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Lovehammer: Sailor Moon 40k

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Arkado, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. Arkado fear the Ordo Grammaticus

    Standard disclaimers apply; anything in here is not mine, I dont make money out of it or intend to infringe copyrights.

    The whole idea got spawned by this topic: http://forums.spacebattles.com/showthread.php?t=172987
    I am not responsible at all for it. I took major liberties with it, and am probably going in quite different directions than some people in that topic suggested, but oh well. Thats Chaos.
    Roughly, WingedKnight's intro applies, considering he kindly allows it. [Permission recieved; here it is:]

    He stood there, surveying the all that lay beneath him. Below was the killing field, ripe with the stench of death and filled with the sounds of the dying. Bodies littered the ground as far as the eye could see, and the dirt was sodden with the blood of men. Today had been the final battle, the defeat of the last rival warlord for dominion of Terra. While tiny pockets of resistance still existed, there was no longer any major military force left to oppose him. He, already known as the Emperor by his subjects, was the uncontested ruler of mankind.

    The Emperor was an imposing figure, especially clad in his towering golden armor. His face was all hard angles, and while seemingly young his eyes held the true weight of his thousands of years. Those same eyes held boundless determination, but they held near infinite sorrow as well.

    "So much needless death," he whispered to himself. Needless indeed, for without the betrayal of the alien mankind would not have been driven so close to destruction. It had brought the Emperor no pleasure in conquering Terra over the numerous bodies of the rival warlords. It had hurt him to see humanity fractured like this. They were only strong so long as they were united. Divided, scrambling and eating each other, they would surely all perish in the harsh and unforgiving universe.

    Perhaps, one day, mankind would cooperate with the alien again. But that day was far off, and it would only come when humanity was the dominant force in the galaxy. Trust, after a betrayal such as that, would only happen with superior strength.

    "This can never happen again."

    The Emperor had wanted to see the result of the carnage alone so that he could burn it into his mind. This was the price to be paid for his ascension, and it was heavy indeed. He vowed he would always remember this sacrifice.

    He turned to rejoin his various commanders and advisors, but stopped short. He felt... something, something that had not been there before. That was impossible. He was a man of considerable psychic might, a bastion of strength unlike any other. He felt every mind for miles around at every second of every day. Nothing was capable of sneaking past him. This strange mind he felt couldn't have just suddenly appeared, but there it was.

    He made his way toward it, concerned and more than a little curious. He had never felt a mind quite like this. It was doing something strange to the Warp. Where it lay the Warp was calmer, more stable. All around it was as chaotic as ever, but that one little spot was like an island in turbulent waters. That was unheard of. The Warp was constantly shifting and inherently wild, full of dark entities that preyed upon living minds. He had lived with their chittering and temptations since the very first day of his birth. He was so used to them that he could tune them out without thought. But the closer he came to this pocket of stability, the quieter they became.

    He topped a rise and saw the source. It was a child, probably not even a month old. A girl, by the looks of it, with long blonde hair. She was sleeping, wrapped in a blanket which protected her from the rocky ground.

    As silently as he was able, the Emperor approached the sleeping infant. He took a good look at how the Warp was acting around her, confirming what he had felt from a distance. The Warp was calm all around the child, the phenomenon stretching several feet all around her.

    "What are you?"

    He reached out, his mind to hers. He looked beyond this incarnation and peered into the memories of her past life. What he saw surprised him.

    She was like him, a powerful reincarnation on par with himself. But where he had been reincarnated from thousands of souls, she was only one. He frowned and looked deeper, moving as gently as possible. He didn't want to hurt the child.

    He saw a great kingdom in the solar system, a golden age for humanity. Each planet held its own culture and wonders, protected by powerful female soldiers wielding the fundamental forces of the universe. His frown deepened. This had not happened, none of it. He had lived for thousands of years, tens of thousands. He had seen several empires rise and fall as he subtly guided humanity, and there had never been this planetary empire. Even if it had proceeded him, there would have been the remains of the technology. But there wasn't. He had walked every inch of this world in his lifetime. What he saw could not be. The memories weren't false, though. He sensed no deception within the girl's mind.

    He continued his perusal of her memories, and what he saw changed his frown into a snarl.

    'Chaos.'

    The child squirmed a bit in her sleep, and the Emperor calmed himself. Connected as they were, the girl would be sensitive to his moods. He was incredibly powerful, and from what he could tell she would be as well. But she wasn't, yet. He would have to be more careful.

    He saw Chaos descend upon the empire. He saw soldiers fight bravely against daemonic hordes, grotesque monsters that laughed as they stripped flesh from the bone and rent bodies asunder. He saw the guardians of the planets fight bravely against overwhelming odds, refusing to give an inch that wasn't soaked in the blood of their enemies. He saw them fight, he saw them kill and he saw them die.

    And in the end, the leader of this horde confronted the queen of the empire, this child's mother. Just as the hands of death were about to grasp her, she struck a risky gambit. With her power she banished the horde and gathered the souls of the slain, sending them onto the path of reincarnation. But the horde was near infinite in number, and the souls of the dead in the millions. The effort of it drained her, and cost her life. The Emperor marveled at her courage, at her love for her people and the love for her child. She was a worthy leader, to sacrifice so much for them.

    But he could see that it did not all go as the queen had hoped. As a final parting blow, Chaos redirected the reincarnation of the princess and her mightiest soldiers, sending them beyond the barriers of universe and time. They veered wildly off their path, eventually ending up in another realm altogether.

    "So that is it," the Emperor muttered as he left the child's mind. "You come from another place entirely, little one."

    He picked the child up gently, trying not to disturb her. She wiggled a bit and awoke, looking at him with eyes as blue as the sky. She smiled and reached up, cooing as she grabbed a lock of his long black hair. He smiled a bit as she tugged on it. She was fascinated by the long, flowing strands, wrapping her hands all around them.

    "I need a name for you, little one," he said softly. "Give me a little bit to find something suitable."

    He turned and made his way back to the camp where his army lay, chuckling a little. He couldn't wait to see how his generals and advisors reacted to this.




    Lovehammer: Sailor Moon 40K

    Little did I know what was waiting for me in this dark and stormy night.
    Well, at least I felt that way. As much as you can feel that way on an interstellar troop carrier bringing you to near certain doom once again, faster than the light could travel.
    Through a realm inhabited by literally soul crushing horrors. That clawed and hissed against the boundaries of the feeble wards keeping them away from the fragile shell that carried you through a lifeless void.

    But I digress. The actually horror I faced was far worse this day.
    Due to its usual incompetence the Administratum Munitorum had managed to send the 597th Valhallans, and more especially me, on our way without adequate supplies and equipment to properly conduct our mission in His Holy Name.
    More specific, without an ample supply of tanna tae.

    To make matters worse, I discovered this malady only today, in the midst of nowhere, in transit to Hades VI. I was extremely tempted to dispense liberal amounts of commissarial judgement to our resident quartermaster, but since both Colonel Kasteen and Major Broklaw had already made their displeasure know I doubted that even an Hero of the Imperium could strengthen the mans newfound motivation.

    No, it was probably more productive to ponder an adequate response to the Administratum Munitorum. A response that included the Inquisition, Heresy and the need to contain an obvious Daemon infestation. I was getting there, I just had to set the accentuation right.

    Unfortunately, the actual response and probably even the much needed re-supply with goods critical for moral and combat effectiveness of the whole unit had to wait until after our expedition to Hades VI. An expedition that bordered on suicidal senselessness again.

