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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)


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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-08-08 04:55pm
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
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.
Well of course it's patchwork; it's not as if all the original settlers came from the same part of the country in the first place.

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The Lions do take risks, and there should be more internal dispute and discussion over them...
You could equally well have ended this paragraph with "...but not in the field, under the circumstances." That's more likely to come out during the wild theological debates back on the homeworld, or as part of a bull session whenever they take time out from training for that sort of thing.

I do have to wonder how long they'll get away with it; this chapter strikes me as likely to wind up with an epitaph like "a short life but a merry one" in the annals of Imperial history. Or would, if said history were written by someone honest and capable of thinking outside the box.

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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.
Heh. "Bolter strength" was probably the wrong choice of word, since I was looking for head count.

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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.
Ahh, so that's how it broke a power sword. I wonder what it'd do to a lightsaber.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-08-08 05:43pm
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The look on the falling body's bisected face clearly said; you bastard.

I almost died loling.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-08-09 06:06pm
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Excellent work remnant. Interesting to see what the Lions will do now. So what does the Self Destruct from a Bellator look like if you're outside and in snubs :(

It's amusing that quite often whenever I iintermittently come back to reread you seem to post an update shortly afterwards.

Just pure chance.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-11-19 12:26pm
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Next bit of the boarding action;

From the memoirs of Caiaphas Cain, Hero of the Imperium, etc, etc;


Now, if I could believe it- and I couldn't- I had a small army. There are many problems with small armies, a mercifully large proportion of which I usually managed to arrange to be someone else's to deal with, but the main one as far as I was concerned right now was their tendency to lose to big armies.

For my own astonishment, I caught myself actually being nostalgic for the halcyon days of frantic 'Nid- dodging and running round in fear of my life with the artillery. Then looked back at this shower behind me and realised I actually meant it.

This is why the Imperium can never rest, why there can never really be peace with the xenos; they're unpredictable, unreadable, there's no gut sympathy there, being from literally different worlds you don't know how they're going to react, can't- daren't- trust them. We have enough trouble with the bloody Cogboys.

Not to flatter myself overly, but if I'm stretching to keep up in terms of grasping what the forces of otherness are up to, there are many more who will be a damned sight further behind.


Which this lot, of course, literally were. There were perhaps a thousand of them following me, and I was feeling very exposed; they were vulnerable, wide open to the powers of darkness, had already been touched, and I was left feeling very like the cork in the bottle.

I was the only thing keeping them sane. Not being entirely certain what their version of sanity looked like, this was surprisingly tricky. Where's a good rock to hide under when you need one?

Certainly not lumped about the corridors of an almost brand new spaceship, that was sure. I was doing my best to be bold and inspiring and a pillar of leadership, feeling even more of a fraud than usual and wishing it was someone else's turn at the sharp end, when the background noise of the ship subsided a little and I heard many voices rhythmically chanting, not far off.

Too damn' close, in fact. I turned to the black bodygloved medic for a translation, and found her almost collapsed with laughter, shaking uncontrollably and so far gone that she was actually propping herself up on Jurgen, who looked as if he didn't quite know what to make of it.

'The best possible thing for you,' she managed to splutter, 'is that we take this boat in sufficiently good condition that the intsec system keeps the records of all of this. The Empire would run away screaming. Stormtroopers unionising and going on strike...'


Now normally, this is exactly the sort of thing I wouldn't want to know, and he wouldn't ask, but this was as close as Jurgen had been in years to a real live female who didn't object to him, and it was making him jumpy. He knew he had said the wrong thing as soon as it was out of his mouth but he asked 'What are they chanting, anyway?'

I've never had an answer to that question that I liked, even when as an official hero (yet further proof of the Emperor's twisted sense of humour) they were cheering for me, and this was certainly not so.

' "What do we want? We don't know. When do we want it? Then." ' she said. 'Shame you can't actually see what's going on in their heads, it's...I think I may have crossed some kind of personal callousness event horizon.

Either that or I'm seeing it through their eyes, and what little of their psyches are still self aware have reached the state of incoherent hysteria. Stormtroopers are generally a fairly callous lot, but this is hilarious in a skin- crawlingly terrifying kind of way.

Yes, hysteria, it's the only way they can deal with the fact they' re trapped prisoners, strangers in their own heads, and they're doing things they have no grasp of, no idea why, they're a randomness bomb waiting to go off.'


She had stopped laughing by this point, and I braced myself for the oh,crap moment I knew was coming. 'You can do it, Commissar.' she said, total sincerity and earnestness evident in her eyes. To shift moods that fast- I have had a fair few heartstopping up and down moments, but this had to be something to do with being a psyker.

Evidently she wasn't happy with it either, if she was prepared to stand that close to Jurgen to mitigate the effects of it. She carried on, looking quite prophetic as she did. 'You can be their rock, Commissar. Save them from the madness they've become. Appeal to their sense of order. Save them from themselves.'

My first reaction was "frak that", but there were a lot of voices chanting. Too many to safely ignore, and with this lot behind me, too many to safely sneak by. Trained gunmen, even local gunmen, crackbrained and deranged though they were, would cut my followers to pieces.

Besides, if ever there was something that practically came with a label saying "this is a job for the commissariat"- and as so damnably often in my long career of attempting to hide in obscurity and failing, the boldest move would actually be the safest.

Walking into a brawl between guardsmen was one thing. A thousand chaos-tainted alien troopers? Dangerously insane. I resolved not to complain about the next perfectly ordinary suicide mission that I got sent on by my own command structure. Then realised that was practically handing Grim Destiny an engraved invitation and decided that I would bitch about it after all.


If we- not forgetting Jurgen, who might be worth more than his smell in gold in the next few minutes- lived that long. I set my cap to a slightly more official angle than usual, strode in boldly- and saw instantly what she meant.

The place was an exercise ground of sorts, girder-built obstacles, foamcrete and their equivalent of flakboard, some of which had been at least partially blown up, and the place was full of white armoured locals trying not to march and failing.

It would have been funny, if it wasn't terrifying. for once they actually looked as if they lived up to the name of stormtrooper, but the chaos they had been exposed to, attacked by, had done strange things to their heads.

They were trying to be individuals, but watching them it was obvious that they had been so intensively trained and practically brainwashed that whenever they tried to do something disorderly and random, they all did the same thing. At the same time, or only a beat or two behind.

They were trying to pace up and down, but it had turned into marching up and down. They tried to break step, and did it in simultaneous, kinesthetic unison. Break formation, and it looked like a perfect drill movement. They were all desperately- and identically- frustrated by it.


Were they dangerous? Frak yes. Mainly to themselves. For that matter, if I did manage to restore them to a proper sense of self, they'd want to shoot me anyway. Wishing I hadn't thought of that, and that I had paid more attention in the schola- or, considering that I had ended up here, less- I strode in radiating self- confidence, acting for my life and trying not to show it. Well, at least I had a lot of practise.

'What's the problem, troopers, change not all they told you it was going to be?' I said in command voice. They didn't know who or what I was of course, all they knew was what they could see, which was what I was projecting.

And hopefully not what I was trying not to project, which was the worrying thought that anyone pigheaded enough to believe they had a right to succeed at this would be far too stupid to pull it off.

They all turned to look at me; not particularly intimidating, considering that I've been intimidated by experts, but hardly a gesture of welcome. 'Who's in charge here?' I demanded.


Quite deliberately, of course- had to be confrontational enough to jolt them, knock them back on their heels, get them thinking. Which was interesting to watch, too, especially in the other direction. Within ten seconds I was trying hard not to wish for a tub of popcorn.

Or to laugh, which would have probably got me quite severely killed. Not actually much worse than being gently and considerately killed, from the viewpoint of a minute afterwards at least, but either way, I didn't think it would suit me.

They were very largely without a sense of humour, I had to remember that when dealing with them; I've met guard regiments like that, coped with the business of killing the Emperor's enemies by taking it all so prim-and-properly and seriously that they were head-bangingly frustrating to deal with and, worse, not very good at it.

I could have pushed harder, but I wanted to let them realise that they really didn't have answers of their own, for the confusion to reach maximum intensity, for them to hit bottom, and bounce, and to catch them on the way up.


They wanted to shoot me, because that was what they were supposed to do, but Chaos really had been desperately unsubtle with them- had hit them with the telepathic equivalent of a two- by- four across the back of the head.

They weren't supposed to be what they used to be, were supposed to be before, so they couldn't shoot people any more because that was right and right was wrong.

But, as I pointed out, what they were supposed to be now was also a supposition of the exact same kind that they had had before, so they couldn't be what they were supposed to be now either. Jurgen was looking absolutely blank at this, only faint glimmer of intelligence was his belief that somehow I would get it all straightened out.

