Deathwalker (Free Federation)

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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by LadyTevar » 2010-02-04 07:32pm

Driving your opponents under financially is never a bad thing.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2010-02-05 02:50pm

Reaver Class Battlecruiser Nightlord
High Orbit Sejassa
Sejassa System
Free Federation Space


The synthetic rubies were pressed into place against the still soft silver. Kail opened the press and took the cooling skull and held it between thumb and forefinger and slowly rotated it. "The first is always special," said the man on the other side of the workbench. "And eyes as well. Good start."

The workshop was small and would have been well lit if most the lights weren't out. The tradition was old, a nocturnal ritual performed around forges and witchfires after battles and killings by societal outcasts who embraced the darkness of their reputations. Hard men and harder women who knew they would be hated by the rest of the world, the world that they made better at the cost of so much suffering and death.

The banner sergeant didn't have Kail's nearly two meter height, but he was tall and broader. Blood red lightning bolt electoos on his cheeks flared up every three seconds and then faded back to match his olive skin. He was adding skulls to his own chain. Ruby eyes glimmered on three of the twenty plus skulls that formed the links. "My first was a captain on Kandred. Over ran the poor brain burned bastards and shot him in the face. Armour took the first hit, but not the second. He was still alive actually. He had no face, but he was alive. Beamed him through the chestplate and the fucker finally died. Not a red eye, but a skull nonetheless."

Kail put the skull in his pocket and got up to leave. "You," said the banner sergeant, "are one closed mouthed motherfucker."

"Yes I am,' said Kail and then he turned and left. The campaign had gone well, as was inevitable. The quality of their ground forces had been overwhelming and the Free Federation had seized stronghold and cities while freighters delivered supplies, ground batteries, shields, power generators, and weapon platforms to secure near space. The Slavers had estimated how large a force was needed to overcome Sejassa's space defences and how much time they had to set up additional forces, looked at what they would need to overcome that force, checked that against the local forces available, and then considered the consequences of taking that many ships out play. They had, as was common, come to the conclusion that planet was temporarily lost to them and declined to counter attack. Sejassa had ceased to be a Slaver world and was now a Free Federation one.

The factories would be reprogrammed to produce whatever goods were needed and the clone banks would become the nucleus of new medical sector. The dead were being systematically disposed of and that happened to include most of the planet's populace. A billion dead, but the infrastructure mostly intact. That was victory.

The surviving ex-slaves, that small minority that could have their brains sufficiently repaired to be people and not drones, would form the nucleus of the planet's new populace along with the new garrison and managers and bureaucrats and so on. Generous incentives and the colonization lottery would provide people to fill the rest. A front line world was not an attractive place to move.

And it would go on, tit for tat, world for world, siege for siege, with the occasional big battle and constant raiding behind the second line. For the last two hundred years the Slavers had been slowed to a crawl, losing almost as much as they gained as they raped, tortured, enslaved, and murdered their way closer to the core worlds. Always closer and now they had a perfected a newer and even more lethal breed of alphas. They may have failed, but that was against the best. The Slavers could afford to lose and lose again, as long as they won just enough to make it worthwhile.

If Kail had been inclined to speak to himself he might have said, "that will change. That must change." He was not and did not. Instead he headed back to his rack and pondered the Sixes. The Fives had been bad enough, but these Sixes were worse. However, as potent as they were they were neither perfect nor invincible. There had to be counters to them. There had to be.

He lay down and thought of the flashing blades of shape shifter assassins until sleep claimed him.
Last edited by Imperial Overlord on 2010-02-05 04:35pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Alan Bolte » 2010-02-05 03:30pm

Interesting, but this irked me:
Their had to be counters to them. Their had to be.
There.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2010-02-05 04:34pm

Alan Bolte wrote:Interesting, but this irked me:
Their had to be counters to them. Their had to be.
There.
Thanks for catching that. Homonyms are the bane of my spelling.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2010-02-08 05:53pm

Darkhold
Shadowcatch
The Free Federation


Blue-white ghostfire flared in the center of the room, sending icy light and dark shadows to scurry over the room. Kail was stripped to the waist, his hand immersed in the sorcerous flame. His shields crumbled under the onslaught, despite the fact that only a tiny fraction of the conjured energy was assaulting them. The black he held in his hand drank in more than ninety percent of the energy. The skin on his hands began to curl and flake. He held on and fed even more power to the mageflame.

There were few tasks as difficult as working adamantium. Orichalcum drank the One Power like a sponge and was as malleable as clay in the right hands. Adamantium stubborn, like a granite pillar resisting the tide. There were tricks around the limitation, mostly involving working sorcery into material around the adamantium, which was easier and cheaper. Adamantium itself was excellent at penetrating shields. A few workings patterned onto gold and silver runic circuity on the blade or worked into the hilt added enough punch to slice through most wards and cleave through composite armour like paper.

The rewards to one who could manage to bind sorcery to adamantium were great. Only Orichalcum could rival its ability to hold a charge and its natural qualities as a superlative material for arms and armour made for matchless weapons and armour. It was a daunting, demanding, time consuming task but not quite impossible. The weapons crafted in such a method were legend. Night's Edge. The Blood Axe. Ruin. Others, not as famous, but almost as potent.

The last patches of skin on Kail's hand fell away; revealing wet, naked muscle. Blood drops fell away from his hand, defying gravity to rise up before boiling away in streaks of greasy black smoke. The tendons began to separate from their connections, fraying like cloth. Only sorcery and iron will kept his bloody bones gripping the shard. Air hissed through teeth as he shaped power with will and word. The sound of sizzling meat reached his ears and he could smell the ghastly sweet stench of cooking flesh.

There was a flash of cobalt blue. Then another. Two rune patterns glowed on the shard. Then a third. Then a fourth.

Soul Eater was being born.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A holographic tapestry depicting a forest on lost Earth covered on wall of the dining room. An oak table that had seen more than its fair share of abuse and received careful restoration was at the center of the modest chamber. A pale woman with long black hair raised a glass of rich red wine to lips only a shade paler. "So," she said to the most powerful man in the Free Federation, "how has your latest protege fared?"

"Well enough," Zerakis said to his wife. She was beautiful, in the way a goddess of the underworld was, but to him she was warm and inviting and not cold and untouchable. He smiled slightly. "He pays enough attention to the present to survive, but does not lose touch with long term implications of events. A better chance than most of becoming great. If he lives."

"The new Alphas."

"Much better than the Class Fives. Every system either new or improved. They will take a toll among us and our new wolves. Some of the old as well."

"Distressing. Almost as bad as Daemonstraum's consolidation of power among the Naomar Kordassi. The Slaver Lords have all their hands on the levers of power now. And Daemonstraum is a better general than his putative masters ever were. He'll transform much of the excess in the system into useful war production."

"At least he poured resources into the white elephant monstrosity of his."

"The Enslaver is a political, not military weapon," replied Zaranna. "Its purpose was to serve as a spearhead for his takeover of all military functions of the Kordassi Dominion and provide an unassailable command ship in case of treachery."

"We've managed to create the largest and most capable generation of warrior-sorcerers ever, an accomplishment that belongs more to you than anyone else, and now we have these new Alphas."

Zaranna raised her glass in mock salute. "The genes are just potential, without the right state of mind that's all that they are. It's amazing how obvious starting with the children is and how frequently it is bungled."

"My wife, the ruthless pragmatist," said Zerakis, raising his own glass.

