A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Singular Quartet » 2012-02-22 07:50pm

gigabytelord wrote: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.
The constant problem with the IOM is that they're reaction time to invasion is in the range of years-to-decades, rather than the Empire's days-to-weeks reaction time. Combined with long travel time from one end of the Imperium to the other, and it doesn't really matter what strategy the IOM employs. The Empire can run circles around them. The problem the Empire faces, is getting bogged down the same way the IOM gets bogged down, facing off against every enemy all at once.

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by gigabytelord » 2012-02-22 08:16pm

Singular Quartet wrote:The constant problem with the IOM is that they're reaction time to invasion is in the range of years-to-decades, rather than the Empire's days-to-weeks reaction time. Combined with long travel time from one end of the Imperium to the other, and it doesn't really matter what strategy the IOM employs. The Empire can run circles around them. The problem the Empire faces, is getting bogged down the same way the IOM gets bogged down, facing off against every enemy all at once.
I suppose that makes the most sense, although one does wonder what would happen if the warp were to become calm again, from what I have read, the warp use to be relatively calm, so much so that before the creation of the eye of terror, before the cluster fuck that is the current IOM, traveling across the entire milky way apparently didn't take very long, and was relativity safe, so after the initial "OH FUCK WHY IS IT SO QUITE?!" do you think the IOM might re-adapt to the calm?

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Singular Quartet » 2012-02-22 08:28pm

gigabytelord wrote:
Singular Quartet wrote:The constant problem with the IOM is that they're reaction time to invasion is in the range of years-to-decades, rather than the Empire's days-to-weeks reaction time. Combined with long travel time from one end of the Imperium to the other, and it doesn't really matter what strategy the IOM employs. The Empire can run circles around them. The problem the Empire faces, is getting bogged down the same way the IOM gets bogged down, facing off against every enemy all at once.
I suppose that makes the most sense, although one does wonder what would happen if the warp were to become calm again, from what I have read, the warp use to be relatively calm, so much so that before the creation of the eye of terror, before the cluster fuck that is the current IOM, traveling across the entire milky way apparently didn't take very long, and was relativity safe, so after the initial "OH FUCK WHY IS IT SO QUITE?!" do you think the IOM might re-adapt to the calm?
They'd either consider a tzeetchian plot to overcome the IOM in their moment of glory, or they'd blow themselves up trying to understand the concept of something going there way.

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by InsaneTD » 2012-02-22 08:33pm

The calming of the warp would be a catacylsmic event. It'd probably kill the majority of the Psykers in the galaxy and I'd say it'd kill pretty much all of the Navigators.

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-02-23 09:57am

Er, what do you mean by the calming of the warp?

What would cause this to happen? Are you talking about the (dubious, maybe impossible) proposal to use the wormhole generator in its original "pocket universe superweapon" role to overwrite the Eye of Terror?

That wouldn't destroy the Warp, and I doubt it would kill Navigators.
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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-02-23 10:25am

Hm. My actual opinion on this one, writing process and dramatic necessity aside, is that the Navy of the Imperium of Man has much more in the way of trouble to contend with, is more continuously on a war footing and more frequently committed to action, and has much more of an institutional memory of war, than the Starfleet of the First Galactic Empire in the time between the founding and the end of Empire.

They almost certainly do have a higher average skill level, and while there certainly will be the usual idiots, they are likely to handle their ships more effectively than the Imperial Starfleet can. Just that given the speed of the respective hardware, it's painfully difficult for them to make that matter.

Case in point; the Battle of the Rishi Mouth. if Admiral Lake had had his way- hadn't been shot by the Inquisition- they would be in a much better defensive posture now, with battle groups operating deep in enemy territory, making an unsupportable scandal and involving a far higher share of the Starfleet to hunt them down than they were of the Imperium Navy, with the Imperial probe group cut off by the remaining forces of the blockade.

At least a tactical and probably a grand- stategic victory, and not the tactics of a fool. Kuroda was a dangerous idiot, but he was Inquisition, and there's very little to stop an Inquisitor being suicidally, moronically counterproductive if they put their minds to it.

Simon, it was this;
although one does wonder what would happen if the warp were to become calm again, from what I have read, the warp use to be relatively calm, so much so that before the creation of the eye of terror, before the cluster fuck that is the current IOM, traveling across the entire milky way apparently didn't take very long, and was relativity safe, so after the initial "OH FUCK WHY IS IT SO QUITE?!" do you think the IOM might re-adapt to the calm?
I think they would benefit enormously; massive dislocation of course, as everybody suddenly has to adapt to a completely different transport and economic landscape, and vested interests fight back, but it suddenly becomes much easier to communicate, trade and project force across the Imperium. Sealing off the warp, or a massive increase in turbulence, would have lethal efects; subsiding turbulence would not.

(ed. for fumblefingers.)

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by InsaneTD » 2012-02-23 07:40pm

Well the last lot of 'fluff' I read for 40k, which I'll admit was a couple years ago now and could be non-cannon, is that the warp is a psychic reflection of the material realm. That the Warp Gods are manifestations of emotions. This suggests that the turmoil in the warp is partly caused by the living. Anything that calms the warp would be probably be a cataclysmic change to the living in someway. Either a mass change in thinking or very large portions of the living dying off.

The warp gods would also need to go as they will constantly be whispering in people's ears trying to get them change back. Anything that can kill a god would be massively painful for the loving. The creation of Slaanesh killed psykers with his 'birth scream' as the fluff at the time said. Imagine all four major gods dying at once?

I apologise for any spelling mistakes, I'm used to having a spell checker.

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-02-25 04:57pm

The whole theory of forcible Warp-calming here would be that, in principle, and it is not proven that this can be done... you might essentially rewrite the laws of physics in the 40k Milky Way to weaken the Warp's influence. By definition, that would reduce the strength of the tie between psykers and the warp, and the power of Chaos entities to hurt people directly or indirectly.

It's a totally different mode of thinking, that would never work within the 40k setting because it relies on a handwaved outside-context technology.
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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-06-12 08:10am

Has it really been this long?

from Caiaphas' diaries;

Storming into the engine room was an education in itself. Mirannon led from the front, and although he didn't have a single bit of robottery embedded in him, he had that much in common with the explorator magi of the Mechanicus; vastly more dangerous in a close quarters brawl than a sensible person would think he had any remotely credible reason to be.

How often do these people's household appliances try to kill them, anyway? Are they routinely plagued by atomic toast-murderers and laser-lightbulbs of searing death, do armchairs turn into cultist doom-recliners at any moment?

I crossed blades- and anything else that came to hand, ideally somebody else entirely- with some of the nastiest, most horrifically bloody- minded entities available in this or apparently several other universes, and two augmetic fingers were all I ended up with, the rest of me being still mostly original.

The Mechanicus, on the other hand, face rogue screwdrivers, vicious dust bunnies and possibly the dread rampaging snapping toolbox, and they frequently end up coated, embedded with and built on to with enough tin bits to make most of them look like the result of a mating accident between a robot octopus and a milling router.

Sense of proportion failure is the only reasonable explanation. Although even that still leaves the Imperium- and me- plagued by people who are ridiculously overarmed and who have no sense of proportion.

Mirannon was almost entirely flesh and blood, and he was still spectacularly dangerous. Armed with two forcefield blades that could apparently change shape at a thought, and did- forming a shield when he needed to- and apparently enjoying himself.

For a big man, he moved incredibly quickly, and worse, continuously, as if he was thinking fifteen or twenty moves ahead and never needed to pause to worry about what to do next.

Following along and tearing at the flanks of the hole he left made it relatively easy to keep up, and gave me a second or two to think- here and there.

There are dangerous opponents that you look at and think fine, we're dangerous too, they'll do their thing, we'll do ours and we'll win in the end. Most of the people we face in the field, for one thing.

Then there are dangerous opponents you evaluate and come to the conclusion that ordinary methods won't work, it's time for the bizarre, dangerous, and possibly insane- the number of fights I've come to that weren't on an open field, oh yes, I know this bit very well indeed, far better than I had ever intended to.

Then, and very rarely, there are people- like Lennart, Mirannon, their crew- that you have no idea what will work against them and
what you can do. Victory was swift and brutal.

'Right, secure the zone- crew served weapons at major companionways, you know the drill; if there are any left over hold them close in for terminal defence and reserve-'

Mirannon started to give orders for the defence of the complex, while I decided it was too complex to actually make much sense of at first glance, and just look around and take in what I could.

Not much, to be honest. I thought it was all just control room till I walked through one large hatch expecting to find an access corridor, and nearly fell of the edge of the platform on to a gantry round the upper half of a huge dome.

That would be the reactor, then.

Structural members surrounded it and supported it in every direction, busbars and cables ran through the bulkheads; it actually seemed strangely simple, as if someone had started with an enginarium and stripped it of all but the barest physical essentials.