Personally I was more than half intending, if things went wrong, to get him to melta- blast the nearest cluster of them and run for it in the confusion. They were arguing with each other in a fantastic way- not like children, that would have been too easy, but like brainwashed adults.

They knew things, and didn't quite know why they knew them or what else the fragments they had connected to; long, complicated, rambling arguments, all of which strangely mirrored each other- I couldn't let them wander off completely.


Had to keep prodding, keep stirring, knock them out of their new ideas and back into their old ones. Right was wrong, and wrong was right, but wrong was self- evidently wrong as well, and right that was was right as it was, but this was now, and now was wrong- I was starting to get somewhere.

Of course, I just thought I was arguing for my life. I didn't make the obvious connection that their helmet voxes meant the entire troop complement of the ship was listening in.

Just as well, really. They were all trying not to agree with each other despite the fact that they all thought so alike they kept finishing each others' sentences, and if they really were that humourless, that immune to irony- and how the frak did the Galactic Empire brainwash it's troops that thoroughly from the kind of culture they represented?

Was their natural state that I was trying to return them to actually a damn' unnatural thing in itself? That was a doubt, and an itching in my palms, I could have done without. The more I thought about it, the truer it seemed, and the less I wished I had thought about it.


It was probably still an improvement on where they were now. 'What are you, where does your right and wrong come from?' I challenged them, once I judged they were confused, frustrated and angry enough to be ripe for it.

Before they could come up with the wrong answer, I forged ahead. And "forged" may be exactly the right word. 'It's the same question; what your right and wrong and good and bad are come from what you are and what your sense of fitness is, and what I see before me are soldiers- Stormtroopers- of the Empire.'

Which touch of relativism was fearful heresy that I would have to confess to in the extraordinarily unlikely event of my being anywhere near the inside of a confessional in the next, oh, hundred years, but how to reach into the water and rescue a drowning man without getting wet?

With the sort of long arms you usually need to drink with the daemon, was another thought I wish I hadn't had. 'You are fighting men of Order, you know that, you know yourselves- who told you otherwise?' Not actually a question.


'You were attacked. If the Ruinous Powers who tried to tell you to change had come at you with gun and claw, you'd have known what to do about it, wouldn't you- you'd fight.' I said, managing to sound as if I was sure of them. They gave little away in body language.

'Instead they attacked you inside your own heads, in your sense of self, in your sense of right and wrong. Do you think they wanted you to be shiny happy people as a result of this- or do you think they were trying to get you to serve their ends?' I was yelling by now, rabble- rousing.

'They set out to turn you against each other, against your brothers, against yourselves- they attacked you, and you know what to do about it, the solution hasn't changed. Fight back.'

They were starting to make noise now, mutter, rumble, grumble- but they were listening at least, and the black- bodygloved medic was standing half- dazed, astonished; she looked to me and said 'It's working, but the- ruinous powers, I had better say, aren't going to let them go without a fight.'

'Right,' I said, hating myself for doing it and knowing exactly what I didn't want would happen, knowing that I would, that it was the right dramatic moment for it, 'let them come.'


Waited half a beat, drew and activated my chainsword and turned to lash out behind me- and to some surprise found less than half a daemon, a neonium-coloured blob starting to solidify into form; not fully formed, trying to push it's way past whatever Jurgen does to these things and struggling.

I motioned Jurgen away from it, thinking if it really does materialise that size, this is going to look frakking ridiculous, I might as well be trying to kick a puppy because that's about as tall as it's going to be; it has to be a trick, Chaos simply doesn't have that warped a sense of humour. Subtle temptations like cuteness are usually completely beyond it.

Usually. I looked at it, and decided I knew the script now. The thing coalesced, and if the usual Tzeentchian greater daemon looks like a giant flightless bird with claws and a severe dislike of it's surroundings, this was clearly one that had only just hatched. It was tiny, and fluffy, and it cheeped at me.

For a moment I wondered if it was genuine, if in the peculiar minds of the white- armoured troopers this really was what a mind- affecting daemon ought to look like; if so, they were even more alien than I had thought.

I was well within Jurgen's area of effect, so it wasn't in my thoughts, it really was being ridiculously cute and innocent- cute in more than one sense, although the innocence was only and entirely fake. Sucker it in, pretend to fall for the ruse and hope it wasn't a step ahead of me-


'Is that it?' I announced loudly, stepping- stamping heavily on the tiny downy thing. 'Is this the thing that tried to steal your minds, this child- thing that wouldn't fool a raw recruit?' Obviously it wasn't, but it didn't know that I knew. It faded away with a despairing peep.

It didn't know it's audience, though- the white-carapaced troopers seemed rather to approve of the squashing of small helpless things. I glanced at Jurgen and hoped he was keeping up; he had the melta out and ready, although not pointed at anyone. Yet.

I stepped forward into what I thought the chaos thing about to happen would think the killing zone was, waited half a beat- and then I felt the air fill up behind me and the sick- headache feel of sorcery swarm out of the no longer empty space. Mother Doomchicken had come out to play after all.

Irreverent? Perhaps the crew of that ship of madmen had been rubbing off on me. Also a damned sight (literally) better than giving it the respect it thought it deserved. I understood it's plan; make me look like a clumsy butcher, squash me, win them back, flood their minds on the riptide of destroyed hope. Playing games of - hah- chicken with the locals' souls.


Not for the first time, and hopefully not the last, I was being treated as more than a man, as a symbol. Which I supposed I had been doing for a long time anyway as a Commissar, but that doesn't make it any more fun or any less dangerous.

I crouched and rolled backwards, between it's legs and under it's snapping beak, twisting out of the way of a claw- lashing out at it with a chainsword sweep into one of it's drumsticks, drawing blood- well, spreading ichor.

It looked at me with malice in its' eye; was it the same one that had had attacked Inquisitor Nkrumah - and myself- on the Quaestio Abstrusa station, what seemed like a very, very long time ago? Could it be? The damned things came back; they could be got rid of but they always came back.

It was very large, and very hard to kill, and I had more help then that I could count on; I still had Jurgen with me, but he had had to leave the really big gun behind.

There was no shortage of stray gunmen about the place, but could I depend on them? If I couldn't I was probably dead anyway, and even if a probability is better than a certainty- taking down a greater daemon of the chaos lord of change with a chainsword and a laspistol was a tall order.


'Where do I shoot it?' the black- clad medic had her gun aimed at it, and shouted at me.

'Anywhere, it doesn't matter, it's got no real anatomy, it's just a congealed idea.' I shouted at her, and dived out of the way as it pecked at me, charged at me and tried to run me down.

It flapped a wing at Jurgen, just as he fired the melta at it; the creature writhed back, diverted from me, but there was enough momentum to hit Jurgen in the face with a shower of burning feathers. He yelped, stepped back, shook the blazing bits off- didn't get them all, his hair was still smouldering, which would add an overtone of carbonisation to his usual stench.

He noticed me looking worried and said 'I'm all right.' Many soldiers would be in line for the Emperor's Mercy after that, it would be enough to start them mutating, but he probably would be all right. He looked a bit dazed though- the daemon actually looked worse, looking down at it's wing in horror and clawing at it, trying to rip out the pieces of itself that had touched my aide.


Picking him up and throwing him at it might work, I thought crazily, but it wouldn't be fair; it might be enough to overcome his resistance at last, and he deserved better than that- I depended on him too much for that.

'If it's just an idea, shouldn't we mock it?' the bodygloved medic shouted at me, although not taking her own advice- snapping off a sequence of short, controlled bursts at the thing's neck and head. She was a fair shot for a noncombatant, but the hits she did score achieved nothing- splashes, ripples in the thing's form that soon subsided.

It turned to me again, screeched, raised it's arms wide, I fired four lasbolts right down it's mouth and Jurgen melta- blasted it in the chest, but it was too large and too strange to do down from that- showed that it was hurt, but spread it's wings and claws wide and launched a fantastic surge of eldritch sorcery at me.

A blazing purple sun scattering lightning bolts rippled at us, Jurgen crouched and I dived behind him, the thing seared past us out of the door - the lightning falling perilously close on either side. I yelled back at the medic, once the thunder had subsided enough to hear myself scream, 'That might be how it is in your neighbourhood of reality, but around here chainsaws are considered perfectly acceptable.'


'I have an idea.' she said, picking herself up from where she had ducked.

'Does it have claws?' I shouted back, standing up and squaring off to the thing.

She turned to the boggling, soul- posed stormtroopers, 'Well? You saw that- Order 66 is still in force- enact it! Shoot it!'

What the hell she was on about I had no idea, but whatever it was I could feel it work, didn't need to be a psyker to read what coming to firing stance and aiming on meant.

The chaos thing turned to them, it could feel and fear the rigid determination in their heads. 'No- you know what I can make you, you can be whatever you want to be-' but it said it as it had done in the station, every word in a different tone, different accent.