"That's why you married me. That and the being a genius and the skill in bed. Not necessarily in that order."

Zerakis sliced off a chunk of thandar back and raised the roasted avian flesh to his mouth. He chewed and swallowed. "And a not bad cook. A very good one in fact."

"I confess. I didn't cook it. Tsishasess did. I wanted something special. We have so few nights like this."

"That's true."

"So, what next?"

"Next is young Lescosoven is added to my staff and Kail gets a transfer to whatever Strike Legion should get him."

"Learned enough from the old master?"

"For now. The time comes for every eagle must leave the nest."
Last edited by Imperial Overlord on 2011-05-06 08:54am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by LadyTevar » 2010-02-09 03:40pm

And this is where Kail learns to be a leader of men...
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2010-02-17 01:18am

Hell's Anvil
Severishas
Free Federation


Hard baked earth crunched under Kail's adamantium toed boots. The air danced and wavered in heat so intense even the sithi found it only somewhat tolerable. The environmental controls in the necromancer's soft armour struggled to maintain a comfortable temperature as he walked out of the shadow of the steel towers.

The top of the high plateau was crowned by the kilometer long accelerator spires that launched shuttles and cargo barges into orbit. Tram lines from around the continent converged on Hell's Anvil, fat with war material churned out from the planet's many automated factories. Robotic armatures did the loading and unloading, overseen like the factories by computers and a small crew. Severishas had been a young sithi colony at the start of the war and had been almost entirely wiped out by Slaver bioweapons, leaving behind nascent industries and a skeleton of industrial development. The war had spread a web of steel over the planet's surface, ripped deep into its guts, and sent the bounty into the sky.

Today the port teemed with men. Severish was at the outer edge of the human habitability envelope, but most of the rest of the world was less unpleasant than the Anvil. The One Hundred Seventeenth Strike Legion had been engaging in training and rebuilding for the last two months. Now they were at the Anvil, slowly loading men, equipment, and supplies for the trip off world.

Kail passed a pair of sithi supervisors as he headed towards a column of men and machines heading towards the loading terminals. The centauroid dragons inclined their heads in acknowledgment before breaking into a loping run towards a cluster of accelerator spires. The necromancer flicked his eyes over them briefly, but didn't break stride. A pair of perimeter sentinels, their armour the same ocher as the ground, seemed to appear out of nowhere.

Kail halted and produced his identification plaque. A sensor beam slid over him and then they passed him through. His coms, wired into his armour, activated.

"Captain, please join us," said a deep male voice. His suit expert systems projected a map showing his position and the destination. Kail turned right into a cluster of warehouses at the periphery of the launch site and broke into a run. He sped through the rows of the row, rectangular structures and then towards the terminal where the launch barges were fed from the lines to the accelerators. He caught sight of a cluster of humans standing in the shadow of the overhanging roof. Kail dropped down to a speed of thirty kilometers an hour and approached.

There were eight humans in powered armour, six of whom were conversing with their helmets off. The other two were obviously bodyguards and were watching everything. A ninth wore soft armour, a talisman harness, a shadow cloak, and a black witchmask. The location gave them a good view of the troops and equipment being loaded into barges. All but one of them had skin so dark it was almost black, courtesy of the systems blazing F class star. Kail's own skin had gone from the bone white spacer's tan common on Shadowcatch to a light brown and he had been on world for a day and a half. The scar on the right side of his face was a shockingly pale against his darker skin.

"Kail e'Zerakis, reporting as ordered," said the necromancer, giving the Free Federation fist to heart salute. None of the others wore rank insignia while Kail wore a captain's four pointed starburst and Darkhold's death's heads on his collar.

"As long as you don't salute in the field," rasped a man with orange and black tiger striped skin. "Getting saluted by assassin bait like sorcerers is like carrying around an artillery targeting beacon."

A woman with short red-brown hair chuckled. Her eyes were silver synthetics. "Einar has a point," said a tall man with aquiline features. "I'm Overcommander Desius Valane. These murderous children are my staff and right hands. Do you know why I wanted to speak to you?"

"Because you like to know your men and because I'm e'Zerakis."

"That's right. We've spent the last half a year training and rebuilding from the mauling we took in the Kroteka meatgrinder. For the first time since founding we're over our on paper strength. That includes sorcerers and you're young, but e'Zerakis."

"The imperator thanks you might have potential and you lived through the Naghri," said the sorcerer, speaking for the first time. "Expectations are high."

Kail nodded. "May I die in harness."

"Good," said Valane. "Now because even our beloved Empress can only impose so much common sense on high command, despite the fact that we've been doing plains and desert training for the last four months we're being sent to the jungle. The Slavers have fallen back to the jungles on Tishannka and we're being sent in to reinforce. There's a pool running about whether or not a Slaver counter attack happens before or after we arrive."

It made some sense. Strike legions weren't quite as well equipped as the elite guard legions, but they ranked higher than line legions when it came to arcanetech and personnel. Equipment priorities were different as well. Strike legions usually spearheaded offensive operations and were equipped as such. Heavy duty surface to space batteries and bombardment shields weren't exactly a priority for them. "They're expecting a Slaver counter attack and they're sending in a strike legion?" Kail asked.

"Not just a strike legion," said Valane. "Two line legions and planetary defence auxiliary unit as well. We'll have some cover from orbital fire."

"I suppose we have good reasons for not obliterating them with orbital fire?"

"Unfortunately, they retain good surface to space capabilities. So we get to go in and die cleaning them out."

"Where do I fit in?"

"You're getting formally attached to my staff, where we can see what your possibly legate grade brain can come up with when you're not being detached for front line fighting."

Einar smiled, showing white teeth. "Welcome to the wolf pack boy. You eat what you kill."
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by haard » 2010-02-17 06:10am

Awesome as always, IO. I really like this series!
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2010-02-23 11:24pm

The Krismesha Jungle
Tishannka
The War Zone



Kail stood in front of a wall of fire that stretched for over three hundred meters and was growing rapidly. The air was heavy with the tang of ozone, the product of massive use of particle beam weapons. Smoke from countless fires darkened the air and turned the wet heat into a blazing furnace. The fires swelled, expanded and joined, spreading throughout the jungle.
The wind was driving the flames in his direction, which wasn't much cause of concern. Without his shields, or the power armour that the rest of the legion's soldiers were wearing, it would cook him. The environmental systems of the suits of soft armour the slave soldiers wore couldn't handle the heat, not for long at least. Kail would burn down the entire planet if it meant more dead Slavers.

Over a front more than a hundred kilometers long the Slaver Lords and the Free Federation played cat and mouse. Particle beam rifles could hit and kill light infantry up to ten kilometers away, but the dense jungle made such feats impossible. The close quarters combat was ugly and brutal, even if it did favor the Free Federation. Tanks were slowed to a crawl by the necessity of smashing their way through trees to get anywhere and made more vulnerable by the loss of speed and the innumerable hiding spots.

With the heavy iron sidelined, the Free Federation called upon the cream of their troops to spearhead the assault. Sorcerers went without saying, as did the veterans who had decades of plunder and awards to add to their kit as well as hone their skills. To this the One Hundred Seventeenth Strike Legion added Nightmare suits, super heavy powered armour that were closer to vehicles than personal armour, to smash through enemy strong points. Nightmare suits were normally reserved for securing a drop zone or lightning strikes due to their lack of endurance in the field, but here their adamantium armour and shield system enabled them to survive most enemy attacks while delivering massive firepower to their targets. Conventional infantry would then flank and reinforce, completing the kill.

