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January Short Story Competition [VOTING]
View Poll Results: Which short story is your favourite?
Entry A 4 6.45%
Entry B 2 3.23%
Entry D 2 3.23%
Entry E 1 1.61%
Entry F 0 0%
Entry G 9 14.52%
Entry H 2 3.23%
Entry I 3 4.84%
Entry J 1 1.61%
Entry K 8 12.90%
Entry L 0 0%
Entry M 7 11.29%
Entry N 13 20.97%
Entry O 1 1.61%
Entry P 3 4.84%
Entry Q 3 4.84%
Entry R 1 1.61%
Entry S 2 3.23%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 62. You may not vote on this poll

Old 22 Jan 2009, 15:54   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 9,807
Default January Short Story Competition [VOTING]

Entry A:

Visibility was just a few feet. Vicious wind whipped the ash and sand up into miniature tornados that swept around the low ground between two hills.
It was a deadly scene. Sergeant Leonard ‘Big L’ Washington crouched low a few yards in front of his squad. His re-breather hissed as air leaked around the dry rubber gaskets. It was relatively new mask, at least to him. Its previous owner had been a Steel Legionnaire. Now he was a corpse. Killed by rebels. Or at least that’s what the reports said.

There was a bunker ahead, a small forward command post. Washington didn’t know who or what was inside. He did know they were going to take it. Behind him idly stood the eight men who made up his squad. They were busy racking slides, chambering rounds, and readying hand grenades. He stood slowly, so that his feet wouldn’t crunch any soil undertoe. One arm stretched out to wave them on as the other unslung his shotgun.

The bunker was set underground, with just a few feet visible above. There was a narrow gun slit, and in the front, there was a recessed port for an autocannon. It’s barrel poked ominously from the concrete structure. The only entrance was a small blast door in the rear. It was cleverly set around a corner, so those inside could easily shoot intruders as they attempted entry. But Washington knew how to blow these bunkers; he’d done it a thousand times before.

George Valentin pulled what looked like a long strip of putty from a bag over his shoulder. It was about a meter long, dark grey. He stuck a small pin the bottom, and hooked two wires to it. Inching forward, he rounded the corner behind Washington, who had the slug-laden shotgun pointing directly at the small gun port. Valentin slowly pressed the putty to the door, taking care to make sure it covered all three hinges. He tapped Washington on the shoulder, and they backed away with weapons still point at the door. Valentin was trailing the wires.

The squad knew the plan. It was the same drill every time. Blow the door, clear it room by room. Secure the main gun, then search nooks and crannies for targets. Washington had his shotgun ready; Valentin had the det-cord and a ‘broomhandle’ autopistol. Corporal Leskin had a tear gas grenade with the pin out. His gloved hand on the safety lever didn’t quite cover up the inscription ‘Savlar Penitentiary Suppression Unit’.

Washington nodded. Valentin’s thumb tripped the small lever on the ‘thunder-box’.

The explosion sounded deeper, as it echoed around the corner to hit the men out in the open. Chunks of concrete flew up and out, but Washington and his men has wisely taken cover away from the immediate blast zone. Now they rushed in, guns at the ready. Leskin had already tossed the tear gas, and it was quickly filling up the small space.
Washington’s boot crashed through a narrow door to a bunk room. He pumped a round into the figure waking in the bottom bunk.

Valentin rounded a corner to come face-to-face with a trooper. The man tried to spin to bring his bulky lasgun to bear. The idiot hadn’t collapsed his stock for close quarters. Valentin’s hard round took him in the jaw. He didn’t get up.

Leskin shouldered through a door into the communications room. A panicked technician reached for a sidearm where it rested on the table. Leskin’s autogun chattered; the man shook like a leaf in a gale. Blood splattered out onto the concrete wall behind him.

Karl Freudmann heard the click of the ventilation fans switch on. The tear gas was being sucked rapidly out of the bunker and venting to the outside. Adjusting his gasmask to rid it of fog, he tried to make out the lettering on a door to his left. It looked like ‘Controls’. Grinning triumphantly, he kicked the door in and brought his autogun to his shoulder.
The officer taking cover behind the desk put two rounds through the left glass eyepiece of Karl’s gasmask. He dropped without a sound.

Washington saw Karl crumple in front of a door. Reaching for a grenade, he left the pin in, tossing it through the door.
Just as he suspected, the startled officer leapt from the room.
“Hands up. Now!” Washington barked. The man dropped his large bore pistol and brought his hands to his head.
The man looked puzzled, coughing in the light tear gas.
“How many are here? How many men are here?” Washington asked forcefully.
The officer didn’t say a word.
Washington looked around. He could hear shouts of “Clear!” resounding through the facility.
“What the frak,” he said dismissively, and shot the man in the face. The slug ripped most of his skin off, and his skull caved in where his eyes met. Washington quickly went to work, removing the man’s leather gloves, pocketing the sidearm, and searching his pockets.

A few minutes later, Washington was leaning against a bloody wall in the comms room, blowing smoke rings from a dark cigar he found on the officer. Its label said it came in from off world. Valentin was seated in the comms chair, turning the dials to find the right channel. Washington had a new peaked cap. He liked it a lot, he had already affixed the only insignia of the Savlar Chem-Dogs: a large brass pin in the likeness of a snake curling around the Aquila. He felt he looked very much the officer now.
Leskin found the channel. He started talking to someone a few hundred miles away. Washington didn’t listen; he was too busy enjoying his cigar.

Killed by rebels. They took the whole bunker. Washington had arrived just on their heels, but didn’t manage to kill any. They searched the bunker, but all Imperials had been killed.
Or at least that’s what the reports would say.

Washington blew another smoke ring through a smile.
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 15:56   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: January Short Story Competition [VOTING]

Entry B:

The Bookkeeper

He's only known as the Bookkeeper in our city, he resides in a little bookshop, just on the outskirts, near to the harbour where titanic fishing ships sail to and fro, coming home bearing vast quantities of Ulicks in their holds. Some say he has never once stepped out of his bookshop, others say he died a decade ago, and few say, he dwells on things which shouldn't be dwelled upon.