In it's simplicity it was outright oppressive, though. I found myself looking it over and positively longing for a little runic inscription or a candlestick or an incense burner here or there. A votive tablet. Something, anything.

Frighteningly, brutalistically perfect in it's directness and functionality; safety and warning notices, access point markers and hatch rims, everything that needed to be matt anodised and everything else polished, and all for a purpose that you could feel looming like a juggernaut behind you.

At least with the Eldar, you could look upon their works and declare they were incomprehensible alien technology, it couldn't really be understood. Necron stuff, not many people have ever got close enough to have an opinion really. I found it- what of it I couldn't run away from fast enough to avoid having to look at- just as mad.

This was more straightforward and comprehensible, and I found that much worse- I could see a straight line from this, through Mirannon and his men, far out into the terrifying cold clarity of an understandable universe. A universe in which it may not be possible to be human or to have a soul any more.

I actually started to feel nostalgic for the cogboys' incomprehensible devotions; even if I sometimes got the idea that they were just going through the motions and hoping it worked, that was still a much more human thing to do, metal bits or not, than actually knowing how and why it did.

The truly dangerous ones among them were the ones who did have some grasp of what they were doing, and that was a large part of the problem- working with and understanding something that existed on the inhuman scale of the energies inside that dome, it made them greater beings and much, much less human.

If you told Mirannon that, he'd say 'Less of the mystic gibberish, I'm an engineer.' He wouldn't understand that was precisely what the problem was.

Alternatively, I had been standing too close to too many strange things for too long and was seriously in need of a long rest and a nice cup of tanna. I was unlikely to get either staring at that damn' globe.

I wandered back into the main control temple- no, control room- to find that he had stopped playing general for the time being and was deep inside some kind of control unit, dismantling it and putting it back together again to suit himself.

The medic was as close to being draped over him as she could get without getting in the way of his hands, which were moving faster than I could follow. I don't see how he knew I was there, but he did.

'Ah, Commissar, I don't want you out on the firing line-' he said, and I refused to feel even a little bit uplifted by that, guessing something hideous was coming next. '-that's not going to be the decisive bit.

That's going to be right here when a small horde of gribblies materialises and tries to stop us.'

That was much more like what I was expecting. I tried to put my usual mask of grim and stoic determination on it, but they- she at least- must have known. 'Only a small horde? Good.'

I turned to the assembled horde, or such of it as could fit, picked the white- suited trooper who looked like the most senior; 'Right, I need two squads of your best. Pick the ones who lasted the longest, who held off the powers of darkness for longer than seemed possible, then send to me the first twenty of those to volunteer.'

'Sir.' the stormtrooper acknowledged- what rank did I hold in his head, I wondered, how much could I really tell them to do? There was a pause while they did that, and I tried to think happy thoughts without much expectation of success.

What I couldn't help thinking about was the agents of the powers of darkness that were about to attack us, and the ones I had come across so far- there are vastly pleasanter subjects, but that was the business of the day.

I had been lucky, and had backup, dealing with the two representatives of this dark power; they were probably lethal enough given half a chance- assuming the two I'd met so far weren't actually the same one, in which case it would be lethal and extremely annoyed.

They hadn't done too well trying to kill me so far, but they could come back, they only needed to be lucky once; through the help I had had and what must have been the grace of the Emperor, I had survived this far.

That, determination, speed with a chainsword and the odorous but indispensable presence of my aide, Jurgen. He was looking much as he usually did, totally perplexed but determined to meet whatever came with his trusty lasgun and his unshakeable faith in the God- Emperor of All Mankind.

I'm still not sure if he ever realised that he was as near as anything can be warp- proof, or even that there was anything that he actually ought to be worried about.

The white- helmeted ones seemed to accept him as a fact of the realm of creation they were in; no doubt some of them were making plans to trap him and have him forcibly laundered, but the majority seemed to shrug and say, what can you expect from a hole in the universe?

We'd worked with worse- which is saying a lot; the white- carapaced troopers seemed to have as little sense of self preservation as Khornate loonies, but they followed orders, did what they were sent to do or died trying.

I think I had cracked it; they were exactly the sort of soldiers that a high command composed of people who weren't soldiers would want to have, and would set out to make- who didn't understand what military culture really was, and wanted ideal little tin troopies.

They could do, should be useful, but I was already starting to get homesick for the Regiment and wish for the sight of a few squads of Valhallans tramping down the corridor.

Well, the point of the exercise was that I would get them; disable this ship's ability to defend herself long enough for loyalist troops- and sailors- to get on board, take her and fight the other two with.

My voxlink beeped, and I knew it was going to be a message of doom. I was right. 'Commissar? Problem. Your stripy nutters are heading for main reactor control, and if reports of their intentions are accurate they probably want to blow us all up.'

At this point it was no longer even worth taking the time to ask "why me?"- or rather it was far too late. 'You want me to try to stop them?' I said, trying to sound more confident than I felt. 'With twenty stormtroopers?'

'Talk them down; stall them, keep them from trying too hard.' I could tell that wasn't the whole story, the hairs on the back of my hands were now trying to flee independently- and he probably expected that, because he added 'Until the situation reaches critical mass, anyway. It's the MCR, so naturally anything with a flair for the melodramatic is going to head there.'

I knew what that meant. 'Explosion- minded Astartes and a horde of gribblies for good measure?' I said, managing to sound only dully horrified. 'Wonderful.'

'Don't worry,' he said, and his tone told me he realised how silly that was as it was leaving his mouth, 'you only have to stall the marines until the daemon gets there.'

'I'm not convinced that this is a plan a loyal servant of the God- Emperor of Mankind could really put his full conscience behind...' I said, and I don't know why because it was far too late to play for time;

he fired back 'Got a better one?'

I ran through the possibilities in my gut- this was too visceral for thinking about. Wait for the 597th was my favourite option, but delay long enough, one or other party succeeds, the boarders don't take the ship, the other two escape and Holy Terra- it didn't bear contemplating.

'We had a perfectly good slow rolling apocalypse going on before you decided to get involved, you know.' I said, after a long pause.

'Now you have a fast apocalypse. Rejoice; progress has come to you.' he said, and damn all military comedians. 'While you're doing that I'll be gimmicking the control links, trying to stop them from actually detonating the reactor.'

'They have a good chance of succeeding?'

'Unless stopped, yes. If all it took to absorb knowledge was to eat other people's brains, then I dread to think what finals year would have been like.' A joke that made more sense to his people than to me. 'Got the deck layout?'

'Yes,' I said, waving the datapad I had been given, and added 'moving now.'

I could have got the stormtroopers to lead off, Emperor knows it wasn't as if I actually wanted them behind me, and they had all the fancy technosorcery in their helmets that told them where they were and where they were going.

I still didn't entirely trust them- quite wisely as it turned out- and also, if I had the map, I had options, alternatives, exits. Which was a powerful temptation, but one I knew I couldn't afford to give in to. Into the fire, again.

I've never been sure whether it's easier to throw oneself at the jaws of death with an audience, or without; on one hand I have a reputation to maintain and having people with me means I can't actually avoid being the official hero, (as if officialdom ever, ever, in it's entire millennia- long existence did anything heroic),

or if being almost completely alone, just myself and Jurgen, meant that I had no-one's eyes on me (except Him on Earth, of course) and could just be myself. Which considering the frequency with which I find myself facing doom anyway, is a truly worrying thought.

The ship was huge, and we had minutes, maybe. Would the mass transit system be safe to use? Probably necessary- it would mean hours of chasing through corridors otherwise, time we didn't have, but that didn't make it good.

Drop pods are bad enough, I've had more bad experiences with drop ships than I care to count, although obviously not that bad or I wouldn't be still here to count them, teleporters are definitely best avoided, and on one occasion I infiltrated ahead of the main assault in a parade float in the shape of Leman Russ' codpiece (an incident that I refuse to describe, even for my own benefit.)

Staging an assault by train has to be one of the worst ideas I'd ever come across, though. The fact that it was better than the alternative of being too late to matter was just adding insult to injury.

It was simple, clean and oppressively stark to the point of sterility, and I did not want to die in it. Or anywhere else, truth be told.

'Can we stop this thing now, dismount, set demo charges to detonate as it reaches the halt?' I suggested.

'Of course.' the storm trooper officer said as if he should have thought of it himself- I was happy to be first to the idea, but if he hadn't been going to think of it at all- were they that obedient they would have been willing to march into certain death?

'Fusing code 25102.' he said as he pulled a white cylinder off his belt. Pressed what seemed to be invisible buttons on the side of it, two others did the same, placed them, then he pulled a lever and the thing started to slow; fired a short burst at the rear of the carriage, dived out through the smoke and glowing edges.

I was their leader, so I had to follow them. Last out, though, so I was first in line as the thing started to accelerate away again back up the tube.

Like an idiot, or a man who didn't know how powerful their demo charges were, I set off after it shouting 'Follow Me'- a man with a reputation to uphold, that I didn't even have with these people, and who took a second too long to think "why are the troops I'm with ducking and covering?"