That was the theory. Reality was messier. Proper invocation of the one of the Free Federation, in the form of artillery barrages, helped. Inevitable as death, the soldiers of the Free Federation forced its way through trees and undergrowth, fire and slave soldiers.

"Cohort command this is Kail," he said over the local command channel. "I've got garbage on my sensor net. No visibility, IR crazy, electromag is hash. Anyone have anything?"

There was a long moment of silence. "Kail this is cohort. No readings on the enemy at the moment, recon data suggest the enemy is present in force at map grid ten zero by eleven nine."

Kail looked directly ahead. "Cohort, that is in the middle of a sea of fire. No one without heavy environmental comps can live there for long."

"We know. Analysis is either in error or the enemy's elite is on the field." That meant actual Slaver soldiers, the bottom level stakeholders in the whole wretched enterprise. They were trained, conditioned, augmented, and equipped as the crack soldiers of the regime. In return for their service they would earn the chance of promotion, loot, and generous pay. That and the privilege of owning slaves whose bodies they could shape and brains they could burn out and reprogram in any fashion they desired.

"Someone has to take a look," said Kail. "Request permission to advance."

"Moving Gamma and Delta Centuries up to support your advance. Delay until their arrival."

"Understood. Standing by."

Wood cracked and two trees toppled as a turret topped black slab of armour pushed forward into the space behind Kail. The Vanguard Tank had a short, thick main gun, a fusion plant fed laser that could core any Slaver tank short of a Floating Fortress inside of two kilometers. Behind it was a platoon of supporting infantry. Flanking the tank on either side were a dozen Nightmares.

They were nearly four meters of adamantium armour with powered talons on both hands. Each shoulder supported a weapon pod and one arm hosted a fearsome particle beam cannon. The other hosted another weapon package, in most cases a short quad barrel beam cannon. The oversized mechanical ogres had a hunched, predatory look that had been deliberately emphasized as part of their design.

Kail signaled both groups of Nightmares to advance. "Tanks, infantry, follow up and support." He turned around and ran into the fire. His shields became partially visible with refracted light and dispersed burning gas as he entered the inferno. Twisted black columns, haloed in flames, towered over the black skeletons of what had been the undergrowth. The fire swirled, twisted, and roared as the necromancer passed through the inferno. A tree just ahead and to the right, began to topple. Charcoal crunched under Kail's feet and gusts of hot air sent ash up into the sky.

The ground shook with the advance of the Nightmares. They were unsubtle instruments. Kail increased his pace to keep the lead. He could see no sign of Slavers yet, but he could barely see further than a dozen meters and his sensor net was almost useless. He passed through a wall of fire and a curtain of smoke and then he found the enemy.

They were Slavers, not slaves, wearing power armour that was similar in appearance and capabilities to that used by the Free Federation. There were a dozen Slavers and most of them were armed with heavy beam rifles. They were spread out, moving forward at a jog and moving from cover to cover.

Two of them reacted first and blue-white beams smashed into Kail's shields, but they held. Emerald rings formed around his hands and rapid fire flashed over the heads and torso over all the Slavers in less than two seconds. The rupture spells exploded organs, sending the Slavers to the ground dead or dying. Two more particle beams lashed his shields and a third hit the twisted tree three meters to his right. The bolt blew apart a meter of trunk and the rest began to topple. A dying finger convulsed on the trigger of a missile launcher and sent the projectile and a trail of smoke into the sky.

More fire came from ahead. Several more particle beams struck Kail's shields and only inhumanely fast reaction times allowed him to dodge the missile that streaked at him. The necromancer retaliated with a pair of blood-red, explosive hell blasts and then slicing a thirty meter long cerulean energy whip through the area in front of him. Scream resounded in the air and severed trees began to topple, along with the top halves of three Slaver soldiers. The air cracked with rapid fire beam weapons and the thunder of heavier cannons as the Nightmares attacked from the flanks.

Kail drew upon the One Power and leapt forward, easily reaching six meters height and covering more than twenty meters in length. Blue-white magefire exploded from his hands and he swung his arms to cover a hundred twenty degree arc in front of him. Bushes and vines exploded into ash. The water in tree trunks was flash heated into steam, causing the trees to explode even before they burned. Kail cleared a zone a hundred meters long, leaving a dozen blackened suits of power armour on the ground, their occupants and electronics fried by the intense heat. He neither paused nor slowed. Neither did the Nightmares.

"Contact with the enemy, pushing them back," he said over the command frequency. "Confirmed Slavers in power armour, no lords as of yet." Sorcerers on the front line would seriously stiffen resistance, but it would mean that the Slaver Lords would have to take risks on behalf of their troops, something they were not inclined to do. Their own evil was their greatest weakness, one even their superior resources could not overcome.

Kail continue the advance, but the Slavers were falling back. The necromancer unleashed force beams and hellblasts on any source of enemy fire. The Nightmares followed suit with their own weapon batteries and behind them the infantry and tanks were policing the battle field and ready to support them in case the fighting grew heavier. It did not. The last few Slavers were killed or slipped away.

"This is Kail. Contact with the enemy lost. Approximately half a hundred killed, number to be refined later."

"Understood. Hold position until called for."

"Your will," replied Kail. His voice was as empty as his heart. They would hold this position until ordered to advance or the circumstances changed. Several of the Nightmares were withdrawing to rearm while their comrades held the perimeter. The orders to advance and kill would come soon enough. Not soon enough to suit him, but he could wait until the heat death of the universe if that was what it took to kill Slavers. It wasn't like there was anything else in his life.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2010-03-02 03:50pm

The Krismesha Jungle
Tishannka
The War Zone


Two bodies hung from low branches by their ankles. Wet, naked muscle gleamed in the evening light as blood dripped off the bodies. Beneath them was a cauldron to collect the flow, improvised from a steel frame and heavy duty plastic sheeting. It was half full of blood and something else. The corpses were missing their ring fingers and had several massive wounds in their torsos. Slashed soft armour, spiked adamantium plate, weapons, and talisman harnesses appropriate to low circle Slaver Lords was piled off to the side.

Kail drew the flayed skins half out of the cauldron, studied them for a moment and then dropped them back in. The bodies above swayed slowly as the necromancer drew the One Power through them and into the cauldron. He bound it to their skin, using their blood to help anchor the Workings.

"Captain," said a voice behind him. The Free Federation soldier's armour was set to a deep green that it was almost black. Mud clung to the lower legs and burns left dark patches at three places.

"Lieutenant Crane," replied Kail. "They aren't technically dead yet, but they aren't in any state to provide entertainment."

"That's not what I'm here for," said the young soldier. He paused to look at the Slavers. "They look pretty dead."

"Brain activity and a connection to the Between."

"Their own talent helps binds the Power that turns their skin into armour. I didn't know it worked that way."

"Then why would we only flay the Lords?"

"Uh, well I never really thought about it."

"They have weapons and wardings worth taking," said Kail. "Distribute them to your troops as you see fit."

"Thanks," said Crane, "but that's not what I'm here for. Your wanted for a briefing, seventeen thirty local."

"I'll be there," said Kail. He paused. "Why not just transmit?"

"Ah, I can only speculate, but the overcommander may have wanted to get rid of any annoying junior officers. I'm afraid I can be somewhat of a motormouth when I'm nervous. There was a time, on Shadowcatch, we were doing deep jungle training in the Catach and-uh, I'm doing it again, aren't I?"

"Yes," said Kail.