Sketch rumours are going around saying that he was just a babe when the Emperor's Angels came to reclaim the planet in the Great Crusade, to unite all planets lost to the Imperium. That was many, many thousands of years ago, and yet, the bookshop is still there, still open even today. The Bookkeeper's shop hasn't had many visitors, the authorities have had their eyes on the bookshop for some time now. Ever speculating, why no customers, why no signs of life coming from the Bookshop? Or even the Bookkeeper himself.

The bookshop hasn't had any visitors, but that is about to change.

The bells announcing an arrival chimed for the first time, the door opened, but it never creaked, never made a sound. The visitor quietly entered the Bookshop, careful to close the door behind them, the bells chimed again and the door was shut.

“Hello?” the visitor asked, gazingly looking around the small shop, the visitor's eyes awed upon the huge amount of books, neatly put away in their shelves, not one was out of place.

“Come in, come in dear customer” a voice replied, a voice with a lot of age behind it.

“Excuse me, but I'm here to find a particular book” the visitor asked, pacing towards the front desk.

“And what would the particular book be, dear customer?” the voice questioned.

“It's not a book which you would find in a librarium, nor a bookshop like this, but it's a different book, from all the others”.

“And what is this book called, dear cus-”

“Please, call me Jeanne, Jeanne Poppyclove” the visitor abruptly interrupted.

“Mrs Jeanne Poppyclove, what a beautiful name, I've not heard such a lovely name in my lifetime”

“Thank you Sir, now about this book?” Jeanne said, as she just paused before the front desk, wondering where the voice was coming from.

“I'm sorry, Mrs Poppyclove, now what is this book called?”

“Ah yes, it's called 'The Understanding of Daemons' by the Arch-Inquisitor Arthur Loitermann” Jeanne said nervously, wondering what the Bookkeeper would say next. “And I thought such a bookshop like yours would at least have some such of these books”

“The Understanding of Daemons?” the Bookkeeper said as in thought, wondering why this woman would such need a book.

“And why Mrs Jeanne Poppyclove, would you need this book for?” he said questioningly.

“When I was little, my Father, Emperor rest his soul, told me bedtime stories of how the Emperor watched over us all while we slept and kept the Daemons from our dreams away” Jeanne said, remembering how it would always send her straight to sleep.

“Now, I've grown up, I've taken a fancy to these 'Daemons' that our glorious Emperor protects us from” she then continued.

“But Mrs Poppyclove, there are things which are never meant to be understood, nor mentioned, not even spoken of, it brings things not of this universe, it brings terror, fear, and worst of all, damnation, everything our Emperor stood against”.

“But Sir, to defeat is to understand, I want to understand these Daemons, in order to defeat them, I've heard stories of Daemon-worlds in the Eye Of Terror, I've heard Daemons invading many planets, even Imperial Worlds-.”

“Sometimes my dear, not everything can be understood, nor is it ever meant to be, I should know”.

There was shuffling, scrapping of something out of sight, of what is, or what was the Bookkeeper, coming forward into the light from what is the back room of the bookshop, was something that would make you wish you could tear your eyes out. The Bookkeeper, or what was the Bookkeeper, was vaguely human, no, you wouldn't of ever believed he was ever human. He mostly resembled a deceased carcass of a dead mammal, organs pulsing from the inside, exposed, the ribcage was only a tangled mesh of skin, his arms and legs, his legs where stripped to the bone, bent-double on themselves, his arms, only pulsating tentacles, his head or what was his head, was only a mess of the eyes, nose, and mouth, like someone removed his skeleton, all loose. Gang-green drool dribbled from his mouth, onto the floor.

Upon seeing this gruesome thing, Jeanne gasped in awe, not even able to scream, not able to move, she could only stare on as the Bookkeeper revealed himself after thousands of years, mutated beyond comprehension.

“Mrs Jeanne Poppyclove, this is reality, this is what happens when you try to understand these Daemons!”
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 16:00   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: January Short Story Competition [VOTING]

Entry D:

