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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-02-18 08:06pm
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All good points Simon and I agree most probably aren't going to work, at least not without damaging or destroying the equipment in there. Anyway you slice it stuff in that room is going to get damaged unless something besides assaulting the room is used to bring Amberly out. Just pointing out that simply charging in blasters blazing like on Tantive IV isn't the only option and even then stray blaster bolts are going to destroy equipment not to mention bolter rounds.



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"Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldier will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!"
LT. GEN. LEWIS "CHESTY" PULLER, USMC

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-02-20 08:13am
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Typical- I go and write a short story segment on board Blistmok (more Deathwatch, following) and you're all worrying about something else entirely :lol:

Facts to consider; the troops about to make the assault are the raider-scout teams from the stormtrooper detachments of the station guard force. They're skilled and fairly well equipped.

Beliksjaden was pulling a fast one to begin with. The facility was quite sensibly designed, with the controls divided into safety and maintenance command, the technical centre, and the experiment control centre which Amberley and her party are now in.
Blowing the living crap out of this place isn't going to endanger the stability of the wormhole generator- it would be an acceptable loss to rebuild experiment control afterwards. The facility she's holding hostage isn't worth nearly as much as she thinks it is, and she's unaware of that.

They can afford to set thermal detonators off in the experiment control centre, and it'll only blow out the ability to use the thing for a few days. Amberley's best hostage at the moment is actually herself- her political value means taking her intact may actually be more important than retaking the chamber intact.

And in twenty to twenty-five hours, the survivors of Imperium battle group wormhole should start arriving, summoned by Rakhel's homing beacon.

Anyway,

The Deathwatch team, half-team dragging a casualty really, it would have been an overstatement to call them happy. Fulfilled would have been close to the mark- they were starting to hit their stride.

The defenders of this ship were very numerous, some of them were quite well equipped, but they were too confused by the sudden onset of Chaos to be more than moderately determined, and they were all fatally, fatally slow to send up against Astartes.

They were moving through the crewspaces of the ship, had seen heat and heard clunking sounds and voices, burst into a barrack room being used as a rally point. The xenos were easier to kill than renegade Guard; one burst of fire had cut the front rank down- pulped them, really.

The rest were so paralysed with horror- and splashed and riddled with blasted flesh and bone shrapnel- that it had hardly been necessary to fire again, knives, bayonets and powersword being enough.

They had been so surprised by how easy it had been that they had to check these were supposed to be fighting men. A party of armed crew, actually, but even so.

Their actual soldiery were well equipped, all in carapace, but that slowed them down too- they were only a little faster than the unarmoured ones, and armed with a strange small plasma thing that only hit a very little harder than a lasgun.

They did heat, and sustained fire might have a cumulative, eventual effect; but they too could be beaten to the draw, and the idea that their enemies might be reduced to trying to kill the Deathwatch with metal fatigue was the best news Andraste had had since the bloody business had begun.


They had a few heavier weapons that might be a credible threat, but had left most of them in fixed positions for the good reason that they were too clumsy to use on the Marines.

There had been a tripod- mounted thing, lying in wait round one corner for them; the sargeant had dealt with it himself- leaping through its' line of fire before the stormtrooper at the triggers could react, diving low under it as it swung back towards him, skidding almost under the muzzle. Shoot the gunner, then scramble forward to put the other two to the green-glowing powersword. Job done.


Looking at the mess the stream of bolts they had tried to connect with had made of the thin interior plate of the walls behind him, it was at least as lethal as a multilaser and probably much more so.

Brother Arrat had suggested taking it with them- dangerously clumsy for corridor war for it's former owners, it would have been serviceable enough in Astartes hands- but Andraste had forbidden it.

'How fast can you pray, Brother? Do you think it feasible to sanctify this xenos artifact, a weapon and therefore the most wilful of all kinds, and chaos-tainted to boot, in the next ten seconds? And learn it's use, in the two seconds left to spare?'


'No, Sargeant.' Arrat admitted, but he still wanted it to play with. he was briefly tempted to say 'if such fools as these managed it-' but that was a dangerous line of thinking. Doubly dangerous, in fact.

Pride, for the Astartes, was merely a venial sin- it was hard to be all that humble when the entire point was that you were more than human. Where it led men into tactical error through overoptimism, it was a problem.

Outright heresy lay down the wider strategic path- that of believing that because they were a superior type of being, anything lesser foes such as these white-armoured chumps could do, they could do better. They could handle it. That was the crack in the mental armour though which alien and chaotic contamination seeped into and destroyed otherwise good men.

The Lions of Caledon were notorious for that kind of thinking, in fact- parading around with captured and dubiously- sanctified Xenos wargear. Still, that was a problem to solve in the future, assuming there would be one.


First- 'More of them, twenty, there.'

'Shoot leaders and heavies, the rest by hand.' Andraste ordered, turning to face and snapshooting two bolter rounds as his field of fire crossed them- one with an orange shoulderpad who looked like he was supposed to be in charge, one with a larger gun than the rest.

Taking his own advice, obviously. Both hit, both stormtroopers' heads exploded. Relentless, endless, practical training did pay off; the Astartes' training routine alone would have killed more Guard than sending them into battle, usually. Andraste could have made that shot standing on his head, and occasionally had.

He dived and rolled forward, out of his comrades' direct line of fire- again a risk too great for an ordinary human to take, but not for the reflexes and coordination of a Space Marine.

He caught some of the Stormtroopers' attention, and they looked at him, pointed guns at him, shot and missed- missed him and missed the chance to shoot at his team before they were shot themselves.

Two spare and two groups of nine xenos, groups of eight led by a sargeant; at most one designated marksman with a long rifle in place of the stubby things the rest of them had, one with some kind of rocket launcher, one with an autofiring larger plasma- shooter.

Screaming adamantium-tipped bolts eliminated the other sargeant, the other squad autogunner, both rocketeers, and then Andraste and two of the team were in among them.


Being nine feet tall had advantages in other ways too; it meant that you could carry more stuff, and had more places to hang it all. Five ready bolter magazines and a blastproof box holding five hundred more loose rounds.

Having to shoot at least three, more like four out of nine would still run through that at a frightening rate, and they really were abysmally bad at close combat- most of them didn't even have bayonets. Might as well save ammo.

A few wild blaster bolts, a couple of them even hit, and then it was literally just butchery. Moving and reacting at maybe four, five times the speed of the xenos, what could they really do? What could they be, more than meat?

They tried to snapshoot, Andraste bodyslammed one shoving the gun back against his body so that he nearly blew his own ear off; back out of combat, one stepped away and found Brother Arrat's foot following him, roundhouse kick cracked the plasteel helm and broke the trooper's neck.

Flowing round each other with the effect of decades of training and years of coordination- the Astartes, some of them had more time actually under fire than the Stormtroopers had been alive for. Size, strength, experience, skill, coordination.

One tried to arm his thermal detonator- freed it and was remembering the codes- when a bayonet took his arm off and sent it spinning away. Five seconds after the first shot, Andraste looked over his team and said 'Anyone hit by anything of importance?' The thermal detonator went off- far enough away not to matter.