The white cylinders turned out to be a powerful melta- bomb or something equivalent, and being in a tube inevitably directed a lot of the blast towards us.

This was obvious; the catch comes when you realise that for maximum shock effect, it is necessary to arrive as close to the actual bang as you can, while the enemy are still reeling- you have to follow the blast in, and how close you get to it is always, always a calculated risk.

I thought I had done the numbers and left a good distance, but I was underestimating their demo charges. I figured this out as the shock wave was in the process of hitting me and setting me on fire.

Dropping and rolling, I saw my aide doing the same- wierdly, the entire front of his flak jacket had boiled off and I had to rip it off him, trying not to think about the smells of burning bits of incomprehensible staining and hair.

It overpowered his natural scent, but only for a moment. We both stood up and started moving forwards again- everything seemed to work, but it didn't hurt only because the ouch hadn't sunk in yet. The hairs on the back of my hands were still there, if a little singed.

The stormtroopers were all looking absolutely blankly at me- even in full face helmets the body language was unmistakable.

'What's the problem, haven't you seen a man shrug off a nuclear blast to the face before? Come on.' I stood up and waved them forward- in actual fact there was a slight curve in the tunnel that reflected the worst of it around us.

They still looked dumbfounded, but they moved off after us. The fusing of the bombs had been well timed- blown the halting point and the ambush there waiting for us apart, reducing the area to a mass of tangled wreckage.

The solution to this seemed to be another meltabomb, thrown carefully and blasting a hole through the wreckage down into the usable decks. They had carapace armour; so did I, but clambering down the searingly hot wreckage was still not fun.

Better than getting into a gunfight in a crowded corridor, but looking around the chambers we ended up in I knew I wouldn't have to wait long for that.

I should stop making predictions like that; they always come true. The first actual opposition we came up against was a gaggle of crewmen, in their by now usual shambles of wrecked uniforms, and a band of droids.

Chaos iron men? That should have been a terrifying prospect, but they were all sorts, most of them so very like walking bins that it was hard to take them entirely seriously.

They used those things instead of servitors, which was a more worrying thought. One of the worst bleeding hearts on this subject I ever met was an Astartes, of all things, who considered them a crime against humanity; considering he was a notable maniac, it was safest to nod, smile and pretend to agree.

I'd long since stopped noticing them in any meaningful sense, but they are quite disturbing if you think too much. It's a rough universe; the idea of traitors, malcontents and assorted criminal scum being rebuilt into loyal, useful servants of the Imperium wasn't a bad one, on the face of it.

On the other hand I've bailed enough troopers out of enough local lockups to know that the quality of arbitrators across the Imperium varies enormously, even more than the somewhat erratic supply of readily available scum. Were they all guilty men?

The small metal men weren't that, although they did remind me a little of the much larger and more devastating metal men I had been unfortunate enough to come up against; they might look like the comedy version, but they didn't have me chuckling- although they still might leave me in stitches if I wasn't careful.

The stormtroopers' reaction was exactly what I should have expected from people who called themselves storm troopers; push forwards. Being in front of them, that was the direction I was going too.

Not that there was anything to be gained by standing still, anyway- there weren't many ways out of this other than to win. I was still trying to think of them, for that matter.

As much as I could really say for the fight is that it was a fight. I still wished I had a couple of squads of Valhallans with me, but the stormtroopers weren't too pathetic, and they did manage not to shoot me.

Considering what a mess hacking into alien robots with a chainsword makes, that was more of a feat than it sounds- showers of metal sparks everywhere, the thing beeping frantically as it shorted, twitching it's last, then burning, clouds of smoke everywhere.

The robots were mostly armed with tools, and the men with sidearms, but small-c chaos and confusion worked for us, most of their shots went wild or hit each other.

It wasn't until Jurgen and I had hacked, shot and bayoneted our way through them that I realised how few of them there had actually been; the stormtroopers managed to catch up, and the leader said 'Just a suggestion, Sir- but perhaps you should let us lead in and do the shock attack part.'

'That may be the nicest thing anyone from this universe has said to me so far,' I said, and it was probably true, 'but we have to keep moving, we're almost out of time.'

I should know better than to say things like that. That was when Mirannon found the right switch, decided to throw it early, and all the lights and artificial gravity went out.

Black Prince was never slow to spot an opportunity, especially not one she had arranged and been waiting for. As soon as the electromagnetic storm broke out of the battle cruiser, the great ship lost primary power and started drifting, they moved.

Two things had to happen, and this was the first of them- Lennart nodded to Brenn, not needing words, and they jumped to the assembly point.

most of the troops they would need to be going in with them were, inevitably, local- they were what, and all, there was available. Their shuttles could not move around the battle area in anything like time or with safety- such of it as there was to be had anyway.

This was the clumsy step, the shouldering of the pack, the part of the move where an alert and adroit enemy could destroy them for a small and simple investment of force- but how many of their enemies fitted that description? besides, it had been true every step of the way so far...

The transports that had towed the IoM cruisers here were not capable of this, combat microjumps under fire were not part of their duties and training, and tactical FTL was a closed, sealed, anathematised and forbidden book to the Imperium, and from what Lennart had heard and found out of the Warp that was probably just as well.

Black Prince could do it, easily enough, but she had enough redundancy and flexibility in her trans-symmetric fields and motivators to tow another ship roughly her own size, or at least mass-energy, through hyperspace; not something the size and mass of an Imperium warship.

The only way it could be done was, fortunately, the best way to do it anyway; tow a flotilla of shuttles and transports in, and release them as close as the exit could be cut to a paralysed target.

That part was essential; none of them were fast enough to catch a Bellator, one second full thrust would put the Imperium shuttles hopelessly far behind, five would leave them roasting in the wake.

It had been arranged, and so now was the time. Space was crowded, a small dense patch of transports, practically within touching distance; as it had to be. They had about a third of all the available Imperium troops, were streaming in troop shuttles form all the Galactic Empire ships.

Fantastically, for once in this lunatic battle of leviathans, the actual numerical military odds were with them. That probably meant something was about to go hideously wrong.

Disengagement successful, lost faces on the bridge snatched out of the fire, and all the commanding officer wanted to do was to go to a dark and silent room and lie down and quiver.

There was no way, no way this side of hell, that they should still be alive after that. Oh, actually surviving was a fact and a factor, but good judgement- that he had called on every shred of to get this far- said they should be resting in the arms of the Galactic Spirit by now.

How long had they been in action? It was easier to call up the ship status monitor sheet and look at the fuel state figures than it was to glance at the chrono- he never wanted to count milliseconds again.

Shade under thirty percent burnt off, although some had been lost to battle damage; twenty- six hundred seconds' worth more or less, and each one had been a separate and specific opportunity to end it all. If it really was true that cowards die a thousand times before the real thing, then he was a hundred and sixty percent over quota.

In the face of that kind of firepower, cowardice was almost respectable- it offered significantly greater life prospects than bravery. Dammit, he yelled at himself, you knew it was going to be this going in, it was your bloody plan; no reason, no excuse, no right and most importantly no opportunity to feel sorry for myself.

I am in charge, they're all looking to me to- actually, for their lives, to the captain for their saving and the meaning of their existences.

I could not have done better than that in my dreams, and it wasn't enough, we're going to have to go in again. Me, myself, I and every other poor bugger depending on my judgement to see them through.

And to be honest, would I really trust anyone else to do that? Well, actually, yes and I'm going to have to, anyway- already split off the nucleus of a crew, for one of the destroyers; Brenn's going to have to take over here while I shuttle across to Blistmok- once she's taken.

breaking up the team, taking charge of what's left of that ship, and using her to attack two of the same class, which would be of superior physical state and crew cohesion by that point, and that was looking like the easy bit.

If there was ever going to be a day that lasted forever, this bid fair to be it. Already seemed to have gone on for a million years.

No alternative though, with the sabotage party away and the fighters committed, it was no longer possible to simply cut and run, if it ever had been a practical way of dealing with the problem.

Four battle cruisers left in the hands of the dark gods, and there really is something desperately wrong with a universe where that statement doesn't register as instantly insane. (Although, Palpatine...no, wrong moment for that thought. We are here, it is now, have to get on with it.)

The damage they could do, far from in-, would be all too easily calculable; the destruction of the heart, and the collapse as an organised state, of the Imperium.

As botched first contacts went, that would be a record- setter. Not that that was the prime motive by any means- having been tempted by the powers of the Warp, and having looked upon their works, leaving four of the Empire's newest and shiniest battlewagons in their hands was clearly wrong. Entirely apart from the value of- and the men on- the ships.

Deep breath. Remember that at this moment, at this precise moment, I am not dead.

Who was? 'Damage control- was there anything I was too busy to notice? what have we lost?'