‘You’ve got three minutes’, a voice hissed through Alpharon’s Vox. His Brother and Cousin were clearly displeased with his lack of progress as a Knight pilot, and now when all things rested on him, he felt as though his nerves were going to break under pressure any moment. With no more than a thought, his Lancer heaved to life, at a slow walk at first, then a trot, then an outright sprint. As he rounded an Administratum building he felt a distinct unease at travelling any further into the city of Kourun. There were powers at work here that he knew he did not understand, and never wanted to.
On the ground below him, several traitors had quickly moved out in an attempt to form a defensive picket. Lasgun shots rang off the hull of Alpharon’s Lancer, and a missile caught him squarely in his left leg. In quick response, Alpharon unleashed an un-aimed shot from his Battle Cannon, praying that it would find its mark among the enemy. His prayer went unanswered though, as the shot missed its intended target, and instead only managed to drop a pair of the Cultists, kicking up asphalt and dust. In a fit of rage at yet another failure, Alpharon decided his next course of action was to dispose of these insects the way he had managed to destroy all the others that had gotten the better of him. With a quick diagnostic, and yet another prayer, the leg was showing crippled, but still fully attached and mostly usable. A thought later, and his Knight sent bodies flying with flailing legs, smashing arms and spines underfoot. He knew his relatives would be displeased, and he’d be scolded for his lack of skill and patience once more, but so be it if he still succeeded in saving their asses for the third time this campaign.
‘Two-and-a-half, Alpharon. You’d better get here now.’
Alpharon made an attempt at controlling the damage – a third prayer – and with the assisted robotics he’d had custom-installed on his Knight while the more ‘pious’ Techpriests were away, succeeded at repairing his damaged leg. He doubted that’d be something he could replicate in future, though, so with a vow to be more careful until he found his family in this hell, he goaded his Lancer into a full sprint once more.
If anything good could be said for piloting a Lancer, it would be that your speed is second to none. Easily outpacing even the agile Warhound Titans of the Legion, Lancers could cover entire city blocks in seconds. Putting all this speed to good use, praying that he would find no more resistance, Alpharon quickly glanced for the source of the Vox signal his impatient relatives were sending out. Rounding right around another tall building, he saw silhouetted against the skyline the massive form of a Reaver Titan.
‘Damn you, head down!’ came the voice of his brother through the vox. ‘That’s not one of ours. Or didn’t you see the rather large Chaos Star upon the damned thing’s carapace? Alpharon, you’re going to head down this lane here’, a small dot blipped on the map holo indicating where he was instructed to run his Knight, ‘You’ll flank right and, if all goes according to plan, you’ll have a clear rear-shot at all the exposed engine parts and weaker armour. Remember your Lance, and don’t you dare miss.’ Alpharon felt a sinking feeling at those last words. He knew his kin didn’t trust him to be able to make the shot, but even so the thought of letting them down once more gave cause to pray. ‘And… Now!’
Alpharon’s Lancer shot to life almost involuntarily, and he let the machine itself take over most of the piloting. Alpharon wanted to concentrate on nothing but taking the shot that was required of him. Nimbly the Lancer shot over rubble and curbs, dodging streetlights and narrowly avoiding the civilian vehicles that littered the streets. Almost suddenly he came up on the behemoth, an enormous hulk of steel and ceramite, pistons hissing, engine screaming, guns ablaze with white-hot, unholy death raining from them. He first saw the form of his Brother’s Knight dash out in front of the Reaver, then behind one of the many skyscrapers that littered the city. Not a moment later, the air beside the Reaver exploded as his Cousin made an attempt at destroying the Void Shields surrounding it. As it turned its guns, his brother once more dashed out, this time taking a shot.
‘The Traitor’s shields will be down in no time at this rate!’ a voice pierced through Alpharon’s vox, though the twisted squeal of delight at finding a target so unaware made it difficult to tell just who it was. Not a moment after, any trace of a good thought was erased as the Reaver turned its guns once more on the Brother, Apocalypse Missiles streaking out of the gargantuan launcher affixed to the top of the Titan’s carapace. In under a second, the Knight had all but evaporated under the tremendous force of the Titan’s firepower. ‘Take the shot, Dammit!’ His cousin screamed as he placed another well-aimed round into the Knight, only to have it explode a save distance from the Titan itself. ‘The shields are down, take the shot!’
Shocked back into reality, Alpharon spurred his Knight into action once more. He drove it closer to the Titan, not wanting to mess up his only opportunity, his only shot. When he felt he was close enough, he aimed as best he could at where he hoped the Cockpit of the Titan was, as it swiveled its guns to once more open fire on his only surviving kin. Alpharon threw up yet another prayer, and unleashed the cataclysmic power of his Lance. Bright white lights overtook his viewscreens, and in a series of deafening explosions, the Reaver, along with both Knights, the block, and half the ruins of the city were no more.
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 16:01   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: January Short Story Competition [VOTING]

Entry E:

Valley of Death

Corporal Stevens stood in his cockpit and looked around, it looked bad…well not really, everything was clear for miles around and that’s exactly what worried him the most, because they were not alone, somewhere out there those damn orks were hiding and his job was to find them.

He looked back at his unit -he was leading the 123rd Emperor's Talons Recon Group- mostly composed of Cadian pattern sentinel, but he also had two Armageddon, two Mars pattern ones. He gestured them forward towards some hills to the East.


Shekha Anrak leader of the White Hawk Mercenary Band was scanning the horizon from the mountain top and smiled. Soon his troops would be feasting on orks if all went well. Granted on one hand the presence of the humans was a bit annoying, but on the other, it just mean that the orks would not be looking for him since they would be busy with the men…all in all it was a good thing.

He turned around: “We move!” he ordered as he took to the air. The Sky darkened a bit as vulture kindred took to fly after him and several kroot with their hound followed him on foot.


Warboss Karzed ‘Da Krusha’ looked at the hill, A huge feral grin crossed his face…the human settlement was beyond those hills and once he and his boyz get there, it would be a wonderful slaughter and so what if the human had entered the system earlier today, most of the ship got caught by their fleet and the few who manage to make it through would not stop him he vow, on the contrary they will make this trip a Hell of a lot more fun.

He rose his axe and a deep sonorous ”WWWAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGHH” could be heard for miles as his troops starts to march after him.


“Son of a filthy two bits whore!!” Stevens cursed, as he was faced, once again by a shear wall of granite. Ever since he had entered those hills it was box canyon after box canyon. It was really hard to find his way, yet alone find orks in those, but earlier he had heard their war cry from afar so he knew he wasn’t too far…he hated that when he was right. “We turn back.” He called on his comm. ‘Again’ he mentally added, and the ten sentinels turned around to the opening of the canyon.

They made it about half way, when a huge explosion to their left rocked the whole valley. He looked around and had a sinking feeling in his stomach, a huge battlewagon, followed by some bikes and turned the bend and were coming his way…blocking their only exit.

“By Slannesh Left nipple!” he cursed as he opened fire at the battle wagon, “Evasive manoeuvre,” he ordered his men, “try to take the damn wagon out Jamerson, Dicky, Swanson take care of those bikes” he called. He looked back and he could see that his boys were getting into gear and doing their job.


The master shaper looked down into the valley, they orks had trapped some of the human, but they were doing surprisingly well in defending themselves…probably because they knew there were no other exit and they would die here.

He looked back and gave the signal and the hounds were released…closely followed by hooting and whooping kroot charging into both flanks of the orks who had not entered the box canyon. Shekha was happy for the orks had not expected this.

He gave a second signal, and all of his vulture kindred took to the sky, positioned themselves in front of the sun and swooped into the orks ranks engaging them into close combat.


The Warboss was happy when he learned that a battlewagon and some bikers had engaged some sentinels…more then likely a scouting party. As he was about to send more troops, to make sure no one escaped to report his presence, everything when up into chaos, “Ambush” screamed several of his boyz as hounds and kroot slammed into their ranks from the sides walls. They were doing ok to resist them…they were better or they would be beaten into a pulp…but then some of them flying devils started to drop from the sun…this wasn’t good.


Stevens was hard press, two of his sentinels were down, but at least the battlewagon was unable to shoot from his left side now and most of the bikers were out of the count, but still it wasn’t over and he couldn’t help worrying about the orks reinforcement. A few more shots later …and another sentinel gone…one of the Armageddon manages to give the killing blow, causing the wagon to explode and to take with it the remaining bikers.