"Uh sorry. Ah, that's all I had to say."

"Then return to your duties."

Crane did a fist to heart salute, turned stiffly on his heel, and then walked away. Kail looked up, passed the bodies, and towards the stars. It had been nearly two months, standard, since they had arrived and the Slavers had sent nothing. Had a high circle lord looked at the situation and written them off? Perhaps. Perhaps the snake pit of Slaver politics, their eternal weak point, had resulted in them being abandoned as their enemies maneuvered to ensure they were abandoned to their fates.

He hoped so. He hoped they betrayed and abandoned each other and pissed away resources killing each other and fighting to climb up the crab pile. He hoped they bled and died and made themselves easy meat for the Free Federation Warmachine, that there greater numbers and resources would avail them not at all as they fell under Grand Alliance guns and boots and blades and his killing sorcery.

The images were . . . pleasing. A flick of the finger and one of the mostly dead Slaver Lords descended. Kail and extended his hand and reached through wet gleaming muscle and took hold of the left thighbone. With a yank he ripped it free, accompanied by a spray of blood. He wasn't finished with them quite yet.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Morningstar » 2011-05-05 03:58pm

Brilliant stuff! Shame you haven't continued it! I really enjoy your free federation material
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2011-05-07 08:03am

The Krismesha Jungle
Tishannka
The War Zone


"I dislike attrition," said Overcommander Desius Valane. It was night, but everyone could see clearly. The legion's commanding officer's slim figure was bulked up by the power armour he was wearing. The red-orange glow of the raging fires provided a constant indication of the direction of the front line. "It means trading valuable Grand Alliance lives for those of Slaver trash and hoping the numbers favor our side of the exchange. One sided massacre is preferable. What we've been doing for this last month is too close to attrition for my taste. This ridiculous stalemate needs to be broken."

Gathered before him were a score of sorcerers and assault armour pilots. Man for man and woman for woman they were the most lethal individuals in his command. Most of them could figure out where this conversation was going. "If we kill their shield generators then arty and orbital fire is back in and we can finishing massacring these scum like they deserve. Their commander is just smart enough to know this and unhelpfully not exposing these crucial assets so we bleed and die against his slave soldiers.

"We are going to hit the line hard and burn through just about every damn slinker missile left in the arsenal. We'll make even more noise and move the heavy iron around at the point we've just plastered and they'll commit to hold us back. That's when you burn through their flank like a hot knife through butter, burn down a few generators, and retreat. It will be as hot as hell. Some of you will die but we will end this.

"Your ordinary duties are suspended and you've been reassigned. Commander Sarkana," he pointed at a sorcereress whose features were obscured by her witch-mask, "will command. You have three days, give or take, to gel together. Yeah, it's short notice but you're all One Seventeen and most of you've worked together before. Hell, half of you are from one unit. You'll manage. Questions?"

Silence answered him. "Cut their hearts out. Tac data will be relayed shortly before the attack. Death to the Slaver Lords!"

"Death to the Slaver Lords!" rang back.

"You're dismissed."

"You have four hours," rasped Sarkana. "Everyone reports in at 0400." The group began to disperse.

"Sir," said Kail stiffly. "Permission to speak privately?"

Valane was silent for a moment. "Granted."

The necromancer crossed the clearly and spoke softly. "I take it time has become critical."

"Enemy reinforcements is likely to be on the way," Valane acknowledged.

"The Slaver elite is over represented in the surviving force," Kail continued. "They've expended nearly all their slave soldiers earlier in the campaign and they are down to themselves and a few odds and ends. These are the casualties that matter and our window to wipe them out is shrinking. That's why you're assembling this ad hoc force and taking this risk."

"What is on your mind captain. I don't like guessing games."

"An alternative. A single man infiltration effort."

"You'll never do enough damage. The shieldtanks will be warded. There will Slavers guarding them and Slaver Lords nearby."

"Tac nukes in my shadowcloak," replied Kail.

"I see survival isn't one of your mission objectives."

"I'm very hard to kill," said Kail, "but I'm also more expendable than an ad hoc combat group made up of the legion's best."

"I would consider it if infiltration was possible," replied Desius Valane. "It isn't. Their perimeter and internal security is too tight. Too many Slavers and Slaver Lords. You wouldn't make it."

"I can, if they think I'm one of them. For just long enough to matter."

"Alright captain, I'll hear your your exercise in insanity. I'll even approve it, if it sounds like productive insanity. Start from the beginning."
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Xon » 2011-05-07 08:22am

Awesome! I've really enjoyed your Free Federation series.

Also great to see you continuing writing on sd.net in general.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2011-05-08 07:51am

The Krismesha Jungle
Tishannka
The War Zone


The attack began with incandescent beams sliced through the night. The trunks of ancient trees towering forty meters above the jungle floors exploded, the water in their trunks flash vaporized, and slowly toppled. A thousand fires bloomed into existence, feeding on the oxygen rich air and spreading with abandon. Biological units that had once been men crouched behind trees or cowered in foxholes as the killing beams flashed around them. Some were touched by the deadly rays and fell screaming. Others fell silently. Intermixed with the beams were fast moving oblongs that whizzed through the air, twisting and turning as they came. They burst into a thousand lethal shards or white hot explosions that turned the very air into a lake of flame. The most lethal did neither, relaying sensor data back to Free Federation lines for follow up strikes.

The thunder of heavy gun discharge drowned out the sharp crack of personal weapons. The tanks of the One Hundred Seventeenth crushed small trees and shrubs as their cannons turned Slaver positions into blazing pits of molten glass. Slave soldiers, brain burned husks that had once been human and vat grown conditioned cannon fodder, burrowed deeper into cover or tried to hold back the storm with their own weapons. Those that fired instantly became targets and drowned in a barrage of fire. Slavers, wearing hard shelled power armour far superior to that of the slaves under their commands, fell back or waited for better targets. Fear gripped them, not only of the hellstorm that undoubtedly existed to cover the advance of Free Federation striker units but of the Slaver Lords that commanded them. Neither had any mercy.

Missiles tore through the air, aiming for targets detected my probes and targeting scans. The ranges were too close for nuclear warheads and the Slavers still had air defence units that would make deep strikes futile so they were instead launched a concentrations of strength around the perimeter. The surviving Slaver armour was kept in reserve deeper in the lines so their warheads were mostly antipersonnel. Huge explosions sent dirt flying through the air and toppled great trees. The concussions turned bones to gravel and organs to jelly. Artillery guns fired directly into the Slaver lines.

Darkness crossed the darkness within inhuman speed. It crossed into the fire, briefly revealing itself as a vaguely humanoid blob, before turning back into amorphous shadow and rolling into a pit containing the slave soldiers in dark red soft suits. The shadow opened and peeled back in the blink of an eye, becoming a cloak that clung to Kail's shoulders. A jade light formed a halo that ringed his left hand and was matched by flares of jade light flaring on the war slaves' chests. The rupture spell turned hearts and lungs to bloody soup and the cocoon of shadow reformed around Kail as he balled himself up in the bottom of the pit and bent his entire strength into strengthening his shield network. He sent a single transmission back.

A slinker missile hugged the ground as it left its launcher and darted across the kill zone. It was two hundred meters to the left of Kail's position and penetrated the Slaver's line by two hundred more meters before it detonated, barely a second before it would have been shot to pieces by point defence lasers from a dug in defence unit and an advancing Slaver grav tank. It's warhead was conventional, by the definition of conventional used in this war.