    I did not know much about our target, I just knew that the powers that be had to be seriously out of their mind (or reading too much in certain reputations…again). Why else would they send a single regiment to deal with an Ork infestation?
    At this point, I was tempted to remove the energy cells from my las pistol to stop any temptation of reliving some stress in the form of excess heat.
    Of course, I didn’t. You would be surprised in what you can run into on a troop carrier, amidst thousands of highly trained, loyal and armed troops. It is not paranoia if they are out to get you.

    Somehow, and I am confident that it was not to any psychic talent, the average guardsmen around me sensed my mood and kept out of my way. Widely out of my way.
    With only minimal grumbling and scowling I entered the briefing room, acknowledging the greetings of the petite Colonel and Major Brooklaw with little more than a terse nod and a grunt. The company commanders stayed wisely silent. Most of them looked as if they were fairly sure that I would not shoot them out of sheer depression. They paid me too much credit, as always.

    “Very well, we will now begin our last major briefing of the command staff before we leave the warp tomorrow.” The grizzled Major began.

    With a sizzling sound the holo projector sprang to flickering live, creating the ghostly, diffuse image of a dull red, maybe even violet world hanging idly in the black of space. It was hard to tell with the flickering and static fluttering of the machine, but the world looked decidedly unassuming and uncivilized. No major settlements could be seen, no space installations and well, the planet itself did not look inviting at all. Even as I pondered once more what made men and women thousands of years ago leave their plush and comfy homes just to travel for months or years through the chaotic warp and then try to make a new living for themselves on a new world only to choose such an obvious crapsack world, Broklaw continued.

    “As you all should know by now” here he gave me a look, which I answered with my best ‘TheCommisarknowsall’-face, “This is Hades VI, a planet with only a minor population of a few million and two single PDF regiments defending it. Several standard weeks ago, an Ork ship, well, fell, literally out of the warp in close proximity to the planet. It was obviously damaged, no doubt due to the crude technology the Orks use failing on itself and after a brief scuffle with the only picket in this system proceeded to crash on the planetary surface. Unfortunately, a sizeable number of Orks have survived the crash. Since then, the planetary forces have been fighting the advancements of these.”

    “Wait a minute” Captain Sulla spoke up, bewilderment in her voice. “Are you telling me that a couple of PDF goons have been fighting off an Ork incursion for weeks now and they have still not been overrun?”

    While I did not think that such open discredit of the brave men and women fighting for Emperor and Imperium in the planetary defence forces was contributing to the overall morale, even a Commisar had to choose his fights. And trying to defend integrity, discipline and fighting prowess of the average PDF regiment was well; let us just say that the Emperor would have made me a Primarch if he intended me to do that. Some may say that Jupiter is with all of us who fight in the His’s Name, but I have not meet anyone in the Imperial Guard who would extend that to the PDF.

    Broklaw didn’t even hesitate in answering the question, staring flatly ahead.
    ”Indeed, the 1st Cerberus Knights and 1st Tartaros Guards have done so.”

    These were pretty boasting names for simple backwater PDF units, but Planetary Governor’s had been known to choose even more unique names. Although it left a strange taste in one’s mouth to serve alongside the Funk Patrol.

    “It should be mentioned that the Ork ship crashed in very rough terrain, limiting their advance and mobility, and for once, the amount of the green tide is limited. This is by no means a full fledged Waagh, or a major tribe of Orks. Even before the crash killed probably most of them, their force was not very sizeable to begin with.”

    “So… we are deployed there exactly… why?”

    If I would be a more pious man, I would pray to the Emperor that I did not just spot disappointment in the voice of Sulla. Sadly, my hearing was not that far gone and I do not think that He On The Throne Above All would notice an average individual like me. At least I hoped so, very much. I am just a simple man trying to live his life in the shadows of others, nothing interesting to see here.
    This kind of easy mob up operation was exactly up my alley. Well, as long as I still did not have that teaching position at the schola, together with a live time supply of tanna tea.
    My las pistol suddenly looked so inviting again.

    “A good question, Captain, and one I am not sure of the answer. It appears, that the Adeptus Mechanicus have an outpost on Hades VI. When the Orks did crash there, the Adeptus send out a distress call that seems to have kicked up a gaunt nest somewhere. Our orders come from high up, very high up indeed, maybe as far as Segmentum Command, and they did send us out here to stop the Ork infestation with all means necessary.”

    Glances were exchanged around the table. For Segmentum Command to be involved with a backwater planet in the middle of nowhere, not even close to any enemy activity was unusual to say the least. And to send a veteran regiment like ours against a ragtag band of Ork skirmishers was exactly the kind of thing I preferred to be doing. What made it more suspicious than ever. Ever since I started to rack up my undeserved fame I did not get easy missions. Mind numbing horrors, dangers beyond mortal keen and the certainty of gruesome death were the course. But maybe, somehow, I would get a break this time. Surely, not all our missions could be unmitigated disasters waiting to happen? Even the most unlucky person in the Imperium deserved a break, sometime.

    “As strange as this my seem, my contacts and direct superiors were not able to shed more light in the situation.” Colonel Kasteen interjected in the uneasy silence. “I have heard rumours about an unusual line of authentication code added to the message. Ancient beyond all reasonable assumptions and buried so deep in the databanks that no one has any clue about it. Before my contacts could provide more specific information we were forced to depart with all undue haste. You have all noticed how little time we did get to muster our forces.”

    That I had indeed. No tanna tea… but still, I had not known that the Imperium even could respond with this kind of speed. In none of my campaigns a unit had been sent out on such a short notice. This did not bode well. And even worse, by the twitching of my palms I could tell this would be no break for me. None at all. The palms do not lie.

    After a nod from Kasteen, the Major continued with a grumbling.
    “Well, no matter any strange codes or undue haste, we are not sure how far the Orks have advanced since we received the message.”

    After a brief, well, reasonable brief pause for an apparatus that was both older and more moody than me, and the stumbling manipulations of Brooklaws hands, the holo picture changed and showed now a tactical map of Hades VI and its major settlements. Well, almost settlement. The population was concentrated on a major city along the coast, around a symbol that marked the Mechanicus Outpost with a couple of smaller cities spread around it, covering only a small amount of space. All in all a reasonable defensive position, and the symbol of the crashed Ork ship was indeed hundreds of miles away, deep in some rugged terrain of mountains and hills, with symbol of crude ork units advancing over it and pressing against the stylized figures of a three headed dog and a black sickle. Such individual regimental symbols were also very non standard, but that was almost par of the course with backwater PDF regiments it seemed. And it surely beat the look of the head covered by very voluminous hair I remembered from a certain other backwater PDF unit.

    But something was strange here. I squinted and began to manipulate my datapad, looking over the information and missing the detailed report of the PDF and Ork status that Broklaw delivered. I gaped.
    “What in the Emperor? That is a death world? Why have they not deployed some Kriegans or anyone else who doesn’t mind living in a gas mask?”
    Normally I would have been more gentle about sharing my concerns with the troops, morale and appearance and all that jazz, but a toxic world? And Hades VI was that. It had come to me as I watched the… ocean on the coastline. Who in their right minds would settle on such an Emperor-forsaken place?
    It was an ammoniac ocean for Emperor’s sake. On the whole chaos-dammed world you could not live without an environmental suit. It was a death trap. Shrapnel and almost hits became a whole new ballgame. A game I did not like at all.