The engineer officer seconded to the job took a deep breath of his own before reporting. Wondering whether he had any right to put spin on it, and in the end deciding not to. 'Secondary reactor shocked out of its' cradle, two hits in hangar bay storage forward of the main reactor, one under the bow;

two upper surface port, one starboard side of the superstructure, one starboard bow, one midships port. Starboard tubes were shut down and deep-inerted, bringing them back now. One tertiary gone entirely, ball imploded, no fix. Secondary manipulated back in, but only at fifty percent confidence.

Two radiator grids slagged down, no fix. Bow motivator failed, repairable but in hours, out of circuit. Ground force maintenance complex, mostly wrecked- less than fifty percent capacity. Four small craft bays destroyed.'

'We can still move and fight, but the margin of error's gone.' Lennart boiled it down to the barest essential. 'Tell that shower,' to Rythanor, 'anyone who isn't within the limits of the hyperfield in thirty seconds gets left behind.

I wish I had more breathing time to offer, but there is no more time, this is the problem that was handed to us and the only solution it was right to take.' he added to everyone on the bridge, it would spread to everyone on the ship.

'Now, back into the fire- the effort you've all been putting in is fantastic, against a softer opponent we would have more to show for it, but you have been ahead of them every step of the way; if superior human quality is what we need to carry us through, we have it. We'll see what else I can think of after we've saved the universe.

Right, towing to combat drop, zone up and countdown from five.'

Had to go and support the boarding party if nothing else. The time for counting people lost is going to be long after everything is done. A few shuttles left behind, but in the loose confines of the hyperdrive cone, there were some sixty thousand Imperium warriors, and the elements of the loyalist-Imperial forces that could actually fit on shuttles and make their own way added to another thirty thousand.

The run- vidscreens were not the clear blue-white of normality, but smeared and tainted with flashes of grey, red, yellow. Didn't seem to affect performance; perhaps all in the mind's eye?

Emergence, bumpy, immediately four moves; shut down, purge and safe the hyperdrives, shields back on full, ion cannon volley into the belly of the target to cover the landing this time, Ithorian-army gravitic projectors to interdictor mode and cover the other two battlecruisers.

Hardly a word needed. Hardly time for any if there had been. Only one thing. 'Boarders away.'

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Vehrec » 2012-06-12 08:02pm

You know, if the Necrons are going to put in a showing, now would be just about the ideal time for them to come in, cut one of the Hyperdrives out of those battle-cruisers and amscray with it.

Because you just have to know that Orikan wouldn't let the Empire mess with his predictions of the future, and Trayzn would not pass up a chance to glean some new historical records for his galleries.
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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-06-12 08:40pm

One slight technical problem- that would involve buying the 5th ed Necron codex, and possibly even actually reading it. I've never been a massive fan of the robozombies, still less now that they have apparently become Tomb Kings In Space; they never seemed thematically strong enough to justify the outrageous abilities they posessed on the tabletop, in Battlefleet Gothic at least.

Disguising one of them as the Deus Mechanicus was about the only interesting thing GW ever did with them, really; there's only so many times you can be told something is mysterious and unknowable by people who are dubious and untrustworthy before deciding that it's a shell game with three empty shells, there's nothing actually there.

Anyway...might happen. Maybe. If there's good plot to be got out of what they've become.

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Vehrec » 2012-06-14 08:18am

To some people, that's the main problem with the 5th edition codex, because Games Workshop finally gave us an inside view of the Necrons, and their society, based as it is on their original society, is actually pretty easy to understand. They're really just another one of the ancient fallen empires that desires to regain it's lost glories, much like the Eldar, except with a side of 'and maybe undoing this biotransference at some point if we can find bodies we actually want.' The Warriors are just as mindless as ever, the Immortals significantly less so, their minds sharpened and enhanced in every known school of war. Admittedly, the Immortals and their scout/sniper counterparts, the Deathmasks, can't really think about anything BUT war. Up another level, you find the Destroyers, Lychguard and Praetorians, all of whom are basically intact with some slight loyalty pruning, or in the case of the Destroyers, a rather severe personalityectomy. Apparently, casting off your connections to the old ways in order to destroy all life is looked down upon in Necron society, but who could have guessed that? Only the Lords and their scientists retain all their old mental facilities, but what else did you expect?

Killing off most of the C'tan and turning them into blind idiot prisoners might have been a bad idea, but it also provides an interesting parallel-whether or not the Emperor got the real, complete Void Dragon, the Necrons already did pretty much exactly that 60 million years ago to every other C'tan they could lay hands on. I tend to think it was a bit of he said she said actually, with the Eldar doing just as much of the fighting, it's only that the Necrons conveniently forgot that. In any case, the remaining god-shards are actually quite variable and potentially deadly in many ways.

That said, it's the Necron fighters that most excite me, the Tomb Blade and the Doomscythe out of all the new vehicles. The 'blade is actually a jetbike on the tabletop, it's so small, while the 'scythe is a small fighter drawing lines of death across the battlefield with it's main weapon. It's transport variant actually has a wormhole generator to teleport troops on and off the battlefield.

The thing that most irks me though would be the Dolmon gates and the Stasis-tomb ships of the old Necron fleet-one gets the impression that there are very few Inertialess Drives in the Necron fleet, and most of their ships move around using STL engines and a stolen part of the Webway. Actually, there's no mention of the Inertialess fleet at all, leaving one to wonder what happened there, but maybe the Phaeron of the most powerful dynasty in the galaxy actually prefers on of the old ships for his flag. At least some of the Necron's industrial base is still producing these STL ships, loading crews onto them, and launching them into interstellar space on outdated courses to nowhere, at a rate of one every 33 weeks.
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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-06-30 07:26pm

Short update- concerning a change of plan.
I started a new chapter with it, but don't mind about that. Starts with Caiaphas, being unusually sneaky, although right at the end.

A Squelch of Empires ch 27

We made our way with only one more minor clash to where the map slate told us the main reactor was, and most of that at a dead run; somehow Jurgen managed to keep up.

They used small electric cart things to get round the corridors in a timely fashion; we hurdled one used as a barricade and I knew he wanted to jump in and try it out. 'Maybe later.' If there was a later.

The complex wasn't guarded; had been, but the rents in the corridor walls and scattered, splattered bodies everywhere were something of a hint- even the stormtroopers noticed- that someone had been here before us, and it took no very experienced eye to recognise bolter fire.

'Do we shoot our way in?' the stormtrooper leader asked me.

'The crew, yes, leave the Astartes to me.' How did I get into this lunatic adventure? For a second I closed my eyes, hoping to open them again and emerge in my bunk on a troop ship heading for Emperor knew where, but it had to make more sense than this. It didn't work.

We weren't going to beat them by force of arms, and if it came to trying I might have to think very quickly about who "we" were. One, maybe two, I could expect to cross swords with and maybe walk away from, but the stormtroopers were hopelessly outclassed- and knew it, and were still willing to die trying.

For a moment I did wonder- if they could be persuaded to the Imperial Cult, I have come across few beings as prepared to lay down their lives in a good cause as they were. They could be an asset, and it would almost certainly be better for them than whatever they had rattling around their heads at the moment.

The idea of me making converts wasn't as absurd as it sounded; in the absence of a regimental chaplain the commissar was was the next representative of the imperial creed, and while I may find the formalisms tiring and occasionally mock the odd humourless fanatic, it is the side that I am on.

A project for later, if I had any energy left to play the preacher, because I was going to have to fight the Marines with my tongue. Which on the ship still held by the Slaaneshi would be an entirely more difficult and disgusting prospect,but I was still dealing with loyalists and would have to persuade them. Which promised to be interestingly difficult.

The control complex was a small armoured bubble on top of a large armoured bubble, the larger one being the thing itself. the small bubble recognisably related to the secondary control room I had just come from, larger, fancier and full of tartan maniacs.

The layout looked like an off centre four leaf clover, four sub- control rooms branching off a main control room, access to the reactor dome on one side of the main control centre, approach from the ship's passageway net on the other.

The squad of Lions were all there, several of them looking battered but still functional; I tried to convince myself that this was a good thing.

There was a loud squawk which I mistook for something daemonic arriving, but it was one of the marines- the piper, warning the rest that I was here.

It got their attention, all right; could have wakened the dead, although there were more than enough of those lying about the place to put that to the test and prove me wrong. Their sargeant turned to me. 'Ay, ye made your way here- an' no' before time. Have ye figured oot whit side ye're on?'

At moments like this, it is highly important not to say too much, because doing so can give far too much away far too soon and consequently get you killed. 'I believe I have, yes.'

'We've run intae a wee bit o' doctrinal confusion, on the subject o' eatin' the brains o' the possessed. Noo the problem is that ah reckon it's justifiable in extremis, but the rest of the lads dinna' think so.'

'You're their sergeant, can't you order it?' I asked, confused.

'Normally, ay, but this is a Caledonian unit, an' we take "a man's a man for a' that" seriously.'