Taking a short breather and surprised no one else was coming…bikers alone could be possible, but not with a battlewagon, there had to be more. “Let’s move on carefully, try to find a more defensive position.” he ordered. After a few hundred yards he was face to face with one of the most chaotic scene he ever saw, the orks were engaged in combat with another opponent: “Well the enemy of my enemy…” he quotes as he ordered his man to engage the green buggers.
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 16:02   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: January Short Story Competition [VOTING]

Entry F:

Warning bells sounded throughout the ship as the engines gave out. As the floor below him rapidly became the wall, Brother-Sergeant Rufus reached out for anything to hold, but there was nothing. He hit the sealed doorway with a loud cracking noise as pain shot up his right arm. Above him, bolters, pistols and chainswords tumbled from their racks and almost impaled him. He felt queasy in his stomach with the strange sensation of freefall as, looking outside the porthole, he saw clouds turning to burning red. He cursed the hive fleet with every fibre of his being. So many of his fellow novamarines had been slain in their fighting retreat from the planet Fiaros, and just when the Imperial exterminatus had wiped out the last of the wretched insects from the planet, a many-tentacled space cruiser had sped from nowhere and smashed into their ship.
The room began to return to its natural orientation as Rufus heard the sound of the backup engine system start, but it was too late. With a jolt that almost slammed the space marine into the ceiling, the cruiser slammed into the ground. The wall immediately next to him buckled and snapped like a twig, as the hulk skidded to a halt, before being torn off completely in a shower of dust and stones. Once he was quite sure the wreck was still, Rufus rose unsteadily to his feet and tried to walk through the gaping hole in the side of the ship.
What he saw, in the glare of the blazing sun, was total carnage. Near him were the bodies of many space marines, including one of his greatest companions, Honourable Brother Draco, impaled upon his own claws. Looking around, he saw that other survivors were struggling there way out of the wreckage, but they were pitifully few in number. The central section of the ship was nearly flattened by the impact, and the charred remains of the rear quarters lay far back along the deep gouge caused by the falling hulk.
Nearby was Brother Oplomus, the apothecary, tending to 5 wounded brothers, when there was an unearthly screeching noise from above. Instinctively grabbing the nearest weapon, a bolt pistol, Brother-Sergeant Rufus looked up toward the source of the noise. Up in the sky, a burning fireball sped from the clouds: the Tyranid ship. There was a moment of strange silence, before a loud boom rent the air not far from the ship. Nervously, a few of the nearby marines went to investigate, including Rufus and the over-eager Techmarine Brother Caninis. As they approached the crater, they became more cautious of enemies appearing over the lip.
As they peered over, however, it was quickly apparent that nothing could have survived the crash. Whereas the Marine ship had straightened out and caused a long, shallow gash, the Tyranid ship had come in near vertically and created a nearly circular, deep crater. Lying flat across the centre were the burning remnants of one tentacle, and all across were the smouldering chitin shells of what must have been enormous Tyranid beasts. There was a nauseating stench of charred flesh, and organic detritus was strewn almost to the top of the crater with the impact. Satisfied that the Tyranid ship was not a threat to the surviving marines, the Small group turned back to return to the wreckage. Then Brother Sirrus, a promising new initiate, was swallowed into the sand.
Among ordinary men, utter panic would have set in long ago. But the battle-hardened, genetically refined marines kept their cool and instead poised to instant alertness. Then another marine was impaled as a huge claw spiked out of the ground and stabbed him through the back and out the other side. The marines instantly peppered the claw and ground around it with bolt rounds but to no avail. Brother-
Sergeant Andal strode forward to cut the marine loose, but as his chainsword bit into the talon, the very ground underneath him shook and, in a spray of sand, lethal 6-inch spines shot out and pepper potted his exposed face, revealing a hard, purple ridge below. A terrifying scream rent the air, and a huge, unmistakably Tyranid head burst from the ground, the helmet of a novamarines power suit spiked on one of its great tusks.
Brother Rufus stood transfixed by terror as the giant monster emerged from the sand. Three more purple claws, each longer than a man is tall, were raised out of the ground, before a long, whip-like tail snatched round and bisected brother Skoddon almost next to him. The marines began to retreat, but Rufus tripped as his right leg was pierced by the points of four, smaller claws. Out of the sand rose a large, snakelike Tyranid- a Ravener.
The Brother-sergeant fired four shots from his pistol at the creature’s head, but they merely glanced off its thickly armoured chitin. Spines shot from the creature’s chest, piercing his already broken arm, and Rufus remembered that the weak point on a Ravener was the weapon mounting in its thorax. As the worm-like beast bore down on him, he fired a fifth and sixth shot there, and the beast keeled over. Getting to his feet, he saw the monster, a Carnifex, decimating the rest of the patrol. Brother Caninis was fiddling with his hyped-up helmet as a second Ravener sprung from the sand behind him; just as he found the function he was looking for, a swiping claw bisected him from shoulder to waist.
Running to within sight of the ship, he was met only with despair. The few survivors were being decimated by hordes of Raveners and Carnifexes, and more were pushing up through the sand every moment. Then Rufus was grabbed by the ankle and hoisted into the air, his pistol falling helplessly to the ground. He was being held in the clawed hand of the second Ravener, it had approached incredibly swiftly. Rufus struck out with his good arm, but lightning-fast a second clawed hand slashed it to the bone. The Ravener roared, and the last Rufus knew was its foul breath.
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 16:03   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: January Short Story Competition [VOTING]

Entry G:

(-(-(-MOVE HEADING 9+12+00-)-)-)
(-(-(-(-(SEEKER 1&6 AWAY)-)-)-)-)

Kor'vre Mon'tel felt a slight lurch as the missiles screamed away into the distance. From such a range, he was unsure if the seekers had even reached their target. It mattered not, for he had bigger targets to hunt.

"Kor'vre, we have new coordinates. No doubt a Gue'la war-engine to hunt. Sending telemetry..." Directly in front of Mon'tel, his gunner, Kor'ui Kais tapped his fingers nimbly across his datapad, and instantly the Kor'vre's screen was awash with directional data and digital compensation from the Tigershark's internal AI. The honoured pilot gently nursed the joystick. Thanks to the advanced inertial compensators, the two air caste pilots barely felt the turn that would have killed any other pilot.

"Does the data give us any information on the prey?" Mon'tel asked, fighting with the AI to compensate for the new heading's turbulence.

