With a sudden scream and much flailing of limbs, one of the officers departed hysterically from the Chapel.

Ayex looked to Captain Donno for an explanation.
“He was... very proud of his faith...” Donno mumbled.
Ayex sighed. “Is he likely to do something foolish?”
“Yup,” Steb replied. “I’ve not seen him act like that since the cook forgot to serve scampi on Friday.”
“Never speak of that!” Donno snapped. Ayex merely rolled his eyes.
“Gentlemen, if it would help, I will go and speak with him.”
Donno replied, but Ayex wasn’t listening. The Karimau was voxing him.
Captain, we’ve been fired upon! The ship has powered its dorsal guns and fired at us! What in His name is happening down there?
Ayex swore. “Captain Donno! Why is my ship being fired upon?”
Donno winced. Behind him, Steb’s damp patch became slightly more damp.
“Well, as you saw... the gunnery officer was most upset.”
Ayex swore again. “I shall deal with him. You two stay here. Stay here!” he barked, seeing Donno’s mouth framing a protest.
As the Space Marine stormed away, Donno and Steb exchanged glances. “Do you think he’s upset?” Steb asked.

He was close. He could feel the recoil shaking the deck plates. Hunched, filthy crewmen watched him pass, typically from wherever they had thrown themselves to clear his way; Ayex was moving at speed, and shining with an aura of pure fury.
As the doors to the gun deck slid open, Ayex had his pistol and chainsword drawn. He watched as teams of loader-slaves hauled the ammunition carriage toward the waiting macro-cannon, overseen by a fanatical officer.
“Hurry!” the man screamed. “We must destroy the non-believers! Purge all those who do not believe the sign points up!”
The workers groaned “we obey” in the manner of children greeting a teacher at a quarter to nine.
Ayex took aim, and blew apart a glow-stand next to the officer.
“That’s enough!” the slaves glanced briefly at the giant, then back to their lord. “You! Order them to stand down!”
“Never!” the officer wailed. “I shall kill you myself!”
He tried to draw a pistol, and was dead before it left the holster. With a thunderclap, the headless body of the gunnery officer toppled from the command dais, and smashed into the rail-track below with a sticky thud.
It took Ayex a moment to realise that the slave crews had continued to work. He revved his Chainsword to get their attention, and closed on the nearest.
“What in Terra’s name are you doing?”
“...followin’ orders...” the nearest slave told his feet.
Ayex sighed, and lowered his weapons. “You do not need to. Your officer is dead. Stand down.”
The group shuffled uneasily. “cnt” one mumbled.
“You can’t?”
“nm.”
Ayex rolled his eyes, and opened the vox. “Chapel, this is Ayex. Captain, order the gun crew to stand down.”
I wish I could, sir, but I can’t order them to do that.
Ayex removed his communication device, and examined the device carefully. Satisfied all was well, he locked it in place once more.
“Captain, my vox unit appears to be fully functional, so I am going to assume there is some fault on your end.”
Oh.” After a few moments, Donno added “Umm...” followed by “Why is that?
“Because if there is not a fault on your end, Captain, then I was just told you are unable to command your own gunnery crew!”
Dust drifted down from the rafters, scared out of its hiding place by the wrath of a power-armoured god. One of the slaves held up a hand shyly.
“sir... could you move to the side so we can carry on loading?”
Ayex cut him in half. The others decided not to ask again.
It’s sort of a tradition, you see...” Donno’s voice trailed off as the violence of the gun-deck filtered back through Ayex’s open vox. The Space Marine stormed into the group, making them all retreat toward the far wall in terror.
“Mark me, and mark me well...” Ayex’s voice was a whisper, yet carried across the entire chamber. “The next man who so much as lays a finger upon any part of this weapon, or its munitions, will be ripped limb from limb. Am I clear?”
He was.
“Then get the hell out of my sight!”
Ayex watched the deck crew flee, composing himself in their absence. It had been a most testing day.
Karimau, this is Ayex. Situation is under control. I am returning to the docking bay. Prepare for my arrival; I want to get off this wretched ship as soon as humanely possible.”
The ship acknowledged. Ayex unbuckled the helmet from his hip, and locked it in place. The internal HUD plotted the fastest route back to the docking bay.
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Old 30 Aug 2009, 00:18   #2 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Entry C - "Untitled"

Five minutes later, he was shot at.