'There is only one, right, thing to be,' I replied to it and to them- 'Decide where you stand.'


I have never been so happy to be standing twenty feet away from the target of a thousand gun volley in all my life. Nor, please the Emperor's twisted sense of humour, will I ever be again.

The sheer heat caught and reflected off that thing felt like being caught in the middle of a lance barrage; I was bowled over by it, found myself dazed up against one of the athletic obstacles, and the thing gone entirely, not even a stray feather.

One of the stormtroopers helped me up, as Jurgen came walking over to me, trailing a faint pall of smoke, ready to rescue me from them; 'Seems to be our day for being on fire, Sir.' he said, maintaining poise and calm a damn' sight better than I was at that moment as he picked up and handed me my cap.

'And not over yet...well,' I addressed the stormtroopers, deciding not to ask whether they would follow me or not but take it on trust that they would, visibly trusting them precisely in order to seal the fact that they would; 'we have your brothers in arms to save and a ship to cleanse.'

I led off, and felt the crawling skin on my back subside as the rhythm of marching feet formed up behind me. A million questions and worries still, such as what the special order she had shouted at them about was, and why it had worked; but at least not the one about having a small army.



"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: 2011-11-20 03:58am
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I love the stormtrooper imagery. And yeah, a 40k commissar would probably do pretty well at yanking stormtroopers into line in this situation; say what you will about them but even the murderous loonies among the commissariat's ranks are good at "order, stability, conformity."

Hmm.

We know on the Khornate battlecruiser the stormtroopers overwhelmingly broke in favor of the Blood God. Here, the mind control only kinda-sorta took hold, in that the gospel of Tzeentch really isn't a good fit for stormtroopers.

I wonder what the stormtrooper detachments on the Nurglite and Slaaneshi ships are up to?

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-11-21 07:47am
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I've never actually been a fan of Tzeentch; they have the big meta- point against them that Games Workshop are not, and will not, push the timeline on- and if nothing changes, then it's easy for a lord of change to look very silly.

In fact, considering that it seems actually impossible for him to go from one structured option to another, and that the overwhelming majority of his elaborate plans seem to be conspiracy theory castles in the air, I'm beginning to wonder if it was all a setup from the start, and he's been lying about what he is to himself as well as his followers for millennia; he's not the god of Change at all, he's the god of frustration...

Daffy Duck, Greater Daemon of Tzeentch? You know it makes sense.

Nurglite- you're looking at young, fit soldiers, with personal athleticism pretty much the only sanctioned outlet for their individuality; I can't really see a bunch of Stormtroopers doing anything like the antics of this bunch- http://terminallance.com/forum/index.php?topic=4314.0- a recommendation, by the way, read and enjoy. They would be quite resistant. On the other hand, the unconditional acceptance of Grandfather Nurgle would fall on fertile soil indeed, I believe- they have never really been treated as human beings before. They would cleave to that fairly promptly, I think; it suits their sense of brotherhood and oneness. Physically resistant and repelled, but psychically wide open.

Slaaneshi, I'm going to put off thinking about for the time being; when they get there, I'll go there. I really don't want to do that much research into definitions of strange sex acts right now.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-11-21 11:29am
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Heh. Heheheh. Order 66. Oops, about that lightning...

That aside, I'm entirely comfortable with the thought of stormtroopers in stiletto combat boots. ;)



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-11-21 12:39pm
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
I've never actually been a fan of Tzeentch; they have the big meta- point against them that Games Workshop are not, and will not, push the timeline on- and if nothing changes, then it's easy for a lord of change to look very silly.

In fact, considering that it seems actually impossible for him to go from one structured option to another, and that the overwhelming majority of his elaborate plans seem to be conspiracy theory castles in the air, I'm beginning to wonder if it was all a setup from the start, and he's been lying about what he is to himself as well as his followers for millennia; he's not the god of Change at all, he's the god of frustration...

Daffy Duck, Greater Daemon of Tzeentch? You know it makes sense.
Ha. Plausible. Then again, Tzeentch isn't supposed to be winning; his conspiracies and plots shouldn't be remaking the galactic scene in his image any more than Nurgle's plagues or Khorne's bloodlust do. Although there are issues with that, I guess. You've mentioned this in Knight Errant.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-11-21 05:26pm
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The thing about that was, if you remember the scene, immediately before that he decided "Prepared line of blather four (out of twelve), then."

In other words, it was something spun on the fly, a deliberate false- flag, the sort of insult that Ignatius reckoned one Chaos power would level against the other. Although obviously it bubbled up from somewhere in my head; must have been already on the subconscious back burner.

Now I have to figure out what the other eleven were, dammit.

Oh, and White Haven, at least they have the onboard logistics for it; a re-enactor friend of mine's had terrible trouble finding a pair of size 10 stillettos.

(How she knew, incidentally- ship's doctor. Been rooting through and patching up an awful lot of stormtroopers' heads, and after the subject came up over Ord Corban, it only made sense to do a little futher thinking and questioning.)

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-11-21 09:19pm
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
The thing about that was, if you remember the scene, immediately before that he decided "Prepared line of blather four (out of twelve), then."

In other words, it was something spun on the fly, a deliberate false- flag, the sort of insult that Ignatius reckoned one Chaos power would level against the other. Although obviously it bubbled up from somewhere in my head; must have been already on the subconscious back burner.
Twelve is the right number- one line of blather for each god to each other god.

What I mean, though, is that what he said makes some sense; it wouldn't be a biting and effective insult if it didn't contain at least a grain of truth, in the "in the dark corners of your soul you know it's true" sense.

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(How she knew, incidentally- ship's doctor. Been rooting through and patching up an awful lot of stormtroopers' heads, and after the subject came up over Ord Corban, it only made sense to do a little futher thinking and questioning.)
Hmmm. I did a search for "order 66" in your past posts, and I think you needed to explain this one years ago. You've been having your high-ranking characters (Lennart, Mirannon, Aleph-Three though she has the good excuse of having participated) refer to "order 66" on a regular basis.

Really, it's not totally unreasonable that the fact that the words "order 66" were somehow associated with the clonetroopers killing the Jedi and the subsequent purges would become galactic knowledge, at least among the military elite.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2011-12-13 10:12pm
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Right, this is what I had actually intended to post today; short update, first part of 26.



Mirannon and his strike team of engineers/spanner- fighters were having a relatively easy time of it by contrast, simply because they could actually find their way around a large Imperial warship.

A lot of the crew were arguing among themselves, in some cases arguing with themselves; the team were quite easily identifiable to anyone who had their brains screwed in properly, but that was exactly the vulnerability they were exploiting.

They were using every skating trick in the book, walking around with peculiar instruments bleeping, waving datapads, having long complicated technical arguments, pretending to fix things, the usual dodges to avoid work.

Chaos seemed to understand, it worked at least as well as it would have aboard an Imperial warship; actually, pretending to be sent on a bureaucratic wild goose chase got strange results.


The crew were, by and large, converted in orientation but not in depth of loyalty; the New Order might have lost them, but the- new Chaos?- had no more of them.

Not having to listen to endless dreary, droning political lectures might have been a major motivator in switching sides- rumour was that at least one fleet destroyer had gone over to the Alliance simply in order to have an excuse to shoot their windbag political officer- but it was actually a trick they had missed.

There was the occasional burst of indoctrination gibbering, in hilariously badly learnt, broken basic; hardly convincing, but almost as bad, and even an Imperial loyalty officer wouldn't have been stupid enough to waste bandwidth on that at action stations. Usually.

One of Mirannon's team started something running that might matter; an MT2/c, metrology technician whose job it was to make sure that the instruments that monitored the power processes of the ship- like the reactor- were themselves operational and accurate.

Pheleth got on the the subject of pay- and that was an argument that could run.


Pretending to be one of the locals, he had said 'I still need to sort out my rate awards, get them to backdate my deductions and square the payments to my ex- wife. I mean, we are still going to get paid, right?'

The group of deck hands they had been unable to sneak by looked horrified at the thought. 'Of course we, I mean, Change, we have to get paid, it's in the, oh.' No terms and conditions, of course. Contract null and void by literal act of (dark) god.

'Pay, leave, medical comp- if they're going to alienize me, if they want me to grow horns and chitin and scales then they had damn' well better give me the going rate. What is the going rate?' Pheleth stirred the pot.

'I don't know, not any more- whatever it is, I've got two ex wives; they'll try and take a cut somehow.'

'Thinking about it, I was wrong, that's pretty much the only upside.' Pheleth suggested. 'We're on the other side of a hole in the universe, how are they supposed to collect alimony through that?'

'They acquire unnatural powers with the decree.'

'More unnatural powers than giant chickens of psychic death?' Both of them thought about it. 'Well, yes, you could be on to something.'