'The designated marksman weapon stings a bit.' brother Geron said. He had been hit by a three round burst from a DLT-20A in the chest; he was breathing deeply, controlling his healing cycle. 'They're a credible threat.'

'How did we miss him?' Andraste wondered.

'Didn't. You dropped the marksman, but one of the others dived for the fallen weapon, snapshot upwards from deck level.' Geron explained. From what was left of the stormtrooper, it was obvious that Geron had solved the problem by jumping on him.

'If their melta-bombs look like white cylinders, they're issued one each.' Arrat pointed out. 'We are fortunate that only one of them realised that now was the time to use his.'


'More of them will, next time.' Andraste said, looking around the cross- junction. 'Hm. That's the third time in a row they've hit us from our left. They're trying to play us for fools, literally run us round in circles while they mass sufficient crossfire, probably of those tripod weapons, to kill.'

'Is there time to eat their brains, get a better idea of the layout of this ship and where to go?' Geron said. Andraste glared at him. 'I know you disapprove, Sargeant, but the Emperor gave us the ability for a purpose. Besides, being shot always makes me hungry.'

'No. We need to move now before they can organise a proper ambush. We were suffering from false security; their fighters are very slow, but their ships- and presumably their strategists- are fast enough.

Besides,' the Astartes sargeant added, 'these were the diversionary troops. The ambush party should be of higher quality- break that up, take their officers, they should know enough to be worth the risk of taint. Move.'

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-02-20 12:55pm
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Delightful. Space Marines in their element, and exploring one of the SF crossover themes I think is too often forgetten in some quarters: it isn't always about the quality of the hardware; sometimes it's about the quality of the men.

Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
There had been a tripod- mounted thing, lying in wait round one corner for them; the sargeant had dealt with it himself- leaping through its' line of fire before the stormtrooper at the triggers could react, diving low under it as it swung back towards him, skidding almost under the muzzle. Shoot the gunner, then scramble forward to put the other two to the green-glowing powersword. Job done.
I'm picturing comm chatter from this, noting the powersword:

"They've got Jedi here! What have they been feeding these guys? ARGHaarghaaaargh..."

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-05-14 11:26pm
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Enormous apologies for the lateness of this- just, argh.

It's also quite mushy. What can I say? It's spring.



Beliksjaden hadn't quite been paying attention to everything Chief Mirannon had rambled on about, but internal monitoring was one aspect he did have a thorough purchase on. None of the conversation between Admiral and Moff passed through any channel he could reach, but the in- station instruction to clear certain decks, prepare to dock shuttles, move to secure the safety centre, were clear enough.

Amberley noticed. 'He,' she said gesturing at the now- paused hologram with a boltgun, 'stops talking to me, and you start looking worried. What do you know?'

The engineer took a deep breath, wondering what to say that would make the situation any better. She noticed that too, and the psychic nutjobs- Rakhel, who had up until now apparently been mesmerised by the twinkling lights on one of the operations boards, and the tall, black-clad, sexily sarcastic one, Mydelin, came over to menace him.

He wasn't all that offended at the idea of being menaced by the one in the black bodyglove, wondered if actually saying so would be a useful stall; as the short, pudgy mad one in the too- small dress approached, decided against it.

'I don't think he wants this place back in one piece any more.' Beliksjaden said. 'In fact, considering the trouble it's been to him, I think he'd like an excuse to have it blown up.'


Amberley's brain leaped a couple of steps ahead. If this wasn't just a bluff, then he had either decided there was no solution, or found an alternative. That alternative probably included her, alive and- hm, responsive. Not necessarily well.

If he thought he could get her to do his bidding, after whatever adventures in the nervous system that sort of persuasion included around here if necessary, her political importance could turn the situation.

As, theoretically, could that of any of her colleagues, many of whom she would quite happily see introduced to whatever filled the role of torture chamber for these people. None of whom had stuck their head into the lions' den.


There were warships on the way; some kind of negotiation was an excellent idea, but at the moment it would be much safer to do it from a position of strength. If this was no longer one- and it could still be a bluff- then what? Escape, steal a ship, join the fleet.

Not as good an idea as she would have thought some days ago, but better than the alternative of waiting here to be assaulted, presumably by their equivalent of tech- guard; wait, there was a missing piece of the puzzle. Why?

'So what is this excuse he's just found, then? What might it be, why attack now?' she demanded of the Starfleet engineer.

The psykers hissed at him, and he tried to think of an answer that might actually satisfy them- think hard, try to come up with something before they noticed him obviously searching for an answer.


'This wasn't really his project. It just happened on his territory, on his watch, he didn't particularly want it or ask for it- because this is essentially the hind end of nowhere.

He tried to score political points by sending an attack group through to your space- you won't have heard this part- and it went catastrophically wrong, intercepted by your enemies instead of your own fleet. He lost- probably- four of our finest capital ships in the process.

Now this. Destroying the space-maker's control mechanism- didn't I mention that this is only operations control, not safety?- now, betting on strategic victory, he probably thinks it's a crazy idea, but it might be backed from above in a way that taking the sensible option simply wouldn't.

Especially with what happened to the forward force, picking a fight is the ideologically sound option. Plan B is probably to try to take you alive.'


Trapped by ideology- was it the same in both, in all universes? were the superstructures of complexity more universal than the nature of the elements, politics, bureaucracy, ideological correctness more omnipresent than the planck length and the mass of the proton? What a depressing multiverse it would be if that were true.

Amberley thought more or less the same- but was much more welcoming of the idea. If power and politics and the high level results of all this technosorcerous mumbo-jumbo remained the same, then there should be levers, pressure points somewhere.

Of course the first thing to do was to avoid being used as one of them herself; avoid falling into their power and getting to experience their interrogation and persuasion techniques the hard way- she was interested in them, but not that interested.

'So, who was lying to me?' she asked him, suddenly and without moving much managing to appear extremely dangerous. Beliksjaden decided there was little credibility, or survival value, in playing dumb.

'I was- earlier.' he said quickly. 'This place isn't going to cause anything like a cataclysm when it goes up- blowing it would cost time, money and the temporary ability to use the bridge- maker; none of that is enough to deter him now.'

Beliksjaden had not got the memo about symmetry breaking, and although he could probably have worked it out given some uninterrupted thinking time, hadn't, and didn't know that the operations room was theoretically vastly more dangerous. Which was fortunate, as that made him more believable.

'The people, my colleagues, that you would need to kill to stop them rebuilding it are long gone to safety now, and safety/stability command that you would need to cause a big enough cataclysm to exert political pressure is rapidly disappearing behind a legion of troops. The only thing you have left as a hostage is yourself.'


The inquisitor had been afraid of something like that. 'You set us up nicely.' She didn't sound all that disappointed or surprised, although her team were a little by how calmly she appeared to be taking it, and started wondering when his brains would appear on the wall.

She did add 'Would you be willing to die for your Empire?'

What, I have an option? the engineer thought. Oh, right, death. Never believed all that about meeting the end with dignity until now. In fact I always thought there would be a time-and-motion study involved.

'Only on special occasions.' he said with as much aplomb as he could manage. 'I'm an engineer, not a politician- they're usually the only ones who can get more useful stuff done after they're dead.'