An intolerable brightness flared into being and flayed all that it surveyed with the deadly curse of radiation. The ground turned to molten glass. Trees burst into flame and were thrown to the ground like a toddler's toys. Those close to the ignition point were blasted to ash. An angry god smote the earth and turned everything within reach to ruin. A howling wind full of damned voices accompanied the roaring wave of fire in the aftermath of the detonation. A great cloud of fire climbed into the sky, flattening as it rose. The only god the Free Federation prayed to, overwhelming firepower, had been invoked by the proper rites and made his appearance on the field of battle.

Kail rose from the pit in which he had crouched, his shields holding. The shadowcloak retracted, revealing a crimson cape while becoming a black ribbon under his sword belt. His bulky form wore dark red soft armour reinforced by an adamantine breastplate. The Collar of Thorns girded his shoulders in all of its bladed glory and horror, linked by chains to the amulet harness formed by the spiked spaulders and vambraces so that the whole acted as armour, shield anchor, storage battery, and weapon projectors. A curved saber and dagger road at his waist and adamantium reinforced boots encased his feet. Over his skin he wore the flesh of another, a heavier man with a blunt features and brutal mien.

He sprinted through the blast zone knowing that every second was precious. To the Free Federation soldiers on the line he was a high value target, to be killed the instant he was spotted. Beams flashed around him, a few striking his shields. In seconds the shots multiplied as he crossed blacked and charred ground, kicking up a cloud of dust and ash. Distance and interference slightly attenuated the beams and the cloud hindered accuracy but more came. His sensor net detecting an incoming seeker. He half turned and filled the approach vector with a cone of blazing cyan light, killing the seeker before it detonated. He leapt, propelling himself up and through the air and then down hard, shaking the ground and nearly staggering from the impact. An ash cloud rose up, but he had but three fallen trees between himself and the shooters. He sprinted forward.

His sensor net registered the targets almost as he found them. Two groups of Slavers, their armour covered in black muck and grey ash. "Prepare to repel the enemy advance!" he barked at them. They did not question him. And why should they? Did he not wear the flesh and armour of one of their masters? No one who was not Free Federation had seen this one fall, overcome and struck down in the vicious seesaw fighting of previous nights. Was he not one who possessed the power of life and death over them? What did it matter that he fled? Altruism and self sacrifice was for slaves and the conditioned. He was far from the first Slaver Lord to find a matter that needed his urgent attention far from the front line.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2011-05-11 11:18am

The Krismesha Jungle
Tishannka
The War Zone


Kail raced through the Slaver lines, dodging around trees and dug in positions. Behind him came the echoes of hell as Free Federation heavy guns they faked a supporting attack. Soon enough the lack of an advance would trickle up the command chain and clue the Slavers in that the heavy iron wasn't rolling, but Kail was already in. As long as he avoided anyone with equal or higher rank, he wouldn't be questioned.

The shieldcrafts' locations blazed on his sensor net. He loped towards the closest, which was just over a kilometer away. There were four active, probably one or two more on standby or maintenance. One or two down would hurt the Slavers and allow a heavy bombardment to crash the shield with a bearable cost but if three or four went down they would be able to open the gates of hell on them and push the Slavers through.

None of them were close together, to prevent a decapitation strike like the one Kail was trying to pull off right now. Kail ghosted past two artillery defence batteries dug into pits and there it was. It was in a clearing, of course so the shield projector had an unobstructed line to the shield dome and it was as ugly as all of them were. Grav effect, but grounded into to the dirt. Slaver or Free Fed, they all pretty much looked the same. It was twenty meters long and shaped like a brick with a dish on top. The fuse reactor and the shield projector took up almost all that room.

Four Slaver soldiers in power armour were watching him. He faked a slow and deliberate scan of the area and then loped passed them. His sensor net detected their coms traffic, but he didn't have the current key. Its direction was indicator enough. He was, or shortly would be, blown and there would soon be enough firepower here to take him down. His false identity wouldn't survive a serious check, but no low ranker wanted to take the risk of pissing off a Slaver Lord so they passed their suspicions up the chain and waited for the big guns to arrive. Tyranny was not always an efficient way of doing business.

Kail put the shieldcraft between him and the Slaver and then turned. The force bolt he fired sheeted the whole clearing in blue-white light as it punched through composite armour and holed the fusion plant. Plasma jetted out, a brief tongue of blinding fire, before the reactor crashed completely. Kail was already running, putting trees between him and the rest of the Slavers. He reached into his shadowcloak, which was expanding into a thick sash, and pulled out a meter long cylinder. He casually tossed the tac nuke to to the side, where it spun end over end before bouncing off a tree. He kept on running.

The tac net was alive with transmissions and he didn't need to be a prophet to figure out what they were talking about. Reinforcements were being sent toward the shield generators and whatever the Slavers had in reserve as a reaction team was being called out. He was, however, through the inner perimeter. The next generator was just a couple of hundred meters away.

Kail took a risk, a broad leap that lengthened into full fledged flight. He smashed through a score of branches as he arced down towards the next shield generator. Beams of light flashed around him, tearing apart the trees and filling the air with flames and thunder. He barely cleared the shieldcraft's projector dish and landed in a crouch on the far side. A dozen Slavers were swinging weapons to bear. Kail went prone. Ignition.

A giant hammer struck the earth and Slavers were flung off their feet. Shielded and prone in the blast shadow of the shieldcraft, Kail took only a tiny fraction of the tac nuke's fury as it sent a radioactive cloud climbing into the sky. For the moment, no one was shooting at him. The necromancer sprung to his feet, slammed a power bolt into a latch and then a plasma charge inside. Then he was running. He was out of the clearing when sun hot fire blew out of every hatch and guns again began to track him.

He fired blood red hellblasts from each hand at the Slaver troops. The explosions rent the earth and sent body parts flying but Kail didn't stop to evaluate them. He had more targets to destroy and getting stuck in would be fatal. He ran, becoming a blur that darted behind trees as it sped towards the next shieldcraft.

Hellblasts struck the ground in front of him, blowing him off of his feet and sending the necromancer tumbling. Kail rolled beneath the thick canopy of a nearby tree and rose to his feet. Three Slaver Lords were descending from the sky. He was out of time.
Last edited by Imperial Overlord on 2011-05-17 03:46pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Vikerage » 2011-05-13 10:13pm

Also newly registered to this forum! But as a very long time fan of your work, I thought I'd finally leave a post saying how much I enjoy almost every piece you have posted.

I've read and re-read most of your 40k fanfiction and am finally settling down to read some of your other genre! All of which are brilliant.

Thank you for all your hard work!

As always looking forward to more.

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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2011-05-14 02:40am

Thank you both for the kind words.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by LadyTevar » 2011-05-15 10:45pm

Do I have to say how much I enjoy your work? You should know this by now :)
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2011-05-17 08:25am

The Krismesha Jungle
Tishannka
The War Zone


Kail dodged back behind a tree as hellbolts blew branches off trees in sprays of sparks and charred wood. Tree trunks exploded from direct hits, sending the blazing remains toppling to the jungle floor. "Enough dodging bullshit," snarled the Slaver Lord in the center. He was a big man, with blazing red eyes and obsidian black hair and eyes. "Saturation strikes. The Slavers spread out and continued to descend, increasing the power of their spells while broadening their focus. The hellblasts turned the air around Kail crimson and nearby trees ignited from the heat, but his shields held.