    “Ahh, yes. I was coming to that later… but indeed. The atmosphere of Hades VI is not breathable for humans and prolonged contact to skin has also very concerning, permanent effects… The settlements are all under some kind of protective dome I understand that keeps the hostile conditions at bay. The PDF forces in the field are equipped with environmental suits, probably distributed by the Adeptus Mechanicus. On that point, several other parts of their equipment seem to have come from the same source and their material is maybe even on par with our own; of course the same will probably not be true for their fighting spirit and professionalism.”

    While that was an interesting and highly unusual fact by itself, PDF regiments did not get the same or even roughly equal equipment as standard Imperial Guard regiments, much less so compared to highly decorated veteran units as ours, I was presently more concerned about choking to death from a shallow scratch in my envirosuit on an obscure death world.

    “Fortunately, we were equipped with comparable environmental suits and our vehicles are currently being modified to be able to operate under these conditions, too. How the Orks are even able to survive in that kind of atmosphere is anyone’s guess, but I do not intend to dwell on that. I will busy myself with burning a hole in their collective heads.”

    Grim smiles were exchanged at that and the spirits of the men, and women, lifted. Sheep, all of them. Fighting on a world where the world itself was actively trying to kill you and let you choke on your own innards? Somedays, it certainly not paid to get out of the bunk.
    I needed a cuppa…. Oh, right.
    My hands crept to my las pistol, again.

    “Major Broklaw? What about the fifth planet in the system?” Captain Federer spoke, looking up from his own datapad. “The data says it’s a perfectly liveable planet, with mild climate, and near perfect conditions for humans. Yet it is not inhabited and there is some kind of quarantine order by an obscure authority I can not place?”

    Well, the man was right. That was just another strange thing in the weirdness of this all. Who not touched in the head by chaos would choose to live on a hell world when the directly neighbouring planet was as close to a paradise world as you can get?
    But I was still more concerned about dodging rippers, cleavers and crude bullets while fighting for my life just to scratch open my protective gear on some rock to die to an odour even more foul than Jurgen’s, as hard as it may be to believe.

    The Major shrugged his broad shoulders. “I do not know, Captain. But the order is valid as far as I can tell, and the enemy is on Hades VI. So no need to concern us with other people’s problems.”

    That was it. As soon as we got back, I was going to discuss something with certain people somewhere in our chain of command, preferable over the business end of a las pistol. And not even a life long supply of tanna would get them out of it.
    Well, maybe. If it’s the good tanna.


    [paragraphing edited; it still sucks imho, but I am learning; I hope; very minor adjustments to content]
  2. Arkado fear the Ordo Grammaticus

    Well, so much for that; till now its only a teaser, laying out the setting of the soon to follow live and death struggle and only alluring to some of the more... unlikely elements that I forced into the WH40k setting.
    Every blame is to be directed at the inane thread here in the forum that spawned the idea and forced me to write this.
    I didnt want too, but the power of plot (and moon) bunnies is above me.
    Still, I need critic and sadly I know next to nothing about Wh40k and Caphias Cain. Well, I believe my voice of him is not that far off.
    But I dont know his support characters at all; Broklaw, Kasteen, etc.
    More important, I probably need a beta reader since my grasp of the english language is shaky at best. Preferable someone who speaks british english.
    Furthermore, I will properly post a bazillion of questions regarding WH40k background here, and hope for some enlightened (or damned, considering what kind of knowledge it is) person to answer them. But more about that later.
    Critics are welcome and flames will be used to burn the Xenos.
  3. Fell Can't even handle it

    What is this I don't even.
  4. Stormwind Yuusha Destron

    Ok, it's a nice commissar Cain bit (though I don't remember him so trigger-happy), but I don't see any crossover.
  5. PKiller More Dere Than You Can Survive

    Biggest piece of critique I can give you, and looking at the piece, the one that would most improve your composition:

    Each persons actions (and dialogue) gets its own paragraph. Never allow them to share. This is not an opinion, but the inviolate word of Strunk and White.

    Every good paragraph in a fictional story will follow this format:

    Non-POV action

    POV:
    Immediate (gut) reaction
    Sensory observations (description)
    Internal reactions (exposition and POV narrative)
    Intentional reaction

    Non-POV action or POV reaction to their own prior reaction.

    To take a sample:

    “Wait a minute” Captain Sulla spoke up, bewilderment in her voice. “Are you telling me that a couple of PDF goons have been fighting off an Ork incursion for weeks now and they have still not been overrun?” While I did not think that such open discredit of the brave men and women fighting for Emperor and Imperium in the planetary defence forces was contributing to the overall morale, even a Commisar had to choose his fights. And trying to defend integrity, discipline and fighting prowess of the average PDF regiment was well; let us just say that the Emperor would have made me a Primarch if he intended me to do that.


    Becomes:

    “Wait a minute” Captain Sulla spoke up, bewilderment in her voice. “Are you telling me that a couple of PDF goons have been fighting off an Ork incursion for weeks now and they have still not been overrun?”

    While I did not think that such open discredit of the brave men and women fighting for Emperor and Imperium in the planetary defence forces was contributing to the overall morale, even a Commisar had to choose his fights. And trying to defend integrity, discipline and fighting prowess of the average PDF regiment was well; let us just say that the Emperor would have made me a Primarch if he intended me to do that.


    When you break it down like that it becomes easier to read, no? Of course the other issues also become apparent. It becomes immediately obvious that you are telling us, rather than showing us Captain Sulla's reaction.

    Such as:

    “Wait a minute” Captain Sulla's eyes widened and her voice rose. She blinked several times. “Are you telling me that a couple of PDF goons have been fighting off an Ork incursion for weeks now and they have still not been overrun?”

    Breaking it apart like that also shows the heavy over-emphasis of narrative voice in the second part. That's a bit harder to handle, but info-dumping is a cardinal sin, even when you use the POV character's narration and snarky humor to do so. Remember the core rule, "Never spend more than half a page (150 words, half of a New York standard manuscript page length) being boring."

    Being boring includes background info, internal monologue no matter how snarky and amusing, lovingly crafted descriptions, etc. Anything that doesn't go boom, splat or involve technology porn, as far as this genre is concerned (yes, I'm over exaggerating here to illustrate the point, the plot just has to move).

    Rather than just giving us an internal monologue, can you think of a way to tie the humor and intent of the thoughts into something active? If you can't it's probably best to jump to the next place where something is going on and save that in a file for later use, replacing it by moving the following up a line:

    “Wait a minute” Captain Sulla's eyes widened and her voice rose. She blinked several times. “Are you telling me that a couple of PDF goons have been fighting off an Ork incursion for weeks now and they have still not been overrun?”

    ”Indeed," Broklaw didn’t even hesitate. He continued to stare flatly ahead, "The 1st Cerberus Knights and 1st Tartaros Guards have done so.”

    Honestly, other than your paragraphing issues, the inactive narration poses the only other truly major threat to the success of the piece. While the peanut gallery is amusing, integrating it with action, dialogue and description would make the main character more than just a admittedly humorous observer slipping through the plot. It's your POV character, your Star of this scene. They should be the ACTor doing the ACTing that drives the story, or at the very least doing the reACTing. I think you see what I'm getting at here.

    Here's hoping that this little critique on paragraphing and composition will help you improve.

    [Disclaimer: The above is not the opinion of this poster, but that of the Editors who exist above us all and call judgment, selecting the worthy and casting aside the chaff. And if Editors care about it, it's because they're interested in making money, and money comes from readers. Which means that this is how you need to do it so your readership can best enjoy your genius.]
    Ozymandias2x likes this.
  6. Arkado fear the Ordo Grammaticus

    Thank you for your advice PKiller, that is exactly what I was looking for. I will try to read over my drivel again and adjust it properly in the near future.
    I had indeed written that text without any paragraphes except for some major breaks, but even I could tell that such walls of text are the reader's bane.