'That part at least, I had not the faintest idea what he was talking about, but the first part I did understand- worse luck, as it meant I couldn't spend a useful few minutes stalling by asking for an explanation. What I could I did, though- 'I'm not sure I'm qualified to hold an opinion, I don't know your chapter strictures and codes of honour in any detail.'

'It's hardly a matter o' pickin' through the minutiae, noo is it? Chaos cultist looney frae anither universe, can we eat his heid, aye or naw?'

I was caught between wanting to know more about how it actually worked and not really wanting to know at all; if there was a wrinkle there that I could exploit for time's sake, or if the only wrinkles involved were cortex and intestine.

Doctrinally, though, it was unfortunately clear, and I drew it out as long as I dared before saying 'It is of course inherently wrong in itself- listening to them is bad enough- but in extremis it may be the lesser evil, which I can only assume that's what the ability was originally for.

I'm not sure what you would consider an appropriate purgation, purification and penance afterwards, but lesser evil or not, the nature of the thing itself would mandate something strenuous.'

That was about as much as I reckoned I could get away with- at the same time, I wondered how close the link was and how long it took, what the gap was between gut and gnosis. In the brutally fast- paced space warfare I had seen them at so far, if there was much of a delay, it might be enough. Might.

The other thing- and the possibility that was worrying the sergeant, and I should perhaps have taken more of a cue from that- was that more than information might come through, a healthy slice of an alien consciousness, feelings, meanings? How much of a temptation was it?

'How did you come to the decision,' I said carefully, 'that you may need to eat cultist crewmen's brains?'

'Yon hairy bastard sent ye tae slow us doon, did he?' One of the marines- Callum- asked.

well, so much for temporisation. 'He didn't convince me of anything I don't think was the right thing to do anyway. I do not believe you can save Holy Terra by destroying this ship.'

I didn't expect the reaction I got- not unwelcome but certainly unusual. 'Caledonia, on Old Earth, was when ye look at ra' actual histories- mind yon plural- a frenzied snakepit o' double- crossin', backstabbin' an' treachery vile. Hae ye considered carefully, in a' this shamblin' mess, precisely who is lyin' tae precisely whom?'

By my own standards, no; there hadn't been time. If I had to bet my life on a snap judgement, though, and I probably had, I would say that these ships falling into the hands of the Great Enemy had been nobody's plan.

'I believe I have,' I exaggerated, 'and I have an answer that comes out differently from your version. The xenos are working at cross purposes, and I think we need to play on that. The important part- at first instance- isn't these ships as invasion fleet, it's these ships in the hands of Chaos.

Most of the crew have gone renegade, need to be got rid of, and the plan is to use this ship to destroy the other two. Assuming that's possible- this ship is likely to be badly damaged as a result, and full of Throne- loyal soldiers acting as crew, in the middle of a loyalist battle fleet.'

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-06-30 08:49pm

Oooh. Sneaky.

Now, Cain may be entirely too heroic to make a proper Space Blackadder, but this is at least a suitably cunning plan.
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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-08-27 05:52am

Short update, fresh off the keyboard, before stepping back into the fire. After this, daemons. In the meantime-

The inquisitorial party moved as fast as they could with two unconscious women- and to where was still a concern. The best ploy they had, Inquisitor Vail thought, had been conceived by the dubious alien- not a position a respectable member of the Ordo Xenos wanted to find herself in , and the worst was probably still to come.

To the handle of the sceptre, then, ahead of the wash of troops that had been supposed to be converging on them. Said troops were mostly scouts and rangers, and there was not one of them who was not thinking that they were doing this the hard way.

What would have been sensible was to hold and leapfrog, leave a detachment behind at operations control sufficient to stop anyone who doubled back, and send most of the rest on ahead to the places they were likely to go, the intruders' likely or plausible objectives, them sweep through the space between from both directions.

Thus depriving the rebels- or whatever they were, there had been some exceptionally strange rumours floating around- of room and options, inflict confusion and disorientation on them.

Instead, they were working to a methodical search pattern commanded and devised by people who knew a great deal less about infantry work than they did, but they were, as ever, compelled to obey.

The inquisitorial party had no such inhibitions; Senior Lieutenant Beliksjaden had as few, and more haste- knew how his own system worked. Mydelin, draped over him, was starting to come round; good.

She wriggled, groaned, said dazedly, 'I had the most peculiar dream...' realised she was slung over somebody's shoulder. Stared at his bottom. Slowly recalled precisely whose shoulder it was, and was briefly tempted to bite.

He swung her to the ground, landing her on her feet- she was taller than he was, and he felt his ribcage expand back to it's proper shape- and steadied her, readied to catch her if she fell over. And as an excuse as well.

He wondered how far to go; she was from another universe, after all, could always claim to have been misunderstood- but looking at her, suddenly he did understand.

She was not joking about being a medusa, a monster trapped by her role and place, prisoner of her own unasked- for nature. She couldn't change that. To accept her meant accepting that.

She knew, had barely come to terms with it herself and was still quarrelling with the universe over many of the fine details, but- how badly does she need me, he thought, want and hope for someone who thinks she isn't a monster?

She did- for a moment it was desperately obvious- and that was a primal challenge, to rise to and meet, worse than the medusa. Could you do the ice maiden thing again, it's less intimidating, he thought of saying, but at this moment he doubted she would see the funny side.

'If you would kindly both get a move on,' Amberley prodded them- verbally, and not far off doing it physically- 'and get to this small craft bay-'

'We're not far off- let me do the talking.' Beliksjaden said. 'I have a plan.' It would be fairly easy for him to remember, considering as it did of more or less audacious use of the truth.

Docking facilities in the Sceptre were quite interesting; a standard modular pattern, but interestingly large and with rather a lot of accessways. Whoever had it laid out this way must have been expecting it to blow up sooner rather than later, the engineer thought; this place was designed to facilitate an evacuation. Well, we only need one.

He strolled into the immediate access bay quite openly, Amberley wondering what on earth he was doing, and up to the nearest assault transport, tracked by the thing's guns and a stormtrooper with a hipmount- stabilised heavy autorifle.

'Do you recognise me, Corporal? No? SLt Beliksjaden, interim military director of the facility, seconded from the forward fleet. I have the intruders in custody- come on, move yourselves.'

Amberley could play a part when she chose to, caught on instantly; stomped out- unavoidable in power armour really- looking grumpy, the rest of her acolytes trailing behind her.

The boat guard party did not look entirely convinced. 'They've not been properly restrained and disarmed.'

'They're from another universe, Corporal, they do things very strangely there.' He leaned closer and said 'It seems to be a psychological hangup of theirs that I am exploiting for all it's worth, defeat is defeat, once given up- well, I'd rather not have them fully instructed on how we do things thank you very much.'

More loudly- partly to cover the noise in case any of the acolytes who understood couldn't help laughing at him- he added 'The Moff wants to see them at once, does he not?'

'Instructions are to bring them to him at once, yes.' The corporal said, tone deeply skeptical- knowing there should be more to it than that, and the word "unarmed" really ought to feature in there somewhere.

'Caution is commendable under most circumstances, but an order's an order. Right, aliens, get on board that one.' The corporal looked frozen in indecision as Amberley and the rest of the inquisitorial part stomped on board the assault transport Beliksjaden had picked out. Knew he ought to object, but-

Was left standing as the hatch slid closed and locked. The flight crew were still on board, of course, which was an option either way- Beliksjaden told them to preflight and launch, then turned to the armoured Inquisitor, half expecting to be shot.

Well, he thought, I've achieved the minimum objective of getting them away from anything they could manage to ruin our collective day by blowing up, but it's a long way from being done yet. And I am in a small boat with a crowd of alien maniacs. This was not what I expected to happen when I got out of bed this morning.

'Well, you're out, and what it makes sense to do now I have no idea. What is the next obvious move to bring this bloody mess to a soft landing? Than would otherwise be the case, anyway.'

Amberley had been in the process of asking herself the same question. Removing him might be a sensible first step; realistic, pragmatic xenos she could do without, especially ones who seemed to have rather too good a grasp of what they were doing.

He certainly didn't look to her for leadership; there was Mydelin, though- well she would probably get over it in time. It might relieve some of her frustrations, although it was hard to see how it would help with the situation.

This ship was, presumably, nothing special; evasion was unlikely to be successful in the long run, especially with a poorly motivated crew. In the short term, for long enough for the scattered elements of the Imperial fleet to catch up and allow her to negociate from whatever position of strength they provided? Possible but undefined.

Option two, double back, into the sceptre and try to seize some part of the structure that was important; unlikely now the thing was crawling with troops.

Board this Moff's ship and confront him directly, on her terms? If it could be done.

The first obvious thing to do from the detached engineer's point of view was to put some physical distance between them and the base and it's guard squadron; Beliksjaden sat down in the flight engineer's seat- this, if nothing else about the whole mad business was, was home territory.