Cobalt force beams flashed from both hands. The outer layer of the lead Slaver's shields collapsed and the force of the impact was enough to smash him into the trunk of a tree fifteen meters behind him. One of the other Slaver Lords, a dark haired woman, sent a barrage of slicers toward him. The first three tore into Kail's shields before he erected a barrier of hazy amber light. The crescent shaped splattered or deflected off the barrier. The other Slaver Lord, a male with scarlet skin and gold hair, circled right and unleased cataracts of bloody light from his hands.

The hellbeams slipped passed the barrier and struck Kail, burning away his shields. The spill over from deflected and refracted energy ignited everything within a half dozen meters of the necromancer. Kail struck back. A spell known as the Incinerator shot from his left hand, a silvery beam that struck the red skinned Slaver Lord. It flash-charred the ground around him and ravaged his shields. The rupture bolts from his other hand caused emerald rings over the Slaver's shields. Three ribs, his left femur, his right lung, and his heart all exploded during the two seconds of the barrage. He fell forward, barely catching himself as he coughed blood onto the blackened ground.

Both of the remaining Slavers turned on him and fired hellbeams. The necromancer jumped, causing the beams of blood-red light to touch him only briefly, and unleashed a lashing strike of cyan energy. The death scythe sliced through the trees in a line directly above the Slaver's heads. As the necromancer came down, so did the trees.

The woman leapt up and forward, clearing the trees. The black skinned male was slower and was caught by the toppling tree. It hammered him down to the earth. The impact failed to harm him, but he was momentarily pinned. Snarling, he released a burst of power the cratered the ground as it pushed him up and knocked the tree off of his back. He roared as he reentered battle. He had only been immobilized for a handful of seconds.

It had been enough. Kail had rushed to meet Slaver woman's leap. The bright crimson slaver cloak fluttered free in the wind as the shadowcloak took its place and expanded. She drew a shortsword as they closed at breakneck speed while in Kail's hand the edges and the runes running the length of adamantium dagger Soul Eater glowed with sky-blue light. Her strike struck him on the left side of his chest, skittered off his breastplate, and passed to the side. Soul Eater carved through her armour like it was wet rags. The necromancer ripped up through her stomach and into her spine. Soul Eater's killing energy flashed at near lightspeed through her central nervous system and scrambled her brain. All her magics grounded into the hunger blade. Kail tossed the meat aside as the last Slaver regained his feet.

Kail pointed Soul Eater at him and dumped the stolen magic through in a deathbeam. A jagged stream of cyan light bored through already weakened shields and poured into his breastplate. The adamantium armour stopped the energy stream for a full second before it glowed blue-white and the beam burned through. Smoking strips of flesh and blackened bones hit the ground but Kail was already turning. The Slaver Lords had held him long enough for others to arrive.

Eight soldiers in power were limned in red light by Kail's sensor net and hot orange marked the two in dark bodygloves. Kail was already moving as beam weapons opened up on him, beam weapons so high powered that they required sorcery to augment their cooling systems so they didn't slag their guts when fired. More trees fell. Slugs flashed by him, rune enscribed orichalcum rounds fired from man portable railguns that would slice through his shields as easily as Soul Eater had carved through the Slaver bitch's armour.

Two beams struck his shields with enough energy that the bleed through burned his armour and caused third degree burns on his thigh and lower right side. An railgun round bounced off the shields protecting his head, the strongest point of the network, while another two smashed themselves against his breastplate. A crackling whip of cyan light appeared in his right hand and he cracked the death scythe towards his enemies while he conjured a globe of blazing yellow light in his left. Shields, armour, flesh, and wood all fell before the death scythe. Both the men in bodygloves jumped over it as it lashed through the space they had occupied and cut three Slavers in half. The golden orb shot from Kail's hand and incinerated everything within fifty meters of the detonation point, including four Slaver soldiers. The men in bodygloves had already closed that distance, effortlessly running in excess of a hundred kilometers an hour.

The surviving Slaver put a round into Kail's left bicep as the necromancer's eyes flashed with cold light as he pronounced a killing word. The ancient curse was ruinously demanding in terms of the strain it placed on the caster, but it tore through the Slaver's shields like they were not there. Its effects were simple. The Slaver's bones blazed white hot and he toppled. As he fell the two nondescript men closed, but they were not men. Orichalcum killing blades erupted from their arms, glowing blue-white from the power flooding through them. The Alphas closed on their prey.

Kail struck at the one on the left with a compound spell. The Fifth Curse would have exhausted a lesser sorcerer but he was still able to unleash complex sorcery. The force bolt lead, followed by a rote that existed to tear down shields, and the final spell was a necromantic nerve disruptor. They hit. The Alpha on the left took a direct hit from a cobalt beam wrapped in black lightning. The first spells tore through the outer layers of protections that made up his shields and then the nerve disruptor hit. Such spells were rarely used as the layers of different spells protections would usually scatter, reflect, absorb, or neutralize them before they grounded into their targets but in this case the outer layers of the shields had been downed and the penetrator had cored it deep. The nerve disruptor ripped through the energy links that tied the various different shield layers together, coordinating and powering them, and shredded it. The Alpha's shields failed and then his limbs stopped working. Inertia didn't. He tumbled through the air passed Kail and bounced into the blazing hell behind him. Nearly indestructible bones did not break but not even Alpha flesh was immune to fire.

Kail kicked at the other Alpha. The Alpha was Class Six, the latest and most deadly product of the hellish Slaver labs. It was more than quick enough to take the kick on his thigh. The impact tumbled him away from Kail as it sent the necromancer bouncing back. Both landed on their feet. The Alpha was charging again before the necromancer could strike. Killing necromancers was its purpose and the Alpha line was so effective at their primary and secondary tasks that they had never ceased to be in production and development despite their high cost. The atrocity strewn development was, of course, not a factor.

Kail met the Alpha with Soul Eater in his hand. There simply wasn't enough time to clear his sword. The Alpha parried the dagger with one of his blades and plunged the other in Kail's heart. The blade punched through the necromancer's breastplate and out through the backplate. The Alpha twisted the blade to tear it up sever the necromancer's shoulder and arm as Kail's hand closed on his elbow, shields disrupting each other at contact point. Kail uttered the Fifth Curse again, a touch distance with a vulnerable point in the Alphas shields. Adamantium sheathed bones glowed white through the assassin's skin as his flesh turned to ash and char. Kail turned from smoking bones as his sensor net registered another approach.

A Slaver Lord and his bodyguard by the signals, a high ranker. Perhaps Fourth or even Third Circle, likely the commander of what was this army. They would be in sight in moments, but they were coming from the wrong direction to stop him. He reached into his shadowcloak and took out the second to last of the nuclear charges that had been intrusted to them. He turned to face the Slaver Overlord as he tossed it behind him. A rush of sorcery took it through the trees and hit the arming button. The spell couldn't carry it far, but it would carry it far enough. He sent a transmission. "Begin the bombardment."

Behind him the world flashed white.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Ash turned Lionas Coltane's armour grey as his platoon advanced through the barren hellscape that had once been part of the Krishmesha jungle. Here and there a dead, leafless tree stood but most had been some combination of blasted apart, burned to cinders, or fallen. Huge craters dotted the ground and thick grey clouds of hot ash obscured everything. Sensors were a hash and the strike zone was hell hot with radiation, enough to kill someone without armour or shields in hours.