The automated defence gun put two lasbolts into his chest, then exploded. He surveyed the damage, dismissing it as superficial, yet drew his weapons regardless.
“Captain Donner,” Ayex growled, “I have been fired upon in section... God-Emperor, do you people put no markings on your ship? Why the hell are the bulkheads not marked?”
Very sorry!” the Captain squeaked. “Let’s see... umm... oh! You’re in the Yellow Zone. Oh dear... Sir, you’d best turn back.
The Space Marine’s patience had worn out. “Emperor, what did I do to deserve this? Did I offend you in some way?”
Sir?
“Never mind. What is so terrible about this ‘Yellow Zone’, Captain?”
You aren’t wearing yellow.
Ayex could see where this was leading. “And so the crew in this region will try to kill me.”
...I am very, very sorry!
“You will be,” Ayex disengaged the link, and soldiered on.

The corridors gave way to a large chamber, not a room so much as a space between rooms, forgotten about as the ship had been expanded, repaired and modified. The floor was uneven, often missing, and ad-hoc ramps were placed down to allow access to the higher doorways. On one of the more solid areas of flooring, a small group of men in yellow robes congregated. Ayex approached them with gun aimed.
One caught sight of him, and screamed. “Unclean! Unclean!
Instantly, the air was full of bullets. Ayex’s pistol barked as hostiles emerged from all directions. Lasbolts and hard rounds spanked off the corroding metal pipes and punched holes in plating. He sprinted forward, dropping two foes with well-aimed shots before cutting down two more in a single swing. The Auspex built into his armour locked on to a heat signature two stories up, and with paternatural skill Ayex decapitated the would-be sniper.

Yet on they came. A trio of thin, lanky men hauled a heavy stubber position out of a pipe mouth, locking the rear legs down to brace it for firing. Ayex dropped his pistol and drew a grenade, priming and throwing in one swift motion. The blast destroyed the weapon, crew and pipe it was positioned in.
“To hell with this!” Ayex cursed, plotting a new route. At least a dozen foes blocked his path, and one of them was firing wildly with some form of emplaced weapon. He was going to be overrun. He decided to escape the ‘Yellow Zone’, and work backwards.
He went for the nearest door, the crude path breaking beneath him as he ran. A guard with a flamer tried to stop him, but the giant’s chainsword cleared the way. After that, there was no resistance.

Stopping to take his bearings, Ayex caught sight of movement ahead. The room was some form of pumping station, with pistons of all sizes rising and falling. However, the movement he had seen was no piston.
Heavy bolter rounds obliterated the pump organ ahead of him. The Supernovan threw himself flat, crawling on his hands and knees to get sight of his attacker.
“God-Emperor!”
It was a Leman Russ. Bolter-sponsons tracked left and right, supported by a trooper on a cupola mounted weapon. The main gun creaked gently back and forth, a metronome of destructive power keeping time to some unheard tune.
“Captain Donno! Why in damnation’s name do you have a battletank on board?”
We have a tank?
Ayex cursed the man to the depths of the Warp. The tank had a commanding field of fire in the cramped conditions, and now the only cover between it and the door was scattered in burning pieces around him, Ayex knew he’d not make it back to the door.
He sat up, back pressed against the solid metal base of the now desecrated pumping unit, and primed a grenade. Hurling it to his left, he sprinted right as the explosion distracted the tank crew, diving into better cover. Bolt shells whined through the air, missing him by inches. As he hit shelter, the tank’s main gun roared. The wall behind him vanished, and the blast hurled entire section of wall-plating against him.

“Got him!”
The Yellow Men stood in the doorway, surveying the carnage. A squad-leader stepped forward, las-cutter drawn, and moved toward the fallen Space Marine.
Ayex kicked a piece of sheet-metal clear with enough force to break the man’s back, and hurled a cooked grenade into the doorway. Men screamed and died as shrapnel tore flesh from bone, but Ayex was already running for the tank. The sponson traversed too slowly, its shots killing its own allies rather than the Supernovan. Ayex vaulted up the tank, blowing a hole through the cupola-gunner in the process, and readied a krak grenade. He dropped the device inside the tank, and leapt clear before it detonated. He was barely through the far door when the internal magazine went off, obliterating the entire room and slamming him into the corridor wall.

“Donno!” he yelled. “Am I clear?”
Yes sir, you are! Did you have to break the pump room? That was quite important...
“I am far past caring.” Ayex’s reply was deadpan. “Get me back to the Chapel.”
Yessir. Do you see a row of blue lumen globes?
Ayex examined the walls of the corridor. “No. There are red lumens, and burned out lumens.”
Follow the burned out ones then. You’ll be back in no time.
Ayex couldn’t find the strength to insult the man anymore. He wanted to go home. He wanted to get back on board his ship. Hell, he’d rather be stationed within the Eye of Terror than this accursed ship! However, he had one task left to do...