    As for the actual plot, or crossover, Stormwind, it's only allured too right now.
    I am writing at chapter two at the moment, but I do not think there will actually be a crossover element appearing before chapter three at least, probably even four or later.
    My pacing for this is slow, because I am still trying to get an actual feel for WH40k, setting a stage, before introducing the weird out of context stuff.
  7. PKiller More Dere Than You Can Survive

    Just be sure to never give the reader any sensations or thoughts from a non-POV character. It will probably end up looking like this.

    Joe punched like this. "And said this."

    Jane's eyes bulged. Her cheek throbbed. She thought Joe was a jerk. She slapped his punk face right back.

    Joe's eyes widened. "You bizitch!"

    [See how none of what he felt or thought is covered? With non-POV's you've got to show all that just based on what they do and say.)

    Joe's eyes widened in disbelief.

    Is completely wrong. We're in Jane's head, not Joe's. We're not allowed to know what he's feeling or thinking. Just what we see and hear from Jane's eyes and ears.

    Because of POV we're getting way more info from Jane's paragraphs, so it'll usually alternate back and forth with little and big textblocks... usually. Note that you don't -always- need to cover all four parts for the POV character, but a lot of the time it's needed.

    Eh, but you already know this. Sorry, got a bit carried away. Glad to help any way I can.
  8. Winged Knight Crazy man with a wolf on his head.

    Feel free to use my piece for the beginning. I'd just like to reserve the right to use my prologue for my own story if I ever feel the inclination. Some people back on the old thread, for whatever reason, actually find my writing to be palatable.

    This looks good to me, so far. You've got the feel of Cain here. I can't give any more critique on structure that hasn't already been given, but if you want you can send me your ideas and I can help a bit. I'm well versed with Warhammer and know a fair amount about Sailor Moon.
  9. Arkado fear the Ordo Grammaticus

    I am experimenting with paragraphing and what not right now, maybe it'll get sometime. As for the inactive narrative pose I am still undecided; I am aiming for the style of the Cain Novels and as far as I understand they take the same approach. I will probably go read them, wait for a few more replies here and then decide if to keep that approach or try for a more active one like PKiller suggested. As for now, the second chapter.
    Still no active crossover element, sorry. [Well, not really.]



    Hades VI, Mountains of Mourning

    I did not know if to sigh in relief or not when the lander touched down. Sure, not being afloat in the air or even space in something only mediocre armed and armoured while being a prime target had its obvious advantages. On the other hand, being delivered to a sooner or later to be active combat zone did not look that promising either.
    And I still did not have my cuppa, dammit.

    For now, all I could do was to follow the senior command staff and the troopers of the first company out on the field. I did not look forward to being out in the open at all. While I did not expect, say… Orkish Snipers of all things to be waiting for me, it was only prudent to be cautious. But my more pressing concern was my current attire.

    I may have been assured that the envirosuit did as was promised, and isolated me completely from the deadly atmosphere (I had tested it with Jurgen’s odour, just to be safe) and I did like the fact that it was actually armoured and allowed me for once in my career to wear an actual helmet in a combat zone, there was just one small thing that I could gripe about. Or not so small after all. Due to some inane regulation in an obscure part of the Commissariat Manual that someone had helpfully pointed out to me, the Commissarial Cap, properly capitalized as it was only fitting from its looks, was a required part of a Commissar’s battledress, no matter the circumstances. That had lead directly to my cap being strapped onto my helmet with some Emperotape (the stuff that holds the Imperium together) and distinct sniggers just beyond the corner of my eyes. Well, I was looking forward to see how latrine duty was working on a death world. I had a certain, very distinct feeling that my chance to observe it would come very soon.

    The deathly atmosphere swirled around us and I could almost feel it eating away at the protective carapace suit I was wearing as we stepped on the surface of the planet.
    Since the pitiful thing that was called space port on this planet had actually been too small to hold more than a single company landing craft, and the fighting was still 40 clicks away from the actual cities, it had been decided to land our troops directly behind the lines of the PDF regiments. Most had been pleasantly surprised that these were actually still holding out and putting up a fight, but I was pretty sure that it had more to do with the fact that even the Orks couldn’t possibly want this planet.

    The area was buzzing with activity, I saw several squads of soldiers running around, carrying heavy equipment or fortifying a position or two.
    Only a hasty step forward saved me from being overrun by a stumbling Jurgen, clinging to his oversized Melta even on this death world.

    “Sorry, Commissar. I can hardly see the ground here.”

    Which was true, while faint wisps of smoke, or more probably gas were in the ‘air’ and did not really limit sight but more underlined the alieness of the world and the glee with which it was waiting to choke any human to death, the ground was a different matter. It was covered in purplish coloured fumes, swirling lazily with each movement that disturbed them and making each step a death trap.

    “It’s okay, Jurgen, just be careful where you point that thing.”

    I mentioned to the engine of fiery death that Jurgen swung around so casually and surveyed the surroundings further. We had landed next to a solidly fortified field command, supposedly holding the joint senior staffs of the 1st Tartaros Guards and Cerberus Knights. The fighting must have been even less intense than we had anticipated, because the PDF had even managed to muster a small Honour Guard awaiting us. Their envirosuits were definitely a different model than ours and the vehicles and even las guns I could see were far from the junk that normally found its way in PDF hands. I had seen guards regiments who fielded shoddier equipment.

    A trio of Chimeras, equipped with dual heavy bolters roared away from the camp, no doubt carrying some unfortunate souls directly in the way of a green tide. A couple of matte black Sentinels silently stood guard about a quickly pulled together bunker, and I spotted at least one Hydra emplacement ready to cleanse the sky of any IDC-Codes its gunners did not like.

    The Cerberus Knights seemed to prefer very bleak, subdued colour schemes for their armour, almost making the Death Guard looking hip, while the Guards used a grey dull colour code.

    I stepped up to Colonel Kasteen and Major Broklaw, currently exchanging greetings with their counterparts in the PDF. A lumbering giant that rivalled an Ogryn in sheer size was apparently the commander of the Cerberus Knights, his suit forgoing all attempts at colour and standing true to black in black. And was that an actual Power Sword on his hip? Suddenly I felt almost inadequate with my meagre chain sword.
    The third Colonel looked more as if an actual human was wearing the armoured suit.

    “… and this is Commissar Ciaphas Cain, Hero of the Imperium.”

    I shot a withering glare to Kasteen, who just replied with a small smile visible behind her faceplate.

    “Hero of the Imperium. Princess and Emperor, we never expected such a great person to visit our small world.” The human sized one greeted me.

    Secure in the knowledge that any sigh would be hidden inside my envirosuit, I felt free to do so. But his exclamation had been an unusual one. I would have more expected it from a Sister of the Sororitas, the only ones who still venerated the Princess, the Emperor’s firstborn daughter. On the other hand, I could care less about his personal idiosyncrasy and more about the mob of Orks no doubt waiting for me to show myself and deliver a certain unlucky Commissar to the Emperor himself as swiftly as possibly.
    “I assure, Colonel, I am just here to serve as a servant of the Emperor, like you and your men.”

    It was plain to see that he wanted to go on about some trip about heroism and further nonsense, but Major Broklaw took pity on my behalf and suggested to get inside the field command and begin our briefing on the latest local developments.