'Bring him.' Amberley decided, and nodded to Pelton, who was over by an access hatch. The big ex-Arbites stepped back, clicked the detonate button on the voxtrigger, and blew the charge- the hatch tumbled away into void space, a space that was actually the operational room for the control centre's shock-isolation mounting.


I hope no-one else around here knows much about architectural force fields on the hoof, Beliksjaden thought; this place could, well, turn on the shock-fields and we'd be stuck like insects in resin. Even without the explicit method, there must surely have been enough accidents to jog somebody's memory.

He wasn't struggling as hard as he could have been, because the being doing most of the dragging along was Mydelin. There was something about the smell of her that made it very hard for him to concentrate; she would probably hate to be compared to ozone and burnt saltpetre, but that was what came to him, and he liked it.

She was not keen on the idea herself, had glowered as hard as she dared at her boss when ordered to take him, but the inquisitor had simply smiled back.

She was probably supposed to vamp him into opening up, talking more and revealing useful things; although playing cold, distant, hard to reach and broodingly intent seemed to be her choice of method. It was working, too.

Cased in armoured bodyglove as she was, every curve showed black and slick, and she was from an inherently more physical breed- most citizens of the imperium would have been humorously horrified to hear a navigator described so, but compared to the starfleet engineer it was actually true. By his standards she was tall and strong and graceful.


That was actually the primary reason she found herself among an inquisitor's retinue; she was young, and ill at ease with the biological damnation coded into her heritage, and had decided to have as much fun as she could before time got her and she bloated up into a stranded slug-whale.

To that end, risk. Unsuitable hobbies, unsuitable habits, unsuitable friends, unsuitable relationships. Her family had got thoroughly exasperated with her and had more or less made her the official black sheep when she really did step over the line.

She would have preferred the navy- fast ships in harm's way- but her family had tried to cure her by arranging a job as the chief and actually only navigator on a tithe freighter, a lumbering administratum blunderbarge. Trying to tame her with dull responsibility.

It had been a horrible idea- she had been bored out of her mind, possibly literally, and there had been a handsome deck officer, half a dozen transfers to Battlefleet Obscurus turned down and chafing at the bit himself, and...and, well, pregnancy.

It shouldn't have been that surprising. The navigator genes had been grafted on to human stock, after all. Fertility was feasible enough. Viability, on the other hand- that did not seem to be an option.


She had been terrified- traumatised- by the monster growing in her womb; marinated in the immaterium for months already before she realised, and starting to look out at the warp it- herself- already through her mother.

Illegal, impossible, terrible, but also hers- she was the little helpless unborn wrinkly- skulled girl's mother, and it pulled on her, cried to her, and she knew it could not be...

the chirirgeons made the mistake of showing the child to her, the parasonic images of what would not live yet could, should, must- and watching her daughter realise through her that she would not survive snapped the last thread.

The next clear memory she had, some years later if the calendar was believable, was that of one of the house elders telling her that it had taken a lot of time and energy to have her reconditioned.

That, and she wouldn't have been worth it if it hadn't been done essentially to spare a more valuable member of the family from having to go on a suicidally dangerous attachment to the Inquisition.


The overly clever, surprisingly normal looking alien enginseer- who had led them down a blind alley, she thought trying to hate him- did stir something in her. She had wanted so badly to be a mother; the shock of realising that had actually been the first of the hammers that had broken her, the changes her little hopelessly contaminated innocent had made.

Her body was screaming for another chance, and the wires and shackles planted in her head by the forcible healing were trying to drown it out, chorusing no, no, no.

Strangely, not as loudly as she was expecting. She supposed there was a practical limit, considering what was at stake was her relationship (ha) with the warp, and there was only so much they could do before reaching the point where it would be easier to put a bolt in her head.

Partly the strange environment here, the quietness of the immaterium, might have something to do with it- no, it would be a very unconventional method if it had.

It was forbidden specifically for her to research such things, so of course she had, and the brain, especially the psychic brain, was a much messier thing than most people thought; the best they might have been able to do while preserving her talent was just to cool her down, inhibit her from being a ravingly self- destructive deviant- down to the level of a merely unexceptionally average pervert, like so many of the notables of the Imperium.

And she was good, a more than worthy choice for an Inquisitor's yacht or a ship of the line if it came to that; her dance with nightmare had made her sharper, quicker, further and clearer sighted, capable beyond her years.

Attaching her to the Inquisition had also served the useful purpose of putting someone with a gun behind her just in case she had gone a few shades deeper into deviancy than they thought.


The conditioning had been more than merely hard and sharp forbiddings, they had tried to rub some of her own rough edges off her, cure her of extreme sports and extreme piloting, and she had had a lot of practise pushing against it. When she could swing it, she was still a rogue.

Feeling the pull of her xenophilia now, worse, being asked to indulge it, being trusted with it. Her family thought they had her chained to responsibility by her ovaries, but she didn't believe them; she wanted that responsibility at least, wanted a child, a second chance- wanted her first chance back, if only.

Chances were, they would hold it out to her, taunt her with it, make her behave with it, but she was too unstable, too badly damaged for that, in their eyes at least- they would never actually give that chance to her.

Or at very most, if they did, it would be somebody's pox- ridden fifteenth cousin, uncultured lardhead- there was a reason they were called the Navis Nobilite, but the closest equivalent they had, then, to trailer trash was the best she could expect.


No. But then, occasionally, she did as she was sitting in the sealed and shielded throne of visions feel another set of eyes beside her, a weight as if she was cradling her lost monster.

She ached for that responsibility, but breaking the rules again- fighting the shackles in her head for it- have to; she would never get it legitimately. Not within the family. Going rogue was the only option open to her.

Then again, a responsible rogue wasn't necessarily the worst definition of an inquisitor, from a certain point of view; and it was absolutely certain that her family would never let her rise. Didn't need a third eye to see that.

He was clearly attracted to her; hardly needed eyes at all, the way he was holding himself just shy of her, too excited to actually touch but close enough for body heat. I could seduce him easily, she thought. The hard part is going to be doing it through the screaming in my head...I wonder if he knows a good genetor magos?


'Why?' she decided to ask, and he jumped as if electrified. 'You stage managed that, played us, played your own side. To what end?'

'I was mostly trying not to die, and making the rest of it up as I went along.' he said.

'Nonsense.' she said briskly. 'If that was only it you'd have fled with the others and never been in harm's way at all.' She paused, deciding how far to go. They were two centimetres away from each other, and he smelt of discharged electricity and cherenkov radiation. 'Are you a thrill seeker, alien? Throwing yourself at doom and hoping to miss by as narrow a margin as you can?'

She tried to sound contemptuous, but evidently let too much of herself show through; he looked at her and said 'If I said yes, would you see yourself in the mirror?'

The correct answer was no, of course- thrill seeking engineers did not go far or last long. Then again, engineers responsible for damage control did have to balance one hazard against another and accept a level of personal risk, and this might be the largest damage control job in the galaxy at the moment.

Hoping the word translated adequately, she said 'I'm a medusa. I never look at myself in the mirror.'