They managed to get themselves out of that and move on, but it was worrying. 'How did Chaos manage to subvert these people?' Mirannon wondered, once they were at a safe distance. 'Think about what motivates sailors.'

'Money, sex and beer, and of these three money is the greatest, for it can buy you the other two.' Vilberksohn fielded that. 'After that, dunno- soft duty, cool toys. Reduction in bullcrap's always a plus. Fame and glory come way down the list, and service is right next to new adventures in black water plumbing.'

'I pay you, don't push it.' Mirannon said, adding 'That's why this ship. The flavour of madness that took her has so little to offer anyone from a civilisation that isn't scraping along barely above the stone age she should be the easiest to take back.

The first ship was the local strange attractor for honour, fame and glory, and they were made even more foolish than they already were and blown up. There's one that is doing impossible things with pseudo- resinous substances in psychodynamic engineering of the repulsive kind, and the one with the sex and drugs is last on the hit list.'

'That would be- around here, not in a good way?' Vilberksohn thought it through for a second, made the appropriate mental discount for homoerotic horseplay, reckoned up the actual proportion of the crew that wouldn't mind having sex with the rest of the crew, and cringed.


'Being taken out of your comfort zone is a good tactic for them, for the strange attractors; the shock of doing something completely alien to yourself- and the awkwardness of having to live with it afterwards, and the only open direction is towards.' Mirannon pointed out, on a slightly more abstract level.

'Have to be adjusted, though; I think it must be about being pushed over your own personal line of tolerance, whatever that is, and inappropriate sex would be a very primal way of doing that- from whatever direction. Whatever you are and whatever your choice of partners is, that's exactly what you wouldn't get.

Galactic Spirit help those of the crew who think they're already perverts; they would have to get something at least equally uncomfortable to them. Involving squid, maybe. No, too normal. Corpses, maybe. Or both.

I wonder if a society with no guilt or shame, only acceptance, would actually be Chaos resistant through lack of leverage? The social forces of ostracisation absent, the furtive secrecy, alienation, gone, would that be enough of a fence along the edge of the cliff- is there enough of a difference between acceptance and indifference to make that work?

I wonder if it would organise itself well enough that it would last long enough to find out, the locals have certainly gone exactly the other way and I'm not sure which is more frightening, that they know what they're doing or that they might not. Anyway, let's sort this one out first. The scout team should be that way.'


There was another formation approaching on the far side of them, actually converging on the chief engineer's position. As a scout and hunter team Omega-17-Blue easily though themselves more effective than three and a half times their number of line grunts, especially later ones.

Still good, even in tunnel fighting that did not play to their strengths at all; just have to work harder at denying the enemy theirs, after all. On the other hand, it was no longer as certain as it had been that this lot were the enemy.

Their suits were clean, their posture, deportment- and more importantly deployment- were rigid and correct, and what little communication there was between them made them sound like they were fresh out of boot on their first deployment.

Aleph-3's head hurt, but she was more or less maintaining; she was very nearly force positive in her own space, close enough that there were moments, flashes- infuriatingly close. Here, the energy of the background amplified that into useful abilities that she was trying very hard to retain enough of her sense of humour to see the funny side of.

She was a sniper-scout and deception agent, so surely when her abilities blossomed they would be organically connected to that, would flow from who and what she was? If only.

As it was, she was fighting impulses to run on the ceiling, throw blasts of force lightning at people and bang their internal organs together.


That one there, for instance, with the old, nearly yellowed rank pauldron, his spine would look so much better after- no. Stop it. Smell him, concentrate on his being, not on changing it- sense, knowledge, that was what was needed.

'The fog of contamination is around, but not in them.' she reported, after a moment. 'Their heads are clean, so either they've resisted the call of the-' what would the appropriate shorthand be?

They had the bloodthirsty, the kinky and the gooey sides of the local force, what to call this? The backstabby side? No, that was more concise. '-the devious side of the force, or fought it off. Or it's a triple cross- but worth the risk.'


She stood up to hail them as Mirannon and his team came into view from the other end of the companionway. The local platoon looked confused, and Aleph-1 moved. 'This is OB171, seven twenty-first provisional atrisian legion; who is in charge here, and for what do you claim to stand?'

The senior local identified himself - 'Lieutenant S.G. QB568, 44218th Legion, MARDET 401-3.'

'Loyal to the Galactic Empire? Unity and Discipline, Order and Stability?' The Captain demanded, and QB568 stood to attention and began to recite the Trooper's Creed.

That ought to keep him usefully and irrelevantly occupied for the next five minutes, Aleph-3 thought, and fired a com beep at the platoon sargeant. 'Never mind that crap, there's work to do. OB173, warrant second sniper- scout, and what I need to know is how you managed to hold off the effects of the warp powers- how did you resist? Why were you able to?'


'We- weren't at first, it was like an order- wasn't, not legitimate chain of command, knew that but it hit the same reflexes, what we wanted didn't matter, it was ordered.

I was one of the last to go under, tried playing along to buy time too figure out how to fight it but it was too powerful, once it had us it didn't know what do do with us, that was time but it started to seem more like toying, someone offered a helmet-cam feed from four-one of two-'

'Show me.'


He did, transmitting the record of he camera feed and com croschatter from the batallion that Caiaphas had dropped in on and dragged back to what was very arguably the light.

Aleph-3 skimmed a lot of it, no time, but stopped for the highlights- for the emergence of the daemon after it had lost the argument, for the fight, for the conclusion that she was left boggling at.

If the powers of darkness didn't get Zubaide Blei- Korberkk, Chief Mirannon would; or I might, Aleph-3 thought. Calling Order 66 on the thing could turn out to be a suicidally bad move, considering how they were likely going to have to get rid of these things.

How she had come to overlook her own total absence of legal exemption from the dangerous cults act- denial was the only obvious answer, and one the stormtrooper had (twenty years late) definitely come to disapprove of.

The doctor was normally below the threshold in their own space, and was probably on some level holding herself together by thinking of this as a transitory phase that didn't need to be adapted to. So far she looked to be wrong.


How much did the platoon sargeant know about the force anyway? Would he understand if she called it a force ghost, which was closer to the truth but still very far away from what the locals thought of them- did she want to do it honour by calling it a daemon?

Come to think of it, most of the Inquisitorius wouldn't know what she meant, so a line sargeant, unlikely. She was trying to think of a tactful explanation, enough without being too much, when she caught sight of chief Mirannon approaching from the other end of the companionway.

'Chief,' she commed him, after a moment's thought in which she tried to say it was good that he was alive, say something that was connected to her being his best friend's woman and their being alive; failed. 'This unit at least seem to be loyal.'


'You think we survived this far without tapping into the ship datanet?' He said. 'I'm good, but not that good. We've been using the mardet's reports to track everyone else, slipping false reports into the system to get them chasing their own tails and head them off from us.

The commissar's challenge seems to have worked- I didn't even have to push it much. The doc- show me something useful that I can do to protect her or get her to safety; until then the best I can do is sort the situation out and yell at her afterwards.'

'Jorian wanted me to come.' Aleph-3 said, contrasting the two men's attitudes; not at all convinced that she didn't want to be held and protected- there were layers of her that did. Not in the mind, though.

'Jorian didn't.' Mirannon shook his head. 'Commodore Lennart needed you to go, you know it and he knows you know it. You can yell at him afterwards if you still feel the need.


The legion is good, for the time being at least- it's the rest of the local loonies we brought with us I'm worried about now. The black armoured ones, who seriously want me dead, are headed for the bridge which may be a self- resolving problem; the stripy ones who slightly want me dead but may be getting worse are now heading for the main reactor.

The splotchy ones, the Eldar- I have never heard of a language so geared to mystic holistic, cute and fuzzy thinking; I'd like to beat it to death with a giant stick made of lojban-, are apparently lost in Small Craft somewhere.

It seemed worthwhile to bring them along when we needed distraction and diversion, but now I think they have become a negative factor.'

'We- we have reports of their eating the dead.' the local force lieutenant said. 'Just the brains.'

'We can talk and move at the same time. We need a secondary reactor module- that way.' Mirannon oriented himself, and set off.


'There's at least one primitive culture on Borobohon III where they believe that if you eat your enemies you can gain their knowledge and powers.' Aleph-3 said. It had taken her ages to buff the tooth marks out of her helmet. 'They're a star travelling people, but is that too high an expectation?'

'The Trandoshans still believe that,' Mirannon said, 'or at least pretend to in order to scare the tourists- and the locals' biological science is highly advanced, even if it's products tend to the barking mad.

The files we lifted from their base computer had something like that in them in fact; if they have gene-spliced together something that adds intellectual value to cannibalism, and this universe is mad enough that it may be possible, what would they find?'