The lumen globes did guide his way, to an extent. They led him down a long, narrow corridor that was mostly blocked with an ad-hoc power distribution system. The rest was blocked by an old man with a trolley of broken lumen globes.
“Make room,” Ayex said.
The old man glanced up at him. “Yessir! Just let me put this new globe in.”
Ayex watched the man for a moment. “That ‘new’ globe... it is broken.”
“Yessir it is, but it’s all we have.”
“You are replacing broken lumen globes with broken lumen globes.” Ayex spoke very carefully to ensure no detail was missed.
“Yessir. That’s my job.”
Ayex reached down and plucked the broken globe from the man’s hands. He dropped it into the trolley, and then lifted the old worker to his feet.
“What you are doing is very, very stupid. I have been exposed to far too much stupidity today. I cannot take any more.” His voice was soft as a pillow, but every word held the promise of smothering. “Go away, and find some working globes. I don’t care where from, I don’t care how. Find working globes and install them, or I will have to murder you.”
The old man was released, and fled with haste. Ayex sighed, and continued on his course. Soon, he found himself back in familiar surroundings, and made course for the Chapel.

Donno and Steb were sat on the arm-rests of opposite pews, keeping the central walkway between them. By the look of things, they’d been having an argument again. Ayex slammed the doors open with enough force to remove them from their hinges, and marched past both men without a word.
“Sir!” the Captain exclaimed. “It’s good to see you! I trust everything... is... wait, what are you doing?”
“He’s ripping down the Star!” wailed Steb.
“Yes I am.” Ayex tore the icon free, and began to carefully roll it away.
“You can’t do that! That’s ours!”
Ayex stopped. “Yours?” he asked, looking straight into the Captain’s eyes.
“Y-yes!” Donno replied. “It was a gift! It was... umm... a Vessel Mark!”
“Vassal Mark,” Ayex corrected. “Yes, I know. It is hereby revoked.”
Steb looked at the Captain, then at Ayex. “Is it something he did?” he asked, raising an accusing finger.
“No. It is something you all did!” Ayex banged the disk on the ground, causing Steb to fall backwards onto the pew and lose control of his bladder again.
“This vessel has caused me nothing but misery! This is no ship, it’s a lunatic asylum!” Ayex was screaming now, his fury reducing the Captain to tears. “You people are all stark raving mad! You started a civil war because you forgot which way up the symbol went! Your crew won’t follow the Captain’s orders! Half the crew tried to kill me for not wearing the colour yellow, and to top it all off some bloody stupid old man was putting broken globes back in the sockets!”
“That’d be Nigel-“
I DON’T CARE!” Ayex’s words smashed into Steb like a wild grox, and he lost control of some more bodily functions. “Captain, you are incompetent! Your first mate is incontinent! Your crew are deranged, and I honestly cannot fathom how in the name of the Golden Throne no organisation has saw fit to have you all executed! I will not allow any of my Battle Brothers to be put through such idiocy ever again!”
He headed for the door, or what was left of it, pausing only to give Captain Donno one last, furious scowl.
“The next time one of our ships finds you, they will have orders to fire upon you. I suggest you do not seek us out again.”

It was half an hour before anyone dared to move. The congregation of officers all lay in variations of a foetal position until the Astartes transport was clear, and the Karimau had charted course. Eventually, a rather damp and very unpleasant-smelling Steb rose to his feet, and looked over to the Captain.
“...sir...”
“Yes, Steb?” Donno managed, having chewed his fingernails so much his thumbs were bleeding.
“...he never said we could leave the Chapel...”
Donno looked over to his first mate. He was right. Of course, maybe the Space Marine had meant they were to stay in the Chapel whilst he was aboard, and now he was gone they could leave. He could see Steb was thinking the exact same thing.
“Do you want to risk it?” Steb asked.
Donno tapped the controls of the vox-unit mounted wall of the Chapel. “Lud? This is the Captain. We’re going to have to relocate the bridge...”
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Old 06 Oct 2009, 19:35   #3 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Entry C - "Untitled"

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) - 3.3/5
Plot, storyline etc. - 12.8/15
Realism/Plausability - 3/5
Interest - 3.7/5
Characters - 4/5
Ease of read - 4.3/5

TOTAL - 31.2/40

Comments -

-Another good story, but didn't catch me as much as the other.
Vocabulary error (1st post, 3rd line from the bottom. wargamer wrote humanely instead of humanly. The first one means compassionately, the second one means within human ability. It,s stupid but it actually made me stop for a good minute or so.

-Excellent. Very humorous story, kept my attention throughout, nice and easy to read. Characters are great. Nothing more to say really, very well written.
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Old 07 Oct 2009, 21:28   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Entry C - "Untitled"

I notice now that I made a mistake pretty early on - in the original draft, the Supernovan ship was the "Karimari", which was changed to "Karimau" as I felt that flowed better.

I didn't change it in one instance. :P
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