"It does not, Kor'vre, however, if these coordinates are correct, we should be able to pick it up on our scanners in-" The gunner looked closer to the spinning, green scanner directly in front of him.

"I'm getting something. It's large. Possibly a Gue'la bulk lander?"

"I doubt they would waste our time on such easy prey. Now, where is our target?" Mon'tel asked, banking left to get a better view of the battlefield. As the Kor'ui clattered about his pad incessantly, the pilot balked.

"Nevermind... I see it." Kais craned his neck to the left, looking out of the slit window. He gasped. Stomping about the tortured earth and laying into the tau forces was a titan. The AI classified it as a 'Reaver'. A Gue'la word, but fitting. He lazily turned the craft left, pulling up in order to perform a dive-bomb maneuver.

"Railcannons charging, Vre'Mon'tel and ground forces are getting marker-locks." His gunner said, with an obvious waver in his voice. A titan of such size was no pushover and they would have to make several passes. Adding to that, it would no doubt be heavily guarded.

"Seekers away...Kor'ui, are there any other Godhunters in the area?" Mon'tel asked, referring to his own squadron. Somewhere in the blue were another four Tigershark AX-1-0's, and they would undoubtedly want the chance to bring down such an awesome prey.

"All otherwise preoccupied. Railcannons charged, locked. Wait, I'm registering four strike craft inbound. They were circling the enemy walker. I don't think I can...wait, Kor'vre, look!" The young gunner pointed towards the smoke-covered sun. He didn't see anything. He was about to scold the Kor'ui when he saw it. The Sunfish had arrived. Two, three, no, seven red and yellow Barracuda burst forth from the distant smoke, moving to intercept the Gue'la strike craft.

"Kor'ui, ignore the fighters and line up with the railcannons. I can handle these fools." As the Barracuda laid into the imperial thunderhawks, Montel forced the Shark into a wild spin, letting lose a barrage of missiles. The nearest enemy craft, apparently far too hungry for the kill, was too close to dodge the spray and burst like a ripe fruit. Ui'Kais cursed as they flew through the expanding fireball.

Lining up on the enemy titan, Vre’Mon’tel realized that their prey had already noticed them. It’s arm-guns continued to terrorize the ground forces below, however it was the beast’s shoulder-mounted missile pod that he was worried about. Fortunately, the Tigershark had a much longer range than the walker’s missiles. Diving, the tau craft lined up with the prey, coming in at an almost full vertical angle in order to avoid the monstrous missile-pod.

“We’re locked, fire Ui’Kais, FIRE!” Mon’tel winced as the entire aircraft rocked. It was as if it had hit the wall of a cliff. Inertial compensators were no match for the recoil of duel railcannons firing simultaneously. He sighed, pulling up in order to go for another run.

“Receiving data…Pathfinders are reporting that our prey remains intact. However we have blown past the beast’s shields. An armored cadre is moving to engage.” The Kor’ui spoke quickly and quietly, obviously still shaken up by their first run on the enemy walker. Mon’tel sighed and twisted the toggle and joystick around, causing the nimble flyer to turn a full 180. In seconds they were facing down the monstrous war engine once more.

“Get me a lock…” Mon’tel muttered, lowering their altitude. Nearby, they could see distant Hammerhead Gunships tearing into the titan’s armored flanks. He realized that it was distracted. He forced his Shark to zig-zag, dodging a heavy spray of anti-air fire from the ground. His HUD registered several impacts, but none of it penetrated their armor.

Then he felt the entire craft shake. A blinding light poured into the cockpit and forced both pilots to cover their eyes. For a fleeting moment, Vre’Mon’tel believed that he was dead. That was until the light faded, and he saw the smoldering crater where the tau armored cadre once was. That was all it took; one shot and they were gone. He knew then that he had to avenge them.

“Ui’Kais, give me a lock!” He roared, watching in horror as the monstrous titan turned its torso in their direction. He pulled up in a desperate attempt to evade it. The beast’s right arm boomed in defiance, just missing the screaming aircraft. They were closer this time. It had range on them. The missile pod turned to face them. Ui’Kais barked as the signal for a target lock was received from the built-in markerlight.

“Kill it!” Mon’tel roared. He watched as the oversized missile-pod fired. Too close…they were too close. The Shark lurched wildly, railcannons screaming in defiance. It was that recoil that saved them. For a split second the craft slowed, and the missiles passed just below their nose. At the same moment, moving almost the speed of light, the twin, molten slugs connected with the titan’s torso. Mon’tel barely had time to pull to the right as the enemy titan vanished in a massive fireball. The shot had split the entire war engine in two; it’s upper half tumbling to the ground. It marked the third and largest titan the pilots had ever faced. Both of the air caste crew were surprisingly silent, as if refusing to believe that they had won. As an afterthought, Mon’tel checked their fuel. It was time to return to base…
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 16:04   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: January Short Story Competition [VOTING]

Entry H:

Balelos crouched down behind a fallen statue. Initially the fighting had been heavy and much of the city had fallen into ruin. It was a shame for such a beautiful city to be seen like this. He sent team one up to scout the intersection ahead, giving the signal to fan out. They advanced slowly. The enemy could be anywhere. Team one reached the intersection with no difficulty. Suddenly a trio of missile came out of a nearby building, “RPG, MOVE” shouted Balelos, as he spotted the three missiles streaking towards their position. The Indomitable opened fire on them, its heavy Bolter Sponsons claiming one of the three missiles, the other two hit the front armour, a load Bang followed by a crunch marked the reactive armour detonating and destroying the other two missiles before they could do any real damage. Once the smoke had cleared, a large dent was left in the front of the tanks armour. “Move, I want two teams to clear that building, kill anything that moves” ordered Balelos. Immediately two five man teams gathered them selves. And ran to the other side of the road, the yellow armour stark against the grey marble of the city. Team leader Marcus spotted a hole in the side of the wall. “I want two men to go through there, you act as the hammer, and we will attempt to draw the enemies fire. One flamer-toting marine and another one carrying a bolter with a combat blade bayonet crouched on either side. The flamer toting marine put his weapon on the ground, his hand went into one of the pouches on his hip, pulling out a worm cam, he slid it expertly through the hole, connecting the other to a data slate, he scanned the area on the other side of the wall. No contacts. Retracting the snake cam, he picked up his weapon and began to crawl through the hold, soon followed by his partner.
Marcus saw his two team mates get through the hole before opening a Vox line to Balelos “I have two men on the inside, I’m going around to try and draw the enemies attention and find another way in” the reply came back almost instantly
“Very well, May Dorn go with you” and with that, the line was cut. Marcus gestured for the team to advance, they moved cautiously with their weapons ready, it wasn’t long before they came upon an enemy position. A statue of the Emperor barricaded the road, it was defaced and covered in blasphemous marks before being cut down and used to stop any movement up the road. Seeing this. Marcus called for a halt. Him and his eight other space marines bellied over to a wrecked car, where they could safely assess the situation. He could see twelve men at least, one on a heavy stubber turret. That would make the situation problematic at the least. Opening a private vox message to three men, he called them to move into the buildings around them an set up a cross fire, the teams Heavy Bolter went left while two Marine carrying a bolter went right. This would make the enemy keep their heads down at least while Marcus approached to add a third point to the cross fire, cutting every one down. The three marines raised themselves from the ground and ran to their designated buildings keeping their heads low. “Men, be sure to keep in radio contact, we need to know when you are in position” the three men replied in quick succession, signing that they understood their mission. Marcus readied himself next cocking his bolter and making sure he had a full clip. Setting it to semi automatic three round setting, he set the gun on the ground; next he took out his rat cam. Named after an animal on his planet of birth, it was a small camera set into a servitor shaped like a rat. It set it off and controlled it to scout the cover, planning how he would set up his offensive.

Brother Lukus peered around the corridor; he saw three hostiles, probably a sentry duty. Cursing the enemy, he set his flamer to his back using the Mag Lock of his armour he drew his combat blade. This was going to get dirty. He had kept in contact with Markus but quickly found that he could not run parallel to their approach like he had originally thought. Instead his and Artur’s mission had been updated. They were to clear the building before reaching the top and then act as an advanced recon team. He could not risk burning the building down, so instead he settled into a stance which he could hold for hours, with his snake cam around the corner, he was waiting for a point of laxity in the sentries. It didn’t take long. A fourth hostile approached the sentry team, obviously a relief substitute for one of the men, but it had provided an ideal distraction. Rounding the corner at a run, Lukus sprinted to the barricade, hearing him, the cultists turned at tried to bring their weapons to bear, But it was to late, Lukus was amongst them, he slashed one with his blade and he fell to floor silently, pivoting on his heel, he grabbed another by his head and snapped their neck. Throwing the body aside, he pushed into the shadows where he saw the third man was hiding; Lukus threw himself at him thrusting his knife into the hostiles chest. Turning to see the last enemy picking up a weapon, Lukus threw his forearm length knife and it hit the enemy right in the forehead. He dropped to the floor as his body went into spasm. Radioing to Artur, he claimed first blood to them. Lukus moved into away into the shadows as he heard footsteps running to his position. They would find the bodies of their comrades, but not the killer. Not yet at least.
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 16:06   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: January Short Story Competition [VOTING]

Entry I:

The left side of Zeaphron’s body spasmed uncontrollably again, as he lay face down in the choking mud.
Even his biologically altered nervous system could not block out the dull throbbing agony of his ruined and burnt body. He coughed wetly, the remains of his three shredded lungs dribbled from between his teeth to mix with the mud.
The marine ground his teeth in pain as he rolled himself onto his back, every remaining organ in his body felt like it was ruptured, and every one of his fused ribs felt broken.

He starred blankly at the dark muddy puddle beside him where his own blood swirled in hypnotic patterns.
His own blood.

He closed his eyes. He wanted to re-live the last two minutes in his head: As he always did after a fight, it was like he had done for as long as he could remember. And this time would be no different.
The pain of his dying body dulled as he took himself back.


1:59 Minutes ago
Zeaphron vaulted into the trench to land among the terrified weaklings below. His whirring chain weapon lashed out in a wild cut that cleaved two of them apart in a spray of gore and bone. The rest tried to run in fear, but Zeaphron hacked down another before it had taken even two steps. The rest were not worth him chasing.

Zeaphron felt little satisfaction by killing these insects. He needed a real foe to test his abilities to the full.

1:42 Minutes ago
He charged on alone down the trench, barging his red shoulder pad into a screaming group of foes and feeling the satisfactory wet snaps as their fragile bones broke. He carried onwards, he knew the layout of this trench system; he would head to the central section, where the enemy commanders would be.

Now that his allied marines had made it into the trench network the enemy army was broken. But he could still take himself a worthy trophy before the battle was over.

1:21 Minutes ago
Zeaphron hacked through more foes with casual sweeps, never slowing his advance. Enemies ran ahead of him like a bow-wave before a boat, none wanted to taste his bloody fury.
The marine rose out from the trench system where it fed into a sandbagged area of large tents, the enemy flag flew above each from banner poles. It was repulsive for him to look upon.
He glanced around, weakling enemies scattered before him.
A worthy opponent… a worthy opponent…
His plea was answered; out from a large tent stepped three enemies. One was clad in interlocking brass armour from head to foot; it stood almost as tall as Zeaphron. This foe clasped a massive hammer of black metal before it. The other two creatures were daemon vessels, their forms bound and tormented to do their master’s bidding.
The brass armoured one charged without hesitation at the marine.

0:42 Minutes ago
Zeaphron stepped aside as the hammer smashed down beside him, spraying up mud. He whirled his chain weapon around to slice into the enemy’s flank, but it had dodged away. A daemon lunged towards him, all teeth and claws, but he swatted its face aside with his armoured fist and charged the human enemy.
The whirring teeth of his chainblade ground against the shaft of the enemy’s thunder hammer as it parried the blow. But Zeaphron had predicted this, and he smashed his fist into the man’s face, shattering bones and sending him flying backwards.
Instantly the daemonhosts leapt forward to protect their wounded master, but Zeaphron would not be robbed of his trophy-skull now, he sliced the first one in two, black ichor spraying over his scarred face. The second swiped a talon at Zeaphron’s abdomen, but the marine caught the thing’s wrist with his giant red gauntlet and tugged its arm from its socket. It screamed in rage at him and gouged at his brass trimmed armour with its remaining arm.
Zeaphron gripped it around the throat and roared in rage as he decapitated the monster.