There was a blue-white glare behind them, someone trying a little too late to trap them in the shock- cushion fields. No time to look back, Amberley decided. 'Which way to the shuttle bays?' she demanded of Beliksjaden.

'That way.' he said, pointing, and being perfectly truthful. 'Think of this place as sceptre-shaped, the thing itself is the ball, operations is at the top of the shaft, power and safety and all ancillaries are further down.'

Mydelin made a leap of logic that turned out to be perfectly accurate, if couched in her own cultural terms. 'You're a magos explorator, militant, both. Not part of the normal staff of the station- you've been to the fire before.'

'My home and my comrades are with the forward fleet- flagship of deep field recon in fact, HIMS Black Prince. I will not close the gate or see it closed with her on the wrong side of it;

your strays too, the survivors of your force deserve- or at least are almost certainly hoping for- better than being brane- lost, adrift in a toxically hostile universe.'


They looked at him, open-mouthed. 'For an outnumbered, unarmed hostage, you have a great deal of nerve.' Amberley said, although managing to make it sound as if it was a good thing.

'If there was anyone else here I'd gladly hand it over to them, but there isn't, so somebody has to stop this descending into more of a clusterkriff than it has to be.' Beliksjaden said.

This is somehow better than the alternative? Amberley didn't say. 'This grand moff, where would he be?'

Beliksjaden waved his hands in the air a bit, trying to figure from the starfield he had last seen and which way they were pointing now, 'About that way, thousand parsecs or so. In an Executor heading this way at top speed- seventy, eighty minutes, maybe.'

That was little more than confirmation of the bad news they had already figured out for themselves. They needed to remain free and out of his power for at least that time, then come up with some kind of a plan to get to him face to face, gun to gun if need be.


Rakhel interrupted their thinking with an ill-timed outburst, frothing at the mouth, pointing at one of the slate-grey inspection panels and shouting 'It's green, it's green in disguise-' and stabbing it with a very small dagger and beating on it with the butt of her laspistol.

With such material as this, but then she had done similar things before. First order of business was to keep moving, and stop the deranged one making too much noise- the inquisitor set about that, and Beliksjaden decided to take a chance.

'When you say medusa,' he said to the navigator, 'that does translate- we do have a legend of a beautiful woman cursed by the powers that be with the ability to kill with a glance.'

She looked at him, and the preprogrammed reflexes they had embedded in her bit, hard. she twitched, tried to push him away, tried not to push him away at the same time, said 'I don't want to hear that. Shouldn't.' Shaking.

Beliksjaden chose his words carefully. 'There are monsters, there are people who can be monsters. I don't believe you're one of them. the creature of the legends wasn't, to begin with- she only became an abomination after she was treated as one.'

'More power to her, then.' Mydelin snarled. 'At least abominations get the right to bite back.' She shook her head- at least that gesture was common. 'I'm your captor- what gives you the right to believe anything at all about me?'

'because it's obvious,' the engineer said, 'that you've been hurt, and better neither but if you have to, medusa's choice- better, less painful as monster than as victim.'


Mydelin looked almost turned to stone herself by that; so painfully true, and she had been much less of a monster and much more often the victim than she wanted to admit. 'What are you? You're an outsider, a renegade, a machine-man, how can you be a seer?'

'You could have just said 'engineer' and that would have covered it.' Beliksjaden pointed out. 'Luck, cynicism, guesswork, maybe a little hope. Something else obvious- you're an artist, or very like it. You have a gift, a vision- maybe literally- that you can't help but exercise, follow wherever it leads. In a lot of ways it is you- sorry, that was too close.' he realised.

'My gift is what's turning me into a monster!' she shouted at him, and he did what might have been the worst thing possible for her. Kissed her, over the third eye.

He loomed, entitied, filled her vision in this pale and terrible clarity, full of knowledgeable complexities and a nature that justified the term human, and the conditions and prohibitions in her head tried to kill her. Her eyes rolled back in her head and she collapsed against him.


Crap, he thought. Don't know anything at all, just similar enough to be terribly different, if there's a peromnal congruence our chemistries might not be that far apart, wishful thinking, leave her for a medic- unlikely they'll be much help. Willing to help, that is.

Drag her along, carry her as best he could, keep the situation as fluid as possible- the only thing that made sense at the moment was to get out and get a shuttle, some way to keep the situation at the level of talking rather than shooting.

He held her up, shambling after the Inquisitor who was now carrying her own loony psyker, ranting about dividing by spacelike infinities and spiral world lines and fields full of walls. She almost made sense with the last part.

Actually, she made quite a lot of sense. The wormhole was still open, and Beliksjaden had just had the thought that he was an engineer, not a bloody political fixer, and the next best thing to one that they had was on the other side of the hole in space. This could be quite an interesting flight.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-05-15 12:02am
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So, Beliksjaden will try to steal a shuttle, transit with Amberley and hook up with Lenart?

Anyway, glad to see the update!

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-05-15 02:46pm
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Good as always ECR, sadly I don't know much about WH40K, but I find this romance quite intriguing. Perhaps the girl will join the Black Prince's crew in order to have a child with Beliksjaden after all there shouldn't be complications with the Warp since the SW universe has a much much weaker version.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-05-15 04:02pm
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The Warp won't be a problem... but the genetics probably will be, as might her holdover conditioning. As romances go, this is pretty high towards the "doomed" end of the scale.

:(

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-05-15 11:12pm
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Might be doomed, but it's cute. Maybe he'll go with them LOL

Nicely done, my friend :)



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-05-16 03:16am
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Yes! Yes! Yes!!! It's back! This is on of my top 3, Very-High-Importance 'fics I follow, you really made me happy.

"Enormous apologies for the lateness of this- just, argh." Don't bother. From reading fanfiction over the past decade, I gather a half year gap between chapters is completely acceptable. You've got 3 months, so you're way ahead of schedule.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-05-16 03:34am
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Well, it's a shame when it happens, but it does happen- especially in a case like this, where he's got two fics running at the same time, and he did update one of them rather more recently.

Looks like Knight Errant is performing as hoped, getting creativity running again; if I were still writer's blocked i'd be tempted to try something comparable to see if it would get my main project going.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-05-16 09:57am
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StrikaAmaru wrote:
Yes! Yes! Yes!!! It's back! This is on of my top 3, Very-High-Importance 'fics I follow, you really made me happy.

"Enormous apologies for the lateness of this- just, argh." Don't bother. From reading fanfiction over the past decade, I gather a half year gap between chapters is completely acceptable. You've got 3 months, so you're way ahead of schedule.


You've never seen half-a-decade gaps in fanfiction, then.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-05-16 10:15am
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Singular Quartet wrote:
You've never seen half-a-decade gaps in fanfiction, then.

I dimly recall one being restarted after either 4 or 6 years of down-time (it was restarted in 2010, and had been dead since either 04 or 06, hence the confusion). But I was talking about an average accepted time gap, in which 6 months nicely covers >95% of multi-part 'fics written by authors worth reading.

Simon_Jester wrote:
Well, it's a shame when it happens, but it does happen- especially in a case like this, where he's got two fics running at the same time, and he did update one of them rather more recently.