QB568 admitted the truth. 'We were sent to establish a beach-head.'



"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: 2011-12-13 11:48pm
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Hah.

More disrespect for the Eldar, I take it. Would be curious to know in a bit of depth what they're up to, if you're not actually planning to write a scene for them...

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-01-01 08:24pm
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Well, you did ask-


Eldar were, fundamentally, an interconnected people, or so they liked to think of themselves. Being wired to the universe was their sanity and their joy, the webway was far more than a public utility, it was a living, driving symbol of meaning and identity. The backbone of their race once, the salvation of what there still was.

If there was anywhere that it was absolutely certain there was no connection and they were severed from everything they had ever known or dreamed, it was in the bowels of a chaos- overrun starship from another dimension.

They were not lost in small craft at all; they were, in fact, hiding. Essentially from everything. For what, and to what end, it was harder to say- probably only for time. It had been shock after shock, and the near humanity of the far- dimensioners had been the worst.

Something that was genuinely and massively strange could be approached and understood as the alien; something that was nearly familiar upset far more connections, the almost- same actually far more disorienting and disconcerting than the utterly different.


On the other hand, there were drawbacks to the idea that it was easier to cope with the completely strange- mostly the extremely obvious one.

Elissa was the only one of them who had any idea how brutally abrupt the process of getting them aboard might be, because she had touched the alien commodore's mind and got some idea of his sense of time and space and flow, but it had been a shadow of the truth.

Their pods had landed together, hard, and disgorged seventeen horrified and shaken eldar, holo- camo patterns flickering unsteadily, all displaying mere horror and confusion; after an embarrassed look over each other, they settled down to something resembling- but only resembling- normality.

Herself, a farseer with some combat abilities- her muscles still remembered how to be a banshee, but her mind recalled the all-or-nothing frenzy, the utter lack of wisdom that made fighting like that a wasting game for a dying race, and why she had got out.


Two Harlequin troupes of six each, and they not merely wore but were masks. They were quite terrifying even to their fellows because they celebrated and lived the meaning of severed connections, they themselves being wired to parts of the universe it was better not to know of, and dangerous to call kin.

In a great many ways they are, she thought, our barely acceptable other, our alien within; and yet the mon-keigh seem to consider them as the quintessence of the species. Of course, they're wrong. Aren't they?

One Harlequin Warlock, who was contemplating her in a less than professional way- she had no doubt he was drawing up scripts in his head for their romance; and would probably find some use for them even if- especially if- nothing at all took place.

I suppose my lifepath has given him some cause to believe, she thought; there wasn't really a term in any of the dialect- constellations of eldar for the way she had lived that didn't have overtones of condemnation about it.


In gothic the closest equivalent would be "good-time girl", why they were like that was another subject but I lived as I did, Elissa thought, because I sensed in my bones that my time would not be long.

I could name too many others who were gone far too soon who should have done the same; perhaps all of us. Too close to what brought us doom to begin with? ...maybe.

Can it be truly said that the Necrontyr are alive? That even the strongest of the Tyranids are actually individual? We live the longest lives of any creature that can call itself "I", and the talents and gifts we pick up make those lives richer and deeper still.

Apart from living on in the memories of others, there is literally living on, in the waystones and the Infinity Circuit- but that is an infinity with a well defined end, none of us are as immortal as we would like. I felt very mortal, always.

Now, with everything this ship changes, we may all need to live very quickly indeed; some of us realise it- the council who picked me for this realised it- he doesn't. Not who I'd choose for my last love.


There were two death jesters, one of whom looked like he had failed to get the punchline of that or any other joke; a sour and miserable being who had no chance to retain the respect of his fellows except by playing straight man. He was wielding a shuriken cannon.

The other one appeared to be a much more cheerful soul- when they had been taken (and how embarrassing that had been,) at first the dimensional aliens had simply honoured the threat, holding them in secure facilities.

At first they had mocked, believing in their ability to escape from anything, but after finding out that none of them had the necessary ability to manipulate alien forceshields with their eyebrows- the only parts left mobile- they had decided that perhaps the aliens were not completely stupid after all.

That had been bad enough. Far worse followed, after the dimensioneers had raided enough of the imperial logis engine 'networks' to grasp some idea of how they really were, and had decided the harlequins were at least potentially friendly, and in some way theatrical.

The crew had evidently been ordered to "make them feel at home," and the result had been the worst torture imaginable- navy- standard amateur dramatics.

Elissa hoped they had been ordered to ham it up, because the alternative and it's implications for their civilisation were too terrible to contemplate.


It had been truly groanworthily, cringeworthily, gnaw feet off in an attempt to escape worthily bad. If any of them could have reached their feet, they might have tried. The Identity Revocation Hall sketch, which involved everyone being painted theoretically blue, may have been the nadir.

Or 'The Reality of Boredom'. that was virtually sensory deprivation as an art form. 'Waiting for Greedo' was almost as bad. The magic act with the drunk man under the blanket, hideous beyond belief.

It had been truly bad, but it had also varied so much in tone, from disgustingly mawkish fairytale- level subservience to literal hymns to anarchy, that on balance she thought they must simply have picked the worst of everything over many thousands of years.

The smaller and bitterer of the two death jesters had completely failed to 'get' it at any of the discernable levels of metahumour, the other, the taller and heavier of the two, managed to enter into it, roll with it, and deflected some of the horror from his comrades.

For which the rest of them were seriously thankful, but also rather worried that he might not have been faking it. He had kept it up rather too long, and spent some time afterwards talking to one of the worst of them, a starfleet gunner in whom he claimed to detect a kindred spirit. Possibly something to do with the star cannon he was toting.


There was another one who hardly spoke, didn't in words at all, just the odd expressive grunt or pondering noise. He was some kind of scout and infiltrator, very quiet announcer of their presence.

They all deferred to her, the farseer, who at this moment couldn't see the stars for the atmosphere, or as humans said the wood for the trees. The near foreground was pressing in to the point that it demanded almost all her attention.

She had felt unable to lead them in any direction that would have caused them to be swept away, that would have caused them spiritual harm- which was practically all of them. Strange doom lay around every corner.

The most sensible thing she could think to do was to seize a small and easily defended portion of the ship, and hold it for long enough to stop shaking and contemplate what they had to do and what they might actually achieve.


They had been fortunate to encounter only crewmen who were little match for Eldar dexterity and speed, because they, and in all probability the Astartes, were being met by unrelieved if marginally effectual hostility.

They were easily identifiable as aliens, that was the truth of it. The sabotage crew from the deep field (what did that mean?) reconnaissance force would be able to blend in and do what they had come for, with the attention being drawn by the Lions- with whom there was a very particular score to settle- and the Deathwatch- and the Eldar, of course.

None of them spoke or read Basic; not even Acidic. Mon-keigh yes, but the languages were very different- Gothic was a more or less evolution in a fairly straight line from a not vastly large pool, Basic had cross- fertilised with how many million alien languages none of them dared to think of. They had guessed coming to this warren, and guessed right, but now-


'We cannot simply survive.' she was saying. 'There are too many strange fizzy, fuzzy souls on this ship, and even Chaos understands hunting. Our survival will not be simple at all.'

She played with a wraithbone trinket she had been given as a child, a little coiled dragon, playing for time to avoid having to choose, until she realised they were all watching her do exactly that.

She carried on, 'I believe we must try to do what we came for- take one of the cardinal points of the ship. We must be near where their little hunter ships are controlled from. Not to hold it- that would be an invitation to end. To slay, and to move- take by intimidation one of their craft, and escape.'


They considered it, from their position in one of the repair bays hiding behind a servicing gantry. It was hardly a glorious triumph of Eldar arms so far; they had no other way out, and these were the people who were trying to kill them anyway.

Steal a - whatever, she thought indistinctly, not having shared enough of Lennart's head to grasp any of the fine details, and take it back to our ships, to our fleet. Obligation discharged, something to be looked over and learned from-

It was hardly exactly pivotal, but at least it was something to change the universe. A very little perhaps only for her people, but that was where most of their connections ended- rightly or wrongly, they cared little beyond that. The overwhelming majority of people go to their doom without ever doing anything at all to make a difference, she thought.

Didn't actually cheer her up much. The currents of the future were flowing dark and fast and hostile, and the more clearly she saw, the further her people and her connections appeared to be from safety.


I'm going to get killed, she thought, and apart from my people- no slow crystallisation for me. Probably just as well, I never understood why that process wasn't sanity- strippingly painful.

Probably they, the existing ones, only consider you- me- ready to fossilise by the time I had become so accustomed to letting my consciousness drift free from my body to actually stay sentient through it.

Not sure I ever could...even at that, I want immortality, and I'm not going to get it. Notoriety may have to do.