The dead were everywhere. The bombardment had been an exercise in overkill and while units like his hunted for any survivors in the kill zone, hunter-killer specialists were prowling the edges for any sign of escapees. It was possible, albeit unlikely, that a Slaver with strong enough shields could have lived through the hell the Free Federation had made for them. Personally, Coltane didn't think it was likely but it was better to be thorough. A quick death was kinder than any Slaver deserved, but in an unjust universe he would settle for that.

"Contact ahead," said Gia Mardone. "Can barely read it through this hash."

"Ours?" asked Coltane as the score of soldiers he commanded took cover in blast craters and behind the charred trunks of century old trees.

"Can't tell Bann," said the specialist, using the shorthand slang for Banner Sergeant. He could read the signal now as well.

"Could just be reading the one when there are several," said Charios. Somehow war against the Slaver Lord Autocracy hadn't cured him of optimism.

"We aren't that lucky," said Coltane. "Captain, we have a contact. Grid Gamma Two, Six by seventeen." A Slaver Lord powerful enough to survive that hell might still be in shape to kill them all. In that case it was best the rest of the Legion handed him his ass.
Coltane got nothing but static back. "Rape it," he cursed.

A dark figure became visible in the ash clouds ahead. Humanoid. He aimed his beam rifle at it. Targeting data flashed around him. "Hold!" he ordered.

A tall necromancer wearing black walked forward. Blood slicked his features and darkened his hair. A trench coat seemed to coil around him. His colours were black and he carred a loop in his left hand.

"Identify!" came Coltane's words.

"Kail, Captain, One Hundred Seventeenth Strike Legion. Necromancer of Darkhold."

"No one thought you would live."

"Password Kadish," said Kail. "And there's a scorpion in my skull so no Alpha can eat my brain." Coltane winced at the thought of magically booby trapping the inside of one's own skull, but he had to admit as a security measure and a suicide device it made a certain amount of sense. No one sane wanted to be a Slaver prisoner.

"Pass then," said Coltane. He looked at the look in Kail's hand and realized it was a charred ligament. Five Slaver Lord rings were strung along it. The necromancer walked through the Free Federation's lines and into the gray haze. He would be picked up by the second line and taken where he needed to go.

"Cold fish that one," said Charios. "Grim even by Darkhold's standards."

"Who the fuck cares?" asked Gia. "As long as he does more of this," she said sweeping her hand out to indicate the devastation, "he can be colder than intergalactic space if he wants to be. Anything, as long as he keeps taking skulls."
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by kaeneth » 2011-05-17 10:45am

"He fired blood rest hellblasts from each hand at the Slaver troops."
I think you meant 'blood red'? Its from the one on the 11th.

Anyway, nice story :D

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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Morningstar » 2011-05-17 10:58am

Nice to see Kail collecting lots of skulls! Great stuff as per usual
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2011-06-12 06:34am

Kappa Base
Tishannka
The War Zone


Desius Valane knelt inside the silver circle. The rest of the room was shrouded by absolute darkness. "My lord," he said. "I await your will."

Words echoed back from the Between. "Reinforcements are on their way. Warships and freighters loaded with defence satellites. They will arrive within days. It appears the Slavers have chosen not to contest our attack at this time. Your legion will be withdrawn and allowed to rest and rebuild."

"We will die in harness Emperor," Valane responded. "My legion is ready to fight on."

"I'm sure it is, but it will be restored to full strength before the next conflict," said Zerakis. "The State will unleash you in time."

"Your will."

"I look forward to a full report Overcommander, but for now I wish to know of my protege."

"I thought you might. He is hard, cold, calculating, ruthless. Bold to the point of recklessness, perhaps beyond it but he delivers. I don't like the man but I love his results. If you have any more like him, give them to me. I will bring you the skulls of every Slaver that takes the field against us."

"And as a leader?"

Valane grimaced. "He gets the job done. No one likes him, he's too much of a cold bastard, but he knows his business, protects his soldiers, and kills Slavers like a cat going through paraplegic mice. Victory and low casualties can smooth over a lot of deficiencies."

"Thank you Overcommander."

"Do I get to keep him or do you have plans for him?"

"I'm afraid I'm going to take him away from the battle lines for awhile Overcommander."

"Noncombat cycle."

"Yes."

"He won't like it."

"That bloody minded is he?"

"You mean you don't know?"

"I thought the horror of the front line would blunt his appetite."

"He's gotten a taste for mass slaughter. My lord, I have seen death hungry necromancers before. By all the hells I have seen it in your eyes, but in him it is as if there is nothing else. Nothing touches him. It's as if he exits only to create death."

"So the Slaver's made him. We only sharpened the edge. But he deserves the chance to become something more and the current crop of students deserve any wisdom he can share with him."

"The latter is more likely than the former. I'll break the news to him. Anything else?"

"Congratulations on your victory Overcommander."

Valane gave a fist to heart salute. "May we die in harness."

"Service to the State."

"To the Highest Cause." The link dissolved. Valane rose and left the shielded room.

Outside the heavily shielded bunker it was night. Stars winked overhead and two different pairs of power armoured sentries surveyed him. Half the legion was on liberty and within the rec zone. Valane's soft suit was wired and connected to the data net. "Location: Captain Kail."

A gold star appeared on a cyan diagram that marked the camp. The whole area was crawling with surveillance drones and guards, of course. Privacy was an illusion that was maintained as long as the courtesy was practical, but the reality of war against an enemy that could deploy brain burned suicide bombers and shape changer assassins demanded invasive security. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kail wasn't in the rec zone.

Valane walked toward him, his bodyguards trailing moving ahead and trailing to flank him. Noise bled over from the raucous parties going on in the rec zone. Valane let it wash over him. His troops had fought hard and won. They deserved to grab as much life as they could in the small amount of time they were given to take it.

Kail was inside a tent workshop. Two other men were inside, performing maintenance and repair work on a pile of small arms. Kail was at another bench, inspecting the edge on a peculiar saber. The blade was white and didn't gleam like metal, appearing more like ceramic or plastic.

Kail put the blade down and saluted, fist to heart. "Overcommander."

"At ease captain. Not interested in partying?"

"Nothing there for me sir."

"No room for joy?"

Kail bared his teeth. "Only one source of that now."

"I see." Valance pointed. "Your sword?"

"An experiment. Slaver bone."

Valance grimaced. "Of course. I should have recognized it. How well does it work?"

"Like a wand with an edge."

"Armed as well as armoured in death."

"Yes. How may I be of service?"

"The legion's getting refit and reform orders, but you're getting transferred. Behind the line."

"From Zerakis?"

"Yes."

"It won't be forever and there are productive avenues I can explore. Why did you bother to come tell you yourself?"

Valane pointed at the rec zone. "A lot of those people are alive because of you. My people. With every commander worth a damn that buys something. You'll climb the ranks captain. You're smart and you're a walking sorcerous weapon of mass destruction, they'll give you rank. Remember that. Your people matter."

"I will."
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Morningstar » 2011-06-21 06:04pm

More more!! :D
"Fear is the mind killer"

http://royalthinking.blogspot.com/

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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2011-06-27 02:24pm

Darkhold
Shadowcatch
The Free Federation


Kail stalked through the room, pausing to examine each shield system before moving on to the next. Six had been set up at evenly spaced intervals and each was separated from the others by trilayer curtain shields. Sensors studded the walls and ceilings, ready to record everything in every possible spectrum and wavelength and in the minutest detail. The room itself could survive just about anything short of a direct strike from a tac nuke.

The door opened. Kail turned. "Imperator."