0:25 Minutes ago
Zeaphron dropped the thing’s limp corpse, relishing the feel of the fresh blood across his cruel face. Artillery explosions shattered the earth around him as the enemy Imperial trench network was torn to shreds. His enhanced hearing could pick out the screams and warcrys of his fellow marines as they ran through the Imperials, slaughtering them to a man. The enemy was broken.
He looked up with hate filled eyes at the form of the brass-armoured Inquisitor as he struggled to rise from the mud. Zeaphron revved his chain axe, letting the chunks of human flesh and gore spray out from in-between its teeth. It was hungry for more blood.

0:14 Minutes ago
”Blood for the Blood God!” Zeaphron screamed as he lunged down at the Inquisitor, smashing his weapon through the man’s shoulder in a shower of sparks and blood. The Inquisitor was smashed onto his knees. Eyes widening in shock as Zeaphron pulled the blade from the gaping wound across his torso.

0:08 Minutes ago
”Kneel before your Lord and Master, mortal!” hissed Zeaphron as the Inquisitor collapsed weakly against him.
Something beeped: an electronic chime.

0:04 Minutes ago
Zeaphron looked down at the meltabomb in the hand of the dead Inquisitor.

0:03 Minutes ago
It exploded with fire and light.


Zeaphron returned to the present. He heard the screams of the dying and the sounds of chain axes through bone – it was like a well-known lullaby to him, his eyes flickered and his shuddering breath slowed.

He starred blankly at the dark muddy puddle beside him where his own blood swirled in hypnotic patterns.
His own blood. . . but it didn’t matter. It never mattered. What mattered was that the blood was there. That it has been spilt, and spilt in the name of Khorne.
Zeaphron died with a look of content satisfaction on his face, starring blankly with dead eyes at the pool of blood and water.

The Blood God didn’t care where that blood came from, only that the blood was spilt.
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 16:07   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: January Short Story Competition [VOTING]

Entry J:

...The whine of Bolter fire drew Kane from his thoughts In moments his chainsword was whirring to life. His bolt pistol cracked off return fire. A warcry sprung to his lips, before dying in his mouth. The new coat of black on his armour reminded him of his shame. No longer could he cry out the name of the Warmaster, the very name of his Primarch. In silence Kane raced up the ashy slopes towards the fortress.

Forth swarmed a sea of black armoured warriors, the eight stared banner at their head. Above them, on a slope of gravel and ash, their foe, the slaves of Tzeentch stood. Bolts charged with the sorcery of the Great Conspirator, rained down upon the invaders.

Under fire, the Sons of Horus, The Black Legion, negotiated the slippery slopes of the ridge. However they did not break or buckle, they were the finest warriors the galaxy had ever seen. They clambered the slope, returning fire with their own bolters as they raced to close with their foe. In silence Kane closed with his foe as he reloaded. Sidestepping an attempt to block the attack, Kane drove his chainsword into his opponent’s chest until it burst out the other side. The soulless Thousand Sons collapsed to its knees as Kane tore his sword free. Two bolts from his pistol blasted apart another enemy, its blue armour sheared off by the delayed detonation.

The warriors of the Black Legion collided with those of the Thousand Sons, and drove onwards smashing through the thin blue line. A cry rose up from the ranks, the warcry of Master Abbadon. The cry swept threw the ranks until even Kane was bawling in the face of his foes.

“We are returned!”

As the space marines, cleared the lip of the ridge, screaming in excited fervour, they were met by yet more soulless marines. Kane lost himself in the Melee, dodging the sweep of a crazed Dreadnought, bearing the iconography of his own legion. The Deadnought caught a Thousand Son in its claw and cleaved the soulless set of armour apart. Before him the obsidian stone of the enemy’s fastness towered high into the sky. The breach in the fastness walls lay before him. Already its slopes were covered in dead, and their enemy was on the retreat. Ascending the obsidian rubble at the foot of the breach, Kane turned hefting his sword in the air his words carried across the battlefield.

“Into the Breach! For the Warmaster!”

With a clarity of mind that he had not possessed before this fight, Kane realised he meant lord Abbadon and not Warmaster Horus. Behind him his squad charged, and many more. Kane headed yet another wave into the breach, his chainsword held high. Here the fighting was at its thickest, as marine clashed with marine in bloody battle.

Kane immediately faced his opponent, A sorcerer wreathed in blue flame, the Thousand Son, carried a valuable sword, with a blue blade that seemed to be the source of the blue flame. Kane fired his bolt pistol at the sorcerer. Yet his enemy made no attempt to dodge; instead the bolts impacted with the blue flame burning away like parchment. The Sorcerer stonily turned to face him, the sword came up, then swept down emitting a burning blue fireball from its tip.

Kane threw himself into a roll, narrowly avoiding the flame. Yet in a second Kane was back up and charging. He collided with the sorcerer an instant later, swinging his chainsword down to cleave his foe in two. The sorcerer easily slid to parry the blow. Instead of the tearing clash of steel Kane expected, his opponent’s blade cut right through the chainsword like a hot knife through butter. Surprised, Kane overbalanced and fell. Gripping his sword in two hands the Sorcerer moved the bring his sword in a downward thrust on the prone Kane, but Kane rolled away, dodging the thrust by mere inches. Rolling to his feet, Kane threw the useless handle away and fired off his bolt pistol. Again the bolts had no effect, burning to crisp on the armour of flame. Kane threw away the bolt pistol too, and drew his combat knife.

He leapt forward, gripping his knife in his right hand. The Sorcerer came for an overhead strike, with his left hand Kane grabbed the Sorcerer's wrists, feeling his gauntlet crinkle and melt under the blue flames, he jabbed his blade into his enemies belly. At the last moment however his opponent dodged turning a mortal blow into a flesh wound. A kick threw Kane backwards and the Thousand Son slashed down with the burning blade, Kane felt the blade cut into his chest, and his chest plate crackle and melt. Blood spilt down his chest plate as he drew back, his breath heavy.

His left hand was a ruined mess of melted flesh and metal, in his right he gripped for a fallen bolt gun. He saw the sorcerer lift his sword once more, the flame collected into a ball at the swords tip. Doomed, Kane whispered a prayer to the gods.