'Ready?' That way- no. Ambush party, and at close quarters that would normally have favoured the Harlequins but not against a people with the concept of beaten zones, heavy indiscriminate fire with no room to slip between the bolts.

Through the small, octagonal inspection hatch there, use runework, no, that would attract too much attention. Blasting it actually less so, which made it the better move.

She motioned one of the Harlequins to do it, and he- no, she- did, with some kind of small star pistol, the Death Jester looking on approvingly. Through that then, limboing around the molten edges, into the ductwork.

It was fascinating, in a warped sort of way; she had a little experience as a bonesinger, as it had not been temperamentally right for her nor she for it; she had preferred the small ornamentals, the flourishes of individualism- she might have made a sculptor, but not the builder her world needed.


She had probably kept trying longer than she should have because of that. Even so, she knew enough to know that such byways simply did not belong on one of her people's ships.

Their crews were small, and skilled, and worthy of the trust of their people- it made no sense to hide the workings of the craft from them, it was- how she hated the human phrase "more efficient." It was more fitting that they should live in close communion with the systems of their ship.

Here, everything behind walls, the crew severed form the general workings- and thinking of it, the xenos commodore's ship had been rebuilt to his standards, and was actually closer to eldar practise than that of either Empire.

One thing these people did have that infested these tunnels, though; droids. That was different; they were smarter and more self- possessed than most Imperium servitors- and more capable of resistance.


She was nearly killed by an R7 maintenance droid, no mind as such, hard to detect as a threat, it wheeled out and turned it's arc welder on her.

Survived because it knew here less than she knew it- her armour could withstand that, long enough to react effectively at least; it popped out a wild and diverse assortment of implements in a corona from ports all over the stubby head- cylinder, hesitated over what to try now long enough for her to beat it away with the blunt end of her staff.

It brought some kind of forcefield- flickering buzzsaw up as she reversed her grip on her staff- more worried by the harlequins laughing at her than by imminent death- and smashed it down on top of the thing's dome. It fizzed and twitched, she drew back then lunged, twist, surge of power- crack the braincase and extract the brain.

She held it up on the flat of the head of her staff, asked the warlock- 'Your masks mirror the deaths of your victims; as a matter of interest, how are you going to cope with this?'


The warlock motioned the mime to take point, safer than having a seer there; 'Is it intelligent enough to be a victim?' One of the troupe leaders said, contemptuously.

In terms of allegiance, the droids themselves were actually neither here nor there. If allowed to reach sentience, they would probably have objected on principle to Chaos, but they usually weren't. Some of the people they took their orders from, however, were definite if new- made worshippers of the Ruinous Powers.

They had moved on a little, and were approaching an open area- the blast doors let into the walls would have told an Imperial that this was one of the lower levels of a damage control centre, overflowing with droids; Elissa sensed danger.

They had little choice but to press on anyway- into the way of four bronze rolling things that rumbled up to them, looking comically unbalanced as they did- for a brief second, before they unfolded themselves, snapped on their shields and opened fire.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-01-03 05:34pm
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Hm. Doesn't read like an alien, just a weak and feeble human. And not at all like a top tier psyker, either.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-01-03 07:08pm
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Actually, and in all seriousness here, do you know of any official or fanfic stories that do make the Eldar seem a believable alien race? Because in ready memory, I basically don't- off the top of my head, all I'm thinking of is game fluff; they do suffer from the ancestry, they really are just space elves, the dying race interpretation. The second book in the Battlefleet Gothic duology, the one that isn't Execution Hour but is the sequel, that- they damn' near run parallel with the humans. Apart from being much more smug and self- centred than they have any right to be, the official end can't do them well either...

The way they behave and handle on the table is almost as bad as the discontinuity between Marine fluff/ mini performance; I do believe that nothing that can call itself sentient is so alien as to escape the clutches of cost- benefit analysis. Of course, what they consider to be a cost and what a benefit may be pretty damn' strange, but...and they are not reallly as unhuman as they should be. On the field they should be the kings of materiel, as few lives and as much technology and runecraft on the battlefield as possible, a handful of seers and warlocks and bonemasters predicting for and guiding a shoal of hunting drones, semi- alive artificial instincts, powered by unredictable behaviours drawn from the great gestalt of the infinity circuit. Or something like that. Instead, we get the camouflaged- for- disco Harlequins, the dying race? let's die faster Guardians, the openly suicidal warp spiders- augh.

Elissa (named after the voice actor who did EVE)'s not, strictly speaking, a psyker; none of the Eldar are, their souls are too tasty, it's too dangerous for them to touch the warp directly. There are only a handful of rune- shielded and mediated powers she actually has- she can't do a lot of the things a human in that position with that theoretical might would be able to. And in the bits of her past, I do spread out the reasons why she's a good choice to go and meet with strange humans- she is an outlier for the species, and was picked because of that.

You're quite lucky I haven't had Mirannon find and kill an Avatar yet, actually.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-01-03 07:15pm
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The only alien eldar I know of come from the fear the Alien anthology, and are Dark Eldar.



the engines cannae take any more cap'n
warp 9 to shroomland ~Dalton

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-01-03 07:47pm
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
Actually, and in all seriousness here, do you know of any official or fanfic stories that do make the Eldar seem a believable alien race? Because in ready memory, I basically don't- off the top of my head, all I'm thinking of is game fluff; they do suffer from the ancestry, they really are just space elves, the dying race interpretation. The second book in the Battlefleet Gothic duology, the one that isn't Execution Hour but is the sequel, that- they damn' near run parallel with the humans. Apart from being much more smug and self- centred than they have any right to be, the official end can't do them well either...

The way they behave and handle on the table is almost as bad as the discontinuity between Marine fluff/ mini performance; I do believe that nothing that can call itself sentient is so alien as to escape the clutches of cost- benefit analysis. Of course, what they consider to be a cost and what a benefit may be pretty damn' strange, but...and they are not reallly as unhuman as they should be. On the field they should be the kings of materiel, as few lives and as much technology and runecraft on the battlefield as possible, a handful of seers and warlocks and bonemasters predicting for and guiding a shoal of hunting drones, semi- alive artificial instincts, powered by unredictable behaviours drawn from the great gestalt of the infinity circuit. Or something like that. Instead, we get the camouflaged- for- disco Harlequins, the dying race? let's die faster Guardians, the openly suicidal warp spiders- augh.
I do think, as a bare minimal nod, the fluff implies that the Eldar don't commit combat troops very often, and only when it is that important; they don't fight battles as often as their existence as a playable race in 40k suggests. I get the feeling that if armies' tabletop presence were roughly comparable to the frequency with which they were committed to battle, the distribution would be something like:

Orks 30%
Guard 30%
Chaos 20%
Tyranids 10%
Dark Eldar 3%
Space Marines 3%
Tau 2%
Eldar 1%
Necrons 1%

Of course, that would be borderline unsellable for Games Workshop, entire army lists that almost never show up in play. And I'm probably compressing a much wider range of prevalences just to get that- surely you could quibble the numbers all day. But you get the idea: Eldar in battle are so rare that the worrying suicidal tendencies of their troops matter less than they would otherwise, combined with an element of "yes, they really are that good" that doesn't, cannot, come out in tabletop play, because otherwise Eldar would be going toe to toe with Movie Marines.

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You're quite lucky I haven't had Mirannon find and kill an Avatar yet, actually.
I would prefer to think that it isn't just luck that you haven't done that...

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-01-03 08:15pm
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Actually, the eldar in Gothic are I reckon spot on- the fluff and the game fit together perfectly and they can be wonderfully, elegantly lethal when given the chance; there, they work.

In some of the old background, the idea of lifepaths- periodic changes of career to avoid dangerous habits of mind that the powers of the warp can lock on to, spiralling through existence, that was a magnificent idea. I may have to do something eldar- centric much later just to play it all out.


And there is another reason for the lack of dead avatars; there isn't one on board. :angelic:

No, seriously, look at what she's actually achieved in total, and give her senior farseers some credit for wisdom. For this job, unusual, unnatural and statistical outlier was entirely appropriate, and she got results- massive, universe changing results. She is also relatively expendable.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-01-03 08:57pm
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
Actually, and in all seriousness here, do you know of any official or fanfic stories that do make the Eldar seem a believable alien race? Because in ready memory, I basically don't- off the top of my head, all I'm thinking of is game fluff; they do suffer from the ancestry, they really are just space elves, the dying race interpretation. The second book in the Battlefleet Gothic duology, the one that isn't Execution Hour but is the sequel, that- they damn' near run parallel with the humans. Apart from being much more smug and self- centred than they have any right to be, the official end can't do them well either...