    “As you wish.”

    Something seemed to be wrong with the voice box of the hulking Colonel, but his peer did not seem to mind and they escorted us into, the Emperor be praised, enviroisolated field command. I was not looking forward to wear all this gear for any time in the field, even if it protected me from Jurgen’s…extravagances.
    My fellow guardsmen and women looked similar relieved and even the locals looked more comfortable in less restricting uniforms.

    Well, except the dark Colonel making no sign to remove his suit. Probably noticing our uneasy glances the Cerberus Colonel, a skeletal thin man, outside of his suit, looking strangely haggard commented.

    “Please, do not concern yourself with Colonel Radev. His health is… impaired, and he needs the special environment that his exoskelton provides to survive.”

    I eyed the mentioned one again, much more closely now and nearly did a double take.
    That was no suit at all, it really was an exoskeleton. The man must have been closer to a servitor than any other commanding officer I had ever seen. I shuddered to think what injuries he had sustained that had made such extreme measures necessary.

    During the strategy meeting, I kept mostly in the back, leaving comments and talking to the experienced minds of regular Colonel’s and Major’s, while I studied the local counterparts and their subordinates.
    Not only was their equipment indeed comparable to any guard unit I had ever seen, they also radiated a calm professionalism that should not have been there in the rag tag bands that usually made the bulk of PDF regiments. If they continued to show such qualities in the field I had little doubt that our recommendations would lead to them forming an actual guards regiment and being deployed to some frontline soon. Not something anyone sane would wish upon his fellow man.

    “.. as you can see here, we have deployed our forces alongside the obvious lines of the lower hills, giving us the height advantage versus the approaching enemy.” The skeletal PDF Colonel droned on in a monotone that could have bored a servitor to tears. “We made sure to heavily camouflage our reserves along the shallower hills, creating the illusion of a weakness in our lines and deploying various decoys around our command centre, creating the appearance of overwhelming strength here. Once the enemy strikes against our perceived weak spots, our reserves will pull in for a flanking strike against his main angle of attack, to…”

    I felt my spine turn into an icicle. “Wait a moment” I grunted out, appalled at what I had heard and breaking all regulations of joint briefings. “You are telling me that you have set up a trap. For Orks. To strike at a weak spot. And avoid heavy fighting. For Orks.”

    The Colonel didn’t even look flustered at all at my outburst.
    “I assure you, Commissar Cain, that our preparations have been meticulous, and our electronic warfare department did create various transmissions…”

    I stared at the man as if he had turned into a Greater Demon. Of Slaneesh. Who had just said he was not in the mood for ‘it’ right now.

    Kasteen formulated my reservations in words far more polite than I would have been able too.
    “Electronic warfare? Against Orks? Colonel… with all due respect, have you ever fought against Orks before?”

    “I fail to see what the problem is, Colonel Kasteen.” The hopeless sap replied, just to be interrupted by his colleague in this farce.

    “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” His voice box was really off. And the breathing sounds were harsh indeed. “Every single one of my men is properly motivated to give his all in combating the Enemies of Princess and Emperor. I made sure of it. Personally.”

    They were insane. Insane, all of them.

    “It is not a problem of faith, I assure, …” Major Broklaw was interrupted by the thundering roar of an artillery shell exploding outside and way, way too close to us for comfort.

    Suddenly alarms yelled through the camp, and various soldiers exploded.
    Into action, thankfully.

    “Sir, sensors are reporting multiple targets moving towards our position, several company strength units with various support units and reserves behind them.”
    “… forward positions report contact, repeat, contact with heavy Ork forces. They are outnumbered and falling back to reinforced positions…”
    “…armoured vehicles and walkers detected along the ….”
    “…unspecified aircraft, identified as Ork units moving in along…”
    “…platoon bravo taking casualties….”

    Chatter and reports from vox operators flew through the command, way too fast and too many for me to actually translate in context, but clear enough for me to get the gist of it.
    A major Ork offensive. And I was sitting directly in the way of it. Again.

    “Alert companies alpha through epsilon, they are to redeploy to secondary positions along vector tango-four.”

    Well, I had to hand it to the PDF flunkies, aside from cooking up a colossal bullshit situation, they kept their cool under fire. Colonel Kasteen was already coordinating the deployment of our first company along with them, while they gave out orders to their forces. The ground shook again under heavy artillery fire and I could hear the scream of bolters spraying metal death through the air far too close for my liking.

    “Platoon bravo, this is Colonel Radev. You are to hold your position under all circumstances. Reinforcements are deploying behind you. Death is Her Service.” Three guesses who was the owner of that mechanical, raspy voice.

    I had to think, and act, fast. I turned to Kasteen.
    “Colonel, permission to take a squad and scout our flank for approaching enemy reserves.”

    She barely spared me a glance, nodded to something or the other and I had everything I needed. I hurried to the environmental lock, already putting my suit back together. Jurgen was hot on my heels, already used to my quick responses during combat.

    The camp had changed significantly when I once again dove in the deathly fumes of the outdoors. Las guns were brought in positions, troopers rallied to fortified points, chimeras poured out of our transport and I spotted no less than three Leman Russ tanks with some weird turret configuration in dull grey colours rolling across the field. The two black Sentinels were already marching forward, their heavy steps vibrating through the ground, las guns swivelling around, looking for a target to cook in some obscene amounts of joules of energy.

    Thankfully, my trusty Salamander had already been unloaded, and I sprinted towards it. To my dismay, I could already see Sergeant Jerrod with his squad and their chimera waiting next to it.

    “Commissar Cain, Sir. Major Broklaw ordered us to support your scouting operation and give you fire support.” The man snapped smartly as I drew closer.

    “Great, Sergeant. We… just try to keep up, we will do a long range reconnaissance at the edge of our flanking lines. Try to avoid direct enemy contact, this is a scouting mission. This time, intelligence is more worth than heroics in His name on our part, as much as all of us may regret it.” I gasped out while I nearly shoved Jurgen in the driver’s seat. From the glowing faces under the faceplates I am not sure my little speech had the exact effect I desired, but at least this were none of Captains Sulla’s boys happy to charge into a blazing glory like a Jovian Assault Squad.

    As we pulled out of the field camp I was fairly sure I could already see a broad, green wave approaching it from across the horizon.
  10. Robo Jesus Your Mechanical Messiah

    Ok, I have an issue here. Babies are conceived, they develop, and then they are born. Ergo, if there is a baby, there should be at least one (Mother), if not two (Mother + Mate/Partner), parents nearby. In the Sailor Moon series, Serenty's soul was reincarnated into the body of a little girl born to two Japanese parents. Unless Serenity is some sort of Daemon here, taking on a new form as she appeared in the 40K universe, there should have been parents near her, even if they were dead. Having a baby appear like that, without more setup or explanation for it, is too much to sustain Suspension of Disbelief, especially given what occured in the SM-verse that you're basing the beginnings of this story on.
  11. maguado87 Softy

    2 thing? IS that a Darth Vader Expy and are those soldier Sardaukar Expy?
  12. Trickery The Unholy Guy

    I don't know to much about SM or Warhammer but you could interpret it like this, she was reincanated like in SMverse.

    In this verse the baby was already there to begin with, and Serenity's soul went and inhabited it. THe parents body's could just be under debris or maybe GEOM just wasn't concerntrating on the surroundings and just on Serenity. We really didn't get much of a description of the surroundings apart from the WARP being very calm around the baby, that was it.