The command pilot was sitting there, looking increasingly worried. 'Flight sargeant, these are the people all the fuss is about. Do you know what's happening to the forward fleet? To your colleagues boarding the imperium ships on this side of the worm hole?'

'Fighting- and heavy casualties? Are these beings not the enemy?' Beliksjaden wondered if he could get to and disarm the self destruct before the flight sargeant could activate it. Doubtful- or only by persuasion, anyway.

'It's a clusterkriff.' Beliksjaden said, and that was true enough. 'Both sides beating the crap out of each other, and both sides not short of other enemies who must be pissing themselves laughing at the mess we're both getting into. Fighting the Rebellion's bad enough.

I've no intention of disobeying orders, just of obeying them at the right time and place, with enough spin on it, that this business doesn't get any worse and anybody who does still get zapped at least does so for sensible reasons- instead of the total fardwarking chaos that looks likely to break out otherwise.'

'This is highly irregular, then?' The stormtrooper flight sargeant asked.

'We drilled a hole into another universe, and you expect things to be anything else?' Beliksjaden pointed out. 'As irregular as a thin Hutt. We'll go and double back- don't raise their suspicions, they think they've escaped.'

Configured the display panels to his own settings, ran through the checklist in his head, started setting up a course. Brought the sensor data across, expanded out to the subspace envelope- most of the data there was traffic control and nav beacons, not direct sensing.

There was one ominous ripple that it was easy to guess the cause of- the mass shadow of a very large ship moving inconveniently fast. Probably Executor class.

'Moff's on his way- do you want to be here when he arrives?'

In a stupendously large battlewagon with enough power to render down Imperium sector fleets? 'No.' Amberley decided.

That meant flying fingers time. Laying in and programming a course to somewhere far away; remove the beacon data, look at the gravity-energy background, freehand draw a couple of curves that seemed to avoid the worst of it, guesstimate the curvature of them and feed that to the nav computer as a basis.

'What are you doing?' Mydelin asked him. She was still trying to understand how they could get anywhere in this tiny, tiny ship.

'Trying not to screw this up.' Watching it calculate, factor through the curves.

'What's it doing now?' she asked, starting to grasp what it might be doing and very, very worried about it.

How to explain? Slightly late, he realised how this might affect her. 'Ah. Your warp, your immaterial world is essentially sense data, well I should be letting you tell me but it is something you experience, yes?'

'It's a great deal more than that.' She said, quite angrily.

'Let me start off with the basics, right? What I mean is that you might live the warp, but hyperspace is something you do with numbers, you can't see or feel or ride through it, you just calculate a bit...and hit it.' he added to the Stormtrooper flight sargeant, who pulled the big handle and sent them off into hyperspace.

She looked blankly at the screen, blue- white streaks filling it, for a long moment, trying and failing to come to terms with it; snarled at him 'A ship this size can enter warp,' using the wrong term and challenging him to correct her, she didn't- within minutes, from crowded, inner- system space, doesn't even need to be steered?'

For a moment Beliksjaden thought she was going to haul him out of his seat and beat the living daylights out of him; she looked searingly angry. He might have been an engineer but he wasn't that oblivious.

What would Mirannon do? he asked himself. It wasn't much help- first, the chief was more or less the size and strength of the Inquisitor in her armour, and usually had an assortment of potentially lethal hand tool about his person.

Plan B wasn't all that much help either- presentation mode, the blather and jargon he usually used when trying to get someone, usually somebody who shouldn't, to sign off on something. Often involving the demonstration of some half completed and possibly quite terrifying piece of kit.

He tended to use both approaches in conjunction, and to be honest he could actually be quite intimidating when he really wanted something. Beliksjaden hadn't had time for useful gadgets, and he didn't have that much bulk. Improvisation time.

'Not fair, is it?' He said, standing and facing her. 'The omniverse makes deep space travel relatively easy for us, and cruelly difficult for you.'

She looked at him blankly for a second, knowing that he was right- it wasn't his fault, it wasn't hers, wanting and needing to rage at something, turmoil needing an exit and he was the one standing there for her to vent it on.

He did the right thing, purely by instinct; said 'I'm so sorry,' and hugged her.

She nearly burst into hysterical laughter- it was ridiculous, he was trying to apologise for an entire universe; two, even. Which she certainly felt as if they owed her one, frakkit, they did- so much pain and misery, but most people lived like that, didn't they?

The universe never apologised to any of them, wasn't known for apologising to anybody, as if that made it easier- she laid her head on his shoulder and cried, letting it all out, and he held onto her- through breakout.

'Where are we?' Amberley demanded.

'Nowhere; that's the entire point. We can run faster than we can see, we're only about a thousand seconds away for a medium sized ship at high speed- if they knew where to go. We can wait here for news, for sensor data, for your ships to arrive and give you that position of strength, for the Moff, what- have- you.'

There was one more option that Inquisitor Vail was seriously considering; run the gauntlet. Dive back to the other side of the wormhole, out of this hideous clarity, and take charge of the Imperium side of things, see what could be done from there.

That would involve plunging headlong into a major battle, apparently. Not really her field of expertise- not really an Inquisitor's job to do more than pick what seemed appropriate and point them at the problem.

Rakhel suddenly had something to sat, and she said it in rapid, exasperated Basic, a man's voice- an accurate vision? Knowing her, unlikely- but 'The time for the chessboard is over. Smug idiots playing with other people's lives are what got us into this clusterkriff in the first place.

You are not above my law, I don't care who vouches for you, you are ex officio part of the problem, and the most survivable thing you can do is shut up and go away before I hold you responsible.'

Having delivered her vision, Rakhel's eyes rolled back in her head, she wobbled, shook herself out, 'I don't suppose there's anything to eat on this ship?'

The flight sargeant looked at Amberley in total bafflement, before throwing Rakhel a ration block. 'Did you recognise that voice?' she demanded of the imperial stormtrooper.

'Yes, it's- how did she do that? Does she have the Force?'

'She has visions, yes- don't tell me; the commander of the forward fleet.'

'Sounded exactly like him, ma'am.'

So much for that plan, then. Beliksjaden should have fielded that one, but he and Mydelin had already walked off the flight deck heading for the crew spaces, hand in hand.
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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-08-27 11:17pm

Which is a pity, really; Amberley may be the only inquisitor on the scene with the capacity "truly to think." She'd be useful to the long term interests of both sides, if Lennart had the patience. Which he probably doesn't- his politicking skills have definite limits to them.
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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Vianca » 2012-08-28 01:18pm

A update!!!

Not the story I truly wanted to see, but still..........
It's a update!!!
Nothing like the present.

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-08-28 06:56pm

Simon, I refer you to the story post two above this one, the one that ends 'boarders away'; Lennart is pushing on the limit of his military skills trying to pull this off and not die, and the mind- space he has available to think about anything else is diminishing rapidly.

At that precise point in the centre of the maelstrom, insofar as the politics matter at all, the only consideration is that they've failed and left them all in a world of shit, and he needs to make a tactical solution happen- it's all that there's time for right now.

Afterwards, once- if- things progress and the pressure lifts to the point where it starts becoming sensible again to think about what use to make of the fight, what political and strategic purpose to gain from it all, then it may cross his mind and he may start metaphorically kicking himself for lost opportunities- assuming Rakhel's vision is accurate. Let's face it, she's a moonbat.

Besides, Amberley's not just the most capable on the scene, she's damn near the only one left. Superior survival skills may leave her in charge by default, and I get the feeling the Inquisition actually works that way quite a lot.

Vicanca, would the story you want to see be the one I think it is? Working on it.

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2013-02-24 04:52pm

Never say die...

The reason this has been so abominably slow updating is that there's one part I need, need, to get absolutely right- I has to be a gemstone, it has to be perfect to work at all.

This isn't it. But it is half written. In the meantime, continuing directly on-

From the diaries of Commissar Cain, Official Hero, etc, etc;

As the Marines turned it over in their minds, I started wondering why I had said it. Was it not exactly what I wanted to happen? A lot actually depended on what happened next in the political sphere, how it was going to shake itself out.

If Chaos won the tactical battle, we were all screwed anyway. Dead and very possibly damned, and while I am nowhere near being the hero my reputation makes me out to be, there are some things that any damn' fool with any spine at all should struggle to avoid.

Assuming a result other than that- the xenos commodore didn't speak for his people, not all of them. Hadn't the authority to promise peace- or war. Those who did had wanted a clash of empires.

Preventing that, that only our enemies would truly win, would involve what? If we held these ships- and considering carefully who 'we' were- we could at the very least demand concessions for handing them back- the safe return of our battle group lost in their space, for a start.

Convincing the Marines of that promised to be difficult; I couldn't discount the feeling that they had a point. Although they had jumped ahead, assumed it was going to be done and were already looking to power struggles within the Imperium-

how much to give to the Mechanicus, whether the Imperial Navy actually existed in any form that wouldn't constitute handing it over to the Mechanicus anyway, forge world against forge world, whether they could get the thing to run on promethium.