The way they behave and handle on the table is almost as bad as the discontinuity between Marine fluff/ mini performance; I do believe that nothing that can call itself sentient is so alien as to escape the clutches of cost- benefit analysis. Of course, what they consider to be a cost and what a benefit may be pretty damn' strange, but...and they are not reallly as unhuman as they should be. On the field they should be the kings of materiel, as few lives and as much technology and runecraft on the battlefield as possible, a handful of seers and warlocks and bonemasters predicting for and guiding a shoal of hunting drones, semi- alive artificial instincts, powered by unredictable behaviours drawn from the great gestalt of the infinity circuit. Or something like that. Instead, we get the camouflaged- for- disco Harlequins, the dying race? let's die faster Guardians, the openly suicidal warp spiders- augh.

Elissa (named after the voice actor who did EVE)'s not, strictly speaking, a psyker; none of the Eldar are, their souls are too tasty, it's too dangerous for them to touch the warp directly. There are only a handful of rune- shielded and mediated powers she actually has- she can't do a lot of the things a human in that position with that theoretical might would be able to. And in the bits of her past, I do spread out the reasons why she's a good choice to go and meet with strange humans- she is an outlier for the species, and was picked because of that.


Partly, I'm going from the tabletop (a farseer is a level 4 psyker, ie top tier, or was a few editions ago when I last played). The nature of the powers is different to those of, say, a Librarian, due indeed to the fact that they deal with the warp only through safeties (the runes etc. ... one of the few ways in which they're saner than the humans), but the effectiveness is equivalent.

In the fluff, of course, to become a farseer you have to first be fixated on the path of the seer for hundreds of years, in which time you'll have survived innumerable mental skirmishes (even through the runes) with "psyker"s of other races, demons, etc. But fluff is silly. And then, of course, the primary combat stuff seem's to be a major abuse of precog. They know what you're going to do before you've even met them, and blow your brains out one way or another first. Plus the use of astral projections etc. (To, quite sensibly, engage while actually being somewhere else).

But yeah, warp spiders never did make sense. I remember when they didn't even exist, as a matter of fact...

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You're quite lucky I haven't had Mirannon find and kill an Avatar yet, actually.


Surely a major demon would be more a more plot-appropriate equivalent?

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-01-07 04:32pm
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Deebles wrote:
But yeah, warp spiders never did make sense. I remember when they didn't even exist, as a matter of fact...


The fundamental tradeoff in any military unit is speed, armor, and firepower - boost one of these abilities, and you degrade the other two. For a precognitive commander, able to sense the flows of combat before they happen, the key is speed: enough speed to get to Position X and put fire on Enemy Y at their exact moment of weakness. This doesn't happen in-game, obviously, since there's a vanilla human running the show, but if an actual Farseer was directing movements, then Warp Spiders make a whole lot more sense.

Imagine, if you will, a Warp Spider team teleporting behind a unit right as they all turn their backs on previously safe territory. Imagine one jumping next to a Basilisk during the ten seconds when no one's close enough to interfere. Without the ability to see the future, each jump would be a blind guess, and sooner or later they'd roll snake eyes and jump next to a sentry gun or into a minefield. But combine that speed with a commander able to use it to the utmost, and I can see Warp Spiders as an OMGWTFPWN sort of unit.

Edit: Wait, are the Eldar "life paths" non-canon now? BOOO! That fluff made total sense in context, and really helped explain the Eldar-specific brand of weirdness.



Convicted for arson, murder, and writing bad fanfiction.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-02-13 07:16am
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Next bit follows-


There was a message passed in Basic and Gothic over the PA, and on the Astartes' tacnet. Boarders assemble on the lower port aft secondary reactor complex, ground troops suppress the crew- convince them if possible to return to the right, stun the doubtful, shoot the fanatic.

There really was no effective order that could be passed that would be less potentially dubious and open to interpretation- well, there was always "kill them all", but that wouldn't have suited the purpose.

The black- clad supermen of the Deathwatch largely ignored it. They were already committed- there were six of them now, up one as the stunned brother had recovered, although nearly down how many times they did not want to think of.


The crew were relatively feeble opposition, barely justified the term armed. Most of them did have sidearms that were at least potentially capable of biting through Marine armour, but they weren't usually turned up enough to actually do it; never mind being fast enough and accurate enough.

Their personal weapons were gratifyingly simple; use of an alien weapon was always dubious, they had refused to even attempt the E- web earlier, but when you got right down to survival, many strange and unsanctified weapons had been resorted to in an emergency.

Caralus had become famous in his chapter, for instance, for slaying thirty- seven renegade PDF troopers with thrown bricks, pulled from the fabric of the building he and his squad were holed up in and waiting for an ammo drop.

The really hard part, he had said afterwards, was not eating them- not the troopers, what do you take me for, a Blood Angel? The bricks. He had been hungry, and he needed a lot of ceramite in his diet.


Of necessity- and ammunition- they had been obliged to find the simpler of the alien weapons acceptable, for a low value of the term, for use on the simpler aliens; for the more special ones, it was back to the holy Bolter.

They had robots, lots of them; the stuff of legend in most chapters, most of those made or recovered during the crusade having been expended in the Heresy, and the survivors used up in the millennia afterward.

The Mechanicus did have humans so butchered about and cybered up that they were robots in all but name; as Andraste understood it, the theory was that the flesh- based nature of the servitors made it less likely that they would fall to the powers of darkness- a theory that had more holes in it the more one thought about it.

For a start, butchering a human being to turn them into a servitor should do nothing good to their sense of loyalty. These people didn't have servitors, but they did have robots; usually not parodies of the human form.

The most dangerous were the ones like a rolled up insect, travelling rolled up, uncoiling to fight and laying down a hail of lasfire, or something like it- a single shot relatively little threat, but stand still long enough to be hit by a decent pulse- stream and that would melt and shatter armour.


They were worthy targets for bolt fire, but they were also bloody tough, and shielded. Sustained fire could crack one open, but it was too close to be a good idea- in an open pounding match there was a good chance it would be the marine who would go down first.

Andraste dropped one by slamming it back against a bulkhead and blasting it point blank; it had flailed, dazed, until its shields were overcome and it blew apart under the explosive fire.

Geron managed to drive one into a corner so that its' shields shorted against the ship's structure and then blew it up, Arrat grabbed one and ripped it in half before it could uncoil, but they were the exceptions.

The best move they could routinely pull off was for all to concentrate on one, fire a short burst each into it, bring it down fast before too many of its' friends came up and tried the same to them.


They of all the things the Astartes had faced so far had really stretched them, made them raise their game- which was odd.

For a ship that had been swamped by Chaos and presumably overrun by daemons, the powers of darkness were putting in an astonishingly muted performance.

With the locals' heads to use as thinking engines, the powers had come up with a strategy. They had been obliged to. Defeat here would be a defeat indeed. With the loss of the command group of the fleet, the inner circles of power, and the falling out of the lesser and outer circles, there was no-one left to summon agents.

The tides of power they had used to intrude where they were not wanted, where there were no natural anchors for them, and seize the four battle cruisers in the first place were on the ebb now; and to lose here would be to lose the opportunity the alien ships represented.

They had to use the locals; had to be cold and hard and efficient and ruthless, could not afford to fight in a chaotic manner. Herd the marines- lead them, then- towards some convenient enclosed space and surge them with as much as possible as quickly as possible.


Most of the simple minds- the stormtroopers- weren't answering any more, and their redefection made it harder to set up the ambush; not only were they not available, they were more than capable of spotting and understanding the trap.

Andraste didn't trust them, and wouldn't without much more in the way of persuasion, but did recognise the military logic; and as soon as they got to the security concourse level, they knew this was where it would be.

It was actually what it was designed for; wide straight approach corridors personnel and cargo lifts reaching up to the various non- connected sections of the command tower, covered by what amounted to a small fortress with remote cannon and conspicuously many firing ports.

The Marines reacted immediately, laying down fire on it, shooting the cannon, shooting in through the ports, opening out to avoid return fire, even before they saw the ambush they knew there must be.

Flashes of blaster fire reached out to them, there was no cover to speak of, part of the design, there wouldn't be until the deck and bulkheads were more thoroughly wrecked; no shelter to take, so three and three, half to give covering fire and half to use what there was - the people trying to kill them. Get in amongst them and let them get in each other's way.


Big men, fast moving and hard to kill, charging down a ferrocrete and armourplast thing spitting fire at them- this wasn't even Tuesday, it was twenty- five past three in the afternoon. Such a routine event in a marine's life it was practically soothing.

On the other hand, it really shouldn't be, given the larger context something odd dangerous and bloody really ought to be about to happen. Probably was.

Grenading the doors of the bunker, kicking them in, bursting in to start killing- all good, all normal so far. Armed crew in blast vests, that didn't really protect against blast at all, so far normal enough.