Oy, I'm not blaming him. Quite the opposite, actually. Although, looking at the post date, I think you wrote yours before I edited mine and added the last sentence; that would make sense, and I added it just because, without it, it sounded like passive-aggressive bitchin' about nothing.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-05-16 02:40pm
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StrikaAmaru wrote:
Singular Quartet wrote:
You've never seen half-a-decade gaps in fanfiction, then.

I dimly recall one being restarted after either 4 or 6 years of down-time (it was restarted in 2010, and had been dead since either 04 or 06, hence the confusion). But I was talking about an average accepted time gap, in which 6 months nicely covers >95% of multi-part 'fics written by authors worth reading.
The vast majority of fics which have been dead for years stay dead.

Quote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
Well, it's a shame when it happens, but it does happen- especially in a case like this, where he's got two fics running at the same time, and he did update one of them rather more recently.
Oy, I'm not blaming him. Quite the opposite, actually. Although, looking at the post date, I think you wrote yours before I edited mine and added the last sentence; that would make sense, and I added it just because, without it, it sounded like passive-aggressive bitchin' about nothing.
Uh, Strika? I know you're not blaming him. I'm commenting on the general situation, you see:

1) It is a shame (more accurately, a pity, not a shame) when something lapses for months.
2) It does, in point of fact, happen. Especially when someone's juggling multiple storylines, making it more likely that one of them will lapse.

This is not a direct reply to or criticism of what you said.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-07-18 09:43pm
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And now, the first half of the bit that was the reason for the long hiatus, the bit I just couldn't get to flow properly...still can't actually, I'm not overwhelmingly happy with it now, and there are already two segments written but not typed on the far side of this; choppy, scrappy, but I don't think it's going to get much better than this, so, basically following on from "board your pods," Ciaphas.



I heard one of the stormtroopers say to the big engineer 'That was twisted, boss.'

'If you're going to send people to a violent death and an unmarked grave, at least you could make them feel good about themselves on the way.' That said a lot, first about what he really thought of the Deathwatch, and second that he actually thought we weren't.

Jurgen and I got into the pod- number four, actually- and we were about to close the door when someone else slipped into the pod after us, someone who hadn't been at the meeting.

A woman, they were close enough to us in shape to guess that, difficult to tell how old but not very, I reckoned- attractive enough, tied back dark hair and oval face, but a lot of newly acquired worry and stress lines.

Wearing a bodyglove or something like it, which brought back a lot of pleasant memories; a few pouches and pods slung about her and a carbine- class weapon, a folding helmet; there was no time to throw her out, or question her even, she was only half a step inside the pod when it launched.


Into fire. At this point I knew nothing about the original plan of leading the pods with a nova cannon shot to make blast waves to hide us and a torpedo volley to make holes in the target ship for us to land in, and would have run away screaming from the pod if I had.

No, that's not true. I would have racked my brains trying to think of an alternative suggestion, tried to look confident, and almost certainly been dragged into it anyway. Knowing what was coming would probably have made this worse.

Our intruder obviously was expecting it; the calm, slightly eerie smile she gave us was oddly reassuring. it was only after glancing at the bumps around her neck under the glove, and wondering why she seemed pleased to see Jurgen, that I really started worrying.

By then, the red- orange glow around us was starting to fade- and a sequence of brilliant points of light swelled into fireballs ahead of us as well. This plan already involved too damn' many explosions, and we weren't there yet.


The pod crashed- I wouldn't call it a landing- and waited a few seconds before the doors opened. Lungs full of superheated metal vapour are not a survival positive. Once the air had cooled enough to breathe, Jurgen and I and our unexpected guest stepped out into a long, narrow chamber full of- actually one, huge machine of unguessable purpose, which didn't even seem very badly broken.

The nose of the pod was rammed up against what looked like a hatch, and there was tangled and smeared wreckage crushed up against it; we must have come down right on the control station for the machine, whatever it was.

I was about to tell Jurgen to take the melta to it when our stowaway walked up to the hatch, waved something small and round at it and it opened, letting us out into what was obviously one of the arteries of the ship- a tall, wide corridor that tanks could have been driven down.

It was almost absurdly unadorned, just plain, blank metal, and I fought back the culture shock while the black- clad woman, watched by Jurgen, looked at a set of glyphs on the wall and said, rapidly and with an airy, singsong accent, 'Heat sink complex LP-17Delta. I know where we are, now.'


'Well, you obviously speak Gothic, so would you mind explaining who you are and what you think you're doing here?' I challenged her, trying to cover the big, open, coverless corridor both ways.

'I'm your best chance of actually being able to identify friend from foe.' she said, but she sounded worryingly as if she was trying to convince herself as much as she was me.

There were only a very small number of ways she could do that, and discounting the possibility that my armoured-bodygloved new friend was a Chaotic plant- for the moment- 'You're a psyker?'

'Could you pronounce that slightly less to rhyme with "psycho"? It may be true but it doesn't help...yes, I am a sensitive.' Also a neurotic; looking around as if she was afraid somebody might hear- between that and the nervous way she was gripping her gun, it was obvious she wasn't a skilled combatant.



'So why weren't you included to begin with?' Jurgen got right to the point, and she did something I have only seen a tiny handful of people willingly do- she stood next to him.

'Complicated tale, but basically I'm a medic, supposed to be too valuable to risk.' She said, and I could see her deciding to leave something out. 'I came along with you because there was room in the pod, and Gethrim'll go mad when- trouble.'

She added the last bit while unslinging and readying her blaster. Unlike the destroyer which seemed to be a warren, this ship was much more open, maybe inevitably so because of the sheer size of it; rather closer to the Imperium ships I was used to. it was still too well-lit, clean- smelling and tidy to actually be, but it was at least a little closer.

The people she was worried about were just passing through a large open chamber this corridor fed into, choked at odd angles with beams and cables- a soft patch, I was told later, to allow pieces of heavy machinery to be passed into the ship.


'Maybe I didn't need to bother coming.' She said. 'This is just too obvious.'

There were maybe twenty of them, dressed in formerly brutal simplicity that had been disfigured by pieces ripped out and slogans and runic markings painted on, and the leader had what seemed to be a minor demon openly perched on his shoulder.

The rest, some of them were wobbling- various mind affecting drugs had probably happened- others looked more or less mad, babbling and rambling and marching to the beat of at least two separate drummers each; not exactly aggressive, though.

'Are you willing to take a chance?' she asked me. I looked at her as if she was daft; she realised where we all were and that it had been a silly question, and added 'Just shoot the demon, then give it a second.'


Normally I move faster than I did then, must have been the situation getting to me; I pivoted, long coat flapping, out from the hatchway into their line of sight- and the second, who looked a bit less obviously gone than the rest, looked at me and Jurgen, and couldn't help himself- laughed. Doubled over and rolled around on the deck, completely losing his composure.

Chaos has a sense of humour, but it's a pretty sick one for the most part; and, well, who likes to be laughed at? Jurgen looked furious, but he was waiting for my cue- as they started to squabble among themselves, it seemed that they were looking mainly at my aide.