    Again I don't know much of SM apart from what I watched as a kid on tv so I could be missing something very obvious that you know about but this is the way I am interpreting it.
  13. This... this is holding my interest.
  14. Winged Knight Crazy man with a wolf on his head.

    I was planning, in my thing, that Chaos essentially chucked her as soon as she was reincarnated.

    But it could also have gone this way. I'm still playing with stuff with my thing.


    I'm loving what you have, here. I like the references to the changed history, acknowledging Serenity as the first child of the Emperor.
  15. arthurh3535 Writer

    Playing with stuff can be handy. I've got a few stories that I do that on.
  16. SAMAS Not an armored Jigglypuff

    Two chapters, and aside from the prologue and one line, no sign of any change or crossover. This sums up my feelings a little better. It's not bad, but given the early point of the divergence, I feel changes should be more readily apparent. In fact, I'm a little disappointed with the 10,000-year timeskip as it is. I hope you'll give more information about the roles of Serenity/Usagi and/or the other senshi during the Crusade and Heresy soon.
    Ozymandias2x likes this.
  17. Tim811 Solidarity

    Got to be, and let me say I love the idea of Vader as a Sailor Moon fanatic! :D
  18. Why do i think either Mercury or Moon is a the trap?:confused:;)
  19. Winged Knight Crazy man with a wolf on his head.

    As soon as my life gets a little more sane, I'll post some stuff in the Usagi getting raised thread. We're sharing a prologue here, but I have different ideas. Granted, I have no future plan for a lot of it. I'm just hoping I inspire more people to write something similar, like what happened here.
  20. Arkado fear the Ordo Grammaticus

    Sorry to all of you who want an instant crossover, I am a slow guy and need to build up a scene and setting first. Rest assured, there is a crossover on the horizon.
    Also, unlike Winged Knight and most of the people in the original thread I am focusing on the "present" WH40k timeline, and it is even pretty much intact compared to canon; there are only some ... slight derivations.
    Of course, there are reasons for that. (For more exact informations and tales regarding the future, contact your local Tzentch representative and Inquisitorial bureau, in that order)
    As for Knightowl; any particular reason you picked this two?
    I am neither confirming nor denying anything, I am just interested how the more or less subtle hints I believe to have dropped are percieved.
  21. Tim811 Solidarity

    I think you're doing well, I like detailed backgrounds and snarky dialogue. No need to feel constrained by "genre" limitations. :rolleyes:
  22. One we have not seen Moon yet. and two Mercury Bubbles.;7 Only allies can see in them. They can make 95% of all traps work.
  23. Stormwind Yuusha Destron

    Ok, I see there a Tarkin expy. What kind of obscenely large weapon do local PDF units have?
  24. Wait thats Palpatine...
  25. Arkado fear the Ordo Grammaticus

    Expy's, expy's... you are such a suspicious audience. Why would I ever do something like that?
    Anyways, here is part three; I really need a beta reader but so what.
    Still no really crossover progress, but we are getting there.


    Hades VI, Mountains of Mourning, out in the field

    Jurgen gunned the engine pretty hard. I am not sure what the machine spirit of our Salamander thought about it, but as long as it kept working, I couldn’t be bothered. Impressively, Sergeant Jerrod and his Chimera did keep up with us.
    Mostly, because not even Jurgen could drive on a ‘completely’ reckless speed in unknown, broken terrain covered by ground fumes.

    The more heavy sounds of the fighting, screaming rockets, barking bolters and sizzling las bolts were missing now and if my memory served me well, we should reach the edges of our lines pretty soon. There, I could probably wait out the worst of the Ork assault and maybe ride back ‘behind’ our reinforcement forces when we swept the Orks from our centre. And lead like I preferred to lead. Safely from the back.

    My musings were interrupted by detonations probably less than half a klom from our route, way too close for my comfort. It sounded like Krak Grenades, or maybe their orkish counterpart.

    I snapped up a field visor and scanned our left flank. There were some movements. Las gun flashes, hulking green brutes advancing and I spotted at least two guardsmen in a beleaguered position. Covered behind some rocks, on a small rise, close to an even larger but steep and inaccessible hill. My vox line crackled to life.

    “Commissar, there seems to be a minor Ork assault on the PDF lines to our left.”

    Yes, thank you, Sergeant obvious. But now that he had spotted it clearly too, it suddenly became a lot harder to explain why we should just drive on. There were moments that I really regretted to have to keep up the appearance of my reputation. But then, said reputation has saved my hide so many times now that it has been worth it. Every time.

    I just wished it would not have come with such large quantities of bowel-clenching horror. Still, if there was only a squad of Orks or some stragglers, we would have the advantage of surprise, numbers and armoured vehicles with us. A pretty good bet, for any other man except me.
    I never got that lucky; never. Something, I still had trouble accepting at that time.

    “I spotted them too, Sergeant. Drive your men closer to the position and disembark under cover, before reinforcing the lines with your squad. I will carry out a flanking attack with my vehicle.”

    “Yes Sir, try to leave some for us, Sir.”

    I scowled at the eager tone carrying even over the static of the vox lines, and realized that he meant every word of it. He had fully bought in my false reputation and probably believed I was trying to annihilate the enemy force wholly on myself. Actually, my plan was more something along the lines of making a flanking move as wide as possible and arriving shortly after the fire had died down.

    While Jurgen throw us in a curve and the squads chimera broke from our formation, I quickly checked the higher command lines to see if there was another great danger for our forces, and more specifically, my person, that I needed to be aware of.

    “Colonel Radev, we should fall back from this position. The Orks are almost at the command bunker, and we can not hold it with our current forces.”

    “…*hiss*… we will hold the line *hiss* my command vessel will reach our emplacement soon… *hiss*…”

    Well, it sounded as if Kasteen was in some serious trouble. Now I was begin to feel guilty about leaving her with these freaky PDF guys. But she was a big girl, she had faced down, shot up and beaten to a pulp some quite impressive things, and creatures.

    On another note, I couldn’t help it. It sounded silly even to myself: the big Hero of the Imperium, being intimidated and freaked by a simple PDF colonel? Honestly, how scary could that guy be?
    Emperor’s Mercy, I should come to regret that line of thought…

    I linked out of the command line and got up to man our pintle-mounted bolter. They were not the standard equipment for Salamanders, but let me tell you; they come in really handy and I tried my best to always get one for the Salamanders I rode.
    We had circled around the guards pocket now and were approaching the battle.

    I briefly toyed with the idea of playing for time and waiting till our side had won, but that had the disadvantage that I could not be sure of our victory. And being alone, even with Jurgen to back me up, in an Ork controlled area sounded actually more risky to my continued well being than being in a battle together with at least a full squad of veteran guardsmen to support us. So I did what every able bodied, law abiding subject of the Emperor should do, and proceeded to attack the foul Xeno’s. One of the few times were those expectations did concede with my personal goals; staying alive and healthy.

    The Orks were advancing over a slight uphill slope of broken terrain, providing ample cover and were pressing against a beleaguered unit dug in between some rocks.
    The men were putting out an impressive amount of high energy death, with expert accuracy.
    Las bolts flew through the air, punching chunks out of ground and rocks, forcing Orks in cover or burning green skin and flesh of those less prudent and more eager. Which were a lot, considering we are talking about Orks here.