The three outside the bunker giving fire had just started to move forward when the bulkheads behind them blew in, the elevators opened to disgorge a horde of Horrors, and a swarm of mutants and a giant, pulsating, shape- shifting fanged amorphous Spawn came through the hole in the bulkhead.

Now that was more in line with expectations. It was also probably not survivable.


Brother Sendivoge rolled forwards away from the first swipe of a pseudopod, turned and hosed the spawn with bolt fire, blasting ripples into it, waves, tsunamis of vile mutant flesh- pieces blown off, some evaporated-

but there was only so much even the holy bolter could do to touch the core of a thing essentially remade in the warp. Wounds wide, grotesque and spectacular, but not enough to stop the formless spawn.

Brother Caralus found himself giving fire on the Horrors, the flame spitting daemons, but it was firing into a cloud- they split and fissioned, shells pierced without detonating, bolts cooked off in mid air, they laughed and sprayed unnatural flame at him.


He sidestepped as much of it as he could, emptied his magazine, charged the mob of them- leaping through the fire to close them and attack with the bayonet.

Stab and slash, grab and tear, with the fury of a holy man- it was hard to tell who was fighting more demonically, the Marine or the daemons.

The horrors' baleful fire hurt each other no more than a bucket of water thrown over a human would ahve, they could hose each other down and care not, that was the deciding factor.

They burnt him from all angles, he cut them and pounded them and used them as weapons against each other, but they had what they needed to win; he died hard, but he died.


Brother Arrat faced the left wing of the attack, three thin- featured face daemons, walkers amongst us- capable of looking like no more than slightly odd humans until they spread their wings.

They blasted him with magic, with psy- craft; couldn't shake his faith, but they could kill him. He struggled upstream against the rain of fire and force, armour melting off him, ignoring the pain, grabbed one of them and threw him into the spawn.

The acidic flesh of the mindless murder- thing was effective- it clung to the passing- daemon, he tried to burn his way free, the spawn turned on him and devoured him.

Arrat threw himself at the second, grabbing it and headbutting it, battering it with a surrealistically melted bolter, smashing it bleeding ichor to the deck- but he couldn't stop the third getting a proper blast of purple lighting off at him that boiled and blasted him away to nothing.


The assault team had just finished clearing the bunker when this started to happen; were on their way out when the possessed security bunker animated and tried to eat them.

The room contracted around Brother Geron too quickly- wounded as he was- for him to flee; not that that was in his nature anyway. Duracrete versus ceramite was a fairer contest than fifty tons versus five hundred kilos, but it was still a one sided match.

Quattam reacted by shooting up the room, had already done a fair amount of this fighting his way in. Andraste's bolt gun went click, and he was out of ready magazines.

Split second to think; ditch the bullet box- either Quattam could use it or the bunker could choke on it, one or the other- and against such an enemy there was very little that didn't go, needs must.

Andraste grabbed two of the locals' long guns and dived out of the bunker to confront the horde of horrors, the formless spawn and the sorcerer- daemons with a T-21 and generator in each hand.


He came out shooting, blasting vile corrosive gouts of the spawn across all of them, long flailing scarlet pulse- chains convincing the flamers that this at least was a kind of fire they were not immune to, the sorcerers spat at him and he defied them in the God- Emperor's name.

Behind him the bunker detonated- a shard of durasteel rebar pierced through his backpack and got him in the lung, a lump cracked the armour on his thigh; another fragment glanced off the back of his head. Wobbled but stayed standing, defiant.

He was only waiting for the ammunition in his stolen guns to run out before throwing himself into them to kill and die; generator powered, that would take much longer than it would for them to rush him.

They were gathering against him now, more horrors appearing in the fire-swarm, another passing daemon and a feral daemonhost to reinforce the two remaining, one maimed, sorcerer daemons, the spawn starting to split into three and reach-


Andraste beat back the rising tide of them with streams of blaster bolts and the battle cries of his chapter. Black secondment or not, as death approached he reverted to type, shouting at the daemon host 'Guilliman! Ne Plus Ultra! Guilliman! Courage and Honour!"

There was a rush of air behind him, a claw that just missed as he leapt forwards and away form the Changer of the Ways who had come to put an end to him and the trouble he was causing.

He turned and sprayed the daemon with Imperial ire, but the rest closed on him- the huge, unnatural thing danced and twisted in the electromagnetic blasts, the galven circuitry in the guns making some difference, enough to prod the psi- beast at least.

If only we had realised this earlier, Andraste thought- but there were many points on the compass and too few points of fire, and the rest had his death on their minds and fangs.


He shot until they were on him, until his armour started to melt and run down his skin- then placed the muzzle of one stolen gun against the generator of the other and held the trigger down.

In theory, the generators were failsafe, would shut down instantly and cleanly if their armoured casing was breached. They had been extensively designed, tested and refined to be no more volatile than a sack of sand.

It must have been a touch of the Emperor's grace then, because this one broke the rules. Burst in a runaway reaction and piezo- nuclear fireball that launched the daemon back against the broken fragments of the eating bunker, fried the passing- daemons and splattered gouts and gobbets of the acidic spawn across the horrors.


As a diversion and a service to Palpatine's Galactic Empire, it succeeded magnificently. The powers of darkness focused on the known and understood threat, the black flamboyance of the Deathwatch;

missed the genuine threat of Engineer- Commander Mirannon and and his saboteurs on their way to the lower port secondary reactor control room.



"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


Last edited by Eleventh Century Remnant on 2012-02-13 02:27pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-02-13 11:08am
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A heroic, worthy end for the Deathwatch, and... one thing, while you can still edit-

Guilliman.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-02-13 12:29pm
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Ah, the Deathwatch. Badasses to the end...but, tragically, the wrong badasses for the situation they found themselves in.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-02-15 07:22pm
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Good stuff - I was a little worried I might have upset the author with my farseer quibbles.

EDIT: Although, because I can't quite leave it alone, here are the staple, bread-and-butter farseer psychic powers in current 40k (from which I see they got rid of Astral Projections...):

Quote:
* Battle Fate - Examining the strands of time, the Farseer choose the course of action that will best ensure success for a friendly unit.
* Crystal Seer - Calling upon the assistance of those Seers within the Infinity Circuit, the Farseer is able to enhance her abilities many-fold.6
* Doom - The Farseer finds the thread of destiny that leads to the enemies' destruction and guides events toward that end.
* Eldritch Storm - This power manifests as a vast psychic storm above the target area, firing bolts of psychic energy at the ground in devastating bursts which can even destroy tanks.
* Force of Asuryan - The Farseer increasing the fighting abilities of friendly Eldar.
* Fortune - The Farseer looks into immediate future for an instant, allowing Eldar warriors a chance to dodge incoming fire which would have killed them.
* Guide - This power allows the Farseer to reach into the future, determine where the enemy will be, and use this information to guide friendly Eldars' fire to the maximum effect.
* Mind War - The Farseer battles the enemy's mind directly, typically resulting in the foe's brain exploding. It can also render them slow and dumb, or nullify any psychic powers they may have attempted.
* Phoenix Spirit - Influencing the Wraithbone within a fallen Eldar's Spirit Stone, the Farseer briefly reanimates them.
* Spirit Seer - The Farseer influences the Wraithbone cores of all friendly Wraithguard, invigorating them to heroic actions.
* Temporal Weave - This power allows the Farseer to target the enemy and remove them from time itself, essentially freezing them in place.


It looks like the Astral Projection part of what I described may have been farmed out to Warlocks since I last met the game; their own list of powers go as follows:

Quote:
# Augment - The Warlock acts as a conduit to extend the range of others' psychic powers.
# Conceal - The air around the Warlock forms into a type of fog or darkness, making it difficult to see and accurately differentiate between the enemy and the terrain.
# Destructor - A huge blast of raw psychic power is unleashed by the Warlock to engulf her enemy.
# Embolden - The Warlock projects images of mighty Eldar victories and heroes into her companions' minds, inspiring them to greater feats of heroism.
# Enhance - This power has the effect of increasing the already impressive speed and agility of the targeted Eldar warriors.
# Executioner - The Warlock creates a monstrous, glowing psychic projection of herself, which engages the enemy in hand-to-hand combat.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2012-02-22 07:14pm
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So I just finished reading this, and I have to say it's actually quite entertaining, I've read several wh40k/sw crossovers, some were okay the others were, well, I'll just they were "of a lesser class", this story however pulled me in, it was quite interesting to get a logic based opinion on wh40k rather than the "one side is obviously better than the other" that usually gets put to paper, both sides have strengths and weaknesses and I feel this helps maintain a good balance.

There is one thing I would like to see however, and maybe this is just the nerd in me wanting a little vindication, but what might happen if the IOM responds with intelligent strategy and commanders? There have to be at least a few good captains/admirals in the Imperial fleet right? I haven't read that much in the way of 40k novels so unfortunately I can't answer my own question.



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