All right, he wasn't the best dressed being in the universe, but even so- and they didn't, weren't noticing that he was an anti- psyker? Obviously they weren't speaking Gothic, but I had picked enough of their tongue by now to actually recognise that most of what they were saying was gibbering nonsense, rather than just seeming that way.

Same fragments of noise, same ideas being repeated with minor changes over and over again, the occasional new riff, new flight of fancy entering the picture- they weren't as stuck in grooves as Chaos usually was, but even so.


There were still a lot of them. Disarm them with blather a little, 'Gentle-entities, it is good that in the midst of madness and treachery you can find something to laugh about-

-'but not that.' I said, deciding this had gone on long enough and putting two lasbolts through the demon's head. It seemed to burst open in slow motion and so, a reaction time behind it and mirroring the damage exactly, did the man's.

The group of them reeled and milled around, some clutching their heads, some staring at each other, Jurgen had his lasgun raised, aimed and selector on full auto, but the xeno medic whispered to me 'What I thought and hoped- Chaos only has a shallow grasp of them, we can break that.'

The air (apart from Jurgen's usual additions) felt much cleaner after that, and I grasped what she meant. I was halfway through trying to rally and inspire them before I realised they probably didn't understand a word of it; she was translating for me, but not very forcefully, and I reckon more of this must be down to body language than we usually admit.


'Citizens- Spacemen of the Galactic Empire, the ruinous powers are your enemies as well as mine- what did you feel under the influence of that spawn, were you not tainted? And are you not freed? They came to control you, dominate you into turning against your comrades and your own true selves;

you are supposed to be the forces of order, of stability, so stand up for what you've been taught to believe in and fight them. Resist corruption, take back your own heads, and we'll see about freeing your comrades and the rest of your ship. Imperium and Order.'

At least, that's what I was told afterwards that I said. No wonder I tend to do this on schola- learned reflex, I couldn't stand to listen to too much of that kind of pious drivel.

Not that it mattered anyway, as it all had to be translated, and I regard it as proof positive that a confident bearing and a firm look will get you much further than anything that actually comes out of your mouth. They all shouted "Empire and Order" and started trotting merrily along behind me.


I would rather have had them in front of me of course, but I was very careful not to let too much of that show. Partly for the simple sake of having them between whatever nasties we blundered across and me, but mainly because I can think of many far better places to put a bunch of ex- chaotics than close behind.

We had protected populations from chaos before this and even retaken a chaos held world, but once the ruinous powers have their claws into you, in my experience, they generally don't let go.

Usually the only thing that can be done for anyone who has been warped is to save everyone else from them, and that tends to involve death. No doubt some of Amberley's colleagues believe otherwise, but as far as I can tell, by the time someone becomes genuinely corrupt enough to need to be redeemed, it's too damn' late.

Actually rescuing a handful of chaos- touched aliens was a new experience, and I was trying not to let it go to my head- or to believe it too hard- when something else occurred to me. Where were we going?


I turned to one of them and asked 'Where was your command centre?' Blank look. I tried 'Take me to your leader' but that got bafflement from them and a very dirty look from the bodygloved medic, before she translated for me.

I still didn't really understand it, but my hiver's senses were starting to function again, and 'inboard, up and aft' was something I could cope with. We moved in that direction, their following me like a pack of scrumball fans.

All well and good, but we needed pace, it was close enough- about half a klick through the corridors- that we might be able to get there before they could organise to meet us.

Those corridors, though; the destroyer we had launched from was a crunched down, folded in warren, with only tiny stretches of open space- this thing, although much more compact and filled in than an Imperial Navy ship, still had some space, and generally in damn' inconvenient places.


We were making our way along a narrow gantry around an open dropshaft when one of the hatches opposite opened and revealed a party of white- armoured soldiers.

We were right in the middle of a killing ground, I had no twitching in my palms at all, the psychic medic hadn't given any warning- for a brief moment, I hoped that was because they weren't a threat. Chance would be a fine thing.

The group with me, even assuming they were trustworthy, didn't strike me as being all that combat capable. They had spanners and things, which probably could do strange and dreadful things to a man, but they just didn't look remotely combat capable- too dazed. There were a couple of them with sidearms, but mainly it was down to me and Jurgen.


I shouted 'Order' at them to see how they would reply, they looked neat and uniform enough, but that armour hid a lot; one of them shouted back 'Change', and the MO shook her head; Jurgen fired his melta at what seemed to be the leader and I took snapshots at the two with the biggest guns.

Either Jurgen's melta triggered something or I got lucky, but something detonated- possibly one of those guns was a missile launcher of some kind, but it went up with an eye- searing fireball.

That took most of them down, and gave my improvised warband some courage- those that had sidearms used them, and between us the ragged volley managed to drop most of the survivors. There seemed to be not much in it between one of their short rifles and a lasgun; good to know.

Some of the chaos- tainted troopers had lived long enough to fire back; we had one dead, two wounded, the MO was making them as comfortable as she could.


'We need to move, fast.' she said to me, without looking up or stopping what she was doing. 'That'll have been reported.'

I was about to quibble with that- so soon, to Chaos, and acted on effectively? As soon as I formed the thought, though, and remembered how easily they seemed able to communicate in general, I knew it was bad enough to be true.

'Right, start scavenging.' I told the unwounded majority, and they looked blankly at me; held up my laspistol, pointed at the mess on the far side of the dropshaft, mimed drawing a gun, they got that instantly and started to root around the mess looking for still- functioning guns.


There was an announcement over the ship's PA, sounded like Mirannon, I could only pick up a few words of the Basic he was speaking- mostly letters and numbers, sounded like some kind of code that I simply didn't have the basis to interpret; that wasn't what she was reacting to, though.

There were side branches off this main corridor, and a group of beings came out of one of them into the main passage, we saw them and they saw us; they paused, confused. I levelled my laspistol, Jurgen his melta, but there was nothing obviously chaotic about them.
She shouted some kind of challenge at them, they yelled back a variety of replies.

'They're confused, but basically loyalists. I think.' she said, not exactly reassuring- but it was hardly intended to be. Feeling that I would be much safer in a juggling contest with the demolitions section of the regiment, I stepped out to confront them.


Of course, I realised exactly how I had got myself into this by now- and what the only feasible way out was. This had to snowball- there was no other way but forward, nothing else to do but push on through and convert enough of them- which really ought not to work at all- back from the grasp of Chaos to free the rest by force.

What was happening, how was this working at all? Was it some kind of psychic momentum, was I closer to the truth than I wanted to be with that snowball idea? Was it all down to Jurgen's null zone?

Was this some deep-seated plot by the dark powers, to feed us bodies and see what would happen? Were they only pretending to allow this to work- would I get to the gateway to the enginarium, turn round and see three thousand grinning mutant faces with guns saying 'Surprise...'?



"I beseech thee, In the bowels of God, think it possible that you might be wrong."
-Oliver Cromwell to Parliament, 1647
"It is good to keep an open mind; but not so open that your brains fall out." Attributed to James Oberg

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-07-18 10:45pm
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The internal dynamics of a group of Tzeentchian stormtroopers is something apt to get very strange.