    Unfortunately, we are not talking about Gretchlings here, and while I did not spot a towering hulk of green muscles each one of them was still larger than any men I had ever spotted in the 597th.
    They got up from direct Las gun hits to the chest, and barely even acknowledge hits on arms or legs. Their crude, makeshift bolt weapons spat angry return fire. Primitive bullets detonating with the same force normally attributed to the Holy Bolt Rounds of the Astartes, and swinging crude cleavers as large as the Colonel of our regiment, they charged on.

    Jerrod had split his squad in two fire teams and reinforced the flanks of the PDF squad, forcing the Orks to advance through a disciplined crossfire. Nothing less than I expected from the veterans of the Valhallan’s, but the concentrated fire that the PDF members put out even under heavy return fire might have been less in volume, but by no means less in discipline or precision. I was beginning to like these guys.

    “Jurgen, bring us in the enemy’s back and then pass along their line in medium tempo.”

    I was taking a page straight out of the Commissariat’s field manual here, one of the few I actually liked. Gunning down His Enemy’s from behind is what all His servants should aspire too.

    “Very well, Commissar.”

    Jurgen’s voice sounded like I had ordered a refill for my cup of
    tanna, but he drove on nonetheless and I griped the bolter in my hands.

    The green skins did not spare a glance backwards and as I fired, the first rounds of hot, explosive death caught them completely unaware, literally cutting one of the brutes in half and splattering what was left of him over more than dozen square metres.

    It worked like a charm. Caught between heavy fire from two sides, and without sufficient anti vehicle weapons they did not exactly break as that would require some intelligence or self preservation on their part, but were merely undecided as in which direction they should charge.

    Ruthlessly exploiting the ‘minutes’ of confusion, we neatly cut down any thing green and monstrous between us. I actually spotted an Ork standing there, upright, without any cover and glancing back and forth between us, before a triplet of Las bolts vaporized its head, shortly followed by a staccato salvo of my bolter ripping his chest apart.
    I liked to make reasonably sure that things stayed down.

    “Okay, Jurgen, take us back to the men. That must have been the last of them.”

    Between us, we had cut down more than a dozen Orks.
    Even as my driver shifted gears, and we changed direction my palms started to itch.
    I threw a wide glance around.

    “Jurgen. Get down.”

    I threw myself to the side, behind the armoured plates of the vehicle, as little protection as they might offer. Still, that probably saved my life as the rocket detonated in a near direct hit and tore our bolter clear of its mounting and throwing our Salamander half around. We skidded to an uncontrolled stop, smoke rising from everywhere it seemed. For once, I was glad about our sealed gear.

    “Jurgen, are you still with me?”

    “Yes, Commissar, sorry for the rough stop.”

    With any other man I would have spotted a hint of irony within the statement, even if I had to wildly interpret it into the words, but not with Jurgen. He completely lacked the imagination for that.

    “We need to get out of here, another rocket could ruin our whole day.”

    Not waiting for his reply, even I had my limits to blind stoicism, I jumped out on the opposite side of the new approaching Ork wave. We were now pinned in the rocky field, an Ork unit of undetermined size approaching from the one side, our own men lying in position on the other side.
    Guess in which direction the Hero of the Imperium was running.

    And I really was running, not bothering with jumping from cover to cover, but relying on the frame of the Salamander to shield us. At least until the next missile.

    But till then, I planned to have a sufficient lead from the Orks. For lumbering hulks brimming with muscles and weighting more than three standard troopers together, they could be astonishingly fast. I had had maybe managed half the way, still a good 150m to go, when my plan experienced a slight derivation.
    Namely, me diving for cover as a rock next to me was cracked by enemy fire. I cursed, and locked back from my cover.

    There was an Ork with a really hideous looking and way too large gun for my taste who had already circled around the Salamander. Maybe 200m away, way out of range for my Las pistol and Jurgen’s Melta, but nominally in range for a standard Las gun. Which we did not have.

    Jurgen was actually close to me, how he kept up with my mad dash for safety while carrying around his oversized Instrument of Imperial Wrath, I was not sure. But I had more pressing things to deal with. Already another Ork was appearing alongside the first, who raked our position with bolter fire.

    On this distance, we were pretty safe under cover, Orkish marksmanship is not exactly feared through out the galaxy, but I was doubting the wisdom of leaving the cover for any form of retreat.

    Well, at least till the Ork was suddenly punctured by multiple Las bolts from behind me. I could not make out the details of his face, but I suppose he felt as surprised as I did. Well, maybe with a bit more hurt. But he did not fall before a second salvo blew up half his torso also encouraging his companion to keep his own head down.

    Not arguing with the Emperor’s blessing, I continued my mad dash for our lines. Further Las fire poured out from our very much improvised citadel, and I did not stop before I reached the rocks that covered the guardsmen. Severely out of breath, I hunkered down behind the biggest boulder I could find, just a second before Jurgen dived down next to me.

    “Nice to meet you, Commissar. I am Corporal Fordo. And thanks for the support; although it’s a shame your ride is gone, there are an awful lot of the buggers out there.”

    I looked incredulously at him as he snapped out another salvo of shots at the Orks, nearly half a klom away. Soon, I focused on his weapon. That was a very non standard Las gun indeed, and I have served with a lot of different regiments.

    He seemed to notice my look.
    “That’s the DC-15A, Sir. Damn fine gun. Standard equipment for ARC troopers.”

    I shook myself, and took in our situation. Jerrod and his squad were mingled with the PDF troopers now, that gave us fourteen men, excluding me and Jurgen. We were behind pretty good cover, but without heavy weapons aside from Jurgen’s Melta, which was decidedly short range. And my last glance had revealed no less than thirty Orks advancing, with more probably out of sight. I did not like these odds.

    “Do we have any assets in the area to reinforce us?”

    “Negative, Sir, these guys are really throwing a lot at HQ. Colonel Radev is having a mighty nice time.”

    Try as I might, I could not hear any irony in these words. Was everyone on this Emperor-forsaken planet mad? That didn’t make my job easier, to find an excuse to get the Hero of the Imperium back to the Chimera close by and away from the front. While I was pondering this problem, important to me on a very deep, personal level I heard multiply roars above us, rapidly closing in.

    “Heads down” Yelled Jerrod, only a couple of heartbeats too late to make any difference.

    I was already crouched low and under the best bulge in the rocks I could find.

    Seemingly a full mob of Storm Boyz flew over us, and to this day, I swear they were cackling in glee, no matter how deep or guttural their voices may be. Cackling, and flying directly in the direction of the Chimera. My Chimera.

    We snapped some hasty shoots in their direction, but their rocket packs soon carried them out of our field of fire.

    The other Orks had not been idle and now every guardsmen, including me, was firing on the approaching Ork mob. There were a lot more than thirty I guess, but I had not the heart to count them.

    One of Jerrod troopers went down, a bolter round punching a whole in his flak vest, his chest finally detonating and ripping out his whole back. To my left, Kashal, a mousy women that had never caused any trouble in the regiment or shown up in an reports suddenly sprayed her head and brains over me, as a high calibre round tore her apart.

    I squeezed of aimed shots as fast as I could, there was still too much of a distance for rapid fire, but I had some success, too. I put down an Ork with four well placed shots to his naked chest, and discouraged at least three others with hits to their limbs. Although one needed three consecutive hits on an arm before he decided he was bothered.

    Suddenly, a rocket streaked from an Ork to us. The launching system looked like little more than a hollow barrel, but Emperor be dammed, it worked all too well.