Which was actually a good point- everything these people did seemed to be faster, I wouldn't bet against the idea that it would break down or run out of fuel a lot faster too.

It occurred to Fergus that they were thinking too far ahead; he said 'Wan step at a time, Chaos wants tae' kill us, so whit dae ye reckon? Horde o' wee eldritch horrors down ra' corridors, then a couple o'big things in ra middle while we're a' lookin' the other way?'

'Whit they did tae the Deathwatch, ay. Warped part ae' the structure o' the ship to do it, an' a'. Ony ideas how tae' stop them?'

I was trying to come up with one myself- trying to decide where the least dangerous place was, on the lines or in the middle waiting for the daemon lord to appear, when the vox bead in my ear came active, with the blessed sounds of a Valhallan accent. A voice I recognised too.

'Penlan, is that you? Good. This is Commissar Cain- no, don't drop the voxbead-' there was a splash and a long, rustling pause, then the sound of someone picking it up by the microphone end. 'I hope you're doing better than that with grenades. Patch me through to command.'

A few seconds of the peculiar noises machine spirits make when they talk amongst themselves, then it was Colonel Kasteen. 'Commissar, where have you been- we thought you were dead.'

'I'm sure I'd have noticed;' I said dryly. 'No, just singed a bit. I don't know what kind of briefing you got, but the short version is that the powers of darkness did a very slipshod job of taking this ship. The crew have been brainwashed, not possessed, they can be snapped out of it.

Most of their stormtroopers, those are the ones in the white carapace, already have; none of them are absolutely trustworthy, apart form the obvious, but they come closest. Get some of them to lead you in the direction of main reactor control, that's where I am and I'm going to need backup.'

'Moving.' she acknowledged, then said 'This sounds worse than Gravalax- it all seems very, very strange.'

'That would be because you're right, it is.' I admitted. 'I'll fill you in on as much as makes sense when you get here. I'd really appreciate it if that was slightly in advance of the daemon horde.'

As I signed off, I realised that was anything but reassuring, and probably not one of my proudest moments as a commissar. At that point I could have done with a good deal of reassuring myself, admittedly, but who from, divine intervention? Not that it would have been unwelcome.

There were too many crazy people involved, though, on too many separate sides, for me to predict what was going to happen.

An idea that did occur to me that offered decent personal prospects for survival; I decided to go with it. 'The regiment's out there somewhere- my people, the 597th Valhallan; I'm going to go and find them, bring them in.' I shouldn't have said it, I should just have gone and done it-

because then Fergus wouldn't have been able to say 'Or one o' oor lot wham I'm in touch wi' could link up wi' them and lead them here.'

'Ah. Good point.' Not much of anything else I could say to that, was there? So much for plan- it would take me far too long to count high enough to reach the iteration of the plan we were presently on, assuming it wasn't a number as irrational as the plans seemed to be.

Didn't seem much else to do except to wait for something else horrible to happen; for once I didn't need to feign impatience and being eager to fight; apart from, just frakking get on with it, this was not how I wanted things to go.

Was there a better option? go to them- the Deathwatch had tried that and perhaps they had died gloriously, but it was certain, according to Fergus, that they had died.

What better chance did we have here, then? It was too late for very many sensible questions that should have been asked earlier, but given what the answers were likely to be I'm not surprised we avoided asking them at the time.

Then there came a solution of sorts, in a voice over the ship's PA system- no doubt there was a military name for it but I doubt theirs was the same as ours. 'Right, you tartan loonies, I have a plan and it's going to involve you doing something productive and useful.' Mirannon.

'I need you to throw five switches, one is ergonomically faked to look like a manual valve on the wall of the power distribution management complex, between panels 2 and 3, the little wheel thing, the second is a circuit breaker- little black oblong like a small magazine- on the underside of the chief's chair, rear right panel-'

He was interrupted as he had known he would be by Fergus asking 'An' whit dae these switches dae?'

The hairy maniac took a deep breath then launched into 'I could quote Link- MDCCLXIII to you, give the manual definition, but the short version is that it's all about datastream control, the exaggerated ergonomics are a feature not a bug, what's your word? Logis engines. The ship has many of them and they all talk to each other. Following so far?'

I had seen politics happen before, and it was perfectly capable of giving me the same sinking feelings as a battlefield, usually because it so damnably often led to one. That nonsense- which was old when the God- Emperor was playing with toy trains, I'm sure- about war being an extension of diplomacy; it's amazing how many diplomats believe it, and how few soldiers.

War is what you get when the diplomats frak it up or run out of ideas entirely, and once it starts they are best kept as far away from it as possible because they only ever seem to manage to find some way to make it worse, take longer, cost more and sort less out. This was soldiers doing diplomacy, or attempting to.

I decided to short circuit the process. 'What is the effect of this going to be?'

'Ah, a sensible question. It'll bring the action on; get the Chaos hordes to get their act together and come and attack you.'

Frak, I thought. The Marines looked at each other, shrugged, seemed to find it acceptable. So did the stormtroopers. I really should know better about wishing for things- now we were indeed going to get on with it. Didn't seem quite so good an idea at that precise second, strangely enough.

It was explained, and done, and I was happy that I was standing next to Jurgen- from the stormtroopers' looks of perplexion, a sudden shiver went through the air. The doctor- who had set up an aid post with what little there was to hand and as many corpsmen among the white- hats as she could round up- said 'That's it, they're coming.'

'Right, lads, staun' ready tae' recieve?' Fergus actually asked his men- this is no time for democracy, I thought- but he was really asking them how they thought it could best be done. Got an answer. 'Callum, Ah dinnae' care how ecumenical we're bein', nane o' yer welsh shite. Start whaur we start.'

The piper looked baffled for a second- had been looking at the stormtroopers instead of his own sargeant- but caught on. 'That's tae deliver an assault, no' tae stand wan- ah, aye, right.'

One of the stormtroopers passed on a message- 'Blocking group M1 reports- lifeforms. Thousands of them.'

'Telt ye ra' welsh shite would ha' done.' Callum couldn't resist saying.

'No' for this.' Swords came out and to the ready, power fields activating- the stormtroopers looked taken aback by this, briefly conferred among themselves, something about does order 66 apply, before deciding that under the circumstances it probably didn't.

Callum started playing the pipes, and instead of the slow ponderous thing I was expecting it was a deceptively jaunty tune, dum dum-de-dum dum de dum dum dum, on a rising cadence, but one the Astartes seemed to see ghosts to, ghosts with broadswords glittering in the mist.

They tapped their feet once or twice to the music, then set off to meet the bulk of the chaos horde, starting at a fairly slow walk that we could think was too slow, building to a march, a quick- time, a lope, a steady jog that caught most of us up and left us behind, through a long legged bounding run to a headlong, hell-for-leather sprint

I was two turns of the ship's passageways behind when they crashed into the horde, saw nothing, but God- Emperor I heard it. They were met with sorcery, as if there wasn't something uncanny about the highland charge.

When I managed to catch them up, a few grunting stormtroopers in my wake, the fighting was happening in a chamber that I found out later was a soft patch, a space between the frames of the ship where heavy things could be lifted in and out for inspection and repair.

In normal times it would have looked neat enough to parade on; now it was a fantastic decorators' nightmare of splashed ichor, and dissolving daemon- remains, stains, cracks, splintered walls and ceiling, craters and blackening and scarring- how? as much as I tried to avoid knowing more than I absolutely had to, I was fairly sure "Instant Warzone" wasn't a known Tzeentchian trick. It was probably the Marines.

I suppose you don't need to throw that many handfuls of microgrenades about the place to leave it in need of a serious tidying up, after all. One of the marines was down, two had obvious holes in their armour and presumably in their biosorcery- enhanced flesh, but they were still fighting, hard, close sword and shield work.

Against...Jurgen's presence was enough to shield me from their miasma, but not from my own visceral reaction. my head swam and my gorge rose in my throat- their illusions, their scent, much of it passed me by but enough was anchored in this world to tie my gut in knots.

The other great powers have their servants as more or less parodies of life, mockeries of the true human and jokes at our expense- but the joke has to be close enough for us to get. The feathery, squeaky one sneers at the patterns of life and all things organised and well made, and they're often not remotely human at all.

The entirety of zoology was represented, though- the scales and the manes and the feathers and the exoskeletons, long legs, short legs, tentacles, fins, flippers, claws, hooves, stingers, fangs- everything in there somewhere in wrong combinations, misplaced, perverted and alien. Especially the claws and the fangs.

Actually a mistake on the part of the powers of darkness; I was probably the most deeply affected person present. Jurgen was as phlegmatic as usual, the Marines had some interesting variety in their targets, and the white hats had seen so many peculiar alien lifeforms that- now their heads were clearer- they were actually rather blase about it all.

Where to fit into the battle though? Best not to take the risk of shooting the Astartes in the back, it was unlikely they would appreciate it. Fergus had an answer. 'Push right- Commissar join on ra' left.'