Good to have this back.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-07-19 12:41am
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Simon_Jester wrote:
The internal dynamics of a group of Tzeentchian stormtroopers is something apt to get very strange.

Good to have this back.

My head feels like it should explode because of that statement. Not ure if it's from how scary it is or how awesome it might be.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-07-19 08:19am
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InsaneTD wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
The internal dynamics of a group of Tzeentchian stormtroopers is something apt to get very strange.

Good to have this back.

My head feels like it should explode because of that statement. Not ure if it's from how scary it is or how awesome it might be.

With Tzeench I am sure its both.



You know, its remarkably easy to feed an undead army if all you have are just enemies....

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-07-19 08:20am
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Scary, and in a perverse way- what happens to the itty bitty fragments of the loyalty conditioning after being broken that hard?

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-07-20 09:13am
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Simon_Jester wrote:
Scary, and in a perverse way- what happens to the itty bitty fragments of the loyalty conditioning after being broken that hard?

Usually thrown into a blender, set to puree, turned on for about 20 minutes, and then whats left is used to write up a new set of rules.



You know, its remarkably easy to feed an undead army if all you have are just enemies....

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-08-08 03:39am
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I have actuaoly lost count of which chapter this is supposed to be- well it's obvious which Chapter, it's the Lions of Caledon. prepare for heavy accent incoming.


The Lions, on the other hand, definitely were enjoying themselves. They had no better idea than the Deathwatch had how to differentiate a simple humanoid interdimensional invader from a chaos possessed one, but were working to a rough plan.

Scare the crap out of them, and anyone who was willing to stand and fight was probably mad enough to have been touched by the powers of darkness.

Most worryingly of all, provided a hell of a lot of collateral damage was accepted as an unavoidable consequence it seemed to be working.

The ten Lions had quickly realised how much of an individual edge they had, and broken up into five pairs, a shooter and a stabber in each- except Fergus who as sargeant was stuck with the squad musician and in fact was basically leading by letting the other four pairs play hot and cold with the sound of the pipes.

He would actually have preferred to be slightly further from them himself, but it was hard to deny the wild wailing skirl of them was an effective assault tool.


He had passed one band of armed crew who had all been rolling on the ground holding their ears; a couple of them had attempted to surrender, begging him "please, make the hideous noise stop".

Fergus had almost cut them down for the insult alone, but they had given their parole for what little it was worth. Had been quite funny really- charades again, trying to find out from them if they had seen anything big and scary and unnatural about the place. Apart from himself of course.

They hadn't, not themselves, but they had made cupped-ear gestures- with bleeding ears- to signify that they had heard of one, up on the bridge. Then the one doing most of the gesturing had made noises lie an omnifowl and flapped his arms.

That probably meant a Tzeentchian greater daemon, which fitted the briefing. Some chapters disclaimed and derided all knowledge of such things, but the far pre- Imperial, the old original Malleus Malleficarium had been authored by James the Sixth and First, no less.

The chapter generally followed in the path of their distant cultural ancestor, believing that well informed and intelligently directed hatred would do the Emperor's work far more effectively than blind, ignorant faith.


Of course they were not ignorant of the fact that dealing with such things frequently required special personnel and weapons; not even the most obstinate professional tartan- wearing haggis-fellator could represent bagpipe and claymore as a complete solution to the daemonic problem.

Granted, it did work on a lot of the little ones...but on the kind of the magnitude which ate the sanity of entire warships' crews, dealing with that would be an expert's job.

The Chapter was very much of two halves, the mechanically- minded lowlanders and the wilder highlanders, and it seemed at times they had far too many Librarians about the place, with so many of the highland element claiming second sight.


In terms of actually and legitimately trained, empowered and accredited, there were about a hundred and ten official Librarians, and even given the high raw headcount of the chapter that was still about twice as many as there should have been.

Only one Alpha- rating, though, the chief librarian (currently away with First, Fourth and Sixth Companies reducing a stray band of exploring Tau to soylent blue), eight betas, and everyone else down in the gamma and delta grades.

Fourteenth Company actually had six, and they were all coming in the assault wave- that would only be able to get there once the sabotage party opened a way for them. There really would be none around when they were wanted then half a dozen arriving all at once.


First, though, they had to make the hole. Part of that would be not being daft enough to challenge the big horrible thing; let the Deathwatch throw themselves at that particular suicide job. There was enough to keep the squad gainfully employed in the direction they were actually going.

As they pressed on towards what they hoped was main engineering, they were relying mainly on the mental rather than the physical gifts; figuring out where they had come from and where they were going, for a start- there were very few open spaces, the ship was a bloody maze.

If any equivalents of the usual signs and signifiers were there, department heraldry and branch and arm murals and iconography, they were fantastically understated- there didn't seem to be a stained glass window in the entire damn' ship.

(There had been an incident once, couldn't remember the planet exactly- something with an IV in the name- where they had been celebrating crushing an orcish invasion, and all in the main capitoline cathedral, for the service of thanksgiving; the massed pipers of the four companies committed had broken into "The Black Bear", and blown out every bit of glass in the templum...doctrinal problems had ensued. Fun.)


Here, though, it really was a case of twisty turny passages all alike. An old meme, but true- and they were tiny passages at that, barely big enough to give fighting room to two Astartes at once, never mind ten. Splitting up made more sense, even if there were occasional cockups.

'A'body got a spare chib? Oh, an' watch oot for ra wee lads wi' yon things that look like jannie's scoopers wi' a ball on ra arse end.'

'Aye,' Fergus replied to his squadmate's vox, 'but what did ye dae tae the last yin? How did ye lose yer sword?'

The other marine in the pair chipped in 'By giein' ra wee alien practically ev'ry opportunity short o' posin' wi'it, staunin' there haudin' it oot an' sayin' "you cannot harm my mighty weapon, ha ha ha." Ya numpty.'

'Hoo was ah supposed tae ken he hid a power claw? Oddest lookin' yin ah've e'er seen.'


'If it's that guid,' Fergus said, 'take it yersel', threaten it a wee bit, tell it it's sanctified and use it. If it can break a power sword it must be guid for somethin'.' Theologically debatable but sound practical advice, but not the end of it as another voice came in,

'Ah, sargeant-'

'Whit dae ye want retroactin' permission for?' Fergus asked, finding a close door ahead of him, prodding buttons at random until it opened, seeing a handful of humans and a blue thing facing the wrong way.

Not for long- it was remarkably difficult to sneak up on people with a piper in tow- so have to make this fast. He charged, accelerating to full speed and slinging his targe, drawing the alien trophy melta pistol- this would need killing power.


The howl of the pipes- part way through a tune about an old soldier long ago and far away, weren't they all- - deafened some, blasted others back, some held their ears and gaped in horror- the daemon reacted coherently though, bastard started doing a little mocking jig.

Nothing more irritating than someone trying to imitate the mannerisms, and the changer- spawn probably knew that. The first melta blast went straight into it, not that the Astartes sargeant was really expecting it to work- one of the features of this breed was that they were extraordinarily hard to kill, claimed immunity in fact to flamer and melta fire.