In that moment his prayer was answered, the blue flame surrounding the Thousand Son, disappeared, as if snuffed out by a gust of wind. The Sorcerer lifted his head in shock, immediately Kane saw his chance. Raising his bolter, at close range he rapid fired the weapon into the Sorcerer. Unlike before, where the flame had halted his bolts, these pierced the sorcerer and he writhed as the they pierced his armour. Seconds later the bolts detonated turning the marine into a shower of blood and gore.

Kane allowed himself a smirk, and his body slumped, the bolter dropped from his hands. Around him the sounds of battle faded, until it sound like they were far away, his vision became blurry as the gravity of his wounds hit him. In his mind a voice whispered,

“Good, you have done well Champion. Claim me, wield me, and together we shall please my master.”

The voice beckoned him, and he crawled forward and his hands and knees.

“Come close young Kane, claim me, wield me and you shall know true power”

His fingers grazed around the pommel of the sword that lay next to the Sorcerer's ruined body. With a burst of effort his grip closed on the handle.

“you are mine!”
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Old 22 Jan 2009, 16:08   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: January Short Story Competition [VOTING]

Entry K:

Transmission sent by Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Thomas Vanderbeek, regarding the abandoned hulk of the Imperial Guard vessel Erasmus.


Day 1

Thought for the day: The only true redemption lies in death.

The first thing apparent upon boarding the Erasmus is the lack of damage the ship has sustained. There are no signs of mutiny nor hostile boarding action: the entire ship’s crew has simply vanished. The ship’s engines are dead, and the warp drive appears to have sustained critical damage. The Captain’s Log reveals an aborted attempt to jump to the warp, resulting in or deriving from the drive’s malfunction.

Interestingly, the jump was attempted without the aid of a navigator: an act that could have had catastrophic consequences for all onboard. The Captain made a video log of the event, but it has sustained damage from the strange magnetic field found on and around the ship. A transcription of the log follows:

Captain’s L…Frak th…jump to…somewhere… can’t follo…

Log Ends.

As you can see, the Captain was in obvious distress. Previous logs detail the discovery of an artifact of indeterminate xenos origin found in a tomb on one of the nearby planets. The following are extracts from the research notes of Techpriest Magos Arentium of the Erasmus.

Object is made of an incredibly tough alloy that seems to resist all damage. Attempts to mark the surface have all failed: my assistant Pubulius became frustrated and fired upon it with a lasgun causing superficial melting of the surface, which amazingly quickly reformed and hardened again. Similar healing characteristics have been noted on artifacts deemed Necron in origin, but this object is aesthetically very different: it is perfectly spherical, a bright, polished silver and roughly the size of a man’s head. It seems to generate a strong magnetic field, interfering with nearby devices.
The artifact’s magnetic field is growing stronger: Pubulius and I have difficulty getting close for fear of our blessed augmentics being damaged.
I spoke today with the Captain about jettisoning the artifact. As the magnetic field grows, it becomes apparent that the object is simply too dangerous to have aboard. My fears about its effects on augmentics were confirmed when Pubulius’ were ripped clean from his body during a routine test. He is currently being treated by the medicae staff, but they are not hopeful of a recovery. It has begun to deform the walls of my research station and I fear it will not stop there. The Captain offered his condolences, but refused to get rid of the object. He seems to know more than he is letting on. I have set a program to gain access to his personal files on the matter, and will report back tomorrow with more information.

At this point, the logs cease abruptly, with no mention of the matter found on any of the ship’s files.


Day 2

Thought for the day: The Emperor’s Light does not falter.

Inspection of both the Magos and Navigators’ quarters shed more light onto the ship’s mysterious abandonment. The Magos’ research station is now impossible to access due to the extreme buckling of the walls and roof. However as I neared the room my servitor began to malfunction and would not move closer. I believe the xeno object is still present and request a squad armed with long range cutters to aid in its removal.

The Navigators’ quarters are in a state of extreme disarray: there are lasgun burns on the walls and sigils of the Holy Emperor adorning everywhere that is reachable. There are a number of scrawling in Gothic as well, most referring to 'blindness' and a 'lack of light'. Notably, WHERE IS HE? I CAN’T SEE. CAN’T SEE. CAN’T SEE (etc.) is scrawled in massive letters on the floor, with the beds and other furniture apparently been pushed out of the way in order to write it.


Day 3

Thought for the day: An open mind is a fortress with gates unbarred and unguarded.

A disturbing discovery was made today: my scanner sensed movement closing in and I drew my bolt pistol for fear of meeting the ship’s demise. I saw a shadow moving behind me, spun and fired. While there was no enemy present, I left a large crater the wall, which began to bubble and run before healing. I cannot stress this enough: the artifact is passing on its properties to the ship, although the method of transfer is unknown. My strange assailant also indicated that I am not alone on the ship. I will return to my shuttle and make further observations with the assistance of my retinue, who are flying up from the planet shortly. My scanner is beeping constantly, and I feel I am being watched. It moved like a shadow. It was a shadow. Just a trick of the light. Yes. The Emperor is my shield. The Emperor protects. The Emperor protects.


Day 4

Did you hear that? Listen. Listen. Listen. It scratches where it shouldn’t. It’s in my head. The Emperor is my shield. The Emperor protects. The Emperor protects. The Emperor protects. The Emperor protects. The Emperor protects. The Emperor protects. The Emperor protects. The Emperor protects. Oh please let him protect. Please.

Transmission Ends


Distress signal received from the ship Erasmus, thought to be derelict. The signal is weak and the message is mostly incomprehensible. It is transcribed thus.

Inquisitior Thom………Attention all…do not under an……artifact….inside my he….help m……please hel……oh Emper………….out…...message repe…….make conta….circumst…….lp me please he………do not make co……shadow in…….side……repeats: Inqui……. tside …………………. repeats……… outsi…….. outs……mes…..he….tsider…..

Signal Terminated


It is clear that the good Inquisitor has been subject too much to the influence of the xenos he interacted with. Such is the fate of many a radical, and cannot be taken in too much grief. The Adeptus Mechanicus have requested to send a party onto the Erasmus to recover the rest of the Inquisitor’s notes, permission pending.

Thought for the day: The Emperor Protects.
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