What would probably happen was that the horde would swing towards the easier target, and the Marines would take advantage of the side they were showing- those of them that had definite shapes. Nice work if you could get it. I'd have to be at the front, which was what I had expected, but it should work, as well as anything else around here anyway.

The supply of enemies seemed neverending, but that was one of Chaos' tactics- and the 'nids for that matter, make us feel that we were fighting a measureless swarm that could never be stopped, never be stemmed, that would inevitably overwhelm and devour- and use that fear as a strategic weapon. It is that sort of thing that Commissars exist to oppose, so in theory, this should have been an easy day, because here, it was utter nonsense. This was a counterattack put in because they were losing.

Unfortunately, that doesn't actually make it any easier at the pointy end. As the Marines had moved to their right- insofar as they were in any one place at all, moving as fast as they were- the chaos monstrosities had swung in to meet them and I found myself confronting some sort of snail-squid, tentacles reaching out- it had grabbed and ripped in half the first stormtrooper to face it.

I stepped forward over the corpse, let it reach for me and flashed the chainsword into a figure of eight, slicing off the tips of two of it's already powersword- scorched tentacles, meeting a feint where it tried to offer a member too thick for me to cut through that the blade would be embedded in, by slicing a shallow- five centimetre deep- gash in it and hitting one tentacle end on and splitting it open for half it's length.

It recoiled, spraying ichor and shrieking an ear- assaulting wail, and picked up a smaller penguin- looking minion in three less damaged tentacles and threw it at me.

I ducked, and there was the familiar, welcome flare of unnaturally intense light as Jurgen's melta caught the thing and burned it to ash in midair, and three of the stormtroopers fell in beside me and hosed the slugquid down with blaster fire.

It actually sounded silly to me, bit childish, bit like "bang- gun", and it was strangely, wonderfully effective against the eldritch. And the oblong. It did a lot more than a lasgun, anyway.

I had asked one of the troopers about it, after the first large one had tried to eat me, and he had said he didn't know either but High Colonel Stantz had said that it was to do with the electrodynamically focused charged particle bolt disrupting the valences of the psychokinetic energy field, which was total technosorcery to me and the explanation of the explanation was even worse.

The thing definitely reacted, though, and actually looked offended by the blasts, shocked and scandalised by the upturning of the normal course of events. See how you like it on the receiving end, I thought with a certain amount of (entirely justifiable) schadenfreude, reaching in with the chainsword to cleave its' beak open and shoot it in its' exposed tongue with my trusty laspistol;

it writhed and drew back, Jurgen brought the melta down on it, but one of the troopers with a bigger than usual gun did it for him, and got a venomous glare in return.

We were lucky; few of the abominations had enough in common to make a good team, with few present really susceptible to the horror they didn't get the full benefit of their challenge to reality, and had to put up with all of the drawbacks. Few of them could work effectively together.

'Forget the melta.' I told Jurgen. 'In with the bayonet- keep them off the whitehats.' Two of them had just got overenthusiastic and got too close- one of them had just tried to use the butt of his carbine to crush the skull of a daemonic servant that didn't actually have one, was the consistency of foam;

the daemon just deformed with the blow and bounced back, smiled at him with that evil, torso- wide mouth and wrapped a flame-sphincter hand around the confused, terrified trooper's head, flooded purple eldritch fire into him and melted him, for a brief moment blowing his bodyglove out like a big doom- balloon.

I chainsworded both its' arms off and Jurgen stabbed it through both eyes, but the thing split into four parts each of which reformed into a smaller daemon, with the same mocking, smug, I know more than you do grin. I attacked them, drove them back, then leaped out of the way as Jurgen sensibly and appropriately disregarded my orders and melta- blasted them.

Another trooper tried to put his gun right up against the face of one of the flame spitting demons before pulling the trigger; it bit his gun in half, then decided to toy with him by narrowing the billowing flames it could have toasted him with down to cutting torches.

He took up what must have been some kind of martial arts stance, the daemon laughed at it which was all I needed to know, and also gave me time to retrieve, glance to my flank- nothing there but more of the horde- and lunge through what passed for the face of the warpspawned horror.

It fell into two separate pieces, trailing instead of blood what looked like solid smoke, gooing and glittering; the two halves landed, melted into heaps, then reformed as smaller, differently coloured daemons.

I punted one of them in a perfect scrumball conversion into the maw of the thing behind it that looked a bit like a grox crossed with a porcuswine; the thing swallowed convulsively, it and the daemon disappearing down it's gut both looked unpleasantly surprised, then I ducked back as it blew up and sent spikes spiralling everywhere.

The other half was blasted forwards to land right in front of Jurgen, who barely had time to put a lasbolt through it for the sake of the look of the thing before it fizzled away.

It was actually oddly comforting, in a backwards way; we, and there was still a great ocean of dubiety lurking behind that, were facing a horde of eldritch horrors from beyond reality, weren't actually dead yet, and at least it probably couldn't get much worse. As soon as I thought that I remembered exactly how it could, and was briefly tempted to kick myself- but there were so many monsters willing to do it for me.

My combead beeped. Here it comes, I thought. It was Kasteen; 'We're here, but there's no sign of you and there's a strange blue light coming out of the engine room.'

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2013-02-24 06:56pm

So, what did the Lions use for their prebattle music?
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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2013-02-24 07:31pm

Pre? Not exactly- more like played in through the initial stages, until the clatter and sizzle of powerswords and the screams of gribbly things became too loud and the piper decided it was time to get his own blade wet.

Can't actually find a good instrumental version on YouTube- this is sung, - skip to 0:57 to get past the preamble.

The bit I need to get absolutely right is the confrontation, of course.

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Esquire » 2013-02-25 12:02am

'Awesome' isn't the right word for the mental image that brings, but it's the closest I can think of. Glad to see this continuing.

On a more technical note, just how much protection does stormtrooper armor give against physical threats? I can see it not being good for much more than shrapnel, since the only people who routinely engage in melee combat in the SW universe have magical laserswords that cut through warship-grade armor.
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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2013-02-25 06:26am

It would probably do a good job against a real human being swinging a sword- the stuff's light enough for a man to wear, but with Star Wars material technology there's no reason not to make it strong enough that it would be hard for a normal man to put a spear through it.

Against creatures with demonic strength wielding weapons nastier than an Iron Age sword, I doubt it will hold up well.

Also, what's up with the role of galven circuitry? Is there a specific reason why that's supposed to help or are we just positing 'blasters more effective than lasguns?'
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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2013-02-25 08:43am

It's no fun if you have to explain the joke...
High Colonel Stantz had said that it was to do with the electrodynamically focused charged particle bolt disrupting the valences of the psychokinetic energy field
Stantz. PKe valences. Think about it.

Stormtrooper armour-to sum it all up, contradictory indications and all, 'not as good as it could or should be'. It should give much better protection against physical attack than it is usually seen to, but there are a lot of dead stormtroopers in various bits of the universe to suggest numerous devils in details, and considering what happens to modern day bulletproof polycarbonate, I suspect the plastoid actually biodegrades, under extreme conditions anyway.

Also that corners were cut, pockets lined and lies told to procurement officials- the materials technology was not exploited to the full or anything like it; after it's been rattled around the galaxy in a bit, the environment on board ship actually probably being the worst for strange chemicals, the resistance of stormtrooper armour drops greatly.
For some screwed up army reason kin to modern USN digiflauge uniforms being actually highly flammable and extremely dangerous to their wearers, probably including unwillingness to admit error, the Imperial military is slow or unwilling to issue replacements on a tight enough schedule.

Early clone wars armour is better than late, which is better than early stormtrooper, which is better than the extensions out to the Imperial Army- the variant stormtroopers, possibly because so many of them were somebody's pet project, are probably higher material quality. Shadowtroopers, Radtroopers, Storm Commandos, the high risk version of Imperial Dungeoneer armour (I love that title), Novatroopers, Mandalorian armour, all are at least a step above the standard, Dungeoneers and Radtroopers two and Mandalorian armour probably three.

What could be done with proper technology and a willingness to use it, I reckon Spacetrooper Armour is more or less equal to a quite crappy starfighter which still puts it hugely ahead of the products of the demotic economy; somewhere at least on par if not, considering energy sinks, better than Astartes power armour- probably closer to Terminator actually, maybe more raw resistance but less ergonomic and agile.

So, basically, fresh off the production line Stormtrooper armour should be proof against most anything human strength and unpowered weapons can do, but ten years down the line you might as well be wearing cardboard. Drawbacks of plastoid, I'm afraid. Ceramet doesn't have that issue.

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Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2013-02-25 12:52pm


And yes, now I see it, classic one-line reference from the variation of his own universe that Commissar Cain occupies. Sorry for not getting it sooner; I'm unsubtle and sleep-deprived these days- some of my students would probably benefit from stormtrooper training, and yes I know what I'm saying.
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