"Commander Kail," Zerakis replied. "I was told you were testing something interesting. I rarely have time to involve myself in the more scholarly applications of our craft."

"A refinement of a field working that showed some promise. No great scholarly dive into the mysteries."

"That is much of what we do these days," said Zerakis. "It was not always the way, but much has changed. It is our constant. Imperator was the Latin word we chose for Sehaz'shee Marhek, because the Shaz'shee Marhek was the high commander but also merely the servant of the Ruling Council. And now? Now a Free Federation legate wields powers that dwarf those of any emperor of Rome or China and the Imperator now all but rules not only the Free Federation but the Grand Alliance as well. Dictator might fit, but the position is only temporary. Augustus would be more honest."

"Even the Imperator is still subject to the Ruling Council and the High Bench," said Kail.

"In theory," said Zerakis. "Let me assure you that the Ruling Council dances to my tune more often than the other way around."

"You and Zarana are our best," replied Kail. "It is fitting that your words carry the most weight."

Zerakis dropped the line of conversation. Democracies fair poorly in times of crisis and the Slaver War was four hundred years old. Loyalties had shifted, principals be damned. Peace, should it ever come, might very well inflict its own wounds on a society that had been maimed by fighting a multigenerational total war. "What is it exactly you are working on?" he asked.

"I'm refining a working I executed on Tishannka. Triple stacked a force bolt, shield penetrator, and a nerve disruptor. I was trying to punch through shields and paralyze the target, but the workings weren't powerful enough."

"The shields did not eat the nerve disruptor?"

"No, I hit them hard enough to punch the nerve disruptor almost through. It attacked the energy flows like they were part of a nervous system and blew them out. Shields collapsed."

"Interesting. A freak occurrence because of an unusual power match up."

"Exactly, but a very effective freak occurrence. I am refining the technique to see if I can get anything more out of it."

"Worthwhile work. How is your teaching going?"

"You provide them with the information, you answer questions, you give examples, and you walk them through it. It is easy enough, albeit time consuming."

"You're not the most popular teacher."

"It's not something I strive for."

"It will increase your effectiveness. Cold and unfeeling is useful for analysis, not for human interaction. I know the tricks. Hormone flow regulation, tweaking the receptors, everything. Cold and dead just means we don't feel pain. Or lust. Or love. It turns us to ice, but we are no longer the necromancers of Earth, despised by nearly all no matter how many we save. Here we are the leaders of soldiers and we need fire."

"Is that an order, First Lord?"

"No, just good advice. Find us a new weapon with your nerve disruptor, if there is one to be found, and pass on your knowledge to the ones who will follow in your footsteps. Then I'll send you back to the front to slake your thirst."

"Averthai Imperator. One question? Why me?"

"Why not you? Your case interested me. I saw potential. I teach dozens Kail. Some don't live up to what I see in them. Sometimes its never really there. Many times they die young. So I teach more. As does Zarana, as does Shade, and so on and so forth. Thus do our lines extend, thus will your line extend if you become great."

Zerakis walked out the door and closed it behind him. It was a pity he was not more concerned with the societal consequences of the Imperator and the Legatate accruing so much power and worked so hard to distance himself from the men and women around him. He was a sword, not a general, and so Zerakis would wield him until his edge dulled or the blade broke and then he would pick up another. A waste, but there was so much of that. The war was always hungry.
Last edited by Imperial Overlord on 2012-12-01 05:15am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Deathwalker (Free Federation)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2011-07-15 04:32am

Darkhold
Shadowcatch
The Free Federation


Shadowcatch's feeble sun bathed the parade ground the half gloom the residents of the world charitably called daylight. The cohort drawn up before him wore new soft armour, fresh faces, and bright eyes. They were young, so very young. Eighteen standard years was the mode average, or twenty Terran for those few who used the old system. They were human, of course, because it was easier for a unit to only manage one type of medical supply, food, furniture, fighting vehicle, weapons, and so forth.

I was never this young, Kail thought as he looked at them. At that age I was another man and that man is long dead. "I am Force Commander Kail e' Zerakis. I have served in the Dark Guard and in the One Hundred Seventeenth Strike Legion and I have shed blood and taken skulls. Some of you have heard of me by reputation. Some have not. Some are impressed by the Line Name. Others are not.

"None of those things matter. What matters is what comes next and that is the Line. We will fight and some of us will die there, killing slaves and Slavers, defending what is ours and driving them back into their hellpits. Some of you will die. Perhaps many of you. I cannot promise you either victory or glory. I cannot promise you a sympathetic ear, because I have none. I will not weep for the fallen because I no longer weep. I am not your mother or your father or you brother. I am your commander and I will lead you.

"I will share in the risks and I will fix every problem that is brought to my attention. I will lead you from the front. I will spend your lives like a miser, spending as few as possible and only for the greatest possible gain. I will not ask you to take risks that I will not be taking. If victory is at all possible, we will seize it. That I promise you. If you have questions I will be in my quarters. If you have good byes to make, you have leave to make them. We will be leaving tomorrow. Be ready to move by 0600 local time. That is all. Dismissed."

Dace Raisson watched him leave. "Damn," he said. "I knew Darkhold's lords could be cold fishes, but what glacier grave did they dig him up from?"

"Who cares?" replied Mara Hess. Like the rest of the young soldiers she was milk pale, a starship tan courtesy of Darkhold's feeble sun. "He's wearing leather and a shadowcloak."

"Yeah," said Yvaren Kree, who was a head taller than either of them. "Fuck that bullshit. He's put Slaver Lords in the boneyard. I need a hug, I'll go to your momma. She puts out."

"But she's got standards," replied Dace. "And that means no tree trunk sized assholes from shithole planetoids that don't even have a real name."

Yvaren clutched his chest in mock pain. "That hurts me to hear you say that. Besides, it untrue. Your momma doesn't have any standards. She gave birth to you, didn't she?"

"Clowns," said Mara Hess. "My squad is full of clowns."

"Hey, at least we're clowns that can shoot straight," said Yvaren. "And don't get wrapped up in wire."

"That was just once."

"Sure it was sweetheart," replied Yvaren. "Out of how many times?"

"Rape you and his mother," she replied.

"Hey," said Dace. "Leave my mother out it. She's a good woman and she gets enough shit from this strategically shaven mega ape."

"She is not a good woman," Yvaren replied. "And how can I tell? She gave birth to you."

"Yeah yeah, laugh it up big man. Just remember, big man, big target. You're going to be praying to the almighty god Overwhelming Firepower that this bad, bad man provides very good covering fire."

Yvaren laughed. "Then I'm dead. Because she's a better shot than you are."

"Big man," replied Dace, "you have an ass so big every brain burned warslave with a gun will be pointing at you and they will not miss. Covering fire from our wire covered aristo princess isn't going to be enough. You're going to need all the help you can get to not become a charcoal briquette."

"Only if our glacier grave leader doesn't put them down first."

"Think he's got the stuff?" asked Mara.

"Fucking look at us?" said Yvaren. "Bunch a kids, not a day over twenty standard with green behind the gills officers. We have a few NCOs and officers with years and a few more who are by volume more metal and vat tissue than they are original meat. Everything that can be automated is and you want a higher education that isn't directly useful to the war, it's after you've served. Four hundred years and it's at the gods damned bone and they're still scraping. We're fresh meat and the war is fucking hungry. If he isn't nova hot, we're in deep shit."
Last edited by Imperial Overlord on 2013-02-01 08:19am, edited 1 time in total.
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