This was just to set it up for its' subsequent fall. Fergus was not entirely surprised when it blinked out, without any of the usual screaming and general obstinacy; reversed his grip on his own power broadsword, thrust behind him, at the same time smashing the white- hot barrel of the melta across the face of the nearest tainted alien.

It came away covered in seared flesh, and the blade- as he had expected, knowing exactly where it would be- bit, stabbing into and through, cleaving through the caricature face of the daemon with the retrieval stroke, collapsing it down into the two minor daemons it was composed of.


They fell into the full blast of the pipes, and Callum sounded like he was trying to find the lost chord, catching the two little horrors and battering them to death with a wall of Caledonian sound.

Two of the humans burst too under the surges of pressure coming from the roughly- aimed reeds. Step back, standing on the dissipating remains of one of the pink horrors, quarter the first of them bold enough to try to close him down, snapshot at the one who had what looked like the largest weapon powerpack.

That was a decision rewarded with percussion accompaniment as the blast of the melta made a nonsense of safety and the backpack blew in a sizzling electric explosion.

The traitor Noise Marines had it pathetically wrong, Fergus thought. They fight with sound, well enough, but they use basically half a weapon, a thing that needed an amp. Who ever needed to amplify the pipes?

Of course, hacking the enemy into bits with a basket hilted broadsword worked too. There was something else-


'Weel, their gun-things seemit' fairly straightforward an' unfancy, so-'

'Obviously it hasnae' killed ye yet, have ye managed tae dae onythin' useful wi' it?' Fergus replied.

'Aye, quite a lot o' them in fact. Ah ate hauf the lad's heid tae find the manual- think ah ken where we're gaun. Ah saved ye a hemisphere, but ye'd better come and get it afore it goes aff.'

'On ma way.'

Callum was holding the pipes and squeezing with one hand and using his bolter in the other, hard to say which was actually producing less of a tune; finishing off the survivors.


One of them he couldn't get to in time; the xeno started to bulge and twist, absorbing the daemon, accepting it as a host- Fergus lunged forwards and actually more or less drew the chaos star on it, two offset fast figure-eights with the broadsword, that the daemon seemed to draw strength from, flowing in- realising a second too late that it was being invited into a corpse.

The look on the falling body's bisected face clearly said; you bastard.

The rest, such of them as were left ambulatory after Callum's gunfire and wall of noise, were fleeing- about two thirds down and not with chasing the rest, not with an intelligence objective to pursue as well as Jamie and Erchie with the half brain.


Move to join them, and a quick bout of anthropophagy later- 'Aye.' Fergus said, sitting back on his heels and thinking about it, feeling the flood of alien information washing over his mind.

The dead man had been a junior lieutenant regulatory branch, raw but still an officer, and privy to details as such- the big one being what they thought they were doing here. the invasion order that Lennart had failed to mention.

'Are we goin'tae huv tae dae whit Ah think we ur?' Erchie asked.

Fergus thought about it for a second and said, heavily, 'Aye.'

'Ah, shite. Ah hate suicide missions, ah've been oan hunners' ae them an' they were a' keech. How are we goin' tae blow ra boat up then?'

There was an obvious answer, and fergus gave it- 'Eat techies 'til we figure oot ra self destruct.'



"I beseech thee, In the bowels of God, think it possible that you might be wrong."
-Oliver Cromwell to Parliament, 1647
"It is good to keep an open mind; but not so open that your brains fall out." Attributed to James Oberg

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-08-08 08:06am
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Padawan Learner
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That was some of the most painful accents I've ever read. I was able to work out most of it. :P I love your work, always good for a giggle. :P

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-08-08 10:17am
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The Caledonians are a little hard to understand, but nice update. Very creative bit about drawing the daemon into an alternate target.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-08-08 02:03pm
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Sith Acolyte
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Loyalist...scottish...noise marines.

You utter, magnificent bastard.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-08-08 02:31pm
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
That probably meant a Tzeentchian greater daemon, which fitted the briefing. Some chapters disclaimed and derided all knowledge of such things, but the far pre- Imperial, the old original Malleus Malleficarium had been authored by James the Sixth and First, no less.

The chapter generally followed in the path of their distant cultural ancestor, believing that well informed and intelligently directed hatred would do the Emperor's work far more effectively than blind, ignorant faith.
Would love to hear this expanded on a bit- cultural background and context- I imagine they'd get along fairly well with Brother Quixote. Although he'd probably consider them to be taking more risks than their chapter's quality control justifies. The Grey Knights are tested, warded, and prepared to a far higher standard, inevitably they're in a far better position to intelligently direct their hatred than the Lions.

Quote:
In terms of actually and legitimately trained, empowered and accredited, there were about a hundred and ten official Librarians, and even given the high raw headcount of the chapter that was still about twice as many as there should have been.
That is out of a de facto bolter strength of how many? :shock:

Quote:
If any equivalents of the usual signs and signifiers were there, department heraldry and branch and arm murals and iconography, they were fantastically understated- there didn't seem to be a stained glass window in the entire damn' ship.
Hah!

Quote:
'A'body got a spare chib? Oh, an' watch oot for ra wee lads wi' yon things that look like jannie's scoopers wi' a ball on ra arse end.'
What did he run into, exactly...?

Quote:
They fell into the full blast of the pipes, and Callum sounded like he was trying to find the lost chord, catching the two little horrors and battering them to death with a wall of Caledonian sound.

Two of the humans burst too under the surges of pressure coming from the roughly- aimed reeds.
Okay, now that should be physically impossible...

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-08-08 04:34pm
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All right, I'll tone down the excessive scotticisms- which are coming from all over the country anyway, unfortunately; think of it as the audible equivalent of tartan, a long after the fact and largely made up bit of nonsense.

The Lions do take risks, and there should be more internal dispute and discussion over them- but when Brother-Captain McCrimmon claimed to have sent the High Lords of Terra an open letter advocating the abolition of most of the inquisition and the devolution of their duties on the existing chambers militant, he wasn't actually kidding. Caution is not always their thing.

The raw head count of the chapter is some eight thousand; a 'company' consisting usually of fifty or so bolter- strength Marines, justifying there being more than ten of them- but vehicle, lander, transport and warship crew take that to three hundred easily, and core facilities- cadre, infirmary, armoury- and the replacement pool account for the rest; by the terms of the codex, that's almost satisfactory with a front line head count of about a thousand, but then there are all the rest- and Librarians are specialists, not part of the basic codex standard thousand.

Cnsidering that a normal chapter of a thousand frontline and maybe two thousand all told has about a dozen Librarians last time I checked, that many for a chapter unusually prone to it- second sight may be a cultural artefact but it was quite sincerely believed in at the time- seemed to fit.

The thing like a janitor's pooper-scooper with a ball on the end is a damage control too, a field neutraliser designed to temporarily nullify (destructive interference) the tensor fields so that damaged material can be cut away. Desperation drives.

And yes, it almost certainly is- but so's Wraithbone, and Tyranids, and Orks, by any reasonable standard. I'm choosing to go quite far over the top on this one, Blast waves are nothing more than vibrations transmitted through the air too- and the bagpipes were outlawed as a weapon after the '45 :wink: .

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