    The missile exploded behind us, and a shower of rocks and shrapnel covered us. Bad enough on the average battlefield, but here, it send three of us to the Emperor. One of the PDF soldiers whose name I never learned, and Reynolds as well as Burke, two of our own which I mostly remembered for their habit of heavy drinking and less than respectable card games which had brought them to my attention. Mostly professional. Shrapnel pierced their envirosuits and they choked up instantly, convulsing and trashing on the ground.
    Warp, having to fight battle-crazed killing machines stronger, tougher and greener than any unaugmented human was worse enough on its own, but by which warp spawned sorcery did they manage to run around unprotected in this environment so deadly for us?

    “Princess Preserve.”

    A statement I agreed all too readily with, as I saw hulking giant lumbering across the field towards us. He was at least size of an Astartes, with power armour, and where his companions wore at the most crude leather jackets, with maybe two or three hand wide metal plates sewn onto he had seemingly misunderstood something. It appeared, he believed himself to be more of a tank than an Ork, considering the more than finger thick metal plates he was covered in and holding a gun that made a ripper gun look like an undersized children toy.

    Taking a calming breath, and aiming for a moment, my weapon held steady by my augmented fingers I gave him three aimed shots. Two hit him directly between the eyes, the third on his chin. And they glanced off. Off his skin. There were days it really did not pay to get out of the bunk.

    Hastily, I ducked my head again, as bolter fire raked about my cover. Another trooper had fallen in the mean time, me not even noticing the hit.
    I was briefly considering to panic, but as much as I regret it, I had actually already been in more desperate situations. Also, I refused to show any signs of distress before the local PDF did. My eyes darted around, trying to find something on the battlefield to use to our advantage. And my safety.

    I spotted a shallow ravine. Not much, but the deep bark of the Orkish cannon and the literally explosion of a nearly meter big boulder encouraged me to revise point of view.

    “This position is unsustainable. We are lacking heavy fire power. We will retreat, and reattach to the rest of our forces.”

    Fordo nodded tersely, while Jerrod gripped his Las gun in a near death grip.

    “How will we hold them back to cover our retreat, Commissar?”

    More accurately, he meant ‘who’ will hold them back.

    “We…”

    Before I could disperse my cunning and heroic plan to get out of this tight spot and defeat the green horde, a rocket, and another, and a third struck down over our heads, cracking the rock of the hill.

    Some days, I firmly believe that gravity is one of the ruinous powers.
    This was one of the days, as the rock was now coming down on us. I folded myself together, covering my head with my arms and praying to the Emperor to protect me from any suit failure. Not that I believe He had not a couple of more important things to do, like containing the Eye of Terror, keeping the false gods of Chaos in check or guiding the fate of humanity, but I felt out of options at that moment.

    When the rubble, deadly fumes and strangely coloured gases had died down along with two more of our soldiers, we could hear the cheering of the Orks, now far too close for my liking. The rocky hill side had acquired several severe wounds, and a large gash run along it, broad enough on the ground level to let a man pass. The look was no doubt that of an underground cave, my old tunnel rat instincts and experience undergrounds making it clear as day.

    I did not like the idea; I had made far too many unpleasant discoveries underground during various campaigns, and the possibility of a dead end was very real.
    But still, we were nailed down under heavy fire, the Orks were encroaching and they would have trouble passing the entrance. One for their size, and second for our suppressing fire.
    Something we could keep up for hours at least. Unless they had more rockets. Or grenades. Or even more nasty things.

    “Follow me, men, unto the breach!”

    It felt strange for me to shout that, but right now I was more concerned with staying alive. Staying low to the ground in a crouch, I sprinted towards the chasm, entering it and managing to come to a stop before I ran headfirst into something. As expected, behind the immediate gap it was pretty dark inside. The rest of the survivors followed, Jurgen nearly running past me, before I managed to grab him saving him from falling and potentially triggering his Melta, taking us all with him.

    The darkness was lightened up considerably as Cody and his PDF fellow activated luminators integrated in their Las guns. For once it seemed luck was with me on this day, the cave stretched actually in a kind of tunnel, leading further underground. I was firmly resolved not to waste a thought why there should be an underground tunnel around here. Those questions never lead to anything good. See earlier entries in my notes. At least the cave looked natural.
    And no claw marks. Always a plus.

    “Okay, we have no choice to go forward. There is not much in the way of cover here. Corporal Cody, you and your man take point.”

    “Affirmative, Sir.” In eerie unison the two moved forward, I couldn’t be sure in the darkness but it seemed as each movement was identical.

    I placed Sergeant Jerrod in my back, trusting my fellow Valhallan’s enough to not get any funny ideas about a Commissar’s backside during combat and keeping them between me and the rampaging Orks.

    To my detriment, we had not found the entrance to a vast network of underground tunnels, allowing us to escape somewhere completely unseen. Neither did we found a dead end trapping us at the mercy of the Orks.
    In a way, what we found was much, much worse. And definitely a lot more scary.

    We found an antechamber, in the bare rock. And a portal. A hugh, barred gate made from Adamantium. Wide enough to let a Leman Russ tank pass once opened. The Imperial Aquila stretched golden from one side to the other, residing proudly in the center. It was underlayed with a purple symbol I had not seen before. It looked like an Imperial Rune, or maybe a Sigil. But nothing I was familiar with.
    There was a console next to it.

    “Commissar…what is this?”

    Considering that the question came from one of the natives I intended to ask the same I was not reassured. But I needed to keep the morale up.

    “I do not know… yet.”

    With a healthy does of trepidation I steeped up to the console. It looked even more obscure and confusing than consoles I had seen in star ships. I could not even begin to make out some form of control runes on it.

    “I don’t suppose one of you had a close and personal relationship with a tech priest, did you?”

    To my surprise, the cheeks of Corporal Kerin, Jerrods second in command, coloured slightly and she stepped forward.

    “I… may have some insight in a few rituals of the Omnissiad, Commissar Cain.”

    Emperor be dammed, did everyone in the guard sleep around with the tech priests? What was it with the machine boys? Was there something I missed? But I didn’t voice my pressing questions, I just waved her forward.
    “See what you can make out of that; the rest, defensive positions… I am sure our green, ugly and most certainly not friends will show up soon.”

    Well, my words were mostly superfluous, as the troopers had already positioned themselves, but they calmed my nerves a bit. I did ‘not’ want to think about old imperial bunkers. Lying empty, and in reserve, forgotten and never used. Because that was what it was. Had to be.
    Sometimes, I tended to entertain a bit of wishful thinking.

    Unfortunately, even with all wishful thinking the expression on Kerin’s face could not be interpreted as promising. She whispered various litany’s and prayers, more than I ever knew and her hands hovered uncertainly above the controls.

    “So… Corporal, what do you make of it?”

    I did not want to press her, really. But warp, I could already hear the Orks closing in on us.

    “I… I have never seen something like that, Commissar… the runes… there are no runes, and there are no sigils of protection, or reinforcement…”

    I let out a few chosen words in high gothic I had picked up from one of the high and noble admirer’s of a certain undeserving Hero of the Imperium.
    The small antechamber got nearly filled with Las bolt fire as a voice replied in high gothic from somewhere.
    Only the fact that no one was sure where it really had come from ‘saved’ the voice from instant retribution. High gothic had never been my strong point, and the dialect sounded quite strange to me. In my surprise, I had completely missed the actual words.
    But with a soft hiss the gate rose up and slid open.

    I did not want to enter. I knew that stepping inside would be a mistake.
    But between making a mistake, or getting the tanklike Ork and all of his friends to know quite close and personally, I preferred the mistake.
    So we stepped inside, the others as spooked as me.

    Little did we know what force we would unleash on the Imperium of Man….

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